Discovering the Republic of Ireland’s Glorious Capital

The Republic of Ireland is definitely a jewel. A bustling city similar to my hometown Toronto, I didn’t feel as if I were outside my comfort zone when I arrived and collected my baggage.

The feel of Dublin is very eclectic, combined with culture and a sense of freedom. The Irish people are so welcoming and offer you their city openly, whilst indirectly expressing their joy of independence. The Irish flag flies proudly as the sound of jigs fills the storefronts.

There is something for everyone in Dublin. The history buff in your group would enjoy visiting the Trinity College campus. In this historic institution, you will find the famously influential and incredible Book of Kells- the ancient manuscript, containing verses from the four Gospels of the New Testament, together with various texts and tables. Historians believe that the Book originated in an Irish monastery c. 800. Trinity College has the Book of Kells on display year-round to tourists and visitors for a nominal entry fee of €14 online for adults and €11 if you pay at the door. Check online before your visit for unscheduled closures. Whilst I was on my visit over the Christmas holidays, the exhibit was closed for the two-week break, and I was lucky enough to venture into the College in the morning before my flight home on the 4th of January!

book of kells

Unfortunately, they do not allow any photographs of the priceless manuscript, so if you wish a memento from your visit, you will be relegated to purchasing souvenirs from the College’s official shop. That being said, the shop is refreshing with more to offer than the cheesy replica college buildings and bookmarks. Take away with you a collectible book retelling the historian’s research on the books, combined with the significance of the College. Or, if you wish something less traditional, you can purchase some beautiful jewellery including Celtic crosses, charms and pocket watches to remember your visit.

 After you have reveled in the legendary and beautiful Book of Kells, take a stroll a few blocks down the way to get a photo with the infamous Molly Malone statue, located on Suffolk Street just outside the Tourist Information Office. After taking the Molly Malone selfie, leave the statue humming the unofficial Dublin song name after this legendary fishmonger.

Temple bar
If you are staying for a couple of days, and have a moderate budget, you may want to try staying a night or two at the Clarence Hotel. Owned by U2 members Bono and Edge, the nostalgia and idea of staying in a hotel owned by these musical icons, may just be the highlight to your Irish vacation. Book ahead as the hotel tends to book early due to its celebrity ownership. Prices per night start at €230 for a standard double room. The penthouse is rarely available, but if luxurious accommodation is your travelling style, inquire ahead of your journey so you are not disappointed.
clarence hotel
To cap off your experience in Dublin, why not take in a traditional Irish dancing show? The Arlington Hotel just a few doors down from the Clarence Hotel, offers a delightful dinner and dancing evening 7 days a week. tickets are approx. €69 and for this price, you get priority seating, a 3-course meal, and non-alcoholic beverages. If you decide to splurge with some wine or beer, the €5-10 price tag will not break the bank. At the end of the performance, which includes Riverdance-style tapping, the legendary broom dance, singing, fiddles, flutes, and audience participation, you can purchase the usual CD, showcasing the performer’s talents, whilst supporting their careers.
arlington hotel dancing

There is so much to this beautiful city, including where James Joyce wrote the famous Ulysses – deemed the most difficult book ever written. Few students, scholars, and adults alike have been able to tackle the story from cover to cover, and those who have, definitely should celebrate their accomplishment proudly.

 There are also hop-on, hop-off tours operating daily for everyone wanting to hear more about the city and learn about these landmarks above an more. Enjoy your trip and the ink in your passport! This is where my love and curiosity for travel began, and I hope yours will flourish too.