Dublin is the capital of Ireland, the country’s largest city and its business centre. It’s also the number one tourist destination within Ireland.
MAJOR DUBLIN & RDS EVENTS
Dublin is a throbbing, humming, bustling, exciting city. There are two major shopping districts, one north of the Liffey River and the other south. To traverse from one to the other is a walk of 15 minutes.
North: O’Connell Street is the main thoroughfare of Dublin. You can’t miss it – just look for the 300 foot tall stainless spire which sprouts from the centre of the O’Connell Street. Radiating out to both sides are major shopping areas, malls, knick knack shops and restaurants.
South: Bounded by the Liffey Riverand St. Stephen’s Green are Grafton Street, Dawson Street, Temple Bar and a maze of historic lanes with every kind of upscale and niche shop there is.
The fabric of the city was laid down primarily during the Georgian Period, when Kings George I, II and III ruled Britain and Ireland in the 1700’s.
Georgian architecture emphasized classic balance and order. Brick was the most common building material, new methods of glass production were incorporated into the first city housing designs to emphasize light and windows. Detailing, exemplified by the doors of Dublin, was exquisite.
Simply to walk through the large intact Georgian quarters of Dublin is a delight. Trinity College, in the centre of the city, features extensive Georgian buildings and the Book of Kells Museum. This amazingly beautiful book is undoubtedly Ireland’s greatest historic treasure.
Many a pub offers free music with your pint and there are exhibitions throughout the city.
But, the two main entertainment venues are both within walking distance of Donnybrook Hall. First, there is the main concert and event setting – The O2 Arena. This is where the likes of Bob Dylan major international stars play. The second is the Royal Dublin Showgrounds, the RDS. Besides the internationally important summer horse show, there are also numerous exhibitions and trade shows throughout the year.
There are two world class sports stadiums in Dublin.
For soccer/football and rugby there is the recently rebuilt Aviva Stadium. The Aviva Stadium is all swooping canopy and open sight lines. Happily, it is walking distance (15 minutes) from Donnybrook Hall.
Irish field sports are the domain of the completely amateur Gaelic Athletic Association, the GAA. Their home is Croke Park where you can witness the lightning swift game of Hurling or the more rough and tumble Gaelic Football.
The National Museum features Europe’s largest prehistoric gold collection and the stunning early medieval Tara Brooch, Lismore Crozier and Ardagh Chalice.
The National Gallery collection, besides featuring spectacular Irish artists like Jack Yeats boasts an extensive collection from Renaissance Italian through Dutch masters to Picasso.
The Natural History Museum is the world’s finest remaining example of a classic Victorian display centre. The kids love this one.
IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, has a modest permanent collection, but continually changing exhibitions makes this a beacon for contemporary art fans.
The Writer’s Museum features first editions, notebooks, photos and memorabilia illuminating the creative genius of writers like Yeats, Joyce and Beckett.
DUBLIN CASTLE & MORE
The centre of power through centuries of English rule, Dublin Castle still serves important state and ceremonial purposes. The public rooms are impressive and the tour leads underground to explore the excavated remains of the ancient castle.
On the grounds of the Castle is the Chester Beatty Library, winner of the European Museum of the Year Award. This little known gem combines videos, artifacts and manuscripts from cultures around the world. Everything from Durer etchings to Islamic calligraphy to the robes of a Chinese Emperor.
Just a few short blocks from the Castle are the many cultural exhibitions to be found in Temple Bar. Street buskers, photography displays and art galleries crowd Dublin’s cultural quarter.
Dublinia is an exhibition that unveils the history of Dublin as you walk through a twisty neo-Gothic building and into the crypt of Christ Church, Dublin’s most important medieval Cathedral.
Arthur Guinness began brewing his iconic drink in 1759. His turf-dark stout has been the drink of choice throughout the Irish nation till this day.
The Guinness Storehouse is now a high tech museum, featuring interactive exhibits. Not only do visitors learn how beer is fermented, they get to taste fresh brew. And the Gravity Bar on the roof features lovely views of Dublin and free pints of the dark stuff. Lovely.
SAINT STEPHEN’S GREEN
This gorgeous 22 acre park anchors the south side of the city’s main commercial district. It’s a great place to relax and enjoy the wonderful flower displays, the waterfalls, the ponds and centuries old trees.
On weekends local artists display and sell their work. And lunchtime concerts are performed in the park during the summer months.
The Irish are world leaders when it comes to all forms of celebration. Music – traditional, classical and rock – can be heard everywhere. Street buskers throng busy Grafton Street. Dublin pubs, including many in Donnybrook, feature great traditional groups.
There’s plenty more, including the National Museum Decorative Arts and Military History displays at Collins Barracks. The Bank of Ireland directly across from Trinity College contains the intact House of Lords from the late 1700’s. There are arcades, the Henry Street open air market, the Liffey River boardwalk, the GPO where the Easter Uprising of 1916 was fought….