Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Ireland: Dublin & Howth

It has been my dream ever since to visit Ireland. While growing up, my ideal picture of Europe was Ireland, with green rolling fields and Cliffs, and strong culture & history. I have also been always fascinated by Celtic culture and music, which are both part of Ireland's olden times. I finally decided to go there, with Marcos, to experience it for myself.

Although I did not get the opportunity to see the green fields and more of the nature and old ruins of Ireland, I did however experience the multiculturalism and night culture of Dublin. I accepted the compromise of Dublin considering that we had no car to freely roam about the country [trains were a bit expensive] and agreed with myself to visit another time in my life when I had more free time. Another thing we missed was the traditional Irish Dance [see video below], but our tour guide played some traditional flute music for us in compensation for the loss.

Welcome to Dublin! From the Celtics to the Vikings, invaders have tried to tame this wild island, a place of legends, traditions, and lore. 750 years of resistance and rebellion would culminate in the tragedy of the Easter Rising in the middle of the First World War. Testament to the will of the local people, just a few generations later and Dublin is one of the leading business centers of Europe.

So we spent 2 days in Dublin, roaming about, bar hoping in the Temple bar district, touring [with the awesome guys of Sandeman's Free New Dublin Tours], and discovering some of the Irish heritage and history. For me, being a native English speaker, the accent was especially intriguing, and totally typical Irish. We realized also, due to the strange words on street signs, that there was indeed a language of the Irish called "Irish Gaelic", which we didn't know existed before.

Dublin is a vibrant city with live music in every pub - after visiting Irish pubs in almost all European cities, we finally got the chance to visit an actual Irish pub, sampling Guinness and Irish coffee, [consisting of hot coffee, Irish whiskey, and brown sugar, stirred, and topped with thick cream] in Ireland!! Still, it was super-expensive: the standard of living was quite high, with a simple, non-filling sandwich costing the same as a full course restaurant meal in Europe - 8€-10€. The funny/weird thing, though, was that a hair-cut was super-cheap, costing 2-3 times less than in Europe.

On our final day there, having not much to do, we visited a small "village type" town called Howth, there were supposed to be some magnificent cliffs there, however we had no time to see them; and for fear of missing our return flights, we had to leave prematurely.

For more pictures, see:

No comments: