Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Ten Things I Love About Dublin - Part One

Talli Roland has posted a list of things she loves about London.

I'm very tempted to list ten things I love about London, but I'd go way over ten and be here all night. So I'm going to tackle Dublin, not least because a few fantastic bloggers have mentioned that they may be visiting and I may as well put some information out there for people to find!

And with the news full of talk of bail-outs, bankruptcies, corruption, mismanagement all that other stuff the Irish are so good at, I feel a small patroitic need to note some of the stuff we got right, even if we can't count.

1. The coast.
Dublin has quite a lot of coastline for a capital city because it's built around a bay. We don't have many good beaches, but Sandymount Strand has a certain bleak urban loveliness about it. The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) rail service runs along the coast and takes you past Killiney Bay, which is gorgeous.

2. The cinnamon bun's in Simon's Coffee Shop.
Look, the list was inspired by Talli Roland. Sweet stuff had to figure prominently. It's only right.
Simon's Coffee Shop is a strange, offbeat studenty cafe in the George's Shopping Arcade. They sell the world's most wonderful, messy, sugary cinnamon buns which can be had, along with a cup of tea, for under four quid (good by Dublin standards).

3. City shopping centres
OK, so the ILAC and the Jervis won't take anyone's breath away, but the aforementioned George's Arcade, which looks like a Victorian railway station but was actually purpose-built, and the Powerscourt town centre across the road, are genuinely lovely buildings. The latter also has good cupcakes, courtesy of the Sugar Loaf Bakery.

4. Parks
The Phoenix Park, which features heavily in my Nanowrimo novel this year, is one of the largest city parks in Europe and even has a herd of wild deer. St. Stephen's Green, the largest of the Georgian parks, is more accessible and generally cuddlier. And the Iveagh Gardens, tucked away behind Harcourt Street and the National Concert Hall, is alsways the top of those 'Dublin's Hidden Gems' lists that newspapers publish on slow news days. But deservedly so!

5. The Chester Beatty Library
Ths museum is small but perfectly formed. Their collection is based on the private collection of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, antiquarian and hoarder extrordinaire. They run excellent temporary exhibitions alongside permanent galleries of Buddhist, Islamic and Christian texts. The cafe is also fantastic, and their gift shop has saved my arse more than once.

Would anyone care to chip in with their favourite things in their own city? You never know when a travelling blogger may need inspiration!


  1. I think I've mentioned this on here before but my husband and I spent our first wedding anniversary in Dublin. I was 6 weeks pregnant, and sick as a dog! We managed one open top bus tour and then I was just too ill to do anything else.

    And Sean Penn was staying in our hotel!

  2. I think you may have done - the illness is definitely ringing a bell!

    May come in useful should you ever find yourself back :)

  3. The parks sound lovely and I think I'd like one of the cinnamon buns! :)

  4. Thanks for the great tour (part 1) of a place I've never been to. The links really made it come to life.
    Thanks Ellen!

  5. I'd love to visit Dublin someday. I'll look forward to your lists!

  6. Carolyn, I'd post you one but they're better frash - and they're pretty sticky so you'd have some trouble getting it out of the envelope :)

    Pat, glad you enjoyed it!

    Karen, if you ever do make it over, let me know!

  7. You make me want to hop over the ocean to meet you at Simons for one of those yummy cinnamon buns.


  8. Love this list, Ellen! I can't believe I've NEVER been to Dublin. I really must recitify that - especially with the cinnamon buns! My favourite!

  9. The cinnamon buns sound scrumptious!

    Deer in the heart of the city... that's got some potential for mayhem!

  10. The deer are very well-behaved thankfully! And I can't say enough nice things about the cinnamon buns.


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