Leprechauns all done – or so we thought until we bumped into this chap, we spent the rest of our afternoon strolling around Dublin taking in the sights and sounds of this lively and historic city. Most of the main sights are situated in a comparatively small area so walking is a breeze.
We headed first to the River Liffey, sat for a while on the river bank eating sandwiches then used the Ha’penny Bridge to cross to the other side. My favourite Dublin bridge, not too tricky to see why this is the most photographed river crossing in the city. In the days before the bridge people crossed the river using a ferry. These were in bad condition and the owner was given an ultimatum – either fix the boats or build a bridge. He went for the latter option and charged anyone crossing a ha’penny toll. The name stuck but it’s free today.
Just across the road and down a side street we found ourselves in Temple Bar – the hub of Dublin nightlife. We’ve been in this area before, always early when it has been deserted and we always wondered what all the fuss was about. Today we strolled through late afternoon and totally got it. Narrow cobbled streets lined with traditional pubs which were buzzing. Lots of bands, live music playing everywhere and a great atmosphere. It felt very family friendly – not too sure about later in the evening though. I sought out Fishamble Street – where Handel’s Messiah was first performed in April 1742. A big fan am I, this was my must see.
We carried on past the Central Bank and saw the building that is now the Bank of Ireland but once was Ireland’s Parliament Building. Son was disappointed Molly Malone (“the tart with the cart” as she is also fondly known) his favourite Dublin statue was nowhere to be seen – apparently away for renovation and repair work she will be back.
Grafton Street – a pedestrian area and Dublin’s main posh shopping zone was also buzzing with life. We peeked in the windows of the grand department store Brown Thomas but for us it was all about the buskers – a whole street full of them. A hour flew past as we watched amongst others mime acts, musicians, a quirky and very lithe elderly gent and then our son transformed into a wee green man.
At the end of Grafton Street and across a busy road is Fusilier’s Arch and the entrance to St Stephen’s Green – just what we needed after all the hustle and bustle – a calm, green oasis right in the heart of the city. Son fed the ducks and found a great playground where he leaped, climbed and generally let off steam while we lounged on the grass.
All too soon it was time to leave. We retraced our steps through the city, this time using O’Connell Bridge to cross the river. Apparently this is the only bridge in the world that is wider than it is long. We had planned to linger a while on O’Connell Street but a sudden burst of torrential rain put paid to that idea and a dash back to our car became a priority. A rather hasty goodbye to the wonderful city of Dublin – hopefully see you next summer!