Travel Postcard: 48 hours in Dublin

Fri Dec 2, 2011 7:22am EST
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By Naomi O'Leary

DUBLIN (Reuters) - When the wind comes from the West, the smell of hops drifts across the city from the Guinness brewery, tempting Dubliners to stop for a pint of Ireland's favorite tipple.

It's famously difficult to resist the lure of Dublin's cozy pubs, which dot every corner of its winding, rust-red streets.

Yet there's much more to Dublin than that. Surrounded by countryside of outstanding beauty, Ireland's capital curves around a wide natural bay split through the middle by the peaty waters of the River Liffey as it flows down from the Wicklow mountains.

The Liffey has been called 'the Ganges of the literary world', owing to the capital's outsized literary clout. The city of 500,000 residents has produced James Joyce, Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde, none of whom are among the four other Dubliners who have won the Nobel Prize for literature.

Like its defining opus, James Joyce's "Ulysses", Dublin is a melange of carnality and fine art. At night, its streets can be a carnival of debauchery and drunkenness. But the city is also home to vibrant culture, an epic history, and a legendarily friendly populace.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help visitors get the most out of a 48-hour visit. Friday:

7 p.m. - Choose a hotel in Dublin 1 or Dublin 2 postcodes, as near to the central boulevards of Grafton Street, Dame Street and O'Connell Street as possible. To ensure a decent night's sleep, avoid the Temple Bar area.

After checking in, head to The Bank bar on Dame Street. A former bank with a spectacular gilded interior, this is one of Dublin's jewels and a great place to acclimatize. It's also one of the few Dublin bars spacious enough to have a free seat on a Friday evening.   Continued...

<p>Pedestrians and tourists walk past the recently finished "Spire of Dublin", locally known as "the Spike", in O'Connell Street, Dublin, Ireland, January 24, 2003. REUTERS/Paul McErlane</p>