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Is Dublin a must see?

Old Feb 16th, 2004, 06:01 PM
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Is Dublin a must see?

This site has been sooo informative. I wanted to thank everyone for all of your messages. They have been very helpful.

I am a lone female travelling to Ireland for over 3 weeks. I am trying to determine whether or not to use some of my precious time to stop in Dublin. I would appreciate it if some of you could give me your opinion.

Thank you.
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Old Feb 16th, 2004, 06:35 PM
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I guess Dublin is as much of a must see as anything else in Ireland.

It is a crowded city, with full sidewalks. I personally feel that there are many places in Dublin that contribute to knowing and understanding our our Irish heritage, if any.

I finally learned why my father always ate orange juice, scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, jelly, and coffee for breakfast. That is what a standard Irish breakfast consists of now, and it was served to us just about everywhere we went. His grand parents and parents fed it to him as a child, and he fed it to me until I left home. I guess poor old Dad did not know anything else to eat.

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Old Feb 16th, 2004, 06:54 PM
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It is to me. In fact I think the only must sees in Ireland are Dublin and counties Antrim, Derry and Dhún na nGall.
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Old Feb 16th, 2004, 07:11 PM
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I think so, particularly if you have over 3 weeks to see the entire country. There's a lot of history and beauty to the city, and with that much time, it'd be ashamed to miss it. (Contrast this with the folks who have a long weekend in Ireland and ask if they should split it between the west coast and Dublin!)

Enjoy!
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 03:18 AM
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Well I'm one who was not fond of Dublin. My feeling is that the "thing" that Ireland does best is the beautiful country side - especially the west coast. I found Dublin just another rather large, crowded, dirty city. Didn't have the excitement and great architecture of Paris, Rome, London. So I wished I had skipped it in favor of more time on the west coast. BUT - I only had 9 days. With "over 3 weeks" I might feel differently, if only that I'd like to experience everything, even if I might not find it great. Everyone's opinions are different so you won't know how you'll feel till you get there. What are your "goals" for going to Ireland, where else are you going, how are you getting around? All of these questions would impact a decision whether or not to include Dublin.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 04:32 AM
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brookwood, why did you find your father's breakfast preferences so strange? Seems perfectly normal to me...
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 04:51 AM
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I agree with Kate! apart from the jelly thing!! I'd usually have jam or marmalade with my breakfast!
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 04:51 AM
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Must see? I don't think I'd call it a must see. It's a nice city, as far as I'm concerned. Bustling, lived in, but nice. Not, as Isabel said, London Paris or Rome. It's not chock full of world treasures. But it does represent a modern way of life for many Irish and it does have many things to do.

But, I'm a scenery and village kind of guy, so I'd rather be "out there". If you really love cities, I would definitely prefer it to smaller cities like Cork and Limerick. And three weeks is a fair amount of time, although it's never really enough!
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 05:07 AM
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To understand Irish - English history and the Troubles, you HAVE to see Dublin. So much history and such a contrast to the rural landscape. It seemed a much friendlier and safer big city than London, Paris or NYC. But God, it is expensive!
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 06:12 AM
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If you only had 5 days or so, I'd say perhaps skip it, but with 3 weeks, I definately agree, you should go to Dublin. Spend a day or two there and maybe do a hop on hop off bus tour just to see the highlights.
Enjoy your trip.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 07:09 AM
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kara,

Given your rather extended Irish holiday, I'd suggest that you spend at least a few days in Dublin. It's a lively, colorful and, as suggested by Zeus, historically significant city. If you're interested in gaining a understanding of Irish history, both recent and not so recent, then Dublin is essential, a sightseeing must-see.

Make a point of visiting Dublin's National Museum and National Gallery. Tour Dublin Castle. Overcome the throngs of tourists and see the magnificent Book of Kells at Trinity College. Another noteworthy site is the superb Kilmainham Gaol, providing the visitor with a moving introduction to Ireland's early 20th century struggle to become a new nation.

Need a break from all this history? Close to Kilmainham is the fun, though hyper touristy, Guinness Brewery.

Speaking of suds, Dublin has a world class pub scene, and you'd be well advised to obtain a good travel guide, such the Rough Guide or Lonely Planet, that will point you in the direction of Dublin's more noteworthy pubs.

Best of luck.

Best of luck.

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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 07:13 AM
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How could I find scrambled eggs for breakfast every day strange when I did not know anything else?

He never varied.

There is something else to eat besides his habitual breakfast grub.

Try a good German or Austrian breakfast at a decent hotel. It is the best and most varied meal of the day.
To wit: the Sallerhof and Golden Duck in Salzburg, the Astoria in Munich, and the Alt Wienerhof and Carlton Opera in Vienna. All of them were fabulous.

The Irish could take a few lessons.

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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 07:36 AM
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That's the most American-sounding Irish breakfast I've ever seen described (not that this has anything to do w/ Dublin, but I just had to say something.)

