Dirty, dreary, expensive, nothing to do: British parents give their verdict on Dublin

Fáilte Ireland disputes tone of much of criticism from Mumsnet readers on capital

Pedestrians walking over Ha’penny Bridge, the main access point to the touristic area of Temple Bar. Photograph: iStock

Pedestrians walking over Ha’penny Bridge, the main access point to the touristic area of Temple Bar. Photograph: iStock

 

Dublin is drab, expensive and with very little to do for a city purporting to be a major tourism destination, according to readers of one of Britain’s most influential websites.

Mumsnet claims 10 million unique visitors per month clocking up around 100 million page views. Most of its readers are British women.

The tones of the comments were set by the thread header: “Short break: Why is Dublin so bad?”

Fáilte Ireland has disputed the tone of much of the criticism and says that research carried out by the city’s Chamber of Commerce found Dublin has a “strong international reputation” and an “excellent reputation among British people”.

The thread was started by a subscriber calling himself or herself IfIShouldFallFromGraceWithGod, so presumably a Pogues fan and therefore at least tangentially interested in Irish culture.

He or she posted: “I’m looking for a city break and Dublin was on my list. It scored highly on the worst holiday thread, can anyone tell me why.”

Some 483 responses later and the responses will give tourism interest in the city pause for thought. As any reader of TripAdvisor will attest, there will always be those who grumble even at the best-run tourism attractions, but the volume of complaints about Dublin on Mumsnet is significant. Here are but a small sample.

“When I went it was wet and miserable and we found there was very little to do.”

The Guinness Storehouse. Photograph: iStock
The Guinness Storehouse. Photograph: iStock

“We went in December, it just seemed really run down and like any other faceless town. Drab.”

“Uninspiring. Just nothing special about it at all.”

“I didn’t like it much. Dirty, and very expensive. Belfast much better.”

“It’s not that big and it rains a lot. Would be ok for one night.”

“Agree - it’s dreary and expensive.”

“Expensive- feels like a large town rather than a city. It’s lacking in the usual kind of tourist draws that you expect from a capital city.”

“Most of the attractions are diddly-dee faux Irish pits of tweeness. The Guinness Storehouse is the most boring place I have ever never visited.”

“I don’t like Dublin, it’s not really anything special as a city and there are just so many better places to visit in Ireland. ”

“Oh and the Guinness factory. Jesus you know it’s bad if a factory is a tourist attraction. It’s awful. I do agree the tourist bus is one of the best though.”

“St Stephen’s Green is nice, but not nice enough to make the rest of Dublin nice.”

“Perhaps we just had a run of bad luck, but found the city quite unfriendly, unexpectedly characterless, not much to do.”

“I was expecting a beautiful Georgian city. It’s not. Plenty to do but I didn’t like it much.”

“It’s not that Dublin is horrible, it’s just that cities with history/beautiful cathedrals/ museums are 10 a penny really aren’t they?”

“Dirty, Expensive and constantly raining. Not very different from any other city around the world.”

“We just found it a boring place. Queued to see the Book of Kells with lots of other tourists, then kind of ran out of things to do.”

“I went with my mum a few years ago. Ugly, dirty, dreary, and unfriendly locals. I’d wanted to visit Ireland for years and was so disappointed.”

The tone of the criticism was such that the original poster felt obliged to state that he/she state that she had not intended to start a “Dublin-bashing thread”.

The city is not without its supporters, though, on Mumsnet. Several posters pointed out that it is hardly the fault of the city that sterling is at €1.08 as a consequence of Brexit and therefore Dublin will be significantly more expensive for British visitors than it was in 2016.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland. Photograph: DeAgostini/Getty Images
Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, Ireland. Photograph: DeAgostini/Getty Images

Many others pointed out that those who complained that there was not enough to do should have done their research before visiting the city. Though not as numerous as Dublin’s detractors, there were plenty of supportive comments.

“Why has nobody walked around the fabulous Merrion Square with all the wonderful museums and art galleries and Georgian buildings?” one person posted on Mumsnet.

“Lots of history ChristChurch, Patrick’s Cathedral, Marshes Library, Teeling Whiskey, there’s so much more.”

“ The National Gallery on Clare Street is fab and free, and the Dead Zoo is bizarre but in a good way.”

“It’s the only city where I would wholeheartedly recommend the hop-on/hop off bus tour. Shaw’s house is great, really interesting. The National Art Gallery is gorgeous. The Viking amphibious tour was fun with kids. Phoenix Park was lovely with lots of good stories.”

“I can’t believe it’s rated one of the worst places, I bloody LOVE Dublin and dh (darling husband) and I go every couple of years.”

The Book of Kells atTrinity College is. Photograph: iStock
The Book of Kells at Trinity College. Photograph: iStock

Both sets of posters agree that Temple Bar is a place to avoid if you want an authentic Dublin experience with one supporter of the city commenting: “It’s horrendous, so expensive, full of tourists and fake charm and any Irish you meet there will be more than likely working and sick of tourists.”

Fáilte Ireland said its Dublin brand “speaks to the unique position of the capital as a vibrant city situated between mountains and coastline” with plans afoot to develop an orientation strategy to enable to visitors to navigate more easily around the city.

Fáilte Ireland has also listed a number of new visitor attractions which have come on stream particularly the €2.5 million Museum of Literature Ireland.

It is also developing the Dublin’s Surprising Stories Grants Scheme which will provide funding of between €50,000 and €200,000 to a number of visitor attractions in Dublin including Christ Church Cathedral, Dublinia, EPIC (The Irish Emigration Museum), Glasnevin Cemetery Museum and the Teeling Whiskey Distillery.

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