Horsesh*t, cigarettes and Dublin's fair city
It smells of "horseshit and cigarettes!" These harsh words fall from the tender mouth of my beloved wife. She is not a coarse lady, but the smell was somewhat overpowering. Match that with a highly sensitive nose due to being mid term pregnancy and you may be getting the picture. "And everyone's pottymouthed. They are very nice though." These are all fair assessments of our weekend in Dublin but also slightly reductive as Dublin is indeed a fair city with much to offer. Temple Bar does have a palpable buzz, not dissimilar from a number of other cities with a strong dilution of friendly pubs and bars filled with weekend revellers. You will find throughout the area, blinkered horses carrying carraiges (hence the smell). To most tourists I'm sure this is a pleasant and twee sight (until they check the prices - a short journey starts at 25 euros), but as an animal lover, I can't help but watch the serene beasts stare solemnly at the cobbled streets and wonder how humanely the creatures are treated. Dublin is without an underground network which is frustrating to say the least. It does however operate the highly efficient Luas tram network, which despite being slow (It takes around 25 minutes to get the 7 km from the hotel into town), is a reasonable way to get around. The highlight for us despite of course U2s triumphant homecoming show was the Guinness storehouse. This is far more than a brewery tour with lots of interactive fun and an opportunity to take in 360 degree views at the gravity bar on the 7th floor. The gaol is certainly worth a visit, not to forget the modern museum of art and the zoo too. But despite all of the attractions, Dublin is a small city with a big heart. The people are very friendly. Every time on the luas my wife was offered a seat which would not happen in London sadly. Prices are london- esque but not extortionate and the river liffey running through the centre gives the place a parisien romantic feel. Marry this with the literary history and friendly vibe and you have a very enjoyable weekend away. One more thing, transfers from the airport. You have the choice of being royally ripped off by the taxis or getting the airport express, bus 747 from Heston or o' Connell street for 7 euros. Be aware however, 'express' is that good old Irish humour at its best. It took us 55 minutes on the bus to get to Dublin airport, making us uncomfortably late. Be wary. Overall though, Dublin has a lot to offer and the more you walk around delving beneath the surface and into the history the more charming the dirty ol town becomes.