The Rough Guide to Ireland (Travel Guide eBook)
650 pages
English
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The Rough Guide to Ireland (Travel Guide eBook)

-

Obtenez un accès à la bibliothèque pour le consulter en ligne
En savoir plus
650 pages
English

Description

Discover this evergreen destination with the most incisive and entertaining guidebook on the market. Whether you plan to ride the length of the wonderful Wild Atlantic Way, take a foodie tour of the southwest or discover a city reborn in Belfast, The Rough Guide to Ireland will show you the ideal places to sleep, eat, drink, shop and visit along the way.
- Independent, trusted reviews written with Rough Guides' trademark blend of humour, honesty and insight, to help you get the most out of your visit, with options to suit every budget.
Full-colour maps throughout - navigate the backstreets of Dublin's Temple Bar or Derry's famous city walls without needing to get online. Stunning images - a rich collection of inspiring colour photography.
Things not to miss - Rough Guides' rundown of Ireland's best sights and experiences.
- Itineraries - carefully planned routes to help you organize your trip.
Detailed regional coverage - whether off the beaten track or in more mainstream tourist destinations, this travel guide has in-depth practical advice for every step of the way. Areas covered (all Ireland's counties) include: Dublin; the Midlands; Cavan; Mayo; Galway; Clare; Limerick; Kerry; Cork; Kilkenny; Kildare; Meath; Belfast; Antrim and Derry.
Attractions include: The Giant's Causeway; Dublin's Trinity College; Titanic Belfast; the Wild Atlantic Way; Bruna Boinne; Skellig Michael; Kylemore Abbey; Bantry House; the Burren and Croagh Patrick.
Basics- essential pre-departure practical information including getting there, local transport, accommodation, food and drink, health, festivals, sports and outdoor activities, culture and etiquette, the media and more.
Background information- a Contexts chapter devoted to history, traditional music and literature, plus a handy language section and glossary.
Make the Most of Your Time on Earth with The Rough Guide to Ireland.

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 01 juillet 2018
Nombre de lectures 1
EAN13 9781789194821
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 54 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0062€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

INSIDE THIS BOOK START YOUR JOURNEY WITH ROUGH GUIDES
INTRODUCTION What to see, what not to miss, itineraries and more
BASICS Pre-departure tips and practical information
THE GUIDE Comprehensive, in-depth guide to Ireland, with regional highlights and
full-colour maps throughout
CONTEXTS History and traditional music, plus recommended books and a useful
language section
We’ve fagged up our favourite places – a perfectly sited hotel, an atmospheric café, a special TRUSTED TRAVEL GUIDES Since 1982, our books have helped over 40 million
restaurant – throughout the Guide with the symbol★ travellers explore the world with accurate, honest and informed travel writing.
Ireland chapters
N SCOTLANDBallycastle
14Derry
12 Larne
13
Donegal
Omagh
BELFAST16
Enniskillen
ArmaghSligo Isle
of Man
15 POCKET ROUGH GUIDES “Things Not To Miss” section, essential itineraries and
3Carrick-onShannon Cavan a unique pull-out map featuring every sight and listing in the guide. Hip, handy
Westport IRISH SEA11 and perfect for short trips and weekend breaks.Drogheda
Longford10
Mullingar
1Athlone
2Galway 4 DUBLIN
Birr Kildare
ATL ANTIC
WicklowO CEAN
Ennis
9
KilkennyLimerick
Cashel
56
Wexford
8 Waterford
7Killarney WALES
Cork
DIGITAL Choose from our
easy0 miles 30
to-use ebooks and great-value
0 kilometres 80 Snapshots to read on your tablet,
phone or e-reader.1 Dublin 5 Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford H Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon
2 Around Dublin: Wicklow, Kildare 6 Waterford and Tipperary I Donegal
and Meath 7 Cork J Belfast
3 Louth, Monaghan and Cavan 8 Kerry K Antrim and Derry ROUGHGUIDES.COM Buy all our
4 The Midlands: Westmeath, 9 Limerick and Clare L Down and Armagh latest ebooks and get inspired
Longford, Ofaly and Laois G Galway and Mayo M Tyrone and Fermanagh with travel features, quizzes
and more.
Make the Most of Your Time on Earth at roughguides.com
This twelfth edition published July 2018THE ROUGH GUIDE TO
IRELAND
This twelfth edition updated by
Paul Clements, Darragh Geraghty, Norm Longley,
Rachel Mills and Ally ThompsonINTRODUCTION 3
Contents
INTRODUCTION 4
Where to go10 Things not to miss 14
When to go12Itineraries 24
Author picks13
BASICS28
Getting there29 Festivals and events 39
Getting around 31 Culture and etiquette 40
Accommodation 34Sports 41
Food and drink36 Outdoor activities 42
The media38 Travel essentials 44
THE GUIDE 50
1 Dublin 50 9 Limerick and Clare 310
2 Around Dublin: Wicklow, Kildare 10 Galway and Mayo 342
and Meath 112
11 Sligo, Leitrim and Roscommon 396
3 Louth, Monaghan and Cavan 146
12 Donegal 424
4 The Midlands: Westmeath,
13 Belfast 464Longford, Ofaly and Laois 164
14 Antrim and Derry 4945 Kilkenny, Carlow and Wexford 182
15 Down and Armagh 5286 Waterford and Tipperary 206
16 Tyrone and Fermanagh 5647 Cork 230
8 Kerry 272
CONTEXTS 584
History585Books 622
Traditional music604 The Irish language 627
Literature609Glossary630
SMALL PRINT & INDEX 633
OPPOSITE BANTRY HARBOUR PREVIOUS PAGE THE ROCK OF CASHEL4 INTRODUCTION
Introduction to
Ireland
Over the past three decades, Ireland has transformed itself with quiet
determination. Gone – or certainly on its way out – is the image of a
conservative, introspective, dourly rural nation, while the infamous unrest
and violence have, mercifully, faded away. An outward-looking Ireland has
stepped forward, energized by rejuvenated cities no longer weighed
down by the Troubles, where the fresh ideas introduced by immigrants
and returnees during the Celtic Tiger years of the 1990s are maturing
nicely. Of course, it’s not called the Emerald Isle for nothing and Ireland’s
physical appeal endures clear and true as a jewel – but it’s by no means a
blanket of green. From the Burren’s grey limestone pavement and the
black peat bogs of the Midlands (where some of the prehistoric gold
ornaments on show in Dublin’s National Museum were dug up) to
Connemara’s gold- and purple-tinged mountains, Ireland’s smouldering
– even unnerving – good looks can send a shiver down your spine. And
when the sun is shining the sky throbs bluer than anywhere else on earth
– or so the Irish would have you believe.
While Dublin, Belfast and the other cities are cranking up the cosmopolitan – from
hipster cofee shops to edgy, internationally relevant arts scenes – their on-message
worldliness is not the be all and end all: traditional culture is cherished by even the most
city-slicking of the Irish. Moreover, as Northern Irish historian J. C. Beckett (1912–96)
noted, his homeland “has no natural focal point, no great crossing-place of routes, no
centre from which infuence spreads naturally.” Te lay of the land and the road network
lend themselves to a democratic exploration, with each part of the country fair game,
and you’re unlikely to feel swallowed up by the cities’ gravitational pull. In rural areas,
switch modes to walking boots or two wheels (motorized or otherwise) and you’ll be in
no great hurry to return to the urban sprawl, however vibrant.
ABOVE VALENTIA ISLAND OPPOSITE ST STEPHEN’S GREEN, DUBLININTRODUCTION 5
In some areas public transport
FACT FILEcoverage fades to black, and you have
Ireland is the third-largest island in Europe. •no choice but to feel your way – the
The landmass has a total area of 84,412 square
perfect opportunity to get to grips
kilometres, with its coastline stretching
with Ireland’s rich textures. Te west for 3152km.
coast is famous for its long beaches Its longest river is the Shannon (358km), •
largest lake Lough Neagh (387 square and windswept clifs with views of
kilometres), highest point Carrauntoohil in
the western islands; the drama of the
Kerry (1038m) and its deepest cave is Reyfad
landscape here is awe-inspiring, not Pot in Fermanagh (193m).
least to the surfers who fock to The Newgrange Passage Tomb in County •
Meath dates back to 3200 BC, making it around Donegal and Galway. In the east,
a thousand years older than Stonehenge.
outside Dublin, the crumpled
The island is made up of the Republic of •granite of the Wicklow Hills sits in
Ireland, consisting of 26 counties, and
stark contrast to the lush central Northern Ireland, subject to devolved British
rule, which comprises six counties.plain just a few kilometres away.
The Republic’s population is roughly 4.4 •Cross the border into Northern
million, with 1.7 million residing in the Greater
Ireland and it is a short journey Dublin area. Northern Ireland’s population is
through rolling hills – known locally approximately 1.8 million, with some 650,000
occupying the Greater Belfast area.as drumlins – to the spectacular coast
Irish is the national language of the •road that leads to the geological
Republic, according to the constitution, with
wonder of the Giant’s Causeway. English recognized as a second ofcial language.
Scattered across these landscapes is However, only around ffteen percent of the
population has a good competence in Irish.an abundance of  historic sites. Te
Ireland is the only country in the world with •very earliest of these include
a musical instrument, the Irish harp, as its
enigmatic prehistoric tombs, stone national emblem.
circles and hill forts. It is possible to N62
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M188 INTRODUCTION
THE BEST PUBS FOR TRADITIONAL MUSIC
If the Irish didn’t invent the pub, they’ve certainly espoused its cause with great vigour. Indeed,
alongside the local church and the betting shop (for men), the pub retains a pivotal place in Irish
society. It’s the place where stories are narrated, deals and pacts are made, jokes are told and
traditional music is heard. During the 1990s, the “Irish pub” concept (albeit with “authentic” period
decor manufactured in Dublin) spread to far-fung points of the globe. Yet experiencing the real
thing on its home turf to a live soundtrack of traditional music is still an unbeatable experience.
With a pint of the black stuf in hand, here are some of the best, entirely authentic pubs to get you
started on a lifelong love afair with bodhráns, tin whistles, pipes and fddles:
Buckley’s Killarney (see p.284) O’Donoghue’s Dublin (see p.107)
De Barra’s Clonakilt.257) Reel Inn Donegal Town (see p.435)
The Five Points Whiskey & Alehouse Seán Og’s Tralee (see p.308)
Belfast (see p.488) Tigh Coili Galway City (see p.356)
trace the history of successive waves of immigration, whether Christian pilgrims, Viking
raiders or Norman settlers, through the stone churches, distinctive round towers and
high crosses strewn across the landscape. Ireland’s monasteries were important centres of
Christian learning during the Middle Ages, and the monks’ elaborate craftsmanship is
preserved in surviving illuminated manuscripts, such as the Book of Kells, held at Dublin’s
Trinity College. Doughty castles and tower houses record the twelfth-century
AngloNorman invasion, while numerous stately homes from the eighteenth and nineteenth
centuries attest to the wealth and political power of the Protestant Ascendancy both
north and south. A remarkable aspect of Ireland’s landscape is the tendency for physical
features to have sacred associations – few counties do not shelter a pile of stones called
“Diarmuid and Gráinne’s Bed”, where the star-crossed lovers are said to have slept
together on their fight from the great warrior Fionn Mac Cumhaill.
RIGHT THE LONG ROOM IN THE OLD LIBRARY AT TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLININTRODUCTION 9
Inseparable from Ireland’s history is its cultural heritage, a happy coming together of
millennia and myriad infuences from home and abroad. Here you have the richest
store of mythological traditions in northern Europe, folkloric associations at every turn
and world-famous literature and poetry. But there are a couple of elements you’ll likely
encounter in vivid form on a daily basis – particularly if you’re a pub-goer. First you
have traditional music, with its ballads and sean-nós (“old-style” Irish-language singing)
recounting tales of love, history and humour. Ten there’s the craic, the talking therapy
of Ireland’s pubs, a combination of unlikely yarns, surreal comedy and plain old
chatter and gossip. Dublin, which has long enjoyed a reputation as a culturally rich
city, remains the epicentre of artistic activity. Te Republic’s capital is justifably proud
of its literary tradition, which takes in (among countless other luminaries) Oscar
Wilde, Flann O’Brien and James Joyce, whose famously complex and experimental
Finnegans Wake is – besides its many other triumphs – a worthy encapsulation of the
sheer weightiness of Irish culture.
Ireland is rightly renowned for the welcome extended to visitors, and the tourist sector
is, unsurprisingly, at the centre of its plans for lasting economic recovery. Northern
Ireland and Belfast, in particular, have taken full advantage of the sudden infux of
visitors previously deterred by the Troubles. What they will encounter is an Ireland
where, fnally, the past is signifcant for its cultural riches rather than the shadow it
casts – and where the future is all about that big blue sky.10 INTRODUCTION
Where to go
Dublin is the Republic’s main entry-point, a confdent capital whose raw, modern
energy is complemented by rich cultural traditions, and which boasts outstanding
medieval monuments and the richly varied exhibits of the National Gallery and
National Museum. South of the city, the desolate Wicklow Mountains ofer a
breathtaking contrast to city life.
If you arrive on the west coast at Shannon Airport in County Clare, Ireland’s most
spectacular landscapes are within easy reach. Clare’s coastline rises to a head at the
vertiginous Clifs of Moher , while inland lies the Burren, a barren limestone plateau at
odds with the lush greenery characteristic of much of Ireland. To Clare’s south,
Limerick’s Hunt Museum houses one of Ireland’s most diverse and fascinating collections.
Te Wild Atlantic Way, meanwhile, is a scenic west coast driving route launched in 2014
that encourages exploration on this side of the island.
County Kerry, south of Limerick, features dazzling scenery, an intoxicating brew of
seascapes, looming mountains and sparkling lakes. Tough the craggy coastline traversed
by the Ring of Kerry is a major tourist attraction, it’s still relatively easy to fnd seclusion.
In County Galway, to Clare’s north, lies enthralling Connemara, untamed bogland set
between sprawling beaches and a muddle of quartz-gleaming mountains; in contrast,
university cities such as Galway and Limerick provide year-round festivals and buzzing
nightlife. Further north, Donegal ofers a dramatic mix of rugged peninsulas and
mountains, glistening beaches and magical lakes.
Dotted around the west coast are numerous islands, providing a glimpse of the harsh
way of life endured by remote Irish-speaking communities. Te Arans are the most
famous – windswept expanses of limestone supporting extraordinary prehistoric sites
– but the savagely beautiful landscape of the Blasket Islands, of Kerry’s coast, is equally
worthy of exploration. Achill Island, the largest and accessible by bridge, is home to fve
spectacular blue fag beaches.
On Ireland’s southern coast, Cork’s shoreline is punctuated by secluded estuaries,
rolling headlands and historic harbours, while Cork city itself is the region’s hub, with a
vibrant cultural scene and nightlife. Nearby, the pretty seaside town of Cobh (previously
called Queenstown) is renowned as the departure point for over 2.5 million Irish
immigrants bound for North America after the Great Famine, and as a port of call for
the ill-fated RMS Titanic in 1912. To Cork’s east, Waterford city houses the wondrous
Viking and medieval collections of Waterford Treasures, while, in Ireland’s southeastern
corner, Wexford’s seashore features broad estuaries teeming with bird life and expansive
dune-backed beaches.
Inland, the Republic’s scenery is less enchanting, its Midland counties characterized by
fertile if somewhat drab agricultural land, as well as broad expanses of peat bog, home to
endangered species of rare plants. However, there is gentle appeal in Ireland’s great
watercourse, the Shannon, with its succession of vast loughs, and the quaint river valleys
of the southeast.
OPPOSITE CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT PORTSALON ; CARRICK-A-REDE ISLAND; PUFFINS, SKELLIG MICHAEL; COBH12 INTRODUCTION
Numerous historic and archeological sites provide fne alternative attractions. Te
prehistoric tomb at Meath’s Newgrange and the fortress of Dun Aengus on Inishmore are
utterly mesmerizing; County Cork features many stone circles; and there’s a multitude of
tombs and ring forts across the west coast counties. Stunning early Christian monuments
abound, too, including those located on Skellig Michael and the Rock of Cashel and
atmospheric sites at Clonmacnois, Glendalough and Monasterboice. Of more recent
origin, the Anglo-Irish nobility’s planned estates, developed during the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries around impressive Neoclassical mansions, are visible across Ireland.
Much of Northern Ireland’s countryside is intensely beautiful and unspoiled. To the
north are the green Glens of Antrim and a coastline as scenic as anywhere in Ireland,
with, as its centrepiece, the bizarre basalt geometry of the Giant’s Causeway. Te Antrim
Coast Road, meanwhile, is one of Ireland’s most scenic drives. In the southeast, Down
ofers the contrasting beauties of serene Strangford Lough and the brooding presence of
the Mourne Mountains, while, to the west, Fermanagh has the peerless lake scenery of
Lough Erne, a fabulous place for watersports, fshing and exploring island monastic
remains. Evidence of the Plantation is also provided by planned towns and various grand
mansions, often set in sprawling, landscaped grounds.
To get to grips with the North’s history, a visit to its cities is essential, not least for their
tremendous museums: Belfast , with its ship-building past and grand public buildings,
built on the profts of industry; Derry, which grew around the well-preserved walls of its
medieval antecedent; and the cathedral town of Armagh where St Patrick established
Christianity in Ireland.
When to go
Whenever you visit Ireland it’s wise to come prepared for wet and/or windy conditions,
especially along the west coast, which faces the Atlantic, the source of much of Ireland
and Britain’s weather. On average (see box, p.45), it rains around 150 days a year along
the east and southeast coasts, and up to as many as 225 days a year in parts of the west
and southwest. April is the driest time across most of the island, while December and
January are the wettest. Whatever the case, the weather is very changeable and you’ll
often fnd a soggy morning rapidly replaced by brilliant sunshine in the afternoon. Most
years also see long periods of gorgeous weather, though predicting their occurrence is
often well nigh impossible. Generally, the sunniest months (see box, p.45) are April,
May and June, while July and August are the warmest with temperatures sometimes
reaching as high as 25ºC. Overall, the southeast gets the best of the sunshine.Author picks
Our authors scoured every inch of the Emerald
Isle to bring you these hand-picked gems, from
the best of Dublin’s pubs to the glories of taking
to two wheels in Co. Mayo.
Ticking of Dublin’s pubs In Joyce’s Ulysses,
Leopold Bloom queried whether it would be
possible to cross Dublin without passing a pub
– and with more than seven hundred dotted
around the city, it would be a mean feat indeed.
A cliché it may be, but there’s something very
special about a perfect pint of Guinness in a
Dublin pub – The Palace Bar (p.104) ofers you this
and gorgeous interiors to boot.
Twitching on Rathlin Island Hop on board the
Rathlin ferry from Ballycastle (p.505) for the short
crossing to Northern Ireland’s only inhabited
island. It’s home to a colony of seals and an RSPB
nature reserve attracting guillemots, pufns,
razorbills and the red-billed chough.
