JOIN US IN AN INTERVIEW WITH BEKAH MOLONY FROM DUBLIN, IRELAND!
Bekah is a Dublin native, a recent graduate and a blogger at A Little Bit of B. She is on a mission to experience as much of the world as she can. Having completed her Bachelors Degree in Event Management, she is currently undertaking a Post Graduate Diploma in Global Business Leadership as a part of the IBEC Global Graduate Programme. At her blog, she writes about her travel adventures, post photos & videos she has created and shares her ideas & experiences.
Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Ireland covers about five-sixth of the island of Ireland. The other sixth is called Northern Ireland, which is still part of the United Kingdom.
Dubin got its name from a combination of two Gaelic words: ‘dubh,’ which is ‘black,’ and ‘linn,’ referring to ‘pool.’ It is said that this black pool actually existed, by the river Poddle in Dublin’s famous landmark, Dublin Castle.
Around fifty percent of Dublin’s population is below 25 years of age making it the city with the youngest population in all of Europe. Home to the popular Trinity college, the Temple Bar district, the Guinness beer, the O’Connell Bridge, novelist Oscar Wilde and Nobel Prize laureate George Bernard Shaw, Dublin is a small, lively capital with countless things to do.
When is the best time to visit Dublin?
I genuinely prefer being in Dublin in September because the weather is still nice and there’s less of the crazy crowds. Of course summer is warmer and has so many amazing festivals and events all over Dublin, but don’t expect it not to rain… the rain will come eventually!
Which is the most convenient and favored transport of Dublin?
In and around Dublin you can get the bus, tram or coastal train. Dublin has an extensive bus network, the Dublin Bus which provides bus services for the city and other areas. The Dublin train service, also called DART runs along the coast of Dublin, from Malahide and Howth in north Dublin to to Greystones in the south. Using DART you can spot the most beautiful towns and villages along the coast of Dublin. While a tram service called LUAS connects Dublin city centre with suburbs in the south and south-west of the city.
Transport in Dublin is pretty expensive if you pay as you go, but the Dublin Bus Visitor Pass is ideal, it lets you travel on bus, rail and train for such a good price.
If I’m going from Dublin Airport to the city I always get the 747 bus. You can also get the 747 back to the airport with this pass, so don’t bother with taxis.
If you would like to get a taxi around, use the My Taxi App, but really it is only necessary if you are coming home from a night out and have missed the last bus/train/tram (00:30).
If you have a car, remember we drive on the left-hand side and if you are not leaving Dublin city, I wouldn’t recommend renting a car, it’s super easy to get around without one.
What are the top three must visit places in Dublin?
Of course weather depending, Dublin has a lot to offer. For any day of the year I would say visit Powerscourt Townhouse in the city centre. This is a cute and very photogenic building in the city centre that you can’t miss when wandering around. It has lovely steps leading up to it and inside has cafes, boutiques and unique stores. Photo opp central!
If you can go a little further, get the DART to a place called Dalkey. Founded as a Viking settlement, Dalkey is a little seaside village with lovely people, restaurants and traditional pubs in the suburbs of Dublin. When in Dalkey, check out the Dalkey Castle and Heritage centre, listen to Irish folktales at the Biddy’s Cottage, make your way to Martello tower and the ruins of a tenth century church or admire the views of Dublin city and mountains from the Killiney Hill park. The train ride from Dublin to Dalkey alone is very scenic and there’s not a person in the world who would regret being there. It’s a very pleasant break from the city.
It’s cliché but it’s true that Temple Bar is a must when in Dublin. Here you’ll find endless pubs, restaurants and clubs. There are vintage stores, markets, tattoo parlours, the best chicken wings in Dublin (Elephant & Castle), street art, cool spots to get gifts and just everything you could need. There’s always live music on weekends, expect to have fun at night but also expect to pay top price for drinks as this is an unapologetic tourist trap.
What are the best day trips for nature, culture and history from Dublin?
Well you can get to any part of Ireland in a few hours! But if you want to be very close by, for nature I’d recommend going to the Phoenix Park (last stop on the 46a bus) lying in the west of Dublin. It has one of the largest city parks in Europe which has lovely forests and walking trails, deer spotting and here you can capture some fantastic sunset photos.
If you have a car, a road trip to Wicklow which is located thirty minutes south of Dublin City Centre is a must. At Wicklow see the largest national park in Ireland, also the Powerscourt Waterfall and then drive over to Glendalough where you can see some very impressive scenery on a relatively easy walk.
