In the last two posts we looked deeper at Dublin Castle and pondered at Ha’penny Bridge. Of course this was a flying visit and whilst the sun was out it would have been a shame not to have wandered under the blue skies. Dublin, I must say, is a capital of wonder to wander. Not just for famous sights but each turning seems to bring a new curiosity to learn about and investigate. From the wide roads near the River Liffey, to the grand buildings with huge historic reminders but also the charming and unique side streets that have many a tale to tell.
First stop, not a narrow side street but a grand wide street bustling with Saturday afternoon shoppers enjoying some sunshine. O’Connell Street. As you turn into it the great line of monuments and statues cannot be missed running down the middle. Rising up above them all, going up just 120m into the sky, is a huge metal spike. This is a more modern monument from 2003, The Dublin Spire (aka the monument of light)
Down below along the centre are the statues of people whom have left an imprint on Dublin and Irish history. From trade union leader Jim Larkin to the large statue of the 19th century nationalist leader Daniel O’Connell that greats you at the entrance, whom the street is named after.
Across the river over Ha’penny Bridge and a seemingly small alleyway is where everyone seems to be heading.
Stepping through you realise you have entered Dublin’s cultural quarter, Temple Bar! It is like stepping back in time. Cobbled narrow streets and now a hub of galleries, photography/film studios and other arts. Of course many of you will know it has a central point for many great taverns and drinking establishments.
Speaking of drinking establishments there is surely one type of building that is in abundance here. Pubs and taverns. A true land of ‘traditional’ type pubs and so far resisting the move to modern fancy, sterile type bars that take away all the atmosphere. As we were there on the Irish Football finals weekend you can imagine the atmosphere was absolutely electric, especially in the sun. Many of the bars have live music playing, traditional and modern. You can sense why it is a popular destination for revellers.
Further on up the hill and before you sits the Fusiliers’ Arch, marking the entrance to St Stephen’s Park, the central park of the city and a . Erected to commemorate those who fought and died in the second Boer War. The park has changed from a marshy common in the 1600s through to a landscaped Georgian park in the 1800s and altered much more to the calm city centre area it is today. It was quite surreal to one minute be in a bustling busy centre to pass through an arch and within metres the calm and quiet set in, people sunbathing on the grass and people enjoying a walk around the water.
Damn, it was time to head for the flight. But that didn’t mean an end to sightseeing as we headed to the airport bus stop. Plenty of time to pass by great buildings as Trinity College, the statue of Molly Malone…. ok yes I know.. I must come back again, for longer still. A great place and way too much to see and learn about in one afternoon. The appetite is wet 🙂