44 Things Dublin Has That You Simply Won't Get Anywhere Else In The World
Pints, rollovers, and brunches you just want to have hooked to your veins
It just can't be bate.
And never is that more apparent than on a day like today. So here, to make you all misty-eyed and full of LOVE, is a small selection of the many, many reasons why this city is just the best.
1. The buskers on Grafton Street
Amplified or unamplified, love ‘em or hate ‘em, there’s no doubt that these musical wonders and wannabes define the atmosphere around the city’s main shopping street.
2. Wandering around the batshit crazy art gallery on the top floor of Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre when it’s raining
You may never buy the picture of two witches caressing one another on a broomstick, but it’s a good place to run for shelter when the rain starts to pour during a stroll in the Green.
3. The sun rising over the canal
Everybody look to the east…
4. The sun setting over the canal
Everybody look to the west...
5. The Clery’s Clock
The shop may be gone, but the clock (for now) remains.
The northside’s main meeting point for generations, until a huge metal structure across the road went and stole the show. Still, you’ve got the love the Dublin wit that prompted the song ‘I can see Clery’s now the crane has gone’ when the Spire was completed.
6. Pints outside Kehoe’s on a sunny day
Or Grogans. Or The Barge. Or, or… too many places to mention. What’s important here is pints.
7. A session in The Cobblestone
Honourable mention for O’Donoghue’s here also...
8. South William Street
The beating heart of the Southside, metres away from Grafton Street but so very different; energetic but never hectic, relaxed but never sleepy.
There’s no better place in Dublin than the bench outside Clement and Pekoe to sit outside with a coffee and watch the world go by...
9. Going on a 'rollover' in Pyg
Because Sunday is a part of the weekend, and we will not give into The Fear!
10. Chicken Fillet Rolls
We published a list of the very best in the city… on April 1.
11. Dollymount and Sandmount Strands
We’re not going to pick favourites here – both offer incredible views of the bay, the chimneys and the entire city, and allow you to walk miles out “to sea”.
12. Moore Street
Steeped in history, but very much based in the present – the site of the surrender during the rebellion in 1916, and the site of a vibrant fruit and vegetable market today.
13. The architecture around George’s Street and Dame Street
They say if you want to get to know a city, look up – and nowhere in the city is this more true than around this part of town.
14. The deer in Phoenix park
They’re far from the most exotic animal you’ll see inside Phoenix Park, what with all the lions and tigers and stuff, but they’re definitely the most graceful and elegant – and you don’t have to pay to see them.
(Mind you, if you stand at the right place outside main entrance to the zoo, you can see one of the monkeys if he’s standing in the right place. Take THAT, establishment.)
15. You’re only ever about 15 minutes away from mountains like these
Just get in the car. Go! GO!
16. The Forty Foot
And newspapers’ fondness for publishing pictures of people jumping into the 40 foot whenever the sun comes out.
17. The biggest enclosed city park in Europe
Phoenix Park, where you can wander for hours and still not know you’re mere miles from the busiest urban centre in the country.
18. The tech scene at Silicon Docks
Who needs the Summit?
For a city of just under a million, the scale and importance of the Silicon Docks area is just astounding. Shame they’ve all got these killer in-house cafeterias or this would be the most buzzing part of any city in Europe come lunchtime...
19. The DART
It’s kinda hard to complain about a commute when this is your view every morning...
20. Coppers. Need we say more?
No. No we need not.
21. The 37 restaurants in Ranelagh
It’s got all the independence of a small town, but all the buzz of a city suburb. What a gem.
22. St Stephen’s Green
The one upside to not seeing much of the sun is that we get super-excited when it does come out – the mood of the population lifts in unison, and you can hear the city’s heartbeat pick up its pace.
That’s why you’ll never get an atmosphere anywhere in the world quite like you’ll get in this beautiful city centre park when the weather’s fine.
23. Posing for pictures with the statue in Whelans
Because what else would you be doing when you’re waiting for your Guinness to settle?
How often do you think the Whelans staff see people bumping into/starting to chat to/apologising to the statue at the bar? cc @mmmilodo— Finona Hyder (@andgoseek) October 25, 2013
24. Universities that look like this
Every city with a bit of history has a university (though many have shunted theirs off to the suburbs, as was the case with UCD). But do any of them look like this? Not a chance.
