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      01.06.2009 13:40
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      Very bland and unaffordable city! Avoid.

      So a few months ago me and my girlfriend managed to bag some 1p flights to Dublin with Ryanair. Great we thought! You seem to hear so much about the place; amazing nightlife, Guiness...um. Did I mentioned the nightlife!? So we did actually start to wonder what Dublin did have to offer other than Guiness and nightlife and did some research online. We discovered it had a viking museum, a modern art museum, trinity college and the Guinness brewery. "Well..." we thought, "the adverts on television are always raving about Ireland" (discover Ireland), so we decided to give it a go. Big mistake! - Trinity college is just a normal university, not even that big. What is the big deal? - The Guinness brewery is £15 so we naturally we didn't bother. - Pretty much 80% of the Modern Art Museum's exhibitions were closed, we were told they had to borrow exhibitions from the Bank of Ireland...Come on guys, now this is just embarassing! It was absolutely awful. - The price of food is obscene, especially with the current exchange rate from pound to Euro. We spent half the time walking around in the cold wind trying to find a place to eat. Mcdonalds costed £12 for a meal. Fish N Chips were £5. When we did find somewhere reasonably inexpensive to eat we had to sit outside in the cold. We ended up cooking our own food bought from Lidl at our hostel. - Nightlife. What nightlife? Temple Bar area was touristy as hell, the pubs were just normal pubs, nothing special. And 4-5 quid for a pint of Guinness! Even in supermarkets alcohol was very expensive. So we couldn't even get drunk. - Viking museum - This was embarassingly the highlight of Dublin for me. A fairly small museum with some fun Viking shields and helmets to play with! - The Churches were average, even Christchurch and St.Patricks Church were just plain average; England has billions of better Cathedrals and churches and you usually don't have to pay extortionate prices to enter them (for example Salisbury cathedral in Wiltshire, totally free, huge and impressive for such a small town). Sorry but I just don't know what people see in the place. Why on Earth do people feel that the sights are in anyway interesting? Most of the so called highlights you can find in any small city in the UK or anywhere on mainland Europe for that matter. Dublin, and all of Ireland, lives off an image that is totally false. The tourist board has a good marketing body that makes Ireland seem appealling but when you get there you realise you've been misled! Awful place.

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        29.05.2009 22:45
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        lots to do in four days, wouldnt stay much longer though

        I visited Dublin for four days in April. We arrived at Dublin airport in the very early hours of the morning, and a minibus from our hostel came and picked us up. The driver was lovely and pointed out many of the sights along the way to our hostel. The hostel was just fantastic, it was brilliant! It was called Paddys Palace and they have hostels all over Ireland. When we arrived the staff were really friendly and went out of their way to help us in any way they could. The bedrooms were all very clean and we thought we were going to have to share bathrooms but we found out that there was a shower in our room! We were also provided with breakfast in the morning free of charge and the room was only about £15 per night. It was great value for money and the transport from the hostel to the airport was also free of charge. Whilst in Dublin we visited numerous bars and they were always very welcoming and made us feel very at home. We also visited Dublin castle and many cathedrals. They were stunning. The city is beautiful and everything is within walking distance. The buses, if you need them are very easy to use (see my other review). All in all we had a brilliant time in Dublin but I do not think there is a lot to do beyond four days.

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          02.02.2009 12:24
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          Some pointers for Dublin on a budget

          We visited Dublin last weekend on a cheap 'wonky weekend' - as Martin Lewis calls them. We had a fantastic time and some great experiences, some of which I have already reviewed but here is my run down of Dublin in general on a budget. Costs are approximate as some are in euros some pounds (not much difference at the mo!) Getting there------------------------------------------ We were extremely lucky to bag some £1 flights on Ryanair flying in very early Thursday morning and leaving late Saturday night. Which gave us three full days in Dublin. We found a cheap coach to take us to Stansted and found out nightbus stops at the same stop. Once at Dublin airport you have various choices to get into the City centre. We chose to get a local bus (the coaches go the same way and cost 4 times as much!) for 2 euros each. (You can buy a pre paid bus card from the newsagents inside the aiport). The bus journey takes about 45 minutes but is a great way to see the City suburbs and stops right in O Connell Street. Flights -£24 (inclusing evil booking fee) Coach to Stansted- £26 (RTN) Bus -free (oyster) Bus to Dublin - 2 euro each Total Arrival Transport: £52 Accomodation--------------------------------------------- We stayed in Lower Gardiner street on the city's Northside. The street was full of B&B's, hotels and hostels. There was also a few internet cafes which was very convenient as well as being two minutes from the LUAS (tram) stop and a ten minute walk from the centre (Temple Bar etc). The Northside itself is less glamourous than the southside but has good restaurants, pubs and shopping -in fact the shops near our hotel (bar the street of pound shops!) was better than Grafton Street. We managed to find somewhere for £89 for two people for two nights. Hotel - £89 Eating----------------------------------------------- We arrived in the city at about 9am and walked to Grafton Street to find somewhere to eat. We ended up being recommended to go to Bewleys which is a famous cafe - the full Irish Breakfast was great and cost 9.95 including coffee and orange juice. After all that food we didn't need to eat so lasted through until the evening when we went to Leo Burdocks fish and chips for 20 euros for two. This again is one of Dublins most famous places to eat. The chips were fab! Our hotel included breakfast (full irish again), and other than a quick sandwich in the Guiness Museum we didnt eat until The Tea Room at the Clarence - £100 for two. with a deal from toptable Breakfast on Saturday again was included but we went to GBK in the Centre (Off Grafton Street) for lunch - 30 euro for two. Breakfast: 19.90 Fish and Chips:20 Dinner: 100 Lunch: 30 Sandwich : 10 Total food spend: 180 Euros (£160 pounds) Tourist attractions----------------------------- We did loads in Dublin! We never stopped and had a great time seeing the sights. Here is a quick rundown of my must see sights: Trinity College - Free Grafton Street - (window shopping) Free Guiness Storehouse - 15 euro Kilmainham Gaol -6 euro Temple Bar - Free St Stephens Green - Free Total tourist stuff: £40 Travel ----------------------------------- Dublin is a small city and most things are walkable distance. We got the tram to Guiness and a couple of cabs (it was raining very badly). The buses cost about 2 euro for a single, same for the tram. All in all we probaby spent: Total travel: £30 Shopping--------------------------------------------------- Euro vs pound = do not bother! The shops on Grafton Street and in the Northside are pretty much what you would get in the UK but more expensive. Even JC Penney (Primark) is more than London. The independent shops are great to look round and we bought books on Irish history from Hodges and Figgis Total Shopping: £30 Drinking----------------------- Fairly impossible on a budget as drinks are expensive. Pubs don't do large bottles of wine either as we would do to save cash at home. You get a mini bottle (one glass ish) for about 5 euro. Vodka and coke is about 8 euro. Arrival:£52 Hotel: £89 Food: £180 Tourist Stuff: £42 Travel: £30 Shopping: £30 Drinking: .....i dread to imagine! About £80 Total three day trip for two: £503

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          29.01.2006 16:35
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          Dublin

