Sep 25, 2018

It is time to Visit Dublin

The children have gone back to school and most people have used
up their vacation time during the summer so now is a good time to travel.  Places are less crowded and some prices start to fall. And, in Europe the winter weather hasn’t set it.  We have been to Ireland several times and it has always been jacket weather.  They always say, “You should have been here last week!” However, people don’t go to Ireland for the beach or to sunbathe. 

Dublin is steeped in history. One of Dublin’s most important historical sites is the 13th century Dublin Castle with public access to the State Apartments and Royal Chapel. Historic Trinity College is home to the Book of Kells one of the most incredible manuscripts to survive from the early middle ages. The illuminated book was most likely painted around 800. The college began in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. Just walking around the campus is a step into the past. Tours are available. Another architectural wonder is St. Patrick’s Cathedral built on the site where it is said that St. Patrick baptized new converts to Christianity. 

Ireland’s history is filled with turbulent times. The notorious Kilmainham Gaol is the place to learn about the rebellions and civil wars.  The main thoroughfare, McConnell Street, is home to Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art, the Abbey Theater, the Remembrance Garden, and the General Post Office. There are free walking tours which cover
some of the most important sites such as the General Post Office where the 1916 Easter Uprising took place. Nearby is the Dublin Writer’s Museum. Irish literary history is world renowned and included four Nobel Prize winners. Located in an 18th century mansion, the collection features Jonathan Swift, author of “Gulliver’s Travels;” George Bernard Shaw author of “Pygmalion” (think “My Fair Lady”); along with Oscar Wilde, Yeats, and Thomas Becket. 

It was said that one couldn’t say “good food” and “Ireland” in the
same sentence.  That is no longer true. During the “Celtic Tiger” many foreigners made Dublin their home and brought their culinary talents with them.

The Guinness factory tour is a must for most visitors. It is not free but includes a pint of Guinness at the end.  Whiskey imbibers will find a whiskey museum and two distilleries. One of the best evening activities is a hooley (typical
Irish party) featuring Irish dance and food.  Since1798 Johnny Fox’s has been one of the most popular places for a hooley. It is outside of Dublin but there are shuttle buses available. 

You will only find Leprechauns at the National Leprechaun Museum (darn!) but Dublin is a friendly place to visit and like London be prepared for changeable weather.

The best way to learn about Dublin is on the hop-on hop-off bus tour.  Take it once around and then decide what you want to see, actually it is best to buy a two-day ticket as there is not enough time to see everything.  Even though there is plenty to do in Dublin, the city is usually part of a trip to the rest of Ireland. Like most cities driving in Dublin is not fun.  If you are planning to visit the rest of Ireland consider leaving the car at the airport while visiting the city. And, if you want to venture off the island there is a ferry to Holyhead in Wales takes less than four hours.