The amber leaves crunch underneath my feet as I make my way under the canopy of my umbrella, shielded from the light drizzle that seems to constantly nourish the nature it touches. The grass is greener for it. The trees and plants bloom with vitality because of it. But then, out of nowhere, the rain relents and a ray of dazzling sunshine breaks through the clustered clouds, and all I see is colour. The saturated blue of the sky revealing it’s glory against the dark greys and smoky whites of the billowing clouds; the evergreens, lively yellows and burnt orange of the Autumn scene that bursts with life as it tilts its head to revel in the light of the shining sun. It’s drama. It’s colour. It’s life. And all this within a moment, on an Autumn day in Dublin.
People say it rains a lot in Dublin, so I expected the usual cold, grey days. And yes, it does rain, but it’s nothing like I imagined. There’s often a light drizzle that stops and starts, but the sun keeps bursting through just as often. And there is such vivid colour in the grass, the sky and the clouds, that it’s hard not to become enchanted with the natural beauty. We were walking along the long pier in Dunleary, watching the sailboats go by, with the most beautiful scene constantly evolving before our eyes. Bright rays of sunshine danced on the surface of the beautiful turquoise of the ocean, making it a striking contrast against the dark greys and blues of the gathering clouds above. One minute we were relishing the warm sun on our faces, and the next, the heavens opened and it started to pour with rain. We all ran for cover. It didn’t take very long for the rain to stop, and what was left was a colourful rainbow, with its end neatly nestled on top of the lighthouse in the distance. The perfect place to hide that pot of gold 🙂 You see: drama and colour at every turn!
Judging by those we met while we were in Dublin, the Irish are a happy people. We were always met with warm smiles and friendly banter; and if you’ll listen long enough, most of them have a funny story or two to tell you too. If you need to know anything about Dublin, just ask a taxi driver. There was never a dull moment while we were in a cab, and we quickly learned where to find the best restaurants and bars in town. On one of the evenings, we asked the taxi driver to take us to Temple Bar, and he replied saying,
“you’re fecking mad to go to Temple Bar. You’re fecking mad. 7 quid for a pint? Naah, youre fecking mad!”
He went on to tell us about a really cool bar where most of the locals go. There’s live music, a real festive vibe, and it doesn’t cost 7 quid for a pint! O’Donoghues was its name, on Merrion Row. It’s definitely worth a visit for an authentic Irish experience.
Of course, we did find our way to Temple Bar in the end. Let’s be honest, a trip to Dublin wouldn’t have been the same without sipping on the best Guinness you’ll ever have at The Temple Bar itself. The whole Temple Bar area, in fact, is known as Dublin’s Cultural Quarter, and is teeming with bars, restaurants and hipster boutiques. You’ll find buskers performing on street corners and plenty to keep you entertained. Touristy in parts, yes, but this really is a vibrant part of the city. If you want a little insider tip on where to go for dinner, try Il Baccaro in Meeting House Square. It’s around the corner from Temple Bar, tucked away in a quiet little square. If you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it. But don’t be fooled, this authentic italian restaurant may be small, but it has big soul and big flavour. The restaurant has a romantic setting, situated in a cosy old 18th-century vaulted brick and stone wine cellar. The atmosphere is enchanting, the service is wonderful, and the food is truly authentic, and nothing less than simply delicious.
Here are some of the other quarters to check out:
- The Medieval Quarter – the oldest part of the city, where you’ll find Dublin Castle, St Patrick’s Cathedral and more.
- The Antique Quarter – right next to the Medieval Quarter, here you’ll find antiques, art and collectibles stores.
- The Georgian Quarter – Running from St Stephen’s Green and Trinity College to the canal, here you’ll find some of the finest Georgian buildings in the world.
- The Tech Quarter – situated in the Grand Canal Dock area of the city, it is also known as “Silicon Docks”. Here you’ll find offices teeming with international and local tech companies. It also boasts beautiful buildings and plenty places to eat and socialise.
- The Dame District – this runs behind Dame street, and is full of shoppers by day and clubbers and bar-goers by night.
If you’re planning a trip to Dublin, I would also highly recommend a visit to Malahide – a beautiful seaside village with medieval charm, boasting the beautiful Malahide Castle. We jumped on the DART at Sandymount Station in Dublin, and in about 30 minutes or so, we were there. Take a guided tour through the castle, then enjoy a leisurely stroll around the magnificent grounds. Once you’re done, stop in at the Garden House Cafe for a scrumptious lunch. There are so many delicious and wholesome dishes to choose from, you won’t be disappointed.
While in Dublin, we stayed at Aberdeen Lodge – a beautiful and luxurious boutique hotel on the exclusive Park Lane in Ballsbridge. You’ll find the hotel, standing proud on its peaceful tree-lined street, just out of the hustle and bustle of the busy city, but still very close to the DART, so you can get to wherever you need to go very easily. On arrival, the door swung open before we could even knock, and we were greeted with a heartfelt “welcome” and “can I get you a cup of tea?”. It instantly felt like a home away from home – cosy, comfy and friendly. The furnishings were elegant and luxurious, and the service was outstanding. The team at Aberdeen Lodge seem to run the place like a well-oiled machine, with real care and passion. And if you need anything, you need simply ask. I can’t recommend it enough. We will definitely visit again when we’re next in Dublin.
I feel like we only scratched the surface of this vibrant city, and it’s charm has definitely left us wanting more. I’m sure we will be back in the near future. Thanks Dublin, that was grand!