Dublin Top Ten
Flying to Dublin. Take in our Top Ten visits:
By TTM on 23 April 2008 in Travel Articles
Infamous for its trendy, funky nightlife and of course its special brew - Guinness, Dublin is one of Europe's top tourist destinations and its popularity is still rising. Travellers love the Irish craic (fun), its literary heritage its atmospheric pubs, nightlife, museums and clean beaches.
Weatherwise, the sun comes out in July and August and the streets are alive with cafés and blooms. But if you don't mind a spot of rain, Dublin offers year round festivals and sporting events.
Dublin is divided by the river Liffey separating Northsiders from Southsiders connected by the O'Connel Bridge. The area is often thought of as the spiritual heart of the city.
One of the joys of Dublin is that it is a wonderfully compact city and easily to get around on foot. Check out the sights or ramble down Grafton Street Dublin's finest shopping street and flash some cash in Dublin's sexiest department store, Brown Thomas on number 88 or relax at Bewley's, at 78/7, the city's best know café.
First timers, or short of timers should do this bus tour. It lasts around 1 hour and 15 minutes and takes in 23 conveniently placed stops where you can hop off and back on and you even get a running commentary. This includes stops for Dublin Zoo, St Stephen's Green, Temple Bar, Dublin Castle and Guinness Storehouse. There's a bus every 15 minutes so you won't have to wait long to hop back on to get to your next destination.
The ticket lasts 24 hours so you can start the tour one day and finish the next. When you buy your ticket you will get a complimentary city map and a book of discounts on admission fees for many attractions.
Timetable: 9.30am-3pm every 10 minutes, 3pm-5pm every 15 minutes, 5pm-6.30pm every 30 minutes. Last bus 6.30pm.
2. Guinness Storehouse aka 'Church of Guinness'
You can't leave Dublin without having visited this excellent attraction - even if you don't like Guinness. That's because this dark brooding world famous beer is very much part of Dublin's history - in fact 250 years of history thanks to Arthur Guiness who began brewing on this site back in 1759.
Located at the centre of St James's Gate Brewery, a listed building, visitors can take in the brew's story by entering via a pint glass-shaped atrium and touring the seven floors. The tour ends at the Gravity Bar with a free pint and spectacullar 360 degree views across the city.
Address: St James's Gate Tel: 00 353 (0)408 4800
You can join in a traditional Irish musical publ crawal. It takes place every night from April to October and is run by two professional musicians who perform tunes and songs while telling the story of Irish music. It's a great opportunity to visit famous pubs and bars where private spaces are pre-booked, in the Temple Bar area and all within walking distance from each other.
Tel: 00 353 (0)1 475 3313
4. Take A Boat Trip Along the Liffey
Dublin is cut in half by the river 120km long Liffey river and taking a boat tour offers another view of the city and its riverside attractions. On route you will get a a light hearted commentary giving insight into the history of Dublic City and the river from the arrival of the Vikings to date. You'll also get to see some of Dublin's most famous bridges such as the Ha'penny Bridge.
Address: Bachelors Walk
5. Stephen's Green
As the old song goes: "Dublin can be heaven, with coffee at eleven, and a stroll in Stephen's Green", the latter being the most stylish square in all of Dublin and as such is a must-see. Is comprises a 27-acre Georgian square blessed with fine lawns, flowers and waterfalls and surrounded by terraced houses. All this right in the centre of the city.
6. Phoenix Park
This 1,760 acre park it is the largest enclosed public park in Europe. Its walled circumference is 16km. It iis home to Dublin Zoo - dating back to 1830 and is the oldest in Europe, the President of Ireland's residence and the American Embassy. This is a haven of fabulous gardens and wilderness where wild Fallow deer have been roaming around since the seventeenth century. The name of the park means "clear water" and refers to a spring that once existed here.
Inside is the 90ft (27m) stainless steel Papal Cross stands tall on the sport where Pope John Paul celebrated Mass in 1979. More than a third of Ireland's population attended the mass.
For an appreciation of Irish Celtic culture that has no connection to England, this is the place to come. Ireland's finest treasures are here that date back to the Celtic golden age before the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1170. The ground floor displays an impressive range of Ireland's prehistoric gold sometimes shaped as war trumpets and spare parts for chariots and jewellery. Upstairs is the Viking exhibition.
Address: Kildare Street, Dublin 7 Tel 00 353 (0) 677 7444
8. Have a Drink at the Horseshoe Bar at the Shelbourn Hotel
The Horsehoe bar at the Shelbourn and its appealling art nouveau decor is a cosy corner to have a drink in this most stylish five star hotel. It is so named because of bar's horseshoe shape it has long been one of Dublin's favoured drinking venues. Politicians drink here regularly and writers such as Oscar Wilde, James Joyce (who mentioned it in Ulysses), George Moore and Elizabeth Bowen all enjoyed a tipple here. This is also where writer, Brendan Behan, was allegedly sick in several of the bar's plant pots that are still in use today. Also, it was in this refined environment that the Irish band The Chieftains was formed.
9. Temple Bar Neighbourhood
Temble Bar is the Dublin where Dubliners party. The neighbourhood is full of eateries, bars,shops and nightlife and a Designer mart - an indoor shopping complext. It is also home to a fabulously successful Saturday market where aromas of baked bread, freshly brewed coffee and locally grown produce.
But the complex of cobbled thoroughfares reveal not only trendy boutiques but also a cultural centre. Culture vultures will love the the pint sized Art galleries and easy to digestmuseums and street performers and saxophonists crooning from the side streets.
Address: South of the Liffey river
10. Dublin Castle
Built by Norman King John, this was the British seat of colonial power in Ireland for 700 years up to the early 20th Century. The Easter Uprising led to 50 defeated insurgents being executed with the castle's walls. In 1938 the first President of Ireland was sworn in and today it is used as a government office. Architecturally it looks more like an eccentric palace than a castle with hardly a turret in sight. There is a tour you can do that highlights the castle's history, showing the state apartments where Nelson Mandela, Maggie Thatcher and other dignatories stayed. It takes in the various room with their gorgeous furniture an exquisite throne room, takes you underground to the moat and the oldest most ancient part of the castle. The tour puts 800 years of Irish history into context in just 30 minutes.
The castle is also home to The Chester Beatty Library which houses Europe's greatest collection of ancient oriental manuscripts.
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