Bray is located just 20 kilometers south of Dublin. Bray was once a very popular seaside resort. In fact it was one of the top seaside resorts in the Republic of Ireland. Today it is more of a commuter town. Many commuters work in the city of Dublin and live in the town of Bray, probably it is cheaper to live here than in the crowded city of Dublin. They commute to the city of Dublin daily by cars or DART railway system. Bray has a population of approximately 35,000 inhabitants.
Bray is located in County Wicklow. The once popular seaside resort has a one and half kilometer long promenade from north of the town right up to Bray Head. Bray Head itself is a lovely ridge as depicted on our second photograph. It has a height of approximately 240 meters. The view from the top of Bray Head overlooking the sea and the town must be amazing. Unfortunately we did not go up the hill due to shortage of time. Bray was once a great fishing village and harbour many centuries ago since the Norman era until probably the 17th century. Today It has a film industry and it is home to Ireland's only film studio known as Ardmore Studios.
Our tour guide Joe told us that you can purchase one day DART railway ticket from the city of Dublin for just €5.00 and travel on your own by DART railway to Bray. You have plenty of time to chill out at Bray. Many great pubs and restaurants are located along the coastline. There are also lots of entertainments in and around the town of Bray. We wish you had more time in Ireland so that we could take a day trip to this lovely town of Bray. Hope to make it next time if we ever come back to Dublin.
Dublin City Hall is another Georgian building that we really admired its architecture in Dublin. This building was also designed by Thomas Cooley and has a rich history. It was constructed in 1779 originally housed the Royal Exchange. It was turned into the offices of local government in the middle of the 19th century. City Hall building is opened to the public. Admission to Rotunda underneath the dome is free for visitors. However entrance fee is charged for those who want to visit the multi-media exhibition hall. Nevertheless admission to the exhibition is free for those with valid Dublin Pass. Opening hours to Dublin City Hall are between 10.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. It is closed on Sunday. You may e-mail to the following address for more information:- firstname.lastname@example.org
The Four Courts is another impressive landmark located within the city limit in Dublin. It was designed by Irish architects James Gandon and Thomas Cooley. This neo-classical style building was constructed in the late 18th century. It originally housed the Court of Chancery, King's Bench, the Court of the Exchequer and the Court of Common Pleas. However these four courts were later merged to form High Court in the late 19th century.
Major parts of the Four Courts building were severely damaged by IRA during the Irish War of Independence in 1922 and the rebuilding process was fully completed only in 1932.
Today the Four Courts is home to the Supreme Court, the High Court, the Circuit Court and the Central Criminal Court. As this is a court house, the building is opened to the public. Nevertheless photography and video recording are not allowed inside the building. Unfortunately parts of the dome of the Four Courts are under renovation at the moment. So it is not possible to take a nice photograph of the building especially the dome.
Custom House is one of the most impressive landmarks in the city of Dublin. The neo-classical style Georgian building was constructed in the late 18th century as main office of Commissioners of Custom & Excise. It was designed by the famous Irish architect James Gandon. It took 10 years to build. Ornamental sculptures on the top of the building were designed by Edward Smyth representing the rivers in Ireland. The statue standing on the dome was designed by Henry Banks.
Much of the interior of the building was severely damaged during the Irish War of Independence in 1921 when IRA set fire on the building. As a result the whole dome collapsed. The present dome was rebuilt in 1928.
Today it is home to various government departments. Major parts of the buildings are not opened to the public and only the Visitor Centre in the Custom House is opened to the public. Visitors are able to view exhibitions on the history of the Custom House at the Visitor Centre. Admission to the Visitor Centre is free of charge. Opening hours to the Visitor Centre are between 10.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. from Monday to Friday and between 2.00 p.m. and 5.00 p.m. during the weekends.
Samuel Beckett Bridge is a harp-shaped cable stayed bridge supported by 30 cable stays. It has a modern sophisticated design and looks like a harp lying on its side. It was designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava Valls who also designed James Joyce Bridge further upstream. The bridge can be opened in the middle to allow large boats to pass through the river. This steel bridge was opened to vehicular traffic only in 2009 by Lord Mayor of Dublin. It was named after the famous Irish writer Samuel Beckett. The bridge is approximately 120 meters long and its height is approximately 50 meters high. The superstructure was actually constructed in Rotterdam and ferried to River Liffey in Dublin by ship.
Samuel Beckett Bridge has four vehicular traffic lanes and two lanes for cyclists and pedestrians. Several landmarks or attractions are located within a stone's throw from the bridge such as the city's Conference Centre (as depicted in the background of our third photograph) and the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship Museum (third photograph foreground). This modern bridge has slowly become a popular tourist attraction and a landmark of the city. We were certainly attracted by this unique harp-shaped design which is a symbol of the Republic of Ireland.
