In this new series, FashionBeans will be assessing the style credentials of many of the worlds’ top cities; discussing cultural, historical and fashionable qualities of the city; all aspects that for us are the foundations of a City of Style. Throughout the articles, street style images from the city will justify how fashionable it is, with product suggestions to help you achieve the look.
I visited the capital of The Republic of Ireland for the first time recently after years of visiting different areas of the country, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed. Every city has a unique identity and defining features and all of these in Dublin create a pleasant, relaxed and comfortable city. It isn’t a red-hot London or a tepid Cardiff – it’s somewhere securely in between – making for a welcoming city with plenty to do and plenty to see.
Cut in half by the river Liffey, what struck me about Dublin was its accessibility. The city provides the tram and rail system, the DART, however the city can easily be walked – the best way to bump your way into the interesting history the city offers. A walk up Dublin’s main street, O’Connell Street will see you faced with a gigantic spire, so gigantic it is officially the world’s tallest sculpture. The spire is erected on the spot where a column of Horatio Nelson once stood, being destroyed in 1966 by Irish Republicans.
Opposite the spire is the General Post Office building, seized by members of the Easter Rising of 1916 – the bullet holes are still visible in the building today. One can constantly wander upon Dublin’s rich historical vein by accident, finding wonderful hidden gems down every alleyway.
An area that really needs to be pointed out and searched for is the Temple Bar. This district just off the Liffey is quite a tourist magnet but is still the go-to area when you’re feeling peckish. The area does get busy, although not overly, and a quick search will find you somewhere nice to eat.
The pick of these is Gallagher’s Boxty House (a boxty being an Irish savoury pancake). Oozing traditional Irish decor, the Boxty House does get busy but don’t be put off, there is a downstairs eating area and any queues soon get seen to. Most importantly the food is exquisite (I recommend the gammon!). The Irish have a reputation for being very nice people, a reputation that must have formed from the waiters here. They are extremely smiley and courteous, and not in the ‘I’m being paid to smile at you’ sort of way.
Equally as important as good grub are architecture and aesthetics to create a City of Style. Dublin is a city that looks great. Most of its buildings are of the old, beautifully ornate variety, with the city hosting many extremely grand alongside equally as many quaint buildings. It is a joy to walk along the river Liffey viewing the varied builds on each side. The bridges across are equally wonderful, the Ha’penny Bridge being an obvious highlight.
The city isn’t limited to the old school buildings. A highlight and a must visit is the Convention Centre. This enormous glass building is seems to be almost collapsing backward, making for a beautiful building inside and out, night and day. Make sure you pop in and have a look. Opposite the building is the Samuel Beckett Bridge, which is a beautifully sleek bridge that revolves to allow boats to pass.
Some Must Do’s in Dublin
There are certain areas or activities that are a must when visiting a city. Here are a few of my favourites, including some tourist suggestions and more alternative suggestions.
Francis Bacon’s Studio – Hugh Lane Gallery
For an enthusiast of all that is arty and cultural, this is a must. The studio of world famous painter Francis Bacon is almost as famous as his art work. After the painter’s death in 1992, Bacon’s London studio was donated to the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin (the artist’s birthplace) where it was re-constructed, with every piece of rubbish and wooden floorboard being placed exactly as it was. The exhibition is amazing, letting you have an insight on Bacon’s famous studio, with interactive screens bringing attention to individual items in the sea of mess.
The gallery has works by other artist such as Degas, Constable and John B. Yates making this a must visit gallery.
Tuesday to Thursday 10.00am– 6.00pm
Friday & Saturday 10.00am–5.00pm
Famine Memorial Statues
Remembering the victims of the Irish potato famine, these harrowing statues along the banks of the Liffey are worth a look due to their excellent sculpting.
St. Ann’s Church
Not as well-known as Christ Church or Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, St Ann’s is a beautiful, historic church. Perfectly placed for a visit by shopping hub Grafton Street, with both Trinity College and St Stephen’s Green close by, St Ann’s has been around since 1707 and has been the place of baptism for writer, poet, dandy Oscar Wilde, marriage for Dracula writer Bram Stocker and Sunday School for Barnardo’s founder, Thomas Barnardo.
A City of Style would be nothing without stylish inhabitants. Although the men are not as stylish as Dublin ladies – who generally have amazing scraggy hair and wonderful vintage pieces – the gents can look smashin’. Dubliners tend to have quite an understated and laid-back style; they show how to put an outfit together with the aim of being and looking comfortable.
They use timeless pieces like the chinos, boat shoes, blazers, check shirts, but use these combined with other items to create a new look. It’s nothing ground breaking but they are clothes that you can feel confident in.
There you have a brief taster of Dublin. Of course for a city to be judged and experienced it must be visited. I’ve been lucky enough to go to many of Europe’s finest cities and I’d certainly visit Dublin once again, finding its relaxed atmosphere and wonderful districts both unique and stylish. I hope you enjoyed the article, I hope you enjoy Dublin.
Thanks to http://dublinstreets.blogspot.com/ for all the wonderful street style images. Make sure you check out the blog!
Finally, when in Dublin, watch out for The Little Man…