          In November 2004, I took my second trip to Dublin. I hadn't been since I was 12 years old when I visited the city as part of a school trip to Ireland. My memories were somewhat faded. All that I could remember was a trip to the Guinness Brewery and the teachers enjoying a free sample while we drank orange juice. My husband managed to book us on a Ryan Air flight from Manchester, which cost us £99.00, each return fare. After a flight of less than an hour we arrived in Dublin in freezing cold temperatures. We had booked in at the Jury Inn hotel in the Christchurch area of the city. After checking in, we decided to walk to the centre in search of lunch. En route we came upon a café/bistro by the name of Gruel. The food was home made and mostly organic. The welcoming smells enticed us in. We both chose a vegetable and chickpea soup to warm us through. When it arrived it was served in a large bowl, resembling that of a baking bowl and a large wedge of hot granary bread. It was delicious and at a cost of around £8.00 for the two, it was well worth it. Being well wrapped up and feeling well insulated, we headed for the open top tour bus. If you have read any of my other city reviews, then you will know that I think this is the best way to explore a city especially when visiting for the first time. The Dublin Bus Company did not disappoint. The driver cum guide was a real comedian. He was so witty that he had all his passengers in fits of hysterical laughter. Descriptions of Molly Mallone as the "tart with the cart" and others too rude to mention were frequent. In between the commentary we were serenaded to "Molly Mallone" including verses we had never heard of! We hopped on and off the buses at various places of interest and although the banter was similar with other drivers, they all had their unique way of delivery. The bus takes in all the famous attractions including St Stephen's Green, the Irish Parliament, Grafton and O'Connell Streets and the Bank of Ireland. Further afield you can disembark at Pheonix Park or the Guinness Brewery. We had boarded our bus at 2pm and our £9.00 tickets covered us for 24 hours. In our 3 day visit we managed to see most of what was on our "must see" list including: - Trinity College Queen Elizabeth I founded the university in 1592 on the site of an Augustinian monastery. Originally only Protestant students were allowed in and it was not until the 1970's that Catholics were allowed to study there. Famous students to attend the university include playwrights Samuel Beckett and Oliver Goldsmith. For us, the major attraction were the Old Library, which is 210 feet long and houses some 200.000 books and The Book of Kells, which is described as "the most richly decorated of Ireland's Illuminated manuscripts" This is believed to be the works of monks from Iona, who fled to Kells in AD806 after a Viking raid. Dublin Castle For 7 centuries the castle was ruled by the English, ever since the Anglo-Norman built the fortress here in the thirteenth century. After a fire in 1684, nothing much remains of the original structure. We found the most interesting areas here were the Throne Room which contains a throne presented by William of Orange after his victory at the Battle of Boyne and secondly the Figure of Justice. Carrying scales, this statue caused much cynicism among the people of Dublin, who felt that she was turning her back on the city. James Joyce Cultural Centre The main reason for visiting this centre was because my husband had just finished reading Ulysses. It had taken him months. The main display was a set of biographies of around 50 characters from the book who were based on real Dubliners. There were also earlt drafts of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Dubliners. The Guinness Brewery We had to visit this place in order to put right my last visit. The storehouse consists of six floors built around a huge glass pint atrium so the first impression is liking walking into the glass pint itself. The storehouse/brewery is divided into sections. In the Ingredients Room, you can touch and smell ingredients through interactive displays. The Brewing Room is noisy and smelly. I never did like the smell of hops. The History of Guinness includes memorabilia, past bottles, beer mats and advertisements while listening to the story of how Guinness first began it's life. The climax of the tour takes place on the rooftop Gravity Bar where visitors are given a nice cool pint of the black stuff. An added bonus is that the bar has 360 degree views across the city. OTHER MUST SEES Grafton Street This for me was the hub of the city. A popular and stylish shopping district, which runs from Trinity College to St Stephen's shopping centre. At the north end of the street is the statue of Molly Mallone selling her cockles and mussels and a great stop for a photo shoot. This is a buzzing pedestrianized Area, characterised by numerous buskers and street artists. Here you will find Brown Thomas, one of Dublin's most elegant department stores selling designer clothes and expensive perfumes. It is also home to the famous Bewleys Oriental Café, a popular meeting place for Dubliners and tourists. As well as the many varieties of teas and coffees to test your taste buds, there are numerous home made cakes which you just can't pass up on. Shop til you drop on this street or rest those tired legs in one of the many pubs, cages or restaurants, which can be found on the many streets which, cut across Grafton Street. At the time we were there, the Christmas lights and the tree had been switched on making our visit even more special. Temple Bar Now a prosperous area Temple Bar is an exciting place, with bars, restaurants, shops and galleries. At night this place comes to life. After enjoying a meal we would visit several of the pubs and enjoy a drink with the friendly locals. By the end of the night we felt that we had know these people all our lives. I have to admit that it was even more enjoyable to have a drink in a smoke free environment, the new smoking laws having come into force January of that year. Lorraine Recommends - The Viking Splash This is a unique city tour by land and water. You begin your adventure on a reconditioned World War II amphibious vehicle (a duck) besides St Patrick's Cathedral. Costumed and witty tour captains show you the famous sights of the city. Some of this we covered on the bus but this was looking at Dublin from a different angle. The captains tell you how the Vikings left their mark on the city and teach you the "Viking Roar" This is a real stress busting exercise, two relatively level headed adults donning wigs and roaring at fellow tourists? Nobody back home would believe us. For the grand finale you splash into the historic Grand Canal Harbour to continue your tour by water. It really is the fun way to see Dublin. Tickets costs 14 Euros per adult and half for children HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS There are no shortages of eateries in Dublin. Places like Gruel are cheap and wholesome. La Med in Temple Bar was also reasonably priced and served excellent food. We dined at Freres Jaques in the Christchurch area, which was more expensive but served excellent fish courses. All the bars and pubs serve traditional Irish food. A glass of Guinness and a bowl of Molly's mussels won't set you back much either. Accommodation wise, Dublin has it all from exclusive luxury to a modest b&b. All the usual chain hotels, i.e. Jurys Doyle, Hilton and Marriot can be found. The choice is enormous. SUMMING UP We thoroughly enjoyed our three day stay in Dublin. Most attractions can be reached on foot and there are hundreds to see. We ate excellent food and at reasonable prices. As well as the culture we loved the buzz of Temple Bar and there is something about drinking Guinness in a Dublin pub. It does taste better. What put this city apart from others we have visited was the sheer friendliness of the Irish people. They were exceptionally welcoming and we laughed with them a lot. This has given us a taste to explore Ireland more. After our visit we vowed that we would see more of the country. We have now booked a week's holiday on the outskirts of Cork later this year. Watch out for the review!

