Journey out to Glendalough for the day
I took a day trip coach tour to Glendalough from Dublin. We spent about 1.5hours at Glendalough. If I had done this independently I think we could have taken a more leisurely stroll threough the woodland, spent longer looking around the ruins and perhaps combined it with a lunch in the hotel to make a really good day of it. In the end the tour went onto Kilkenny which was also very good so I didn't mind at all.
The site at Glendalough is in the Wicklow Mountains about 45minutes drive from Dublin centre. It is a very beautiful place with two lakes, woodland and a mountain river flowing through the valley. It is also the site of an ancient monastery founded by the hermit St Kevin in the 6th century. There are ancient ruins of chapels, 'kitchen' and the prominent round tower which is a major landmark for the area. In early March the site was not very busy but I suspect in the summer months it could be very popular with tourists and hill walkers alike.
We were dropped by our coach down by the lakeside from where we strolled the one mile gravel path back to the site of the monastery and on to the coach which was waiting in the car park. We had stopped for a coffee in the pleasant riverside hotel and used the toilet facilities at the car park. It was all very relaxed and, with the details supplied by our tour guide, I felt very well informed about St Kevin, his life and the significance of the site. Apparently Michelle Obama, the US First Lady, had visited the site a few years earlier so it is clearly a place that is worth visiting. I certainly enjoyed my all too brief visit.Related to:
- Historical Travel
I almost forgot, yes, if it is no raining, you can also do some sightseeing, checking out some churches and castle in this place, but to be honest, I didn’t come for that, if I did catch something it was probably on the way from one pub to another.
Tour to Glendalough
I was in Dublin for few days over Easter weekend this year and I also tried to look into doing it on my own but,given the small amount of time i had there, I ended up booking a tour with Coach surf of Ireland http://www.coachtoursofireland.ie/day_tour/. It was the cheapest company offering the tour so I was not sure how it would have been, but it turned out to be great great value.
For 24 euros a person we had the opportunity to see some outstanding landscapes, we visited Glendalough for a good amount of time so I could take tons of pictures.
I was also worried they would had take us to the usual commercial spot for lunch but, instead, it turned out to be fantastic, there was three possibility in the village of Avoca where they stopped, a fish and chips, a restaurant and a pub. We choose the pub and turned out to be great food and reasonable price. I am sure the tour can be done with public transports but if you don't have much time the tour is a good compromise.
The driver is very good, the bus is a medium size and the lady who does the commentary is really informative, funny and nice.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
- Family Travel
St. Patrick's Day
Since I was of legal age, I had the urge to dress in green and drink a beer. I usually do this only when I watch a game of my favourite team, Werder Bremen, but the Irish offer me a far greater event for it. St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17th, the day St. Patrick died in 493. St. Patrick is said to have brought christianity to Ireland and to have expelled the snakes out of Ireland. The latter is a legend only. Anyway, St. Patrick explained the holy trinity to the Irish pagans with the help of a Shamrock. That’s why everyone dresses in green and were shamrock motives. It is not because of Werder Bremen or Celtic Glasgow…
Today, St. Patrick is the patron saint of the Irish and the Guinness drinkers. In Dublin he is celebrated with a week-long festival which culminates on March 17th. The parade is among the largest in the world, but not the largest one. Worldwide, Paddy’s day finds more friends and in every corner of the world where you find an Irish pub, there’s the chance that something’s gong on on March 17th. Still, St. Patrick’s day in Dublin attracts more and more tourists every year. Beside the official festivity events, there are many unofficial ones like street artist performances or live music in every bar. The whole city is a party area with its center in Temple Bar. Get yourself something green, wish locals and fellow tourists a happy St. Patrick’s day and enjoy a pint of Guinness. On this day, probably my favourite holiday in the year, everyone is Irish!Related to:
- Arts and Culture
There are several public parks in central Dublin where you can come away from the busy streets for a while and relax. One of them is St Stephen’s Green, a 9 hectare big park, with tree lined walking paths, flowerbeds, fountains and a lake. Another is the big square Merrion Square, which on three sides is surrounded by Georgian houses. This is the park where you find the Oscar Wilde statue.
Other parks are Fitzwilliam Square, Iveagh Garden, and Garden of Remembrance.
The River Liffey flows through the heart of Dublin.
It's the dividing line between the North and South sides of the city.
It is not that big or impressive in comparison to the Thames, Seine, or even the Shannon.
It rises in the North Wicklow mountains and enters the sea at Dublin Bay. The sea tides reach up as far back as Heuston station.
It was renowned for its pungent stink, but thankfully, it has cleaned up now... it used to be seriously disgusting!!! :)
During the summer, you can take a canoe out on the river, downstream while it flows through Co. Kildare. (The Liffey Descent Event).