Live like royalty in Ashford Castle The
former home of the Guinness family, this
800-year-old castle (p.383) is the defnition of
luxury. The majestic lakeside setting amid 350
acres of ancient woodland is a world away from
the usual tourist hubbub.
Bag a bargain in Belfast From snazzy
boutique clothes shops to quirky independent
bookstores, many a pleasant afternoon can be
spent indulging in some retail therapy in
resurgent Belfast (p.492).
Cycle the Great Western Greenway Opened
in 2011, this glorious 42km route (p.387), along
a former railway track in Mayo, is the longest
of-road walking and cycling trail in Ireland.
Broken down into three easy-to-manage
sections, it’s a favourite with families: Achill to
Mulranny (13km), Mulranny to Newport (18km)
and Newport to Westport (11km).
Our author recommendations don’t end
here. We’ve fagged up our favourite places
– a perfectly sited hotel, an atmospheric
café, a special restaurant – throughout the
Guide, highlighted with the symbol.★
FROM TOP MEDIEVAL ASHFORD CASTLE AND GARDENS - CO.
MAYO; SEAL ON RATHLIN ISLAND; THE PALACE BAR, DUBLIN14 25 THINGS NOT TO MISS
25
things not to miss
It’s not possible to see everything that Ireland has to ofer in one trip – and
we don’t suggest you try. What follows, in no particular order, is a selective
and subjective taste of the country’s highlights: from geological wonders
and ancient ruins to activities and experiences both on land and at sea. All
highlights are colour-coded by chapter and have a page reference to take
you straight into the Guide, where you can fnd out more.
115
WILD ATLANTIC 1
WAY
Page 26
This coastal drive covers
2500km from Donegal to
Cork and takes in some of
the most rugged and
awe-inspiring scenery in
Europe.
TRINITY COLLEGE, 2
DUBLIN
Page 62
Wonder at the ninth-century
Book of Kells, housed in
the Old Library, before
wandering through the
city-centre campus, taking
in the best of Dublin’s
architecture.
TITANIC BELFAST3
Page 473
Taking pride of place in the
heart of Belfast’s newly
developed Titanic Quarter,
this interactive museum
takes visitors on a fascinating
journey through the city’s
maritime heritage and the
story of the ill-fated
2 RMS Titanic.
34
5 6
717
TRADITIONAL MUSIC8 4
Pages 604–608
Often loud, often raucous and
always fun, traditional Irish music
can be heard in many pubs and at
dedicated festivals such as the
Willie Clancy Festival in Miltown
Malbay every July.
SURFING AT TULLAN 5
STRAND AND
ROSSNOWLAGH BEACH
Page 430
Thunderous waves roll in at
Ireland’s surfng capital, attracting
fans from around the globe.
BRÚ NA BÓINNE6
Page 143
This extraordinary ritual landscape
is simply one of the world’s most
important prehistoric sites.
GARINISH ISLAND7
Page 269
Sail across from Glengarrif Pier,
past the basking seals, to
discover these magical,
otherworldly gardens.
BANTRY HOUSE8
Page 266
A magnifcent setting for some
lavish artworks, among formal
gardens overlooking Bantry Bay.
SKELLIG MICHAEL9
Page 290
A remarkable and inspiring early
Christian hermitage clinging to
a mountain summit on a wild,
bleak island.
910
11
1219
THE ROCK OF 10
CASHEL
Page 226
Rising high above the Golden
Vale, the Rock features an
entrancing group of early
ecclesiastical remains.
KILMAINHAM GAOL11
Page 86
A grim encounter with the
Spartan conditions
experienced by those deemed
enemies of the state, with
superb displays on Irish
political history and the gaol’s
restoration.
THE BURREN12
Page 338
A barren expanse of cracked
limestone terraces stretching
towards the Atlantic, peppered
with a multitude of fascinating
megalithic remains.
GLENDALOUGH13
Page 125
Often referred to as “the valley
of the two lakes”, this
wonderfully remote and
beautiful mountain valley also
shelters an atmospheric
monastery.
KINSALE14
Page 250
Imposing forts and some of
Ireland’s fnest cuisine
– particularly during October’s
annual Gourmet Festival – in a
glorious bayside setting.
13
1415
BUNRATTY CASTLE & 15 16
FOLK PARK
Page 327
Unashamedly touristy, this
superbly restored medieval castle
sits at one end of a fully replicated
nineteenth-century Irish village.
One of the best family days out in
the country.
KILLARNEY NATIONAL 16
PARK
Page 277
The grandeur of the lakes and
mountains has been drawing
visitors to Killarney for over three
centuries.
HORN HEAD17
Page 452
Possibly the most breathtaking of
County Donegal’s numerous
rugged peninsulas, with plenty of
exhilarating clif-top walks,
guillemots, gulls and pufns.
THE GOBBINS CLIFF 18
PATH
Page 500
One of the most hair-raising walks
in Europe, this guided 2.5 hour
walk crosses spectacular bridges,
climbs jagged rock staircases, and
follows a narrow path along a
breathtaking clif-face.
THE GIANT’S 19
CAUSEWAY
Page 508
Marvel at the eerie but entirely
natural basalt formation of the
Causeway and discover the myths
and legends that surround it in
the award-winning visitor centre.17
18
1920
DERRY’S CITY WALLS20
Page 517
A visit to Derry is incomplete
without a stroll around the
ramparts of the only completely
walled city in Ireland.
KYLEMORE ABBEY, 21
CONNEMARA
Page 380
One of Connemara’s most historic
sites, the spectacular Kylemore
Abbey comes with a beautifully
restored walled garden and
Neogothic church.
DUN AENGUS22
Page 367
The spectacular clif-edge “Fort of
Aonghas” is the Iron Age capital of
the Aran Islands.
GALWAY BAY OYSTERS23
Page 348
Galway lays claim to Ireland’s fnest
oysters – try your hand at a
shucking competition during the
Galway International Oyster and
Seafood Festival every September.
DUBLIN PUBS24
Page 103
Feel the heartbeat of the city’s
social life, with over seven hundred
venues to choose from, fuelled by
perfect pints of Guinness and
healthy doses of craic.
CROAGH PATRICK25
Page 386
It’s a steep two-hour climb, but the
fne views across Clew Bay, and the
mountain’s religious and historical
resonance, make it all worthwhile. 2122
23 24
2524 ITINERARIES
Itineraries
Ireland is compact but it packs an awful lot in. Five days on the Wild Atlantic
Way guarantees a host of unforgettable vistas, while a few days in the
southwest will introduce foodies to a feast of local delicacies. The coastline
around the Giant’s Causeway in the North is simply one of the world’s great
road trips – at 120 miles (190km) it can easily be driven in a day, though
you’re bound to want to slow down and savour the ride.
the evening head to the fabulous Blairscove A SOUTHWEST FOODIE TRIP
House & Restaurant, with its impressive choice of
Allow three to four days to cover these 140km, Irish meats cooked over a roaring fre. See p.265
sampling some of the fnest produce the island
6 Bantry Finish of your gastronomic has to ofer, from seafood to superb cheeses.
gallivanting with a trip to Bantry Market, one of
1 Kinsale The southwest’s culinary honeypot West Cork’s largest. Located in the main square,
boasts a beautiful harbour setting. For seafood it runs every Friday morning from 9.30am–1pm.
lovers, the pick of the crop is the Fishy Fishy Café See p.265
and Restaurant, serving up the freshest catch
from the morning’s haul. See p.250 CAUSEWAY COASTAL ROUTE
2 Clonakilty Heading west, you’ll come to the The distances are short but the views immense
source of the famous Clonakilty Black Pudding, on this spectacular road trip.
sold at traditional butcher’s Twomey’s. Enjoy fne
1 Carrickfergus From Belfast, head north on local produce for dinner at the Inchydoney Island
the M2 to Carrickfergus, home to a twelfth-Lodge and Spa, which overlooks the beach just
century Anglo-Norman castle, complete with outside of town. See p.257
cannons, portcullis and ramparts. See p.500
3 Baltimore Further southwest lies the small
2 The Glens of Antrim A drive through the harbour village of Baltimore where the
Glens of Antrim guarantees waterfalls, forests, award-winning Rolf’s makes a perfect leisurely
glacier-gouged valleys and the pretty villages of lunch stop – it serves delicious local and organic
Carnlough, Cushendall and Cushendun – Game lunches during the summer months. See p.261
of Thrones fans might recognize some of the
4 Schull Continue onto Schull where the location backdrops en route. See p.500
Ferguson family produce their excellent
3 Rathlin Island Explore the market town of Gubbeen cheese and meats. They sell at various
Ballycastle before hopping on the ferry to local markets, including the Sunday morning
craggy Rathlin Island, which ofers fantastic Schull Market (Easter to Sept). See p.263
bird-watching and nature walks. Get some rest
5 Durrus The beautiful village of Durrus has at the Manor House, a charming, National
two excellent options. For lunch try Good Things Trust-owned B&B. See p.505
Café, run by renowned chef Carmel Somers. In
ABOVE OLD BUSHMILLS DISTILLERYITINERARIES 25
4 2 The Giant’s Causeway Channel your inner Powerscourt Estate Explore the most
Indiana Jones at Carrick-a-rede rope bridge fabulous garden in Ireland on the grounds of a
before continuing on to the Causeway, with its lavish eighteenth-century mansion. See p.122
world-famous rock formations. See p.508 3 St Kevin’s Way Follow the path of medieval
5 Bushmills Continue along the coastline to pilgrims on this 29km trail that ends in the
Bushmills for a tour (and a dram) at its famed stunning monastic settlement of Glendalough.
whiskey distillery before booking in to the cosy See p.126
Bushmills Inn. See p.509 4 St Canice’s Cathedral Just over an hour
6 Portstewart Explore ruined Dunluce Castle south of Wicklow, Kilkenny city is a rambler’s
(believed to have been the inspiration for Cair dream, full of winding medieval streets and
Paravel in C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia) historical distractions. At its heart is the
then continue, via the classic seaside town of magnifcent St Canice’s cathedral and round
Portrush, to picturesque Portstewart, with its tower. See p.189
3km stretch of golden sand. See p.512 5 Dunbrody Famine Ship On the way to
7 Roe Valley Country Park Sample Roe Valley Waterford it’s worth the detour to visit this
Country Park’s riverside walks, ending your trip incredible reproduction of an 1840s emigrant
at the luxurious Roe Park Resort. See p.514 vessel. With a guided tour, costumed
performers, and fne exhibitions, it provides a
IRELAND’S ANCIENT EAST unique insight into the lives of the many Irish
forced to leave the country during the Famine.
Become immersed in Ireland’s fascinating
See p.205
history, from ancient burial sites to Norman
castles and Viking towns. 6 Viking Waterford Ireland’s oldest city,
Waterford recently celebrated its 1100th 1 Greystones Forty minutes south of Dublin,
anniversary. Take a walk through the old city this picturesque seaside village is full of great
(“the Viking Triangle”) and soak up the history. places to eat and boutique shops. See p.119
See p.208
3
4
56
2
7
1
I IS SEA
2
1A T ANTIC 3
CEAN
4
5
6
A SOUTHWEST FOODIE TRIP
CAUSEWAY COASTAL ROUTE16
5 2 IRELAND'S ANCIENT EAST
4
326 INTRODUCTION
Day threeTHE WILD ATLANTIC WAY
From Skibbereen it’s a twenty-minute drive to At over 2500km, the Wild Atlantic Way is the
Baltimore (p.260), an idyllic village and the world’s longest defned coastal touring route.
perfect place to do a spot of whale-watching. Stretching the length of the rugged Atlantic
Humpback whales, basking sharks, and Risso’s coast, from the Southern Peninsulas to the
dolphins can all be seen here. Finish the day Northern Headlands, it’s an unforgettable way
with a fantastic meal in The Mews restaurant and to explore the west of Ireland. Although it’s
a few pints with the locals.possible to travel the route by bus (and even
bike), it’s more relaxing to rent a car and enjoy it
Southern Peninsulasat your own pace. With so many tempting
detours and unmissable sights, it can be a
Day onedaunting task even choosing where to begin.
These itineraries pick out some of the highlights Starting in Killorglin (home of the Puck Festival;
on the route, starting in Cork and winding all p.281), it should take just under an hour to reach
the way up to Malin Head – the country’s most Cahersiveen (p.286), a small town overlooking
northerly point. For more routes, interactive Valentia Harbour. From the town it’s worth the
maps and a host of other resources visit fairly steep walk to the summit of Beentee
Wwildatlanticway.com. Mountain to enjoy the panoramic views. Next
visit Valencia Island (p.288), a place of enduring
The Haven Coast traditional Irish culture. End the day in
Portmagee (p.287), a town of great pubs and
Day one even better seafood.
Starting in the handsome heritage town of
Day two
Kinsale (p.250), head south to the Old Head of
A visit to Skellig Michael (p.290) is a must Kinsale – a remarkable little peninsula with great
(although increased popularity due to the views looking back on the town and the
recent Star Wars flm means advance booking is surrounding countryside. Continue west along
essential). A UNESCO World Heritage site, the the R600 to the pleasant town of Clonakilty
island is home to a 1300-year-old monastic site, (p.255) to spend the night.
reached by a precarious ascent up an ancient
Day two stone stairway.
After sampling some of the famous Clonakilty
The Clif Coastblack pudding, pay a visit to Inchydoney Beach
(p.255). Just south of the town, it was recently
Day onevoted best beach in Ireland – quite an
achievement considering the competition. Get Spend the morning exploring the utterly unique
back on the winding road and enjoy the and otherworldly landscape of the Burren
beautiful scenery of the Haven Coast, stopping (p.338), calling into the Burren Nature Sanctuary
for lunch in Rosscarbery. From there it’s a short in Kinvara. From there it’s an hour’s drive to the
trip to the Drombeg Stone Circle (p.256), an charming little village of Doolin (p.336). Either
ancient circle of seventeen large standing head to the impressive Doolin Cave or catch
stones, believed to be over 2000 years old. one of the many trad sessions in the local pubs.
Continue on to Skibbereen (p.258), home to a Next it’s a short drive to one of the highlights of
fantastic heritage centre with a Great Famine the whole Wild Atlantic Way – the Clifs of
commemoration exhibition. Moher (p.337). Whether experienced on a clear
ABOVE THE IRISH FISHING VILLAGE OF KINSALEINTRODUCTION 27
day or in blustery rain, these magnifcent clifs Peninsula, and the panoramic views are
are truly a sight to behold. It’s then a ffteen- breathtaking. Afterwards continue up to Malin
minute drive to Lahinch (p.335), a lively town full Head (p.462), the most northerly point in
of surfers and great places to eat and drink. Ireland. Enjoy a blustery walk around Banba’s
Crown before heading back to Buncrana for the
Day two night.
Leaving Lahinch, head for the Loop Head
Day two
peninsula (p.334), just over an hour away. The
drive itself is stunning but be sure to climb the Everything that makes the Wild Atlantic Way so
famous Loop Head lighthouse and take in the special is distilled in this drive around Donegal’s
magnifcent views that stretch from Kerry back Northern Headlands – stunning vistas, great
up to the Clifs of Moher. Finish the day in John. food and drink, and a palpable connection to
B Keane’s in Listowel (p.308), where you can the past. Starting again in Buncrana, this time
learn the fne art of pulling the perfect pint of head for the village of Rathmullan (p.454), from
Guinness. where the Flight of the Earls took place in 1607.
Push onward to Fanad Head (p.454), stopping
Donegal along the way to enjoy some incredible beaches
Day one and coastal viewpoints. Pop into The Singing Pub
(p.459) for lunch before heading to the
From Buncrana (p.460) it’s a 25-minute drive to
gorgeously picturesque Glenveagh National
the ancient site of Grianán Ailigh (p.459). This
Park & Castle (p.448).
stone fort sits majestically on the Inishowen
1
2
I IS SEA
A T ANTIC 1
2
CEAN
3
1
HAVEN COAST
2
SOUTHERN PENINSULAS
3
1 THE CLIFF COAST
23
DONEGAL
4TRADITIONAL GEORGIAN DOOR, DUBLIN
Basics
27 Getting there
29 Getting around
32 Accommodation
34 Food and drink
36 The media
37 Festivals and events
38 Culture and etiquette
39 Sports
40 Outdoor activities
42 Travel essentialsGETTING THERE BASICS 29
routes, including nonstop fights from Boston, Getting there
Chicago, New York, Orlando, San Francisco, Toronto
Dublin is the Republic of Ireland’s main and Washington to Dublin, and from Boston and
point of arrival, Belfast that of the North, New York to Shannon. If booked well in advance,
while Shannon, near Limerick city in Co. their low-season fares from New York (JFK) to
Clare, is the major airport giving direct Dublin start at around US$600 return (including
access to the west coast. There’s an ever- taxes), from San Francisco around US$950 and
changing route map of fights between Can$660 from Toronto. In high season fares rise to
Britain and Ireland – book early to get US$1070 from New York, US$1400 from San
the best price. Train–ferry and bus–ferry Francisco, Can$1110 from Toronto. Flying time to
combinations are kinder to the environ- Dublin, for example, is around six hours thirty
ment and generally cheaper, though of minutes from New York and Toronto and ten hours
course they take longer. For those ffteen minutes from San Francisco.
bringing their own car, there’s a wide
range of ferry routes from southwest Flights from Australia, New
Scotland, northwest England and Wales
Zealand and South Africato Northern Ireland, Dublin and Wexford.
North American visitors can fy direct to Travel from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa
Shannon, Dublin or Belfast, but those is generally via London, or one of the other
from South Africa, Australia and New European or Gulf cities such as Frankfurt or Abu
Zealand have to travel via Britain, Europe Dhabi which have nonstop fights to Ireland. From
or the Gulf. If you’re thinking of booking Australia and New Zealand, it takes over
twentyan organized tour, there are plenty of four hours to reach Ireland, from South Africa at
interesting options based in Ireland that least thirteen hours. Fares (including taxes) to
have an online presence. Dublin from Sydney start at around A$1500, from
Auckland around NZ$1750, and from Johannesburg
around R6000.Flights from Britain
It’s never been easier or cheaper to fy from Britain to Ferries
Ireland. There are dozens of routes available, with
new destinations regularly appearing and unsuc- Ferry routes to Ireland are detailed below, along
cessful routes being phased out. With so much with the length of each voyage; Wferrybooker.com
competition, prices can be ridiculously cheap, will give you an overview of what’s currently
TRADITIONAL GEORGIAN DOOR, DUBLIN
especially if you book online. The secret is to book as available and allow you to compare prices.
Highearly as possible: the biggest carrier, Ryanair, for speed catamarans (which also take cars) operate on
example, ofers fares of under £20 one-way if booked some of these routes (see p.30), though some don’t
well in advance, but these can rise to over £150 run in the winter and in bad weather they’re more
one-way if left till the last minute. Flight time between likely to be cancelled than regular ferries.
