Someone actually said 'Thanks a million' to me in a local shop.
Dublin was everything I hoped it would be. A spontaneous cheap booking which turned out to be the best one. Top trumping both Ibiza and Tenerife. Setting off at 8Am the half hour flight made a bumpy landing, further heightening my companions scared level and my excitement. The air was crisp, sky blue and already the accent was becoming more predominant. Me and my best friend Amy had rented out an Air B&B in the little village of Saggart, south of Dublin. The hosts Yue and Michael were delightful and they kindly picked us up and dropped us of at the Airport. Neither of us had really done a great deal of research on what to do or where to go, so to arrive to the flat with plenty of visitor information was great. Staying in the little village was a delightful experience, being a tourist but living as a local, having the hustle of the city but the quite picturesque hills outside the window every morning. Living in London but being from the North you experience the changing of the air types, the feeling of your sinuses oping up and filling your lungs compared to the dusty, thick miasma plagued with pollution. Dublin's atmosphere reminisced the North's, creating a feeling of familiarity, I felt like I had never got on a plane, still at home....but somwhere new.
The first day we just wanted to get our grips with the city and explore. We hoped onto the Lucas red line and headed for somewhere to have lunch. The weather was gorgeous, casting different lights on buildings and bouncing of the river Liffey. With out the need of a coat or jacket we both felt like we were much further than a half hour flight. Skipping round in my dungarees we found a vegetarian place 'Cornucopia' on Wicklow street, a quaint little cafeteria like place with a almost William Morris like wallpaper with wooden bench booths. The workers being incredibly lovely and welcoming, with that all important accent. The saying that Irish are upbeat and have great hospitality is completely true. From cleaning our plates of our special wraps and soup we headed back out for a wander. Similar to London each building is different form the next, creating a bricolage of time and cultures. The streets were filled with life and excitement, but there was never a feeling of overpopulation and cramping. I was told by a friend who had visited a few times that the streets were filled with music, wonderful music, this was true. Down Temple bar a favorite for tourists, live music was blasting from each building, acoustic guitar, violins and folk songs jumbled into a juke box of sounds. As well as having people playing inside the bars there were the typical buskers trying to grab a few pennies, being just as full of life and toe tappingly good it was hard not to stop and watch.
From wondering round Temple bar, down to Georges arcade, up Grafton street to Stephen's green we couldn't stop noticing how cheerful people seemed to be, from the people who worked behind the Gelato counter, to the holder of the vintage stall in the arcade or the guy who worked in the Vinyl shop; who we asked for advice on where to go at night, people were polite, helpful, smiley and all round how you wish to be treated and how you should treat others. Like previously stated, living in London, you not only gain a hatred on central for its tourist ridden nature and rude people, but you yourself turn into the cliche image of Londoners, riding the tube with a frown, or getting angry at people who suddenly stop or cant use a oyster. Being surrounded by happy people lifted my mood even more and made me less self conscious about myself.
From all this positivity, there were however a few noticeable things which brought home the reality of living here. From O'Connell street right down to Trinity tram construction works were in effect, there were buildings being demolished and re-built, and the protest down O'Connell street expressing the shocking statistics of the homeless situation (20 people per day committing suicide) due to the extortionate price of living, really hit home. (Dublin is expensive, it was on the same par as London) It was sad to see these events and changes, but I guess a city like Dublin has to feel the effects of gentrification or it can never become a even more flourished modern city, it is saddening that people who were born here wont be able to feel the positive changes of this great city, due to being pushed to the suburbs, a all to reminiscent equation currently happening all over London and Manchester.
From getting back to our room and having dinner we headed back out for a night out. From not really knowing where to go, other than the few places the guy in the Record shop recommended we headed back down to Temple bar. We found a traditional Irish pub called 'The Old Storehouse' upstairs and downstairs had local acts preforming traditional music With my beer and Amy's cider we had a dance and sing song. The music and atmosphere was infectious, people were there to have a great night and open to chatting to anyone. The evening got later and later but everyone was still joyous and cheery. Grabbing some chips and a taxi back at 5am we were shattered. No arguments or flight broke out, it was a simple drunken fun evening, minus the few people who had not got the luxury of a okay life we were not heckled or cat-called in anyway.
The next day being just as sunny we decided to visit the Botanic Gardens, hopping on the bus we got to see more of local Dublin and also more gentrification. The gardens were astonishing, the sights, smells, walk ways and each photograph being instagram worthy, it was beautiful. Just wondering round and chatting, the hours sped quickly. I can also highly recommend the cafe there, it was the cheapest yet greatest place we had lunch. My veggi panini with a danish and Amy's Lasagna with chips and rocky road went down a treat! in the evening we went down for a few beers at the Old Storehouse and headed back at a more respectable time, for our first much needed deep sleep.
Our last full day brought an even brighter and hotter day than the two previous, a picnic in the park was calling. Grabbing our usual breakfast of a croissant and coffee we were back on the bus on route to Phoenix park. Finding a nice little spot by a pond we had a look on our phones to see where we was in comparison to the rest of the park, we were in a tini corner on the brim of it! it must have been the equivalent of two Hyde parks. Soaking up the sun we drank our water and ate the last few jaffacakes, on a last walk round and ice creams in hand we headed back central. Walking on the south bank of the River Liffey were were back at Temple bar. A last in depth explore round the Castle and Stephen's green park, buying a souvenir bottle opener for our unopened pre-drinks which we drink basking in the sun next to Blooms hotel, we speeded to our last dinner and drink in The Old Storehouse.
The sun shone through our last morning, with a filling lunch at Hippety's next to blooms hotel, a last wonder up the Liffey was calling with a brisk nosy round the Museum of Ireland. It was incredibly sad to leave such a wonderful place. We both had gained a attachment to it, whether that was because we were lucky to get the only sun in the year or because it is genuinely a incredible place...who knows. I know for sure I will be back again...and again....and again. Not only is there a love for the place, but the culture, music, people and their enjoyment for life, love and hospitality.
Here are some photographs (using my canon and candid Iphone shots)