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            01.11.2005 17:25
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            I really enjoyed the short break

            I recently visited Dublin with my mum and dad. We had a great time as it is a lovely city and their is plenty to do. We watched Riverdance which was excellent and spent days shopping. When we decided to arrange a trip to Dublin we were told about the lovely towns and villages around the edge of Dublin and by the coast. To visit these places we thought we would hire a car as it would be easier than trying to catch buses which it was but if you don't live in the centre of Dublin it is a nightmare to get to a destination. You probably only need to get to the end of the road you're on but can't because of the one way signs and the one way turns. The idea is good to control traffic but to get somewhere quick isn't. If you are going to visit Dublin for a few days i would suggest you don't hire a car unless you really know your way round or unless you can find a dublin street map with all of the one way street signs on then maybe you'd get to where you want on time. Apart from the driving i really recommend visiting dublin. The city is amazing. Walking down the streets at night the atmosphere is incredible you can hear the music from all the different pubs. Also if you like visiting museums and other attractions like that there are plenty. There are arranged bus tours around Dublin where you can hop-on and hop-off buses to visit which attractions you prefer. The food is great with most pubs serving traditional irish stew and other traditional foods also the traditional beverages. Like Guinness, which you can also visit the Guinness factory and learn about the history of it which is really interesting. If you prefer a little villages and town but would like to travel from Dublin centre, I visited Bray, which is on the coast and Wicklow where there was a nice little cafe where i had my breakfast. We also went past the famous Temple bar which has its own souvenir shop. The atmosphere inside looked brilliant, there was a live band on inside and everyone was enjoying themselves. The temple bar itself is situated down a little cobbled street which gives it a great look. So if you are going to Dublin make sure you give yourself enough time to visit the top attractions and remember join in the fun, its great.

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              19.02.2005 13:11
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              • "The reputation it can't live up to."