A traditional Irish heavy breakfast is fried. Fried eggs, fried bacon, even fried bread. (Of course, the bacon is lean bacon, not streaky bacon, and at home, one wouldn't normally have it every day, perhaps on Sunday.) If there is a sweet spread on the bread, it's normally marmalade. Oatmeal is common, too, served at room temperature. Orange juice was a luxury in Ireland until the 1950's, and it is still not something that ordinary families have every day; much too expensive. The normal Irish breakfast drink is strong tea w/ milk. (No one over 40 in my extended family can make a decent cup of coffee to save his/her life.)

Of course, these days your normal Irish family is just as likely to have boxed cereal as the avg. American family is, or just toast w/ marmalade. The Irish are just as rushed as the rest of us in the morning. (Though they are still more likely to drink tea than coffee w/ whatever they are eating.) A heavy fry is now more commonly had in B&B's and hotels than in a private home.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 07:55 AM
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I agree with Ryn2691 - having a breakfast like that is the exception in Ireland, rather than the rule. It's only found in hotels and B&Bs and rarely in peoples homes. Some families tend to have fry-ups at weekends, but I certainly don't know anyone who has them every day! People are way more likely to have a bagel, a bowl of cereal, some fruit or a slice of toast!

I'd disagree with the tea thing too - I think the Irish are more likely to drink coffee in the mornings than tea - certainly the younger Irish people anyway. No-one in my office drinks tea...all but one of us drinks coffee!
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 08:59 AM
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Oh, I'll agree that younger Irish will drink coffee nowadays, in Dublin at least, and especially if they have been to university. Tea is still more popular with older folk, and IME, will still be the first thing offered in a rural home. One of my younger cousins from Donegal recently finished her first year at university, and her mother likes to tease her now about her newfound preference for coffee.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 08:59 AM
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Thanks everyone for writing.

I'm thinking I will have to stop there for a day. I am not a city person but I think I will enjoy the history of Dublin. However just to complicate the issue, would anyone pick Belfast over Dublin?

I'm a Nova Scotian so I am used to the fried breakfast. What I do not understand is the Oatmeal at room temperature. If I ask for oatmeal it will come cold? Someone please explain.

For Isabel: My goals are to see as much as possible and experience Ireland to the fullest. I have been wanting to do this trip for about 7 years. However there was always someone who said 'wait for me' ... so I did. Then I just couldn't wait anymore. 3 years after university I am finally going. This is huge for me.

I'm hopeing to plant myself for a week in my favorite spot and enjoy. Any recommendations?
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 10:57 AM
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Kara ann: Yes, I would pick Belfast over Dublin.

I liked the people better - there were very few tourists and the locals went out of their way to make us feel welcome. Our hotel was much nicer in Belfast (the Culloden) as opposed to Dublin (the god-awful Shellbourne!).

I found the recent history (20th century) of Belfast fascinating with all the graffiti in the different (Catholic and Protestant) areas.

I also loved going to the shipyard in Belfast where the Titanic was built and visiting the castle and the building where the peace talks were being held.

Dublin seemed more like an Irish theme park - not as real as Belfast.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 11:06 AM
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Kara Ann, I fulfilled my dream of going to Ireland many years ago and have been back a few times. Since you have 3 weeks, I would definately spend a day in Dublin as well as Belfast. Especially if you are going to be in NOrthern Ireland anyway...and I hope you are. DOn't miss the Antrim Coast and Giant's Causeway. Belfast and Dublin are both worth a day and are so very different. Even if you aren't a city person, I think you'll enjoy both.
As for plunking yourself for a week...well...so many choices. Dingle is wonderful, but to get away from the touristy areas, Donegal is great, especially the northern part..oh...all of it is great. Will you be driving? That may decide what is feasible.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 11:38 AM
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kara ann:

If you ask for oatmeal, you're in serious danger of getting a box or tin of some faddish heart-friendly product and a very puzzled look.

I think you mean porridge (the word used wherever in these islands I've been served the cooked version.'Oatmeal' is sometimes used in Ireland to describe its main raw ingredient).

Which in the civilised bits of the British Isles is always served reasonably warm, when it's served (pretty rarely these days). In Scotland, though, there is supposed to be some nonsense about taking cooked porridge, putting it in a drawer, and coming back the following day to cut a bit off and eating it cold. Defies belief, but we are talking about Scotland here, and there's no culinary barbarity some Scot, somewhere, won't descend to.

But to return to the civilised bits of the islands. There's an interesting theological debate about whether porridge should be eaten flavoured with sugar and salt, and whether it's mandatory to eat it standing up. Personally I find smoked salmon offcuts do the trick and well as topping up the Omega fatty acid levels.

But oddly, actually getting porridge is generally tougher here than in hotels in North America. You'd do us all a favour by encouraging demand for this much-maligned breakfast whenever you're over.
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Old Feb 17th, 2004, 12:35 PM
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I agree that you should be able to fit Dublin in to your itinerary, but I might suggest 2 days. The city center is very compact but still I think it's hard to get a feel in just one day.

That said, it's not one of my favorite places. I'm like Clifton and prefer the countryside to the city. I'll make the occassional stop there in the future, but it's not high on my list.

I did an 18 day trip a couple of years ago that circled the country. I went through some places a bit faster than I would have liked, but it gave me a good overview. Let me know if you are interested in my trip report.

Bill
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