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Experience in Dublin, Ireland, by Carolyn

What is life like in Dublin? Would you recommend this city? How it it?

The city of Dublin is buzzing with progressive thought and energy. Fortunately, it is rapidly becoming cosmopolitan. It has a dynamic openness of spirit, a bit like San Francisco in the eighties. I highly recommend it to all potential residents. However the weather is exceptionally irregular and visitors will experience five climates in one day, any day, whether winter or summer. Always have a raincoat and waterproof shoes. Keep your eyes up when looking at the buildings, because on the ground floors are lots of ugly commercial shops, but the first and second levels are architectural gems. It is a dynamic city which is easy to live in, and with its liberal beauty, there is always an element of crime one or two blocks away. Be aware that, behind each charming, amusing, kind, sociable Dubliner, hides just as many "dangerous characters" as in other city. I have lived in New York, London, San Francisco, Venice, Paris, Amsterdam, Jerusalem, Nairobi etc. Dublin is the same but the optimistic temperament is a bonus!

I really recommend living in this city of contradictions.

Experience in Dublin, Ireland, by Carolyn


What is student life like in Dublin?

Very lively, with long, and very very expensive nights. Follow the locals.

What is the cost of living like in Dublin?

Realistic! I met very hedonistic and authentic students living on a small student budget. Make the most of the city bikes which are (almost) free. You can live simply on 1,100 euros a month. Try to find a part time job as quickly as possible. The art galleries are free. Dublin has large green spaces, the greenest of any city in Europe. Explore Phoenix Park, Marlay Park, Herbert Park, Botanical Gardens, and Bushy Park. Follow the coast from Howth to Clontarf, or Sandymount to Dun Laoighaire. Climb to the top of Bray Head. All of that is free! The pubs are expensive, and very entertaining! The Irish weather can be horrible, which probably explains the alcoholism in Dublin.

Is it difficult to find accommodation in Dublin?

Try using Erasmusu, Daft, Rent, or CollegeCribs. Check out the noticeboard for Trinity Accommodation. Try living with a host family for at least two weeks, to give yourself time to find a good area, compare prices etc. If possible, keep to the areas within 2 minutes walk to the Luas tram line, in particular Green Line or Dart Line, since the buses are irregular and often blocked by traffic in the business district of Dublin. Budget at least 550 euros for average, clean and secure accommodation. 900 euros for something extra special with a bathroom.

How is the food? What are your favourite dishes?

The food is distinctly average, unless you have plenty of money. The Brown Irish Soda Bread is delicious and nutritious. The seafood soups, if freshly prepared, are delicious. Guiness is a must! Try lots of the farmers markets; Killruddery House in Bray, holds a market on Saturdays. It is small, but in a charming setting.

What places do you recommend visiting in Dublin?

Phoenix Park, the Sandymount Walk via Blackrock to Dunlaoghaire, take a walk near the pier, do a tour of a big new library and you will perhaps have the chance to hear some incredible quartets or orchestras in the almost entirely soundproof library rooms. Visit the old historic pubs on an early rainy afternoon: the Palace Bar, O'Donohues, or Mulligans Poolbeg Street. Make sure to listen to Sinead O'Connor, Dolores O Riordan, the Cranberries, Van Morrison, Mary Coughlan, Van Morrison, and Rory Gallagher. Listen to music, and read the literature and the poetry: Oscar Wilde, Seamus Heaney, and Brendan Kinnelly. Watch the films, Christy Brown, the Wind that Shakes the Barley, The Engagements, Brooklyn, In the Name of the Father, the Guard etc. Immerse yourself in the Irish arts before arriving. Trinity College is a must, as well as Stephens Green, and Merrion Square. Rent a bike, go down Georges Street, and take a walk along the Royal Canal to the Grand Canal Square. Go to the IFI on Eustace Street. If you have children, check out the Zoo and The Ark, there are lots of nice parks for children in Dublin.

Experience in Dublin, Ireland, by Carolyn


What advice would you give to future students in Dublin?

Bring lots of rain weather clothing. Don't go for a drink with an average Dubliner just for the sake of having a drink. If you do, you will find yourself in the Liffey River or pregnant!

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