St. Andrew's Church is a former parish Church of Ireland. Today it is home to Dublin Discover Ireland Centre, the main tourist information office of the city of Dublin. It has history that dates back to the middle of the 17th century. St. Andrew's Church was designed by William Dodson. The present church structure was rebuilt in the late 18th century when the former church building was severely damaged by fire. The grand main entrance of the church is original. All the stained-glass window flames are still intact although the original stained-glasses are no longer there.
As tourist information office, you may visit and obtain free maps of the city of Dublin from here, enquire about things to do in the city of Dublin as well as ask for information about nice places to eat and drink in the city. There is a model of Canadian Pacific locomotive (depicted on our last photograph) on display on the right side of the grand entrance. Don't miss this interesting model when you visit the former St. Andrew's Church. Opening hours to Dublin Discover Ireland Centre are between 9.00 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and between 10.30 a.m. and 3.00 p.m. on Sunday. Free WiFi is available to visitors.
St. Stephen's Green is a quiet and beautiful public park located right in the heart of the city of Dublin, in fact right next to the busy shopping district of Grafton Street. The total area of the park is approximately 22 acres. There are not many cities in Europe with such a large park located right in the city center. It is certainly peaceful and tranquil as visitors can be seen enjoying their time there . Many locals and tourists alike simply relax, lying on the grass, feeding the ducks, people watching, having picnics, to chill out just to escape the chaos of the city's traffic.
The rectangular-shaped St. Stephen's Green is one of the largest parks in the city, the largest is of course Phoenix Park. The Victorian layout of St. Stephen's Green as we see today, was designed by William Sheppard in the late 19th century although the park has history that dates back to the middle of the 17th century. The park has a large beautiful lake as depicted on our first two photographs.
Fusilier's Gate (as depicted on our fourth photograph) was erected in the beginning of the 20th century on the northwest end of St. Stephen's Green just south of pedestrianised Grafton Street next to St. Stephen's Green Shopping Centre (the shopping centre is depicted on our last photograph). Fusilier's Gate is approximately 10 meters high and was designed by John Howard Pentland. The granite gate was erected to dedicate to Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died in Boer War for Dublin.
Opening hours to St. Stephen's Green are between 8.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. daily during the summer months. Admission to the park is free of charge. This is a very well maintained park. Make it a point to visit St. Stephen's Green when you are around Grafton Street on your vacation in Dublin.
The bronze statue of Molly Malone located at the busy Grafton Street in the heart of the city of Dublin, is undoubtedly a great tourist attraction. It is probably the most photographed object in the city of Dublin. The bronze statue of Molly Malone and her cart were erected during Dublin's first millennium celebrations in 1988. It was unveiled by the then Lord Mayor of Dublin. The statue was designed by Jeanne Rynhart. This statue is one of the most important symbols of the city of Dublin and has become a popular landmark.
The song Molly Malone (also known as Cockles and Mussels) has become a popular anthem of Dublin city. Molly Malone was a beautiful young fishmonger in 17th century low cut dress plying her trade on the streets of Dublin calling out "cockles and mussels". Unfortunately she died young from a fever. It is perhaps a fairy tale. However it is difficult to get a good picture with Molly Malone alone as there are many tourists trying to get their pictures taken at the same time. It is easier to get a good picture at night where there are not many people around. We took several really good pictures at night (depicted on our last two photographs) after our Riverdance show at Gaiety Theatre.
Christ Church Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the city of Dublin. It is one of the two largest cathedrals in Dublin, the other being St. Patrick's Cathedral which is located several hundred meters south of Christ Church Cathedral. Nevertheless Christ Church Cathedral is more beautiful and better maintained than St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Christ Church Cathedral was founded in the early 11th century during the reign of King Sitric Silkenbeard. It was constructed on the former site of a Viking cathedral. It is also known as the Holy Trinity Cathedral. The cathedral has Gothic and Romanesque style of architecture. Interestingly it contains beneath the cathedral the longest script in Ireland measuring approximately 60 meters long. It is home to the tomb of Strongbow, the Normans leader who captured Dublin in the 12th century.
Scenes from the motion picture "The Tudors" were filmed in the cathedral. Admission fee to the cathedral is €6.00 per adult and is free of charge if you are the holder of a valid Dublin Card. Opening hours to the cathedral are between 9.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. on weekdays with shorter opening hours on the weekends. Many tourists consider Christ Church Cathedral a "must-visit" tourist attraction in the city!
Ha'penny Bridge is a unique historic pedestrian bridge located across River Liffey in central Dublin just west of O'Connell Street. It was the only pedestrian bridge in Dublin until the year 2000 when Millenium Bridge (just west of Ha'penny Bridge) was added to the city across River Liffey. Ha'penny Bridge has history that dates back to 1816 when this cast iron bridge was constructed. It was first named Wellington Bridge in honour of the Duke of Wellington and later its name was changed to Liffey Bridge which is the official name of the bridge until today. Ha'penny Bridge is the nickname of the bridge. It was noted that when the bridge was first built, toll of half penny was collected for crossing this footbridge. Before the bridge was built ferries were used to ferry passengers crossing River Liffey between the north and south of the city.
