Dublin from the bridge

TBEX couldn’t have picked a better time to come to Dublin.

Revitalising after a spell of recession, the Irish capital has hit a purple patch. There’s excitement in the air, as if a whole new brand of electricity has been tapped and zapped around the city streets, energising everything and everybody. It’s Dublin 2.0, and its time is now.

The big hits haven’t gone away, of course. Temple Bar, Molly Malone and St. Patrick’s Cathedral are all present and correct, and some bloke called Guinness has gotten a whole festival to himself on Arthur’s Day (September 26). It’s just that now, new openings and whiz ideas are sprouting amongst them, rejuvenating the cityscape. All of a sudden, South William Street is bursting with hip eateries and basement boutiques. A new neighbourhood has sprung up around Daniel Libeskind’s Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Hannover Quay.

Visit today, and you can explore the Georgian city on an iWalk. You can tap Twitter for the solution to Leopold Bloom’s classic puzzle of crossing Dublin “without passing a pub” (half the fun is in failing, they’ll tell you). You can tuck into sandwiches named after city suburbs, get the low down on pop-up restaurants, or try 21st century takes on Irish classics like beef and Guinness stew, cockles and mussels and bacon and cabbage.

TBEX’s European Conference (October 3 – 4) comes bang in the middle of Dublin’s festival season, too. Oktoberfest, Open House Dublin and The Dublin Theatre Festival all coincide with the conference dates. And if you want to discover the next U2 along with the latest travel intel, then pop along to Hard Working Class Heroes (Oct 3-5), a hip and gritty festival jamming 100 box-fresh bands into six city venues over three days. Dublin rocks… and rolls.

Rick at Guinness Storehouse

Naturally, we’d encourage travel bloggers to tick a few of Dublin’s big, touristy sights off their list. Stop by at the Guinness Storehouse, for example, where you can view a copy of Arthur’s 9,000-year lease, learn how to pull the perfect pint (the trick is to let it settle for 119.5 seconds before adding the creamy head – no more, no less) and, afterwards, drink in 360-degree views of the surrounding skyline from the giddy heights of the Gravity Bar.

At Dublinia, an interactive journey through Viking and medieval Dublin, you can soak up the sounds, sights and smells of the ancient city. In Trinity College, you can check out the Book of Kells, seeing for yourself how the sparkling illuminations leap off the page as if they were created only last week (in fact, the manuscript dates from the ninth century). You can explore the haunts of literary giants like James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Patrick Kavanagh.

Did you know that Dublin’s big museums and art galleries are free? That Bram Stoker was born in the seaside suburb of Clontarf, or that dozens of mummies lie preserved in the spooky crypts beneath St. Michan’s Church? It might also surprise you to learn that Dublin is the ninth most bike-friendly city on earth, according to The Copenhagenize Index. Why not hop into the saddle with a three-day Dublin Bikes ticket, priced at a freewheeling €2/$2.60?

Don’t forget that Dublin looks outwards, too. There’s so much going on in the city itself, people (locals included) sometimes forget about the coast. But Dublin sits on a sparkling bay, the southern Dart line is one of the most scenic commuter train rides in Europe, and you can try everything from kite-surfing to sea-kayaking off its suburban beaches.

That’s why we love our city. Dublin has its big hits, but the more you explore, the more you’ll find in the small moments too. That flea market you stumble upon, that pop-up you blag a last-minute ticket for, that off-the-cuff remark that sparks an entire blog post – any one of them could lodge in the memory long after the historic dates, national treasures and intricate details of Georgian architecture grow a little… erm, hazy.

Got an appetite yet? Or a thirst? You’re coming to the right place. Dublin does great music and bucketloads of the black stuff… this, we know. But in recent years, its nightlife has shape-shifted just as radically as the rest of the city. Not too long ago, a visitor might have found a choice of just two or three beers. Today, the streets are hopping with cocktail bars, concept restaurants and gastro-pubs… and a whole new breed combining all three.

As day segues into night, as Trinity College and Christ Church Cathedral light up like chandeliers, as the atmosphere pours from its pores, a whole other Dublin inspires and excites. Save some energy for the wee hours, when you can really get under its skin.

“I can resist everything but temptation,” as Oscar Wilde wrote. Go with it.

We suggest you go with it as well. Registration for TBEX Dublin is currently priced at $127 for bloggers and $897 for Industry and PR attendees. Prices go up August 2nd.