Exploring Dublin

Dublin, also known as the friendliest city in Europe, has been my home for the last three days before heading off on my Contiki Ireland tour which officially kicks off later this evening!

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I have learned so much about this city and its culture, art and FOOD in such a short period of time. The city is so young and full of life. In fact about 50% of the population in Dublin is under the age of 35, making it the perfect city for new ventures and for art. Dublin’s economy suffered immensely in the recession of 2008, but some locals argue that it was a blessing in disguise as the recession caused a huge surge in creativity and drastically improved the local arts and local culture of the city. Ireland is home so some of the greatest chef’s in the world and the food has taken on a whole new vibe of traditional, but revolutionary cuisine. I definitely ate the most here as the portions are a bit larger than what I would be used to, but the cost is still affordable even at the trendiest of restaurants. Meet & Meat was my favorite of the places we tried during our stay. These hipster chefs take pride in their creations and the food was SO GOOD!

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Other restaurants I would recommend while in Dublin:

Whitefriar Grill – For an awesome Sunday Brunch!
L. Mulligan Grocer – For something unique and traditional, complete with beer pairings and vintage literature menus.
Clement & Pekoe – For fabulous coffee and teas and a cute cafe feel.

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Thanks to Tourism Ireland I was able to experience the local Food & Fashion tour with Deidre McQuillan, the Fashion Editor for the Irish Times! Deidre taught us about the local artists that sometimes go unnoticed and the ones who have been made famous by working with brands like Hermes. She brought us to local chocolatiers and bakeries like The Pepper Pot who have served celebrities like Lady Gaga. We went on to visit local art galleries where we had the opportunity to sample the cheeses that Dublin is famous for! The 2.5 long tour was never dull, there was so much to discover in so little time.

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I also had the luxury of going on one of the famous Pat Liddy Walking Tours with an amazing family from the US. We learned so much about Irish History in Dublin from Gerry Kelly, who’s smart wit and clever humor kept us entertained and educated for the entire duration! We walked through St. Stephen’s Green, Trinity College, the Dublin Castle, Houses of Parliament and the District of Temple Bar. Gerry taught us about the famous history behind Irish Wool and the story of why the Bank of Ireland has no windows. Apparently, before the building was converted after independence, people would throw rocks and shatter the windows as they walked by in protest. During this time, there was a tax placed on windows so repairing the damage would have been too expensive. Instead, they cemented them and reduced the windows to a few on the roof to allow light in, without the risk of further damage!! Sneaky Bankers!

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When night time rolls around in Dublin, the city comes alive! The pubs are bustling and the Guiness is flowing. Dublin is also known for their pub culture but what some may not expect is they are quite established and knowledgeable in beer culture as well. Some local pubs opt to serve only local microbreweries and although Dublin’s pride and joy will always be Guiness, there are some new places that have popped up that wont even offer it!

Words cannot express how much I fell in love with the character and culture of this city. These past few days have filled me with so much knowledge and appreciation for Irish culture and the culture within Dublin itself. I want to thank Tourism Ireland (www.ireland.com) and Contiki Canada for setting me up for such an amazing adventure – I wouldn’t trade it in for the world! Also want to extend a HUGE thanks to The Dean Hotel for being the COOLEST and TRENDIEST Boutique hotel that I have ever had the opportunity to stay in. They have the coolest vibe and best service I have seen in a while!

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xx Meagan

For more information on Dublin or other cities in Ireland check out the following links:

Ireland.com
Twitter: @GoToIrelandCA
Instagram: @TourismIreland
Facebook: www.facebook.com/DiscoverIrelandCA

Tourism Ireland

For flight discounts check out Bravofly – big thanks to them for the amazing transportation!

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