Before visiting Dublin, I had flashbacks of a poster I had coveted in the 80s – the infamous, multi-coloured Georgian Doors of Dublin. (Years of living in Boston, heavy with its Irish ancestry, had also given me a ‘taste of the Irish’.) I visualized the city’s fashionable Grafton Street; age-old Trinity College; traditional pubs and fish ‘n chips; and, I won’t even mention U2. That was the Dublin I expected to see.
Then there was the Dublin I was surprised to find: a modern waterfront developing along both sides of the River Liffey – the result of a regeneration of the quays and Docklands with projects like the O2 amphitheatre; deluxe apartments; public art; Grand Canal Square; and, Calatrava’s landmark Samuel Beckett Bridge, a symbol at the city’s maritime gateway. I wonder what more we’d see if it weren’t for the difficult economic climate… In the city centre, a guided walking tour revealed its medieval haunts, literary traditions (sights of Ulysses), and the narrow, cobbled streets of Temple Bar, Dublin’s Cultural Quarter. As expected, pubs are aplenty and spilling out to the street were clusters of ‘happy hour’ goers. The history of Guinness, of course, goes way back.
A special outing was a day trip to Howth, or Beann Éadair in Gaelic, a picturesque coastal village north of Dublin. A cliffwalk along the scenic peninsula affords a great view of the island of Ireland’s Eye, the harbour and the village.