There are a few countries and cities in Europe that I have not visited yet for whatever reason. I had never been to Ireland and Dublin was on top of the city trip list so I was thrilled when I learned I’d be going there for a work trip. I really have no excuse for not having visited Ireland earlier; it’s less than a two-hour flight away from Amsterdam, with multiple flights a day to pick and choose from. Better late than never I suppose.
I was staying at the Westin hotel, which was very centrally located on the doorstep of the lively Temple Bar area, next to Trinity College and very close to the South Banks of the River Liffey. From here, I could easily walk anywhere.
Temple Bar area is very arty, colorful and lively, with loads of pubs and restaurants. Though some spots are clearly aimed at tourists, I promise you will not get bored here.
Apart from ample places to have a drink, art lovers will get their fix here too. There’s a lot of street art, but you’ll also find galleries and exposition spaces.
From Temple Bar, it’s a short walk to the banks of River Liffey with its colourful houses along the river banks.
I did find that on the North river bank, a lot of buildings appeared to be on the decline. It was in this area where I noticed quite a few homeless people sleeping on the benches or begging. I had a cheerful chat with a very friendly but rather intoxicated man who was very pleased I actually said hello to him instead of ignoring him. I guess every big city has its challenges and rougher area’s though, Dublin is no different from Amsterdam, New York or London in that respect.
After lunch at Elephant & Castle in the middle of Temple Bar and famous for their chicken wings (which I didn’t eat as I’m a vegetarian 😉 ), I went on to Trinity College. There were lovely dramatic clouds in the sky, and I figured this would be a nice backdrop for photographs of the old buildings on the campus grounds. And I was right.
Apart from lovely buildings, you’ll also find arty structures throughout the campus, making for interesting photography objects.
If I may give you two recommendations for sleeping and eating, I’d suggest staying at the Westin, for its great location (plus I had a few Starwood loyalty points so I could book an extra night). The hotel is located in a building that used to be a bank (if that doesn’t make you feel safe when you’re traveling alone, I don’t know what will… 😉 ) and is very atmospheric. It has got a great bar (the Mint bar) with tasty signature cocktails. If you need a place to work that isn’t your hotel room and where you can have something to eat as well, the lovely Atrium will do perfectly. My favorite table was the one in front of the fireplace, for very instagramable pics. 😉
The rooms in the hotel are quite spacious too, and the showers are very tall people proof. The hotel staff is very friendly, helpful and efficient.
Within 500 meters from the hotel, on the other side of Trinity College, you’ll find a lovely restaurant called the Pigs Ear. It came recommended by a local and those places are always the best! The food was amazing, I had the best Jerusalem Artichoke I ever tasted, and the prices are very reasonable too. The restaurant has been holding a Michelin Bib Gourmand for a consistent 7 years since 2009, and I can see why. Don’t miss out when you’re in Dublin.
I’m very lucky to be going back to Dublin in June, I can’t wait to see more of Dublin and Ireland. If you’re contemplating a city trip in Europe, add Dublin to the list! It’s worth it, and you’ll be greeted by its very warm and welcoming residents.