This is a special guest post by Mark den Hartog of Meet Me Onboard. Azamara is a proud partner of Meet Me Onboard, the largest gay cruise community online. Mark and Dale traveled as guests of Azamara.
Dublin hums with energy and vitality. As we strolled the eminently walkable streets of Ireland's capital, we felt plugged into both ancient and modern Irish culture.
Most of the locals we met exuded an easy warmth and charm. They were happy either to give us directions or to engage in conversation. We met several people who displayed the famous Irish gift of gab. A simple purchase in a corner shop often resulted in locals sharing stories with us, as well as asking us questions about life in the U.S.
Even this urban area lives up to Ireland's nickname of "Emerald Isle". Dublin offers many lovely green spaces providing an oasis in the midst of a busy city. We especially enjoyed Dublin Castle Gardens, a hidden gem where we had an ice cream break after a visit to the 13th century Castle. As we ate, we took in the view of the Castle, as well as the Gardens' interesting public art.
Both of us are history buffs, so naturally, we visited the General Post Office, site of the beginning of the 1916 Easter Rebellion. Only the facade of the building remains from the original, the rest having been destroyed in the rebellion. The interior has been lovingly rebuilt and remains a functional Post Office. Bullet holes in the facade and columns are still visible as a testament to the birthing pains of an independent Ireland.
Just steps from the Post Office is the Spire of Dublin, also referred to as the Monument of Light, built to commemorate the millennium. This structure is 120 meters (nearly 400 feet) tall and was completed is 2003. The remarkable slender stainless steel needle demonstrates Ireland’s forward-looking attitude for the new century.
Since our Azamara itinerary began with an overnight stay in Dublin, we had ample opportunity to visit the Temple Bar District.
With narrow streets boasting scores of bars and restaurants, this area is busy both day and night. Captivating architecture coupled with Dublin’s ubiquitous and beautiful hanging flower baskets make for ideal photo ops. We were able to enjoy authentic Irish music in many venues even during the daylight hours. The music, along with pints of Guinness and easy-flowing, friendly conversation with locals, made the Temple Bar District one of the highlights of our Dublin visit.
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