Traveling in Ireland

From left to right: Arnotts department store, Temple Bar restaurants, Malahide Castle, Malahide gardens, Newgrange, Dublin. Ireland has something to offer for all people of different ages. (Photo courtesy of Taylor Penezic)

Dublin is a fairly small city that has lots of tourist attractions within walking distance of downtown. For the sites that are too far to walk, there is a ‘hop on hop off’ bus that has around thirty stops. There are many attractions that will appeal to people of all ages.

 

Museums in Dublin

Most museums are free, making it more affordable for travelers.To list just a few of the museums, some are Butler’s Chocolate Experience, National Leprechaun Museum, National Folklore Museum, and the Dublin Writer’s Museum. The top two tourist attractions are the Guinness Factory and the Jameson Whiskey Distillery, but the third tourist attraction means much more to the Irish people. The Kilmainham Jail– a former prison built in 1796 and closed in 1924. Some prisoners were held there for much larger reasons than others. Some were there because they were fighting for their independence from Great Britain while others were there for petty crimes. This jail touched a certain nerve of the Irish, the city could hear the executions after public hanging was forbidden. The youngest person known to be a prisoner was only five years old.

Shopping in Dublin

The main shopping street is known as Grafton Street located in central downtown. This is a unique street, unlike anything we have in America. Vehicles aren’t allowed to drive on this street, allowing pedestrians to walk freely with their shopping bags. There are stores for any budget from high end department stores to small gift shops. The next largest shopping street is Henry Street. Similar to Grafton Street, vehicles aren’t allowed to drive on the street. Dublin’s oldest and largest department store is located on Henry Street and is known as Arnotts. Arnotts has multiple floors including a restaurant and a bakery. Currently, the dollar has a good value against the euro with the exchange rate.

Temple Bar in Dublin

Temple Bar is a section of Dublin with pubs and restaurants. The locals know it as a large tourist attraction with expensive prices and pick pocketers. The pubs and restaurants are filled with Irish dancers and musicians playing old Irish music. Common traditional cuisine is bread, shepherd’s pie, potatoes, pork, stew, black pudding, and salmon.

 

Malahide Castle outside of Dublin

Malahide Castle and Gardens is located just north of Dublin in the village of Malahide. Visitors can tour the castle. The estate began in 1185 and the last person to live there was in 1975 before being sold to the Irish State. The Tadpolt Botanic Gardens are behind the castle including seven greenhouses and conservatory. Plants can be seen from around the world– notably Chile and Australia. Driving from Dublin to Malahide is a short scenic ride out to the countryside to see Ireland’s greenland.  

 

Newgrange outside of Dublin

Newgrange is a Stone Age monument in Boyne Valley, County Meath, Ireland. Newgrange was constructed over 5,000 years ago making it older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramids of Giza. It is a large circular mound with a stone passageway and chamber. It is classified as a passage tomb. The inside of the passage tomb is small, dark and tight. For those who are claustrophobic, it might not be the best idea. Twenty-four people are allowed into the tomb at one time.

 

Traveling to Dublin is a great experience. The Irish are friendly and helpful and will strike up a conversation with anyone. Ireland has something everyone will enjoy– the countryside, a variety of restaurants, museums, historical sites, and shopping.

 

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