London, for example, and any airport in Ireland is Prices vary hugely according to the time of year,
between one hour and one hour thirty minutes. and even the day and hour you travel. Most ferry
companies have peak seasons of July and August
and may charge higher fares around public
Flights from the US and Canada
holidays; generally, it’s cheaper to travel midweek,
From the US and Canada, Aer Lingus, the national and to book online and in advance. As an example
of prices, Stena Line’s single fares for a car and driver airline of the Republic, ofers the widest choice of
A BETTER KIND OF TRAVEL
At Rough Guides we are passionately committed to travel. We believe it helps us understand
the world we live in and the people we share it with – and of course tourism is vital to many
developing economies. But the scale of modern tourism has also damaged some places
irreparably, and climate change is accelerated by most forms of transport, especially fying.
All Rough Guides’ fights are carbon-ofset, and every year we donate money to a variety of
environmental charities.BASICS GETTING THERE30
from Holyhead to Dublin Port cost from around £80 easyJet W easyjet.com
of-peak (Tues & Wed) to around £160 at peak times Flybe W fybe.com
(weekends); additional passengers cost £30 per Jet2.com W jet2.com
adult, while foot passengers are charged £35 per Ryanair W ryanair.com
adult, plus £10 per bicycle.
FROM THE US AND CANADA
Aer Lingus W aerlingus.comTrains
Air Canada W aircanada.com
Combined train and boat journeys from Britain Air Transat W airtransat.com
generally use one of three routes across the Irish American Airlines W aa.com
Sea: Cairnryan to Belfast, Holyhead to Dublin/Dún Delta W delta.com
Laoghaire or Fishguard to Rosslare. Journey times are LufthansaW lufthansa.com
generally quicker than by coach: London to Dublin, United W united.com
for example, takes around eight hours, Glasgow to US Airways W usairways.com
Belfast as little as four hours ffty minutes.
Ticket prices are calculated partly on a zonal FROM AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND
basis, but also depend on which boat you take SOUTH AFRICA
and whether you book in advance. For Dublin, they Air New Zealand W airnewzealand.com
range from £38 single from Manchester, for British Airways W britishairways.com
example, including the cost of a boat from Emirates W emirates.com
Holyhead, while from London they start at £47; add Etihad Airways W etihadairways.com
around £18 one-way if you’re continuing by train to LufthansaW lufthansa.com
Cork, for example. Online, you can book train–boat Qantas W qantas.com
tickets through Raileasy or Irish Ferrys. Otherwise, Singapore Airlines W singaporeair.com
you can book tickets in person at most railway South African Airways W fysaa.com
stations in Britain, including through-tickets to
FERRY AND CATAMARAN CONTACTSother places in Ireland.
Irish Ferries T 08717 300 400, Wirishferries.com. Holyhead to Dublin
Port (3hr 15min, catamaran 1hr 50min); and Pembroke to Rosslare (4hr).Buses
P&O T 0871 664 2121, W poferries.com. Cairnryan to Larne (2hr);
The main bus services to Ireland are provided by Troon to Larne (catamaran 2hr 15min); Liverpool to Dublin (8hr).
National Express and Bus Éireann, under the Stena Line T 08447 70 70 70, W stenaline.co.uk. Fishguard to
brand  name Eurolines, crossing the Irish Sea via Rosslare (3hr 30min); Liverpool to Belfast (8hr); Holyhead to Dublin Port
Cairnryan, Holyhead and Pembroke. They can be (3hr 15min) and Dún Laoghaire (catamaran 2hr 20min); and Cairnryan to
cheaper than travelling by train if booked well in Belfast (2hr 15min).
advance, but take far longer. The daily
throughRAIL CONTACTSservice from London to Dublin, for example, takes
around twelve hours thirty minutes and costs £69 The Man in Seat 61 W seat61.com
for a standard return. Direct coaches also run Raileasy W raileasy.co.uk
between other major cities in Britain and Ireland; a
AGENTS AND OPERATORSstandard return ticket from London to Cork can cost
£48, for example. Cheap advance ofers, known as Bunk Campers Northern Ireland T 028 9081 3057,
“funfares”, can be accessed online, and reductions W bunkcampers.com. Campervan rental in Belfast and Dublin.
are also available for anyone under 26 or over 59. Extreme Ireland Republic of Ireland T 01 410 0700,
Tickets can be booked at any National Express W extremeireland.ie. Hiking and adventure multi- and one-day tours
agent, by phoning T08717 818178, or online at all around Ireland; activities include kayaking, horse riding,
Weurolines.co.uk. mountain-climbing and cycling.
Go Visit Ireland Republic of Ireland T 066 976 2094,
AIRLINES W govisitireland.com. Small-group, customized and self-guided
FROM BRITAIN walking, cycling and hike-and-bike tours mostly on the west coast, as
Aer Lingus W aerlingus.com well as horseriding and kayaking.
BMI W bmiregional.com Inroads Ireland US T 1 888 220 7711, W inroadsireland.com.
British Airways W britishairways.com Irish-American company ofering well-received seven-day small-group
Cityjet W cityjet.com tours, staying mostly in B&Bs.GETTING AROUND BASICS 31
enjoyable on a bike, though you may Irish Boat Rental Association Republic of Ireland
W boatholidaysireland.com. Umbrella association of companies who need to bring your own as rental outlets
have dried up in rural areas. If you want rent out cruisers for holidays on the Shannon. See W iwai.ie or
W waterwaysireland.org for fuller listings across the country. to travel quickly from Dublin or Belfast
to outlying areas, it’s also worth consid-Irish Cycling Safaris and Irish Ways Republic of Ireland
T 01 260 0749, W cyclingsafaris.com and W irishways.com. ering the internal fights available.
Long-established and well-regarded companies, based at University
College Dublin, ofering guided and self-led cycling and walking tours all By rail
over the country, with accommodation and luggage transfer covered.
Irish Horse-Drawn Caravans Federation W irishhorsedrawn Train services in the Republic are operated by
caravans.com. Companies in Wicklow, Laois, East Galway and Mayo Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail; Wirishrail.ie). Prices are
ofering horse-drawn caravan holidays, driving and sleeping in usually higher than taking a coach, though journeys
traditional, wooden covered wagons. are often much quicker – for example, the train
Naturetrek UK T 01962 733051, W naturetrek.co.uk. Wildlife from Dublin to Killarney can take at least two and a
specialist ofering four-day botanical tours of the Burren and four-day half hours less than the bus. Most of the lines fan
tours of the Northern Ireland coast. out from Dublin towards the southern and western
North South Travel UK T 01245 608 291, W northsouthtravel coasts, but there are few links between them, and
.co.uk. Friendly, competitive travel agency, ofering discounted fares some counties (such as Donegal and Cavan) have
no rail links at all.worldwide. Profts are used to support projects in the developing world,
especially the promotion of sustainable tourism. Tickets come in a variety of formats – single, day
return, open return, family day and open returns, South West Walks Ireland Republic of Ireland T 066 718 6181,
W southwestwalksireland.com. Guided and self-guided walking and student tickets. However, bear in mind that a
standard single is much more than half the cost of holidays on the west coast, in Antrim and in Wicklow, as well as
self-guided cycling holidays. an open return ticket – for example, a standard
single from Dublin to Killarney is €68.55, a return STA Travel UK T 0333 321 0099, US T 1800 781 4040, Australia
T 134 782, New Zealand T 0800 474 400, South Africa T 0861 €89.75. Tickets booked online in advance for
specifc trains are generally much cheaper – as little 781 781, W statravel.co.uk. Worldwide specialists in independent
travel; also student IDs, travel insurance, car rental, rail passes, and more. as €24 for a Dublin–Killarney single; if you miss your
train, you can pay an extra €10 at the ticket ofce to Good discounts for students and under-26s.
Trailfnders UK T 0207 368 1200, W trailfnders.com. One of the get on a later service, if seats are available.
The only line operating between the Republic best-informed and most efcient agents for independent travellers.
Travel CUTS Canada T 1800 667 2887, US T 1800 592 2887, and the North is the Dublin–Belfast Enterprise
service. The North’s rail service is operated by W travelcuts.com. Canadian youth and student travel frm.
USIT Australia T 1800 092 499, W usit.ie. Branch of Ireland’s main Translink (Wtranslink.co.uk) and restricted to just a
student and youth travel specialists. few lines running out of Belfast. Services are
generally efcient and the rolling stock has been
recently updated. Fares are pretty reasonable – for
example, travelling from Belfast to Derry costs Getting around
£11.50 single and £17.50 day return – and often
It’s easy to travel between the Republic’s comparable with bus services.
larger towns and cities by public You can also transport bikes on trains (see p.33).
transport. However, it’s common for
Rail and bus passessmall towns and villages to have just one
or two bus services per week, often Although rail passes for travel within the Republic
geared towards market days. Transport represent reasonably good value, a combined bus
in Northern Ireland is equally sparse in and rail pass, such as the Irish Explorer, is probably
rural areas, with just a few train lines more useful owing to the limitations of the rail
across the region, though the bus network. Passes are available at all major train and
network is pretty comprehensive. bus stations.
Renting a car is perhaps the easiest way The Trekker ticket (€110) allows unlimited travel
to explore rural and remote areas across over the Republic’s rail network for four consecutive
Ireland, though traffic has become days. The Irish Explorer pass (€160) covers fve
increasingly heavy on major routes. days’ rail travel out of ffteen consecutive days,
Picturesque areas are particularly though you can extend this to cover both rail travel BASICS GETTING AROUND32
and bus travel on Bus Éireann services for eight a signposted route around the west coast all the way
days out of ffteen days (€245). from west Cork to Donegal (see p.26) – and if you
For travellers just visiting Dublin, it can be worth- enjoy that, you could keep going along the Causeway
while investing in a Leap Visitor Card, which ofers Coastal Route, which runs from Derry to Belfast for
over 300km, mostly along the N2. If you bring your unlimited travel on bus, DART, and Luas services.
A one-day pass costs €10, three days costs €19.50, own vehicle, it’s essential to carry its registration
document and certifcate of insurance – and make and seven days €40.
Bus Éireann ofers an Open Road pass for travel sure that your existing policy covers you for driving in
on buses within the Republic, which can be Ireland. Whether bringing your own vehicle or renting
purchased online (Wbuseireann.ie). Three days’ one on arrival, you’ll need to be in possession of a
valid driving licence (and should carry it with you – a travel out of six, for example, costs €60, with the
option to extend it for €16.50 per day. photocopy is insufcient). A driving licence from any
EU country is treated like an Irish licence, while all In the North, Translink’s Rambler ticket (£9) provides
unlimited travel around the bus network after 9.15am other visitors are allowed to drive on a valid non-EU
licence for a stay of up to 12 months.on Sundays and during school holidays (including
July and August). Families can take advantage of a In the Republic, unleaded petrol costs around
€1.30 a litre; the equivalent price in Northern Ireland variety of day passes for trains and/or buses.
If your visit to Ireland is just part of a grander is about £1.10.
European trip, it’s well worth investigating the
Rules of the roadrange of diferent passes on ofer, such as InterRail
(Winterrail.eu) and Eurail (Weurail.com). The fundamental rule of the road in Ireland, both
North and South, is to drive on the left. Wearing
seat belts is compulsory for drivers and passengers, By bus
as is the wearing of helmets for motorcyclists and
Bus Éireann (Wbuseireann.ie) runs express coach their pillion riders. The Republic’s speed limits are
and slower local services throughout the Republic. 50–60km/h in built-up areas (though in some parts
Ticket prices are generally far more reasonable than of inner-city Dublin it’s 30km/h), 80km/h on rural
trains and you can often snap up cheap deals, roads (denoted by the letter “R” on maps and
signposts), 100km/h on national roads (denoted by especially between Dublin and Cork. Timetables
and fares (including special deals) for the major an “N”, and a green colour scheme on signposts)
and 120km/h on motorways (“M” roads, with a blue routes can be found on the website. The majority of
buses show destinations in both Irish and English, colour scheme on signposts). Maximum speeds in
but some in rural areas may only display the former. Northern Ireland are 20–40mph in built-up areas,
A vast number of private bus companies also 70mph on motorways and 60mph on most other
operate in the Republic, running services on major main roads. Minor rural roads in the Republic are
routes, as well as areas not covered by the Bus generally poor in quality, often potholed and
Éireann network (especially Co. Donegal). The names, sometimes rutted – a situation notably diferent
contact details and routes of these companies are from the North where the overwhelming majority
listed in the Guide, where applicable. These can of roads, of all categories, are well maintained.
sometimes be cheaper and quicker than Bus Éireann, Signposts in the Republic generally provide place
but are usually very busy at weekends, when names in both Irish and English, though in the
advance booking is advisable. Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking areas) you’ll generally only
In Northern Ireland, Metro (Belfast city buses), encounter signposts in Irish. Virtually all signposts in
Ulsterbus (local buses) and Goldline (long- the Republic provide distance information in
distance), all part of Translink (see p.31), run a pretty kilometres; in the North distances are given in miles.
comprehensive network of regular and reliable
Parkingservices across Northern Ireland.
You can transport bikes on buses (see opposite). Throughout Ireland many town centres require
payment for on-street parking, either using ticket
machines or a disc or card parking scheme (discs or By car and motorcycle
cards can be purchased in adjacent shops). If you
Travelling by car or motorbike is the ideal way to don’t display a ticket or disc you may end up with a
explore at your leisure, especially in remote areas. You parking fne or, particularly in Dublin, Cork and
might be tempted to take on the Wild Atlantic Way, Galway, your car being clamped or towed away.GETTING AROUND BASICS 33
Car rental across the island (see p.43), as well as specialist
Outlets of multinational car rental companies, cycling-tour operators.
such as Avis and Hertz, can be found at airports, in If you plan to bring your own bike, note that
the cities and in some tourist towns. Rental charges some airlines will transport bicycles for free as long
are high – expect to pay around €35/£30 per day as you keep within your weight allowance, but it’s
plus insurance – though prices are often much always worth checking with them well in advance.
Across the island, minor roads in rural areas are cheaper in the Republic than in the North, with the
best ofers garnered if you book well in advance, generally quiet, but major roads are well worth
avoiding due to heavy trafc. Bikes are easy to especially via the internet. Sometimes smaller local
frms can undercut the big names. transport over long distances by train, but less so
In most cases, you’ll need to be 23 or over by bus. In the Republic, the cost of taking a bike on
(though some companies may accept younger a mainline train is €6 (free on Dublin–Belfast trains)
drivers with a price hike) and able to produce a and is most easily booked online. On DART and
full and valid driving licence, with no endorse - commuter services you can take bikes with you for
ments incurred during the previous two years. free but only at of-peak hours. Folding bicycles
Considering the nature of Ireland’s roads, it’s incur no charge and can be carried on any service.
always advisable to pay for extra collision damage Bus companies will generally allow bikes to be
waiver (CDW). The daily rate for this from the carried for a fee, as long as there is room in the
car-rental companies is usually at least €10/£7, or luggage compartment. In the Republic, prices vary
you can buy it more cheaply in advance from according to the company but can come to over
specialist insurance agencies (such as €10 for a long journey. Folding bicycles can be Wicarhire
insurance.com), but it guarantees that you won’t brought at no extra cost. In the North carrying a
bike is free on Ulsterbus and Goldline services and be liable for a hefty bill if you sufer an accident or
any other damage. If you’re planning to cross on the trains, but is only permitted on the latter at
of-peak hours.the  border, ensure that your rental agreement
provides full insurance; in some cases, you may
Bike rentalneed to pay extra.
Booking a car prior to your journey saves time Thanks to a rise in insurance premiums, far fewer
when you arrive in Ireland and provides the chance places in the Republic now rent out bikes – though
to shop around on the web for the best deals. Dublin now has a city bike scheme (see p.94) – and
We’ve listed the main brokers and agencies below. there are still just a small number of outlets in the
North, meaning that it’s always wise to book your
CAR-RENTAL AGENCIES wheels well ahead. Raleigh (Wraleigh.ie) is the
Argus W arguscarhire.com largest distributor of bikes in Ireland and its website
Auto Europe W autoeurope.com lists a number of its agents ofering rental. It’s best
Avis W avis.com to contact one of these directly, and bear in mind
Budget W budget.com that local dealers, including some hostels, may
Car Rental Ireland W carrentalireland.com often be cheaper. Rental rates are generally around
Dan Dooley W dan-dooley.ie €20 per day, €120 per week, with an extra charge of
Europcar W europcar.com €5 per day or €20 per week for hiring panniers,
though a helmet is usually included free. A deposit Great Island W greatislandcarrentals.com
Hertz W hertz.com of anything from €100 to €200 is also required.
When collecting your bike, check that its brakes and Holiday Autos W holidayautos.co.uk
Nova W novacarhire.com tyres are in good condition, and make sure that it
comes equipped with a pump and repair kit. If ThriftyW thrifty.com
you’re planning on cycling in upland areas it makes
sense to rent a bike with at least sixteen gears and By bike
preferably 24.
Apart from some steep ascents, occasional poor
road surfaces and an unpredictable climate, By air
Ireland provides ideal territory for cycling, one of
the most enjoyable ways to explore the country’s The quickest way to reach outlying areas is to take a
often stunning scenery. The tourist board’s scheduled fight to one of the regional airports
website, Wireland.com, details waymarked trails dotted around the country. Aer Lingus operates the BASICS ACCOMMODATION34
largest network. Prices can be as little as €40 Authentic Northern Ireland W authenticnorthernireland.com.
one-way, if booked online well in advance, and Ofcial Northern self-catering association with over a thousand holiday
much time can be gained; for instance, the fight homes, cottages and apartments.
from Dublin to Donegal takes only an hour, B&B Ireland W bandbireland.com. The major B&B association in the
compared with at least four hours on the bus. Republic (plus a few members in the North), with over a thousand
tourist-board-approved members and booking available on its website.
DOMESTIC AIRLINES Good Food Ireland W goodfoodireland.ie. This network of
Aer Lingus W aerlingus.com high-quality food purveyors includes a large number of good hotels
Ryanair W ryanair.com where the emphasis is on cuisine.
Hidden Ireland W hiddenireland.com. Over thirty B&Bs in private
homes, mainly in the Republic, most of which are selected for their
historic nature or architectural merit, as well as a similar number of Accommodation
self-catering properties.
You’ll fnd accommodation to suit most Ireland’s Blue Book W irelandsbluebook.com. Upmarket
budgets across Ireland, from swish city country-house hotels and B&Bs, as well as restaurants, both North
hotels and luxurious converted castles and South.
to  historic country houses and B&Bs. Irish Farmhouse Holidays W irishfarmholidays.com. More than
There are also plenty of hostels, varying 300 farmhouse B&Bs, some in exquisite rural locations.
hugely in quality and atmosphere, but all Irish Hotels Federation W irelandhotels.com. Covering numerous
providing a bed and usually a kitchen; hotels and guesthouses across Ireland, with a comprehensive listing,
lots ofer much more. Finally, there are direct booking and special ofers available on the website.
well-run campsites and, for the hardy, Irish Self Catering FederationW letsgoselfcatering.com.
the chance to pitch a tent in a farmer’s Tourist-board-approved site, a good starting point for fnding your
feld or on common land. preferred holiday home.
