Starting as a Viking settlement centuries ago, Dublin is an enchanting destination for an urban getaway, blending ancient and modern with natural beauty, and a profound literary tradition. It also makes a popular business hub for many large multinational companies.
Ireland has produced many outstanding writers, among them a number of Nobel laureates, including Samuel Beckett and George Bernard Shaw, as well as other celebrated scribes like Oscar Wilde and James Joyce. As such, Dublin is replete with establishments, tours and other activities dedicated to honouring Ireland’s literary accomplishments from the Dublin Writers Museum and James Joyce Centre, to the Children’s Book Festival and National Print Museum. Trinity College is home to one of Ireland’s greatest manuscripts, The Book of Kells, a centuries old work considered a national treasure and one-of-a-kind, priceless work of art.
Dublin Castle is a major piece of Ireland’s history, having been continuously occupied since its founding at the beginning of the 13th Century. Conveniently located in the heart of Dublin’s city centre, the castle now hosts a well-appointed conference centre, gardens, museums, a library and a chapel among other things. While visitors are free to explore the grounds at their leisure, the centerpiece of the castle, the State Apartments, considered the most important of their kind in Ireland, can be viewed by guided tour. A more recent addition to the city’s landmarks is the Spire of Dublin, reflecting a far more modern era with its stainless steel, pin-like structure jutting almost 400 feet into the air. These landmarks, as well as countless other interesting structures, statues and monuments can be seen all across Dublin.
The River Liffey, which bisects the city, provides some enjoyable attractions and activities. The Dublin or Liffey Boardwalk is one way to enjoy the river, but if you wish to get more closely acquainted, take a river tour, or get wet and enter the Liffey Swim, an annual race that takes place in late summer. Many bridges span the river, some centuries old and others more recent, the most famous of which is the Liffey Bridge, more commonly known as the Ha’penny Bridge, a cast iron structure built in the 1800’s and one of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks.
If you prefer an energetic scene, there are many nightclubs and bars from which to choose, many of them found along the banks of the Liffey River and in the Temple Bar area of the city. The strong tradition of social dining and countless pubs in the city, means one has a wide choice of where to settle for a meal, and there are even tours to help you get acquainted with the options available. And a visit to Dublin’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head, established in 1198, is highly recommended.
Ireland is home to many fascinating natural and man-made sites, including the famous Giant’s Causeway in Country Antrim, and the Blarney Castle near Cork, where you can see the famous Blarney Stone, believed to impart good luck to those who kiss it. Other attractions include the Cliffs of Moher in Country Clare, and Belfast Castle, in Northern Ireland.