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Although it’s slowly improving, Dublin’s public transport is far from great. Weather allowing, you’re always better off walking to your destination. If it's pouring rain, buy a Leap Card in a convenience store, top it up, and don't forget to tag on and tag off when entering/exiting the bus/tram. The hop-on hop-off tour comes in handy too, as you don’t have to worry about directions. One of the three routes offered is bound to take you where you want to be and, with audio commentary in eight languages, it’ll be tough to miss your stop.
Céad míle fáilte
The Irish are such warm, lovely people that they don’t welcome you once, but a hundred thousand times (or céad míle fáilte in Irish Gaelic). Be it directions when you’re looking completely lost, a friendly reminder from the bus driver so you don’t miss your stop or a free pint and a chat in the pub, you can certainly count on the Irish for a helping hand. Just make sure that the charming stranger who provided you with that free pint isn’t, in fact, expecting you to pick up the next round.
Guess what? The stereotype is true: it does rain a lot here, so much that the Irish have as many words for rain as they have for different levels of drunkenness. The silver lining is that you’ll see (and photograph) more rainbows in a couple of days than your Facebook friends can handle. A good rain jacket and a pair of comfortable boots are essential, from January to December. If you’re braving the Irish winter, bring a warm sweater, a scarf and gloves too. Umbrellas are mostly useless against the local wind, so don’t bother.
Dublin is a fairly small city, but it does punch above its weight when it comes to culture. As well as a plethora of quality national museums and galleries, it has gems like the Irish Whiskey Museum, where energetic guides and generous tastings will teach you ‘loads, like’. Looking for a more solemn experience? The fascinating Glasnevin Cemetery will make you reimagine what a cemetery can be. Looking for more fun? Tune your musical knowledge at the Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum Experience.
50,000 Shades of Green
The Irish love a park and they’re quite good at designing cozy ones. If you’re looking for something lively, St. Stephen’s Green is the place to go. Walk around it before choosing a spot where to settle and you might find the statue of Oscar Wilde, who lived nearby for over 20 years. There are quieter parks in Dublin too - including Merrion Square, where you can enjoy a food market on Thursdays, and the Iveagh Gardens, which only gets busy during the annual Comedy Festival.
“Sure, we’ll go for one”
Life revolves around pubs in Ireland, from celebrating the birth of a baby to the mourning of a loved one, a ceremony known as wake. There are so many pubs in Dublin that James Joyce included the following in his epic Ulysses: “Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub”. Although a software developer solved that back in 2011, your best bet is to embrace the fact that you’ll never be too far from a good drinkery and all of the possibilities that come with it.
Although they’re more famous for their rugby and, occasionally, for their football, the Irish have two games of their own: hurling and Gaelic football. Both are great fun to watch and you should definitely give it a go if there’s a match on during your stay. If not, you can still take the Croke Park Stadium Tour and visit the state-of-the-art GAA Museum. There you’ll learn about this historic arena and get to know what exactly the Gaelic games are about. Teaser: the sliotar, aka the ball used in hurling, travels at up to 150 km/h when hurled.