Global Yodel sent Lorcan Finnegan out with a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide: Ireland to get his perspective on what it means to use a travel guide in his hometown. He sent back this amazing locals guide and a beautiful photo series of the streets of Dublin.
Global Yodel: Place you live?
Lorcan Finnegan: Dublin
GY: Can you sum up Dublin?
LF: Dublin is a small and very old city. It's walkable and easy to get around, but unlike a modern grid system the streets go in random directions, which adds a bit of charm and character. You'll find the crumbling brick and peeling paint of decaying buildings beside gleaming glass and concrete structures, the old and new fighting for space like plants on a forest floor.
GY: Can you sum up the people of Dublin?
LF: The city has changed a lot in the past 20 years or so, it has become a real melting pot of nationalities and cultures, making it much more interesting. When people have been living in the city for a while they take on the colloquialisms and slang and consider themselves Dubliners, which is cool. You get Polish, African or Chinese dudes saying "Howaya. What's the story man?" Which is great. I think at first we may not seem as open and friendly as the postcards would depict, in Dublin anyway, but if you give it a bit of time and relax into the pace of life, Dubliners are all pretty decent and like a good laugh.
GY: What was the experience like looking through a DK Eyewitness Guidebook for your own local city?
LF: It was interesting, all the cliches are there as well as some genuinely interesting history. There are places that tourists would love and find interesting whereas I would take for granted. Trinity College is an example, it is an amazing old college in the middle of the city and the grounds are open to the public. The buildings and architecture are amazing but I mostly cut through it as a shortcut to the Dart station.
GY: Did you find anything new or inspiring about your city in the book?
LF: It reminded me to check out the National Gallery and Glasnevin Cemetery again, I hadn't been in a few years. I usually go to the modern wing of the National Gallery but the main/old section has an amazing collection.
GY: How did the guidebook influence the photos you went out to take of your city?
LF: Guidebooks tend to show a city in broad strokes, the main touristy areas and places of interest. So I tried to show some of the other parts of the city, that to me are beautiful in a different way. The places that give the city character.
GY: Tell us about the photos you shot for this project?
LF: I've been taking street photos of Dublin and #Dublinfaces for a couple of years now and to me the character of the city is in the back alleys and streets behind the main streets and etched into the faces of its inhabitants. For this project I couldn't feature faces so I tried to take portraits of the city, that to me feel like they represent the mood and tone of the city. I'd hope that if somebody who lived here years ago and is now living in Melbourne or New York would instantly recognize Dublin without seeing any landmarks.
GY: Describe a perfect day in your city?
LF: I like to go for a run around the city, down grotty alleys taking photos of walls and candid shots of people but that's probably not everyone's bag. I'd suggest breakfast and a coffee in Fumbally Cafe, followed by a cycle or walk through the Irish National War Memorial Park, along the path that follows the River Liffey to watch the rowers, then come out by Chapelizod and cross the bridge over to the The Phoenix Park to pick wild mushrooms along the forest edge and watch the deer. Then head back into the city from Park Gate entrance to the park, past Heuston Station and up to Thomas Street, down Dame street and up Georges Street. A pint and a toasted ham cheese and onion sandwich in Grogan's followed by a stroll down South William Street, Wicklow Street and up Grafton Street. Maybe have some Tapas and a glass of wine in Tapas de Lola on Camden Street followed by a gig in Whelan's across the road. That sounds alright!
On a Friday or Saturday you've got to have a walk around Meath Street though, it's like going back in time.
GY: What do you love about your city?
LF: The way it feels like a big village
GY: What do you dislike?
LF: Taxi drivers who try to kill cyclists and more sunny days would be welcome!
GY: What would be surprising about this place to an outsider?
LF: Possibly how expensive it is. Also the amount of pubs per capita.
GY: If your city was a person or character who would they be?
LF: A dapperly dressed but grizzled old man with wrinkles like the grand canyon standing in a pub doorway sucking on a John Player cigarette at 11am.
GY: What was your impression of the DK Eyewitness Travel Guide Book?
LF: In general it reminded me of all the amazing places to see around the country, outside of Dublin.
Check out Global Yodel for more Dublin tips and inspiration.