Around Dublin, Dublin
INTERNATIONAL CREDIT CARD TELEPHONE COMMUNICATIONS SCAM
My wife and I stayed at the Parliament Hotel in Dublin for 3 days at the beginning of July. We booked this hotel via Expedia.ca as we have had great success in using Expedia for our yearly travels to Europe and the United Kingdom.
During our stay at the Parliament Hotel in Dublin Ireland, we placed 3 overseas calls to family in Canada. Our normal process for making overseas calls to Canada is to dial direct by keying in 0 001 area code and phone number. At the Parliament Hotel we came across a card next to the phone outlining their process for making overseas calls. Their process was to go directly to a credit card option which put us in touch with an operator who took our credit card information and put the call through.
After our stay in Dublin, we travelled to Belfast, Rome, Florence and London and in each location, we were able to follow our normal process of dialling direct. Upon our arrival back home, we were astounded to see the charges on our credit cards for the calls placed during our stay at the Parliament Hotel in Dublin. An example and comparison for you: 2 minute call to Canada using the process outlined at the Parliament Hotel cost US$39.91 and the same call for the same duration made in Belfast and in Italy cost US $4.50.
We have called our Credit Card Company to lodge a complaint and have been advised that this particular phone company being used by Hotels abroad is indeed atrocious and they are charging far too much money for a normal overseas call. Our credit card company advised us that they get dozens of calls daily about this company.
We have since done our own on line investigation about this company and the complaints and stories are very similar to ours.
We called the company directly to complain and was told they would be willing to knock off some of the charges PROVIDING we did not lodge an official complaint.
This must be happening thousands of times a day.
Contray to what you might think, Dublin is full of foreigners living there, Chinese, Polish and Africans etc. It seemed pointless asking directions as nobody seemed to even speak English in Dublin, so get yourself a good map
Take care where you roam, especially at night.
There are still some pretty dubious areas immediately outside the town center.
(and I have travelled in South America, so I'm not really a nervous traveler).
We had a tricky moment on the way to the Dice bar where I received some archaic style racist abuse (I am Spanish looking).
Leeson St & Fitzwilliam square are well-known prostitute pickup spots. Baggot St Bridge, around the canal area is another spot.
A survey published in July 2002 shows that Dublin has one of the highest rates of sexually transmitted diseases in Europe.
So if you can't be good, be careful! :)
This guy stands out in front of the Guinness Brewery with his cart and horse and poses for pictures....But, pay up first. If you dare to raise your camera before offering him a coin or two you hear about it.
After having a lovely meal don't be tempted to walk home or pick up a Taxi on the way. In my experience the best thing to do is order a Taxi from the restaurant. Sometimes particularly at the week-end it can be difficult to pick up a taxi on the street, and it may not be safe to walk to your accomodation. Ask where you are staying!
During the Day most places are safe but Dublin is a large city and although most people are very friendly is is very easy to wander into areas of Dublin that the local people would avoid. Ask in your Hotel of B&B about the areas to avoid. Don't wander around with expensive cameras around your neck! Treat Dublin as you would any large city and you will be OK. If you have a car with a Northern Ireland or non-Irish registration -don't leave anything in the boot! These cars are targeted as easy pickings!
The rise of the Celtic Tiger has given rise to chronic traffic congestion in dublin.
Whilst it might not be at the levels experienced in places like Bangkok, the horror tales of Daily life in the city fill hours of chat between Dubliners.
The city fathers are trying to address the problem with new tunnels, trams and eventually a metro - but you can't make an omlette without breaking eggs, so the new projects are just adding to the problem at the moment.
As a tourist, if you avoid peak hours, and take the view that Dublin is a very walkable city, then it won't affect you too much. Also remember that taxi's are allowed to use bus lanes.
Dublin, unfortunatley, is not the type of city where you can just walk around and 'get your bearings' as a tourist. Even in the nicer,richer parts of the city centre(e.g grafton street) you can just turn a little corner and be in a totally different area with rough people and scumbags threatining you. If you want to explore Dublin properly, get a special bus which takes you round the city or let someone you know show you round cos it really isn't the type of place where you can just walk around if you don't know the city
You may unwittingly on your travels in Dublin stuble into an area of "ill repute" un-beknowns to yourself. Dublin has a drug problem to put it bluntly, as Im sure does most other cities. I lived on the quays and was shocked at the number of stoners I would see at ANY time of the day, but particularly at night in their little clusters. I imagine they would see the many naive tourists in this are, down near the four courts hostel as easy targets for the financial providers of their next "hit" so to speak-All Im saying is be careful-I know people who have been mugged in the city, it happens!
Never go into the Phoenix Park on your own at night, as it's a well-known cruising area. I've come across used condoms and syringes when walking through the park and its not pleasant.
Photo from http://www.finneganswake.org/PhotoAlbum/
I felt perfectly safe in Dublin, although I was told by some our local VTers that there are some areas where it's wise to watch your back. In fact, Peter told me to be careful walking around at night in the area of my hostel (one might say it's a slightly hostile area). Louise told me about an attack that occurred while I was in Dublin on two tourists. Apparently a man viciously attacked two women in broad daylight. However, as I said, with the normal precautions Dublin is a safe place to visit.
Sadly, Dublin isn't as safe as it used to be, and some central areas are definitely best avoided late at night, especially at the weekend.
I wouldn't walk down O'Connell Street at night under any circumstances - despite having a police station of its own, there are a very large number of incidents on the street.
Parts of Temple Bar can get very rowdy when the pubs and clubs let out at the weekend: unfortunately, the drinking that can be amusing early in the evening can be ugly in the small hours, and aggressive revellers are a hazard.
That said, plenty of other areas are very safe: just keep your wits about you, and leave a little before closing time if you do decide to go on the town in Temple Bar.
While I visited there was a huge protest march (for health care i think), which from what I could tell was mostly peaceful but comprehensive to say the least. Our tour guide wasn't at all shocked to see the protest as they are quite common in downtown Dublin. So unless the protest gets violent there's no real danger they are just more of annoyance since they tend to block traffic, for a long while, on major streets.
This is the section of town where the Brewery Hostel is located. The Liberties is also called "The Coombe" because of a street by that name that runs parallel to Thomas Street.
It is known these days as an area rife with drug-addicts and dealers.
That said, I found the worst thing to be the smell of the Guinness Brewery.
Really, I saw lots of drug addicts and shockingly overt drug deals but nothing that was threatening in the least - and I walked around there at all times of the day and night (though usually with someone).
I would say that Thomas Street is probably pretty safe. Hanging around Coombe Street and back alleys in that area might get pretty rough.