In the city centre, there are now boardwalks along the river.Related to:
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Walk the Liffey and its bridges
Definitely stroll along the Liffey River and its many bridges, most notably, the O'Connell St. Bridge. Check the weblink below. You get a good feel for Dublin this way in my estimation, and a feel for your bearings of what's where in town. You can relate a location to the nearest bridge.Related to:
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The biggest music festival in Ireland. The first Witnness weekend was organised in 2000, and it is now firmly established on the yearly music calendar. The first 2 years were on the August bank holiday weekend, but this year ('02) they had moved it to the weekend of the 13/14 July.
5 different stages with more than 100 bands playing - plenty to choose from and to please everyone! My favourites this year were The Hives, Foo Fighters, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Basement Jaxx, Ireland's own Wilt, Air, Cooper Temple Clause, Green Day (much to my surprise).
Lashing rain in the previous weeks, and especially that really bad downpour on the Friday night turned the place into one big mud pit. But then on the Saturday morning blistering sunshine for the rest of the weekend. Obviously no one had thought about packing sun block and we all ended up burnt to a crisp - my mate Gav had to go home on the Sunday with sun stroke! We're not going to make that same mistake again, you just never know with the weather in Ireland :o)
There's camping available. Make sure you book it when you buy your ticket. Even though it will say that the camp site doesn't open until Saturday morning 10am, get yourself down there on the Friday night to get the best spot. If you'd rather stay in Dublin overnight then there's buses going every 20 mins from O'Connell Street. Camping is much more fun though, even if 2002 was a mud bath :o)!
Check out www.ticketmaster.ie for tickets.
The pic you see was taken at the start of the Oasis gig (didn't stay long, they really were boring).
My favourite place......
Well...my favourite place... as in every city....is the port!!! The two chimneys of Poolbeg power station are the landmarks of Dublin you see first or last, when coming into or leaving the city by ferry. I don't know what fascinates me with them but somehow I like them.
I was lucky to have a bedroom with a panoramic view of the smokestacks, Dublin Bay and Howth when we were in Dublin last time. I could sit at the window forever just staring at ships passing by and the waves. The sound of the ships blowing their horns at midnight on New Year's Eve only added to the atmosphere :-)
There are some great walks at the coast of Dublin Bay.
Lots to see and do in Dublin - never enough time. It is very much a walk around city in the city centre. The Tourism office on Suffolk St can arrange tours for you. A must do is a trip out to see the passage tomb at New Grange. You can go south to Powerscourt. It is also possible to take the train up to belfast for the day. Leave around 730a and return on the 430. Nice trip and the train station is just on the edge of Belfast. Be sure to have a pint and/or lunch at the Crown Liquor Saloon. Lots of pubs and a hop-on/hop-off bus in both cities. I like the Temple Bar Hotel on Fleet Street in Dublin, but there are also others. Don't wait to make reservations. Obama, Queen Elizabeth and Bill Clinton are scheduled to visit Ireland and most likely Dublin the last part of May.Related to:
- Castles and Palaces
The walled district of Dublin that contains Christ Church, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublinia Medieval Museum, The Brazenhead Pub, and many other landmarks is known as the "Medieval District". As Dublin can trace its origins back beyond a 1,000 years with a good part of Ireland's historical cultural, educational, and industrial activities taking place in this area. The Egyptian-Greek astronomer/cartographer Ptolemy (Claudius Ptolemaeus ) wrote about Dublin in 140 C.E. as the settlement called Eblana which would date Dublin to over 2,000 years old. These writings of Dublin and Eblana being the same city are still under academic debate. Dublin was believed to have begun as a Viking settlement that was later preceded by a Christian ecclesiastical settlement called Duiblinn. In the 9th-10th centuries there were two settlements where Dublin now stands. The Vikings resided in this area and called themselves "Dyflin" after the Irish "Duiblinn" or "Black Pool" referring to the dark tidal pool where the River Poddle enters the River Libbey. As a Gaelic settlement it was called "Áth Cliath" which means "ford of hurdles" located further up the river where present day Father Mathew Bridge is located at the bottom of Church Street. The Vikings ruled Dublin for almost three centuries until they were expelled in 902 C.E. They returned in 917 C.E. until they were defeated by the Irish High King Brian Boru at the battle of Clontarf in 1014 with Viking rule completely ceasing to exist by 1171 C.E. Dublin became the center of English power in Ireland after Norman invasions of southern Ireland (Munster/Leinster) from 1169-1171 C.E. when Dublin replaced Tara in Meath as the seat of the Gaelic High Kings of Ireland. After the Hiberno-Norman defeat of Dublin in 1171 C.E. most of the Norse inhabitants left the old city building a new settlement on the north side called "Oxmantown" and by 1400 C.E. the Anglo-Normans were absorbed into Irish culture. Settlers from England and Wales began populating the area. Rural areas around the city as far as Drogheda became an extensive English settlement and by the 14th century was fortified against the Native Irish becoming known as "The Pale". English rule functioned from the Dublin Castle with landowners and merchants ruling Parliament from 1297 C.E. This was also around the time that St. Patrick's Cathedral, Christ Church, and St. Audeon's were established. Medieval dubliners were fearful of siege from the native Irish, walling the city where the Medieval district now sits. This fortified Medieval Dublin's 5,000-10,000 inhabitants is a tightly knit small are of no more than 3 kilometers in circumference. Outside the city walls were suburbs such as the Liberties, on the lands of the Archbishop of Dublin, and Irishtown, where Gaelic Irish were supposed to live after having been expelled from the city proper by a 15th century law. Native Irish were forbidden to live within the walled city even though many did by the 16th century. Life during the Medieval period was very precarious and tragic. 1348 saw the lethal Black Death that ravaged all of Europe in the mid-14th century. Dubliners who died from the Black Death were buried in mass graves in the area called the "Blackpitts" and the plague lasted until 1649. Through the Middle Ages, Dublin payed protection money called "Black Rent" to Irish clans so that they would not raid the city. 1315, Edward the Bruce and his Scottish army burned Dublin's suburbs. The English lost interest in maintaining their Irish Colony and eventually Dublin was taken back by the surrounding Irish. 1487 saw the English Wars of the Roses and in 1537 Silken Thomas besieged Dublin Castle. Henry VIII sent a large army to destroy the Fitzgerlands and replace them with English rule bringing back Dublin under English Crown rule.Related to:
- Historical Travel
So Many Bridges
I was totally fascinated by how many bridges spanned the Liffey River in the City of Dublin. It seems every street is blessed with one and some standing since the 1700's. I saw many of them from our off-and-on-bus, but couldn't keep up the names as they were announced. I probably didn't see all of them anyway, so here is a list.
