Only a day or so to spend here? Dublin always has something special up her sleeve for you – even for a short time.
Revisiting Dublin is always a pleasure – a pleasure dimmed a little when you only have a day or two to spare. But as well as the old favourites, look out for the emerging attractions – often old favourites that have been overlooked begin to shine again.
The fair city of Dublin is a walkable place, and every step of the way offers the joy of the splendid Georgian Squares and townhouses. Oh, those lovely painted doors – red wins every time.The origins of Dublin hark back to Viking occupation but on the surface little evidence remains of those times. ( Except for many a redhead!)
‘Georgian Dublin’ came about during the reign of four different kings of Britain and Ireland: all four being ‘George’s and between 1714 to 1830. The medieval city received a royal makeover which saw early developments such as Henrietta Street, elegant terraces, charming squares and the bold buildings Leinster House, the Hugh Lane Gallery and King’s Inns.
The architectural golden age has left a fine legacy and today, Merrion Square, St Stephen’s Green and Fitzwilliam Square are some of the city’s most beautiful examples of the Georgian period.
If you haven’t visited before, The Little Museum of Dublin is a beauty. The devil is in the detail in this small museum with a big heart. Housed in one of the grand Georgian terrace homes, the Little Museum of Dublin brings to life its exhibits by revealing incredible and homely tales behind the objects.
The award-winning museum is all about the Irish capital of the 20th century. The museum was launched in 2011 with a public appeal for historic objects. And the response to the appeal illustrates the generous nature of the Irish people.
This is a real charmer: free entry to Dublin Bus Hop On-Hop Off tickets holders. www.littlemuseum.ie
Another quiet achiever is the National Library of Dublin that houses more than eight million items in its collection. The most comprehensive compilation of music, periodicals and photographs, maps, manuscripts and genealogical material is here for the viewing. There are little rooms throughout the library and you’ll find some small, important exhibitions held regularly. (This writer was lucky enough to encounter a wonderful exhibition, Yeats: The Life and Works of William Butler Yeats. And for free!)
Free admission. www.nli.ie
Try to fit a visit in to Marsh’s Library, unchanged for three centuries. This place is a perfectly preserved library of the early Enlightenment with its original oak bookcases that house more than 25,000 rare and fascinating books.
Fee for entrance. www.marshlibrary.ie
Still in book mode have walk through the famous Long Room of Trinity College – a splendour to behold. Give yourself an hour here! And discover the exquisite Book of Kells and the Old Library at the college.
Not much time left before dinner and bed so best catch a glimpse of Dublinia with three exhibitions all located at the historic crossroads of Dublin. Viking Dublin and Medieval Dublin re-create the city through life-size reconstructions including a Viking house and a Medieval fair.
Fee for entrance. www.dublinea.ie
It’s been a big day to see a few things amid hundreds of attractions, so time for dinner.On Nassau Street, opposite the lovely green spaces of the Trinity College parklands is the Pig’s Ear. Take a stairway to heaven off the street to a bustling little restaurant that has amazing food with a menu that punches far above its weight and wins the prize. The food is sensational – go for the slow-cooked lamb!
And home in the light of the last of summer. Is that my bed I hear calling? And calling in Gaelic?
Getting there: Emirates Airline flies to Dublin via Dubai.
Stay at: Buswell’s Hotel, old school politeness and hospitality. In the heart of Dublin and close to everything you want to see. Five Georgian townhouses comprise this boutique hotel which has operated since 1882. Highly recommended for its character and ambience and charming service.
And visit: www.ireland.com