Travel diary: Discovering Dublin and Ireland!

2014-01-06 // voyage

For the New Year’s Eve, we had the honor of being invited by Ireland to celebrate the last days of “The Gathering Ireland 2013“, an initiative conceived to promote tourism in Ireland, but also to celebrate Irish culture and heritage worldwide. With over 5000 events throughout the year 2013, The Gathering Ireland 2013 ended with The Ultimate Gathering, a special New Year celebration in Dublin! An excellent opportunity for us to discover Ireland and especially Dublin city! Here is a brief summary of these days in the land of leprechauns… (also do not miss: Dublin Street Art – Selection of street art in the streets of Dublin)

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This little adventure in Dublin already allowed us to discover many aspects of Ireland, but also to discover a city like “The Bernard Shaw” bar, very steeped into traditional Irish culture and customs, but also a modern, dynamic, trendy city, with a real modern and alternative culture.

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Of course when you think of Ireland, you directly think to St Patrick, beer, and thus to Pubs. Our first pub in Dublin has been the “O’Neill’s“, a bar / restaurant with a warm and charming atmosphere, with several rooms on two floors, a pretty dark and heavy decoration and a dart championship on screens… No doubt, we are in Ireland!

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We had a room at the beautiful “Brooks Hotel“, in the city center. The opportunity to meet for the first time a “Pillow Menu“, a menu of the different types of pillow available, to choose the one that suits us best!

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And who says night in Ireland, says Irish breakfast! The perfect opportunity to get a “Full Irish Breakfast” with thick bacon, sausage, egg, black pudding, white pudding, mushroom, potato patty, tomato, toasts, etc… So awesome! (perfect before a good day trip!)

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We discovered the central and lively Temple Bar district (partly for pedestrians), full of bars, restaurants, trendy cafes, pubs, but also trendy stores, designer shops, creators workshops and other lively places… What I love about this area is that many shops with a modern architecture inside kept the old facades of brick and stone of the old Dublin…

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Having a break, of course, is the good opportunity to taste one of the icons of Dublin, Guinness beer, founded in 1759! Guinness is everywhere here, and is also found in many products in tribute to this famous beer: Guinness flavored potato chips, Guinness flavored chocolates, etc..

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And for those who have skipped the “Full Irish Breakfast” in the morning, know that it is possible to find it as a sandwich to save time! Yes, this is thick bacon, sausage, black pudding, white pudding and tomato sauce in bread!

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We also visited “The Little Museum of Dublin“, an improbable small museum established thanks to donations from people of Dublin, where a guide with a great humor told us the history of the city through small details, objects, letters, pictures… A great time!

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One of my favorite places in Dublin has been “The Bernard Shaw“, which behind a historic façade from 1895 hides a great alternative place mixing bar, art, graffiti and music, but also a quirky and funny pizzeria housed in an old double-decker bus! A must see!

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Returning to the Temple Bar area, we also crossed the very cute “Saint Stephen’s Green” park where local swans, gulls and ducks come frolic in the water and beg people for bread crumbs…

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But this trip was also an opportunity to discover the site of Newgrange, about 1 hour north of Dublin. An impressive archaeological site consisting of over 5,000 year old mounds! An unknown and yet as surprising as fascinating place! (read more about it: wikipedia)

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Back in town, this was an opportunity to enjoy a few beers and whisky (be careful, in Ireland, it’s Whiskey!) in the various pubs of Dublin, as beautiful as each other…

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For fans, the “Jasmine Bar” (the bar of Brooks Hotel) is a true reference for whisky and whiskey, with more than 140 references from Ireland, Scotland, but also from Sweden, Japan, etc. !

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But of course we were in Ireland for one thing, The Ultimate Gathering, a very special celebration of the New Year! After a nice casual encounter with the Lord Mayor of Dublin around a few glasses of mulled wine, we participated at the forefront to the “People’s Procession of Light“, a bright and friendly stroll through the city! A real special time of sharing with the people of Dublin!

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This “People’s Procession of Light” ended with a surprising and impressive air show!

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One of the highlights of the evening was also the concert of the “3 NYE Dublin“, with among others the famous ska band Madness to warm everyone and celebrate the 12 strokes of midnight! A moment of anthology highlighted by an excellent 3D projection and fireworks! In short, the big show!

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And after a night of fun, what better way to wake up than tasting one of the best Fish & Chips in Dublin: Leo Burdock! And we were not disappointed, a great place to lunch during a walk into Temple Bar district!

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A short trip to Howth, a fishing village north of the city to take a look at the Irish Sea…

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We also took time to visit the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).

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This trip has been a great opportunity to explore Ireland and Dublin, through the most diverse experiences! You already had understood: we loved it! The people we met were lovely and we really felt this festive spirit that united people around a very large celebration. A real magical moment! I would also like to send a huge thank you to Grégoire, Huda, Anne but also Antoinette and Siobhan for these great moments…

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