James's Guide to Dublin

Welcome to Dublin.
This guide is designed to help newcomers to Dublin find their way around, and fit in like natives. After all, there is nothing worse than looking like a tourist.
We begin our tour at the Liffey, that great river which cuts through the heart of the city like at cut-throat's knife. On a warm day the river's sweet aroma drifts through the air, reminding one of the rotting, sewage filled sewer that it is. You may notice a small drilling platform to the right of the picture. This is because the river is now so polluted that the corporation are considering the mining potential of the Liffey.
You will notice a lot of cranes (tall ones, not birds) in this picture. This will be a recurring theme, as they are everywhere in Dublin at the moment. There is something being built in every conceivable spot (and some pretty inconceivable ones) these days. Progress, eh?
The bridge in the above picture is the famous Ha'penny Bridge. Less honest tourest guides will tell you that this is the price merchants were charged to cross the footbridge. However, the truth is that a half penny was the going rate to have someone's throat cut, and this was a favourite point to dispose of the body.
A short walk from the Ha'penny Bridge takes us into Temple Bar, Dublin's trendy place to be seen doing trendy things. And what trendier place to start than The Calrance Hotel? It used be a warehouse, but now it's owned by Dublin's trendiest band U2 and anyone who's anyone stays here when visiting the capital.
Another trendy thing to do in Temple Bar is sit outside a pub playing guitar. You can tell these people are trendy because they're sitting on the pavement and sipping beer from longneck bottles.
This brings us to Temple Bar Square, one of the trendiest places of all. Artie people like to do arty things like ballancing tractors. Here a crowd of onlookers wonder how high this pile can go. Note that every care has been taken as a fence has been erected to protect the crowd from falling tractors.
Temple Bar Square is also where some friends of mine run a stall selling books at weekends. Another trendy thing to do, I guess. Say "Hi" to Trevor and Mary.
Another place to be seen in Temple Bar is Crown Alley. You should never, ever, ever be seen wearing second hand clothes unless they come from Crown Alley. Second hand clothes from Crown Alley are very cool, however.

Crown Alley is also the home of The Bad Ass Cafe, one of the best pizza restraunts around. It dates from before Temple Bar was the place, and somehow they've managed to keep their prices reasonable. There are lots of restraunts in Temple Bar, and they're not all expensive. Some of them are very expensive, but some are quite reasonable. Bring a friend who knows their way around, or a platinum credit card.

The big grey building in the distance is the Central Bank. It is interesting because it was built up-side-down. This is because the architect had an unfortunate drinking habit, and incorrectly labeled the drawings while under the influence. Otherwise, the design bears an uncanny resemblance to a wedding cake.

That about wraps it up for Temple Bar, apart from all the art galeries and theatres and cinemas and all that sort of stuff. But no time for all that now. On with the tour.

On the subject of cool places, the cool place to be educated is Trinity College. All the buildings at the front are historic arcitecture, but as you go towards the back of the college they get more modern, until you reach the Physics department, which looks like a heavily shielded nuclear bunker. Come to think of it, maybe it is a heavily shielded nuclear bunker.
Here's the courtyard. Apparently there's an old rule still in existance, that only schollars are allowed to ride their horses in the courtyard. There's another one that you're entitled to a glass of port when sitting exams. However the last person who tried to claim this was thrown out for causing a disturbance. Apparently he omitted to read the small print, that you have to have your valet (servant) waiting to collect it. I am also reliably informed that it is very unlucky to walk under the arch before you graduate from the college.
Close to Trinity College is one of Dublin's many churches. This one, however, has long been closed and converted into a tourist information centre.
Next, we come to Molly Malone. This well-known sculpture is a popular meeting point. It is fondly known to Dubliners as "the tart with the cart."
Grafton Street is where anyone who's anyone does their shopping. This is where you'll find all the designer shops selling designer labels for designer prices.
Grafton Street is also the most popular spot for the city's many buskers to entertain their adoring public.
Also in Grafton Street is Bewleys, the coffee house to be seen in.
Heading back across the Liffey, we come to O'Connell Bridge. This is famous for it's rare petrified metal footprints, which have baffled palaeontologists.
O'Connell Bridge leads to O'Connell Street, which is one of the widest streets in Europe (not counting motorways). It is renowned for it's famous collection of fast food restaurants and bargain stores. It also has a row of statues down the middle.
Perhaps one of the weirdest of these is Anna Livia, popularly referred to as "the flusey in the jacussi". As if it wasn't weird enough, they just added a strange red fish which spits into it. Very symbolic, I'm sure. As you can see, it's a big hit with the kids.
Nearby, I met a man who seemed very eager to tell us, "Do not be surprised when I say: You must be born from above."
Dublin is also famous for it's road works. Here is a fine example. Note that out of six men present, I could only see two doing any work.
Another very popular activity in Dublin is film making. Don't be surprised to find whole streets closed off because of it.
Traffic congestion is a real problem. Here I came upon two people who have found an imaginative solution.
Finally, to show how progressive Dublin now is, this building used to be a hospital, but thanks to the wonderful advancements in medical science, it is now a shopping centre.

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