There have been a few places in my life to which I have traveled and immediately felt at home. One such place is Dublin (and Ireland at large really.) This list could be epically long but I will try and keep it to my faves.
- •Queen of TartsListen, you haven't done breakfast, or pie, or both at once, until you've done QoT. It's so good they had to expand to another shop around the corner. If the first shop is full, they send you around the block. The servers will know your life's story before the end of your belly-filling, and they won't judge you when you want to try more than one confectionary offering. I want to be there RIGHT NOW.
- •The Writers MuseumIreland has more decorated writers per capita in history than any other place on Earth. You have to go pay your respects. A talented and underrated actor will spiritedly read you selected works, and you will come to know Ireland through the countrymen's eyes. They wrote about Home, and they wrote in the Irish way- with fight and fire and song and a certain sadness that can only come from a people who have been kicked in the ribs over and over again...and then ya know, get up & smile and sing.
- •Stay above a pubThe accommodations will be better than you think. In the evening, when you think you are done for the night, drift into a low lit pub & hear the locals still singing. The band will have quit, but the locals will still be singing over a pint of black, and the owner will still be pouring hours after "last call." Old men will be laughing and crying and telling stories that make everyone go still. Then sure enough, everyone will star tsinging again. This is where the magic is...right below your bed
- •The ChurchesEven if you're allergic to religion, just shut up and marvel...the churches all over Europe are incredible feats of architectural design and execution, but the Cathedrals and Churches in Ireland are truly remarkable. From the first step into St. Pat's, you feel connected to millions of people who've come and gone before you,breathing in air cooled by the centuries' smoothed and mustied by the happenings of so many for so long.
- •While you're checking out St. Pat's Cathedral, munch on some Fish & Chips from Leo Burdock. It's touristy, but the locals do it too, and it's great. Also one piece is enough for two people...and they give you ample chips.
- •Go to the library at Trinity.You will never be able to read all the books- but man you can stand in awe of the collection. They may still have the Book of Kells on display when you go. It's pretty cool, but get upstairs!
- •The Merchants ArchWalk in and sit down. Go early and stay for hours. Ireland's national symbol is a harp, and music is important. REALLY important, and it's everywhere. For me, this is the best place to get a little bit of very thing music wise. Eat a pint of black for dinner and a Bullmer's for dessert. Make friends with strangers and go to get over yourself. Everyone here is no one and someone at the same time ,and it's amazing.
- •Try and go to a small seaside town...I know this list is about Dublin, but Ireland is so much more than Dublin. Take a bus trip to somewhere by the sea. You won't regret it.
- •Walk.Ditch the car, you really don't need it, and you will get so much more out of your time here if you walk. You can't hear the singing on the street from inside your car.
- •Try and suspend your disbeliefThis isn't a great place for your cynicism. The history here is dotted with myths and mysteries. Just submit to the possibility of magic for a little while. If you roll your eyes at the the lore, a local may just lovingly fwack your feckin head between the brows. Trust me, your snarky sense of reality will be ready and waiting at airport customs.