Charm Of The Emerald Isle | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 05, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 05, 2017

travelogue

Charm Of The Emerald Isle

In rapt silence, I followed the sound of the violin, and then the accordion, to find its origin through the maze of the Celtic alleyways. I have been aroused by music before, but never had I felt such a strong tug coming from a sound that felt foreign to my ears and yet the same as coming home.

I was hesitant at the doorsteps of what was famously named after the street it was situated on, the 160-year-old Temple Bar of the Temple Bar neighbourhood in central Dublin, Ireland.

The entrance was packed to the brim on that Saturday, but I was not giving in to traffic or rowdiness that evening. The source of that captivating music was still at bay, hiding behind the folds of the establishment, from what I could gather.

Like the children following the sound of the flute in the legends of Pied Piper of Hamelin, I finally emerged on a spectacle, doused in a heavy trance. The music strummed at my heart, and the emotions running through my veins made it known that I did not need to understand music to feel it.

What I had left behind back in the alleyways of Dublin, in my pursuit to find the source of the music, was my husband.

My dear old husband who made most of my trips rather interesting with his calm, calculative and not easily excitable demeanour, and a lack of curiosity for obviously provocative things. The same things that easily caused an itch to drive the Labrador-version-of-human me, into a frenzy.

While I sniffed around, looking for adventures, he held the fort of composure and logic. Reunited inside the establishment, enthralled by the music of the three-piece band, violin, guitar and accordion, and its zealous artists, I think I saw a look of indulgent delight escape my most composed husband's face.

This was the first weekend of our one-week trip to Dublin, and thinking back, I remember, while planning, being more excited about the transit through London, than the actual destination of our trip. It was because I had always considered Ireland as an add-on to a trip to England, not necessarily deserving a visit on its own rights. How gravely mistaken I was! Ever since landing and shopping my heart out at Primark (Penny's in Ireland) and M&S that almost felt like London, minus the crowd and hustling, I realised this city was probably the best kept secret of this region.



How people constantly talk about sunny destinations like Spain and Greece, when considering holidays in London, for an obvious lack of sunshine in the region, but the charm of a cold and wintry trip to an ancient city, enamoured in rich history, can only be appreciated by a population born and bred in the sunnier, and constantly humid, locations of the world.

This is exactly what Dublin has to offer. It is romantic, adventurous, and breathtakingly beautiful, with the flavour and charm of an almost-forgotten era.

I have yet to find another city centre with as much appeal as Dublin's. A week spent right in the heart of central Dublin will not cease to excite, let alone the day trips that you can make rather easily, with multiple pit stops in the middle.

The Dublin castle, where numerous films and television shows have been shot like the Tudors and Becoming Jane, hugs a lining of rich history dating back to the first Lord of Ireland.

A short walk from there lies in the Trinity College of Dublin, founded in 1592, and boasting alumni as prestigious as the college itself. When you walk past the rooms, it might give you goosebumps to think it has housed Oscar Wilde in his youth, but also in its library is Ireland's finest national treasure – the Book of Kells. This is the only surviving manuscript from 800 AD containing the four Gospels of the New Testament together.

There are two spots, both around a 4-hour drive from Dublin that I would insist upon visiting based on convenience and appeal, when you have taken the trouble to obtain the visa to explore the Irish part of Ireland.

The first is the Cliffs of Moher, among Ireland's most visited and famous sights of a series of rugged cliffs, with some of the windiest climbs around, offering sheer height and the feel of being on the edge of the world. The drive up and around is one unforgettable experience too, as I remember not quite believing my eyes first, and later, pinching myself when uploading photos on my Instagram. And if you still need convincing, let my pictorial depiction assist you along the way.

There is a little town called Dingle, in County Kerry, which absolutely stole my heart for not just the sunny disposition of its residents, and its multi-coloured town houses, but also for Fungi the Dingle dolphin, rumoured to be 48 years old and the friendliest you will ever come across.

There are plenty of sights and sounds on the way to Dingle too, like the traditional Irish thatched roofs and neighbourhood consisting of little cottages built that way.

There are pit stops to be made between Dublin and Dingle too, like the Rock of Cashel, which according to myth was created when Saint Patrick had banished Satan from a cave, causing the rocks to deposit on the landing in Cashel.

The Slea Head drive which begins and ends in Dingle should be made an unmissable item on your things-to-see in this part of Ireland, as it takes you to the westernmost point of the Peninsula.

The swivelling roads get narrower here and the views threaten to envelope you, until you reach the tip. There suddenly you discover a white statue of Christ, depicting a scene from the crucifixion. It's eerie and fascinating at the same time, almost like the rest of Ireland. Continue on that road to make your next stop at Murphy's for some handmade ice cream, to steal you out of that reverie.

 

Photo: Naaz Fahmida

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