This weekend was my third in the capital city, and I think it really cemented my love for its energy and culture. I also think I finally got my bearings on where everything is (it only took me attempting to get back to the hostel from O’Connell St. without a map, then really studying said map in order to un-lose myself). One thing I kind of viewed as a downfall the last time I visited was how multi-cultural the city is — it’s hard to get a good sense of Ireland amid all the foreigners and tourists and souvenir shops. BUT, maybe the third time’s the charm, because this time I couldn’t miss the Irish influence overlaying everything else. The history is rich in all aspects — political, theatrical, literary, and so on — and the city honors that. Dublin doesn’t feel as fast-paced and mission-minded (is that a thing?) as, say, NYC: the people are still friendly and many of the shops are still closed on Sundays. Yet there’s a vibrant nightlife and plenty to see and do. And I get the sense that, unlike some of the bigger U.S. cities, strangers actually WANT to meet and talk to each other in Dublin. I have various hypotheses on why that might be, but I’ll just say that I’ve probably changed too, since my last visit to the city in 2012, and that we’re much more compatible now. I was a little sad to leave.