This is the “Year of the Irish” and all across the country the welcome mat is out. Most visitors to Ireland begin in the capital, Dublin, where art, history, and ancient architecture can be seen around every bend The friendly hospitality of the Irish is renowned around the world and this year it will be particularly evident as they welcome one and all to their beautiful country and their gateway city.
Dublin was originally founded as a Viking settlement which then evolved into the ‘Kingdom of Dublin and the island’s main city, after the Norman invasion. After the Easter Uprising in 1916 and the partition of Ireland in 1922, Dublin became the Capital of the “Irish Free State”. Modern Dubin lies at the mouth of the ‘Liffy River’ dividing it into the northside and the southside of the sprawling metropolis.
The climate usually consists of mild winters and cool summers, both of which come with a good amount of rain. The long summer days are the best time to visit, as the winter days tend to be short and prone to snow showers, while the autumn gets strong winds from the Atlantic ocean.
There are many ways to get around the city, with walking or cycling the preferred way, however there is also a large network of public transportation available, as well as sightseeing tours and the Hop-on-hop-off bus that can be used to orient oneself with the city. This is a quick and inexpensive way to see the city for those on limited time.
The city center has a large assortment of places to stay, ranging from budget to five-star hotels apartments and B&B’s. They can be booked through booking sites or directly with the individual properties.
What would a visit to Dublin be without a visit to one of it’s many pubs, many of them located in the heart of the city, offering not only Ireland’s famous Guinness, but all kind of liquor, live Irish music and a chance to meet the Irish at their most outgoing. Here are a few recommendations, all of which serves food as well:
http://www.odonoghues.ie/; http://www.thechurch.ie/; http://www.brazenhead.com/.
For more pubs visit www.visitdublin.com/Dining/Pubs, and for restaurants click here.
The Guinness Storehouse is one of Dublin’s top visitor attraction, it was built in 1904 and can hold over 14 million pints of Guinness. A visit to the ‘Gravity Bar’ on the top floor one can sip a perfect Guinness pint while enjoying a panoramic 360-degree view of the city. Elsewhere in the storehouse the ‘Connoisseur’s Bar’ is a journey through the the four most popular variants of Guinness, and for the place to pour your own perfect pint be sure to visit the “Perfect pint bar”.
Trinity College is the oldest University in Ireland, dating back to 1592. It is located on college green in the city center, opposite the former Irish House of Parliament, in a compact design known as squares. On a walk through the area one can see – the old Library with the “Book of Kells” a famous 9th century gospel manuscript, along with over a million books and priceless manuscripts; the cricket fields and rugby pitch in College Park; Parliament Square; the new Square; monuments that date back to 1734; and the Chapel which dates from 1798; which are just some of many places and buildings to be found here.
Kilmainham Gaol is one of the largest unoccupied gaols in Europe. Built in 1798 it was used by the British and the Free State to imprison and execute a number of Irish leaders and rebels, including many from the 1916 uprising. The gaol is centrally located in the city and offers daily tours of the prison that housed men, women and children until 1924. (
The Boardwalk on the River Liffey
The Boardwalk, on the River Liffey, follows the course of the river and is a good places for walking, either with a group or on ones own. There are many points where one can start, (a) Start at O’Connell Bridge going pass ‘Bachelor’s walk’ heading to Ha’penny Bridge – which got it’s name from the half-penny toll pedestrians had to pay,; (b) continue pass Temple Bar District ,which is a good place to leave if one wishes to visit Dublin Castle; (c) take the ‘Royal Canal Walkway’ which goes from the Liffey to Mullingar, about 11 miles, where one can see a monument to the Gaelic Athletic Association at Croke Park, and the O’Connell Monument in the Glassnevin cemetry.
Newbridge House one of the great stately homes in Ireland was built between 1740 and 1760 for Charles Cobb who was the Archbishop of Dublin. It is in a suburb of the city at Donabate, and is still occupied by his descendants. A visit reveals the treasures amassed over the years – fluted corinthian columns. paintings by the old masters, a kitchen with it’s original utensils, old-style coaches in the courtyard, and the ‘Museum of Curiosities’ complete with the mumified ear of a Egyptian bull. Beyond the walled gardens are acres of parklands. To get to the house one needs to take a train and then a 15-walk from the station.
Malahide Castle is one of the oldest and most historic castles in Ireland, dating back to 1185, where the Talbots and their descendants resided until 1976. On the ground floor of the castle is a new family exhibit, and visitors can take a guided tour offered in different languages. The beautiful walled gardens are open to the public to visit on their own, and in the courtyard of the visitor center is a exhibition that tells the story of the walled gardens. An added plus for visitors is the pretty seaside town of Malahide for them to ramble around.