August 14, 2006

A Brief European Sojourn

Amidst all the hubbub going on at the airports these days, I’m traveling to Dublin, Ireland later this week on business. It’s a whirlwind visit; we arrive on Thursday, leave Saturday, enjoy a day long pause in Stockholm, Sweden then back home by Sunday night.

This trip punctuates the crazy amount of work I’ve been doing lately. I’ve severely scaled back the amount of jobs I’ve been taking on outside of the regulars, both so that I can catch my breath and also to try and work on a rather ambitious side project… one which has lead me to enlist the help of many kind insomniac friends. Hopefully, I will be able to get back to some more writing here—though I’ve never been a really frequent writer—like the Under The Loupe series, and maybe gear up for some October fun.

For now, since I have never been to either Dublin or Stockholm, and have little over a day in each, I wanted to ask you for advice on what to do and what to see. I’m not much for really touristy things, especially with so little time (meaning: it’s unlikely I will be spending my time in a museum), and I think we have the pubs covered. So, if you were going to Ireland or Stockholm for one day, what would you do?

Commentary (25):

1. Jeff Smith says… aug 14, 2006 | 11:47 am

If I was making the trip to Ireland, I’d be sure to stop at the Guinness Storehouse. Might not interest those that aren’t Guinness fans of course.

2. mz says… aug 14, 2006 | 11:55 am

Hey there.

In Stockholm, you should definitely wander around Östermalm and eventually Södermalm. There, you’ll find the best designy stores and designy people Stockholm has to offer.

Also, don’t miss Gamla Stan (Old town), with it’s very distinct look and narrow medieval streets.


3. David Barrett says… aug 14, 2006 | 11:56 am

Well, I live in Dublin, so perhaps I’m not the best of guides for visitors. That said, here’s what I’d recommend.

That said, I would certainly check out Zaytoons on Parliament Street — it’s a Persian restaurant (so not particularly Irish) but it’s the best place to grab a quick bite to eat in the city (and you do seem to be pressed for time). Either that, or Wagamamas near the Stephen’s Green.

The Guinness Storehouse actually has one of the best views over the city. If you have time, definitely check it out.

If you prefer your nostril hairs unsinged, steer clear of the Liffey and the alley across the road from the Haypenny Bridge (known locally as “Piss Alley”, for reasons that will be terribly obvious if you go anyway near it).

If you have any questions about the city, you should have my email address along with this comment, so feel free to ask.

4. Phil Sherry says… aug 14, 2006 | 12:15 pm

I’d say you should probably hook up with me, Robert, and Marco for a few hours. =)

5. Des Traynor says… aug 14, 2006 | 12:24 pm

The guiness storehouse is interesting enough, provided you drink Guiness. Basically they tell you everything about how its made etc, then take you to the Gravity Bar on the top floor, and you get to sample a few pints of it.

There is a really nice view of the city at night from up there, bearing in mind that Dublin is a very flat city, the largest building being 14 stories or thereabouts.

If you’re sure you have the pubs covered, then you’ll have a cool time in or around temple bar, there are plenty of decent pubs, that have yet to be washed in the stench of american culture :) Try to catch some traditional music, I am sure whoever is sorting out Dublin pubs will sort that out for you. Also, check out the Porterhouse and/or Messr Maguires for beer and stout brewed in house.

If its good weather maybe head to the Phoenix Park, a massive and very nice Park at the edge of the city.

The Viking Splash Tour is good fun if its nice weather too. Basically its a boat/bus that nips around the city and into the liffey river, giving you a quick summary of the history of Dublin and the like. Far more crack than a museum trip.

Also if you’re into music and/or comedy, the Budweiser Sponsored Rising Festival is on Thursday to Sunday, so you might be interested in some of that (

Have fun.


6. Stephen Collins says… aug 14, 2006 | 12:24 pm

I actually just came back from Ireland a month ago and also only spent 1 day in Dublin.

My recommendation from a fellow Philly guy, would be to park in the Trinity College area and start out through the ‘Temple Bar’ area.

It’s a no automobiles allowed section of town with pubs, shops and performers.

I’d start there and just wander the city. It was actually quite nice.

7. Matt Johnsen says… aug 14, 2006 | 12:55 pm

I second the Stockholm recommendations of mz, and I’ll add that Stockholm is, in general, an excellent town in which to catch a death metal show! Also, the Ice Bar in the Nordic Sea Hotel is a pretty neat thing, even if it probably qualifies as “touristy.” Also, there’s something of a music-shop district on St. Eriksgatan. Lots of great second-hand CD stores and whatnot. Be prepared for some serious sticker shock, though! Sweden is not cheap.

8. hooratio says… aug 14, 2006 | 1:00 pm

Don’t miss Gamla Stan. Must be glorious in the summer. I visited in the winter, which was nuts, but I still fell in love with the place.

9. Robert Nyman says… aug 14, 2006 | 1:33 pm

mz is right about places to see, especially Gamla Stan and Södermalm, and Phil’s offer is something you shouldn’t miss. :-)

Just contact me if you’re interested in company, and I might find some time.

10. Roger Herbert says… aug 14, 2006 | 1:48 pm

Temple Bar in Dublin is one of those places that you avoid like the plague if you live there (cf. Piss Alley above!), but have to visit at least once if you don’t. If you’d just like to soak up some ambiance, then a stroll through Trinity College (containing The Book Of Kells, and the Jedi Archives from Coruscant!), up Grafton Street and into St. Stephen’s Green would be my suggestion for a reasonably relaxed hour or two in pleasant surroundings. Failing that, the Guinness tower is also a good call.

