Eight years ago I visited Dublin to help in the preparation of the Conference of Human Rights Defenders. I stayed in Dublin for more than two months. When I went back to my homeland Palestine, I faced tough charges and was subjected to a relentless campaign of brutality and oppression by the Israeli occupation, which ended by myself being thrown out of my home country of Palestine. I do not want to remember the rest of this tragic story at least while I am writing this short report on Dublin, the capital of the lovely and peaceful State of Ireland.
Eight years after my first visit, I attended the ARABMED medical conference there. The heritage, culture, civilization of Ireland and its historical struggle for independence, the art and generosity of its friendly people stole me of myself and the conference. I found myself small before this country, their culture and the incredible friendliness of its people despite their centuries old history of struggle against occupation.
On Saturday Nov. 30 2010, I toured the city on foot. After I visited Trinity College, I spontaneously went to Templebar / Fleet Street, where I had spent ten days in a room B&B at Oliver St. John Gogartys Pub before I moved to live in Dublin 6 during my visit 8 years ago.
Templebar / Fleet Street is one of the most traditional historical streets in the center of Dublin, where many clubs and trendy pre-club bars get the Irish youth and the tourists in the mood for the night life of dancing and drinking the famous Guinness beer. The Templebar / Fleet Street, is located in the center of Dublin. The famous Temple Bar Hotel is located in the same street and about 100 meters from the River Liffey. In the Templebar area of The Fleet St. there are many pubs, cafés, restaurants, and always people are coming and going among the many different nightclubs, they are smiling, dancing, drinking, meeting friends and celebrating their personal parties.
The Templebar starts with restaurants and unusual shops which line these narrow, cobbled streets running between the Bank of Ireland and huge Christ Church Cathedral (Cathedral of the Holy Trinity) where the sky smiles at you (when it is not raining) while touring this historical holy place, which was founded sometime after 1028 when King Sitric Silkenbeard, the Norse King of Dublin, made a pilgrimage to Rome. Read more about the Christ Church Cathedral
When I visited the accommodation where I spent some days in 2002, I remembered that I was not able to sleep at night because of the huge happiness of the night life around me, which turned my nights into days, making me sleepy during the day. Nothing had changed in this accommodation, even the prices of the night stayed as they were 8 years ago, 12 Euros per night.
The walls and fortifications about Dublin were raised by the Danes in the 9th century. It was the head and capital of their colonies in Leinster, which they fortified to defend themselves from their enemies. Read more.
In the 18th century the area of the Temple Bar was home to many insalubrious characters and brothels. It was also the birthplace of the parliamentarian Henry Grattan. Skilled craftsmen and artisans, such as clockmakers and printers, who lived and worked around Temple Bar until post-war industrialization led to a decline in the area’s fortunes.
According to the information which I received from a tourist office, in the 1970s, the national transport authority bought up parcels of land in Temple Bar area to build a major bus depot. The area became the city’s “officially designated arts zone”. Culture mixed with heritage, arts and civilization. Around the street dozens of galleries, centers for music, multi-media and photography, Cultural Centres, etc. coexist.
Walking around the Temple Bar is something special where you could easily reach nearby landmarks such as Grafton Street, Trinity College, The Guinness Brewery and Dublin castle, Dublin city wall, shops, and enjoys looking at galleries, theaters. From the other side you could reach Christ Church Cathedral, St. Stephen’s Green, Patrick’s Cathedral and other important and historical sites of Ireland. Each entry it takes you to a new site and a new story and historical world.
During the same walking tour, I visited various historic buildings, among others the Christ Church Cathedral and Patrick’s Cathedral, which is considered as the largest and most beautiful church in Dublin.
While walking I shot a picture of a sign of “Enjoy yourself!! Enjoy Guinness”. These two sentences where written by hand on the Market Street wall near the Guinness Storehouse, the most important features of Dublin which attracts many tourists. After a long walking tour, when darkness started spreading its curtain over the city, I remembered that I was hungry and went home to eat. The Irish people are fond of Guinness. With Guinness at the end of the day, they live, smile, dance and forget the troubles of a long day of work.
What I saw during the hours of my tour is more than my words could explain and more than what I saw during my previous visit and stay in Ireland in 2002. During this tour, the history of county was my main interest. In 2002, my ONLY interest was exposing the criminality of the Israeli occupation. Now, I preferred walking and talking to the friendly Irish people. Dublin has a center of Tour Buses for tourists which have a design in yellow, red and different colors.
In my opinion making a tour of the city by bus does not really show the whole beauty of the place, so I got out of a group tour in a bus and went to explore the city on foot, which I found much more enjoyable than sitting in a bus. During this short tour I saw much beauty and many tourists. The Irish people told me that the economic situation is not good in the country which they love, that many people are engaged and work in London and they return home only for weekend. This shows clearly as on Monday morning there was huge traffic on the road to the airport because of the many Irish who must travel to their work in Britain.