Bridges over the River Liffey in Greater Dublin, from east to west.
Samuel Beckett Bridge
Seán O'Casey Bridge
Talbot Memorial Bridge
Butt Bridge (I especially like this name)
Liffey Bridge known at Ha’Penny Bridge
O'Donovan Rossa Bridge
Fr. Mathew Bridge
James Joyce Bridge
Rory O'More Bridge
Frank Sherwin Bridge
Seán Heuston Bridge
Liffey Railway Bridge
Anna Livia Bridge
Lucan BridgeRelated to:
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Walk along the Liffey
The Liffey is a river that originates from Kildare and ends up in the Irish Sea in the Dublin Bay.
It truly divides the City into the rich south and the poor north (well not so much anymore!).
Walking along the Liffey is the thing to do! Start with the South Side from O’Connell street (Facing the Spire), turn left and walk along the Liffey straight to Heuston Startion. Cross the river there and start walking back on the North Side. This walk would give you the whole Dublin experience and some really great photo opportunities. It is quie a long walk but... well, it’s worth it.
For those who want to do more have in mind that there are a lot of tourist attractions on your route. You have got Temple Bar and Kilmahain Goal (just left of Heuston Station) on the south side, Pheonix Park opposite the station and then on the North Side; the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History (with the Dead ZOO moved there temporarly), Jameson distilerry and many pubs, shops and bridges on your way!
There is a link to a map below.
Statues with catchy names
Scattered throughout Dublin are statues which have been given rhyming nicknames, the "Fag on the Crag", a statue of Oscar Wilde, was the 1st one I came across in Merrion Square. Then on Grafton Street there's the most well known of the bunch, a statue of fishmonger Molly Malone which has been redubbed "the tart with the cart" but one nickname isn't enough as she's also known as the "Dolly with the Trolley", the "Trollop with the Scollops", the "Dish with the Fish" or the "Flirt in the Skirt".
On my final morning I went off in search of some of the others I had read about, I finally found the "hags with the bags" near the ha'penny bridge on the north side of the Liffey River. I never did find the monument to Anna Livia which has been dubbed the "floozie in the jacuzzi".
You can't miss the Spire of Dublin, with it's phallic shape naturally it became the "Stiffey by the Liffey"or "the erection in the intersection" , "stilletto in the ghetto", "skewer in the sewer", and "spire in the mire" probably comes from the southsiders ribbing the northsiders.
St. Teresa's and St. Ann's churches
Most of Grafton Street's side streets are filled with shops, pubs and restaurants; however, there are also two beautiful churches that are well worth stopping by. The first is St. Teresa's Church - although it technically is located on Clarendon Street, there is a second entrance located in a small alley just off Grafton Street. It actually feels sort of weird to leave all the noise and excitement behind as you walk into this quiet sanctuary dating back to 1793. Unlike many churches in Europe, St. Teresa's is still a busy place of worship, which makes taking pictures a little awkward but as the church is beautiful, the temptation was too hard for me to resist!
Another church located in the Grafton Street area is St. Ann's Church. More precisely, it's located on Dawson Street, at the end of Anne Street The church was founded in 1707 and its distinctive Romanesque facade was added in 1868 (it can best be seen from Grafton Street). I also very much liked the interior of the church, where the light blue colour of the walls contrasted nicely with the dark wood of the pews. St. Ann's was nowhere near as busy as St. Teresa's, but I thought it was interesting to know that one of its former parishioners was the "father of Dracula", Bram Stoker.Related to:
- Religious Travel
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