I have spent the last three days in Dublin and I highly recommend that anyone who has the opportunity to visit to do so. The city has beautiful architecture and so much history. Three weeks would not be enough time to really get to know the wonders of this city, and I only allotted myself three days, which was long enough for a flirtation, but not enough for a long term romance. I could see myself living her someday. Maybe I should look into pursing a PhD at Trinity College.
I am up to three bags right now, though one is being used to hold my lunch, and with enough maneuvering I could condense my backpack and my purse into one. A couple of things I brought with me that I could really live without and a couple things that I didn’t think I would need that I really did. Overall the stuff I didn’t bring would have taken up more space than the stuff I did bring, so I probably would have gone without even if I had decided not to bring it with me.
One thing that I forgot that I really thought I would need, but didn’t have time to order was a three prong electrical converter. It ended up costing me a little over 7 Euro to pick one up here in Ireland, so it was not a tragedy that I decided not to pick one up at Target before I left. Another thing I probably should have packed but have been too cheap to buy is an ankle brace. I managed to sprain my ankle on the first day here and have been walking around on an ankle that by all accounts should be wrapped. Something worth noting for Americans traveling to Ireland is that you have to talk to a pharmacist to get any medicines in Ireland, so if you don’t like talking to people to get medicine, you will need to bring your Advil, Tylenol and Aleve from home.
The one thing that surprised me about Ireland is how few Irish people I actually met. This was probably due in part to the fact that I spent most of my time in very touristy areas. My Spanish has gotten a pretty serious workout as most of the people I have spoken to have been Italian and Brazilian, and Spanish has been our common language (English was also a sort of common language; however, most of time we spoke through a sort of Spanglish.) It was a little surprising how quickly the Spanish I learned ten years ago came back to me. By the time I get to Romania I will probably be more comfortable with Spanish than Romanian.
Like most large cities, Dublin has a number of homeless people. I was approached numerous times by people asking for spare change. Most Irish people just ignore them and keep walking. The Irish also tend to ignore people protesting and trying to get them to sign petitions on the street. It is really just like most cities in that regard.
Ultimately, Dubliners are used to tourists and tend to be patient, even with people who cannot tell a 1 Euro from a 2Euro. Some may take advantage of your ignorance and I was short changed on my first day, probably because the cashier knew that I didn’t know the difference, but for the most part Dubliners are a little more stoic than Americans, but tend to be friendly and congenial people.
Overall, my impression of Dublin is that it is a beautiful and old city with a lot of history. It is a lot safer than most US cities and I felt generally safe, although I did keep my backpack locked when I wore it around time. I was only parted from my backpack twice, one at the National Library, where I needed to put it in a locker in order to go up to the reading room , and once this morning when I went to the pharmacy and the grocery store and it seemed ridiculous to take all my stuff with me. So now I am off to Cork, and will hopefully write again soon.