Dear Ould Dublin - ROCKS!
Dublin, Ireland's teeming capital, used to be, even only a decade ago, a somewhat dull city, seemingly mired in its tragic history.
Fast forward a decade and Dublin is one of the hottest fun destinations of Europe, fueled by the high-tech revolution and its preeminence atop the European pop world. Walk down the pedestrian mall on the trendy shopping mecca of Grafton Street, and you'll see faces from around the world - mostly young and certainly hip. On weekends, crowds of young and restless backpackers stream into Dublin from places like Berlin, Beijing, and Barcelona, eager to taste the good life in Dublin's famous pubs and its newer, more mod, rock emporiums. And in the pubs temselves, you're as likely to be served by a waiter from India or China as a red-headed Irishman or woman, since the service economy, as in other European capitals, has been left behind by locals gravitating to white collar careers.
The new cosmopolitan atmosphere has also brought a wide array of international restaurants, as Dubliners and visitors alike taste a haut-ier cuisine than the "pub grub" for which Dublin was formerly famous - or infamous. Sushi bars and Thai and Indian restaurants are among the most popular, but gourmet Irish cuisine (no longer an oxymoron) can be found in such grand restaurants as Browne's
Brasserie, fronting Dublin's "Central Park," St. Stephen's Green. The lamb chops and the smoked salmon are to die for, served perfectly in a dining room that bespeaks the elegance of the Victorian era.
Those who do want to connect with the stirring history of Dubliners' fights for freedom can still visit such monuments as the General Post Office on O'Connell Street (focal point of the Easter Rebellion)and Kilmainham Jail. And Dublin's literary heritage is on display in the Abbey Theatre and the Writer's Museum.
Accommodations in today's Dublin are as multi-faceted as the faces on Grafton Street. In addition to such historic stalwarts as The Gresham, there are numerous modern hotels in Dublin, notably the the Fitzwilliam and the Westbury, where you can luxuriate in contemporary elegance. But to feel like a lord of Dublin's gilded Georgian period, stay at Number 31, at 31 Leeson Court(e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org), a plush townhouse from the city's eighteenth century heyday, a period, like today, when Dublin was a magnet for the young, beautiful and artistic. You'll get a warm welcome from former Tipperary footballer Noel Comer at this architectural gem, just a short walk from St. Stephen's Green and the shops of Grafton and Nassau Streets.
For further information on visiting Ireland's vibrant capital, access Dublin Tourism at www.visitdublin.com,
or log on to Tourism Ireland at www.tourismireland.com. Enjoy!