First Impressions of Dublin (and Instawalk: Docklands)

the dubliners

yesterday on the way here to Dublin (Ireland, not Dublin the city east of San Francisco) i skimmed The Points Guy’s entry on why he likes Dublin so much — and i can’t agree more. in my less than 24 hours here, i can see why he feels the way he does.

Next to my table

There is still this James Joyce feel to many parts of the city. (This was a bookshelf next to my dinner table last night.)

for me, it’s as if a capital city has been distilled into its essence — all i could think of was, “sorry Reno, but Dublin is the Biggest City Little City in the World.” or maybe the littlest big city? definitely the most manageable big city i’ve ever been to. it’s immanently walkable and bikeable (i can’t wait to try out their bike sharing program, €5 for three days) and sized just right: far from an overwhelming megalopolis, and its compactness just makes it that much more endearing. i think it’s the same thing that made me like Stockholm so much, but Dublin’s even more petite.

yes, i may be biased since i’ve only explored a small sliver of town but so far i love what i see and i can’t wait to explore more!

oh, the not-so-great: i’m not sure why i expected prices to be cheaper, but they’re not. definitely European capital city prices. i caught a break last night at dinner because i got the pre-theater menu pricing even though it was only advertised on their website: a €42 value for €30 (p.s. great place with a lovely homey atmosphere, although the reggae music was a bit odd; the pork belly with apple syrup was amazing).

segue: you can definitely see remnants of the Celtic Tiger boom, especially where my airbnb is — the Docklands — but very clearly its bust as well. i passed by this riverfront location last night where the placards on the abandoned construction site said “Available June 2006”. eight years gone and still no one has taken that sad sign down.

instawalk: the docklands

while yes, i normally  do airbnbs instead of hotels, i originally went the hotel route. at the relative last minute, though, i switched to an airbnb in the Docklands part of town despite it being about 50% more expensive. however, i have blazing fast internet and a newish apartment all to myself. the best part, though, is where it’s situated. i’ve always loved urban regeneration, especially when it’s waterfront, and i’m right between the river a block north and the Grand Canal Docks two blocks south.

Grand Canal Square Panorama

Panorama of the Grand Canal

while i love new and modern, it’s the links to the past and the unrelenting urbanness and all that it brings along with it (looking at you, street art and graffiti) that really get to my heart.

There's some sort of fun fair going on in front of The Custom House #t

St. Patrick’s Day Funfair at The Custom House (which I would have thought was too far removed from the Docklands to be part of it, but if they talk about it on the Docklands home page, who am I to argue?)


Old dock buildings




Wall of an old flour mill


Grand Canal

Reflection of a reflection of an old smokestack

Reflection of a reflection of an old smokestack, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre

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