The story goes that it was an Irish surveyor who applied his love for his native Dublin to name a village in central Ohio. That man, John Shields, would be proud to know that this now American town continues to honor his deed not just around St. Patrick’s Day, but throughout the year.
“He thought the hills and stacked stone walls aesthetically reminded him of his homeland, when he decided to call it Dublin,” said Sara Blatnik, Marketing Director of Visit Dublin Ohio. “So that’s where it all stems from.”
Incorporated as a village in 1881, then a city more than a century later, Dublin, Ohio is predominantly Irish in, well, name only. Blatnik said its current population is estimated to have 15% Irish ancestry.
On the contrary, his version of having Irish roots carries a sense of pride. So much so that this particular city of Dublin has the slogan “Irish Is An Attitude”.
“It’s really more kind of embracing the name of the city and then the events and the fun that we’ve built around it,” Blatnik added.
Every St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin, Ohio puts a parade within its city center. The 2022 parade was canceled due to inclement weather, but a community celebration will take place on March 17 instead.
In August, the city holds a three-day Irish Festival at its Coffman Park, featuring musical numbers, Irish dancers, hands-on workshops and a market. The event grew out of the Columbus Feis, a competition that attracts many of the nation’s top Ceili dancers.
Aside from events, businesses and places in Dublin have fully embraced the city’s moniker by having Irish-related names or displaying its recognized symbols; whether or not they are directly linked to this heritage. It is said that the fire hydrants are painted green. It is also possible to spot a clover in a store window or on a public bike rack.
“Businesses of all kinds have embraced the Irish theme,” Blatnik explained. “They’ve included it in their own branding and their own promotions, so I think everyone in Dublin is very proud to be from Dublin and they love the city.”
When it comes to restaurants, Dublin, Ohio has Irish pubs and establishments advertised as “Irish approved”. Fado pub and kitchen is owned and operated by Ian Montomgery, originally from Ireland, while the Dublin Village Tavern is known for its traditional Irish or Irish-inspired dishes and boasts 40 Irish whiskeys.
Two themed trails are another way Dublin is honoring its Irish ties.
Firstly the Irish Fairy Gate Trail was launched on Saint Patrick’s Day about six years ago. According to Blatnik, the city was contacted by The Irish Fairy Door Company, based in Dublin, Ireland. “[They] approached us to launch their product here,” said Blatnik, which is a line of colorful miniature doors designed with these Irish fairies in mind. Promoting the product has become a fun marketing tool for Dublin, Ohio through a self-guided scavenger hunt.
The Irish Fairy Door Trail consists of 11 stops at local businesses in historic Dublin and Bridge Park that have a fairy door inside the store. Hikers are encouraged to not only find the gate, but also learn the name of the fairy associated with it. All names can be recorded on a backing track passport; completed passports can be returned, with a special trail T-shirt given in return.
The second thematic trail is oriented towards the older set. A “Celtic Cocktail Trail” produced Irish-inspired drinks created and served at over 15 participating bars and restaurants. You can register in line for a mobile passport to check your track tastings and receive specialized promotions.
Those interested in experiencing this trail are advised not to rush, especially on a single outing. If they complete six entries, they will receive a koozie. If they turn 12, they get a t-shirt.
In addition to its Irish-related activities, Dublin, Ohio recently welcomed two new public attractions.
In March 2020, The Dublin Link opened as a single-tower S-shaped suspension bridge that spans 760 feet in length and 169 feet in height. Designed for pedestrians and cyclists, the bridge runs along the Scioto River, connecting its east and west sides.
At the Bridge Park development since April 2021, the North Market Bridge Park is home to more than a dozen food vendors.
Located 15 minutes northwest of Columbus, Dublin also contains 70 public art installations and four waterfalls. There are two Designated outdoor refreshment areas (DORA), in which people can buy drinks to take away from local establishments in these areas in special “DORA” cups. They explore the rest of these marked areas with these cups and within a specific time frame. Also, there is the Memorial Tournamenta PGA Tour golf tournament founded in 1976 by Jack Nicklaus and hosted at Muirfield Village Golf Club.