              I just don’t get it! Dooyoo-ers are normally spot on, but this time, with the exception of the truthful, if overly kind, “When Irish Eyes are smiling… they’re looking at the till”, it appears that Dublin is THE place to be. I found that, simply, it wasn’t. Maybe I’m going to be a bit harsh in this review; I certainly intend to be. However, when one books a few days in the Emerald Isle’s first city, one has certain expectations. I expected to be wowed with architectural delights and interesting museums / attractions by day and have my palate sated with delightful foods and, particularly, beverages by night. The truth is, Dublin came nowhere near to my, possibly, too high expectations in any capacity. The first day we arrived we took the Dublin Bus City Tour. This is, admittedly, a very touristy thing to do, but we have found these open topped busses to be a great way of finding our bearings, get a good overview of the city, find out areas of interest and attractions to see, as well as get lots of money off vouchers. We were, immediately, disappointed. We put this down to a poor guide who was, maybe, suffering a certain amount of lethargy at saying the same thing day in, day out. However, we have since come to the conclusion that it was poor because Dublin itself is not that interesting or entertaining a place. Due to limited time (three days), we chose the ‘must do’ attractions, the biggest of which being the Guinness tour. The Guinness storehouse is seven floors dripping with self congratulation, product placement (go figure), and sycophantic homage to Arthur Guinness. Arthur Guinness was, apparently, not simply a brewer but a philanthropist, social righter of wrongs, and all round great person. Hell, he invented Guinness, but he can’t have been quite as great as these people have made him out to be; no one could! Glossing over the actual ingredients and process of brewing, using light shows and large, phallic glass jars full of, erm, hops and yeast and stuff, one actually learns very little on the first couple of floors. The history of Guinness amounts to little more than doffing one’s cap to Arthur and learning of his ‘great’ work outside of brewing and that his father was a brewer. On the fifth floor is some interesting advertising memorabilia from Guinness’ past, from the toucan’s “Guinness is good for you” to Rutger Hauer’s castle sitting, etc. That was the good bit. On the top floor you get a ‘free’ pint of the blackstuff and the real gem of the tour; the view. From the top of the building you get a great view of the city. You can pick out some of the things that were pointed out on the tour, like Wellingtons obelisk, Trinity College, etc., but from up there you see what it took me a further 24 hours to see properly; Dublin is just another city. The gift shop was filled with plastic, overpriced rubbish bearing harps and toucans and zoo keepers. Oh, by the way, despite their attempts that day, I still prefer Murphy’s Irish Stout. (For a more detailed review of the Guinness Storehouse, please see http://members.dooyoo.co.uk/other-uk-ireland-topics/guinness-brewery/1004224/) The highlight of the visit was undoubtedly The Gaiety Theatre. We walked there after Guinness had forced its logo down my throat along with its drink. We went to see the fabulous ‘Blood Brothers’. I shouldn’t really go into detail here as it might not be there when you visit Dublin, but it was fantastic! Willy Russel and the cast built us up and knocked us down; fantastic! Strangely, no gift shop. As you may tell from the above paragraph, but I’m quite into literature and the arts, and that’s why I was so shocked at how rubbish I thought the Dublin Writers Museum (should that have an apostrophe?) was. The information on the writers was second rate and without depth. A brief overview of childhood, occasionally, some nods to their bodies of work, and tired and bitty contextual history. There was little, if any, notable reference to the actual works or insightful looks at the works themselves. I knew that Ulysses was based on the earlier work and ‘followed’ it, and, had I not known this, would have learnt something. As it was, I didn’t. Just for a change, they had a shop filled with, often plastic, tat, although it did contain a decent array of the works which the visitor had learned little of. We also visited the National History Museum. This was, probably, the best permanent tourist attraction we saw, and yet, still, was singularly unspectacular. The highlight was the variety of artefacts from ancient Ireland, mainly from the Bronze Age. Due to Ireland’s geography, many bones, bodies and artefacts were found in peat bogs, which naturally preserved them for us. The Viking section was also of great interest, giving some detailed information on Ireland’s, often stormy, often mutually beneficial, relationship with the Norsemen. It was, however, far too small. The Egyptology section was small, uninspired, bitty and a waste of time. A large section of the museum related to, probably, Ireland’s most important, certainly in recent times, area of history; the break with Britain. This section, however, dealt mainly with the Easter 1916 uprising and its aftermath. It had, relatively, many exhibits from the time, especially uniforms from the Irish fighters from this time and up to the actual formation of Eire. As an Englishman, I was quite perturbed at Britain’s treatment of the Irish at this time, and was quite ashamed at how brutally the various rebellions were put down. The lack of detail, although it was nodded at, on the brutality of the various republicans towards their own peoples who had nationalist leanings was skimmed over. However, what wasn’t made clear was that, at this point, most of Europe was fighting The Great War, and so any domestic (as it could be classed at this point) uprisings were a waste of valuable resources as Britain fought for freedom (and yes, I do see the irony here). The stance of the museum, which follows that of the original rebels, was that World War I was not a mindless and unnecessary waste of people’s lives, but just the “opportunity” the rebels needed. With British forces engaged abroad, the Irish went about diverting resources and collaborating with Germany in order to buy arms. It was the sinking of a German munitions / supply ship en route to Ireland that helped foil the rebellion. In short, I found that the museum was quick to pass judgement on Britain’s ill-treatment, but slow to point fingers anywhere else; rather than retelling and showing history, surely a museum’s purpose, it presided as judge over the actions of the government / occupying force (depending on how you see it), without pointing the finger elsewhere. Moving on, the section upstairs on medieval Ireland was well detailed and interesting. It showed the creation of the Ireland of today, moving from clan based tribes to cities and towns. It showed England’s (as this was before the Union) hand in this and how a social order was set up to mirror that across the Irish Sea. It also showed how the vast majority of the population were not Irish, but English peasants / workers who were, probably forcibly, moved there to work on land taken by English Lords and came to think of themselves as Irish. On leaving, you pass a small shop; plastic abounds. As with all dooyoo reviews, this is definitely a personal one, and one which I stand by; a family we spoke to, who I’ll mention shortly, were pleased with the Museum, in particular the Egyptology section. One attraction of note was one we were sad we missed. The family to whom we spoke, as mentioned earlier, were over as the son was in a swimming competition, and the locals they had met had said that Kilmainham Gaol was a must see attraction. It tells of its great historical past, with particular reference to internment and execution by Britain, and sounded detailed, interesting and thought provoking. Unfortunately, it was mentioned rather than promoted on our tour and we only found out about it when we didn’t have enough time to visit. Eating out was easy; Dublin abounds with restaurants. As noted in the dooyoo review “When Irish Eyes are smiling… they’re looking at the till”, these are, generally, Italian and it is difficult to find any ‘proper’ Irish food. Some places have boiled bacon and cabbage and that’s about it. I didn’t come to Ireland for the culinary delights, but surely there is more to Ireland’s table than this! We ate at Pacino’s (Suffolk Street) on the first night; an average Italian with below average service and above average prices. Although I have slated the service, I was served by one of a meagre band of three, which I will come to later. The service was ‘interesting’, and I quote: Me: What beer do you do? Waiter: Some Italian stuff. (Pause of three seconds) Oh, it tastes alright, though. And later Other customer: Can I pay by card? Same waiter: I don’t know! Take it down [to the cash desk] and they might be able to help. The next night I had cabbage and corned beef at the Quays in Temple Bar. The rice was quite reasonable for a pub in such an area and, I must admit, I enjoyed it. It fell apart and complemented the buttered cabbage well. What was a disappointment was, again, the service. No comical faux pas from the two blokes behind the bar; they were surly, uninterested and bordering on the rude. Perhaps they were the “Dublin characters” noted on the plaque on the wall, but I think not. We ate; we left. Our final night was spent in Flannagan’s on O’Connel Street. Don’t let the name fool you, it was another Italian, though with some reference to domestic foods. The food was average at best, apart from the ribs we had for starters. If you go to Dublin, have the barbeque ribs from Flannagans; they are fantastic. Then, for main course, have them again. Then leave. Price was good, if on the expensive side, and the service was great (more later). Of course, sating one’ palate in Ireland is more about drinking than eating, and the place to do this is Temple Bar. It is described as a lively and popular place, and so it must be as every pub seems full. This is, however, more to do with reputation and size. All visitors go to drink, at least once, in this area, but it is so small, all pubs are busy. Choice is not really a factor as each of them offers a similar theme and sticks to a, no doubt tried and tested, recipe for a night out; expensive Guinness, Murphy’s and lagers in a fake Olde Worlde setting. One gem was a local ale served in a few of the pubs; shamefully, I can’t remember the name, but it is served on draft, has a green label, and begins with “Sk….”. Sorry I can’t give you anything else; at least it gives you an excuse to try a few. For smokers, the taking of tobacco inside is now a capital punishment in Ireland, and so the pub of choice is The Temple Bar as it has an outside, but heated, seating area. This contrasts to most other pubs which have a door and a pavement outside. Of course, getting a seat in the heated area outside is, of course, virtually impossible as everyone else in Ireland knows about the hidden corner of freedom and civilization. And for purchasers of tat, The Temple Bar has its own gift shop. For those serious plastic crap buyers, Carroll’s Irish Gift Stores, which are ubiquitous in Dublin, offer an array of overpriced, mass-produced and often plastic gifts for those who you feel obliged to buy stuff for. Each is an emporium of the useless and needless, covered from floor to wall in Shamrocks, Leprechauns and Tricolours. Anything that can be held down long enough has a fake Irish proverb, prayer or picture pasted to it, is stacked high and sold fast. The foreign workers, mainly Spanish or Portuguese, do their best to get you out of the shop, laden with plastic, as fast and professionally as they can; the domestic purveyors of tat add a surliness which, I believed, was the trademark of Parisians. I spent E35.00 (about £20-£25) on gifts (no, no plastic and no shamrocks or leprechauns – I had to search hard). They shoved it in a bag; no please, no thank you. The bag had no handles, and was just a brown paper bag. I asked for a bag with handles, they have them of a similar size, and was told that these are only for customers buying large items. THEY REFUSED TO GIVE ME A BAG WITH HANDLES! Can anyone believe this? I told them, no bag, not purchase. Faced with the prospect of cancelling an order, an obviously tricky thing to do, they relented. I tried to pay with a debit card. It was Switch, which is British, but has the Maestro sign on it, making it useful Europewide. Indeed, I’d used it to withdraw money and pay for goods in Dublin and in France, Spain and Turkey to name but a few. It wouldn’t work. They told me that ‘they sometimes do and sometimes don’t’. I went to the cash machine, got the cash, returned and paid. I was outside before I realised that they’d again swapped bags on me again and I was stuck with the handless variety again. I couldn’t believe it. That visit summed up Dublin for; surly people selling plastic in handless bags; how much of that is metaphorical, well, I don’t know. I believe that my biggest let down by Dublin was the people itself. As noted with the Carroll’s experience and others, Dubliners are rude, surly and, generally, not interested in tourists, and outsiders, who must be their life blood. They are rude until it comes time to tip and uninterested in you once you’ve paid. Perhaps it is nicotine withdrawal! You are not given the Irish Welcome promised by the plastic fridge magnets, key rings, wall signs or printed in luminous green across 2 out of every 3 T-shirts you see. You are treated as, at best, a necessary evil, and, at worst, as an annoyance. There were three, or four, exceptions: 1: The tall, thin, ginger haired waitress and the Irish chef at our hotel, The Royal Hotel Dublin. 2: The blonde-haired waitress downstairs at Flannagans. 3: The waiter at Pacino’s who was, to be honest, rubbish, but a nice guy. To these four individuals, thank you! You are a credit to your nation and city and, I hope, will take up positions within the local tourist board training others to be as you. All in all, I didn’t enjoy Dublin. I guess you’re not shocked by that, are you. I can think of no area in which it excelled and would have no hesitation in recommending any other city I have visited in the British Isles over this one. The nightlife is better by many, even provincial, cities; it is no match for Edinburgh or Newcastle to name but two. Its museums are bettered in any of the other capitals and cuisine is bettered everywhere. As for the people, go up north to Yorkshire, Lancashire or Scotland, and, indeed, to Belfast, to receive a true welcome. If you feel you must visit the Emerald Isle, still go north to Belfast to get a feel of what Ireland is supposed to be about. I would hope that my defamatory comments are applicable only to Dublin and not to the rest of the country. I have heard so many talk of the genuine feeling of being wanted as a visitor in Ireland, and pray that my experiences would not be repeated should I go further a field. Regrettably, though, I fear I will never find out as I have no intention of ever visiting Eire again.

