Friday, December 19, 2014

Bits of Dublin

Hi guys! Back in June I spent a few days in Dublin because one of my aunts lives there. Dublin is a very small city. I mean in about ten minutes you've done the whole downtown. But it reminded me a bit of Berlin, with its parks, its bridges, and its people that just don't give a damn. Unfortunately it was also tourist season so it sort of ruined it for me.

To be honest I didn't snap too many pictures for two reasons. First off, it was raining often. Second, we spent most of our time on those double deck buses for tourists. When you take pictures while on a moving bus things don't look too interesting. So I'm going to share a few pictures I have taken then and there.

One of the things you absolutely have to visit is the Trinity College campus.

You can't miss it : I think everything leads to the College. It's open to the public and there are tours to visit the campus. I was actually approached by a bunch of leprechauns to go watch a play on Irish mythology. Cute right?

The campus is filled with green : trees, parks, sports fields. Most of the buildings are turned to the inside and feature a mix of classical architecture and art deco. I wanted to go the old library to see the Book of Kells but the line up was so long ... and my aunt and cousin are not into books the way I am.

The campus is pretty big. I didn't get to see the whole thing but I think it's worth a shot. Honestly I wish my campus was this cool. Even McGill looks like it's got nothing compared to Trinity College haha.

One of the things I have liked a lot about downtown Dublin was this pedestrian street, named Grafton Street. My aunt told me her ex-husband would see U2 performing there before they were famous. Yes, freaking U2.

Just like any important pedestrian street in Europe, Grafton Street is the home of high end boutiques in Dublin. It connects two important places : Trinity College and St Stephen's Green, a park very similar to the Lafontaine park in Montreal.

Just look at this very cute (okay, actually hot) guy showing children how to make bubbles. My heart was melting.

We stopped in a shopping center for a small pipi break and I was mesmerized by the naked metal structures inside. I don't know what the name of the shopping center is but it's the one located at the intersection of King Street, Grafton Street and St Stephen's Green.

On our way to what I call the Camden area to have some chicken for lunch I spotted this sign in front of a small cafe in a random small street. I thought it was funny because Irish people actually speak with that accent.

If you like parks you should drop by St Stephen's Green.

It's very similar to our big parks : Lafontaine, Jarry, Mont Royal. It has two small lakes, paths smooth enough to bike and do rollers, and some hidden spots if you plan on being naughty. Just kidding.

This huge beautiful church is the Christ Church Cathedral. Even to this day religion still has a very important place in Ireland. Perhaps not in people's everyday lives but it does have its say on the government's decision.

Despite the fact that the church was beautiful outside I did not visit it. I got a bit mad when I saw I had to pay to take a look inside (especially visit the crypt). I understand it's considered as a touristic attraction and that they can make money out of it, but part of me would rather make a 10€ donation than be forced to pay a 6€ entrance fees. But that's just me.

Among all the things I have seen (I can't name them all and I don't have pictures) I also visited the Guinness Storehouse. With my student ID it was 18€ and the whole exhibition was really interesting and fun. And in the end you get to sip on a pint of Guinness while getting to look over Dublin.

And look at this. LOOK AT THIS. Piece of beautiful art. I was in awe. Yes, it's a pint of Guinness.

After trying Guinness in Dublin I told myself I would never have Guinness again elsewhere. It's so much fresher and they don't pour it the same way. I wasn't a fan of Guinness before because for some reason it didn't suit my taste buds. But that time I actually truly enjoyed my Guinness. Like I wouldn't mind drinking that everyday if I lived in Dublin.

If you are interested in history and especially prisons, I suggest you drop by the Kilmainham Gaol Museum. I got lucky that day because it was national museum day so I didn't pay for my entrance. In groups of about 15 people you get to do the tour of that prison that played a pretty big part in the history of Ireland.

The landmark of Dublin, known as the Spire, is located right on O'Connell Street. Apparently many old trees had to be taken down in order to redesign this street. People protested but now everyone seems to like it the way it is.

I remember being a bit disturbed and disoriented when I would cross streets. For starters there is the fact that steering wheels are on the right and people drive on the left. I was ten times more careful than usual before crossing a street. And there was the fact that I didn't walk as much as I wish I could have because I was with my aunt so I didn't get used to crossing the streets in Dublin. Yeah she thinks I'm still 16 years old.

Oh and the Spire has a little nickname : the Needle. Because junkies hang out around that area.

There are other things to see in Dublin and honestly if I had had more time I would have gone to more museums. Don't forget to pass by Temple Bar, ask people about the story of the Ha'penny Bridge, and spend an afternoon at Phoenix Park. Bring food and sports gear, and drop by the zoo.

And so that's it for today! I wish I could show you more but I can't. One thing they say in Ireland : have an umbrella ready even if you're wearing sunglasses. I don't know if that's an actual saying but it turned out to be true.

Until next time!

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