Braly: A single-minded focus on finding fun in Dublin

Dunluce Castle, which now lies in ruins along the coast of the Irish Sea, was the inspiration for Castle Harrenhal in the HBO series "Game of Thrones." (Photo by Anne Braly)

Generally speaking, when you arrive in a new country you do not expect to see all of the clichés at the same moment, but in Dublin things are completely different. Just a short taxi ride from the airport, the pubs begin to appear. And if you roll down your window when the taxi stops at a red light near the River Liffey, you may hear the sounds of a fiddle and a flute, and your toes may start tapping.

What to do

For an all-around tour of the city, board one of the Hop-on Hop-off red buses. It will cost you around 20 Euros, but it's worth the investment as your ticket is good for 24 hours from the time of purchase - just make sure you hold on to it because you will want to hop off at several stops and spend some time touring by foot.