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                23.10.2002 20:43
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                I used to love Dublin but something rotten is slowly working it's way through the city turning it into a nasty cesspool. I think the famous Celtic Tiger has finally decided to chew up and spit out the Dublin of old. Of course the guidebook/tourist/historic version of Dublin is still there somewhere, buried deep beneath the smog and grime and litter and mobile phone conversations and stag party vomit, but it is getting harder and harder to find. Look hard enough and you can find traces of the Dublin of James Joyce and Brendan Behan. You can still find a few 'traditional' pubs dotted around, pubs where you can physically feel the history as you walk through the door, pubs where your pint is pulled to perfection by a genuine Dublin barman and where you can still enjoy a bit of craic with the locals. You can still walk off your hangover with a stroll through the beautiful St Stephens Green, a place of relative solitude in an otherwise hectic city. You can still dander through Trinity College along with the thousands of other tourists and pay your few euros to see the Book of Kells, or take the tour through the awesome history of Kilmainham Gaol. The GPO that acted as headquarters for the rebel forces in 1916 still stands in all its glory on O'Connell Street, just across the road from the famous Clerys department store. The Moore Street market stalls are still there too, the goods being wheeled in each morning on old prams and suchlike to stalls passed down through generations. You can see the statue of Molly Malone, or walk across the ha'penny bridge. You can stroll through Glasnevin Cemetary and see the final resting-place of so many great sons and daughters or Erin. You can go round the Writers Museum, or the 'Dead Zoo' - the local name for the natural history museum. You can see artists at work in Merrion Square, have a wee look at Leinster House, visit the Guinness Brewery, take a trip on the DART (Europe's o ldest urban railway) down to Bray or up to Howth. Oh, but don't go to Bray, it sucks big time! No, the old Dublin isn't entirely lost yet, you can still see all of the things you would love about Dublin. You just have to clamber over the mess to get there. 'Progress' has taken its toll on the city that I used to love so dearly. The really horrible thing about 'progress' is that only those and such as those actually benefit from it while the less privileged folk become even more less privileged than before. The social deprivation and class division has always been apparent in Dublin, but never so much as it is now. There are more beggars on the streets and a horrendous drug problem. I used to feel quite safe wandering around the outlying areas, the ones off the tourist trail, but not now. I had reason to recently be in the South Side of the city with a friend, a burly big strapping lad! For some reason we decided to walk through one of the most notorious districts, Dolphins Barn. We even stopped off at a pub for (another) quick pint, I think the pub was called 'The Bridge'. If you've ever had a pint in Glasgow's Shettleston district on a Saturday night you might begin to understand what this place was like, although Shettleston on a Saturday night is probably like this place on a Monday afternoon! We didn't personally get caught up in any trouble, but we saw plenty in the short time that we were in there. The blood was flowing more readily than the ale. Outside there were people lying around the streets mangled out their minds on drink/drugs/whatever. No different to many big cities, no, but much different to the Dolphins Barn that I visited 15 years ago. On leaving the pub my pal stopped at the filling station next door for ciggies. A local cabbie (not kenjohn!) heard the Scottish accents and asked what we were doing hanging around there. We told him we were just wandering and he was horrified! His advic e to us? Get in his cab and he would take us out of that area up to the city centre - he wouldn't even charge us for the lift! Umm, yeh, a nasty place all round, save for the occasional good samaritan cabbie who probably didn't want the murder of two Scots on his conscience! The point of that story is that there are many areas in Dublin that have become no-go areas, even some that the Garda won't go into! Meanwhile back at the city centre ranch. Dublin is being overrun by immigrants. Chinese mainly, or Orientals of some sort. My emotions are rather split on this particular issue. No they're not, yes they are, no they... oh get on with it will ya. I was speaking to a friend in London a few months ago, sitting in an 'Irish Club', drinking Guinness. The conversation turned to the immigration in Ireland issue and I was somewhat horrified by what he spouted. My normally intelligent and compassionate friend was beginning to sound like an Irish version of Enoch Powell. I don't get riled to easily, but he was seriously cruising for a bruising that night. He was coming out with all the usual stuff about immigrants taking jobs and housing and making it difficult for the natives to get the same. He was rather startled when I eventually flew off the handle and started giving it to him big style. Weren't he and his wife immigrants in London, taking someones job and house space? Didn't his wife come to London to get a better education and qualifications in her chosen field of nursing? Aren't the Irish history books littered with moans and laments about how the English let them die during the great famine instead of welcoming them in and helping them to live? I reminded him of the days of "No Irish need apply", the days when immigrant ships were leaving for Australia, New Zealand, USA, England, in their droves, the days when gangs of Irish Navvies were building the British roads, working in the mines, labouring on the buil ding sites. I not-so-gently made it sink into his head that the immigrants coming into Ireland today were no different to those who left the very same country in the past. He got the message. But that said, the immigrants do have a big effect on 'my Dublin'. It's strange to walk into a pub or a restaurant and be served not by an Irishman but by a Chinese dude. It's strange to see the native Irish in the office jobs, managerial positions etc while the immigrants do the manual work. It has changed Dublin beyond recognition. There is no longer the same 'craic' that was to be found in days gone by. The legendary banter has been replaced by people in suits talking about stock prices on their mobiles. It's all rather sad. Call it progress, call it a natural move towards a multi-cultural society, call it what you will, but it is the death of the Dublin of old and that is a bit of a shame. Right down to the very look of the place the City has transformed itself into something that can be found anywhere in the world. Huge glass and concrete buildings, roads gridlocked with traffic, demolition, scaffolding. This could be Rotterdam, or anywhere, Liverpool or Rome as the Beautiful South once sang. And it could be. Dublin doesn't have much left for me that Glasgow or Edinburgh doesn't have, indeed in many ways it has less. The above are just a few of the reasons that I won't be returning to Dublin for pleasure other than to visit my friends there. I certainly won't be hitting the tourist trail there again. It's a shame really, but there ya go, or rather don't go if you have any sense.

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                  02.09.2002 23:40
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                  Dublin, the city of craic, cabbages and churches. With a history going back a few thousand years, but also regarded as a major metropolitan European city it has many different faces. Right then, there's the travel brochure splurge but does Dublin deserve the reputation it has? ME and the other half flew over to Dublin last Monday to stay for 3 nights, doing the tourist thing but also checking out the nightlife as well. Dublin is a surprisingly small city but is divided into several main areas. These are: O'Connell Street: This is the main heart of Dublin and is a massive 150ft wide and dates back to the 1700s. Its like Oxford Street on a Saturday afternoon, full of shops and buses, dominated by a huge statue of Charles Parnell who nearly won Home Rule. Around the area I the General Post Office, involved in the Easter Rising of 1916 there are still bullet holes in the walls! There is also the Writers Museum, Wax Museum, High Lane Gallery of Modern Art. Busy on a Monday I should imagine its hell on a Saturday, and for some strange reason parts of it smell really awful as well. Then of course the area around Trinity College which spawned writers such as Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift. You can take guided tours or just wander round the garden. If you take a trip there be sure to take a trip into the old library and see the Book of Kells, a beautifully illustrated book of the Four Gospels dating from the 9th century. Grafton Shop: shops, shops and lots more shops! A pedestrianised area its full of buskers and pubs where quite a few celebs started out including Chris De Burgh, the Boomtown Rats and Christy Moore. For the tourists there is the Lord Mayors Mansion, Leinester House, the home of the Irish parliament, the national museum and library. This is where you will find the more expensive restaurants, I find it way too busy again. Georgian Dublin is one of the more beautiful areas of the c ity. Slap bang in the middle of it is St Stephen's park, a beautiful park with many historical statues its just the place to take a break from shopping. Its surrounded by Georgian building, housing museums and galleries. My favourite area, which is where we stayed is Old Dublin. Included is Temple Bar, this the destination for party people, full of pubs, clubs and restaurants, its always packed every day of the week. A nice place to visit but beware of rowdy groups of hen nights and stag parties, although there's usually some Garda around. It also has the best tourist destinations, Dublin Castle, St Patricks Cathedral and the Viking Adventure are a few to name, we went to the first two places and they were absolutely beautiful, away from the party crowds, you could really relax. And of course a visit is almost obligatory to the Guinness Hopstore in Western Dublin, when you've sample that its off over the River Liffey to the Jameson Whiskey Distillery. If you aren't too tiddly then you can take the kids to Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo where the MGM lion was born! Whilst not so much shopping there are some excellent traditional pubs and clubs. This was one of my more favourite areas, lots less traffic and lots less people. So there you go, Dublin in a nutshell! Well, nearly, Dublin really is a fascinating place, I personally wouldn't take my kids as there is not that much to do and its very busy with lots of traffic. Its definitely a place for the older visitor, plenty of tourist spots and excellent restaurants. We also saw quite a few hen nights and stag parties in Temple Bar which is full of pubs and clubs, but oh my, make sure you take plenty of cash! In Temple Bar a Smirnoff Ice and a pint of Guinness will set you back nearly 10 euros (That's about £7-8 to you and me!). I dread to think how much they would be in the clubs. Its also quite difficult to find an Irish restaurant in Dublin, the amount of Italian restaurants is absolutely amazing, and every street has loads of cafes. A huge tip that my own council should take notice of is the roadwork's, never done at rush hour these are done in the early evening so they don't block traffic. Why hasn't someone in Bristol thought of this yet? So what didn't I like about Dublin? Well, definitely the unnecessarily high prices in the bars and sops although restaurant food is reasonable. Some of it was quite slummy as well, including near the centre, lots of boarded up buildings, other falling apart, etc. Although I cant fault the cleanliness of the streets. Oh and the Irish are a miserable lot (no shouting please). Having heard about how warm and friendly they were, I was really disappointed the only people like the above were the ones who were paid to be, the tour guides, etc. Even the bar staff were miserable and gruff and all the shop assistants just looked fed up, no please, thank you, etc. So Dublin is a great and mostly beautiful city and I would recommend it to anybody, all I am left to say is.........When Irish Eyes are Smiling.......they're looking at the money in the tills..

