Weird that it wasn’t until my third time in this city, on a typically rainy and cold October weekend last year that I truly fell in love with it, and began to understand what made it tick. I left this trip a changed woman – I know that sounds very dramatic but stay with me – and it was also a good lesson to me to keep revisiting places you’ve been before, in different seasons because they can seem like a whole different city. I once met a guy who told me he never went back to the same place twice, ‘there’s so much more to see’, he’d said. Because of Dublin I am firmly against this!
My first trip to this city was when I was eighteen and was also my first time in a hostel, but looking back I was so naive and had no idea what I was doing.
‘What do you mean I need a padlock to lock away my things?!’
I was with one of my very good friends on a pre university holiday. It was nice and I really liked Dublin but I didn’t love it. It was like that nice guy you meet who you think could have potential, and you keep trying to convince yourself it could work, but there’s just no ‘spark’ and you can’t force it. If that makes any sense.
My next time back was three years later to work for a summer school, i’d clearly liked Dublin enough to jump at the chance when they emailed asking for people to work there for two weeks. Well it was a disaster, I think this is a story for another time, but the short version is that I got to spend a few hours walking through the centre of Dublin, down Grafton Street, pushed along by the hordes of tourists, everyone hot and frustrated by each other, before I ran away in the early hours of the morning on a hastily booked flight. This was all before the job has even technically started…
So third time’s a charm supposedly?
I went in October and would completely recommend this time of year (or any time that isn’t the high season, aka summer or St. Patrick’s Day). Dublin is infamously quite expensive, but in the low season flights are cheaper, hostels are cheaper, and there are less tourists around to have to compete with.
If you’re from Europe it’s a great city to go for a weekend to see how you like travelling. I’d also recommend it for a first time solo traveller. Mainly because,
- It’s relatively small for a capital city, so hard to get lost in and most of it is walkable.
- It feels very safe, partly because of the above mentioned.
- There are so many traditionally ‘touristy’ things to do like walking tours.
- There are quite a few big hostels to choose from, so if you’re going alone and looking to meet people you’ll have loads of options. (I recommend The Generator)
If that’s not enough to sell you on Dublin then let me tell you a little more about my trip. I was travelling with a new friend who I’d actually just started working with, and had only known for a few weeks. Now we both think that looking back this was a big risk, but thankfully for both of us it worked out so much better than I could have imagined – as evidenced by the fact that she still talks to me!
This was the trip where I first met ‘proper’ travellers, people who did this for the long-term, people who just had a backpack with them and hopped from country to country, some with no plan. This fascinated me. I also met people from across the other side of the world who’d decided to move to Dublin for work or study. It was a crazy concept to me at the time.
Through the people I met during these four days it was like a switch had been flipped. I realised that maybe I didn’t have to make a conventional career for myself. I didn’t have to be tied down to one holiday a year which usually involved crashing by the sea and reading, because the year had left me too worn out to do much else.I also realised that travel didn’t have to be expensive! Even in a capital city like Dublin. (I’ll be writing a post soon about how to keep costs down in this city).
Travelling solo still hadn’t really crossed my mind at this point, I didn’t think I would be capable but this is the trip that set me up for the possibility.
Dublin is the city that I always think back to when i’m sat reminiscing about the amazing travels I’ve had. I am so thankful that, almost on a whim I boarded a terrifyingly small plane with someone I barely knew at the time.
I’m so glad I revisited this city, so that Dublin could redeem itself in my mind and I’ll forever have the great memories I made during my four days.