This Ohio City’s Motto Is ‘Irish Is An Attitude’
The story goes that it was an Irish surveyor who applied his love for his native Dublin toward naming a village in Central Ohio. That man, John Shields, would be proud to learn that this now U.S. city continues to honor his deed not only around St. Patrick’s Day but all year-round.
“He thought that the rolling hills and the stacked stone walls aesthetically reminded him of his homeland, when he decided to name it Dublin,” said Sara Blatnik, marketing director for Visit Dublin Ohio. “So that’s where everything spurs from.”
Incorporated as a village in 1881, then becoming a city over a century later, Dublin, Ohio is mostly Irish in, well, name only. Blatnik said it’s estimated that its current population might have 15 percent of Irish descent.
Rather, its version of having Irish roots carries a sense of pride. So much that this particular Dublin city has the tagline, “Irish Is An Attitude.”
“It’s really just more kind of embracing the naming of the city and then the events and the fun that we’ve built around it,” Blatnik added.
Each St. Patrick’s Day, Dublin, Ohio puts on a parade within its downtown. The 2022 parade was canceled due to bad weather but a community celebration will happen instead on March 17th.
In August, the city holds a three-day Irish festival at its Coffman Park, featuring musical acts, Irish dancers, hands-on workshops and a marketplace. The event grew out of the Columbus Feis, a competition that attracts many of the nation’s best Ceili dancers.
Events aside, Dublin’s businesses and places have fully embraced the city’s moniker through having Irish-related names or displaying its recognized symbols; regardless of being directly linked or not to this heritage. Fire hydrants are said to be painted green. It’s also possible to spot a shamrock in a store window or on a public bike rack.
“Businesses of all kinds have embraced the Irish theme,” explained Blatnik. “They have included it in their own branding and their own promotions and so I think everybody in Dublin has great pride in being from Dublin, and they love the city.”
With dining, Dublin, Ohio has Irish pubs and establishments touted as being “Irish approved.” Fado Pub & Kitchen is owned and operated by Ireland native Ian Montomgery, while the Dublin Village Tavern is known for its traditional Irish or Irish-inspired dishes and has 40 Irish whiskies.
Two theme-related trails are another way that Dublin is honoring its Irish ties.
First, the Irish Fairy Door Trail was launched on Saint Patrick’s Day about six years ago. According to Blatnik, the city was contacted by the Dublin, Ireland-based The Irish Fairy Door Company. “[They] approached us to launch their product here,” said Blatnik, which consists of a line of colorful miniature doors designed in mind for these Irish fairies. The product promotion has evolved into a fun marketing tool for Dublin, Ohio through a self-guided scavenger hunt.
The Irish Fairy Door Trail consists of 11 stops at locally-owned businesses within the city’s Historic Dublin and Bridge Park areas having a fairy door inside the shop. Trail-goers are encouraged to not only find the door but also learn the name of the fairy associated with it. All the names can be recorded on an accompanying trail passport; completed passports can be turned in, with a special trail T-shirt given in return.
The second themed trail is geared toward the older set. A “Celtic Cocktail Trail” has brought forth Irish-inspired drinks created by and served at more than 15 participating bars and restaurants. You can register online for a mobile passport for checking off your trail tastings plus receiving specialty promotions.
Those interested in experiencing this trail are told not to rush through it, especially in one outing. If they complete six entries, they will receive a koozie. If they reach 12, they get a t-shirt.
Aside from its Irish-related activities, Dublin, Ohio has 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 follows along the Scioto River, connecting its east and west sides.
At the Bridge Park development since April 2021, the North Market Bridge Park houses over 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 (DORAs), in which people can purchase to-go drinks from local establishments within 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’s the Memorial Tournament, a PGA Tour golf tournament founded in 1976 by Jack Nicklaus and held at Muirfield Village Golf Club.