If you don’t have a car but have the nice weather, get the DART northside bound to Malahide or Howth. These are seaside towns where you can get good food, walk the piers and visit Malahide Castle which is a really pretty medieval castle built in the 12th century.
What is the most celebrated holiday of the year in Dublin?
St Patrick’s Day is definitely the largest scale festival throughout the country, but most people at the parades are tourists and families. I’d say that for Irish people, Stephen’s Day (Dec 26th) is actually the craziest day of the year. New Year’s Eve is huge in Dublin too, there’s a massive open-air concert and a countdown, the entire city pretty much shuts down for it.
What is the most loved local food, savory and sweet of Dublin? Is it a vegetarian friendly city?
Irish people consider ‘Fish & Chips’ a local favourite and in Dublin a lot of people say that Leo Burdocks is the best chipper for this. If you want to be really Dublin, go to a Chinese takeaway and get a ‘Spice Bag’. Life changing.
For sweet stuff, we have a Dingle Ice Cream in the city (started in another place called Kerry on the west coast) and anywhere you can get Butlers Chocolate or shortbread is pretty Irish. You can find all these things on the same street called Exchequer Street which leads into Wicklow Street. A lovely casual spot called Cornucopia is also here, which is the best veggie restaurant in Dublin in my opinion. And yes, Dublin caters to vegetarians and generally caters to most dietary needs.
Where to head for shopping in Dublin?
If you’re serious about shopping that you would leave the city to get to large malls, Dundrum Shopping Centre on the south side and Liffey Valley Shopping Centre on the north side are the biggest.
If you’re just on a short trip, Henry Street for high street favourites and Grafton Street for more higher end (but also some high street stuff too). I find Zara, H&M etc. way cheaper in Ireland than in the US, so American visitors should enjoy this if they can!
Which is the local craft or souvenir of your city?
There are tonnes of Irish artists, musicians, designers and food producers that can be found in Dublin stores and markets. If you’re interested in that kind of thing I’d highly recommend Kilkenny Store (across from Trinity College) or in the Powerscourt Townhouse that I mentioned earlier. Please don’t buy shamrocks and Guinness hats, Ireland has so much to offer beyond this.
Which are the best streets in Dublin worthy of taking a stroll on?
O’Connell Street is the ‘main’ street of Dublin which you should start at the Spire and you will see the GPO, probably live music, the biggest ‘Primark’ in Dublin (which we call Penneys in Ireland, where it originated).
Along here you will see statues and will then come to the River Liffey. Take a left to go towards the more harbour views end of the Liffey or take a right down the boardwalk (during the day, the boardwalk is not a nice place after dark), cross the Ha’penny bridge into the little alley that leads to Temple Bar and then wander around there.
Make your way up through Dame Street, Trinity College and if you can check out Merrion Square on the weekend, that’s beautiful and it’s right across from the National Gallery of Ireland.
Can you suggest a place from where one can get the best view of the city?
The Guinness Storehouse or the top floor of the Stephens Green parking lot.
Other good photo spots are Stephen’s Green park, Grand Canal Dock (and the Marker Hotel terrace if you want to splash out on a pricey cocktail!) and as silly as it may seem, the Viking Splash Tour takes you through the city on road and then turns into a boat, showing you parts of Dublin you never would have seen otherwise! It’s a good laugh for those who want something a bit different.
Do you suggest any shows on music, culture or art performed by the locals? Where can one spot street art in the city?
The Olympia Theatre always hosts fantastic shows. It’s an ever busy theatre, highly respected by locals and tourists, playing a variety of plays, musicals, pantomime, comedy as well as gigs by Irish and International rock and pop artists.
Street art can be found in Temple Bar.
Would you recommend any local apps for food, transport or hidden gems in your city?
Groupon.ie is good for food deals! Get the Dublin Bus app for real time if you will be busing around a lot and besides that, Ireland is not very on par with the rest of the western world when it comes to cool apps that help visitors… maybe someday.
Do you want to give any suggestion/tip to tourists coming to Dublin?
Cool non-touristy bars and pubs in the city can be found around Dame Lane & South William St area. Two of my favourites are P Macs or in the south side of the city is the Bernard Shaw.
You can walk everywhere in the city centre, so bring good shoes. Don’t have your phone out carelessly in the city and if you’re a student, bring your student card because there’s loads of student deals in Dublin, when in doubt just ask if there’s a student discount, especially on Mondays/Tuesdays.
And for the love of God, do NOT go to Coppers Nightclub…