A Tour of Ireland ~ Episode 4

This is a loooonnnnnnnng Post, and the last to cover Dublin, but I promised last week that this time, I would bring you ‘them wat rote bukes’! 😆

LITERATURE

Trinity College, situated in the city centre opposite what was previously the Irish Houses of Parliament, Trinity dates back to the sixteenth century. It is noted for its esteemed alumni including Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde as well as being the first university in Great Britain to open its doors to female students in 1904.

Dublin Writers Museum 18 Parnell Square, features the works and lives of Dublin’s writers. It also offers facilities such as lunchtime theatre, a bookshop and a café.

Sweny’s Pharmacy 1, Lincoln Place, made famous in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses
Readings from Ulysses take place at Sweny’s on Thursdays at 7pm

Historical, Literary & Musical Walking Tours – Combine Dublin’s many cultural facets into one comprehensive tour on a two-hour guided walk around the city in an entertaining and informative style.

James Joyce Centre 35 North Great Georges Street, is located in a restored 18th century Georgian house. It offers a programme of exhibition, education, outreach and activities. The centre promotes an appreciation of James Joyce as a most significant literary figure of the 20th century.

James Joyce Tower Sandycove, County Dublin belongs to the series of Martello towers, which were built to contain an invasion by Napoleon. Located eight miles south of Dublin it is now a museum dedicated to the work and life of James Joyce. The tower was the setting of Joyce’s great novel “Ulysses”. The museum’s collection includes beyond letters and photograph also personal possessions of the famous writer.

The Oscar Wilde House Number One, Merrion Square, has been the childhood home of Oscar Wilde from 1855 to 1878. In 1994 the American College Dublin came into possession of the house. Tourists may visit the study, drawing and dining room as well as the Sir William Wilde Surgery. The House is open throughout the year for group tours, minimum group size 25, advance booking is necessary. All funds contribute to the on-going restoration and maintenance of the Oscar Wilde House.

The Shaw Birthplace 33 Synge Street, the Victorian house is the birthplace of George Bernard Shaw,  one of the greatest play writers in the English language. It has been restored to its Victorian elegance and is opened to the public since 1993. The Shaw Birthplace is worthwhile visiting as it has the appearance that the family have just gone out.

Samuel Beckett, Irish novelist and playwright was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969. The line: “We all are born mad. Some remain so.” (from Waiting for Godot, 1952), I find hard to disagree with.

There are many other names associated with Dublin that will sound Familiar.

Seán O’Casey lived at 35 Mountjoy Sqaure.

Brendan Behan grew up in nearby 14 Russell St.

John Millington Synge came from Rathfarnham, County Dublin, Ireland. Educated Trinity College, Dublin.

Marsh’s Library, St Patrick’s Close, Dublin 8 was the first public library in Ireland. Established in 1701 it is now over 300 years old. It contains more than 25,000 books regarding the 16th, 17th and 18th century covering topics such as science, law, medicine, music as well as classical literature.

Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, Bring plenty of Euro, as it might be a long night! 🙄

THEATRE

Dublin has many theatres, large and small,  giving a wide choice of plays, musicals and comedies.  There is bound to be something to suit all tastes.  Here are just a few.

Abbey Theatre 26 Lower Abbey Street first opened its doors in 1904 and many important works were first staged here including the “Playboy of the western World” by John Millington Synge and Seán O’Casey’s “The Plough and the Stars”. The present building is a replacement for the original theatre burned down in 1951.

Point Theatre now renamed ‘The O2’ East Link Bridge, recently underwent a make over and a is the venue for London shows and Concerts.

Gaiety Theatre South King Street, off Grafton Street, warms my heart with memories of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company who were based in London. They would arrive and take up residence for two weeks, performing the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan each night and matinees on Wednesday and Saturday.  They were the only times in my life where we went to the theatre three or four times in a week and often twice on a Saturday. We bought the cheapest tickets – to stand at the back of the ‘Gods’ and once the show started we sat on the steps!  Can you see Health & Safety allowing that today?

National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, hosts a wide range of events throughout the year, including a weekly performances from the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra with a programme ranging from classic operas and magical musicals to contemporary Irish folk, the National Concert Hall is a thriving venue catering for all musical tastes.

A Traditional Irish Music pub crawl will certainly have your feet tapping.

EATING & DRINKING

Dublin has evolved into a modern cosmopolitan city with a dazzling array of restaurants on offer. From lively traditional restaurants to Michelin – starred restaurants, there is something to suit every taste, occasion and budget in Dublin.
Check out the fantastic array of restaurants!