You’ll need to book your accommodation well in Northern Ireland Hotels Federation W nihf.co.uk. Smaller than
advance over St Patrick’s Day, Easter, summer its equivalent in the Republic, but still ofering an extensive range of
public holidays (see p.48), and during all of July around a hundred hotels and guesthouses.
and August. Accommodation is at a premium in
Dublin throughout the year, especially at weekends, B&Bs and guesthouses
and may be booked out in places such as the Aran
Islands, Belfast, Cork, Derry, Dingle, Galway city, The overwhelming majority of B&Bs and
guestKilkenny and Killarney, and during major festivals houses across Ireland are welcoming family homes
elsewhere (see p.39). Be aware that during busy and provide clean and cosy rooms, usually with
periods or popular events (concerts, rugby en-suite facilities. Most B&Bs in the Republic, and
matches, and so on) prices can be hiked to virtually all in Northern Ireland, are registered with
eye-wateringly exorbitant rates. Many establish- the ofcial tourist board, but many other places
ments close over the Christmas period. open their doors during local festivals or high
season. Registration is usually a guarantee of
wellACCOMMODATION CONTACTS maintained standards and good service, though
Adams & Butler W adamsandbutler.com. A selection of mostly non-registered places are not necessarily of lower
quality. Most B&Bs and guesthouses serve rural and historic houses and castles across Ireland for luxury
self-catering. mammoth breakfasts (see box, p.38).
ACCOMMODATION PRICES
Throughout this book, for hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs, we’ve noted how much you can
expect to pay for a double room in high season. Unless otherwise indicated, breakfast is
included, but do check this at the time of booking. For hostels, we’ve given a per-adult price
for dorms in high season and, where appropriate, a per-room price for double or twin rooms.
For campsites, we’ve noted the price for two adults and a tent in high season.
Some establishments provide single rooms, but, in most cases, single travellers will occupy
a double room. In hotels, there may be no discount on the room price at all for single
occupation. You’re more likely to get a good deal at traditional B&Bs, where the single rate may
be around 25 percent higher than the cost of a double per person.ACCOMMODATION BASICS 35
Dublin, and around €15–25 elsewhere; in Northern Hotels
Ireland you’ll usually pay £10–20.
In most areas hotels are usually the most
An Óige and HINI hostelsexpensive option, particularly in cities such as
Dublin, Galway and Belfast which provide high-end The Republic’s Youth Hostel Association, An Óige
“boutique” accommodation as well as the big (centralized booking on T01 830 4555, or at
chains such as Sheraton and Radisson. Ofering Wanoige.ie; annual membership €25, under-25s
more character are Ireland’s country houses, €15, family €45), has 24 hostels concentrated mainly
mansions and castles, ofering sumptuous rooms in popular tourist spots. Most ofer smaller dorms
in astonishingly scenic locations. Aimed at or private rooms, usually with very good facilities,
weekend breakers, these often also provide spa especially in some of the urban hostels or the
facilities and gourmet restaurants. new-builds at Errigal in Donegal and Knockree in
Away from the main tourist areas, it’s still possible Wicklow. Rates are around €12–25 per night
to fnd real bargains. Most hotels in the Republic depending on season and room. Hostelling
Interofer reductions mid-week, but in the North, national Northern Ireland (HINI; T028 9032 4733,
especially in Belfast or Derry, you’re far more likely Whini.org.uk; annual membership £15, under-25s
to get a good deal at the weekend. Budget chains £10, family £30, one-adult family £15) has just fve
Jury’s Inn, Premier Inn and Travelodge also have a hostels, most of which are recently built or refur -
growing presence in the major cities and can ofer bished. Prices are around £10–20 per night.
very competitive deals if booked in advance. Membership of either organization or the
umbrella Hostelling International (HI) is not
needed to stay in an An Óige or HINI hostel, but it Hostels
does give you ten percent of accommodation at
Well-run, good-quality hostels can be found across most hostels, as well as providing numerous
discounts, ranging from travel to entry to attrac-all of Ireland, often in lovely, of-the-beaten-track
locations. Meals, bike rental and other facilities are tions. So, if you’re planning to use the An Óige/HINI
network a lot, it’s worth joining your own country’s also sometimes provided, as detailed within the
Guide. Booking ahead is advisable, especially in HI-afliated association in advance.
Dublin and Galway at all times, and elsewhere
HOSTELLING INTERNATIONAL during high season or local festivals.
AFFILIATED ASSOCIATIONS
Independent hostels Youth Hostel Association England and Wales W yha.org.uk
There are dozens of independently run hostels Scottish Youth Hostel Association W syha.org.uk
across Ireland, many belonging to the Holiday Hostelling International USA W hiusa.org
Hostels of Ireland association (IHH; Whostels Hosternational Canada W hihostels.ca
-ireland.com) or the Independent Hostel Owners YHA Australia W yha.com.au
organization (IHO; Windependenthostelsireland YHA New Zealand W yha.co.nz
.com). All IHH hostels are approved by either Fáilte Hostelling International South Africa W hihostels.com
Ireland or the NITB (see p.49), meaning that their
facilities meet certain standards. Some IHO hostels Camping
are also approved, but those that aren’t usually
provide equivalent facilities. Most hostels ofer The website of the Irish Caravan and Camping
dorms of varying sizes, as well as smaller private Council (Wcamping-ireland.ie) gives details of
and family rooms, and are open year-round. around a hundred sites all over Ireland. The price of
The character of independent hostels varies a night’s stay at a campsite depends on the area’s
enormously, from the serene and bucolic to the popularity, facilities and tent size. Usually it will cost
urban and noisy. Though most hostels are around €20/£16 for two adults to pitch a tent in
efciently run, there’s generally a relaxed atmos- high season. Some hostels also allow camping on
phere, often with no curfews. In the most popular their land for around €5–10/£4–8 per person per
tourist areas, however, they can be crammed to the night, with use of a kitchen and showers.
rafters at busy times. The vast majority provide free Camping rough is possible in many parts of
bedding, but some may charge a fee for a sheet Ireland, though the likelihood of rain coupled with
sleeper, and many will charge for a towel. In high the lack of proper facilities may prove a deterrent.
season expect to pay €20–30 for a dorm bed in Some of the terrain in Ireland’s windy west, often BASICS FOOD AND DRINK36
boggy or rocky, may make pitching a tent difcult
TOP FIVE CHEESES
too. Of the beaten track, many farmers in the
Ardrahan From Kanturk, Co. Cork, with Republic will allow camping in one of their felds,
powerful, complex favours of milk
usually for a few euros. It’s permissible to camp in
and mustard.
some state forests in the North, but not in
Desmond Piquant, long-matured,
the Republic.
Swiss-style cheese from Co. Cork; also
Gabriel, a hard, aromatic and full-bodied
Gruyère-like cheese from the same
makers.Food and drink
Durrus Semi-soft, washed-rind, raw milk
Few visitors come to Ireland just for the cheese from west Cork.
food (though plenty come to drink). Kilshanny Type of Gouda, sweet, hard
and milky, made in Lahinch, Co. Clare; However, the quality and choice on ofer
sometimes favoured with garlic, cumin have improved markedly in the last
or nettles.twenty years. A new generation of
smallWicklow Bán Hand-crafted on a family scale artisan producers has emerged, be
farm in Wicklow, this is a mild and they cheese-makers, organic farmers,
fshcreamy Brie.
smokers or bakers, and the best Irish chefs
seek out this local produce to re-create
and adapt traditional dishes using global the meat is naturally salty and a little sweet; and
techniques. It’s well worth looking out air-dried Connemara lamb from Oughterard, a little
for Good Food Ireland signs (or checking like Italian Parma ham. Beef, pork and lamb of course
out Wgoodfoodireland.ie), a network of crop up in excellent sausages, which may be
accomhigh-quality restaurants, cafés, hotels, panied for breakfast b black puddingy , a sausage of
producers and cookery schools, who are pig’s blood, and white pudding, made from pig’s
committed to using local, seasonal, artisan ofal and cereals (butchers in Clonakilty specialize in
ingredients wherever possible. these puddings).
Seafood
Food
Fresh fsh and seafood such as prawns, lobsters,
Irish meat is internationally renowned, especially crabs and mussels, particularly from the west coast,
Aberdeen Angus beef and lamb from the west Dublin Bay and Carlingford Lough, Dundrum Bay
coast, the latter appearing in Irish stew, a classic and Strangford Lough in the North, are also
broth with potatoes, onions and carrots. Variants to generally excellent. Among Ireland’s many seafood
look out for include Achill lamb, what the French call festivals, the most famous are at Clarinbridge and
pré-salé: as the animals graze on seaside meadows, nearby Galway city celebrating Galway Bay’s
oysters. These large, silky European fat oysters are
some of the best in the world, having matured for
TRADITIONAL DISHES about three years in anticipation of a season that
Bacon and cabbage Shoulder of pork runs from September until April. Ireland is also
boiled with cabbage. home to dozens of excellent smokehouses, which
Boxty Potato pancakes.
smoke not only delicately favoured, satiny salmon,
Carrageen Edible seaweed, used to
but also mussels, eels, bacon and chicken.
make a blancmange-like dessert.
Champ Northern Irish version of
Cheese
colcannon, with spring onions.
Cheese-making in Ireland entirely died out during Colcannon Mashed potato mixed with
the eighteenth century, partly because of the cabbage and often leeks.
plantations and the rise of the international butter Crubeen Boiled pig’s trotters.
Drisheen Sausage of sheep and beef trade. However, legend has it that Irish monks had
blood with oatmeal and pepper. exported the secrets of cheese-making to Europe in
Fadge Northern fried potato bread. the sixth century, while many kinds of Irish cheese
Soda bread Bread baked with are recorded in early texts – notably the
twelfthbicarbonate of soda, buttermilk and four. century Aislinge Meic Conglinne, a brilliantly satirical
tale about a king possessed by a demon of FOOD AND DRINK BASICS 37
gluttony, and an underfed monk who tries to tempt
SPECIALITY DRINKS
the demon out with a vision of a foodie’s paradise.
Black and Tan Stout and ale.Since the 1970s, cheese-making has blossomed
Black velvet Stout and champagne.
once again, especially in Munster, often handmade
Hot port Winter warmer, made with port,
by farmers.
hot water, lemon and cloves.
Hot whiskey As above, with whiskey
instead of port.Drink
Irish cofee Invented in Foynes, Co.
Dark, creamy stout has long been Ireland’s most Limerick, in the 1940s to warm up
popular drink. It’s always granted two minutes’ miserable transatlantic fying-boat
settling time halfway through pouring and you passengers; whiskey, cofee, sugar
should let it settle again once it’s fully poured. Brewed and cream.
Poteen (poitín, “little pot”) Subject of in Dublin, Guinness is the market leader, but Beamish
many a song, a powerful, usually illicitly and Murphy’s from Cork are also worth trying, as are
distilled whiskey that varies enormously in microbrewery-produced stouts and beers.
quality – some being ft only to strip paint.The other indigenous tipple is whiskey (from
uisce beatha, “water of life”). Apart from an inexpli -
cable change in spelling, the main diferences with
Scotch whisky is that the Irish versions generally made in Co. Antrim and the preferred drop in the
don’t have the smoky, peaty favour found in many North. A notable newcomer to the scene is Teeling
Scotches, as the malt is dried in smokeless kilns Whiskey, a Dublin-based independent distillery
rather than over peat fres; they are often smoother producing some superb single malts.
too, being triple-distilled whereas Scotch only
goes round twice. The main brands are Jameson’s, Restaurants
Power’s, Paddy’s – all three of which are now
distilled in Midleton, Co. Cork – and Bushmills, The widest array of restaurants is concentrated in
the big cities – where, alongside Dublin and Belfast,
Cork has a particularly vibrant scene – and in
CRAFT BEER IN IRELAND
gourmet hotspots such as Kilkenny, Kinsale,
Not too long ago, the letters IPA (India Pale Kenmare and Dingle, but good places can be found
Ale - a hoppy, cloudy beer with a more
all over the country, sometimes in quite unexpected
bitter taste than larger) stood for little
locales, as detailed throughout the Guide. Of the
outside of a small conclave of hipsters.
beaten track, it’s usually worth phoning ahead, as
Now, with over ninety micro-breweries
opening hours can be erratic and, in winter, some now operating in Ireland (quadruple what
establishments in tourist areas close down entirely. it was in 2012), the nascent craft beer
There’s no getting away from the fact that dining industry shows no signs of slowing down.
out in Ireland is expensive, particularly when you With most pubs and of-licences stocking
factor in the high price of wine, but many fne a daunting selection of these beers, it can
be hard to know where to start. Here are restaurants ofer cheaper, simpler menus at lunch
fve of the best: time, and plenty also lay on good-value early-bird
menus in the evening – two or three courses for a
Blacks of Kinsale Black IPA A suitably set price, usually available until 7 or 7.30pm, though
Irish twist on an IPA, with a nice malty often not at weekends. Found in small towns across
taste of stout.
the country, though sometimes takeaway only, the
Franciscan Well Rebel Red A
most widespread ethnic restaurants are Chinese,
medium-bodied Irish red ale.
Indian and Italian, followed by Thai; refecting recent
Brú Dubh Irish Craft Stout A traditional
immigration patterns, you’ll fnd Eastern European
dry stout brewed with chocolate malt
delis in many large towns and restaurants.and magnum hops.
Kinnegar Brewing Scraggy Bay An India
Pale Ale with a deliciously hoppy bite. Pubs and cafés
Black Donkey Sheep Stealer
Traditionally brewed Irish farmhouse ale Most pubs across the country will be able to rustle
with a crisp fnish.tout and ale. you up a simple sandwich or toastie and a cup of
tea or cofee, and many ofer a substantial lunch. BASICS THE MEDIA38
Newspapers and magazinesTHE FULL IRISH
Big breakfasts are an Irish tradition and The Republic’s most popular middlebrow
are generally available at old-style cafés,
ne w s papers are the Irish Times and the more
often all day long; however, visitors are
populist Irish Independent. Though generally liberal,
most likely to come across them at their
if sometimes tinged by old-fashioned Ascendancy
hotel or B&B, where they’re invariably
attitudes, the Times ofers comprehensive news included in the price. The “full Irish” or
coverage of events both at home and abroad and “Ulster fry” typically consists of bacon,
often excellent features (Wirishtimes.com). The sausage, eggs and tomatoes, sometimes
Independent (Windependent.ie) has a more right-stretching to mushrooms, black pudding
and white pudding, though many hotels of-centre outlook, while the Irish Examiner (formerly
and B&Bs now ofer less heart-stopping the Cork Examiner; Wirishexaminer.com) has a
alternatives such as smoked salmon and Munster-based focus and generally less analytical
fruit salad. coverage of news. British newspapers are
commonly available in Dublin and other cities and
some produce Irish editions.
This is often based around a carvery, serving slices Every county has at least one weekly newspaper,
of roast meat, potatoes and veg, as well as often conservative and usually crammed with
sandwiches and salads – which regularly feature local stories of little interest to outsiders. However,
crab and other seafood in coastal areas – and hot some, such as the Kerryman, the Kilkenny People
and  the Donegal Democrat, often provide good staples such as Irish stew and soups. An increasing
number of Irish pubs now also serve meals in the coverage of local events and very readable features.
To delve deeper into the seamy world of Irish evening. Similar fare is also available in traditional
daytime cafés, alongside cakes and scones, which politics, turn to the monthly Village (Wvillage
are now augmented in some towns by deli-cafés, magazine.ie) or the satirical fortnightly magazine
ofering a more interesting array of food. Phoenix (Wthephoenix.ie).
The North’s two morning dailies are the
Nationalist Irish News (Wirishnews.com) and the Unionist Markets
News Letter (Wnewsletter.co.uk), but the widest
Virtually every sizeable town now hosts a farmers’ circulation belongs to the evening Belfast Telegraph
market, often on a Saturday. The best markets – (Wbelfasttelegraph.co.uk), whose Unionist stance
colourful, vibrant afairs that are worth a visit in their has become progressively more liberal over the
own right – are the permanent English Market in years. All UK national papers are also available in
Cork city; the Temple Bar Food Market in Dublin, the the North.
Galway city market and the Midleton market in east
Cork, all on Saturdays; and St George’s Market in Television and radio
Belfast, on Fridays and Saturdays. For a full list of
farmers’ markets around the country, go to the In the Republic, the three main TV channels are
Irish Food Board’s website, Wbordbia.ie/consumer operated by the state-sponsored Radio Telefís
/aboutfood/farmersmarkets, and, for the north, Éireann (RTÉ; Wrte.ie). As well as imported shows, the
W discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do main news and current afairs channel, RTÉ 1, also
/activities/shopping/best-markets/. features the popular home-grown Dublin-based
soap, Fair City, and Friday’s Late Late Show, a
longstanding chat and entertainment institution. RTÉ 2
is a little more bubbly, with a smattering of locally The media
produced programmes, though still swamped by
Both the Republic and the North have a imported tat and overburdened by sporting events.
wide range of daily and weekly newspa - Some of the most innovative viewing is provided by
pers, the latter often county-based in the Irish-language channel TG4 (which provides
their coverage. The choices for Ireland- English subtitles; Wtg4.ie), including excellent
tradibased TV are more limited both sides of tional-music shows and often incisive features on
the border, but there’s an abundance the culture of Irish-speaking areas. In most of the
of  local radio stations, together with Republic, the four major British terrestrial TV channels
several national stations in the Republic. are available on cable or satellite.FESTIVALS AND EVENTS BASICS 39
RTÉ also operates four radio stations, three of Fleadh Nua W feadhnua.com. One of the country’s biggest traditional
which are English-language: the mainstream RTÉ music festivals, held in Ennis, Co. Clare, over a week in late May.
Radio 1 (FM 88–89), whose morning shows are
JUNElargely devoted to current afairs and chat; RTÉ 2FM
(FM 90–92), which is more music- and youth- Writers’ Week W writersweek.ie. Ireland’s biggest literary festival,
oriented; and Lyric FM (FM 96–99), which mixes fve days of workshops and events in Listowel, Co. Kerry, over the bank
popular classics with jazz and occasionally inspiring holiday weekend at the beginning of June.
world-music shows. Raidió na Gaeltachta (FM 93) is Forbidden Fruit W forbiddenfruit.ie. One of the best music festivals
the national Irish-language station, with broadcasts of the year, set in the gorgeous grounds of Dublin’s Irish Museum of
including much traditional music. Modern Art for three days at the beginning of the month.
Northern Ireland receives television and radio The Cat Laughs W thecatlaughs.com. Four-day comedy festival
programmes from the BBC ( Wbbc.co.uk) and has a featuring an array of renowned and lesser-known acts, staged in Kilkenny
limited, if often keenly followed, number of locally in early June.
produced current-afairs productions. On BBC Radio Bloomsday W jamesjoyce.ie. A week of Dublin-based James
Ulster (FM 92.4–95.4), Talkback (Mon–Fri noon– Joyce-related events leading up to June 16, the day on which his
1.30pm) ofers lively discussions on the North’s masterwork Ulysses is set.
political situation. The BBC’s main commercial rival, Irish Derby W curragh.ie. The major event in the Irish fat-racing
Ulster Television (Wu.tv), relies on the standard ITV season, held at the Curragh, Co. Kildare, in late June or early July.
diet of soaps and drama. In most parts of the North Dublin Pride W dublinpride.ie. Over a week of festivities celebrating
you can also watch or listen to RTÉ programmes. diversity culminate in a carnival-style parade through the city centre -
one of the biggest parties of the year.
