Before transitioning to C’est Moi, Sara Louise, Sara in Le Petit Village was an expat in France blog for over four years. But before being an expat in France, I was an expat in Dublin, I just didn’t blog about it. Since I’m now an ex-expat, and C’est Moi, Sara Louise is an ex-expat blog of sorts, I thought I’d start blogging about Ireland (well, Dublin specifically) to add a smattering of green to the blue, white and red. So in that vein, here’s a list of things I love about Dublin, because, why not. It’s Friday, and I’m feeling lovey dovey.
1. Christmastime in Dublin, and by Christmastime, I mean November through January. Dublin is simply magical during the holidays; the lights on Grafton and Henry Streets twinkle so, and the Christmas tree on O’Connell is always perfectly sparkly and splendidly festive standing in front of the GPO. Christmas music pipes out of the shops and everyone is jolly. Dublin is a small city, and during the holidays, it has the most wonderful of small town vibes to it. It’s like everyone knows each other, and everyone is full of the Christmas spirit.
2. Dublin is a cosmopolitan city with everything on offer that any other world class city has, but, Dublin city centre is considerably smaller, meaning that you can get from one side of town, to the other, in a relatively short period of time. You could easily walk it if you wanted to. It’s practically pocket sized which makes it perfect for exploring.
3. While Dublin is notorious for it’s dreary weather, on occasion, the sun does come out to shine, and when it does, the whole city celebrates. Any public green will have people lounging on it, beer gardens will be packed to the hilt, and last minute barbecues with burnt burgers and soggy cole slaw are planned. The whole city buzzes with infectious happiness and it stays that way… until the rain comes again.
4. There’s a small village only three miles outside of Dublin City Center called, Chapelizod. It’s a charming place full of history and legend. Not only did James Joyce speak of it in Finnegan’s Wake, but Michael Collins would meet his Dublin Castle spies in a pub there. Lots of historical and literary lore, but the real legend of Chapelizod lies in its name… it means Isolde’s Chapel, and the Isolde is the Isolde of Arthurian legend. Chapelizod is the village where Isolde hailed from, and I was lucky enough to have lived there.
5. The pubs of Dublin are famous, but many people may have the wrong idea about them and their purpose. Sure, they’re having a pint or two (or five or six), but they’re also for the craic; the sing songs, quizzes, matches and laughter that you’ll find filling them any given day of the week. The pub is the social hub of a village and on weekend days, you can find entire families there, children included.
6. After enjoying ‘the craic’ at a pub, there is only one place to stop on your way home; the chipper. It doesn’t get much better than a battered cod and a bag of chips (fries) sprinkled with salt and malt vinegar. My mouth is watering just thinking about it, and after a pint or two (or five or six), there is nothing better. And if you’re feeling particularly indulgent, throw in a battered sausage and you’re good to go. Hangover be gone.
7. Ireland’s restaurant scene has been on the rise for years now, and in Dublin, it’s hopping. There are so many amazing and innovative restaurants in Dublin to choose from now, it would be impossible to get through them all. Trust me, if you like food, Dublin should be at the top end of your ‘must visit’ list.
8. When I lived in Dublin, I hardly ever would go out in Temple Bar, it felt too touristy for my liking, but now that I’m gone, I appreciate it. Sure it’s packed to the gills with tourists and drunken hen parties and stag do’s, but there is some serious good times to be had inside any of those pubs squeezed together on those cobbled streets. Traditional music and sing-a-longs can usually be found inside one or another.
9. Dublin taxi drivers are generally up for a chat whether you want one or not. They’re like driving encyclopedias of local history and news and will usually talk your ear off with their take on things and opinions. And on a number occasions, when the time came for me to exit the taxi, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a friend, rather than a stranger (told you they were chatty), but you still have to pay them.
10. And rounding out my top ten favorite things about the Fair City are the Dublin people themselves. Maybe I’m biased because most of my family is there, but every person I know who has visited the city, comes back raving about the people and how friendly and helpful they are. Of course not every single person in a city can be neighborly, but for the most part, Dubliners are. I miss those neighborly people in that fair city.