Dublin’s pubs allow you to slice right into the heart and living culture of the people. They are the famous haunts of its literary set, politicians, rock stars and of course, Dubliners! Our capital city is home to some 1,000 pubs and no visit to Dublin would be complete without sampling a local brew in a real Dublin pub!  Slainté!

The city centre is a much favoured haunt of stag and hen nights, Dublin is a world class party city. With no end of bars and clubs and of course that famous vibrant atmosphere, you can’t go far wrong with a visit to Dublin.  Tourists love the Temple Bar district, look out here for the street performers and live music venues…you can’t beat a really good bit of entertainment, bearing in mind that Dublin is where Hothouse Flowers, Thin Lizzy and U2 started out!

SPORT

Dublin, as indeed all of Ireland offers a vast selection of sports to suit all tastes.

Horse Racing

Leopardstown Races
The Racecourse is located six miles south of Dublin City Centre. Visitors may watch both National Hunt and Flat racing.

Other courses not quite within the boundary of Dublin, yet quite accessible are:

The Curragh Racecourse Co. Kildare.  The Curragh is one of the leading horse racing courses situated near Dublin. Staging 20 race meetings from March to October, it is one of the most historic horse racing locations known internationally.
Fairyhouse Racecourse is actually in Ratoath, Co. Meath

Punchestown Racecourse Naas, Co. Kildare

GAA  or to give it its proper name: Cumann Luthchleas Gael : Gaelic Athletic Association – has three games under their umbrella.

Hurling is the fastest game on grass.  It is played with a small ball similar to that used in Tennis but made entirely of leather. Add to this a hockey-like batting wood, called the ‘hurley’.  For a non-experienced viewer it remains a riddle that players do not get carried off the field in masses.  Click on the link to see how it is played.

Gaelic Football is like a cross between, soccer and rugby and is closely associated with Australian Rules Football. It is played with a ball similar to that used in soccer.  A game is played in two parts of 35 minutes each.  Both teams have 15 players. Players are allowed to touch the ball with hand and of course foot. They can take about four steps with the ball in hands than the ball has to be tipped or touched with the foot.
The two goalposts reach up to the air beyond the crossbar, like in rugby. A ball that goes into the goal is worth 3 points, a ball that goes across the bar (between the posts) is worth one point. If the match ends with a draw it will be replayed.

The game is played at club and county level and the biggest competition in the game is the Inter-county championships, where teams from each of the 32 counties of Ireland battle it out for a place in the All Ireland Finals. These finals, held at Croke Park each September are the biggest sporting events in the country, as 80,000 people pack out Ireland’s largest stadium, to cheer on their home county and hopefully watch their team lift the Sam Maguire Cup.

Camogie,  I have written about this in the past.

Football – Soccer, originated in England and popularity has grown within Ireland over many years now.  Many Irish players spend full time playing with and for English or European teams, returning to the Irish shirt for tournaments like the World cup.

Rugby in Ireland can be traced back to the 1850s. Rugby is played by men and women, boys and girls, in more than 100 countries across five continents.  It is one of the few sports, if not the only one to draw a team of players from all thirty two counties, for the  Six Nations and World Cup events.

If Golf is your passion, then Dublin has more courses than I have had hot dinners!

Harold’s Cross Stadium at Harolds Cross  is a greyhound-racing track located in the south of Dublin city. There is plenty of excitement for the whole family.

PARKS & GARDENS

Dublin has a large number of parks and gardens within the city. Enjoy yourself and choose one to take a restful day. To help you decide, which one to visit, please find a list below. We provide you with short description as well as opening hours and admission charges.

Phoenix Park / Dublin Zoo
Phoenix Park is a place for the whole family. Young and old may take a rest and watch the beautiful scenery. With its 1,760 acres, Phoenix Park is considered to be the largest municipal park in the world.

Farmleigh is an estate of 78 acres situated to the north-west of Dublin’s Phoenix Park, it dates from the 18th century & was home of Edward Guinness. It was purchased by the Office of Public Works on behalf of the Government in June 1999 and developed in order to provide accommodation for visiting dignitaries and guests of the nation, for high level Government meetings and for enjoyment by the public.

National Botanic Garden Glasnevin, Dublin 9 were opened in 1805. The range of plants includes approximately 20.000 species displayed at an area of 19.5 hectares.  Great walks. A large bright self service restaurant serves food all day.

The Merrion Square Park houses many fine sculptures, a floral garden, a collection of old Dublin lamp posts, a heather garden and a playground. It is considered as one of the best parks in Europe.

St. Stephen’s Green covers an area of 22 acres and is one of the best-known Victorian parks. Established in 1880 it is landscaped with flowerbeds, a fountain and a lake.

