Ireland is a country with ancient history, charming culture, mystical legends, cheerful people and the only place in the world where the main event of the year – St Patrick’s Day – is a four-day drinking marathon.
Over the last ten years, Ireland has established itself as one of Europe’s outsourcing business hubs thanks to its flat 12.5% corporation tax. Lots of world-leading companies like Microsoft, HP and Lufthansa have opened their customer services divisions here, providing jobs for thousands of people.
While it’s one of Europe’s smallest capitals, Dublin has lots to offer its 1.3 million residents. From culture to countryside, nightlife to wildlife, here are ten of our favourite things about the city.
Despite being one of Europe’s top tourist destinations, Dublin’s never crowded and it’s easy to move around with the double-decker buses. The buses aren’t cheap but there’s free Wi-Fi and it’s an environmentally friendly way to travel. The city suburbs are connected to the centre with the Luas tram system.
The central street on the south side of the River Liffey, Grafton is the legendary place where many musicians started their careers. You’ll find buskers on every corner, who often perform their songs in the hope of catching a break. Bands like Keane and Kodaline started their careers busking here.
There aren’t many places in the world where history and fairytales are still living around you, but Dublin’s one of them. Some of the legends are scary – like the one about the Phoenix man, a ghostly figure haunting Phoenix Park. Others – like a story from U2’s early days (ask a local) – are all part of what makes Dubliners proud of their city.
Dublin’s full of lovely old red brick houses, some of them a walkable distance from the centre. Unfortunately, the housing market is expensive, although it’s still three times cheaper than London. Renting an apartment or a house on your own will cost you a minimum of €800-900 a month.
Irish people like a good laugh. In Dublin, there are several places where you can enjoy top standup comedy. The Stag’s Head is a local favourite, with free entrance every Sunday and Monday – and free ice cream, too.
Dublin’s a very green city. From its house gardens through to its well-maintained city parks, as well as the wild forest of Phoenix Park (complete with deer), there’s always somewhere to escape to nature. Dubliners are pretty fond of their parks and take every chance to step out and enjoy a picnic, hike or bike ride.
The cultural diversity in Dublin influences its dining options as well. You can find all kinds of cuisine in the city and enjoy a quick bite from a kebab shop on the corner or a high-class dinner at a Michelin-starred restaurant.
However, Dublin is most famous for its drinks. Whether it’s a morning coffee, a pint of Guinness, or an Irish whiskey, Dubliners love catching up over a glass of something hot or strong – sometimes both.
Despite the weather conditions, nightlife-loving Dubliners never miss a good night out. Starting after work with a pint at the nearest pub, the night often continues with a pub crawl finishing around 2-3 a.m. when all the bars close. The Temple Bar area, which is the most well-known night life hub, is preferred by tourists but is rarely visited by the locals.
The urban part of Dublin is pretty small, but the city stretches over 44 square miles in total. So as a citizen of Dublin you can enjoy a day out at some of the coastal villages, admire the Atlantic Ocean, hike in the hills or simply stroll through the streets surrounded by history. Just hop on the Dart train from the main station and you’ll be at the sea in 40 minutes.
You can feel Dublin’s atmosphere in the corridors of Trinity College with its 17th-century buildings, in the wooden warmth of the Irish pubs, or the shrieks of the seagulls flooding O’Connell Street, or the sound of the traditional Irish music and the friendliness of Irish people. There are only a handful of places in the world that can excite you every day. Dublin is one of them.
*The information in this article is correct at the time of publishing (February 2020). It could change depending on what is agreed between the UK and the EU during the 2020 transition period.
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