Ha'penny Bridge measures approximately 40 meters long and 3 meters wide. This arch bridge was brightly and beautifully illuminated at night. Today it is a very busy pedestrain bridge. Don't miss this most famous historic bridge in Dublin when you visit the city on your vacation.
The Millennium Spire is located along the busy O'Connell Street, one of the main streets in the city of Dublin. It was erected on the site of former Nelson's Pillar which was destroyed in bombing by IRA in 1966. The Millennium Spire was designed by Ian Ritchie Architects and was erected by SIAC Construction Ltd in 2003 at a cost of approximately €4 million. It is also known as the Monument of Light.
The Millennium Spire is approximately 121 meters high and can be seen from many parts of the city of Dublin. This is the tallest structure ever erected in the city of Dublin so far. Locals and visitors can have a clear view of the Millennium Spire from either end of O'Connell Street as well as from Mary Street and Henry Street. The base of the Spire is approximately three meters in diameter reducing to only 15 centimeters in diameter at the top. The Spire is lit up at the base with the top 10 meter illuminated at night for safety reason. It may be considered a tourist attraction by many but some people still think that it is an eye-sore.
Famine Memorial is quite a popular tourist attraction located along the north shore of River Liffey near Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship Museum which is also a famine museum. Famine Memorial consists of six life size thin starving bronze statues along with a thin dog. These starving citizens together with the dog seemed to have walked to the dock with whatever they had to try to emigrate to other countries in order to survive.
The Great Irish Famine happened in the middle of the 19th century (1845 to 1849) when potatoes, their main food crop were hit by fungus that destroyed almost the entire potatoes in the country. As a consequence more than one million Irish died of starvation and diseases and many more were forced to emigrate to other countries mostly to Great Britain, USA, Australia and New Zealand.
These statues were sculptured by famous local artist Rowan Gillespie and were erected in 1998 to remind visitors of the Great Hunger that happened in Ireland. The disaster was considered the worst famine of Irish history. Don't miss the Famine Memorial when you have an evening walk along the bank of River Liffey on your vacation. The area around the Famine Memorial certainly has some wonderful views of lovely bridges and modern architectural buildings.
The Garden of Remembrance is located at Parnell Square just 50 meters north of O'Connell Street Upper which lies at the north of the city of Dublin. It is a garden of memorial opened to the public in 1966 by President Eamon to dedicate to those freedom fighters who lost their lives for Irish cause especially the Irish War of Independence and the 1916 Easter Rising. The center of the garden has a cross-shaped pool with mosaic art at the bottom of the pool. This is really a quiet small park for locals as well as tourists to sit down and relax to escape the chaos of the city traffic. There are plenty of chairs at the edge of the pool for visitors to sit down. The Garden of Remembrance was designed by Daithi Hanly.
On the west end of the garden stands a statue designed by Qisin Kelly. The statue is known as the Statue of Children of Lir which was based on the legend of an evil stepmother who turned her step children into swans. Opening hours to the garden are between 8.30 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. daily. Admission to the garden is free of charge.
The Hugh Lane Gallery is another interesting art gallery located just north of the Garden of Remembrance, only 50 meters north of O'Connell Street Upper and is only a few blocks from Dublin Writers Museum. It has quite a lot of interesting and wonderful paintings some of them are quite well-known but not on the same scale compared to those of the National Gallery of Ireland. Admission to Hugh Lane art gallery is free. Unfortunately photography is not allowed inside this art gallery. The Hugh Lane Gallery also has temporary exhibitions occasionally. This is the first tourist attraction we visited in the city of Dublin after checking into our hotel as the Hugh Lane Gallery is located just a stone's throw from Hotel Castle where we were staying. Don't miss this art gallery if you plan to stay around O'Connell Street or if you are very fond of art and paintings.
Opening hours to The Hugh Lane Gallery are between 10.00 a.m. and 5.00 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday. It is closed on Monday. You may e-mail to the following address for more information regarding exhibitions in the gallery:- email@example.com
The National Gallery of Ireland is another great tourist attraction in the city of Dublin. Lots of excellent paintings are exhibited in the National Gallery. Paintings by Monet and Picasso were our favourites. Our main photograph depicts one of the masterpieces of Picasso. Photography is allowed in the National Gallery without flash except for certain paintings which are prohibited from photography. These are marked by a "non-camera" sign beside the paintings. Admission to the National Gallery is free of charge. However visitors are advised to donate €5.00 towards the maintenance of the gallery.
Opening hours to the National Gallery of Ireland are between 9.30 a.m. and 5.30 p.m. daily. Don't miss the National Gallery of Ireland when you visit Dublin on your vacation. You may e-mail to the below address or visit the below link for further information.