Double Down on Dublin

Custom House

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I’m at the end of my week in Dublin. My head cold/cough sapped my energy a bit and I didn’t see as much of the city as I would have liked, especially some of the more prominent architectural buildings and museums. If I could stay another few days I would, but I am packing for the last leg, the trip to Cork, tomorrow.

Taxi drivers are your best source of information and one thing I learned from mine is that Dublin is split North/South by the river Liffey. The separation is not just physical, it is also cultural. Let me put it this way, and keep in mind that this is highly subjective, to me the South side has the vibe of the upper West side of New York City, St. Stephen’s Green in the role of Central Park, but decidedly smaller. The North side, more like Manhattan below the park, a blend of Soho, Times Square, 5th Avenue and Chelseas shopping low to high end. North Dublin beats NYC on several fronts; the streets are cleaner, the busses and trolley are well maintained and getting around on the streetcar is cheap. You can buy a flexi-ticket for about six bucks and ride on and off all day. 

As to shopping, other than the myriad number of coffee houses and pubs, unless you are looking for a bespoke suit, or some specialty Irish linens, Irish made jewelry, handcraft or art, anything you can find here you can probably find back home. It’s another example of American and multi-national companies homogenizing the world, some people take comfort in that uniformity, I don’t. These photographs were taken in the Grafton Street area, adjacent to St. Stephens’s Green. After a shopping frenzy, dropping many Euros, you may want to cross the street, find a bench, turn your face to the sun, congratulate yourself on your purchases or chastise yourself for  what you have done with your children’s future. Either answer deserves further contemplation in the pub. 


Made in Ireland jewelry

I love the modesty

One of two camera shops I found in Dublin

This must be the last one standing, Tower disappeared in American years ago.

Pop-up florist

Al fresco snack

Shopping area

Dublin has a number of indepoendent book stores

Fine Jewelry

Totally depressing

St. Stephen’s Green is a Victorian style garden adjacent to the Grafton shopping district. It’s a place where I saw more people prone than vertical, or at least it seemed that way. Candidly, it was a gorgeous day, the type that makes you want to stretch out on the grass and feel the warmth of the sun. 

Supervisor’s cottage

Entrance from Grafton

As I mentioned earlier the tram system (what we called street cars) here is an inexpensive way to see the city and beyond. As the flexi-pass allowed me to get on and off the tram as much as I wanted, I went to the farthest stops in each direction on the green line. One direction took me to a less developed area, somewhat industrial but lightly populated. Reversing direction, back through Dublin took me to what I would have to call suburbs or outskirts, but each stop was named, so perhaps they are all towns. There was a good bit of multi-story and mixed use development, as well as some single family housing.  I found it all quite illuminating.

I got off the tram in a town called Dundrum. This is a town clearly in transition. One side of the main drag has traditional construction, a nice mix of colors, textures and building materials while across from the train station is a cookie cutter bi-level strip mall.  

The highlight of the day  was meeting Larry Burns, a 72 year old busker guitarist. I chatted with him for awhile and he then asked me what genre of music I liked, I told and he broke into a blues riff for the next 15 minutes … and he was damned good. It turns out, he has performed and recorded with some highly regarded artists. As I am a still photographer, I forget my camera also has video function, and I did it again yesterday. Too bad, a 2 minute recording of him singing would have been great to share. 

Somehow, I forgot to mention the food scene in Dublin. The choices are seemingly endless, Italian, Asian, Fusion, Irish, Persian, Tea houses, Chippers, Lebanese, bakeries, coffee shops and more. 

Pork Ramen

I chose a Millionaire’s Bar with my coffee

Devitts Famous Pub

Barkeep at Devitts

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