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Spend some time in Dublin and you’ll certainly appreciate the remark from renowned modernist author James Joyce: “When I die, Dublin will be written in my heart.” Dublin has long been one of Europe’s most beloved cultural centers, known to sweep locals, visitors, and culchie (country) philistines right off their feet.
Not to name drop, but you may have heard of some of the brilliant musicians, playwrights, and authors Dublin has turned out – Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, George Bernard Shaw, Sinead O’Connnor, and Bono (all debatable, of course). The city continues to boast a thriving live music, theatre, and literary scene, and hopping around the tourist track is totally acceptable in a city where the sites are this cool. There are attractions for the history buff (the threatening former prison Kilmainham Gaol and the iconic Glasnevin Cemetary), the literature-lover (Trinity College Library and the Dublin Writers Museum), the live music and theatre enthusiast (The Cobblestone, Gate Theatre, and Andrews Lane Theatre), the nature seeker (National Botanic Gardens, St. Stephen’s Green, and Phoenix Park), and anyone who’s into damp, eerie, labyrinthine castles and cathedrals (that’s everyone). The food is also as diverse as the attractions. Walk along the Temple Bar Food Market on a Saturday and you’ll realize that fish and chips doesn’t even begin to cover Irish cuisine.
And then there’s beer. The pub culture of Dublin is an integral part of the craic, but not the diluted and commercialized kind you’ll encounter in Irish-themed bars elsewhere in the world. The cultural stereotype of overindulgent, brash, and rowdy Irish guzzling down pints of Guinness is highly misguided. Pubs are places to gather with friends or family and enjoy the low-key atmosphere, or maybe share your life story with the bartender at your favorite watering hole. But be sure to learn pub etiquette before you get started. When your mate calls you a “cute hoor” for forgetting you’re responsible for the next round, you’ve committed a major faux pas – not received a new term of endearment.
When it comes to expenses, Dublin is dear as poison (read: expensive as hell). In fact, it’s one of the most expensive cities in Europe, though significantly more affordable than places like London, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Zurich, or Paris. Accommodation varies widely, but most flats are at least moderately furnished. Expect to pay €1,000+ for a one bedroom apartment in the city center, or about €800 much further out. Opt for a room in a shared house for €400-600/month to cut costs and rely on the busses and DART and LUAS trams to get you around the city (€100-150/month total). Assuming you’re not living in Rathgar, Portobello, Ballsbridge, Ranelagh, and you don’t live out your days in the city centre’s hipstertopia known as the Creative Quarter, expect to drop at least €1,500/month for a budgeted lifestyle after internet, phone, bills, groceries, occaaaasional dining out, drinking, and some entertainment.
If reveling in high culture and sharing a cuppa tea with some of the most wry, friendly, and vivacious bunch of people in the world sounds like something you’d fancy, then by golly get your arse to Dublin.
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