Republic of Ireland

Ireland is a island of two halves – Northern Ireland (part of the United Kingdom) and the Republic of Ireland in the south (part of the European Union). Home to some wonderful countryside and some even more wonderful people.

This is a small guide to a few of the areas I have visited and some information on how to see and enjoy them.

County Kerry

County Kerry is the south west corner of the country and is home to some truly breath-taking scenery. The highlight of the area is driving around the “Ring of Kerry” which circles the area for a total of about 120 miles. The ring is a true test of a driver's stamina with it's winding track and narrow lanes, but this is made up for in the frequent stops for pubs and/or views of the ocean.

Kerry Countryside

Kilarney National Park is a good place to get out and see the scenery, with numerous bicycle, walking and horse trails directly to the west of Killarney.

Dublin

Dublin Castle

Dublin is a classical European city with a large number of small, old buildings. Dominating the city is the Guinness brewery and the large number of small restaurants.

O'Connell Street

Shopping is concentrated in the city around O'Connell and Grafton Streets. Nassau Street is for the well-to-do.

Molly Malone Statue on corner of St. Andrew's and Suffolk streets

Transportation is good, with parking VERY scarce in the centre of the city itself. If driving, it is a good idea to park at one of the DART (Dublin Area Regional Transit – train) stations and take the train into the city. Inside the city, there are numerous city buses as well as a number of “hop on, hop off” tour companies operating in the city (see Dublin City Bus Tours for one such company with good service).

The River Liffey

Temple Bar is a good place to wander about with it's many small boutique- style stores and many trendy bars and restaurants. As with any area of this type it is good to keep an eye on your belongings.

Temple Bar

A few things to see:

  • Christ Church Cathedral - Not as impressive as St. Patrick's but still not too bad (an interesting walk through the undercroft as well)
  • Dublin Castle - Not so much a castle as an administrative centre of the city. You can pay an entrance fee to visit the old castle at the back of the complex away from Dame Street behind City Hall.
  • Dublinia - Opposite Christ Church cathedral, Dublinia is an attraction that shows the history of Dublin including it's Viking heritage. A bit touristy and great for kids but interesting nonetheless. There is an entrance fee.
  • Glasnevin Museum - Oddly, this old cemetery a short distance to the north of the city centre has an interesting and modern museum.

Glasnevin Museum

  • Guiness Storehouse - Tour of the storehouse and a sample of Guinness to boot! The single biggest attraction in Dublin. There is an admission charge that includes a sample of Guiness (evidently, there are no non-alcoholic options available).
  • Trinity College - The Book of Kells is the highlight of this old college in the heart of the city. Regular tours are run by current or former students dressed in the robes of Trinity students (see https://www.tcd.ie/visitors/tours/ for details). Tours include entrance to the Book of Kells exhibit which is often crowded so be prepared to queue, though, in my experience, the queue does move quite quickly (it can be cramped inside, however). The Kells exhibit ends in the “Old Library” which is spectacular looking like something straight out of Harry Potter and containing some important pieces of Irish history.

Old Library at Trinity College

  • St. Patrick's Cathedral - The biggest of the two cathedrals best known for where Johnathan Swift (famous author of such books including Gulliver's Travels) was a priest and there is lot of history to see here. There is a small admission charge for visitors.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Waterford

Waterford is a small town in the south-east of the country and is by far and away best known for the crystal that is made there. Waterford Crystal (see http://www.waterfordvisitorcentre.com) offers tours of it's facilities showing the blowing and forming of the crystal by it's craftsman (and it is all done by hand!).

Waterford Riverfront

Waterford has a long history that can be explored in the centre of the town by visiting Reginald's Tower (which charges a small admission but offers a guided tour, exhibits, and a small audio-visual display of the history of the town) or any of the remaining towers around the town core area.

Parking is possible on the south side of the River Suir (the town is basically all on the south side of the river) in some massive, rather hideous, car parks charging awful prices.

Further Information

For further information, please see: