By Paavani Pegatraju
My first month here in this unbelievably welcoming country has been a whirlwind, rich with experiences and adventures. Right from getting used to the weather (I’m from India), to taking tours and sightseeing, to registering for my modules and trying to keep up with my coursework, and to having tea, tea, and more tea, it has been overwhelming! Much of the credit for this amazing experience goes to the area where I live. Like most visiting students here for one-term, I chose to stay at Binary Hub.Located in The Liberties, this accommodation is perfect for Trinity students. It’s not only a 20-minute walk from Trinity and Grafton Street, but it’s also very close to the River Liffey and the Guinness Brewery! The Liberties also benefits from proximity to the city centre and nearby public transport hubs such as Heuston station. Having first developed as a suburb that lay outside the city walls of medieval and Viking Dublin, The Liberties is one of Dublin’s most historic neighbourhoods. The area’s name derives from free jurisdictions back in the 12th century (hence “liberties”).
One of my favourite parts of living in The Liberties is its central location. Some of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions are located here. You can explore the vestiges of the medieval city and visit the Christ Church Cathedral, learn more about the Vikings at Dublinia, walk down Thomas Street with its merchant buildings and local retailers, or even visit the iconic Guinness Storehouse for a pint. You can also choose to take a short walk to the Irish Museum of Modern Art or the Kilmainham Gaol. St. Augustine & John’s Church (as it is formally called), with the tallest steeple in Dublin, is also one of the most prominent landmarks here.
Close to the city centre, but less crowded than Temple Bar, this area also offers a varied array of music and entertainment venues including Vicar Street, Tivoli and Arthur’s. From theatre to live music and spoken word, it caters to everyone’s interests. It also boasts a great selection of quality restaurants and cafes, providing some of the best dining options in Dublin. With multiple grocery and convenience store options including Tesco, Lidl, Dealz and EuroGiant, it is perfect for students on a budget. Being this close to the city centre also makes getting around a lot easier. While walking and cycling are perfectly viable options, there are also multiple DublinBikes stations as well as bus and Luas stops. So, it is definitely worth paying a little extra to live here.
Another favourite part of mine is the student life. Home to some of the country’s premier educational institutes such as the National College of Art & Design (NCAD) and the British and Irish Modern Music Institute (BIMM), The Liberties is the centre of a rich and thriving student life. Although this area is not the safest in Dublin, taking the usual precautions as in any other part of the city would suffice. Despite being extremely close to the city centre, The Liberties retains its own distinctive character. With an eclectic mix of people, comprising mostly of a young, dynamic and increasingly international population, it is a hub for both Irish and international culture.
Steeped in history, The Liberties is a place to discover; a place of historic buildings, local street traders, bustling markets and quirky cafes. Stroll around The Liberties to see how the Victorian architecture blends with contemporary design and discover its local history and heritage. Slightly quaint, touristy, and dynamic, it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But I have certainly found in it a second home.