Body and Soul W bodyandsoul.ie. This boutique music festival takes
place in Ballinlough Castle, Co. Westmeath on the Summer Solstice Festivals and
weekend. As well as a top-tier line-up, expect comedy, holistic therapies,
a midnight masquerade ball, and plenty of great food.events
JULYIreland has a plethora of annual festivals,
ranging from small local afairs to major Willie Clancy Summer School W scoilsamhraidhwillieclancy.
international occasions and signifcant com. Hugely popular, week-long traditional music event with a host of
events in the sporting calendar. For more pub sessions and several concerts, hosted in Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare, at
on the big events in Belfast, Cork, Derry, the beginning of July.
Dublin, Galway and Kilkenny, see the Orange Order Parades July 12. Unionists and Loyalists commemorate
appropriate chapter sections or boxes. the Battle of the Boyne and close down much of Northern Ireland in
the process.
JANUARY Galway International Arts Festival W giaf.ie. Massive festival
Temple Bar Tradfest W tradfest.ie. Sprawling music festival of music, drama and general revelry over a fortnight from the middle of
focusing on traditional and folk music. Venues range from intimate pubs the month.
to Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Mary from DungloeW maryfromdungloe.com. Ten days of
entertainment in Co. Donegal, often featuring Daniel O’Donnell and
FEBRUARY–APRIL culminating in a beauty contest (where one of the prizes is sometimes a
TedfestW tedfest.org. A long weekend of wackiness in the Aran date with the man himself); runs from late July.
Islands at the end of February, celebrating the characters and storylines of Yeats International Summer School Wyeatssociety.com.
the hugely popular sitcom Father Ted. Sligo-based late-July to August literary festival focusing on the life of the poet.
St Patrick’s Day March 17; W stpatricksday.ie. Almost every Irish Galway Races W galwayraces.com. The west of Ireland’s biggest
town and village commemorates the national patron saint’s day, though horse-racing event, long celebrated in the song of the same name; held
the most signifcant celebration is the week-long festival held in Dublin. over a week at the end of the month.
Irish Grand National W fairyhouse.ie. The biggest event of the
AUGUSTNational Hunt horse-racing season takes place at Fairyhouse, Co. Meath,
on Easter Monday. Castlepalooza W castlepalooza.com. A great little music festival
held in a seventeenth-century castle and surrounding woodland in
MAY Co. Ofaly over the frst weekend of August.
North West 200 W northwest200.org. Major international Kilkenny Arts Festival W kilkennyarts.ie. All manner of musical
motorcycle road-racing event held in Portstewart, Co. Derry, in the middle and literary events, recitals and exhibitions staged in the city over ten
of the month. days in mid-August.BASICS CULTURE AND ETIq UETTE40
NOVEMBERGAZE W gaze.ie. LGBT+ flm festival celebrating diversity and activism,
now in its 25th year. Screenings in various Dublin locations for fve days at Cork Film Festival W corkflmfest.org. Established in 1956 and still
the beginning of August. going strong with a broad-ranging programme of big-budget and
Puck Fair W puckfair.ie. Three days of mayhem in Killorglin, Co. Kerry, international cinema staged early in the month or in late Oct.
culminating in the crowning of a goat as King Puck; takes place in the Dublin Book Festival W dublinbookfestival.com. A four-day
middle of the month. celebration of Irish authors and publishers, with readings, workshops,
Rose of Tralee International Festival W roseoftralee.ie. walking tours and plenty of other literary events.
Tremendously popular event, focused on a beauty contest, but ofering an
DECEMBERenormous range of other entertainment; late August.
Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann W comhaltas.ie. Competitive Wren Boys. On St Stephen’s Day (December 26), it was traditional for
traditional-music festival, drawing hundreds of participants and big men and children carrying the corpse of a wren to go around the
crowds – diferent towns bid for the mid- to late-August event each year. neighbourhood knocking on doors, asking for money to bury the bird
Ould Lammas Fair More than four hundred years old, Ballycastle’s while singing songs and telling jokes – the money, of course, would be
traditional market fair remains a huge draw, featuring livestock sales, and spent on a party. The tradition can still be found in a few places, such as
bucket-loads of music, dancing and entertainment on the last Monday Dublin’s Sandymount and Dingle in Co. Kerry.
and Tuesday of the month. New Year’s Festival Dublin W nyfdublin.com. Three days of
festivities including concerts, street parties and freworks.
SEPTEMBER
Electric Picnic W electricpicnic.ie. Hugely popular rock and dance
festival held at Stradbally Hall, Laois, over the frst weekend. Culture and
All-Ireland Senior Hurling and Football Finals W gaa.ie.
The zenith of the sporting year for Gaelic games, with the hurling on the etiquette
frst or second Sunday and the football on the third or fourth Sunday, in
Dublin’s Croke Park. Ireland likes to describe itself as the land
Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival W matchmakerireland of Cead Míle Fáilte (“a hundred thousand
.com. A month-long date-athon which attracts hopeful suitors from all welcomes”), which you’ll often see
inscribed on pubs, and that’s essentially over the world, and there’s plenty of traditional entertainment too.
Dublin Fringe Festival W fringefest.com. Lively programme of true for most visitors. In terms of general
etiquette, wherever you go, you’ll theatre, dance, performance arts and comedy, featuring hundreds of
events spread over more than a fortnight. encounter the standard Irish greeting –
an enquiry about your health (“How are Dublin Theatre Festival W dublintheatrefestival.com. Ireland’s
most prestigious drama festival, commencing late in the month and you?” sometimes just abbreviated to
“About you?” in parts of the North) – and running for more than a fortnight.
Culture Night W culturenight.ie. An all-island event where arts it’s reasonable to return the compliment.
Also, if someone buys you a pint in a pub, and cultural organisations open late into the night for talks, tours,
performances and other events, all for free. then an even-handed gesture is to pay
for the next round.Galway Oyster Festival W galwayoysterfest.com. Boisterous
four-day festival to kick of the annual oyster season.
ChildrenOCTOBER
Wexford Opera FestivalW wexfordopera.com. Prestigious and Children are very well received, though few places,
massively popular international festival lasting for a fortnight including cafés, hotels and many key attractions, are
commencing in mid-October. actually designed with them in mind. Baby supplies
Belfast Festival at Queen’sW belfastfestival.com. Major arts are readily available and most B&Bs and hotels
festival, running for two weeks from the middle of the month. welcome children, and an increasing number have
Cork Jazz Festival W guinnessjazzfestival.com. Ninety venues and cots. It’s usually fne to take a child into a pub
four days of jazz in all its forms at the end of the month. during the daytime, though defnitely not so legally
Metropolis W metropolisfestival.com. An indoor music festival in in the Republic after 9pm.
the Royal Dublin Society with a heavy emphasis on the visual, from
stunning set designs to unexpected installations. Women
Banks of the Foyle Halloween CarnivalW derrystrabane.com
/halloween. Street theatre, music and mayhem, especially during the Irish women’s economic and social status has much
freworks display on October 31. improved over the last couple of decades, with the SPORTS BASICS 41
Republic even outranking Germany and the Alcohol
Netherlands in terms of gender equality.
In terms of the travel experiencef, emale visitors The pub has long been at the centre of Irish society
are unlikely to encounter problems. However, as and the ready availability of alcohol has played a
with anywhere, if you’re travelling alone or to an major part in the development of the national
unfamiliar area, it’s worth adopting a cautionary psyche and as a Muse to some of the country’s
attitude, particularly when enjoying pubs and greatest writers (O’Brien, Kavanagh, Behan) and
nightlife. In the rare case of experiencing a serious actors (Richard Harris and Peter O’Toole).
personal assault, contact either a rape crisis centre Consumption is gradually falling but the Irish are
(see p.45) or the Tourist Assistance Service (see still among Europe’s heaviest drinkers, imbibing as a
p.45), as local police forces are unlikely to be exper -i whole on average some twenty percent more than
enced in these situations. their continental European neighbours, and that’s
despite the government’s heavy excise duties on
drink. According to Alcohol Action Ireland, more Racism
than half of the population have harmful drinking
With over seventeen percent of the Irish population patterns (40 percent of women and 70 percent of
men) and binge-drinking, especially among the born abroad, and the number of people with
dual Irish nationality double what it was in 2011, 18–25 age group, is a signifcant problem. By
contrast, thanks to movements such as the Pioneer Ireland continues to grow ever more diverse. That
being said, it’s still possible that foreign visitors Total Abstinence Association, around a ffth of the
Irish population are teetotal.could encounter racist attitudes at some point in
their travels.
The situation difers in Northern Ireland where,
following the vote to leave the EU, incidents of Sports
racial violence are on the rise. However, these are
highly localised, and tourists, of whatever culture, Hurling and Gaelic football are among
are very rarely the victims of assaults. the fastest and most physical sports in
Ireland also has its own recognized ethnic the world, and well worth catching on
minority, the Travellers (widely known by a range your travels, whether on TV or, prefer -
of insulting epithets), against whom discrimination ably, live. Rugby and soccer are also
remains widespread, both North and South. widely followed, while going to the races
is a great day out, with less of the
snobbery sometimes found in Britain. LGBT+ Ireland
Golf is also hugely popular north and
south of the border.Ireland’s attitude towards the LGBT+ community
has come a long way in a remarkably short period
of  time. A country traditionally seen as culturally Hurling and Gaelic football
conservative, it is now one of the most inclusive
and welcoming countries to visit. Both Gaelic football and hurling, Ireland’s two main
Being the frst country in the world to approve indigenous sports, are played at a rollicking pace
same-sex marriage by popular vote in 2015 wasn’t on huge pitches, 140m long and 80m wide,
just a huge step towards equal rights, it was recog- between teams of ffteen; goalposts are H-shaped,
nition of how Irish society has changed. And it’s with three points awarded for a goal, when the ball
not just the big cities, either – a closer look at the goes under the crossbar into the net, and a point
referendum results show that rural areas voted when it goes over the crossbar. Over two thousand
overwhelmingly to pass the bill. clubs in villages and parishes all over Ireland vie for
This, coupled with Ireland’s frst gay Taoiseach the privilege of reaching the club fnals, held on St
being appointed in June 2017 with barely an eyelid Patrick’s Day at 80,000-seater Croke Park in Dublin,
batted, points to a far wider acceptance of the one of the largest stadiums in Europe (see p.88),
LGBT+ community than ever before. This isn’t to say, while the more popular and prestigious
interhowever, that homophobic attitudes don’t exist. county seasons begin with provincial games in the
While visitors are unlikely to encounter any trouble, early summer, reaching their climax in the
if support is needed, contact All-Ireland County Finals in September, also at Wlgbt.ie.BASICS OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES42
against England, France, Wales, Scotland and Italy. Croke Park. Details of all fxtures for hurling and
Gaelic football can be obtained from the Gaelic You’re more likely to get tickets, however, for
matches featuring the four provinces, Munster Athletic Association (Wgaa.ie).
Hurling is played with a leather slíothar, similar in (which includes Irish rugby’s natural heartland,
Limerick), Leinster, Connacht and Northern Ireland, size to a hockey ball, and a hurley (or camán), a
broad stick made of ash that is curved outwards at in the European Rugby Champions or Challenge
Cups or in the Pro 12 League.the end. The slíothar is belted prodigious distances,
caught and carried on the fattened end of the Soccer is played semi-professionally in both the
North and the Republic, organized into the Danske player’s hurley. It’s a highly skilled game of constant
movement and aggression that does not permit a Bank Premiership and the Airtricity Premier Division
defensive, reactive style of play. Cork, Kilkenny and respectively. Both international teams feld most of
Tipperary are the most successful counties, while their players from the English leagues; Manchester
Clare, Galway, Ofaly and Wexford have emerged in United and Liverpool are the most popular clubs
the modern era. No county from the North has ever among Irish fans. Glasgow Celtic are also popular
won an All-Ireland Final, though the sport is very both north and south, Rangers in the North, with
popular in the Glens of Antrim and parts of the support following Catholic and Protestant divisions,
Ards Peninsula in Co. Down. Camogie, the women’s respectively.
version of hurling, is becoming increasingly
popular, and is also well worth watching. Dublin Racing
has won the most camogie All-Irelands, though
they haven’t prevailed since 1984 and the most Going to the races is a hugely popular and
successful team in the modern era has been Cork. enjoyable day out in Ireland. A good place to get a
Gaelic football has similarities with both rugby sense of the Irish passion for horses is the National
and association football, but its closest relation is Stud in Kildare (see p.132), while for details of all
Australian Rules Football; indeed every autumn, meetings, go to Horse Racing Ireland’s website
Australia play Ireland in a hurly-burly series of “inter- Wgoracing.ie. The Irish Grand National is run at
national rules” matches that are known for their Fairyhouse in Co. Meath on Easter Monday (see
frequent brawling. The round Gaelic ball, which is p.108), followed in April by the fve-day Irish
slightly smaller than a soccer ball, can be both National Hunt Festival at Punchestown in Co.
kicked and caught. However, running with the ball Kildare (see box, p.133); at the Curragh, the classic
is only permitted if a player keeps control by fat-racecourse in Kildare (see box, p.133), the Irish
tapping it from foot to hand or by bouncing it, and 1000 Guineas and 2000 Guineas are held in May,
throwing is not allowed – the ball must be “hand- the Irish Derby in late June or early July, the Irish
passed”, volleyball-style. Whereas hurling’s strong- Oaks in July and the Irish St Leger in September.
holds are in the southern counties of the island, Dublin’s racecourse (see p.108) plus notable local
footballing prowess is more widely spread – Kerry is meetings, such as those at Galway, Killarney,
the most successful county, followed by Dublin, but Listowel, Sligo and Downpatrick, are described in
there are plenty of strong teams in Northern Ireland the Guide. One local oddity worth mentioning is
at the moment, notably Donegal. the  meeting at Laytown in Co. Meath, the last
remaining beach racing under Jockey Club rules,
held once a year when the tides are at their lowest Rugby union and soccer
(Wlaytownstrandraces.ie).
Rugby union and soccer are very popular in Ireland
and tickets for international matches, especially for
rugby, can be hard to come by. The Republic’s home Outdoor activities
soccer matches (Wfai.ie) and Ireland’s rugby
matches (Wirishrugby.ie) are played at Dublin’s Despite the weather, Ireland is a great
recently rebuilt Aviva Stadium (formerly Lansdowne place for getting out and about. Cycling is
one of the best ways to appreciate the Road). Northern Ireland’s soccer matches (Wirishfa
.com) are played at Windsor Park, Belfast (see p.492). quiet pleasures of the Irish countryside,
while walkers can take advantage of For the international rugby team, which is a joint
Republic–Northern Ireland side, the main event of generally free access across much of the
countryside and a number of waymarked the year is the Six Nations Championship, a series of
international games played in February and March trails. With over 120 sailing and yacht OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES BASICS 43
clubs, plenty of lakes, rivers and sheltered publishes details on its website; for information on
coastline to explore and some great horse-riding holidays, go to Wehi.ie.
beaches for surfers, there are many
opportunities for watersports enthusiasts, too. Walking and mountain climbingThe North is covered by Woutdoorni.com,
a comprehensive guide to outdoor activi- There are dozens of waymarked long-distance
ties and adventure sports. walking trails in the Republic, ranging from routes
through or around mountain ranges, such as the
Wicklow Way (see p.123), the Táin Way (see p.155), Cycling
the Slieve Bloom Way (see p.180) and the Western
Signposted cycling trails in the Republic include Way (p.373), to walks around entire peninsulas, like
the Beara Way (see p.267) and the Sheep’s Head the Sheep’s Head Way (p.264), the Beara Way (p.267),
Cycling Route (see p.264) in Cork, and the Kerry Way the Kerry Way (p.280) and the Dingle Way (p.306).
(see box, p.280). On- and of-road routes are detailed The Ulster Way (see also p.583) in the North, the
oldest and longest waymarked walking trail in on Wirishtrails.ie, but trails in the North are better
documented and promoted: for detailed informa- Ireland, has recently been redeveloped as a 625-mile
circuit of the whole province, taking in the Giant’s tion on the many routes here, the best places to
start are Wcycleni.com and Wsustrans.org.uk. They Causeway, the Sperrins and the Mournes; it’s now
divided into link sections, which can be skipped by include the Kingfsher Trail (see p.575), which also
stretches into Leitrim and Cavan. Other cross-border taking public transport, and quality sections. For
information on these trails in the Republic, go to routes include the 326km North West Trail, mainly
on quiet country roads through Donegal, Tyrone, Wirishtrails.ie, which also has details of hundreds of
Fermanagh, Leitrim and Sligo. Getting around the looped day walks; in the Guide, we list the very
country by bike is a great option useful websites on the Wicklow, Kerry and Dingle
(see p.33). Ways, which include details of walker-friendly
accommodation. In the North, Wwalkni.com has
comprehensive information on all aspects of Fishing
walking. Some councils and local tourist ofces have
There are plenty of opportunities for sea angling produced helpful map guides for the main routes
and dozens of rivers and lakes for fy- and game- too, but you should always get hold of the relevant
fshing. For information, the best places to start are Ordnance Survey map and carry a compass.
Inland Fisheries Ireland’s website, Wfshinginireland Other walking highlights include the ascents of
.info, and the tourist-board siteW, ireland.com. Great Croagh Patrick in Co. Mayo (see p.386) and of
Fishing Houses of Ireland ( Wirelandfyfshing.com)
covers a dozen or so specialist hotels and B&Bs.
A NOTE ON ACCESS
Unlike the North, the Republic has no
Golf public “rights of way”, but there is a
tradition of relatively free access to
Golf, which was probably frst brought to Ireland by
privately owned countryside. In recent
the Ulster Scots, attracts huge numbers of visitors
years, the growing numbers and
every year; the Golfng Union of Ireland, based in occasional carelessness of walkers, as well
Kildare (Wgui.ie), provides details of over four as insurance worries, have led some
hundred clubs, north and south, with online booking. farmers to bar access to their land, and, in
response, the government has begun to
pay farmers who maintain popular walks Horseriding
across their land under the National Walks
Scheme. In general, the majority of Horseriding, whether over the hills or along the
landowners do not object to walkers beaches, is also a popular pastime, for both novices
crossing their property. For detailed and experienced riders, who also have the option of
advice on access, including a Good multi-day trails rides. Stables in popular locations
Practice Guide, have a look at
are listed throughout the Guide, including Killarney
Wmountaineering.ie or and
and Clifden. The Association of Irish Riding Estab -
Wleavenotraceireland.org.
lishments (Waire.ie) maintains standards among
riding centres in the Republic and the North and BASICS TRAVEL ESSENTIALS44
BIRDWATCHING
With a wide variety of migrating focks, including a large number of rare species, visiting its
shores, Ireland is a great place for birdwatching; Wexford Wildfowl Reserve (see p.199), where
thousands of Greenland white-fronted geese and pale-bellied brent geese spend the winter,
Cape Clear (see p.261), famous for spotting rare migratory birds in October, and the wetlands
at Castle Espie (see p.541) are especially fruitful hunting grounds. The best general contacts
are Wirishbirding.com, Birdwatch Ireland in the Republic (Wbirdwatchireland.ie) and, in the
North, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (Wrspb.org.uk).
