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Gone are the days when Ireland was a sleepy destination of boiled spuds and stews. The Celtic tiger changed all of that, transforming the Emerald Isle into a must-visit destination for travellers due to its exceptional sights and outstanding local cuisine. While a brief city break can certainly sate the uninitiated, Goway recommends spending up to five days in the city. With so much to see and do, you’re sure to find yourself spoiled for choice when it comes to enthralling activities in the Irish capital.
Often overlooked, Phoenix Park is the largest bounded park in all of Europe, clocking in at approximately twice the size of New York City’s Central Park. Host to the US Ambassador’s Residence and the President’s Residence as well as the Dublin Zoo, it is a delight to explore on your own, and lucky guests may spot wild deer, which live in the park year-round (they can be tricky to find, but if you visit the Pope’s Cross, they are often found grazing in this section of the park).
South of the Phoenix is the infamous jail, Kilmainham Gaol. Many of the Republic’s most famous rebels were jailed here before execution at the hands of the British. Since repurposed as a museum to showcase this tumultuous time, the museum is steeped in independence history. Cinephiles may also recognize part of the jail from the Daniel Day-Lewis movie In the Name of the Father.
Shifting focus to Ireland’s most famous export, no trip to Dublin is complete without an in-depth tour of the Guinness Brewery. On an organized tour, you’ll learn how to pour the perfect pint and then head to the top floor of the factory where the lift leads to a glass bar that affords spectacular views of Dublin and of the mountains to the south; it’s the perfect view to enjoy while sipping on the perfect pint.
Another site of interest worth a visit is Ha’penny Bridge. Created to replace the ferries that took people across the River Liffey, the bridge originally had turnstiles at each end that charged a ha’penny (half a pence) to cross, thus the name. Beyond the interesting history, the bridge is a great place to stop and look up and down the famous river that divides Dublin into north and south.
Just a short jaunt from Ha’penny Bridge, you will find one of the world’s most influential places of higher education. Founded in 1592, Trinity College has produced some of Ireland’s—perhaps more accurately, some of the world’s—greatest minds. Samuel Beckett, Edmund Burke, Erwin Schrodinger, Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift, and Oscar Wilde—to name only a few—have walked the halls of Trinity College either as a professor or a student. Take a moment to soak in the atmosphere and to admire its beautiful courtyard, then make your way to the college library to view the pièce de résistance: the legendary Book of Kells.
After days filled with outdoor activities and historical appreciation, it may be time to head downtown for a drink. Although there are a number of fantastic, authentic pubs to experience, we recommend McDaid’s and The Stag’s Head for their quintessential Irish ambience, while guests seeking creative concoctions in a Victorian-themed establishment should head to Gin Palace. If you have the time and determination, consider making the trip through the Dublin Mountains to visit one of region’s best seafood restaurants, Johnnie Fox’s (a one-hour drive south of Dublin); the atmosphere here is great, and tourists and locals alike mingle in the main section of the pub.
It’s easy to see why Ireland has become a can’t-miss destination. With open hearts and arms, the country and people of Ireland are some of the best hosts for eager globetrotters, and the team at Goway is ready to bring your Irish travel plans to life. For an excellent and comprehensive survey of the country, our escorted coach tour Explore Ireland is the perfect fit, while guests seeking a more private exclusive may prefer to discover Ireland by rail on our Grand Tour of Ireland aboard the Belmond Grand Hibernian. Imminently drivable, we also offer a range of self-drive experiences for guests who love to hit the open road. Whatever your preference, we’re here to help.
To get started, please review our vacation ideas or better yet, call us at 1-800-557-2841 to speak with a Destination Specialist.
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