Dublin or “Dubhlinn” (Black Pool) has come a long way over the years from its humble historical origins as a Viking settlement in the 9th century to become a rich and vibrant multi-cultural hub that is now regarded as one of the top 30 cities in the world to visit. Ireland’s rapid economic expansion in the late ‘90s transformed the city into something of a European mini metropolis but unlike other cities, Dublin has somehow retained its Irish-ness; the distinct charm and warmth that it’s famous for.

The easy going nature of Dublin natives and our penchant for the “craic” are of course just some of reasons why tourists from all over the world flock to Dublin and Eire year after year. The city is also a haven for history buffs with monuments and buildings representing Irish cultural heritage on almost every street corner. One can stroll around the city taking in both the Georgian facade of the GPO building on O’Connell Street, the setting for the dramatic events of the Easter 1916 Rising and a powerful symbol of Irish nationalism to one of the world foremost halls of academia, Trinity College on College Green within a five minute radius.

If I was to recommend a first-timer visiting the city, I would of course direct you to the city’s many pubs. Avoid Temple Bar, a magnet for stag and hen parties all year around and try the more welcoming and less crowded watering holes. Some of my favourites through the years include Doyle’s on College Green, Whelan’s on Wexford Street, Sweeney’s on Dame Street Hogan’s on South Great Georges Street and The Foggy Dew near Central Bank Square. These establishments serve decent bar food, a range of Irish and European beverages and often have a lively atmosphere complimented by the regular live bands and/or DJs playing an eclectic range of music.

Of course, I’m barely just scratching the surface of what Dublin has to offer all year around. Whatever season: hail, rain (quite often) or shine (not so much), the city welcomes all!

Derek McDonnell
Photo: Thpohl