With the over-confident notion that I may have persuasive impact on some unlucky readers, I must give fair warning about this post: I do not like Dublin.
Remarkably, I have been to Dublin twice. In all honesty, it is the only city in the world that I have disliked and re-visited again in an attempt to convince myself I was wrong the first time. However, the plan backfired and after barely escaping to the Irish countryside yesterday… my distaste for Dublin has only grown.
Let me take a minute to explain myself here-
I love Ireland, I love Irish people, and I love the Irish culture. I am all in for having a good craick and painting my face green for a soccer football match. If you put me on a farm, I will happily try to herd sheep or skin a rabbit. I’m totally up for it.
I’m writing this from Galway (on the west coast of Ireland), dreaming of moving here and opening a neighborhoodCharcuterie store. I’ve practically picked out my Galway apartment and adopted street dogs. One of them I’ve already named (Sheamus, if you’re wondering).
I love Ireland… I just really don’t like Dublin.
Now, sometimes my feel for certain cities is a bit “off”. I recognize that. For example, a few summers ago, I was fortunate enough to spend a week in the southern coast of Croatia. Due to a horrible combination of both heat and humidity, mixed with several unlucky run-ins with professional con artists, the city of Dubrovnik quickly rose to the top of my “never again” travel list.
However, many people list Dubrovnik their favorite city in the world.
Sometimes my radar is off.
While my trip to Dubrovnik was a little ‘too much’ to ever return, my first trip to Dublin was not that terrible. At the end of the trip, I described Dublin as “just okay.” As a person who practically lives to travel, finding myself in a ‘mediocre’ city is very rare.
Especially when said city is notorious for alcohol.
(I generally like party cities)
The first time I went to Dublin, unlike Dubrovnik, I could not explain exactly why I didn’t like it. Was it the snow? Was it just a bad few days? Did I go to the wrong places? Do the wrong things?
So, I decided to give Dublin another shot.
Well, more honestly, I had a week to spare in between trips to Iceland and Spain and saw Ireland between the two on a map.
Anddddd… flights were cheap.
Somewhere along the process of planning my time in Ireland, my mom decided to come along. A few days before arriving in Dublin, my sister booked a flight too. My mom convinced me to spend 2 nights in Dublin (which was about 40 hours longer than I wanted to stay).
But, if I was with 2 of my favorite people in the world…
…how could I not love Dublin?
So… I put in a solid effort not to let my view of Dublin rub off on my mom or sister. I woke up early, walked miles around the city, found a rooftop bar, found directions, found a speakeasy. A good, solid effort was put in.
We went to the Guinness factory
We played bartender
Locals told us to avoid Temple Bar area, so we went to local bars
Then we got bored, gave in, and went to Temple Bar
We bought drinks and had drinks bought for us
We toured Trinity College
We saw the Book of Kells and walked through the Long Library
We ran out of ideas and ended up at the Leprechaun Museum
(the Leprechaun Museum was awesome)
As the result of trying to make the most of Dublin, we were rarely in our hotel room. Instead, we were pushing through crowded streets filled with both tourists and locals. We were standing on our toes to get views of the Book of Kells and waiting in lines to enter the Guinness Storehouse. We were wandering through museums with screaming babies.
We were fending off neighborhood drunks and frat boys alike in sticky floored bars with live bands singing ‘Wonderwall’ on repeat.
Needless to say, it was not my idea of fun.
My mother, sister, and I arrived in Galway yesterday afternoon.
Stepping off the train I breathed in coastal Irish air and let out a sigh of relief. After dropping off our bags, we immediately wandered into a cheese shop and stayed for hours talking to locals that were baffled we discovered the rooftop hideaway. With stomachs filled with local cheeses and wine, we wandered out onto the street walked straight into a farmers market.
‘Much better,’ I thought.
Hours later, sometime around midnight, we found ourselves at a wine bar along the Galway’s main street. As my mother ducked beneath bellowing cigarette smoke, an Irish woman next to us asked where we were from. After exchanging pleasantries, I quickly informed her that I am not, in fact, a fan of Dublin (passionately stated, may I add, the wine was kicking in).
It turns out that while she was born and raised in Galway, she had been living in Dublin for the past 10 years.
“Opportunity,” she explained “I could never be in a successful position by staying in Galway. My career is built for a larger city, so I live in Dublin. I love it.”
This seemed to be the general consensus among the Irish who had moved to Dublin.
“Dublin is the Silicon Valley of Europe!”
a taxi driver boldly stated on my first day in the city
(I still doubt this)
It turns out that part of the draw of Dublin is opportunity and the chance of a successful career. This makes sense. It would be hard to find a tech job in the highlands. If you live in Ireland, don’t want to move out of the country, and are hunting for an upward-moving job… Dublin is the place to go.
For that reason, it is easy to see why people who live in Dublin love it.
Dublin is Ireland’s ‘land of opportunity’…
but there is discord within the city.
Generally speaking, people who live in Dublin are there for completely different reasons than tourists.
Many tourists are visiting for an “Ireland experience” and (hopefully) to learn about Irish history. Locals, on the other hand, are trying to make history, to succeed, to work their a**es off in whatever field they choose to enter.
This discord between locals and tourists happens throughout the world. However, many Dublin visitors seeking an authentic experience leave both confused and disappointed, which is tremendously unfortunate in a city so influenced by tourism.
What are your thoughts? Have you ever been to Dublin?