Carrauntoohil, for more experienced walkers, in detailed rental and guided trip providers in the
Co.  Kerry (see p.280), the easily accessible Bray– Guide; the Irish Canoe Union’s website covers
Greystones walks in Co. Wicklow (see p.119) and courses and clubs in the South (Wcanoe.ie), while
just about anywhere in Connemara (see p.373), the North has a more comprehensive website,
notably the excellent Diamond Hill trail in the Wcanoeni.com, that includes canoe trails for
national park; not to mention walks in the Wicklow multi-day touring. Another useful website is Wirish
(see p.126) and Killarney (see p.277) national parks. seakayakingassociation.org.
Mountaineering Ireland, an organization that
Surfng, wind-surfng and kite-surfngcovers hill-walking and rambling, as well as
climbing, maintains a compendious website There are some superb beaches for surfng
(Wmountaineering.ie). Particularly useful walking (Wisasurf.ie) and its spin-ofs, wind-surfng
guidebooks are listed in Contexts, p.626. Some (Wwind-surfng.ie) and kite-surfng (Wiksa.ie). For
guided walking tour operators are detailed on p.30, kite- and wind-surfng, some of the best spots are:
while more complete lists are available on Rosslare, Co. Wexford; Tramore, Co. Waterford;
Wireland.com. Castlegregory, Kerry; Rusheen Bay, Co. Galway; Keel
If you need help in a real emergency on the Strand, Achill and Elly Bay, Belmullet, in Mayo;
mountains, call T999 or T112 and ask for Lough Allen, Leitrim; and Rossnowlagh, Co.
mountain rescue (Wmountainrescue.ie). Donegal. Surfers head for: Garrettstown and Inch - y
doney, Co. Cork; Inch and Brandon Bay, Kerry;
Lahinch, Clare; Easkey, Mullaghmore and Strandhill, Watersports
Co. Sligo; Bundoran and Rossnowlagh, Co. Donegal;
Sailing Portrush, Antrim; and Tramore, Co. Waterford.
Ireland’s many sailing clubs include the Royal Cork
Scuba divingYacht Club, established in Cobh in 1720, which is
thought to be the oldest in the world. Dozens of Right in the path of the warm North Atlantic Drift
regattas, such as Calves Week in Schull, and tradi- current, Ireland ofers some of the best scuba
tional boat festivals, such as the Wooden Boat diving in Europe, notably of the rocky west coast.
Festival in Baltimore and Cruinniú na mBád in We’ve listed dive centres throughout the Guide,
Kinvarra, are held every year. The most popular and you can get further information from the Irish
areas for sailing are the relatively sheltered waters Underwater Council (Wdiving.ie) and Wukdiving
of  the east coast, especially in Dublin Bay; Cork .co.uk.
Harbour and west Cork; Lough Swilly on the north
coast of Donegal; Strangford Lough in Co. Down;
and some of the larger lakes, such as Lough Derg Travel essentials
in Co. Clare. Popular sailing clubs are listed in the
Guide; for further information contact the Irish Costs
Sailing Association (Wsailing.ie).
Though it’s still possible to get a main meal in cafés
Canoeing and kayaking and pubs for around €10, a three-course restaurant
Inland waterways and sheltered coasts – notably in dinner will usually cost at least €30, with a bottle of
west Cork (see p.258), Dingle (see p.297) and wine setting you back around €20, though some
Waterford (see p.216) – ofer canoeing and ofer “early bird” menus and midweek set menus at
kayaking opportunities, ranging from day-trips and reduced rates. The price of a pint in a pub is around
touring to rough- and white-water racing. We’ve €4–5, signifcantly higher in some city-centre clubs.TRAVEL ESSENTIALS BASICS 45
The cheapest accommodation is a hostel dorm when it comes to reporting a crime. The Irish Tourist
bed, which will cost around €12–20, rising to as much Assistance Service (T1890 365700, Witas.ie) ofers
as €30 at peak periods in Dublin. Alternatively, it’s also support to tourist crime victims. Rape crisis support
possible to get a decent bed and breakfast from is available from the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre
around €35 per person sharing or €45 in Dublin. So, (T1800 778888, Wdrcc.ie), which can also direct
even if you count the cents, you’re likely to spend a you to similar agencies across Ireland.
daily minimum of around €35, and more than double Away from the sectarian hotspots, crime in
this if you’re eating out and staying in a B&B. Northern Ireland is very low. In the unlikely event
The main change in the North over the last two that your person or property is targeted, contact
decades has been the fall in the value of the pound the Police Service of Northern Ireland (T999 for
against the euro. This has meant that while quoted emergencies, Wpsni.police.uk). The presence of the
prices are roughly the same as their euro equivalents British army has diminished almost to invisibility,
in the Republic, they are comparatively cheaper. though it is just possible you might encounter
police or army security checks on the rare occasion
of a major incident.Crime and personal safety
Crime in Ireland is largely an urban afair and Discount cards
generally at a low level compared with other
European countries. However, thieves do target For all attractions in the Guide, we’ve given the adult
popular tourist spots, so don’t leave anything of entry price. The majority of sites ofer reduced rates
value visible in your car and take care of your bags for children (under-5s usually get in free), students
while visiting bars and restaurants. It’s sensible to (for which you’ll need ID such as an International
seek advice from your accommodation provider Student Identity Card, Wisic.org) and senior citizens.
about safety in the local area and take as much care An annual Heritage Card (€40, senior citizens €30,
as you would anywhere else. children/students €10, family €90; Wheritageireland
Crimes against individuals are relatively rare, .ie) is worth considering if you’re planning to visit
except in certain inner-city areas, and seldom many historic sites and monuments in the Republic.
involve tourists. The Republic’s police force is An It provides unlimited entry to attractions run by the
Garda Síochána (T112 or T999 for emergencies, Ofce of Public Works (sites are detailed throughout
Wgarda.ie), more commonly referred to as the the Guide) and is mostly easily purchased at the frst
guards or Gardaí, whom you’ll fnd generally helpful OPW site that you visit.
CLIMATE
Average maximum and minimum daily temperatures (°C/°F) and monthly rainfall (mm)
Feb Apr Jun Aug Oct Dec
BELFAST
Max/min (ºC) 7/5 10/6 15/11 17/12 11/8 7/5(ºF)45/4150/4359/5263/5452/4645/41
Rainfall (mm) 77 66 72 101 106 106
CORK
Max/min (ºC) 9/3 13/5 19/10 20/12 14/7 9/3(ºF)48/3755/4166/5068/5457/4548/37
Rainfall (mm) 79 57 57 71 99 122
DUBLIN
Max/min (ºC) 8/2 13/4 18/9 19/11 14/6 8/3(ºF)46/3655/3964/4866/5257/4346/37
Rainfall (mm) 55 45 57 74 70 74
LIMERICK
Max/min (ºC) 8/3 13/6 18/11 20/13 14/7 8/4(ºF)46/3755/4364/5268/5557/4546/40
Rainfall (mm) 72 58 64 84 96 106BASICS TRAVEL ESSENTIALS46
Members of An Óige/YHA/HINI (see p.35) also British diplomatic representatives overseas are
receive discounts on entry to certain sites. A available on the Foreign Ofce’s website, Wfco.gov
number of historic buildings and sites in the North .uk. For further information on immigration and
are operated by the National Trust. Membership visas, go to Wgov.uk/government/organisations
(£64.80; under-26s £32.40, family £114.60, one-adult /uk-visas-and-immigration.
family £71.40; Wnationaltrust.org.uk) provides free The border between Northern Ireland and the
and unlimited entry to these and all National Trust– Republic has no passport or immigration controls,
run sites in Britain too. More than eighty sites across and will remain an open border after Britain leaves
Ireland are members of the independent Heritage the EU.
Island organization (Wheritageisland.com) whose
IRISH EMBASSIES ABROADbooklet (€6.99) provides discounted admission
prices or other special ofers. Australia 20 Arkana St, Yarralumla, Canberra, ACT 2600 T 02 6214
0000, W ireland.embassy.gov.au.
Canada 130 Albert St, Suite 1105, Ottawa, ON K1P 5G4 T 613 233 Electricity
6281, W dfa.ie
The standard electricity supply is 220V AC in the New Zealand Handled by the embassy in Australia.
Republic and 240V AC in the North. Most sockets South Africa 2nd Floor, Parkdev Building, Brooklyn Bridge Ofce
require three-pin plugs. To operate North American Park, 570 Fehrsen St, Brooklyn 0181, Pretoria T 012 452 1000.
appliances you’ll need to bring or buy a transformer UK 17 Grosvenor Place, London SW1X 7HR T 020 7235 2171.
and an adapter; only the latter is needed for US 2234 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008 T 202
equipment made in Australia or New Zealand. 462 3939.
BRITISH EMBASSIES AND HIGH
Entry requirements COMMISSIONS ABROAD
UK nationals do not need a passport to enter the Australia Commonwealth Ave, Yarralumla, ACT 2600 T 02 6270
Republic, but it’s a good idea to carry one – and note 6666.
that airlines generally require ofcial photo ID on Canada 80 Elgin St, Ottawa, ON K1P 5K7 T 613 237 1530.
fights between Britain and Ireland. Under current EU New Zealand 44 Hill St, Wellington 6011 T 04 924 2888.
regulations, British passport holders are entitled to South Africa 255 Hill Street, Arcadia 0028, Pretoria T 012 421 7500.
stay in the Republic for as long as they like. US 3100 Massachusetts Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008 T 202
Travellers from the US, Canada, Australia, New 588 6500.
Zealand and South Africa can enter the Republic
for up to three months with just a passport. For Emergencies
further information on immigration and visas,
contact the Irish Naturalization and Immigration Across Ireland, in the case of an emergency call
Service, 13–14 Burgh quay, Dublin (T1890 551500, either T999 or T112.
Winis.gov.ie). A full list of Irish consulates and
embassies is available on the Department of Health and insurance
Foreign Afairs website, Wdfa.ie.
US, Canadian, Australian, South African and New Visitors from the UK are entitled to medical
Zealand citizens can enter Northern Ireland for up treatment in the Republic under a reciprocal
to six months with just a passport. Full details of agreement between the two countries. This will
ROUGH GUIDES TRAVEL INSURANCE
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Policies are available to residents of over 150 countries, with cover for a wide range of adventure
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users who buy travel insurance with WorldNomads.com can also leave a positive footprint and
donate to a community development project. For more information, go to Wr.com
/travel-insurance.TRAVEL ESSENTIALS BASICS 47
The majority of tourist ofces will provide free give access only to state-provided medical
treatment in the Republic, which covers emergency local maps, but, if you’re planning on walking or
exploring a locality fully, then the OSI’s Discovery hospital treatment but not all GPs’ surgeries – check
that the doctor you’re planning to use is registered 1:50,000 scale series of maps (€7.71 each) is the
best bet for the Republic. The Ordnance Survey of with the local Health Board Panel. Citizens of some
other countries also enjoy reciprocal agreements – Northern Ireland (Wosni.gov.uk) produces a similar
in Australia, for example, Medicare has such an Discoverer series (£6.50).
arrangement with Ireland and Britain. If you’re walking or cycling, the OSI/OSNI also
None of these arrangements covers all the produce special-interest 1:25,000-scale maps
medical costs you may incur or repatriation, so it’s covering areas such as the Aran Islands, Killarney
advisable for all travellers to take out some form of National Park, Lough Erne, Macgillycuddy’s Reeks,
travel insurance. Most travel insurance policies and the Mourne and Sperrin mountain ranges. All
exclude so-called dangerous sports unless an extra of these maps can be purchased via the internet.
premium is paid; in Ireland this could mean, for
example, horseriding, scuba diving, wind-surfng, Money and cards
mountaineering and kayaking.
The currency of the Republic is the euro (€), divided
into 100 cents (c). Northern Ireland’s currency is the Internet
pound sterling (£), though notes are printed by
With the arrival of 4G and free wi-f, there’s less various local banks and are diferent from those
and less need for internet cafés ;if you do fnd found in Britain; however, standard British banknotes
one, you’ll typically pay around €4/£4 per hour. can still be used in Northern Ireland.
Nearly all hotels, hostels and B&Bs in Ireland, as Exchange rates fuctuate, but, at the time of
well as many restaurants, pubs and cafés, now writing, £1 sterling was equivalent to around €1.27
and US$1.59, €1 was worth £0.88 and US$1.17. ofer free wi-f. Otherwise, some B&Bs, hotels
and  hostels will let you access the internet on The  best exchange rates are provided by banks,
though it’s easiest to use an ATM, for which your their computer.
own bank or credit card company may charge a
fxed-rate or percentile fee. Unless you’re absolutely Mail
stuck, avoid changing money in hotels, where the
rates are often very poor. In areas around the border In the Republic, post is handled by An Post (the
national postal service; Wanpost.ie); allow two days between the Republic and the North many
businesses accept both currencies.(or more) for a letter to reach Britain, for example.
Small letters and postcards to any destination
Credit and debit cardsoverseas cost €1.10. Main post ofces are usually
open Monday to Friday 9am to 5.30pm, Saturday The handiest means of obtaining cash is to use a
9am to 1pm (in cities sometimes until 5.30pm on debit or credit card. ATMs are very common
Saturday). From the North with the Royal Mail throughout Ireland except in remote rural areas
(Wroyalmail.com), postcards and the smallest (where you’re likeliest to fnd one in a supermarket),
letters cost 97p to airmail abroad. Main post ofces with most accepting Visa/Plus, MasterCard and
are generally open Monday to Friday 9am–5.30pm, Cirrus/Maestro. Major credit cards, such as Visa/Plus
Saturday 9am to 12.30pm. and MasterCard, and all cards bearing the Eurocard
symbol, are widely accepted, though in rural areas
you’ll fnd that they’re not accepted by some B&Bs.Maps
The maps in this guide will provide you with suf- Opening hours and public
cient detail to navigate your way around cities,
holidaystowns and counties. For more detail, there’s the
Ordnance Survey of Ireland’s (Wosi.ie) four Holiday Shops and businesses across Ireland usually open
maps at 1:250,000 scale (€7.71), dividing the 9am to 5.30pm, Monday to Saturday, though
country into quadrants, and its Ofcial Road Atlas of newsagents and petrol stations (many of which also
Ireland (1:210,000; €10.20), produced in conjunction have grocery stores) are often open earlier and later.
with the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland, is Most large towns generally have a day when all
extremely useful if you’re driving. shops open late (until 8pm or 9pm), usually BASICS TRAVEL ESSENTIALS48
pubs and clubs are closed on Good Friday and
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Christmas Day.
Holiday Republic N Ireland On public holidays, away from the cities, most
New Year’s Day √ √
businesses will be closed, apart from pubs, newsa -
St Patrick’s Day √ √
gents, some supermarkets, grocers and petrol
– March 17
stations. If St Patrick’s Day, Orange Day, Christmas
Good Friday √ √
Day or St Stephen’s Day falls at the weekend, then a Easter Monday √ √
substitute holiday is taken at the beginning of the May – frst Mon √ √
following week.May – last Mon × √
June – frst Mon √ ×
Orange Day – × √ Phones
July 12
Aug – frst Mon √ × The international dialling code for the Republic is
Aug – last Mon × √ +353, and for Northern Ireland, as part of the UK,
Oct – last Mon √ × it’s +44. If you’re calling the North from the
Christmas Day √ √ Republic, however, knock of the 028 area code
St Stephen’s Day √ √
and instead dial 048 followed by the eight-digit
/Boxing Day –
subscriber number.
Dec 26
Mobile phones
Roaming charges for mobile phones within the EU
Thursdays, and some also open on Sundays from were abolished in 2017 so (for now) British travellers
around noon (1pm in Northern Ireland) until 6pm. need only worry about the possibility of expensive
Lunch-time closing still applies in some smaller data usage in the Republic. Check with your
towns, where also some businesses (except pubs) network provider for data allowance and charges.
close for a half-day midweek. In rural areas opening Travellers from other parts of the world will need to
times are far more variable. check whether their phone is multi-band GSM, and
Banks in the Republic are generally open from will probably also want to fnd out from their
provider what the roaming charges are. The Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm, and
until 5pm one day a week, usually Wednesday or cheapest way to get round roaming charges is to
Thursday, sometimes closing for lunch in remoter get hold of a UK or Irish pay-as-you-go SIM card to
areas. In the North, they open Monday to Friday insert in your phone, which will give you a local
9.30am to 4.30pm, with some opening for longer number and eliminate charges for receiving calls.
hours and on Saturdays, though others may close Vodafone in the Republic ( Wvodafone.ie), for
for lunch. Post ofces are also closed on Sunday example, are currently ofering a €30 thirty-day
(see p.47). package (plus €10 for a SIM card), which includes
Throughout Ireland cafés tend to open in the 100 minutes of international calls and 8gb of data,
daytime, Monday to Saturday. Restaurants usually as well as free calls and texts to any network.
open for lunch and again for dinner every day,
though, away from the major towns and popular Smoking
tourist areas, many may be closed at lunch times or
all day on certain days of the week (especially out Smoking is illegal in all public buildings and places
of season). of employment across Ireland. Some hotels, but
The law in the Republic states that pubs are increasingly few B&Bs, have bedrooms available for
allowed to open Monday to Thursday 10.30am– smokers. Many pubs in cities and large towns have
11.30pm, Friday and Saturday 10.30am–12.30am, outdoor areas allocated for smokers, some covered
Sunday 12.30–11pm. In the North the hours are and heated.
Monday to Saturday 11.30am–11pm and Sunday
12.30–10pm. Some pubs apply for late licences, Time
usually at weekends, while across Ireland clubs
have variable opening days, though the majority Ireland is on GMT, eight hours ahead of US Pacifc
are open from Thursday to Sunday and hours Standard Time and fve hours ahead of Eastern
tend to be from around 10pm to 2am (or later in d Time. Clocks are advanced one hour at the
the major cities). Note that in the Republic all end of March and back again at the end of October.TRAVEL ESSENTIALS BASICS 49
ofer plenty of information on local attractions and Tipping
can book accommodation. Bear in mind, though,
Though discretionary, tipping restaurant staf or taxi that the opening hours of tourist ofces are
drivers is the expected reward for satisfactory service; especially volatile, depending on budgets and
stafng levels and varying from year to year and ten to ffteen percent of your tab will sufce.
often from month to month.
