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Kilmainham is one of the largest unoccupied prisons in Europe. It’s situated in the west part of Dublin, not far from the famed Guinness Storehouse. There’s a lot of Irish and English history here, including of Irish suppression and rebellion, so it makes for an interesting stop especially if you’re in the city for several days.
The jail opened in 1796 as the Dublin County Jail and as a debtor’s prison. At that time it was considered a model prison, but by modern standards it was a stark and cold place to be confined. It was often used by the British as a political prison, especially to incarcerate those who fought for Irish independence, including those of the firing …
Today we’ll pay a visit to the Museum of Ireland: Archaeology, situated on Kildare Street. The Archaeology Museum is housed in an elegant dome-capped building designed by Thomas Newenham Deane and his son, Thomas Manly Deane, and was opened in 1890. There are thousands of items on exhibit in the museum (from a collection of more than 2 million artifacts) outlining the unfolding history and treasures of Ireland, a country so very rich in history (less so in treasure). Despite the extensive collection, the museum is well organized. It’s easy to navigate and fun to explore. You’ll need at least a half day for an introductory visit — much longer if you want to linger and thoroughly study the things …
One of the greatest museums I’ve visited in recent years is Dublin’s National Museum: Archaeology. What a fascinating collection of artifacts awaits your exploration and study beyond its doors. As I found out while entering, the doors themselves are quite interesting. My attention was drawn to this massive, beautifully crafted (if somewhat scary looking) door knocker. You just don’t see craftsmanship like that anymore.
(Click on thumgnail to enlarge)
The Guinness Store attracts hundreds of tourists every day to what’s promoted as “Ireland’s #1 visitor attraction”. Arthur Guinness began brewing stout at St James Gate Brewery in 1759. Within a century this complex was the the largest brewery in the world, and it still brews 10 million pints a day (although today the Guinness brewery in Nigeria is larger than its Dublin counterpart, and the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado is now the largest single site brewery in the world).
The admission fee of about 15 Euros includes a self-guided tour of the old fermentation plant (everything is very well labeled and illustrated) and, when you’re done, a free pint of Guinness. The old plant was refurbished in the late …
Trinity College gives you a grand entrance to its inner courtyard. Through a door within a massive larger door, you enter a square and see the college’s bell-tower (Campanile) set in its center, surrounded by an assortment of buildings. The Campanile is one of the College’s — for that matter Dublin’s — iconic landmarks; built in 1853, it stands 30.5 m (100 ft) tall and is mostly constructed of granite. You’ll not see students lingering under this tower because of a lasting superstition that if you’re beneath it when the bell tolls, you’ll fail your exams. But enjoy it’s fine construction then look around a bit.
Beyond the bell-tower, there’s a lot to see at Trinity College. Situated on the south bank of the River Liffey, …
This post concludes tales of my road-trip around the Emerald Isle (though I’ve still got a few things to share about Dublin). I don’t think this road-trip series could end with a more appropriate destination than the “Cradle of Irish Culture and History”, the valley of the Boyne.
The Boyne River Valley is less than an hour’s drive north of Dublin, close enough to do as a day-trip but a longer visit is most definitely recommended. A valley of rich pasture and farmland with the Boyne River snaking through counties Meath and Louth on its way to the Irish Sea. You’ll be tempted to sit on its bank and throw a fishing line in (and might catch a trout or salmon …
The combination of its natural beauty and fascinating archaeological record (chronicling the country’s long history) makes Ireland a compelling place to visit. There are many fabulous places to see when visiting Ireland, each seeming better than the last one you stopped at. I think the most fascinating place we visited on the Emerald Isle — surpassing even the fabulous Dingle peninsula — was Brú na Bóinne. This place is truly unique and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Situated just an hour’s drive north of Dublin, it’s home to the most ancient structures I’ve ever been in and is well worth going out of your way to see.
Specifically I’m talking specifically about visiting Newgrange and Knowth, two sites in a complex …
Our journey around Ireland next took us north to the Cliffs of Moher. From Dingle we headed through Tralee then to the Tarbert ferry over the River Shannon. The ferry ride can save you considerable time (the other option being driving all the way around the river) but it only runs once an hour so you need to check its schedule and time your arrival accordingly. The ferry ride lasts about 15 minutes and it was cold but very scenic.
Soon we’re in County Clare and our main stop of the day not far ahead, the famous Cliffs of Moher (pronounced Maahrr), Ireland’s most popular natural tourist attraction which draws over a million visitors a year. …