Dublin can’t be grasped in three days.
Green, but urban to boot, its charmingly tough. Fishermen shacks, stone cut cathedrals, chrome business centers rub shoulders with parks and alleys.
Run-down brick houses are stuffed with pubs, weeds grow in unkept gardens and white frames blue, red and green doorsteps.
Marble Oscar Wilde smirks from the rock overlooking his birth house and pots overflowing with flowers fill the streets. Dublin is city of drinkers, writers and Celts.
St. James’s Gate gleams black against Guinness Brewery.
A beer “as dark as Cromwell’s heart and as white as snow” is dark due to roasted barley. A method used to brew cheap beer in the past. A 90 minutes tour ends in bar overlooking whole city.
“In Dublin we drink a halfer. Half pint of Guinness, half pint of vodka,” bartender sends glass my way. Celebrating 258 years since the first batch, the famous Stout has aged well.
For a stiffer drink tracks lead to Jameson Distillery. A cozy bar in the front serves best Irish coffee in town. Espresso spiced by Jameson and topped with cold milk foam makes for a good company before tour. The 200 years of whiskey making fits into one hour and one free shot. Pinning “Sine Metu” (Live a bit more, fear a bit less) badge on my bag, Dublin Castle towers just across the Limey River.
Celtic fortress and creek run under the Colonial halls. Pennies glitter in the water and window to the upper floors inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula. A classic kept in print since 1897.
Dublin’s Writers Museum gift shop stocks entire wall with it. The only country with 4 Nobel Prize winners for Literature is the place to get the books. James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift or Oscar Wilde called Dublin their home. Ulysses, Waiting for Godot and Picture of Dorian Grey are national treasures, for 3 Euros a piece.
Roots of most authors grew from Trinity College. Sitting in the city centre, the Tudor campus steps on toes of Cambridge and its library keeps the oldest book on the British Isles. Illuminated gospel manuscript from 800 AD, Book of Kells is the beginning of literature in Ireland.
Book of Kells was written in Latin, but, native language of Ireland is Gaelic. Legacy of Celts is second official language of the country. Today only 18% of Irish speak it fluently. But, buses, trains and villages use both English and Gaelic name. Bus 31 doesn’t go only to Howth Peninsula, it also arrives to Binn Éadair.
Howth smells of sea salt. Rain falls every 5 minutes and nobody minds. Water front eateries sell fish chowder and Irish Earl Grey. Seagulls circle around fishermen carrying fresh cods to the shore. Dublin’s suburb resembles South England. The harbour ends with medieval wall. Waves break against the massive stone. In the distance lies green island with derelict tower. A great view to get lost in thought. Next morning the streets are empty. Getting on the first airport bus I leave Kilmanhaim Gaol prison, Phoenix park and Christchurch cathedral as alibi for the next visit. Ireland capitol is not only worth seeing again, it’s worth moving into.