Toilets
Travellers with disabilities
Public toilets are usually only found in the big
towns in the Republic (especially in shopping malls), Disabled travellers should glean as much informa -
though in the North are much more common and tion as possible before travelling since facilities in
generally well maintained. Toilet doors often bear Ireland are generally poor – the best place to start
the indicator Fir (men) and Mná (women). looking is on the joint tourist board website,
Wireland.com/en-us/about-ireland/once-you-are
-here/accessibility. For example, older buildings, Tourist information
including most B&Bs, may lack lifts and their
The Irish tourist development agency, Fáilte entrances may not have been converted to allow
Ireland (Wdiscoverireland.ie), as well as the the easy wheelchair access.
Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB; Wdiscover All new buildings and many hotels, however, now
northernireland.com) both provide a wealth of have wheelchair access. Go to Waccessibleireland
area-specifc information on their websites. Abroad, .com for island-wide listings of hotels with disabled
the two boards combine as Tourism Ireland, with facilities, as well as visitor attractions.
their main point of contact for the public at The main transport companies (see p.31) have
Wireland.com. There are also plenty of local and considerably improved their facilities for disabled
regional tourism websites, and we have listed the travellers, with, for example, low-foor buses in many
best of these in the relevant sections of the Guide. cities and kneeling coaches on some long-distance
Both Fáilte Ireland and the NITB provide an routes. Disabled drivers travelling with their cars from
extensive network of tourist ofces, covering Britain can usually obtain reduced rates for ferry travel,
depending on the time of year. Motability Ireland every city, many major towns and almost all the
popular tourist areas. Additionally, some local near Dublin (T01 835 9173, Wmotabilityireland.com)
councils provide their own ofces. Tourist ofces ofer vehicle rental all over Ireland.Dublin
59 The Southside
77 The Northside
84 West of the centre
87 The northern suburbs
89 South Dublin coast
91 Arrival and departure
92 Getting around
94 Information and tourist
passes
94 Tours
95 Accommodation
99 Eating
103 Drinking
106 Live music
107 Nightlife
107 Arts and culture
108 Sports
109 LGBT+ Dublin
109 Shopping
110 Directory
TRINITY COLLEGE52 DUBLIN
1 Dublin
Set beside the shores of curving Dublin Bay, Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, is a
vibrant, dynamic place, which despite its size remains utterly beguiling and
an essential part of any visit to the country. Much of Dublin’s centre has been
redeveloped over the last few decades, so alongside the city’s historic
buildings – its cathedrals and churches, Georgian squares and town houses,
castles, monuments and pubs – you’ll discover grand new hotels and
shopping centres, stunning new street architecture and a state-of-the-art
tramway system.
More than a quarter of the Republic of Ireland’s population of four and a half million
lives within the Greater Dublin area. Most Dubliners are intensely proud of their city,
its heritage and powerful literary culture, and can at times exhibit a certain
snobbishness towards those living in Ireland’s rural backwaters (often termed
“culchies”). Locals are noted for their often caustic brand of humour, but there is also a
warmth in their welcome – it’s easy to fnd yourself drawn into conversation or debates
in bars and cafés (or, if you smoke, outside them). Dubliners are also increasingly
style-conscious; where once the city looked inwards for inspiration, today it glances
both east and west, to Europe and America, catching new trends and bringing a
decidedly Irish slant to bear upon them.
Most of Dublin’s attractions are contained within a relatively compact area, spreading
either side of the many-bridged River Lifey, which divides the city between its
northside and southside. Tese have very distinct characters, defned over the city’s
historical development: stereotypically, the south is viewed in terms of its gentility
while the north is seen as brash and working class, home of the true Dub accent.
Certainly, the southside is regarded as more fashionable and fashion-conscious, thanks
to its Grafton Street shopping area and the rejuvenated Temple Bar arts quarter, yet the
north possesses Ireland’s two most renowned theatres and its own increasingly lively
nightlife. On either side of the river it’s easy to escape the city’s bustle, to relax or picnic
in its numerous green spaces; or visitors can head to the shoreline for seaside strolls and
blustery clif-top walks.
West of the centre is the green expanse of Phoenix Park, while across the river to the
south lies the grim memorial of Kilmainham Gaol and, to the east, is the more
obviously appealing Guinness Brewery and Storehouse. In the city’s suburbs, the
attractions of the northside have a defnite edge over those to the south of the river:
most compelling are the national cemetery at Glasnevin; the splendid stadium home of
the Gaelic Athletic Association, Croke Park, which contains a fne museum; and the
architectural wonders of the Casino at Marino. For a scenic breather from the city, take
the southerly branch of the DART to panoramic Dalkey and Killiney Hills.
A decade of centenaries p .55 Jonathan Swift p .76
Festivals and events p .58 The Easter Rising p .79
George Bernard Shaw p .69 Bloomsday p .82
Temple Bar galleries and art centres The Howth Clif Walk p .88
p.71 Dalkey and Killiney hills p .90
Cycling in Dublin p .72 Travel passes p .93
The Story of the Capital p .73 Top 5 takeaway cofees p .99
Dublin and the Messiah p .74 Top 5 cheap eats p .101THE NATIONAL GALLERY
Highlights
1 6 Trinity College Admire the illuminated Book Bloomsday Don a straw hat and join the
of Kells and the magnifcent Long Room, or just festivities in celebration of Joyce’s Ulysses, held
enjoy the architecture. See p.62 every year on June 16, the day on which the
book is set. See p.822 The National Museum – Archaeology
7Prehistoric gold and Christian treasures are the Kilmainham Gaol Tour the city’s most
highlights of this collection. See p.65 historically signifcant prison and visit the
museum for fascinating insights into Republican 3 The National Gallery A graceful showcase,
history. See p.86
especially for Irish art and the vibrant Yeats
8collection. See p.66 Croke Park Catch an inter-county hurling or
football match at the stadium home of Gaelic 4 The Chester Beatty Library An elegant,
games, which also houses one of Ireland’s best
world-renowned display of manuscripts, prints
museums. See p.88
and objets d’art. See p.73
9 The Cobblestone A magnet for traditional
5 Dublin Spire The 121m pin-like monument
music fans and an atmospheric pub to boot.
is also called the Monument of Light for the way
See p.107
it catches the sun. See p.79
HIGHLIGHTS ARE MARKED ON THE MAP ON P.56Liverpool Holyhead
M50
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Monaghan Airport, Drogheda, Marino & Malahide
Sutton
Howth Howth
FINGLAS
Junction
BLANCHARDS
Nose of
ARTANE
TOWN Howth
RAHENY
National
Botanic
Glasnevin The
Gardens
Cemetery Casino
MARINO
Clontarf
Baily Lighthouse
Phoenix
Park
Connolly
Dublin Port
Docklands
Tara Street
Heuston
Pearse
RINGSEND
KILMAINHAM
BALLSBRIDGE
SANDYMOUNT Dublin Bay
DONNYBROOK
CRUMLIN
RATHMINES
CLONDALKIN
Blackrock
RATHFARNHAM
Dún Laoghaire
Monkstown
TALLAGHT
James Joyce
Tower and Museum
Sandycove
DUNDRUM
& Glasthule
STILLORGAN
N
Dalkey
Island
Dalkey
SANDYFORD
FOXROCK Dalkey &
Leopardstown Killiney Bay
Killiney Hills
Racecourse
0 2
Killiney
DUBLIN
kilometres
Wicklow Bray & Greystones
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N4
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Blessingt
on
Limerick
Sligo
C
a
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n DUBLIN 55
1A DECADE OF CENTENARIES
The decade between 1912 and 1922 was one of the most eventful in Irish history. The passing
of Home Rule, the beginning of World War One, the growth of militant Ulster Unionism, the
Easter Rising of 1916, the War of Independence and Civil War, as well as the rise of the labour
and sufrage movements, were among the many momentous events which radically reshaped
the political and social fabric of Ireland and its relationship with Britain during that period.
The programme A Decade of Centenaries (Wdecadeofcentenaries.com) began in 2012 to
mark the 100th anniversary of these events at a local and national level, with exhibitions,
public discussions and other commemorative initiatives. The programme focuses on the
everyday experience of ordinary people, as well as the leaders and key actors.
The biggest event held so far has been “Ireland 2016”W ( ireland.ie), a year-long programme
remembering those who fought and died in the 1916 Rising, and refecting on the legacy of
that period. Commemorations will continue until 2022, a century after the creation of the Irish
Free State. See the website for events and listings.
Brief history
Dublin’s origins date back to ninth-century Viking times when the Norsemen saw the
strategic potential of Dublin Bay and established a trading post on the Lifey’s southern
bank. Tey adopted the location’s Irish name, Dubh Linn (“dark pool”), for their new
home, soon amalgamating with an Irish settlement on the northern bank called Baile
Atha Cliath (“place of the hurdle ford”), which remains the Irish name for the city.
Te twelfth century saw Dublin conquered by the Anglo-Normans when Dermot
MacMurrough, the deposed King of Leinster, sought help from Henry II to regain his
crown. In return for Dermot’s fealty, Henry sent Strongbow (see p.587) and a
contingent of Welsh knights to restore MacMurrough’s power. Strongbow conquered
Dublin in the process and, concerned at this threat to his authority, Henry came over
to Ireland to assert control, establishing Dublin as the focus for British sway over
Ireland. Tis became the centre of the “ English Pale” (from the Latin palum, meaning
originally a “stake”, though later a “defned territory”), ruling over the areas of
Anglo-Norman settlement in Ireland; since Irish resistance to conquest was so strong in
other parts of the country, the pejorative phrase “beyond the pale” evolved as a means
of signifying (at least in English terms) a lack of civilized behaviour.
Only a few buildings have survived from before the seventeenth century, mainly in the
area encompassing Dublin Castle and the two cathedrals, and much of the city’s layout is
Georgian. During this period, Dublin’s Anglo-Irish nobility and its increasingly wealthy
mercantile class used their money (often, in the aristocracy’s case, derived from confscated
land granted as a reward for services to the Crown) to showcase their wealth in the form of
grandiose houses, public buildings and wide thoroughfares. Wealthy members of the elite
revelled in their new-found opulence, flling their houses with works by the latest artists
and craftsmen, and seeking to enhance their own cachet by patronizing the arts; Handel
conducted the frst performance of his Messiah in the city, for example. Increasing political
freedom resulted in demands for self-government, inspired by the American and French
revolutions. Te legislative independence achieved during “Grattan’s Parliament” in 1782
was to be short-lived, however, and the failure of the 1798 Rebellion (see p.590), led largely
by members of the Protestant Anglo-Irish Ascendancy, inevitably led to the 1801 Act of
Union and the removal of Dublin’s independent powers.
With Ireland now governed by a British vice-regent, Dublin sank into a period of
economic decline, brought about by its inability to compete with Britain’s fourishing
industries. Te city remained the focus of agitation for self-rule, and by the end of the
nineteenth century had also become the centre for eforts to form a sense of Irish national
consciousness via the foundation of the Gaelic League in 1893. Tis sought to revive both
the Irish language and traditional culture, and set the scene for the Celtic literary revival,
led by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, who established the Abbey Teatre in 1904. Te































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The Point 8 Shelbourne Park (200m) Aviva Stadium (200m)
The Point 8 Shelbourne Park (200m) Aviva Stadium (200m)




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56 DUBLIN
political struggle for independence remained a live issue and events came to a head with 1
the Easter Rising of 1916 (see box, p.79). Te city’s streets saw violence again during the
civil war, which followed the establishment of the Irish Free State in 1921.
Austerity and much emigration followed Independence and it was not until the
1950s that Dublin began to emerge from its colonial past. Te city’s infrastructure was
ravaged by ill-conceived redevelopment in the 1960s which saw the demolition of
many Georgian edifces, as well as the creation of poorly planned “sink” estates to
11 , Glasnevin Cemetery & National B, Glasnevin Cotanic G emetardensery & National Botanic Gardens Airport, Malahide Castle & CAasino airport, Malahide Ct Marino astle & Casino at Marino
HIGHLIGHT HIGHLIGHTS SCENTRAL DUBLINCENTRAL DUBLIN
PHIBSBOROUGHPHIBSBOROUGH 88 88 11 Trinity College 11 Trinity College
ACCOMMODATION DRINKING & NIGHTLIFE DRINKING & NIGHTLIFE EATING EATINGACCOMMODATION
Phibsborough Phibsborough Croke Park Croke ParkPUBS & BARS PUBS & BARS Chapter One 1Ashling Hotel Ashling Hotel 7 7 Chapter One 1 22 22The National Museum-Archaeology The National Museum-Archaeology Stadium & Stadium &The Bernard Shaw The Bernard Shaw12 12 Cobalt Café and Gallery 2 Mater MaterBelvedere Hotel Belvedere Hotel 4 4 Cobalt Café and Gallery 2 GAA Museum GAA MuseumMisericordiae MisericordiaeFrank Ryan & Son Frank Ryan & Son 6 6 The Fumbally 5Clifden Guesthouse Clifden Guesthouse 2 2 The Fumbally 5 33 The National Gallery 33 The National Gallery
Hill 16 Hill 16 2 2 Urbanity 4Dublin International Dublin International Urbanity 4
Kavanagh's Kavanagh's Wu 3 44 The Chester Beatty Library 44 The Chester Beatty Library Youth Hostel Youth Hostel 3 3 Wu 3
(aka The Gravediggers) (aka The Gravediggers) 1 1Hilton Garden Inn Hilton Garden Inn 6 6
1 1 55 Dublin Spire 55 Dublin Spire Ryan's Ryan's 4 4Maldron Hotel Maldron Hotel 5 5 Grange-
Grangegorman gormanMarian Guest House Marian Guest House1 1TRADITIONAL MUSIC PUBS TRADITIONAL MUSIC PUBS MOUNTJOY MOUNTJOY 66 66Bloomsday BloomsdaySQUARE SQUAREThe Brazen Head The Brazen Head 9 9
2The Cobblestone The Cobblestone 3 3 2 77 773 3 Kilmainham Gaol Kilmainham Gaol Dublin DublinDublin DublinHughes' Bar Hughes' Bar 7 7 Writers WritersJames JamesZoo Zoo 66 662 2O'Shea's MerchantO'Shea's Merchant10 10 88Broadstone- Museum 4Museum 4 88 Croke Park Croke Park Broadstone- Joyce Joyce
DIT 1 1DIT 2 Centre 2 CentreDJ BARS & LIVE MUSIC DJ BARS & LIVE MUSIC Dublin City Dublin City 99 The Cobblestone 99 The Cobblestone 3Arena 3Arena 8 8 Gallery _ Gallery _ NORTH GREAT NORTH GREAT
PARNELL Parnell PARNELL Parnell GEORGE’S STDice Bar Dice Bar 5 5 The Hugh Lane The Hugh Lane GEORGE’S ST
SQUARE SQUARE
Vicar Street Vicar Street 11 11
Connolly ConnollySEE “O’CONNELL STREET ANDSEE “O’CONNELL STREET AND Gate Theatre Gate TheatreSTONEYBATTER STONEYBATTER Station StationAROUND” MAP FOR DETAIL AROUND” MAP FOR DETAIL
St Mary's St Mary's
O’Connell Upper O’Connell Upper ConnollyConnollyPro-Cathedral Pro-CathedralOld Docklands DocklandsOld Dominick O'DCONNELLominick O'CONNELLJameson Station StationJameson STREET STREET
DistilleryDistillery MayorMayor55 55 BusárasBusáras Busá Busárras as SquareSquare9 9 The Dublin Spire The Dublin SpirePhoenix Park Marlborough MarlboroughPhoenix Park 3 3 Irish Irish NCINCI
Famine Famine Spencer Dock Spencer Dock
Custom CustomCollins Collins GPO GPO Memorial Memorial5 5 IFSC IFSCHouse HouseBarracks Barracks Light HouseLight House O’Connell- O’Connell-Wellington Wellington 6 6StSt Abbey St Abbey StCinemaMagazine Cinema GPO GPOMagazine Monument Monument Croppy’s Croppy’s Michan’sMichan’s Jervis JervisMuseum MuseumFort 4 7 4 7Fort Acre Acre SMITHFILED SMITHFILED ChurchChurch Four Four33 SQUARE SQUARE TaROSIE HAra StrCKETeetT Tara StreetROSIE HACKETT SAMUEL BECKETT SAMUEL BECKETTCourts Courts BRIDGE5 5 BRIDGE Station Station BRIDGE BRIDGE6 6 7 74 4Smitheld SmitheldHeuston Heuston
ISLANDBRIDGE ISLANDBRIDGE West- West-Station Station Trinity TrinityFour FourHeuston Heuston moreland morelandCourts Courts
Bank of Bank of
Guinness Guinness 9 9 TEMPLE BAR TEMPLE BARIreland Ireland10 10 Bord Gais Bord GaisBrewery Brewery GRAND GRAND
Energy EnergyCANAL CANAL 11 11IrishIrish Trinity Theatre TheatreTrinity SQUARE SQUAREBULLY’SBULLY’S Museum Christ ChristMuseum Dublin Dublin CollegeCollege Pearse Pearseof Modern Art Church Churchof Modern AACRE rtACRE Castle Castle Station StationCathedral CathedralSt Audoen’s St Audoen’s Dawson Dawson
11 Churches 11 Churches National National
The Chester The ChestPow ererscourt Powerscourt44 44 Library LibraryKilmainham Kilmainham THE LIBERTIES THE LIBERTIES 33 33 NationalNationalBeatty Library Beatty LibrTownhouseary TownhouseGaol Gaol GalleryJames’s James’s Gallery Kilmainham Guinness Guinness LeinsterLeinster77 Gate 7 Gate Storehouse Storehouse National Grand Canal Grand CanalNational HouseHouseSt Patrick’s St Patrick’s Museum–Archaeology Dock Station Dock StationMuseum–Archaeology MerrionMerrionCathedral Cathedral 22 22 SquareSt James’s St James’s St Stephen’s St Stephen’s Little SquareLittle NaturalNaturalKILMAINHAM Hospital Hospital Green Green MuseumKILMAINHAM MuseumMarsh’s Marsh’s HistoryHistoryof Dublinof DublinLibrary Library MuseumMuseum
St Stephen’s St Stephen’s St Stephen’sFatima St Stephen’sFatima
Green Church ChurchGreen
National National 5 5
Print Museum Print MuseumRialto Rialto Newman Newman
House House
Fitzwilliam Fitzwilliam
Suir Suir National National Square Square
Road Road Concert Concert
Hall Hall
DOLPHIN’S DOLPHIN’S
BARN BARN Harcourt Harcourt
SEE “THE INNER SOUTHSIDE” SEE “THE INNER SOUTHSIDE” N NMAP FOR DETAIL MAP FOR DETAIL
DART Station DART Station
LUAS Stop LUAS Stop 1212
Portobello Portobello0 0 200 200 CharlemontCharlemontBridge Bridge
metres metres RANELAGH RANELAGH BALLSBRIDGE BALLSBRIDGE
Harold's Cross (300m) Harold's Cross (300m) Rathmines Rathmines Donnybrook Donnybrook

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LSFORT TERRACE
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AFTON STREET
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Aras na Uachtárain, Farmleigh & Phoenix Park Visitor Centre
Aras na Uachtárain, Farmleigh & Phoenix Park Visitor Centre
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The Point 8 Shelbourne Park (200m) Aviva Stadium (200m)


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Q
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O
DUBLIN 57
replace dilapidated tenements. A couple of decades later city planners began to address 1
the issue of inner-city depopulation, constructing apartment blocks to house Dublin’s
wealthy middle classes. Te most obvious evidence of reinvigoration in the city centre
is the Temple Bar area, though the original intention to develop a Parisian-style quarter
of ateliers and arts centres soon fell foul of the moneygrubbers, and the area is now
home to a plethora of kitch tourist bars and fast-food chains. East of the centre,
reconstruction continues in the city’s docklands.
