24 Hours Dublin: a long-term love affair condensed into a day
I love that I got to write about key landmarks on my mental map of Dublin and learning how much more there is than what I previously knew
Anna Snyder: I had a lot of fun writing 24 Hours Dublin, the result of years of exploring the city while I lived there and researching it when I didn’t
It was 2007 when I first came to Dublin, at the apex of the Celtic Tiger-fuelled age of optimism and prosperity. While I’d done some travelling before – through the United States, Canada, China and Russia – Dublin was my first experience of (technically) Europe, and I was stunned. Bicycles and walking were both viable modes of transportation! I could go to a pub and order a beer and I wasn’t even 21!
A semester at UCD turned into a full year, with a summer spent working an internship at The Lilliput Press while the economy collapsed. But beyond all of that, there was something about Ireland that intrigued me; the hospitality, the music, the manic-depressive weather were all just different facets of the intangible notion I had that Ireland is different. There is something about it that lingers after you’ve gone, and that feels like home the instant you come back.
After seven years of coming up with various excuses to return to Dublin, (wedding, grad school, “I was in the continent and just thought I’d stop by,”) I’m still amazed at how the city changes – ultra-modern glass buildings pop up around the Liffey like mushrooms, old houses are hollowed out and razed, and the kids that hang around the Central Bank look younger every year. But chaos and uncertainty aside, Dublin endures, gruff and energetic and small and brave.
I always knew I wanted to write about it, and for the past few years I’ve been trying to carve out a niche for myself in travel-writing. It didn’t occur to me to combine the two of them until I found an ad by Prospera Publishing, an independent publisher in London, calling for someone who could write about all the different pubs, cafes, boutiques, museums, nightclubs, parks, activities, and whatever else in Dublin one could possibly cram into a short holiday.
The premise of the book interested me, as I thought it would appeal to both the super-efficient traveler who plots out their itinerary beforehand as well as the fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants wanderer. 24 Hours Dublin is an eBook guide, currently available to order off of Amazon.co.uk, to the city and some of its outlying suburbs divided into hourly chapters. So if you’re walking around the city centre at 4pm and find yourself feeling peckish, just take out your smartphone and scroll to the 16:00 chapter to peruse various eateries and tea houses in the area. When night falls, are you craving a pint and a trad session or strobe lights and fancy cocktails? Would you rather explore ruined churches or go windsurfing? 24 Hours Dublin gives detailed introductions to activities for a broad spectrum of tastes, ranging from Ulysses readings at Sweny’s Chemist to tea and sushi at Wall and Keogh to hurling matches at Croke Park.
24 Hours Dublin offers an eclectic and enthusiastic look at a city that a lot of tourists breeze over in their rush to see as much of the countryside as they can before they leave. Hopefully by providing a fast-paced resource (perfect for anyone with a short attention span) that encourages visitors to seek out some of Dublin’s independent venues more unique aspects, outside of the standard Guinness Storehouse and Temple Bar experience, I’ll be able to show Dublin as an exciting, bizarre, multifaceted city that merits its own trip altogether.
With detailed information provided on venues’ opening hours, admission fees, websites, and bus and LUAS routes, it provides extensive and easily-transportable help for backpackers, students, families on holiday, and even locals curious about a few of Dublin’s alternative corners and long-lost secrets. That being said, I had a lot of fun writing 24 Hours Dublin, the result of years of exploring the city while I lived there and researching it when I didn’t. I love that I got to write about places that stand out as key landmarks on my mental map of Dublin. And I loved learning how much more there is than what I previously knew: burlesque shows and library bars and secret nightclubs and free Brazilian dance classes and kayaking excursions and mummies of all sorts. Dublin is a city with hundreds of different dimensions (and most of them within walking distance), and hopefully 24 Hours Dublin communicates how thrilling it is to see it all for the first time.