I was lucky enough to take a quick trip to Dublin, Ireland over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The weather was crisp and cold and perfect for walking. Nothing better for getting in that holiday mood than being bundled up and walking cobblestone streets ablaze with Christmas decorations. The people were friendly and the food was good. I had a great time.
In my wanderings, I did notice that some of the reason we travel to other countries (different food, different cultures, language, art, crafts, and architecture) are becoming so homogenized. Television started this trend, but the internet has kicked it into high gear.
In New York, Houston, and Chicago the ladies are wearing leggings with knee high boots and large tunic tops. Ditto for Dublin. The earrings I saw in Macy’s were in Cleary’s department store in Dublin as well. The pottery at the craft show was just what you expect to find at the Buffalo Bayou Art festival. I even saw Annie Sloane chalk paint on display in a shop window. Unfortunately, that symbol of Americana that has been exported all over the world...the "Golden Arches" (McDonald's) was there, too.
One of the things that made Dublin feel different was the architecture.
The old churches and stone buildings are everywhere – the number of pubs do outnumber churches two to one. We did see where they had excavated some ground around a church and the relics they found were embedded into the sidewalk for passersby to see. I thought that was cool. There were large parks every few blocks with lakes, swans and benches under ancient trees.
Graffiti was prevalent, too!
Dublin has a tremendous amount of carved stone on their buildings. Gargoyles, scrolls, and so many different designs that were just plain beautiful in their detail and variety. It’s the fact that it is so ubiquitous and incorporated into every facet of construction that gave the city it’s unique character.
Dublin's Modern Architecture
It not just antiquities, but the newer construction is eye-catching as well and shows a sense of Irish humor. One of the bridges over the River Liffey is shape like a stylized harp. The convention center has conical shape in its middle that appears to be falling over, caught between two upright walls. It’s a wonderful blending of old and new that Europe and the UK do so well and certainly made it worth the trip.
Sincerely, Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF, Master Artisan firstname.lastname@example.org