Whether it's because of family ties to the Emerald Isle or just a fondness for dark beers, Ireland has become a bucket-list destination for many North American travelers – especially those from the U.S. If you, too, dream of someday visiting Ireland, chances are Dublin, Ireland's capital and largest city, will feature prominently in your itinerary.
And while it's true that Dublin is home to endless pints of Guinness and some nice woolen shops, there's much more to this city than the Guinness Storehouse and Grafton Street.
Dublin is home to Trinity College, Ireland's oldest university. This place was around long before the United States was even founded, and today makes for a nice place to take a stroll.
While you're at Trinity, pop into the Old Library to see both the Book of Kells (an illustrated version of the four Gospels of the New Testament) and the Long Room, which seems plucked straight out of a HarryPotter novel.
From Trinity, take a walk toward St. Stephen's Green and have a wander around the neighborhoods nearby, where you'll be met with colorful doors and Georgian architecture.
Or, if doors really aren't your thing, head in the other direction to Christ Church Cathedral for a taste of Dublin's medieval architecture.
Once you've had your fill of architecture, head to the River Liffey, which flows through the center of the city.
Be sure to cross over the Liffey Bridge, a cast iron pedestrian footbridge that is usually just referred to as the “Ha'penny Bridge” thanks to an old toll that used to be paid to cross it. Stop halfway across to see the love locks and messages that couples have left behind here.
For a meal and some entertainment, don't skip Temple Bar. Yes, this district is a bit touristy, but its cobbled streets and live music shouldn't be missed.
And feel free to visit the “original” Temple Bar as well, just to say you have.
If you're lucky enough to find yourself in Dublin on a relatively clear evening, head back to the River Liffey to catch the sun setting over the water.
And then go on and have that pint of Guinness.
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Graduate student by day and avid traveler and blogger by night (and on weekends and during holidays), Amanda is just a small-town Ohio girl trying to balance a "normal" life with a desire to discover the world beyond her Midwest bubble. Amanda's adventurous nature and inability to say "no" have led her to some pretty amazing adventures all around the world. But she has no desire to stop exploring anytime soon. Read Amanda's blog, A Dangerous Business, or follow her on Facebook, Twitter or Google Plus.
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