Site News


Search entries

Enter Keywords


Dublin, Ireland - Wide Awake - 30th May and 1st of June 2002

Posted by Edmond on Monday, December 2, 2002

Tour of the Temple Bar district, the National Museum, the Liffey and Windmill Lane. Guided tour of the Trinity College and Dublin Castle. Sights and sounds of street performers around Grafton Street and the Temple Bar district

Dublin City Centre:
1. Temple Bar Area and the River Liffey
2. Grafton Street
3. National Museum
4. Windmill Lane Graffiti and the Studio
5. Trinity College and the Book of Kells
6. Dublin Castle
7. St Stephen's Green
Trinity College web site
Windmill Lane Studios
Dublin Castle Web site
National Museum

We arrived in Dublin on the Friday afternoon and caught the first bus parked outside the airport into the city. The bus would take another 50 minutes before arriving at the main bus terminus near the Customs House. Unlike London, Dublin does not have a metro network, although I heard it was being built soon. Since we did not know our way around, we decided to catch a taxi to the hostel we were staying at in Aungier Place.

Although the Dublin weather was colder than London, the city did feel more cheerful, as we wandered around classical-styled shopping malls while the music of street performers played around Grafton Street. We seemed drawn in by the hearty atmosphere around the shopping area of Grafton Street and a lady gazing at a camera shop window seemed keen to tell us that she had seen cheaper prices at another shop north of the city. But after a while, we made a visit to the National Museum, although free, was not as grand as we first thought, so we spent most of our time around the shopfronts and market stalls of Grafton street before retiring for the rest of the afternoon in St Stephen's Green.

We proceeded back to the Temple Bar early in the evening and was surprised to find that many restaurants were already packed or were fully reserved. Its no wonder since many of the restaurants and bars had a very polished and professional look, since the rejuvenation of the Temple Bar area a few years ago. After asking around a couple of restaurants, we managed to find an seafood tavern that stood invitingly near the Temple Bar square, which operated on a first come first serve basis. As it was also the World Cup, the Temple Bar area was in a very lively atmosphere, various people of all walks wearing football outfits and the colours of the Irish flag dotted the alleyways.

As it was getting quite rowdy around the Temple Bar area, we headed for the peace and quiet of the River Liffey, which was just a block away. On reflection, Dublin seemed to remind me of Melbourne in Australia, with its outgoing cosmopolitan atmosphere and lively nightlife. Some in Ireland would even argue rock artists such as U2 would have been partly responsible for Dublin's cultural atmosphere. But, for such a small compact city, Dublin has really come a long way from its black era of crime, drugs, unemployment and recession to become a cultural centre of Europe.

Werfen, Austria - Stranglehold - 11 August 2003
Werfen really was a surprise out of the list of...

  Tuesday, November 25, 2003
· Comments (2)

After an early breakfast, we trekked eastwards down the River Liffey while waiting for the Trinity College to open up to see the Book of Kells. This gave me a chance to pay a visit to Windmill Lane and the Windmill Lane Studio where U2 recorded many of their music. Admittedly there was not much to see other than a plaque that indicated the location of the studio and U2 tributes sprayed on the walls of the studio and warehouses in the area. However, a lot has changed since I saw the first photos of Windmill Lane on a documentary I saw about five years ago. I remember seeing a more run-down area with more warehouses along the laneway that were filled with graffiti containing U2 tributes. Now, the area is being redeveloped to make way for new apartments, so only the graffiti on the studio, and the warehouse opposite can be seen. In addition, the walls seem to be in a constant state of change, with old, fading graffiti being sprayed over with more colourful figures - all but one or two showing reference to the band U2. Like a changing of the guard between the U2 faithful along the ages.

We went on tour of the college with one of the current undergraduate students. As it was a compact university, he was able to walk around the square and give out all the stories and happenings of the university down the times. From the history of the belltower in the centre of the college to the dreaded examination hall opposite the chapel, there always seemed to be a story to tell. Afterwards we were shown to the college library where the Book of Kells was exhibited. Surprisingly, there were lots of people attending so it was hard to even get a few moments to look at the display cabinet containing the book of Kells.

After having our lunch we took a guided tour of Dublin Castle, probably the only surviving relic of British imperialism. From that basis, our guide explained the significance of the castle in the history of Dublin, from its function as a "home away from home" for the English King, the handover of the castle to the new Republic of Ireland and finally to its role in kicking off the "Good Friday" agreement. The most interesting aspect of the castle is the Undercroft where the original moat and viking defence structures are still prerserved.

To finish off the day, we walked around Christ Church Cathedral, the banks of the Liffey and visited a record shop that specialised in U2 recordings before settling down in Merrion Square. By this time, fog had started to settle around the city centre and the air had started to get chilly - pretty surprising as it is meant to be summer. After our long rest, we headed back to the Temple bar for dinner where we had a table waiting at one of the restaurants. There was no way we were going to get caught out a second time, but we don't know what the weather will hold for us tomorrow.

Edmond, 2002