The series “Holiday like a local in…” aim to show you a destination through the eyes of locals living in any European city. Discovering a place’s hidden spots, the things that are not included in any guide book, and the charming cafes with amazing views or the best known sights from a different angle are just a glimpse of what locals can show you.
Today we are going to discover the charming city of Dublin, Ireland. I’m not going to lie – this is the city I have a crush on since I posted one of my favourite blogs posts 25 Perfect Weekend Getaways in Europe. So right now we are going to learn more about Dublin from Rachel and her blog The Digital Gypsy who lived in the Irish capital for more than 8 years. Here’s what we can’t miss when we are in Dublin:
#1. Please, introduce yourself, your blog and the city you live in!
Hi! I’m Rachel. I’ve lived in Dublin for over 8 years and did both my degree and my Masters there. At the moment I’m travelling and Barcelona has been my home for the past six months. But Dublin is my “true” home. I blog at The Digital Gypsy, mostly about my travels, volunteering, and being a digital nomad (I write web copy for a living).
#2. What do you love the most about Dublin?
Dublin is a city with a lot of character – it has a rich literary history and enough cosy pubs to do one every day of the year, for several years running, I would say! Aside from this you’ll find some gorgeous Georgian architecture, lovely parks and some beautiful nature spots nearby too, such as the Wicklow mountains and Howth. Oh, and I almost forgot – some of the wittiest, most interesting people I’ve ever met!
#3. What are your favorite local meals?
Food in Ireland is very, very tasty! We get a lot of rain so the land is very fertile and the cattle get a lot of lush grass to feed on. For meat eaters I recommend getting a roast chicken, lamb or beef. For vegetarians, our baked potatoes are second to none. My Dad lives in Australia and 20 years later he still craves the potatoes from back home! Also one of our most popular dishes with tourists is beef and Guinness stew. It warms you up a treat. If you’re on the coast, freshly caught salmon can be found in most restaurants and is usually delicious.
#4. What’s the best place to have breakfast in Dublin?
For breakfast or a great afternoon tea, go to Queen of Tarts on Cow’s Lane, in Temple Bar. You can get everything there from healthy granola to a good fry up. And you can sit outside, if the weather permits. For afternoons, they do excellent crumbles, cakes and brownies. A great place for a chinwag over a cup of coffee!
#5. What’s the best place to have dinner in Dublin?
You’re really spoiled for choice in Dublin. If you like something a little bit trendy, but good value for money, go for Crackbird on Dame Street (chicken dishes) or Skinflint on Crane Lane (gorgeous pizza). If you’re near Camden Street go to Neon for some nice Asian food and a free scoop of ice cream afterwards.
#6. What are the top three attractions in Dublin?
Narrowing it down to three is tough, but I’ll have a go!
1) The Book of Kells at Trinity College is a must-see and a fine example of Celtic artistry. Trinity also has one of the most beautiful “Harry Potter” libraries you’ll ever see.
2) The Guinness Storehouse is essential if you want to learn all about how Guinness is made and see some of the best vintage Guinness advertisements.
3) Phoenix Park with it’s deer herds, zoo and tea rooms is also a great place to escape the crowds (you can rent a bike at the front entrance).
#7. Where can you get the best view of Dublin?
The best view of the city is, without a doubt, from the rooftop bar at the top of the Guinness Storehouse. You need to pay for a ticket to the Guinness Storehouse first (€18) but you get a free pint of Guinness once you’ve done the tour. There aren’t many skyscrapers in Dublin, so this is probably the nearest thing you’ll get to a bird’s eye view of the city. However, if you like hiking and you don’t mind a little train ride along the coast (25-40 mins), I recommend Killiney Hill or Bray Head for some stunning views of Dublin Bay and the surrounding mountains.
#8. Your favorite cultural attractions or activities?
In the city centre, I love George’s Street Arcade for shopping. It has a quirky, market feel. Cycling around Phoenix park is a big favourite of mine too. Further afield, a day trip to Howth (around 30 mins on the DART) is a must. It’s a fishing village where you can see seals in the harbour and, if you go hiking up to the summit, there are spectacular views of the bay.
#9. Are there any possibilities for exciting day trips from Dublin? Where to?
Yes, plenty! Get a bus to the Wicklow mountains. Go to Powerscourt where you’ll find a huge old country house, beautiful gardens and a waterfall.
Glendalough is also a must – the Obamas were taken there on a recent visit. It’s a huge lake with stunning natural beauty.
If you don’t mind taking a bus or train for a few hours, you can also head up north to the Giant’s Causeway, or west to Galway.
#10. What are the best traditional festivals throughout the year?
Needless to say, St Patrick’s Day on the 17th March is a huge event in Dublin every year. Expect street performers, fireworks and pubs overflowing with people. Paint a shamrock on your cheek and you’ll fit right in! It gets very busy, but the atmosphere is brilliant.
In June we have Bloomsday which commemorates the writer James Joyce and his novel Ulysses – one of the great literary legends of Irish writing.
September and October are great ties to visit as there’s the Dublin Fringe Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival and we usually have our own little Oktoberfest down at the docks too.
In terms of non-traditional festivals, we have a brilliant music festival every year called Electric Picnic. It’s about an hour outside of Dublin and is a three day camping affair that usually hosts big name artists. Bring your wellies and waterproofs!
Have you been to Dublin? What is your favourite place there?
If you want to participate in “Holiday like a local in…” series on Travelling Buzz, send an email to: [email protected] with the city you live in. Currently wanted: Athens, Barcelona, Istanbul, Paris, Valencia, but always ready to include other European cities. Moscow coming next! Stay tuned on Facebook!