The “not-quite city girl”: Life in Co Dublin

Well, its safe to say I’m not quite getting the inner city experience, at least not for five days of the week. Having been sent to live with a host family in the seaside resort of Dalkey, and working just two stops away on the DART in Dun Laoghaire, I don’t travel further into Dublin than the peripheral region of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown (CO Dublin).

Dun Laoghaire Harbour

Its true, I don’t get to wind my way through a maze of buildings, scanning every food establishment I pass, in the snatched hour I get off work, for some (most likely over-priced) lunch. It only takes me a shameful seven minutes to get to work on the DART each morning. I’ve been having to contend with a brisk one minute walk down to Dun Laoghaire pier in my breaks, where the only view to speak of is the expanse of sky and rolling, blue sea.

Wait, none of that sounds so bad. OK, maybe its pretty jammy.

I’ve actually tackled the walk from Dun Laoghaire to Dalkey, one optimistic Friday evening after work. It took me about an hour, including an involuntary detour (or, ‘taking the ‘scenic’ route’).

For the first twenty minutes or so, its a straight stroll by the sea, past the famous Teddy’s ice cream store (which any Irish person will tell you is legendary), so its a rather agreeable journey home. I’ll admit I did sample an Oreo ice cream cone from Teddy’s – I was expecting something rather amazing, but to me it just tasted like a slightly nicer than usual Mr Whippy. Perhaps my expectations that Teddy’s would change my life and help me reach Nirvana were just a tad too high.

The 40 Foot

The 40 Foot

Also en route home, I saw quite a few rather ginormous black birds sitting on the rocks down below. They may have been cormorants or shags, but I didn’t get a good enough picture of them to find out for sure. All the same, they looked pretty impressive!

The best part of walking home though, has to be going past The 40 Foot bathing place.  It used to be an exclusively male, nudist bathing site, but is now open to all. Even at a quarter to six on a friday evening, scores of people in just their swimming cozzies and a flimsy towel were making their way, as if drawn by some kind of supernatural force, to the formidable looking spot. The rock strewn inlet would look desolate, if it weren’t for the constant line of people plunging into the swirling, ice cold sea. The water is deep enough that you can jump in even at low tide, although neither the water nor the rocky ledge that swimmers are leaping off of measure up to forty feet.

All in all, I may not be living the life of a ‘city girl’, but I’m pretty lucky to be living where I am – I wouldn’t dream of changing it!

Internship Week One: You Really Can Get Lost in Dublin

The first thing I was told about Dublin was “You will never get lost.” The second thing I was told, almost immediately after, was “If you do get lost, people are extremely friendly.” So far, the first statement has proven to be absolutely, completely false. I have gotten lost just leaving the door of my host family’s house, in the beautiful (but really not all that big) village of Dalkey – not to mention my attempts at navigating the capital city itself.

However, I will admit that over the past two days, I have not yet had the misfortune to ask a single unfriendly person for directions. This is either a miracle of statistics (because I have already asked far too many times than is socially acceptable) or people really are just super friendly.

Before coming to Dublin, I was nervous about coming to a capital city. I was wondering if I would ever be able to find my way around. Now, having spent the first few days here, I’ve come to realise it’s fine if I do get lost. That’s all part of exploring a new place. I have found myself wandering around with very little clue where I am going, but content to just slow down and take everything in.

This isn’t only due to the fact that I’ve accepted my fate to get completely and utterly lost, but also because Dublin isn’t like any of the cities in the UK. It seems as if there is so much more space here – not like our claustrophobic, overcrowded urban sprawl.

I will be in Dublin for two months, which should be more than enough time to see all of the sights, as well as explore the less ‘touristy’ areas. (Although, as I’m here for an internship, I will be spending most of my week working, so watch this space.)

So far, I have paid a visit to the incredibly disconcerting, but very entertaining National Wax Museum Plus. (There’s nothing like taking twenty selfies of yourself and Gollum for a bit of top-notch amusement.) Wherever you look, out the corner of your eye it always seems as if someone else has just walked into the room. The Chamber of Horrors, complete with Hannibal Lector is even more spine-tingling – and a great laugh (or a hysterical giggle, if you’re actually pretty scared, like I was). I won’t spoil the surprises for you!

This is just a quick check in, but I will post again (complete with pictures) soon. Counting down to the weekend, until I can go exploring again – just one more day to go!

P.S. My Dublin Bucket List (so far):

  • Cycle around Phoenix Park and visit Dublin Zoo
  • Walk up Killiney Hill in Dalkey
  • Go to the Leprechaun Museum
  • Visit the Guinness Storehouse
  • See some live music
  • Go to Howthe and Bray

Do any of you have any more recommendations?