Dublin, Rich in History and Beer
Que faire, que voir dans la capitale irlandaise.
Dublin est sans conteste la destination idéale pour une escapade automnale de quelques jours. La capitale irlandaise est riche de nombreux trésors et monuments historiques. Son célèbre Livre de Kells est l’un des plus beaux manuscrits enluminés du Moyen-Âge. C’est également une ville où l’on aime faire la fête, en témoignent les quelques mille pubs qui la jalonnent. Petit tour d’horizon avec le journaliste américain Lucas Peterson.
My instructor, a woman named Áine, urged me on: “Do it for your country!” A group of us that had booked a traditional Irish games experience through Experience Gaelic Games (35 euros, about $42) stood out on a green field one hot afternoon in northern Dublin. Áine, having taught us the ways of hurling, a lacrosse-like game
1. to urge on encourager / to book réserver / field terrain (ici, pelouse) / lacrosse sport collectif d'origine amérindienne, qui oppose deux équipes de dix joueurs / possibly as old as Ireland itself, was now instructing us in the ways of Gaelic football, which is played with a soccer ball-like orb.
2. The beautiful capital city of Ireland has theater, literature and music emanating from its pores: the perfect place for culture and history mavens — not to mention those who would like to experience bruising, idiosyncratic national sports. But the city is also a victim of its own success. Not designed to cater to hordes of tourists, it can present issues for visitors, particularly in cost. (Even locals have trouble keeping up with rents.)
EXPLORING THE CITY
3. I stepped out from the Tara Street station near George’s Quay in central Dublin, which runs alongside the River Liffey. After grabbing a Burundi filter brew at Shoe Lane Coffee (2.70 euros), I set out to do a quick survey of the city on foot, heading up toward the landmark Spire (handy to spot if you get turned around) before turning down the pedestrian and shopping thoroughfare of Henry Street.
4. A stop at a cell provider store was necessary, so I went into the Three store where Henry Street became Mary Street (streets change names frequently in Dublin, and it is best to just get used to it). Safe in knowing
that I could burn through data without consequence, I turned my attention back to enjoying Dublin — the street musicians in particular.
MUSIC AND THEATRE
5. While the 2007 movie Once put international attention on the art form, musicians singing for their supper is a tradition. Today, there is considerable diversity in what you will hear as you walk the city. A young Bolivian man, Williams Erick Ortiz, crooned Spanish-language songs; Coldplay covers were the preferred choice of another performer, Minkyu Jo. Over toward the north end of Grafton Street (the most popular area to find musicians), I caught a talented teenager who goes by Buzz Apollo playing some angsty rock numbers.
6. For those who prefer their music in an indoor setting, The Cobblestone describes itself as a “drinking pub with a music problem.” That is not to say it is buttoned up or stuffy — when I walked in, two fiddlers were sitting in the corner to my left, playing off one another while others chatted and drank amber-colored pints. There was a special performance for Brittany Day, which celebrates Bretons in Ireland, the evening I was there (10 euros), and I caught the group Bal Feirste playing Breton and Irish tunes.
7. If theater is more your thing, the birthplace of Shaw and Beckett can certainly oblige. I caught a new play, “My Son My Son” by Veronica Dyas at the Project Arts Centre in
Temple Bar, smack in the center of the city (14 euros). While some of the references flew over my head, the politically charged play, which revolves around the life of a single mother in the Liberties, a historically working-class neighborhood of Dublin, was excellently acted.
8. Those with an interest in history will find plenty to do in Dublin. I enjoyed a tour booked through Historical Walking Tours of Dublin (12 euros) and was impressed by my knowledgeable guide, Sylvie. The tour, which leaned on the 18th century as a crucial period in Irish history, began at Trinity College before slowly moving to the old House of Lords and Temple Bar areas. We learned, among other things, why the Irish language, while it may never be widely used again, will never go extinct thanks to extensive civic and government efforts to protect it.
9. A visit to Dublin must include walking the grounds of Trinity College, established by Queen Elizabeth in 1592 and the country’s oldest existing university. The Old Library on campus houses volumes of valuable and venerable manuscripts, the most famous of which are the lavishly illuminated New Testament Gospels known as the Book of Kells (exhibit admission, 14 euros).
10. But it is the Long Room that has to be one of the most impressive sites in the country. The epic barrel-vaulted library, measuring over 200 feet long and nearly 50 feet high, is packed with 200,000 books, slotted neatly into row after row of wooden shelves stretching to the ceiling. It is magical and a must-see for any library buff; you can almost feel the spirit of Oscar Wilde walking beside you.
FOOD AND BEER
11. But no visit to Dublin would be complete without a hearty meal and a creamy pint of one of Ireland’s fine beers. For the former, I recommend Pickle, which specializes in Northern Indian cuisine and has an excellent 22-euro early bird dinner special. For a deeper dive into the latter, the massive Guinness Storehouse is an obvious choice, a theme-parklike cash grab that is fun if you relax and go with the raucous atmosphere. I paid 17.50 euros online for my ticket, and found it slightly overpriced for my taste. You do get a free pint with admission, however, which I enjoyed with some excellent views of the city from the Gravity Bar on the seventh floor.
12. But why pay that much? The beer was just as cold at Dice Bar, a lively corner dive with worn leather booths and a homey atmosphere. I got a thick pint of D’Arcy’s Dublin Stout for 4.80 euros. A couple of new friends I made, Josh and Keith, took me to Grogan’s Castle Lounge, where we found a freewheeling gathering; we caroused and drank in the street with about 100 other people. After a crawl that also included The Bar With No Name, we collapsed at a table at a busy late-night Iranian restaurant. The food was good, enhanced by the excitement of the after-midnight crowd. And I had a parallel feeling after a long day exploring this exciting capital city.
No visit to Dublin would be complete without a hearty meal and a creamy pint of one of Ireland’s fine beers.
The Gate Theatre.
The Four Courts. The Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship. The Long Room at Trinity College. The Temple Bar area. Trinity College.
Temple bar, Dublin.