The Iveagh Gardens were designed in 1863 and belong to the finest gardens in Dublin. They include a cascade, fountains, maze, a rustic grotto, archery grounds and woodlands.

The Garden of Remembrance is an Irish memorial garden for those killed in the Irish War of Independence between 1919 and 1922. The garden was opened in 1966, on the fiftieth birthday of the Easter Rising.

War Memorial Gardens South Circular Road, Islandbridge, belongs to the most famous in Europe. They are dedicated to those who died in the First World War between 1914 and 1918. However, the gardens are also of architectural interest and great beauty.

St. Audoen’s Park High Street, is quite small, St. Audoen’s Park is worthwhile a visit. It includes the first stone city wall dating to 1100 AD, St. Audoen’s Arch and Fagan’s Gate. The city wall was restored in 1976.

St. Annes Park & Rose Gardens Raheny, is Dublin’s largest enclosed park covering almost 270 acres. The rose gardens are of international importance and the extensive woodlands, water features as well as recreational facilities are worthwhile visiting.
Marino Casino holds many surprises!

SHOPPING

Dublin is a great experience for those who like shopping. It has a wide range from clothes to typical craft shops to suit all tastes and wallets.  Shops are open Monday to Saturday, generally from 9.00 to 18.00 and do not close for lunch, an increasing number of shops now open on Sundays.  Supermarkets now stay open 7 days a week.
The price of most goods includes value-added tax (VAT). Visitors from outside of the EU can have this sales tax refunded at the end of their trip. Be sure to ask for a tax-free shopping form with each purchase and follow the instructions for completion.

Blarney Woollen Mills 21-22 Nassau Street, has a large selection of woollens, Waterford crystals and the best of Ireland’s designer fashions.

Kilkenny Giftstore 6/7 Nassau Street, offers a wide range of contemporary Irish Design and craftsmanship. It also has a large selection of ceramics, jewellery, pottery and designer fashion. It includes a restaurant from where you can overlook the Trinity College.

The Celtic Whiskey Shop 27-28 Dawson Street, has a selection of whiskies, miniatures and collectables. It also offers a wide range of handmade Irish chocolate, wine as well as gift packs.

Temple Bar Markets Meeting House Square, Temple Bar Square
The Temple Bar Quarter houses different shops, restaurants, cafes and galleries. Situated not far from Trinity College it is ideal for those who love rummage and shopping. The Temple Bar Quarter includes three main markets – the Temple Bar Food Market, the Cow’s Lane Market and the Temple Bar Book Market.

The river Liffey splits the City in two and there are about twenty three bridges between Lucan and the coast. From the M50 Motorway bridge that towers way above the river to the newest member in the family – a rotatable road bridge named after Samuel Beckett.  My all time favourite is The Ha’penny Bridge which can be seen from O’Connell Bridge looking westward.  It was built in 1816 and is Dublin’s oldest pedestrian crossing over the River Liffey. It was also the first iron bridge in Ireland and originally named Liffey Bridge. The bridge got its modern nickname, because there was a half-penny charge to cross it until 1919.

Now to misquote many a politician – It is time to go to the country – Next week we move on!

13 thoughts on “A Tour of Ireland ~ Episode 4

  1. Nancy

    Wonderful tour of your home town,GM. You did a lot of research and editing to give us this excellent trip around your fair city. Thank you.

    Some day maybe I’ll tell you about Philadelphia where the Declaration of Independence was signed. That was the document that freed us from British rule.

    I understand the Irish had a spot of trouble with the English,too.

    Isn’t it nice that we are all best friends now?

  2. Grannymar Post author

    Apologies for the long delay in replying. My internet connection went on a tour of Ireland over the weekend. Hopefully the man with his head in the hole at the bottom of the hill has it all sorted once more!

    Judy – The travelling is just about to begin in earnest next week.

    WWW – I am trying to see the places from a visitor’s eye! Hope it works.

    Mayo – Sorry about the glitch yesterday.

    Nancy – Being friends makes for a better life all round!

  3. steph

    Thanks! Grannymar

    Despite being born and bred in Dublin, I was amazed to find how much I learnt from your tour of my native city. By adding your own personal touch, you make the information more interesting than reading it from a ‘buke’ 😀

    Are we expected to tip the tour guide? 🙄

  4. gaelikaa

    This is a great post for references purposes. i didn’t know that the point was renamed the ‘O2′, thanks for that. I’m particularly fond of Marsh’s Library and the Dublin Writers’ Museum. Our city is fantastic isn’t it? Before I came out to India, I got a job in a place right in the heart of the Georgian area of the city – which is pretty close to the place where my ancestors are from – it was one of the happiest times of my life. I can’t wait to visit home and soak up the place again and better still, show it off to my kids.

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