Have you ever been to Dublin? I feel like many travellers miss this place because it’s a bit remote (hahaha Finland who are you to talk about remote?). I mean, it’s not a place that you just visit when passing by. But thank god for cheap Ryanair flights. Yes, I know cheap flights are usually the worst ones from an environmental perspective, but on that matter, I Googled a little bit, and it would look like Ryanair isn’t in the worst end regarding environmental policy, compared to other airlines. According to their own website, they are “Europe’s greenest airline”, and committed to bettering their actions through better policy. You can read more on their website, but to put it shortly, they are committed to being a plastic-free airline by 2023, reducing their CO2 per RPK (Revenue Passenger-Kilometre) by 66% by 2030 (compared to 2005) and including carbon offsetting programmes. That raises the question on how they can afford to sell such cheap seats and still do better than more expensive airlines from that perspective.
Anyway, thanks to flights that cost less than train tickets to London, I decided I’d take the opportunity and go check if I really would fit there with my red hair as well as I should according to all the jokes I hear. Well, I don’t, or at least not better than for example in the UK, the Netherlands or the Nordics. Gingers are all over the place and we’re on our way to conquer the world. We even have an emoji (not on Android yet, but believe me, we’re taking on the world).
Although I didn’t find a place filled with redheads and leprechauns, I did find a beautiful city built in an industrial style, with a lot of small brick houses of different colour tightly packed one next to the other, around River Liffey. Dublin had this small-town vibe, lacking the huge, modern, glass buildings almost completely, but still, it is a very lively, young and busy city, which I like a lot.
Now to the real deal. What will I remember the most from Dublin? Easy. Irish pubs. Quite cliché, I know, but I thought Irish pubs around the world were just a caricature full of stereotypes, but they’re not, at least to some extent. Of course you don’t get the same vibe anywhere else and the menu can’t be the same either, but in a general way, I feel most of the Irish pubs I’ve been to in other places did resemble somehow the ones I went to in Dublin, at least from a design point of view. Still, the best part of the pub culture in Ireland, which is an experience that’s harder to get elsewhere, is definitely the music. There are tens of pubs in Dublin, and live music in most of them, in some every night. It’s a huge part of the culture, and you can see it’s not only for tourists that just know Ireland for Irish pubs. The artists play, on guitar, violin or other instruments, songs that many of us know, but making folk versions of them, as well as more traditional songs. In one pub, there was even an Irish dancer performing on the bar. I could never imagine someone getting on the bar in Finland and starting to do some traditional dances. And it would definitely not look as cool as that did. My legs could never do that. It’s quite rare in Europe that traditional music is still played and combined to more modern and international music, and I’m loving it. Please go to Dublin and experience it for yourself instead of keeping only the image of Irish pubs that you get from your local Irish pub.
While in Dublin, you should also walk around the city center, enjoy some traditional food in a pub and go on a walking tour and get the best tips and stories from a local. In a weekend, I didn’t get to see nearly everything there would be to see, but still it didn’t feel like it was way too short. If I would have had more time, I would have probably gone outside of Dublin to see the nature, because I’ve heard it’s also definitely worth the detour…
If you’re looking for a hostel, I can definitely recommend Abbey Court. It was really affordable, right in the middle of the city close to everything and with easy connections to the airport, the vibe is very home-like and the walls are all covered in different paintings. They also organise walking tours and pub crawls, and the staff was super friendly and always ready to help.