Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday:
"...a picture of Dublin so complete..."

"I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete 
that if the city suddenly disappeared from the earth 
it could be reconstructed out of my book."
James Joyce, 1918

This Tuesday I am traveling on the second leg of my trip back from Ireland to home and I wanted to feature ten things I now know about Dublin/Ireland, that hopefully others can find helpful in future travels.

1.  Coffee on the menu does not mean coffee beans, it means espresso beans.  If you want something akin to coffee, they will make you an "americano," which is espresso and water.  Also, many people drink tea with meals (and tea time), and most restaurants and shops have whole leaf tea as well as bagged.

2.  You can get delicious homemade Irish brown soda bread with everything and at almost every restaurant and pub.

3.  People generally walk on the left side, just like driving, but not everyone, and it can cause chaos trying to do it "right."

4. People almost never wait until the green signal appears to cross, but dart out into the road as long as there is just enough space to clear an approaching vehicle.  However, they generally do all cross at the crosswalks.

5.  The small, winding roads that go through smaller towns are as narrow and fear-inducing as they appear to be on television.

6.  The Dublin Bus is a great way to travel around the city, and even to some of the more distant suburbs, but having a bus app that works without internet access is a must.  I really liked Dublin Buster Lite.

7.  There is so much incredible literary talent coming from Ireland, past and present, that extends beyond the well-known authors of James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, and Jonathan Swift.  The Dublin Writers Museum did an excellent job of presenting the cannon of Irish authors.

8.  Most of the major national museums are free to get into, and a number of the other museums and galleries offer discounts for students and children.

9.  Even if the temperature is the same as the day before, it can feel much colder if the wind is blowing, necessitating extra layers, gloves and scarves.

10.  Ireland became the Republic of Ireland much more recently than I realized, and I feel an odd kinship to the Irish people I did not expect, now knowing more about their struggles.  It actually sparked within me an interest in delving into specific details about the American Revolution, because I really only know the basic facts that are taught in history textbooks.

Plus a tip about tipping: it is almost never done in Ireland, and servers/waitstaff will give the oddest looks if told to add a gratuity amount to the total bill, or to keep the change.

I had a wonderful time in Dublin, but did not get a chance to see everything I really wanted to.  It is a city literally filled with rich culture, and a week was only long enough to pique my interest (though definitely long enough to miss AC and SC).  I cannot wait to one day bring them along and share new experiences in Dublin, and this is one of the few places I think I could eventually see myself wanting to move to (along with Whistler, Canada).

Have you traveled anywhere interesting recently?  Leave a comment, then check out some more Top Ten Tuesday posts here:

Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings
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