You’re hundreds of miles from the Atlantic and mere miles from the city centre – but you wouldn’t know it as you gaze out towards the sea from the top of Howth Head.
26. The best fish and chips in the world
Quiet, Italy. We’ve got this. Leo Burdocks, anyone?
27. Bono singing on Grafton street most Christmas Eves
We say we don’t like him, but then he shows up with a guitar under the twinkly lights... and we lose our shit altogether.
28. A monument with more nicknames than any other
The officials call it the Spire of Dublin or the Monument of Light, some still call it the Millennium Spire or Spike (despite the fact that it arrived three years late, so that name was quietly dropped) – but most opt for one of the colourful nicknames the locals have bestowed upon it over the years.
The Stiffy by the Liffey, The Stiletto in the Ghetto, The Pole in the Hole and the retro-tastic Bertie Pole are our favourites… but you’ve gotta admire The Pin in the Bin as well.
29. Love’s Old Sweet Song...
The greatest writer in the history of the English language not only emerged from Dublin, but used the city as his greatest muse – the city isn’t just the setting of his magnum opus, Ulysses, but a central character.
30. … And Slowly Swooning Souls
“His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.”
The closing lines from Joyce’s short story The Dead echo through to the present-day, not least because the incredible Glasnevin Cemetery is the resting spot for more than 1.5 million souls – more than the living population of the city.
31. The language of the Dubs
32. Burritos. Burritos everywhere
Not to change the tone here or anything, but seriously... there aren’t even this many burrito bars in Mexico.
33. A fighting past, a fighting present
From Emmet’s 1803 Rebellion to the 1916 Rising, and from the 1913 Lockout to the 2014 water charge protests, Dubliners don’t take anything lying down. And they say Cork is the rebel county?
34. These iconic chimneys that you can see from anywhere in the city
We recently imposed a rule in Lovin Dublin that the word ‘iconic’ shouldn’t be used for anything less than 50 years old… but we’ll bend that slightly for these 45- and 38-year-old structures.
Whether you’re taking them in full view from Sandymount strand, or spying them lurking on the distant horizon as you tuck into your Swedish meatballs in Ikea, these ever-present, candystriped beauties are the great accidental icons of the city.
35. The Races at Leopardstown at Christmas
There’s a bit of an exodus in the city every Christmas as people head home to spend time with their loved ones, and do all the schmaltzy stuff you see in ads.
But for those of us left behind, there’s no better place to be than the Leopardstown races (followed by a session in Club 92, because you know you want to).
36. The St Patrick’s Day parade
Sure, they have these in other cities – and some are even bigger than ours. But you just can’t beat the original, and our parade is the full-fat, red-and-white Coca Cola to the other cities’ supermarket imitators.
37. A grudging acceptance of Cork people
While they’re barred from most cities on the planet, the welcoming souls of Dublin have reluctantly but bravely welcomed in people from the self-proclaimed ‘real’ capital.
38. Terraced seating outside almost every pub and restaurant that almost never gets used
They may be idle for 355 days a year, but when those other 10 days roll around, dammit they’re worth it...
39. The soothing ‘ding ding’ of the Luas
It’s hard to believe that Dublin’s light-rail tram system is only 12 years old – and even harder again to imagine certain parts of the city without the sound of that gentle whoosh as it goes by, or the soothing ‘ding ding’ as it ushers smartphone-zombies on Harcourt Street out of the way of certain death.
The second most-famous Rick’s in the world after Bogie’s bar in Casablanca.
And many’s the time at 3am we’ve looked across the room to see our ex wander in and thought ‘Of all the burger joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into this one...’
41. The atmosphere in and around Drumcondra on match day
Whether or not you’re from Dublin, and whether or not the Dubs are actually playing, there’s nothing quite like a pint in the Big Tree once a Championship match has finished.
42. Both sets of Boys in Blue – Leinster and Dubs
The All Ireland-winning Dubs keep us entertained from June to September (admit it – you might catch the highlights of league games, but that’s about it) while the other Boys in Blue pack out the RDS and the Aviva for the rest of the year. Beautifully organised there, lads.
43. An exploding brunch scene with dishes like this
44. But most of all it’s about the people.
Look at them there. Aren’t they great!
Originally published in April 2015 as '41 Things Dublin Has That You Won't Get Anywhere Else In The World', and updated on September 23, 2015.