Bring together two friends who, due to a relocation, haven’t seen each other lately – but each and every time they do, it’s party! – put them in a welcoming city with a rare sunshine which makes it even more beautiful and you will have the perfect weekend.
I’ve finally decided to visit Emy, a precious friend with whom I shared almost everything for a year, house included. Now she lives in Dublin, a city that was on my “compulsory places to visit” list since too long.
I couldn’t have made a better choice.
When I got off the bus that from the airport left me in the city center I didn’t even have the time to put down my bag: as usual Emy had read my mind and she asked me if I wanted to go to the sea to enjoy the sun.
I left the bag at Bookmart– yes, a bookshop that is also a leave luggage… absolutely genius!:D – and after half an hour train we arrived at Howth, a lovely coloured fishermen small town.
I closed my eyes and enjoyed the sun warmth and my beloved smell of the sea.
I started to catch sight of the well known Irish landscape and I even saw a seal playing hide-and- seek with the waves (so cute!!<3)
After a very long walk spiced up with a lot of chats it was time to put something in our stomachs and we went to Octopussy, a yummy tapas bar that serves fresh fish from the next door shop, the Dorans on the Pier.
We went back to the city and strolled around the coloured and crowded centre streets, a tricolour flags and pub triumph.
I’m amazed by the national pride that you breathe in every corner of the city, along with bilingual indications.
By tradition, Emy brings me to Dublin’s oldest pub, the Brazen Head, which serves its customers since 1198.
When I’m abroad I want to respect the local customs so, against my usual taste, I decide to order a Guinness. Guess what? I’ve always thought that I wouldn’t like it but I have to admit that it’s not bad at all!
Guinness all the way, then! 😀
We then explored Stoneybatter, a working class origins neighbourhood with a strong community vibe and that is in continue evolution. Here you can find many hotspots, among which L Mulligan Grocer, a must gastropub if you are in Dublin.
The beer and whiskey list – included between book pages! – is endless and every dish has its recommended drink, definitely an expert matter!
Emy and I decided to go for two of the most popular specialities, the chicken Kiev with pistachio sauce and the traditional Scoth Egg: so good!
As the weather was so nice and sunny we walked to the Castle and to St Patrick’s Cathedral, the biggest Irish church built between 1191 and 1270.
We decided – I wasn’t really feeling like it – not to visit Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison where many Irish revolutionaries were imprisoned.
It was shut in 1924 and it’s now a museum.
The U2 music video “A Celebration” was filmed in Kilmainham Gaol which was also the set of many movies as “Nel nome del Padre” directed by Jim Sheridan.
After lunch unfortunately Emy had to meet her previous landlord and I went with her reluctantly.
In the end it turned out it was a good choice as I got the possibility to discover Ranelagh, a residential area with plenty of lovely restaurants and shops where I tested the true Irish relaxed everyday life.
Finally free from any redtape matters, we jumped on a bus directed to Phoenix Park, one of the biggest parks in the world which hosts the Irish President residence, the American Embassy and the Zoo, established in 1831.
After an endless walk of about 2 hours – oh yes, we got lost but it’s ok 😀 – we had definitely been paid back by a stunning sunset and by meeting a deer pride browsing the grass very close to us – and they were not scared at all by our presence!
My third and last day in Dublin gifted me with an annoying rain… perfect weather to spend a couple of hours at Guinness Storehouse!
It has 7 storages packed with history, tradition and where you can learn how they produce the world famous dark beer.
At the Gravity Bar you can even sip a complimentary pint while admiring the city from its glass walls.
I’m back in London very satisfied: I spent quality time with Emy and I really enjoyed visiting a city that will definitely see me again very soon as it’s just one hour flight!