Let an Icelander show you around town in Dublin.
Kristín Einarsdóttir is an Icelandic founder and manager for a humanitarian aid organization called Humanity for Good, which donates used medical equipment around the world. Now Kristin lives and works in Dublin.
While helping out a friend, who desperately needed an Icelandic speaking guide, she took a group of people on tour to the Monastery City in Glendalough and instantly fell in love with tour guiding. “Guiding combines my interest in travelling, art, culture, history and politics,” says Kristín who now runs a tour guide and event management company in Dublin called Ireland Iceland Travel (Írlandsferðir).
Old school yet youthful
“My partner and I were both accepted into Trinity College. We packed up our home in Iceland, booked the flights, and off to Dublin we went with our 9 year old boy and not for a single moment have we regretted that decision. It's been an honor to walk in the footsteps of some of the college's noted alumni—among them Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and Samuel Beckett. Everywhere you go within the school's campus you will smell, feel and touch history—unshakeable in the face of constant change.” Trinity College is a permanent anchor in Dublin's city center and Kristín says it's a city well worth the visit as it is a place of many charms. “It is old school, courteous, welcoming and a bit conservative and yet I always manage to get a rush of the youthful energy the capital offers. Irish people are incredibly well read, they have a great sense of humor and a dry irony that pervades so much of everyday Irish life. Most surprising about the city is the calmness and the stillness of the people in this buzzing city. People take time to greet each other and that was the biggest change for us; we had to mellow out a lot.”
Gala dinner or a ball?
With Icelanders as her main clients, Kristín makes sure they get to know the city which has become one of the most popular destination in Europe “Now when WOW air is offering direct flights between Keflavik and Dublin, it's easy for Icelanders to make the two hour flight between the two islands that have so much in common and vice versa for the Irish to visit Iceland. I want to serve my customers with all the best Ireland has to offer which is a rich history, culture and of course the most wonderful scenery.
Kristín welcomes both small and large groups visiting Dublin, whether a large group of friends or a small corporate group, everyone will get to know Ireland. “The primary aim behind any corporate event is uninterrupted, unobtrusive flow from start to finish—a day or night function with no glitches, no snags, no problems and absolutely no fuss. Our guided tours are both on foot and by bus,” says Kristín, who's most recent tour is a combined Yoga and knitting retreat in the Boyne Valley, a long weekend where you combine these two with walks and an organic food experience. “We also offer shorter guided walks like the Howth Cliff Walk and the Bray Graystone Cliff Walk for people who want to get out of the city, but we do guided city walks as well.” We also offer the Irish the opportunity to experience Iceland and this fall we are planning two trips; a yoga and knitting retreat in West Iceland, where we combine yoga, mindfulness, floating and nature experiences and another one where the focus is on empowering women through yoga, motivational talks and nature.” Kristín adds.
Food to try
Given the coastal location, fish should be the order of the day. Dover sole on the bone, baked sea bass, pan-fried halibut, lobster, slow-cooked organic salmon and the famous Dublin Bay prawn (which are what Icelanders usually call lobster) are well worth trying. Dublin has three Michelin starred restaurants, including Chapter One, which is an affordable fine dining experience. The choice is spectacular: Irish-caught yellow fin tuna with fennel and squid braised in saffron, and Connemara mountain lamb with rump glazed in mustard and white truffle honey are among the delights. You can follow them up with Irish raspberry poached meringue, almond and pistachio cracknel, and lime anglaise. “The menu speaks for itself, but sometimes it is also just nice to pop in to one of the old local pubs and get a decent Irish stew, soda bread and a pint of Guinness. One thing is guaranteed, you will get your money's worth,” says Kristín.
Kristín would like to encourage those visiting Dublin to enjoy some of the many treats Dublin city and Ireland have to offer. “Relax and enjoy some of Dublin and Ireland's finest culture and above all, lose yourself in conversation with an Irishman or a woman; it is an exciting and engaging experience, guaranteed to enlighten and entertain any visitor.” Kristín adds.
Photos: Courtesy of Ireland Iceland travel.