On the 31st March 2013 I’ve first met Ireland. I think it was love at first “airplane sight”, because the view from the sky was just great. I was already feeling like home and I knew that Dublin, my future home, won’t let me down.
It has beautiful parks full of people; it has pubs, restaurants, shops, everything that a busy capital city needs. With over 520,000 people, it can be overwhelming at the beginning. But the sun shined for me, in order to welcome me here and let me know that everything will be just fine.
First, I started with small steps, walking around the familiar places and trying not to get lost, until I figured out how to get to different areas in the city. Then, I realised that Dublin has a very nice way of separating areas, as follows: the odd postcode numbers are north of the river Liffey, while the even postcode numbers are south of the river.
The Liffey, which means “life”, as I’ve heard, flows through the city center giving Dublin that special spark.
Dublin has a lot to offer to its visitors and it really is a great place to live in. I still have a lot to learn about the history, culture, laws and even the Irish language, but I still have plenty of time, since I’ve just started my new life here.
I will begin with the first walk around Grafton Street, which is considered the most important shopping street in Dublin. It is always crowded and full of people. Some sing, some dance or put on different artistic shows to grab a smile from people (and to receive a small amount of money); some are just busy going to work or going for important meetings at coffee shops nearby; others are just out having a walk, or shopping; tourist are trying to figure out how to get to places and try to visit as much as they can. It is a pretty intense first experience, if you are not used to seeing so many cultures combined in such an agglomerated place.
At one end, there is the famous Molly Malone statue, which attracts tourists and also lovers that meet in front of the statue. There is a song that tells a fictional story about a beautiful fishmonger who plied her trade on the streets of Dublin, but who died really young, that’s her.
The other end has Saint Stephen’s Green Park. A beautiful place where you can just relax, read a book, grab a quick lunch with a friend or co-worker, jog or even play with your child.
Walking from Grafton Street, you get to Christ Church, an amazing medieval Gothic style cathedral, finished around the year 1030.
That is immediately followed by St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the same beautiful Gothic style, from around 1191.
There are extremely imposing buildings and the architecture in the city speaks for itself. You will simply fall in love with the city.
I believe the most important experience, so far, was going to Trinity College. It has been my dream since I was a child. The old library, built between 1712 and 1732, has nearly 65 meters in length and has over 200,000 very old books. That day was the happiest of my life so far. Just walking in that room, full of books, the smell of old paper prints and all that knowledge and all that history in such a beautiful room, was just beyond imagination.
I will upload more photos soon, and I will describe more of my Irish experience, even outside Dublin city.