1 , Glasnevin Cemetery & National Botanic Gardens Airport, Malahide Castle & Casino at Marino
HIGHLIGHTSCENTRAL DUBLIN
PHIBSBOROUGH 8 1 Trinity College
ACCOMMODATION DRINKING & NIGHTLIFE EATING
Phibsborough Croke ParkPUBS & BARS Chapter One 1Ashling Hotel 7 2 The National Museum-Archaeology Stadium &The Bernard Shaw 12 Cobalt Café and Gallery 2 MaterBelvedere Hotel 4 GAA MuseumMisericordiaeFrank Ryan & Son 6 The Fumbally 5Clifden Guesthouse 2 3 The National Gallery
Hill 16 2 Urbanity 4Dublin International
Kavanagh's Wu 3 4 The Chester Beatty Library Youth Hostel 3
(aka The Gravediggers) 1Hilton Garden Inn 6
1 55 Dublin Spire Ryan's 4Maldron Hotel 5
GrangegormanMarian Guest House 1 TRADITIONAL MUSIC PUBS MOUNTJOY 6 BloomsdaySQUAREThe Brazen Head 9
2The Cobblestone 3 73 Kilmainham Gaol DublinDublin Hughes' Bar 7 Writers JamesZoo 6 2O'Shea's Merchant 10 8Broadstone- Museum 4 Croke Park Joyce
DIT 1 2 CentreDJ BARS & LIVE MUSIC Dublin City 9 The Cobblestone 3Arena 8 Gallery _ NORTH GREAT
PARNELL Parnell GEORGE’S STDice Bar 5 The Hugh Lane
SQUARE
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ConnollySEE “O’CONNELL STREET AND Gate TheatreSTONEYBATTER StationAROUND” MAP FOR DETAIL
St Mary's
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Dominick O'CONNELLJameson StationSTREET
Distillery Mayor5 BusárasBusáras Square99 The Dublin SpirePhoenix Park Marlborough3 Irish NCI
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Road Concert
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SEE “THE INNER SOUTHSIDE” NMAP FOR DETAIL
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58 DUBLIN
1 FESTIVALS AND EVENTS
JANUARY
Temple Bar Tradfest T01 677 2397, Wtemplebartrad.com. Five days and nights of traditional
music pub sessions, concerts, instrument workshops and more in the heart of the city.
FEBRUARY
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival T01 687 7974, Wjdif.com. Held at cinemas
and other venues across the city centre for eleven days in mid-February. While screening the
latest in new Irish cinema, the festival also has a decidedly international favour and its
hundred or so flms include special themes and retrospectives.
MARCH
Easter Rising Commemorations take place on Easter Sunday, featuring speeches and a march
from the General Post Ofce to Glasnevin Cemetery.
St Patrick’s Festival T01 676 3205, Wstpatricksfestival.ie. Running for fve days on and
around St Patrick’s Day (March 17), this city-wide festival includes a parade, light shows,
concerts, funfair, flms, exhibitions and a céilí mór, in which thousands of locals and visitors fll
the streets in a traditional danceathon.
Poetry Now Festival T01 231 2929, Wpoetrynow.ie. A major four-day event, held over the
last weekend in March at The Pavilion Theatre, Dún Laoghaire, the festival features readings by
well-known Irish and international poets, master classes, exhibitions and children’s events.
MAY
International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival T01 677 8511, Wgaytheatre.ie. A fortnight of
LGBT-focused drama, comedy, cabaret and musical theatre with international and Irish casts
taking place at a variety of city-centre locations.
Dublin Writers Festival T01 222 7848, Wdublinwritersfestival.com. Major Irish and
international writers and poets take part in six days of readings, discussions and other events
around the city centre.
JUNE
Docklands Maritime Festival T01 818 3300, Wdublindocklands.ie. Tall ships open their
decks to visitors over the frst weekend in June at North Wall q uay, plus there’s a market, street
theatre, trips along the Lifey and a variety of events for children.
Bloomsday T01 878 8547, Wjamesjoyce.ie. The James Joyce Centre organizes a week of
events in mid-June, culminating in Bloomsday itself (June 16), the day on which Joyce’s Ulysses
is set.
Dublin Pride Wdublinpride.ie. A week of celebration by the city’s gay, lesbian, bi- and
transsexual communities, featuring all manner of events, culminating in a vibrant and
entertaining street parade.
Dalkey Book Festival Wdalkeybookfestival.org. Described by Salman Rushdie as “the best
little festival in the world”, this literary festival attracts world-renowned writers to its
picturesque south Dublin setting every year.
Te so-called Celtic Tiger years of the late 1990s and early 2000s saw the wealth of
the city grow exponentially, as a property boom drove the demolition of derelict or
vacant buildings to make way for new apartments and ofces.
Another legacy of the boom was the arrival of migrants, particularly from Africa and
Eastern Europe, which, together with the city’s longer-standing Chinese community,
saw Dublin gradually inch towards multiculturalism.
Te fnancial crisis of 2008 called a halt to the dizzying pace of development. Many
new buildings were left half-fnished, while shops and ofce blocks on some of the
city’s most prestigious streets were without tenants for years at a time. But the
downturn has had an upside; cheaper rents have allowed more creative businesses to
open, with new galleries, performing spaces and places to eat popping up seemingly
every week. Many of the city’s overpriced, overly pretentious restaurants that prevailed THE SOUTHSIDE DUBLIN 59
JULY 1
Vodafone Comedy Festival Wvodafonecomedy.com. A stellar line-up of mostly Irish
comedians in the stunning surrounds of the Iveagh Gardens over four days.
Gaze LGBT+ Film Festival Wgaze.ie. A strong bill of Irish and international LGBT+ flms
screened over fve days towards the end of the month at the Light House Cinema in
Smithfeld (see p.108).
AUGUST
Dublin Horse Show T01 485 8010, Wdublinhorseshow.com. Five-day festival of equestrian
events in early August at the RDS arena in Ballsbridge, featuring major international
showjumpers participating in the Nations’ Cup.
Dublin Viking Festival T01 222 2242, Wdublinia.ie. The last weekend in August sees a
re-created Viking village established of Wood q uay, which features plenty of wandering
inhabitants and the chance to watch re-enacted combats.
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER (DUBLIN FESTIVAL SEASON)
Culture Night Wculturenight.ie. Hundreds of arts and cultural organizations around the city
open their doors until late for one Friday in mid-September, with free events, tours, talks and
performances.
All-Ireland Senior Hurling and Gaelic Football fnals Two of Ireland’s major sporting
events are staged at Croke Park (see p.88) in September: the hurling fnal on the frst or second
Sunday and the football fnal on the third or fourth Sunday.
Dublin Fringe Festival T1850374643, Wfringefest.com. Ireland’s biggest performing arts
festival takes place over more than two weeks from mid-September featuring music, dance,
street theatre, comedy and children’s events.
Dublin Theatre Festival T01 677 8899, Wdublintheatrefestival.com. A major celebration of
theatre, held during the last few days of September and the frst two weeks in October, this
includes performances of new and classic drama at various city-centre venues.
Dublin City Marathon T01 623 2250, Wdublinmarathon.ie. Featuring ten thousand entrants,
the race takes place on the last Monday in October and involves a roughly circular course
starting from Fitzwilliam Street Upper, heads north across O’Connell Bridge, and takes in
Phoenix Park and some southern suburbs before the fnish at Merrion Square North.
Oktoberfest Woktoberfest-dublin.de. A fest of German food, music and tankards of Bavarian
beer for two weeks in the Dublin Docklands, with stalls and entertainment for all the family.
NOVEMBER
Metropolis Wmetropolisfestival.ie. A music festival with a welcome emphasis on art and
visual stimulation, Metropolis is a multi-stage indoor afair set in the beautiful RDS, Ballsbridge.
DECEMBER
NYE Dublin Wnye.visitdublin.com. Four days of festivities to ring in the New Year, with a
“procession of light” through the city centre culminating in a big countdown concert on
College Green.
during the boom have withered, clearing the way for a plethora of excellent new cafés,
restaurants and bars ofering much more innovative dishes and better value for money.
As the economy begins to recover, the cranes are returning to the Dublin skyline. Its
inhabitants can only hope that the city’s planners and developers have learned from the
mistakes of the past.
The Southside
Te southside is home to one of Dublin’s most important historic sights, Trinity College,
whose main draw for visitors is the glorious Book of Kells. Te area also boasts stylish
Georgian streets, which lie to the east of College Green and Grafton Street, and are where B
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18 Cornucopia 4Celtic Whiskey Shop 13
Dolce Sicily 15George’s Street Arcade 7
Dunne and Crescenzi 9Hodges Figgis 6
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SEE “TEMPLE BAR” MAP
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Trinity Cassidy’s 2O’DONOVAN
ROSSA The Exchequer 6
BRIDGE Bank of Grogan’s Castle Lounge 8
IrelandMEETING The Horseshoe Bar 13
HOUSE Science
The International Bar 7SQUARE The GalleryFRONT
Rubrics NEW Kehoe’s 11SQUARE LIBRARY T r i n i t ySQUARE The Long Hall 10City SQUARE
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Malone Museum PearseChrist Library No Name Bar 9
Statue Building StationChurch FELLOWS’2 The Palace Bar 3
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LOWER 4 TRADITIONAL MUSIC PUB3 Arts4 5 1UPPER YARD Douglas Block O’Donoghue’s 14
YARD Hyde Gallery6 5 2 3 7 LIVE MUSIC & CLUBS4 CollegeDublin
Dublinia Copper Face Jack’s 17ParkCastle 3
& the 56 J.J. Smyth’s 124 6Viking Powerscourt 5 Rí Rá 57 6World 7 Townhouse The Sugar Club 16George St 88 9Dubhlinn Dawson Whelan’s 15Arcade 8 Gardens 9Chester 1011 LGBT
Beatty 9 1011 7 The George 410 NationalLibrary 12 8
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ACCOMMODATION9 10
14 11 Asheld Hostel 112 National
Avalon House 14Gallery
Brooks Hotel 911 12
15 Leinster Buswells Hotel 12Gaiety House Central Hotel 5Theatre
12 Natural The Dean Hotel 19
National History The Fitzwilliam Hotel 13St Patrick’s Museum– Museum
Harding Hotel 3Park Little ArchaeologySt Stephen’s 13 Museum Harrington Hall 20MerrionGreen Centre
of Dublin Square Jurys Inn Christchurch 6
13 Kelly’s Hotel 7St Stephen’s14 Huguenot Kilronan House 21Green
CemeterySt Patrick’s Kinlay House 4
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RoyalMarsh’s Mont Clare Hotel 8
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HouseSHOPPING Bunsen 1418
Avoca 2 Camden Kitchen 2115
Books Upstairs 1 Cellar Restaurant 16
Brown Thomas 5 Coee Angel 10
18Celtic Whiskey Shop 13 Cornucopia 4
George’s Street Arcade 7 Dolce Sicily 15
Hodges Figgis 6 Dunne and Crescenzi 9
16 FitzwilliamIrish Design Shop 3 Eatyard 23National Square
Kilkenny 8 Ely Wine Bar 17Concert
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21 L’Gueuleton 12
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22 0 300Harcourt Trocadero 121
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G62 DUBLIN THE SOUTHSIDE
you’ll fnd the compelling displays of the National Gallery and the National Museum. On 1
the west side of Trinity begins Temple Bar, which somehow manages to remain the city’s
hub for both carousing and art, overlooked sternly by Dublin Castle, British headquarters in
Ireland until 1921 and now home to the glorious collections of the Chester Beatty Library.
Dublin’s two iconic cathedrals, Christ Church and St Patrick’s, stand to the west of here.
College Green and Grafton Street
Formerly open felds beyond the city walls, College Green is today just a road junction,
hemmed in by the curving facade of the Bank of Ireland and Trinity College’s grandiose
west front, whose main gates are the most popular meeting place in the city. Running
south from here to St Stephen’s Green is the city’s main commercial drag, Grafton Street .
Tis pedestrianized street gets of to an inauspicious start with “the tart with the cart”, a
kitsch bronze, complete with wheelbarrow of cockles and mussels, of Molly Malone, who
was immortalized – though it’s unlikely she ever existed – in the popular
nineteenthcentury song. For people-watchers, Grafton Street is a must, noted especially for its
buskers, who range from string quartets to street poets. Shoppers will be drawn here, too,
in particular to the city’s fagship department store, Brown Thomas (see p.110). Te street’s
other major landmark, Bewley’s (see p.100), was founded by the Quaker Bewley family as
a teetotal bulwark against the demon drink, and owes its beautiful mosaic facade to the
mania for all things Egyptian that followed the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
Trinity College
College Green • Tours (30min) mid-May to Sept 14 every 20min 10.15am–3.40pm; see website for schedule during the rest of the year •
Free campus access to visitors; tours €3, or €14 including admission to the Old Library – if there are any queues there, this combination
ticket will allow you to jump them • T 01 896 1000, W tcd.ie
An imposing and surprisingly extensive architectural set piece right at the heart of the
city, Trinity College was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I to prevent the Irish
from being “infected with popery and other ill qualities” at French, Spanish and Italian
universities. Catholics were duly admitted until 1637, when restrictions were imposed
that lasted until the Catholic Relief Act of 1793; the Catholic Church, however,
banned its fock from studying here until 1970 because of the college’s Anglican
orientation. Famous alumni range from politicians Edward Carson and Douglas Hyde,
through philosopher George Berkeley and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ernest
Walton, to writers such as Swift, Wilde and Beckett. Trinity, though it also calls itself
Dublin University, is now just one of three universities in the capital: its main rival,
University College Dublin (UCD), part of the National University of Ireland, is based
at Belfeld in the southern suburbs; while Dublin City University is in Glasnevin.
From just inside the main gates, Trinity students lead thirty-minute walking tours of the
college. Te gates give onto eighteenth-century Front Square, fanked, with appealing
symmetry, by the Chapel and the Examination Hall, which is the elegant, stuccoed setting
for occasional concerts. On the east side of adjoining Library Square is the college’s oldest
surviving building, the Rubrics, a red-brick student dormitory dating from around 1701,
though much altered in the nineteenth century. In New Square beyond, the School of
Engineering occupies the old Museum Building (1852), designed in extravagant Venetian
Gothic style by Benjamin Woodward under the infuence of his friend, John Ruskin, and
awash with decorative stone-carving of animals and foral patterns.
Science Gallery
Pearse St • Tues–Fri noon–8pm, Sat & Sun noon–6pm; café and shop open 8am–8pm; closed for 2 weeks over Christmas and New Year •
Free • T 01 896 4091, W dublin.sciencegallery.com
In the northeastern corner of the college at the Pearse Street entrance (handy for Pearse
DART Station) is the excellent Science Gallery. Both thoughtful and THE SOUTHSIDE DUBLIN 63
thought-provoking, it hosts high-tech and interactive temporary exhibitions on all 1
aspects of science, from how the body uses fat to the causes of extreme weather events,
as well as interesting one-of lectures.
Douglas Hyde Gallery
Entrance on Nassau St • Mon–Wed & Fri 11am–6pm, Thurs 11am–7pm, Sat 11am–5.30pm • Free • T 01 896 1116,
W douglashydegallery.com
In Fellows’ Square on the south side of Library Square, the modern Arts Block is home
to the Douglas Hyde Gallery, one of Ireland’s most important galleries of modern art.
Temporary exhibitions focus on Irish and international artists whose work is not yet
well known, or has been previously overlooked. Gallery 2 regularly hosts exhibitions of
ethnographic and craft artefacts.
The Old Library and the Book of Kells
Fellows’ Square • May–Sept Mon–Sat 9.30am–5pm, Sun 9.30am–4.30pm; Oct–April Mon–Sat 9.30am–5pm, Sun noon–4.30pm; closed
for 10 days over Christmas and New Year • €10–13 • T 01 896 2320, W tcd.ie/library
Trinity’s most compelling tourist attraction is the Book of Kells, kept in the
eighteenth-century Old Library. On the library’s ground foor, beautiful pages are
displayed not just from the Book of Kells (around 800 AD), but from other works
such as the Book of Armagh (early ninth century) and the Book of Mulling (late eighth
century). Te books themselves are preceded by a fascinating exhibition, Turning
Darkness into Light, which sets Irish illuminated manuscripts in context – ranging
from ogham (the earlier, Celtic writing system of lines carved on standing stones) to
Ethiopian books of devotions.
Brief history
Pre-eminent for the scale, variety and colour of its decoration, the Book of Kells
probably originated at the monastery on Iona of the west coast of Scotland, which
had been founded around 561 by the great Irish scholar, bard and ruler St Colmcille
(St Columba in English). After a Viking raid in 806 the Columbines moved to the
monastery of Kells in County Meath, which in its turn was raided four times
between 920 and 1019. Although they looted the book’s cumdach or metal shrine
cover, the pagan Norsemen did not value the book itself, however, and despite
spending some time buried underground and losing thirty folios, it survived at Kells
up to the seventeenth century when it was taken to Dublin for safekeeping during
the Cromwellian Wars. Te 340 calfskin folios of the Book of Kells contain the four
New Testament Gospels along with preliminary texts, all in Latin. It’s thought that
three artists created the book’s lavish decoration, which shows Pictish, Germanic
and Mediterranean, as well as Celtic, infuences. Not only are there full-page
illustrations of Christ and the Virgin and Child, but an elaborate decorative
scheme of animals and spiral, roundel and interlace patterns is employed
throughout the text, on the initials at the beginning of each Gospel and on
full-length “carpet pages”.
The Long Room
Upstairs is the library’s magnifcent Long Room, built by Tomas Burgh between
1712 and 1732 and enlarged, with a barrel-vaulted ceiling, in 1860. As a copyright
library, Trinity has had the right to claim a free copy of all British and Irish
publications since 1801; of its current stock of four million titles, 200,000 of the
oldest are stored in the Long Room’s oak bookcases. Besides interesting temporary
exhibitions of books and prints from the library’s collection, the Long Room also
displays a gnarled ffteenth-century harp, the oldest to survive from Ireland, and a
rare original printing of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, made on Easter
Sunday in Dublin’s Liberty Hall.