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My Top Ten Things You Must Do in Dublin
Dublin is an incredible city, full of lots of different things to do. It's great for visitors of all ages and whatever your interests, you're bound to find something you love. The people are friendly, the city's easy to get around, the weather is variable, but it hardly matters. If you've never been, put it on your wish list.
Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
Taking a hop-on, hop-off tour is the best way to see the city and, if you're lucky, you'll get a tour guide who will have you in stitches. The Irish are known for their 'craic' (enjoyable conversation) and many of the tour guides are very witty and informative. The buses will take you to various locations including Phoenix Park, which is a little bit out of the city centre and you'll have the opportunity to get on and off where you choose.
At night, there are often ghost tours by bus and these are a great way to find out more about the supernatural side to the city.
Try the Guinness
I'm not a connoisseur, so I really can't tell the difference, but an Irish friend assures me that the Guinness in Ireland is better than anywhere else in the world. If you can, try to find a nice little traditional pub to enjoy your Guinness in. If you play your cards right, you may even be treated to some live music.
Whilst you're in Dublin, try to take in a tour of the Guinness Storehouse where the brand was started back in 1725. There's loads of interesting things to see and you can take a drink in the panoramic bar (provided you're over 18, of course!)
Have Coffee At Bewleys Cafe
Bewleys is something of a landmark in Dublin. The cafe is located on Grafton Street and is great for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or dinner. They also sell amazing chocolates to take away with you. Bewleys have been importing tea since 1835 and the cafe was opened in 1927. When you walk through the shop and into the cafe, you feel a bit like you've stepped back in time.
Another must when you're in Dublin is to try a hot chocolate at one of the Butler's Chocolate Cafes. The company was founded in 1932 and has been bringing amazing chocolate products to Dublin (and to many other locations around the world) ever since. I thoroughly recommend the hot chocolate with fresh whipped cream and milk chocolate flakes accompanied by a cookie and followed by a long walk to rid yourself of any guilt.
Pose with Molly Malone
A trip to Dublin would not be complete without taking a photo of Molly Malone, the city's 'Tart with the Cart'. The statue is located in Grafton Street, in one of the best shopping areas in the city. You may know the name from the song, 'Molly Malone' about a beautiful fishmonger who sells her wares on the streets of Dublin and dies of a fever at a young age. The song has become something of an anthem in the city and 13th June has been proclaimed as 'Molly Malone Day'. Opinions differ as to whether the song was based on a real person.
Enjoy St Stephen's Green
The city centre park, located near Grafton Street is an ideal place to take a leisurely stroll, or sit and watch the world go by. There are lots of statues to look at and there is also the Yeats memorial garden with a sculpture by Henry Moore. It's close to shops, museums, hotels and restaurants and despite the bustling city that surrounds it, the park is surprisingly tranquil.
Visit the Garden of Remembrance
One of the most beautiful and peaceful locations in the city, the garden is dedicated to all those who gave their lives fighting for Irish independence. The centrepiece of the garden is a sculpure by Oisin Kelly of the Children of Lir and is based on an Irish legend about three children who are turned into swans. It's located at Parnell Square, in the heart of the city and is an ideal place for quiet reflection.
Pretend You're A Viking
The city's historic links with Nordic invaders can be explored at the Dublinia where you will have the chance to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a Viking settlement. You can also try Dublin's Viking Adventure which is located in Temple Bar. The museum features a reproduction of a 30 metre long Viking longship which is truly impressive.
However, if you want to really get in the spirit, then get onboard an amphibious vehicle for a Viking Splash Tour. You'll maraud through the streets of the city (usually making a lot of noise as you go) before splashing into the Grand Canal. Dress sensibly and hold onto your Viking helmet for a truly unique way to see the city. I was dubious about taking the tour, but loved every minute of it.
Visit the Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral was founded around about 1030 and is one of the most impressive buildings in the city. It's a beautiful piece of architecture and the beautiful interior does not disappoint. You can explore the crypt and its fascinating memorials. Be sure to get a glimpse of the mummified cat and rat in the crypt, which are known locally as 'Tom and Jerry'. They even get a mention in James Joyce's classic novel, 'Finnegan's Wake'. If you go in the evening, you may be lucky enough to hear the choir, whose origins date back to 1493. There's also a nice little tea shop if you want to take the weight off your feet for a while.
Get Literary Inspiration
Dublin is an incredible place for writers to gain inspiration from some of the greats. Among the most famous are James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. One of my favorite stories is of George Bernard Shaw being asked which painting he would rescue from the National Gallery if the building was on fire. His typically deadpan response was 'whichever one's nearest the door'. You'll find a lot of great wit in Dublin and it's well worth taking a tour of some of the literary hotspots. Visit the Dublin Writer's Museum, the James Joyce Museum and The Shaw Birthplace. Soak up some of the great literature and theatre of the city and you're bound to be inspired.