This week for #FailteFridays, we’re going to take a little break from history (well, mostly) and talk about the tourist scene in Dublin’s City Centre. When I first arrived in Dublin, the street names that I heard almost daily were Henry Street, O’Connell Street, and Grafton Street. It took me a week before I was able to pinpoint exactly where the streets were, but it’s easy to get your bearings. These streets are in the city center of Dublin which contains historical monuments on every corner and massive shopping areas. On Henry Street alone, you’ll find 200+ shops which contains everything from clothes, shoes, sporting outlets, jewelry, and restaurants. One of the first things that surprised me with the shops in Dublin is that they’re all incredibly long. Regardless of how deceiving the front of the store looks, they go on for what seems like miles. Henry Street kept my friends and me busy for the first couple of weekends considering we would find an entire new mall complex in one of the openings.
At the end of Henry Street, you’ll find the massive, 390 ft Monument of Light, or ‘spire of Dublin’ as the locals call it. In the same spot, there used to be Nelson’s Pillar but in 1966 Irish republicans damaged the pillar and then it was eventually blown up by the Irish Republican Army. The spire started construction in 2002 and finished just a year later. If you do plan on visiting Ireland, this is how you’ll navigate around the city center. When in doubt, find the spire to take you home.
Henry Street intersects O’Connell Street which contains the vast majority of statues in the city. Just a quick list: you have the Parnell Monument, Jim Larkin Statue, and most famous one of them all, the O’Connell Monument at the end of… you guessed it, O’Connell Street. All three of these men had different roles in the fight towards getting Irish rights from the British. Daniel O’Connell was a lawyer who fought for Catholic Emancipation, founded the Catholic Association, and is known for his repeal movement for the Act of Union between Britain and Ireland. If you do plan on doing a study abroad, you’ll learn about these men and several other influential characters from Irish history.
If you walk past the O’Connell Monument and continue down the street, you’ll eventually pass Trinity College and arrive at Grafton Street. This area has the same layout as Henry Street in the fact that it’s filled to the brim with shops with more of a focus on restaurants and pubs that branch off from the main shopping area. Along all of these streets you’ll find talented singers, guitarists, and other acts trying to draw a crowd to make a little dough. If you’re looking for a rest area from all the shopping, just head to St. Stephens Green. If you’re lucky and it’s a sunny day, you’ll see tons of people coming to the park to take naps on the super soft grass.
You’ll never have to be worry about stuff to do, Dublin’s city center has an incredible day and night life that will keep you occupied for weeks on end.