Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, James Joyce, Bernard Shaw, and Jonathan Swift are just a few of the great writers who were inspired by the unique atmosphere of this young, cosmopolitan Irish capital. Dublin comes across as a relaxed yet dynamic place with a provincial feel to it. The city itself is split in two by the River Liffey, with a number of bridges connecting the two sides - the most famous of which is undoubtedly Halfpenny Bridge.
Dublin has a fascinatingly unique heritage, though little trace remains of the Vikings who settled there over 1,000 years ago. You will find the odd relic of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries though, as you wander the neat little streets of the city, elegantly and nobly lined with Georgian, and even occasionally, Victorian or Edwardian houses. The brightly coloured doors with their fans above, made with varying degrees of intricacy, make a pleasant contrast with the red brick and dark stone of the houses.
The city centre is also known for its two cathedrals, St. Patrick and Christ Church, both individually beautiful and relatively close to each other, whilst the huge and well-known Trinity College, situated right at the heart of the city, is home to the famous library and the true literary gem that is the superb Book of Kells.
On the outskirts of the city, you will find the stylish and modern Guinness Storehouse which is totally devoted to the famous Irish stout.
As is the case throughout the country, getting together to eat and drink perhaps to the sound of some traditional music is part of the Irish culture. So, if you are looking to enjoy a truly Irish experience, take a stroll around the cobbled streets of the famous Temple Bar district and stop off at one of the many pubs, each with its own history (some are even several centuries old!), and order a classic pint of Guinness, and just enjoy the warm and welcoming atmosphere.
Dublin is a lively city if ever there was one, by day or by night as the hustle and bustle of Dublin never stops!
When you first arrive, a quick visit to Dublin's very dynamic tourist office is a good place to start, located right at the heart of the city in a former Church on Suffolk Street, or try the Temple Bar Cultural Information Centre on East Essex Street too.
From there, you can take the 'Hop on, Hop off' city tour bus for a quick overview of the city, its history, and its many points of interest in just an hour and a half, after which you can stop off at those you'd like to spend more time at.
If you get the chance, try and catch a match at Croke Park, specifically to experience the atmosphere, or even sit in a pub and watch a Gaelic football, hurling or rugby match with the locals if you want to truly get to grips with Irish culture and feel their famous Irish fighting spirit.
When the weather's grey and gloomy in Dublin, the friendly welcome that you get in pubs will make you feel at home. Go along and watch an Irish music and dance show for a real insight into traditional Irish culture and spirit (you can find shows at the Merry Plough Boy, Rockbrook or even Rathfarnham, which requires a taxi ride out of Dublin to get there).
The city has a cultural programme which would put many capitals to shame, with a plethora of international artists who are desperate to perform in front of Irish audiences, due to being great fans of concerts.
It is also worth taking a little time to travel outside of Dublin to enjoy its wonderful surroundings, from the nearby coast to the lush green hills of Wicklow, the gardens of Avondale House and Malahide Castle, and the nearby valley of Glendalough, to name but a few.
If trying to pick the best time to go to Dublin, the obvious answer would be for the exciting festivities of Saint Patrick's Day, the country's national holiday. However, if your stay doesn't happen to coincide with this weekend, don't panic - the Irish capital is always alive with all types of music and entertainment, at any time of the day or night!
This is particularly true at the weekend and in the unmissable Temple Bar district, where street singers perform to passing audiences who stop for a while to enjoy the eclectic sounds. There is also a large wall in this area of the city where various Irish celebrities, including U2, are proudly depicted, standing shoulder to shoulder in front of the Guinness pumps, talking, laughing and singing, as is the case of Molly Mallone, a bronze statue which has been erected at the heart of the city.
The mix good spirits, the pace of life, and not to mention the blatant warmth and friendliness of the people is what wins visitors over in this young, cosmopolitan city.
Those who are interested in history and heritage will be pleased to know that the city is home to many fascinating attractions, including Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, the Guinness Storehouse, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Trinity College, and the superb National Museum of Ireland (which is divided into three separate parts).
Entry to the National Museum is free of charge, as is the Chester Beatty Library, the National Botanic Gardens, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the Garden of Remembrance and the National Photographic Archive.
Some might be interested in visiting the charming Number Twenty Nine museum, which takes visitors back in time to experience the atmosphere of an authentic Georgian house, whilst others might enjoy a trip to the Old Jameson Distillery, which is now a tourist temple where visitors can see how Jameson's whiskey is made.
Dublin City Hall presents a very detailed and educational history of the city, from its birth right up to the present day, and the Dublin Writers Museum, the James Joyce Centre, the James Joyce Museum and the Shaw Birthplace, among others, pay fond tribute to the capital's famous writers.
Take a walk across the city, enjoy a stroll through its beautifully romantic parks and don't miss the small markets in the narrow side streets around Temple Bar.
Don't forget that the currency used in Ireland is the Euro.
The 'Dublin Pass' gives you free entry to over 30 attractions and access to many special offers. It also means you can save time by jumping the queues. Passes can be bought for 1, 2, 3 or 6 days, the latter giving you the best deal (for information visit www.dublinpass.ie).
As far as transport is concerned, you'll have no trouble finding a taxi at any hour of the day or night. The Dublin buses run from 6:00am to 11:00pm during the week, and they also provide a special late night service from 12:30am to 4:30am on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from the city centre out to the surrounding areas.
Other transport alternatives include the city's tramway network, as well as its clean and easily navigated DART suburb train network, providing a quick way out of the city centre if you fancy a stroll by the sea or in the lush green surrounding countryside.
Don't forget that you'll be expected to tip in Ireland (between 10 and 15%).
The smoking ban was introduced there in 2004 so it is no longer permitted to smoke in the famous pubs, bars, restaurants or discos, unless there is an interior courtyard.
Dublin enjoys a temperate climate, with the sun breaking through when you least expect it but the rain coming in equally quickly. The weather in Ireland is rapidly changing, so don't forget to pack your umbrella!
If its your first time in Ireland, or even if its not, it is a good idea to take a city tour that revolves around food. The Story of Irish Food Tour is a great experience for an insight into traditional Irish food in the capital.
The local specialty is Irish stew, a dish similar to casserole, whilst the old English favourite of fish and chips is also popular.
A traditional Irish breakfast consists of sausage, bacon, slices of black pudding, baked beans, fried eggs, fried tomatoes and toast, but if that doesn't appeal to you, don't fret - Dublin is simply bursting with restaurants serving various cuisines from around the world.
One thing you really should try though is the quintessential afternoon tea, which is best served in one of the city's finest and sophisticated hotels!
When it comes to souvenirs of Dublin, anything bearing the Guinness logo, and various gadgets bearing primarily shamrocks, Celtic crosses, harps and sheep can be found in the many souvenir shops and museum gift shops, where you will also find books on the Irish culture or a good bottle of whiskey!
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