Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Thoughts on my first visit to Dublin

I found Dublin rather confusing at first. It all started when I entered Dublin Airport and spotted a handful of signs in Irish. Actually everything was written in Irish. I already knew that Irish was the official language of Ireland, together with English, but I wasn't expecting to see it everywhere. All signs were written in English as well but my eyes couldn't make it to the second line and I thought myself lost in all those gaelic words I didn't understand at all. The only word I picked up during my trip was sráid, which means street, I guess - now, that's the reason why I found it impossible to figure out the bus timetables when doing my pre-trip research, because street names were written in Irish and I was unable to match the stops to the names in Google maps, which were written in English ... I took the airport shuttle to the city and as soon as I stepped out the bus I was confronted with the classic traffic confussion. In Ireland cars drive on the left and it is a real challenge to look to the correct side of the road to see if any car was coming but I got used to it, just when it was about time to leave. Actually, after my first day in Ireland confussion wore off and I started to appreciate this small city. I thought is was pretty and cosy but not in a dull way and I also thought it to be a lively city with a very young and mixed population.


I arrived to Dublin on a Sunday morning and one of the first things I noticed is that people dressed very casually and most men and many a girl wore tracksuit pants and hoodies with a bit of a thug touch. A younger version of me would have been impressed but all the current me could think of was why. I was thinking that this might be a Sunday thing but when I met a friend for dinner that evening and she said that this was an all-week thing and that girls even wore their tracksuit pants with ugg boots - again, why. However, on Monday I noticed a bit of a change and realised that many girls actually wore very fashionable clothes, resembling any UK Cosmo fashion edit. And just like in magazines, women (and also men) didn't bother too much to wrap up for a cold climate. Scarfs seemed unnecessary and open shoes were trending  right in February - not that it was particulary cold, but it was still winter. No, it wasn't really cold in Dublin but there was rain, rain, rain and wind, wind, wind, a frozen kind of wind which makes you feel truly cold, especially when walking nearby the river. Anyway, despite the rain and the wind, I was lucky enough to see the sun shine during the four days that I was in Dublin and that's a blessing when doing sightseeing on foot.

When out in the city and while figuring out which way of the street to look at I noticed that Irish people don't bother about traffic lights at all. Green or red it's all the same and if no cars are coming it is then time to cross the street. Even at major roads! I must have looked so foreign with my continental ways waiting for the traffic lights to turn green. Later, while driving to the coast with that same friend of mine I learnt that Irish are as mad drivers as they are pedestrians. Another thing that caught my eye while in the city was how many Irish pubs there were in Dublin, Seriously, I think that almost every street had at least one Irish pub and the the streets in the Temple Bar area were made of of one Irish pub after another. Way too many Irish pubs, only that in Ireland they're probably simply called pubs - just like 'russian salad' is simply called salad or salad Olivier in Russia. And many of those pubs would have live music several times and week and people downing beer every day and a good fraction of those people would probably be Spanish. My travel guide warned me about it, we, Spanish, are like the plague and would be found everywhere in Dublin and especially around Temple Bar. And it was true, no matter where I went I could hear Spanish people talking out loud. In every street and every shop I came across several Spanish people and it seemed that almost every souvenir shop had at least one Spanish cashier. I should be used to it by now, but it still amazes me how many Spanish people I encounter everywhere! And among so many Spanish people, I also noticed that every shop and supermarket in Dublin had a security guard, even the Penney's (the Irish name for the Primark franchise). The Penney's, where you can buy yourself an entire new wardrobe for under 100€, really, how bad do they need a security officer?

These were some of the thoughts that occupied my mind during my trip to Dublin. I tried to pay attention to every small detail that revealed something about Dubliners and the life the live in Dublin. Of course, these are random details and by no means describe the city and its entire population to a full extent but they were funny to observe. One last thing, while having dinner my friend and I discussed Irish food briefly and she mentioned an apparently beloved snack called 'crispy sandwich'. I was already thinking of crispy bacon when she explained that it actually consists of bread spread with butter and crumbles of salt & vinegar crisps in between. Now, this is something that won't make it to my table on St Patrick's day, yet I find it way more appetizing than the butter-sugar-peanut butter Dutch combo (probably because I love salt & vinegar crisps).


Have you ever been to Dublin? Did you like the city? What did you think about Dublin?
Have a lovely Wednesday!

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7 comments:

  1. I have never been to Dublin yet but I have the same book by the way. :) As you can see I want to travel to Dublin so badly! :) Thanks for this post! I can't believe you saw girls wearing track suites with ugg boots. Haha. There are security guards in front of German Primark stores too. I never really got why. All the crazy driving and walking sounds pretty Italian to me. :) Haha. Again, thanks for this post, I love it!

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  2. Nunca he estado en Irlanda pero no me ha sorprendido lo de la lengua porque en muchas películas ya había visto esto. En cuanto a la ropa, yo la verdad es que soy muy friolera y cuando he ido a Inglaterra en verano siempre me he puesto chaquetas y calzado cerrado ( pero si allí no hay verano!) curioso lo de que la gente tiene un estilo relajado con ropa deportiva y casual incluso los domingos. Muy interesante el post para conocer un poco más de Irlanda. Bss:)

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    1. Ah, quizás debería haber visto más películas antes de visitar Irlanda ;)
      La verdad que nunca he estado en Inglaterra o Irlanda en verano, siempre he ido en carnaval o en el puente de diciembre, así que no tengo ni idea de cuanto frío hará en verano jeje
      Un beso!

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  3. Oh Wow Irene! They don't pay attention to the red/green lights? As clumsy as I am, I just might get run over. LOL As you know, I've never left the US but I can only imagine getting used to drivers that drive on the opposite side of the road (and having to look both ways). Track suits and sneakers are so popular now in fashion. I hate to tell you, but you'll probably see more of them. Some I like and some I don't. HaHaHa
    http://www.averysweetblog.com/

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    1. Yes! I realised when I picked the Mango catalogue for this spring that sporty fashion is making a HUGE comeback and I've seen it in other fashion mags as well ... I'll have to update my wardrobe, then :)
      I have to say that in Spain it is also normal not to mind traffic lights and I never did before but I've grown incredibly acustomed to European ways and I don't know how to navigate chaos anymore hahaha

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  4. This is one of the things I love about your blog. Your personal insight of each place, how you've captured the details allow me to feel like I'm really there with you. It's very interesting to read how Dublin is really like. I've never been and the pubs at every street corner must have been quite a sight.

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    1. Thanks, Arni! I always find it interesting to know more about a place than what is written in a guide book and reading blogs comes very handy for that :)
      I try my best but I still have a lot to learn about the art of travel story telling hehehe

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