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                    30.06.2002 04:51
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                    My husband has lived in Dublin for the past year because of his job, so I have become familiar with this Fair City. I fell in love with Dublin as soon as I got off the plane....the people are genuinely friendly and hospitable and will go out of there way to help you....and if they ask you to tea never say no as it offends. If you are young and looking for fun the livley Temple Bar is where you want to be, with a line of amazingly bustling bars you are surely in for a treat....but watch, the price of beer on that side of the river is amazingly dearer than on the other. Just off the famous O'Connell st is The Arlington Hotel......here you can sample a pint of Guiness, they have an amazing carvery and Irish Dancing regularly ( a truly remarkable Hotel) If you have come to Dublin to shop...You will not be dissappointed........Take a trip to the south side and you have all the usual shops you would find over here....just off O' Connell st is Henry st....where you can shop to your hearts content and the icing on the shopoholics cake has got to be PENNEYS....Dublin has 2 within a few hundred yards...one is a three storey and the other one just 2.....Packed to the hilt with bargains galore...you could not fail to go wrong in this remarkable store. The sightseeing is also breathtaking....they have the beautiful Clontarf Castle just a few minutes down the road and also the beautiful Malahide....favoured by the likes of Ronan Keating and Bono. Wheather you are vising Dublin for a Weekend or a month...this beautiful city will welcome you with open arms.

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                      26.09.2001 22:53
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                      Forget Paris! In the future whenever I want a romantic weekend away with my lover it's going to be in one of the romantic and accessible capitals of Europe. It must be the place where cosmopolitan bustle meets laid back easy living; where years of history rise up and meet minimalist modernism and where standing on a small bridge, watching the night time city reflect its glory on the black waters of the river, enhances the most romantic time of my life. Yes indeed, it's got to be Dublin for me from now on! Most people's vision of the city is either the Molly Malone one of teaming bars, pints of Guinness, market stalls, flower sellers and street performers or the cultural one of the beauty of the long room, the grandeur of Trinity College, the history of Kilmainham Gaol and of course the wonders of the National Gallery. Then again it may be my mother's version of the shoppers paradise that is O'Connell Street with its upmarket windows and the hoards of side street bargain hunters that make a Saturday afternoon browse a must. Yes, Yes, Yes! It's all of those versions and much, much more. To be in love and to be in Dublin, that's the thing. Trawling arm in arm through Temple Bar, winding your way through Trinity, leaving its library in breathless awe at its ancient quiet and magnificent Book of Kells. When you meander (and that's the only way to go) through the streets of Dublin, all life is there and you feel alive. You can of course take a buggy and horse ride around the city or an open top bus tour - great if the feet aren't - but for me the only way to savour the flavour is to walk the walk. Side winding your way through the back streets and cobbled alleyways that lead you, depending on your direction, up market to Grafton Street or down to the markets of Henry Street, will make your efforts on foot well worthwhile. I have been to Dublin many times and have been in love with th e city from my very first visit as a very overwhelmed, very impressed ten-year-old but to be IN love IN the the city is something else and I strongly recommend it. Wandering through Temple Bar with its candlelit windows twinkling at you looking for somewhere to eat (knowing that you shouldn't have left it so late but food hadn't seemed that important then), conjures up a Spanish Paseo or French Boulevard. Spoiled for choice you decide on an Italian Bistro, share a plate of pasta, ciabatta and beautifully rich Chianti and watch the world go by - the perfect end to a perfect day. If you have fallen into the rhythm and rhyme of the city, then by Sunday morning you will, like everyone else, be waking ever so slowly. And having missed hotel breakfast will be heading to Bewleys for a great Irish fry and a mug of their famous coffee. Take a leisurely read of the Sunday Journals and if you're lucky, find time to visit the National Gallery and perhaps stand in front of the Michael Angelo with tears in your eyes at the close proximity of such sheer genius and beauty. I can't think of a better way to while away the rest of your Sunday than to down a pint or two in one of Dublin's many literary pubs, or find a little wine bar and spoil yourself with a glass of chilled white. In fact, have both if the mood takes you. So you can keep Paris. For my money, "Take me back to Temple Bar and take my arm and trawl through city streets of candlelight where love wrapped round us like a shawl".

