It has just been over a year that I visited Ireland for the first time. I landed at Dublin, which is the capital and largest city of Ireland. Dublin is situated at the mouth of the River Liffey. I was there for an extended weekend and explored some of the sights in Dublin and went on a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher on the Atlantic coast.
Dublin is quite a small and beautiful city and can be explored mostly on foot to enjoy the city and it’s sights. I stayed in a hotel on the North of the Liffey, on one of the widest streets in Europe, the O’Connell Street. One of the famous landmarks on this road is the statue of Daniel O’Connell near the O’Connell Bridge.
Dublin has many landmarks and monuments dating back hundreds of years. One of the oldest landmarks in Dublin is the Dublin Castle. Dublin Castle was founded in 1204 by King John of England and was built with walls and ditches for the defence of the city.
The castle has a Norman style courtyard design, with defensive walls on the sides and protected at the corners by circular towers. The castle walls formed one corner of the outer perimeter of Dublin during Norman times with the River Poddle as a means of defence.
Above the Norman gate of the original castle is the 18th century clock tower, known as the Bedford Tower. The Throne Room is the grandest of the rooms in the castle and the St Patrick’s Hall dedicated to Ireland’s patron Saint has wonderfully painted ceilings.
The Chapel Royal in Dublin Castle was the official Church of Ireland chapel from 1814 till 1922, the creation of the Irish Free State.
The Chester Beatty collection is a museum and library in Dublin established in 1950, has the collections of the mining magnate, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. The museum is on the grounds of the Dublin Castle and the entry to Dublin Castle includes entry to this museum.
Sir Alfred Chester Beatty’s collections include manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints and rare books. The Western Collection includes biblical texts written in Armenian, Coptic, Greek, Latin and Syriac. The Islamic Collection includes Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Mughal era Indian Collections.
Trinity College is Dublin’s famous educational institution founded in the 16th century. A number of buildings within Trinity College are open to the public. One of the most famous is the Old Library, which houses millions of books and the most famous treasure of Ireland, The Book of Kells.
The Book of Kells is a world-famous manuscript produced by Celtic monks around 800 AD and is a beautiful representation of Insular art. It contains the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin and is considered a masterpiece of calligraphy. The Abbey of Kells, from where the book gets its name was the home to the manuscripts for many centuries.
The magnificent Long Room in the Old library is a 200 m long hall with two levels of oak bookcases and is lined with busts of famous people. It has the collection of all books published in Britain and Ireland.
Campanile of Trinity College
Another iconic landmark of Trinity College is the Campanile, a bell tower. There is a college tradition which says that students who pass under the campanile will fail in their exams!
OTHER LANDMARKS AND MONUMENTS IN DUBLIN
Spire of Dublin – A 121.2 m (398 ft) conical spire made of stainless steel, officially called the “Monument of Light”, is one of Dublin’s newest monuments located on O’Connell Street .
The Ha’penny Bridge – An iron footbridge considered to be one of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks over the River Liffey.
Christ Church Cathedral – The Church of Ireland cathedral in Dublin, designated as the local cathedral of the Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough.
St Patrick’s Cathedral – The national cathedral of the Church of Ireland.
Mansion House – The official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin .
Molly Malone statue – Bronze statue of a fictional fishmonger named Molly Malone, from a well-known Irish song.
Leinster House – The parliament of Ireland which was the former ducal residence in Dublin of the Duke of Leinster.
The National Museum of Ireland, Archaeology – Next to Leinster House the museum has displays on prehistoric Ireland, including treasures and objects from the Viking and medieval periods.
National Library of Ireland – A reference library, which holds exhibitions and has an archive of Irish newspapers.
Dublin Writers Museum – This little museum housed in a beautiful mansion houses photographs and first edition works of famous Irish writers. The museum also has a Gallery of Writers.
Dublin General Post Office – The GPO is a beautiful Neo-Classical building on O’Connell Street. This was the centre of the aborted Easter Rising in 1916 and there are paintings of historical events in the foyer.
CLIFFS OF MOHER & GALWAY
After a day of enjoying various sights of Dublin, I took a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher and Galway. The tour follows a scenic drive along the Wild Atlantic Way on the west coast of Ireland and continues on parts of the north and south coasts. The entire route of the Wild Atlantic Way is 2,500 km and passes through nine counties and three provinces.
The Cliffs of Moher, an UNESCO World Heritage site, rank as one of the most visited tourist sites in Ireland. The sea cliffs are located at the southwestern edge of the Burren region in County Clare, Ireland. The cliffs run about 14 kilometres.
At the southern end the cliffs rise 120 mts (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean at Hag’s Head. 8 kms (5 miles) to the north, they are about 214 mts (702 ft) near to the O’Brien’s Tower.
O’Brien’s Tower is a round stone tower near the midpoint of the cliffs, built in 1835 by Sir Cornelius O’Brien. The cliff side footpath round to O’Brien’s Tower provides a stunning view of the cliffs.
Lynch’s Castle, a limestone building in Irish gothic style was once the home to the most powerful family in Galway. The Lynch Family’s Coat of Arms can still be seen on the building. The Castle was acquired by Allied Irish Banks in 1930 and they restored the castle.
Lynch Window Memorial, the window on the upstairs room from where James Lynch, pushed his son Walter and hanged him. This action is supposed to have led to the origin of the English word “lynch”.
Another thing Galway is famous for is the Claddagh ring, which is supposed to have originated around the small fishing village of Claddagh in Galway. The Claddagh Ring is a traditional Irish ring which represents love (the heart), loyalty (the crown), and friendship (the hands).
- Dublin Airport is located north of Dublin city. There are direct bus services to the Town Centre from the Airport.
- It is prudent to carry rain wear in any season.
- Be ready to walk along the Cliffs to enjoy the views, whatever the weather. It can get quite windy near the cliffs.
- Dublin is much more than just Guinness, so do explore the city at leisure.
- If you have an UK visa, you are allowed to visit Ireland.
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