Dublin: The “City of a Thousand Welcomes” program connects tourists and locals

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Get to know the locals over a beer in Dublin. Photo: Holla Backpack
Get to know the locals over a beer in Dublin. Photo: Holla Backpack

Few cities have civic initiatives with the purpose of demonstrating the warmth of its citizens. In Dublin, hospitality is part of the national character, and one program is helping visitors to see it: the City of a Thousand Welcomes.

The program connects first-time visitors to Dublin with hospitable locals: 1,000 of them to be exact. These “ambassadors” arrange to meet first-time visitors over a pint (that means a Guinness) or a cup of tea. And the best part? The service is completely free – both to the visitor and the ambassador.

The Concept

The concept is a simple one: get introduced to Dublin by a local. Over a pint or a cup of tea, learn about their inside perspective on Dublin. Pick their brain on favorite pubs, where to listen to live music, or underrated attractions.

For a few suggestions from ambassadors for the City of a Thousand Welcome programs, check out these incredible videos, shot throughout different neighborhoods in Dublin.

How it works

Once you know the dates that you’re traveling to Dublin, check out the City of a Thousand Welcomes Web site. All you have to do is let them know when you’re coming, and you will be sent a guide on Dublin and matched with an ambassador.

The ambassador – who is a volunteer and Dublin resident – receives two vouchers for a pint or a cup of tea. Then the ambassador and the visitor agree on a time to meet for a chat. Sponsors of the program pick up the tab.

Who are these ambassadors?

A total of 1,000 Dublin residents make up the ambassadors for this program. They have been carefully vetted by the police and are enthusiastic about their city.

One of the marvelous things about the program is that no two ambassadors will give the same advice. You won’t think you’re getting an inside perspective only to show up somewhere filled with tourists. Share your interests with the ambassador, and they might just have a piece of advice that slots in with what you like to do.

One piece of fine print: according to the terms and conditions, all participants must be 21 or older.

Questions?

The City of a Thousand Welcomes launched in June 2011 and just had its first birthday. It is based out of the Little Museum of Dublin, a new museum on St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin city center. You can contact the general manager of the program with questions, or simply sign up for your free pint.

Free pint? Free advice? Music to any Cheapos ear.

About the author

Jessica Colley is a freelance travel writer and poet. She blogs about Dublin and more at www.thegreatamericantraveldream.com.

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