Happy spring! It is far from the season here, as we’re expecting more snow today. *face palm* I thought that I would start an Ireland series here, because I am SO excitedly returning to visit my sister, Kaylee, as she is studying abroad in Dublin this semester. We both are now honorary Champlain College students, and both Champlain Dublin alum who are going to join in the program’s 10-year anniversary celebrations in Burlington, VT early this coming June. As Ireland is on my mind nearly all the time these days, I’m here to continue to spread the love I have for that country.
This is around the time of year people, mainly college students and recent grads, embark on a new, Great Big Adventure that includes backpacking across Europe or simply solo travel. Dublin is an ideal place to spend time alone; here’s why.
It’s easy to navigate.
Dublin is a walkable city, meaning you don’t have to concern yourself with the public transportation system. It’s contained for the most part, and there are plenty of landmarks (the River Liffey, St. Stephen’s Green, Christ Church Cathedral, Trinity College, the Spire) to keep you on the right track and that serve as excellent points of reference. No, street signs aren’t always noticeable; but a map will get you where you need. If not, as for directions.
The Irish are friendly people.
Which is to say, they are some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. You’ll find camaraderie in pubs, in the park, on the street asking for directions. Irish people love to chat, and will befriend you instantaneously.
It is a safe and welcoming environment.
You probably don’t want to hang around Temple Bar at 2am on a Saturday alone, but then, where would you feel safe doing that anyways? Dublin proper doesn’t give you many reasons to believe you are in danger, considering pickpocketing isn’t a major issue, and people are pretty genuine. I spent an evening in pubs with an older gentleman who I got to talking to, who engaged me in wonderful conversation, and who I bid goodbye and promised I would be fine getting back to my AirBnb alone. I didn’t feel threatened by him at all, but I know my comfort level. Like I said, the Irish love to make new friends, and the whole country wraps you up in its people’s true warmth.
It’s a great place to set your own pace.
Dublin is dazzling in historic charm, between its museums, Georgian homes, and scones (Queen of Tarts, you guys). It’s also very laid back, and you’ll want time to see it all on your own schedule. Don’t follow a timetable; have an idea for what you’d like to do, but know that a burrito joint (Burritos and Blues) might catch your eye and you’ll have to wait until later to visit that museum. It’s okay. Whatever you decide will give you a good sense of both city and local culture. That’s the best way to see it.
Dublin is a meditative, homey escape.
The calming energy you’ll find here is exceptional, and with every passing hour you’ll feel less like a tourist and more like you’re at home. It’s somewhere that demands you sit with a cup of tea, some Butler’s hot chocolate, and/or said scone in one of Dublin’s parks or green spaces and people watch. Or read. Or walk and drink in the vision of beauty that this city is. Though it’s a metropolis, there is a huge element of quiet, of thoughtfulness, of peace that contrasts its business. It’s not an island retreat, but it provides retreat nonetheless. And probably some of the best rejuvenation there is.
Have you ever traveled to Dublin solo?