Travel Magazine

Dublin is What It is

By Eyeandpen @eyeandpen
Picture (All photos by Š Brandon Elijah Scott / Eye & Pen) I first visited Dublin, Ireland 16 months ago, when I started a 3.5 week journey through Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, England and the Netherlands. I had saved up for months to make my second international adventure happen and the time leading up to my departure date flew by, and before I knew it, I was walking off the tarmac on Irish soil. Early in my traveling days, I used to imagine what each place would be like, but Dublin was the teacher of a very important lesson to me – that I should never have preconceived expectations. Dublin was nothing like I thought it would be – it was dull, dreary and dirty, with little of the healthy Irish culture I came, looking forward to (and I don’t mean the partying, downing liters of green beer, searching for leprechauns, or other silly misconceptions).
Dublin is what it isDublin is what it isDublin is what it is I was looking for the people who as a whole, were known around the world as the absolute nicest of all. I was hoping to spend my time meeting the people – those who lead simple and slow lifestyles, and who appreciated their family, other people, and all of the simple important things. I wanted to drink with the people who wanted to talk about anything and everything over a nice dram of whiskey. I also wanted to see the beautiful countryside of Ireland – the beautiful greens and yellows of the wild earth that I’ve heard about and seen photos of. And I couldn’t forget my heavy interest of learning about the the vibrant, yet dark historic past associated with the Emerald Isle.
Instead, in Dublin, I found it to be another sprawling modern city, with too many similarities to home that made me uncomfortable. Sure, Dublin had hints and whispers of a much more ancient past, but it lacked on all other aspects that I had hoped to see. While having high expectations typically means you’re setting yourself up for failure, mine weren’t too far off of what I was able to find once I left the seaside metropolis. It only took about 30 minutes from the city center to see exactly what I was looking for, once I headed south into Wicklow, where I visited Enniskerry, Powerscourt Gardens and Glendalough.
It’s impossible to enjoy every thing and every place you visit, but as a travel writer, I’m expected to keep a much more trained and open mind, so when I found out that I was to visit Ireland in 2013, I knew I had to give Dublin another chance – since it had left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. On July 22nd, I landed in Dublin from Memmingen, Germany, after touring Austria, southern Germany, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland. Immediately, I left customs with a fresh stamp, grabbed my checked baggage and hopped on a bus to see the things I had missed originally, while also giving a second chance to some of the other parts of the city that I perhaps hadn’t appreciated the first time around. I enjoyed my time in Dublin immediately, however after my few days of revisiting the Irish capital, I couldn’t honestly change my opinion completely.
I found that Dublin is still what I experienced before, but with my more well-trained open mind, I was able to enjoy my time there more. I took the time to look around more, and to ignore the obvious things I disliked, like the griminess, the horrid smells and the lack of character. I realized in the end that Dublin simply is what it is, there’s nothing more and nothing less. It’s not a glamorous city, filled with historic importance at every turn, and it’s not a charming destination where the various best aspects of a culture all come together in one place – Dublin is simply a European capital city, that’s moved along with the changes of modern life, as best it can. But I will say, to Dublin’s credit, it has a thriving student and young adult community, with a satisfactory amount of nightlife and restaurant options – however, it may not compare to the intricacies, advancements, and  of, say London or the nightlife of Prague and Barcelona – but as I said, Dublin is what it is, and if you’re ever visiting Ireland, you should have your expectations in check. The city is definitely worth a visit, but if you want to see the REAL Ireland, rent a car and go – get lost and wander – stay in the small villages – talk to the local farmers and sheepherders as I have... Because you will realize that the true heart and wonders of Ireland lie well outside of Dublin’s modern sprawl.

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