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                        12.09.2001 02:01
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                        I visited Dublin earlier this year and I have done once before (in the dark and distant past) and, like all other cities, this one has its good and bad points. In fact, some are a bit of both! For example, Dublin is literally crawling with pubs – for a great selection visit Temple Bar (the nightlife capital of Ireland), which is both good and bad. There are good pubs and bad pubs, Qué Céra Céra, but, and trust me on this one, there IS such a thing as too many pubs. And too many pubs lead to too many drunkards, and too many drunkards leads to too many fights. Dublin is a beautiful city, don’t get me wrong, there are several (at least 5 I reckon) independent department stores and all are absolutely excellent – it is all too often in British cities that one can’t find a department store that’s not part of the House of Fraser or Debenhams groups. Clerys is particularly good, as Brown Thomas. It also has excellent other shops – a branch of every chain store and about five million Dunnes’s (only to be expected). The architecture is absolutely marvellous and worth a (sober) look around. The villages around Dublin which are now part of Dublin such as Howth and Mallahide, are absolutely picturesque and worth a look round if you’re interested in that kind of thing (and unluckily for me the people I was with were) and they are all served by Bus Atha Cliath, Dublin’s bus service. The bus service in Dublin is very good if you can get your head round them, apart from maybe they should run a little more often and shouldn’t make you get off at the terminus (I’ll never understand that one – why not just turn round like any other sane company?????) If you’re into art, try visiting the Dublin Art Gallery and you can buy paintings on St Stevens Green – all the good artists from Ireland sell their wares there and you can get them from a fiver (irish) upw ards. Worth a look as I say. OK, so all I have said so far is excellent, lots of licker, shops, good buses, nice little pockets of places untouched by commercialisation, good art, in short pretty good for anyone. The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) system is good if you’re in a hurry (I forgot to mention). The downside to all this is, of course, too much choice! Too many pubs, too many shops, too many bloody ticket options on the bus! What happened to “Clontarf please?” and handing half a dollar over? Aside from that, there are a lot of homeless in Dublin and it can really be quite disturbing. When I was over there it was the Albanian’s turn and they had babies on their backs asking for some money (in Albanian) for their kids. There are also Irish people on the streets of Dublin, many of them children which really is quite upsetting. If you’re just a general tourist, the centre should be enough to keep you going. If, however, you are going to places where relatives used to live, there are quite a few pretty dicey areas. To get to where my granddad used to live and to see his church, for example (in the middle of Arbour Hill) we had to walk through the Red-light district and to Arbour Hill, past the prison etc. which is also set in a pretty bad area. I really don’t recommend to going to the suburbs if it can be at all avoided. So all in all if you fancy a pissup or some art, go if you don’t mind the homeless that much (and I know that sounds really heartless) but please, please, stay out of the suburbs.

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                          27.08.2001 20:51
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                          Top of the morning to ya! As an Irishman I know all that's worth knowing about the emerald isle and all the shenanigans that goes on there. I know there have been plenty of reviews by foreigners about my good country, but they can only give you a tourists view. The real Ireland lies beneath the shiny gloss and corporate lies. I'm here to unravel it for you. *What follows is called satire. If you have no sense of humour or just want real information on Ireland you shouldn't bother to read this. This disclaimer is a pre-emptitive strike against people who read the whole thing before commenting "I was expecting a nice review on Dublin."* 1. Myths and legends According to the Irish Tourist Board and Hollywood, Ireland is full of happy-go-lucky-leprechauns (see Darby O'Gill And The Little People). The idea of a mythological Ireland is something of a myth itself because it is quite obvious that Ireland is in fact full of leprechauns. I've seen them meself you know. They may seem friendly at first, but I tells you, they can be crafty little devils. The scary truth is that Darby O'Gill... was TV documentary filmed by RTE. So you know what to expect. 2. Nouveux Riches Leprechauns do have their advantages however, as seen with the state of the Irish economy. Our high number of university graduates have been attracting US computer companies to Ireland, but the truth is more sinister. Some graduates have just used one of their three wishes for a degree, while others have bought them from the corrupt Trinity College after finding some gold at the end of the rainbow. 3. Drunken Guinness Guzzlers Everyone in Ireland is always getting drunk, well the men are at least. They go home pished and shout at their ginger-haired kids and hit their ginger-haired wife every single night. When they're at the pub (that constantly plays traditional music) they drink nothing but Guinness, except for priest s who drink whiskey, obviously. 4. Dublin is a friendly, quaint little city Dublin is great. The citizens of Dublin would never exude irrational hatred of poverty-stricken immigrants and asylum-seekers from war-torn Eastern European countries. Neither do they have a superior nature towards the rest of the country. The city has no crime whatsoever and the police are not corrupt and run by Mafia-esque gangs. 5. Ireland is stuck in the 1930s Maybe you have seen the film adaptation of Brian Friel's 'Dancing At Lughnasa'. Whaddayamean no? Anyway, while this film is set in the 1930s, it was just filmed in Wicklow where people have cannot afford newer cars, the roads are dust tracks and electricity is seen as modern accessory for the idle rich. The pattern is repeated all over the country. 6. There is no town drunk While the media constantly create loveable town drunkards, similar to the English concept of the village idiot, this is clearly an unreal concept as everyone is always drunk anyway. 7. The North Northern Ireland is a war-torn state permanently shrouded in violence. Did you see the pictures of the road blockades and riots over the past few summers? Well these were being reported for their strangely peaceful nature. The reality is much more shocking. Only the other day Paddy Wackery, the leader of a well known terrorist group shot down two old age pensioners who "looked like they were up for a duel". Under the prisoner release scheme, he is due out next Wednesday. However, by far the worst affliction on Northern Ireland is UTV. 8. The Pigs The pigs in the Republic are a highly effective and efficient crime-fighting unit who seem unaware of the concept of fear or indeed laziness. In the North the pigs are loved by the entire community and are not inherently sectarian in the slightest. I hope this has cleared up some of your queries about this fair Isle. It rea lly is a great place to come and visit. I'm off to watch Riverdance for the fourth time today as it isn't just a shameless bastardisation of traditional Irish dance and music at all. Slan!

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                            23.08.2001 18:08
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                            Tourism in Ireland is built around historical culture. You can visit museums, monuments and other landmarks and ancient treasures.Most guys, when staying in a city for a few days, want one thing. To get laid. Dublin is no exception. After possibly sight-seeing around Grafton Street for a few hours during the day, (lunch hour is when they all come out), you want to be heading to a place where your almost guaranteed to pick up a girl. A few good spots are Copper Face Jacks (also known as Slapper Face Jacks) on Harcourt Street, Annabel's (Animals) in Donnybrook, Howl at the Moon (Howl at the Bauwler) in Mount Street and Club 92 (Club Knackerydoo) in Stillorgan. What you are looking for in these places are girls that are hanging our for it i.e. at least two girls together, sitting drinking, not saying much and looking around a lot. These are either waiting for somebody or anybody. Next thing to know is how badly they are hanging out for it. A good give away is white see-thru skin tight trousers and a G-string/no knickers. A greyhound mini skirt (an inch from the hair) is also another giveaway. They will also be showing a lot more skin than average. Boob Tubes etc. Generally, the more skin the better, but you can judge for yourself. If whatever they are wearing looks wrong (black bra with white knickers kinda wrong) you've probably got a slapper (Well Done). So, you know who you've the best chance with. Now how to entice them. These places are meat markets now, the first guy in there (if he's good enough) probably has them for the night, and the morning after. However good that may be. The best language here is money. You don't want to straight away buy these girls a drink. Wait till they are at the bar, stand beside them and order an expensive drink, or something our of the ordinary. She'll notice, don't worry. Here's where you start talking...what your looking for is witty, maybe a little lost in the big city (if you r a tourist). Whatever you do you have to be fast. Slappers have a mouth as sharp as their ex-boyfriends machette. If you can't keep up, your better not trying. After you've pulled, keep an eye out for anyone who may have broken up with them yesterday. Easily spotted as he tap's you on the shoulder and head-butts you, no questions asked. Good Luck

