I’m totally and unexpectedly in love with Dublin. I initially only planned to spend two days there. But like the rest of this crazy trip, mother nature had other plans. Hurricane Ophelia brought the country to a standstill, my flight home included. So I had a week to spend, with no plans I forged a path ahead by saying yes to whatever opportunity crossed my way.
It felt like a relief from my usual meticulously planned check lists. It also made me realise just how much I was missing out on. If I’d left as planned, I would have been perfectly content having ‘done’ Dublin. I drank my Guinness, visited the castles and cathedrals, wandered around a couple of museums.
Having spent a few more days there I realise that I could spend weeks in Dublin and barely even scratch the surface. Dublin, like most of Ireland, is more about the people you’ll meet than the things you’ll see. Walking around, the architecture isn’t that breathtaking . They have beautiful buildings, for sure, but it isn’t like Edinburgh or Paris. And the weather, particularly when sandwiched between two storms, is not exactly inspiring.
Rather, it’s something a bit less tangible that makes Dublin so beautiful. Everywhere in the city centre you’ll hear the amplified strumming of guitars floating down side streets. I spent drizzly nights sipping hot toddys in pubs where not one person was on their phone.
And, maybe the most beautiful part about Dublin, are Dubliners themselves.
Everywhere I went, people would go out of their way to make me feel welcome. I know it’s a cliché about Irish hospitality, but it’s totally true! Nobody is afraid to make eye contact with smile and nod when passing in the street. Most will even go a step further and (god forbid) say hello. I had people walk me to the platform to ensure I’d get on the right train, shopkeepers wrote down lists full of secret gems to visit, and baristas call over their friends to keep me company just so I wouldn’t feel lonesome sitting on my own.
Most memorably, on my first day in the National Gallery a guard walked up and said hello, seeing that I was wandering around alone. After learning that I was from Detroit, he gushed to tell me stories about roaming around Cass Corridor one hot summer in his youth with the girl that would become his first love.
Being in Dublin and meeting the people that inhabit this great city was heartwarming in a way that made me remember why it is I love to travel in the first place. And that definitely takes more than two days to click.
So thank you, Ophelia, for forcing me to take a step back, to slow down, and fall in love with Dublin.