11. David McDonald says… aug 14, 2006 | 2:24 pm

Hi Jason,
I live in Northern Ireland but travel to Dublin on occassion, always an enjoyable visit. My recent trip included going to the Powerscourt waterfall in the beautiful Glendalogh area (South of Dublin). A visit to the Guinness Storehouse was most impressive (I’m a huge Guinness fan!) highlight of the visit is the circular bar at the top of the ‘museum’ offering almost 360 deg views of the city, very nice. You may also appreciate the design and advertising history of Guinness, some wonderful creative stuff there. The Temple bar area may already be covered in your Pubs itinerary, one of my all time favourites has to be McDaid’s pub just off Grafton Street, this pub has been there since the 1800’s and it used to be a morgue - its still dead trendy (sorry).
If you like Italian food try the ‘Steps of Rome’ conveniently located at the back of McDaids, food in the Steps is economically priced, but excellent and they serve the best coffe I have ever tasted.

Enjoy your trip, wish I was going again. And if you venture into Northern Ireland I’d be game for a meet up.


12. Jeremy Keith says… aug 14, 2006 | 2:29 pm

There’s one unmissable attraction in Dublin: the train station. From there, you can get a train down to the People’s Republic of Cork (takes about three hours) and experience the real capital of Ireland.

Oh, and you can get some proper stout there: Murphy’s.

13. Philip says… aug 14, 2006 | 3:01 pm

take your camera and proceed to get lost.

14. Jimmy says… aug 14, 2006 | 5:17 pm

I can’t but help agree with the comments posted above with regards to the Old town in Stockholm. A bit cliche perhaps (call me old fashioned) but it is indeed beautiful.

A quick glance in one of our major magazine shows that there are quite a lot of funky things going on during the weekend. I recognized that you wernt a typical museum type of cat but here are a few options you might find worth while:

Jean Hermanson is one of Sweden’s greatest depicters of the working class. His photographs of Swedish industrial workers from the 1970s and beyond as well as images from his travels in Africa, Spain and Vietnam are now being presented in a retrospective. In addition, the exhibition includes film clips from Jean Hermanson’s many documentary films.
Check out more info (and a funky looking picture I must say) on this page.

Ops! Almost forgot. the Stockholm Culture Festival in on until Sunday 20:th as well!

400 different acts will be crammed into Cultural Festival of Stockholm 14-20 August. The following acts are all free of charge and give a picture of the varsity of the content of the Festival. At Jakobs torg, in the passage between the Opera House and Kungsträdgården, there will be an information-centre with opening hours from noon to midnight. There you will find additional information and get answers to your question from our trained information-officers. 99 percent of the programme is free of charge for all visitors.

Welcome to enjoy the Cultural Festival of Stockholm!

Check it out on this page.

Hoope you find the information useful, and have a great stay. I’ll be sure to check out the Culture Festival myself I think.

15. Ms. Jen says… aug 14, 2006 | 5:29 pm

Hi Jason,

You contact your friend Ms. Jen who is living in Dublin and currently has a car. There is always the Republic of Cork, which is much more entertaining than Dublin (Jeremy is very right).

If you need to stay in Dublin for client meetings, I can point you in the right direction for dinner/lunch, drinks and good walks.

Yamamori on Georges St for dinner is my big recommendation.

Be prepared that everything is expensive here. Everything.

smiles, jen ;o)

16. David Barrett says… aug 14, 2006 | 6:27 pm

If Cork’s so great, then why are you living in Brighton, Jeremy?

17. Jeremy Keith says… aug 14, 2006 | 7:17 pm

Because they don’t have a Cork in England, David. Brighton’s the nearest equivalent.

18. Des Traynor says… aug 14, 2006 | 7:42 pm

If the train station is so unmissable why are so many Cork people still in Dublin?

19. Smallest Photo says… aug 15, 2006 | 12:40 pm

Kick a leprechaun in the ass and then go eat some meatballs. But that’s just me.

20. Jason Santa Maria says… aug 15, 2006 | 2:06 pm

Thanks everyone for the great recommendations. It looks like I will have a full itinerary!

21. Flo Wagner says… aug 16, 2006 | 4:02 am

Probably this is too late, but for lunch/dinner in Dublin you should check out the Boxty House (a boxty is a potato pancake) in Temple Bar, or—if you’re in the mood for italian food—the Il Vignardo at the Hotel Isaacs.

And if you happen to like the mix of modern/old-style-warehouse architecture, a stroll through the financial district (around Custom House Quay) is recommended.

Enjoy your trip. Cheers!

22. bearskinrug says… aug 16, 2006 | 7:43 am

Hey… when you get back… I’m locked in your car…

getting hot in here…

23. Joel says… aug 16, 2006 | 4:17 pm

Just remember not to pack any liquids…

24. Kevin Cannon says… aug 17, 2006 | 12:31 pm

What kind of stuff do you like to do on holidays? There’s plenty of cool things in Dublin but depends on what type of entertainment you’re looking for.

The Guiness storehouse is ok. It’s worth it purely for the view from the Gravity bar.

The Viking Splash tour is kind of funny if you like wearing a silly hat and roaring a lot! :o)

Mostly, Dublin’s a great city to just wander around. The city centre is relatively small so spend a day wandering around Smithfield, Temple Bar, O’Connell St, then up Grafton St and sit in Stephen’s Green if it’s a nice day.

25. Joe Clay says… aug 20, 2006 | 11:50 pm

Damn, I wish I would have seen this in time. I went to Dublin last year and then to Paris. On the way back, I had exactly one day left to go and I made sure to make it count. Sorry I couldn’t have been of help!