1. Stores tend to open late and close early. (I think that’s just a European thing in general, but it became more evident to me in Ireland.) A lot of storeowners like to take their time. Their mission is not to live a life of pleasing others, but to enjoy life for themselves. If they want to sleep in an extra hour, they’ll sleep in an extra hour. However, they don’t just make up their own hours as they go. They simply allow for a little wiggle-room.
2. There are street vendors and flea markets galore. Once you wander around the city streets of Dublin, you’ll tend to notice lots of streets filled with carts and pop-up stores and small shops selling anything and everything imaginable. From used clothes and toys to household products to food – you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for. It’s eclectic and refreshing and great to take advantage of you’re on a budget!
3. Every door has a different color. Since most of the housing complexes are built to look the same, and each individual house has little room in between each other, most home owners will paint their door an original and unique color in order to set them apart from their neighbor’s house. Although it was typically used to identify the home, it has now become a significant characteristic of Dublin itself, as photos of these colorful doors can also be found on postcards and calendars in souvenir shops around the city.
4. Their national symbol is the harp. Most people think that the symbol used to identify Ireland is the three-leaf clover, but, in fact, it’s actually the harp. (The clover is a close second.) All government official stamps and notices are ordained with the copyrighted symbol of the left-facing harp. That’s why Guinness could only use the harp as a symbol of their product if it was facing the other way.
5. They love their Guinness. (And their whiskey.) Really, they just love to drink. Whether in pubs, cafes, restaurants or at home, drinking is a humongous source of community and camaraderie for the people of Ireland. The locals take pride in being the home of such delicious beer and spirits. In fact, the entire Guinness corporation brings in so much money for Dublin through their products and tours of the factory that many monuments, buildings and landmarks were either donated by, sponsored by or financed by the Guinness family. What’s not to love about that?
6. Everyone is extremely friendly. Maybe that’s just the experience I had as a tourist, but everyone I came into contact with was incredibly friendly and helpful. They definitely know how to make a person feel welcome, that’s for sure. Whether they were sharing long-winded stories, singing and chanting local songs or telling the odd joke here and there to make you laugh, the people of Dublin never failed to put a smile on my face.
7. They have a ‘font’. Because most of the citizens speak both English and Gaelic, you can find a lot of stores and businesses written in the traditional Celtic font. As someone who comes from a place where every store, business and brand look incredibly different from the other, I found the cohesiveness between font and design of the Dublin city storefronts quite interesting.
8. There is so much beauty waiting just outside the city. Even though there are some pretty cool things to do in the city, Dublin is so close to some of the most expensive, vast and beautiful sceneries in all of Ireland. Because it’s located right on the east coast, day trips and excursions to the mountains or cliffsides are just a bus ride away.
9. Saint Patrick’s Day is complete mayhem. Although the majority of people who attend Saint Patricks Day in Dublin are, in fact, probably not from Dublin, the swarm of drunken debauchery that occurs on this festive holiday is absolutely crazy. Garbage, noise and people constantly litter the streets as your attention is being pulled left and right by young teens and adults who holler, laugh and toast to a holiday they probably have no clue about. (It’s actually about a guy named Patrick who brought Catholicism to Ireland after being held captive by them for years.) It is the biggest riot, but also one of the coolest things to experience.