First impressions can tell a lot about people and their culture if you take note. Being in Dublin for my semester abroad, I’ve discovered so far that the Irish are (obviously) kind, friendly and open, but also patient, detail-oriented and have a great sense of humor.
When I was asked to write a piece about my first impressions of Dublin I thought, what better way to do it than through pictures that represent those qualities! So far, keeping an eye open for the hidden details of this city has allowed me to get to know the Irish and their culture from a different angle. When I travel, I really prefer to immerse myself in the new culture, which is the reason I like to wander round cities with my camera, and that is exactly what I’ve done so far here in Dublin.
Here are some examples of what I have discovered during my wanders around this lovely city!
The pavement shining like silver after the rain, like in this lovely view of the Campanile at Trinity College.
You know how people always say Ireland has shitty weather? Well I wasn’t that big of a fan of rain before I came here, but my time in Dublin has taught me to appreciate the beauty beneath a rain drenched landscape. Rain is refreshing, calming, renovating. Also, why do you think this is known as the “Emerald Island”? Yep, there is one reason why nature is so green here!
The eye-catching book arrangement at the Trinity College Library.
Most other libraries around the world choose to arrange their books according to topic. The Trinity College books are arranged by size, with the heaviest ones on the lower shelves and the smaller ones on top. It must be a freaking nightmare trying to find a book there!
This arrangement is a perfect example for a combination of practicality and design that I’ve noticed time and again in Ireland so far. It definitely contributes to the overall feeling of magical symmetry you get when you enter the library, which is probably one of the reasons why it has become such a popular attraction.
The Spire from below.
At 121.2m high, this cool landmark located at the heart of Dublin is the tallest sculpture in the whole world (and also a super handy reference point when you’re exploring the city centre). Isn’t it cool that one of the most important landmarks in the city is also one of the most useful structures for travelers too?
The beautiful and magic colour transformation a pint of Guinness goes through as you allow it to settle.
Lo and behold:
Locals say you should never drink a Guinness before you let it settle. That is something you just DON’T do. But if you’ve ever had a delicious pint of the black stuff in front of you, you know how hard that waiting time can be! The Irish seem to be a pretty patient folk, if you ask me!
The Liffey on a sunny day.
This beautiful river divides the city into two very recognizable areas: the north and the south side. It also helps give the city its particular atmosphere: Dublin has a myriad of lovely bridges, most of which have a peculiar history of their own. The Ha’Penny Bridge, for example, has a quite interesting story. You can read all about it here.
And not to be missed: the ubiquitous seagulls, flying all over the Liffey.
I don’t know about you, but the look and the sounds of them make me think directly about the seaside. This reminds me that Dublin is one of those few lucky capital cities around the world that is located directly on the coast side. Oh and FYI: they have been known to steal lollipops from kids, so keep an eye on them!
The pretty Christmas decorations at the Temple Bar.
Although known around locals as a place “for tourists”, I believe the Temple Bar pub does a great job at conveying that warm and cosy feeling that we all want to have when we’re at a pub having a pint. There are many other places around Dublin that accomplish that too, though! Explore a bit and you will find them!
If you’re not used to them, they amaze you every time you see them (“Oh my God look! It’s one bus on top of another!”). Also, if it’s your first time riding one of these, go to the second floor and enjoy the beautiful views and the new perspective you’ll get of the city!
Molly Malone’s enigmatic expression.
Is she sad? Worried? Contemplative? Maybe she just dislikes the smell of seafood? Or perhaps she’s wondering where to go on her next travel trip? We’ll never know. If you’re not familiar with this pretty lady’s sad story, I’d recommend you listen to this beautiful rendition of her song by The Dubliners:
Catching a sight of the deer at Phoenix Park.
I find it a lovely thing that Dubliners have open spaces they can go to when they want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. Phoenix Park is exactly that, and also a place where you can take an up-close look at the wildlife of the Irish woodlands.
This mysterious structure known as “Sphere within a Sphere”, found at Trinity College.
No one is really sure what this bronze sculpture by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro is supposed to represent, but we do know you can find replicas all over the world (e.g. Rome, NYC, Washington D.C, Tel Aviv, among others). The one here in Dublin is the only one that can spin, though! #coolfact
The main hall at Kilmainham Gaol, where many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned.
This hall and the whole prison, symbols of a terrible period of oppression and fear in Irish history, have been turned into a museum that has even been used as a set on a number of films (e.g. The Italian Job, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, among others).
This chair in the court room at Kilmainham, where the accused would sit as he/she awaited for the final verdict.
You can feel the isolation transmitted by this very first room from the exhibition at Kilmainham, where the visitors prepare for the sad stories that are to come during the rest of the tour.
This engraving of five snakes in chains over the main gate at Kilmainham.
A bleak sight for those about to enter the prison. They are known as the “five devils of Kilmainham” and each one of them represents a crime that was punishable by death.
The view of the city from the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse.
You can’t beat that 360° of Dublin. From up there you can look out over the hustle and bustle and see the calm hills that ring the city. Just beautiful!
The 9,000-year lease (!) Arthur Guinness signed for the brewery is presently displayed in the floor at St. James’ Gate, at the Guinness Storehouse.
If Mr. Guinness and his story of entrepreneurship aren’t examples of commitment, ambition and foresight, I don’t know what is!
And last but certainly not least, the beautiful arrangement of flags from all over the world at our Church Restaurant at the Dublin International Hostel.
It’s more than just a pretty, decorative arrangement: it’s a welcome sign to people from all countries and nationalities, which is exactly what you will find at the hostel!
They say the devil is in the details. Being an avid traveler myself, I’ve noticed that many of the memories you take home with you after visiting a new place are based on the little things that make up the big picture: a detail, a smell, a sound, etc. If you’re in Dublin or are planning to visit, watch out for these next time you’re out and about exploring and let us know which details from this amazing town stick out the most for you!
by Natalie Villalba.