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                              10.08.2001 19:23
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                              I've always wanted to visit Ireland, I must have some Irish blood in me somewhere as I love the music (traditional and new) and have some affiliation with the country. So when I heard that a group (about 7) of different work collogues were going over to the Emerald Isle for a long weekend I decided to jump on board when asked. Luckily I had known a few of them beforehand and were on good terms with the rest. The flight over cost about £90 (it was all we could get) from Gatwick and was a 1h30m job which was fine, apart from sitting next to a person who was scared of flying, poor girl. Embarking and finding our luggage was simple and we walked virtually straight out of the airport into a rain deludge. Something that few of us were anticipating. As we waited in the vast taxi que we noticed that the English football team were winning so that made the weather easier to handle. After a 20 minute trip virtually into the heart of the city we arrived at our lovely hotel called Othello House at 74 Lower Gardiner Street. Dumping our clothes and jumping in the shower we were at a club/bar in about an hour. We seemed to strike gold as well because for around 9 punts (about £7) we got three bottles of Bud! Well we stayed till closing and stumbled home (virtually a straight line luckily enough) and got some good sleep, well some of us who didn't get dragged off to a party did anyway. Upon awakening a hearty breakfast was had (by most - some looked like death warmed up) and the rest morning was there to explore the fair city, see the sights and do some shopping! In the main shopping street there is a little tucked away T-shirt printing place, it has some brilliant designs and should be sought out. I got myself two there - one of which is a dope Pokemon rip off which some of the characters looking a little dazed "gotta smoke em all, Tokemon". After a light lunch and some more shopping we headed out to th e town again and for a few beers and more sight seeing. More items of clothing were brought and more money exchanged hands. Then back and we found a O'Shae's pub/guest house just up the road which served excellent food for a good price, recommended. Off to a club again, hint - don't wear much because the clubs that we went too were hot - even if it's raining leave your jacket as you'll dry off very quickly - and after that we managed to find the sausage place. This place serves the largest sausages with anything you want on them. Lovely. Back home form more needed sleep. The next day which was Sunday we went out of Dublin and explored a shopping mall, much like a smaller version of Bluewater, more clothes brought, more money exchanging hands. Back to Dublin and while others went out partying some stayed and watched a traditional Irish pub play in the O'Shae's up the road. In the every early morning we left for the airport and arrived back in London around 11am. First, things first, the place is lovely. The hotel was nice, adequate facilities and basically a drop off/sleep/change clothes point of service - and at around 90 punts each for three nights not bad value either. The central city itself is busy and busseling with people everywhere (much like Regent Street in central London) almost all day. The clubs are even more packed so get there early! Secondly, the people are brilliant, only one dour face all weekend, the most prettiest women on the earth and such a nice laid back atmosphere. Be warned though if you have a thick accent they may not understand it, it took me three attempts with one barmaid for her to understand my order, and I wasn't hammered, well not then anyway! Thirdly, you can't spend money over there, I went out with about 375 punts and came back with about 120 left, everything is cheap over there. Taxi's are cheap as well and we made good use of them. Lastly, the weather there isn't great - why do you think it's called the Emerald Isle for? Make sure you take some protection from the elements, although if your going out at night forget that coat, or you will roast. So all in all an excellent trip for me, I felt as if I had arrived home and at one point of the holiday I did mention that I could live in Dublin, I'll definitely be returning as soon as I can. If your looking for somewhere nice, cosy, friendly and most definitely fun then Ireland has to be on your final list.

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                                09.08.2001 11:15
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                                Dublin happy hours have always been something of a contradiction in terms. Whereas other Irish and British cities would tempt students and alcoholics into daytime boozing with practical giveaways (of the 80p a pint variety), Dublin publicans have never really felt obliged to pack’em in in the dead hours of the late afternoon, probably because they don’t see it as a financial necessary. It’s a quirk of economics that in the alcohol trade, supply and demand has nothing to do with pricing. In Dublin, the more money people have to spend on booze, the more expensive it becomes. And when the recession comes and no one can afford to while away entire days in the darkened corner of a city-centre bar, hardcore happy hours will once more make a return. But even now, Dublin city offers a few rare opportunities for feeling as though you’re getting sweet revenge on the Vintner’s Association, even if it is all fitting in with some overall scheme to take even more of your cash. To that end, here is my guide to where to go for that happy sixty minutes. THE CHOCOLATE BAR – Harcourt Street, Dublin 2. Details: Cocktails £2.50 (1/2 price) Pints £1.80. Mon/Tue 5-11pm. Wed/Thurs/Fri 5.30-8.30pm. Sat/Sun 8.30-10.30pm. Atmosphere: Part of the POD complex, The Chocolate Bar retains a whiff of very laid back cool. Plush, comfy seats, potted plants and a good music policy all help to make you feel very relaxed indeed, and ensure that you remain guilt-free about pissing the day away when everyone else is at work. Crowd: A young, trendy crowd mixing it with office workers getting in a cheap scoop before they head home. In general, a more upmarket clientele that most of the other happy hours attract. Overall: Good Music, good prices. Highly Recommended. DANGER DOYLES – Eustace Street, Dublin 2. Details: Mon-Thurs 5pm-7pm. All pints £1.95 Atmosphere: Looks like an Irish bar in New York – big, red and vacuous. However, one mans trash is another man’s treasure and many Dubliners seem to love the vibe of the place. Chart sounds relentlessly pump from the speakers and give the place a very clubby feel. Crowd: A young crowd can normally be found in residence, made up mainly of students from the city-centre colleges, along with a smattering of Temple Bar tourists who have wandered in. Overall: A sub two quid pint is always worth a look, and if you get one of the corner tables you’ll be perfectly happy for a couple of cheap hours. THE ALL SPORTS CAFÉ / HOUSE OF ROCK – Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 Details: £2 for all bottles and pints Atmosphere: Big, bright, brash, bloody loud. Lots of interesting memorabilia on the walls to distract you from the very attractive waitresses. A whole heap of TV screens. Like getting pissed in Cleary’s audio-visual department. Crowd: A more diverse bunch of people that you might imagine, obviously drawn to what is one of the earliest happy hours in Dublin. Overall: A very long Happy Hour – and if you happen to be there the day of a big sporting event your luck is in. Otherwise, it’s a decent enough venue in which to start off a monumental piss-session, if you’re feeling like immediately jumping in at the deep end. MONO – 22 Wexford Street, Dublin 2. Details: Mon to Fri 5pm-8pm. Two cocktails for the price of one. Cocktails £3.95 - £5.45 Atmosphere: Big, comfy, low-rise seating, sexy dim lighting and funky décor. If it wasn’t for the mainstream dance sounds throbbing interminably from the speakers you could almost have a nice doze. Crowd: This happy hour has a reputation, and regulars. The crowd here tends to be very young and – come 8pm – very pissed. You have been warned. Overall: The cockt ails are the real deal, packing quite a punch, and with two for the price of one, there is plenty of potential for you and a pal to get very drunk, very fast. CAPTAIN AMERICA’S COOKHOUSE AND BAR – 44 Grafton Street, Dublin 2. Details: 12pm-8pm everyday. £1 off all cocktails and frozen drinks. Atmosphere: Busy, buzzing and very, very yank. You’ll also be highly visible sitting at the central bar (you can only sit in a booth if you’re eating) and on weekends it will be extremely crowded. Crowd: For some reason, the bar always plays host to gangs of good-looking people. Why? Who cares? In the background, you can watch young families try to feed troublesome toddlers and reprimand errant children, as the parents look at you with embittered envy. Overall: With 8 happy hours in the day (!) and on of Dublin’s most extensive cocktail menus, Captains is still definitely worth a look. I accept no responsibility for any hangovers which may be suffered as a result of this op.

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