The Truth About Dublin
Here's the thing about Ireland.
It's grown-up Disney World for Americans taking their first trip overseas. There's the magical land filled with castles, English language, and milkshake-rich beer. Enough culture to engage the day, enough rowdiness to fill the night.
Dublin is the quintessential meaningless center. The core carved out slowly by commercialism and tourism, but fragments left to remind people that there was a soul there, once. Maybe if they just spend a few more euros, down a few more pints, they will find it again. But before things get too serious, let's not forget that the capital of the Emerald Isle has been crowned the Las Vegas of the UK. Not that the endless strings of hen and stag parties will let you forget it...
Her saving grace in all this is her live music. Come golden hour, droves of musicians descend upon the streets of Dublin, cases of all shapes and sizes strapped on in every which way. Many of the musicians on the streets were far better than anyone I've seen onstage in the past year.
Rule of thumb as shared by our tour guide day 1: If you're paying more than 5 euros for a pint, you're in a tourist trap. Temple Bar (the neighborhood, not the bar itself) is notorious for the, but we went one night just to embrace the tourist experience, and it was quite fun. But locals will gather further south via Camden Street for less gimmicky sounds and cheap pours.
When you travel, you go to eat, shop, and sight-see. The Irish are known neither for fashion or culinary arts, and I covered anything mentionable within three hours of arriving at my hostel. Perhaps that's why night starts early in Dublin. There's not much to entertain during the day.
Thankfully the rest of Ireland has plenty to offer, including day trups to Cork, Galway, the Blarney Stone, and Mohr! ...Cliffs of Mohr that is. (That joke is painful. I like it. And I'm keeping it.) Stay tuned!