DUBLIN, Ireland For me, the best part about travel is the exposure to world-class cities and the people that live in them. Over the past few weeks, my children and I have been incredibly fortunate to have seen some really awesome places and met some really cool people. In particular, our recent days in Dublin set a standard in sightseeing and people-watching that would be hard to top.
Our Dublin timetable was crammed with what felt like an endless list of places to go and things to do. However, I wanted to share with you a selection of our most fun-filled finds and a few thoughts on my 36-hour tour of Ireland’s capital city with the kids.
In Dublin, everyone seems to be 25 years old — or younger. As a mom, I felt like I had an immediate facelift because the energy in this gorgeous, youthful city makes me feel young.
We decided that the first place to check out in town would be the Old Library at Trinity College, Dublin, with its most famous treasure, the Book of Kells — a must-see. Trinity College, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. is the oldest university in Ireland. There, visitors can view the Book of Kells — a lavishly decorated manuscript from the 9th century, containing the four Gospels of the New Testament written in Latin on vellum (prepared calfskin).
A visit to the College will take you to the Long Room, the largest single chamber library in Europe which houses over 200,000 volumes of books. But this hallowed room was also a study hall for many of the world’s most famous writers — James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett to name a few. While there, kids can try to spot members of the library staff working away on the 3rd floor. Note: The library carries the unmistakable scent of old books, a sense memory that will last a lifetime.
Before we moved on from Trinity College, we lingered for a long time in the school’s bookshop. It was very, very crowded, but it proved to be an ideal place in Dublin to find gifts and souvenirs.
Our next stop was The Ark, possibly the most enriching place in town for the little ones. It’s a cultural center dedicated to kids from 2 to 12 years old, with several theater, music, literature, art, film, and dance workshops held on a regular basis. And it’s located only a few blocks away from Trinity College.
Sometimes, the simpler the attraction, the better. For instance, we had loads of fun wandering and walking around the cobbled streets of the culturally-vibrant section of town called Temple Bar. Over 70 commissioned works of public art are located throughout the area, as well as open markets, exhibitions, live music performances, and galleries. And of course, countless shopping possibilities await you in this extremely vibrant city.