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Bournemouth airport helps spread the word about delightful Dublin

By Stour & Avon Magazine  |  Posted: October 06, 2012

  • The Ha'penny Bridge across the River Liffey

  • First it was a church - now it's The Church restaurant and bar

  • A fabulous front door adorns a Georgian building

  • The Long Room at Trinity College Dublin

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THEY love to talk, Dubliners.

A story lies behind every facet of Dublin life and there is always someone eager to recount it.

They will even arrange in advance to talk to you with a new scheme - City of a Thousand Welcomes - in which local ambassadors meet visitors with a free drink and friendly advice to get the most out of your visit.

Wonderful stories abound at Dublin's oldest pub, the Brazen Head, in Food, Folklore and Fairies nights. Even without the stories this pub, with its live music, is a place to visit.

It dates from 1198 so countless tales must have been told within its walls over the centuries. But they seem to have saved the best till last in the form of master storyteller Johnny Daly.

Between courses he transports diners to the Ireland of myth and magic, of hard times and far-fetched good fortune with his stories, all delivered with the natural charm that abounds in Ireland's capital city.

Dublin has its own story to tell and now it can with the opening of the Little Dublin Museum at St Stephen's Green.

Against the odds it opened at a time when Ireland is suffering more than most in these austerity times.

Curator Simon O'Connor was part of the drive to create a museum dedicated to the history of Dublin. When he and director Trevor White appealed to Dubliners for help they got their wish.

People offered their old photos, documents and items from everyday life and special occasions that had been salted away for years. The result is a fascinating collection, displayed in a beautiful Georgian house.

Trinity College Dublin has been gathering cultural treasures for centuries. It was founded by Elizabeth I and its library is home to a fabulous collection including a Shakespeare first folio and an Irish harp that is more than 500 years old and was the inspiration for the famous Guinness logo. But its chief attraction is the exquisitely decorated 9th century Book of Kells.

The college library's Long Room is like something from the world of Harry Potter - only better.

You should walk in the grounds of Trinity College and marvel at the Sphere Within a Sphere shining sculpture.

An intriguing tale can be found at St Patrick's Cathedral. The present building dates from the early 13th century and contains a door with a hole in it.

The story is that the hole was cut by one earl to reach through to shake the hand of another and so end a feud that had culminated in one party taking refuge in the Chapter House.

This is said to be the origin of the expression to chance one's arm, a saying lost, apparently, on many of the cathedral's overseas visitors.

One Dublin claim to fame understood the world over is Guinness.

A visit to the Guinness Storehouse is a must, and includes the opportunity to pour - or, as they say, to craft - your own pint.

Certificates are awarded and you can take your very own glass of Guinness to the top of the building with its 360 degree view of Dublin - a joy on a clear day.

The secret to enjoying the taste is to slurp the drink up avoiding the head.

Guinness, by the way, is a welcome ingredient in a range of recipes including bread, chocolate mousse and Guinness-cured Irish salmon.

You can work off the calories with a taster session of Irish sports at the Na Fianna GAA grounds. A lesson in Gaelic Games is a fun way to find out about hurling, Gaelic football and a version of handball that is like squash without the racquet.

They also offer tuition in Ceili dancing and beating a Bodhran drum. It is all energetic but hugely enjoyable, especially for groups visiting the city.

Dublin will appeal if you like walking around looking at inspiring architecture. Imposing buildings, including the former St Mary's Church that is now the stunning Church bar and restaurant, sweeping bridges across the River Liffey and delightful details everywhere make this a city to explore on foot.

The Temple Bar area is bursting with live music and atmospheric pubs reminding visitors that Dublin loves to party.

There are plenty of good places to stay. Check the website of the opulent four-star Trinity Capital Hotel for special offers.

What's the story, they say in Dublin. It's this - an hour's Aer Lingus flight takes you from Bournemouth to this city of culture and history, writers and hurlers, shoppers and musicians. Pass it on.

Dee Adcock

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