An evening spent pub-hopping in Dublin might end up being a tad expensive but the proverbial Irish humour is for free. In fact, it is ubiquitous: there’s wit on display boards outside certain pubs; in the audio at the Wax Museum; and of course, all conversations are punctuated by humour. So it’s not odd to ask if the Irish are born with it. “Probably yes,” says Michael, an old hand at a local pub. “and Thank God for that – it’s helping us survive these troubled times,” he adds thoughtfully.

Pubs at Temple Bar
Times are tough in Ireland, not quite as bad as the catastrophic potato famine which racked the country in the early 20th century, but the economic crisis has taken no prisoners. Surprisingly, even as the dailies dish out gloomy fare about job cuts, there isn’t a pervasive air of resentment. “Everything will be fine. Whatever happens, happens for the better,” says Michael with defiant optimism. It’s not easy to get the Irish down.

Almost as uniquely Irish as their sense of humour is a pint of Guinness. The stout seems to be the answer to all your queries…and I suspect this dark viscous brew is in fact the secret ingredient that makes the Irish so impervious to life's vagaries! You hear so much about it from the Irish and the guidebooks that you think it might almost be criminal not to visit the famous Guinness Storehouse and unethical not to savour this lauded drink. And what if, like me, you find it a bit too bitter? Well, you can always use the Irish humour to get away!

But the craic (fun), beer and pubs are not what Dublin is all about. It’s not a city that wears its charm on its sleeve and will get under your skin when you’re not looking. As with all old cities, the best way to get beyond the superfluous touristy track is to explore the city on foot. I’m a bit late to reach this realization: only after I’ve blown a precious 16 Euros on the city tour bus ticket. While the tour hardly does justice to the sights and sounds of Dublin, it is a prudent option if you’re short on time.

The hop-on-hop-off bus takes you to as many as 22 spots across the city. I get off near Oscar Wilde’s statue – the first stop on the route. Dublin has an obsession with statues: scattered all over the city and sometimes in the unlikeliest of places. Wilde would have been proud of this one: it’s as much a homage to the man as it is to his eccentricity –lying supine on a stone in a park right across what used to be his house ( and is now, appropriately, a library). Looking at people lounging about on a perfect sunny day, I’m tempted to park myself on a bench and let Dublin’s literary air and Wilde’s presence get my poetic juices flowing.
One clich√© that rings out loud in my head is that there is something for everyone here: there’s history in the well-preserved mansions, castles, cathedrals and fascinating museums; the other side of the Liffey River offers something to those looking for a glimpse into the Dublin of yore. The city has upmarket shopping streets for shopaholics and souvenir hunters; theatres and avenues to satiate the most ravenous culture fiends; beautifully manicured parks for those who just want to lie about and soak in the atmosphere which inspired some of the greatest writers ever. Whatever your area of interest might be, there’s a tour for you in Dublin. If you are looking for unusual insights on the city, I recommend walking tours with Pat Liddy, an historian well-versed in Dublin’s everyday life.
And as evening comes, there’s probably nothing better to do than stand among Dubliners at the Ha’penny Bridge over the Liffey. The river divides the city into northern and southern part. On the north side, which appears to be unplanned vis-√†-vis the southern part, is O'Connell Street intersected by shopping streets like Henry Street and Talbot Street. On the south are St. Stephen's Green, Grafton Street, Trinity College, Christ Church, St. Patrick's Cathedral, and many other attractions. The river goes down as my favourite spot in the city.

It’s difficult to put a finger on just what is so heartwarming about Dublin. Certainly, there are no dearth of reasons to fall in love with the city: whether you’re just walking about the cobbled pathways in the older part of town, chatting with complete strangers in the parks and gardens, gulping down copious amounts of Guinness in these amazingly convivial pubs, watching a play, or just sitting near the Liffey and letting it all pass you by, this city will charm you inside out.

Till then, cheers! May the luck of the Irish lead to happiest heights and the highway you travel be lined with green lights.

The article is also published here: http://in.lifestyle.yahoo.com/blogs/traveler/doubly-charmed-dublin-050434860.html

1 comment:

Sandy said...

First of all, accept my congrats for you write quite well and is extensively descriptive.
Having said that, let me tell you that most of your entries are on the same level you live on, reflects only your experience, thoughts and shades within a defined spectrum..I truly believe you need to get out of that defined range and write equally your experiences about people, places, emotions much lower and above you and I am asking you because I love to read you

Recently, I had a chance to spend time with some saffronized men. I slept on half mud half rocks with ants and and their cousins, monkeys around in 42-45 degrees and learn t the difference between god-made and man-made

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