Located in the Northwest tip of Europe, “Éire or Poblacht na hÉireann” or Ireland as it is internationally known, is one of the best known travel destinations in the world. Whether volunteering or taking a vacation, it is very easy to get lost in the beauty and magnificence of the country. Time in Ireland can be spent uncovering legends and ancient myths, exploring amazing landscapes, and meeting locals thrilled to boast about the country’s treasures. Practically all cities in Ireland are famous for their vibrant attractions and historic places of interest.
One of Ireland’s famous cities stands out above the rest, the capital city of Dublin, located in the province of Leinster in Ireland’s east coast. Once voted the “Friendliest Metropolis in Europe,” Dublin has made its mark as the most visited tourist destination in Ireland. Exploring this city is a great way to become fully immersed in Irish culture while volunteering abroad in Ireland.
Take a City Tour
The easiest option when exploring a city, but surely worth it. “Hop on-Hop off” bus tours are available throughout the day. Tours last about one to two hours, with quality guides who are entertaining and knowledgeable. You have the option to get off the bus at your leisure, so this means exploring at your own pace, choosing your own interests, in your own time. Buses stop at multiple attractions around the city such as Trinity College, The Guinness Storehouse, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The best thing about this is that the ticket is valid for 48 hours, so you can just pick up where you left off the next day.
Interested in seeing castles and cathedrals? Dublin is the place to go. Volunteers can visit the historic Dublin Castle, established in 1204 AD, presently a venue which includes state-of-the-art conference and dining facilities. One of the best playgrounds in Ireland and home of Puck, the mischievous ghost, the Malahide Castle welcomes visitors into its breathtaking banquet hall. Dublin also prides itself for two landmark cathedrals, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church, both of which are architectural delights.
Explore Dublin’s Animal Sanctuary
Dublin Zoo is visited by over a million visitors each year and they have every reason to. From a free-flying aviary to an African safari, Dublin Zoo makes sure that all animals have habitats that fit their natural abodes. One of the most famous attractions is Harry, Dublin Zoo’s handsome silverback, who lords over the Gorilla Forest. There are constant additions to the zoo’s growing family, including baby hippos, rhinos, pandas, and baby gorillas periodically. questions are easily answered by extremely knowledgeable zookeepers who are literally like human encyclopedias. Numerous playgrounds dot the zoo for kids and adults to enjoy as well.
Enjoy the Freedom of the City
Freedom meaning a break from spending. That is because entry to Dublin’s galleries and top museums is completely free. The treasures are endless in the city, from the paintings of Caravaggio and Jack Yeats at the National Gallery to mummified bodies at the National Museum of Archeology. Francis Bacon’s Studio at the Dublin City Gallery is a must-see too, housing over 7000 personal items of Bacon’s transported from London. These opportunities are literally priceless.
Walk on Beaches Near the Sea
With all the splendor encompassed in the city, it is easy to forget that Dublin is a city by the sea. When museums and zoos are well explored, head to the sparkling necklace of beaches and seaside villages surrounding the city. Jump on a boat to Dalkey Island and sample Michelin-starred food in Malahide, build sandcastles on Portmarnock’s “Velvet Strand,” or perhaps take a walk down wildflower-strewn cliff paths to White Rock Beach in Killiney. All of these fairytale walks on the beach are available in Dublin.
There is More to Dublin
More than the impressively beautiful museums, elaborate Georgian architecture, grand buildings, and striking beaches, Dublin’s character rests in its people. Experiencing Dublin’s true essence is found beyond the galleries or zoo, it is in interactions with the locals. Wherever one may travel, whether waiting for the bus, negotiating with a shop owner, or ordering Guinness beer in the pub, the Irish culture exudes from the people in Dublin.