By Ron Stern | Global Gumshoe
If you’ve never been to Ireland, now is the perfect time for a visit. With a new daily route from San Francisco on Aer Lingus, you can conveniently pop over for a visit to Dublin and get a slice of the Irish life in under a week.
Here are some of the best things to see and do:
There are several ways of transferring to Dublin’s City Centre, normally a 25-minute drive. A round-trip bus ticket costs around €10 ($13) while a taxi costs approximately €30 ($38).
Start at Saint Stephen’s Green and stroll around its lovely manicured grounds and fountains. You’ll find that the Irish are friendly and engaging, and don’t be surprised if you hear the common phrase, “céad míle fáilte” (a hundred thousand welcomes).
From the green, follow a circular route around Kildare Street to Trinity College. Here, you will want to take a quick tour of the campus and its most valuable asset, the ninth century Book of Kells, located in the Old Library. The vellum manuscript, one of the oldest surviving books in the world, contains the lavishly illustrated gospels in Latin, with vibrant colors derived from plants and stones like yellow from the arsenic plant and blue pigment from lapis lazuli. Plan for about an hour for your visit.
Next, walk along Dame and Lord Edward streets until you hit Christchurch Place; you will see the Christchurch Cathedral on your right. If you continue to head counterclockwise on Nicholas and Patrick streets, you will come to St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
This parish church of St. Patrick, the Anglican Church for all of Ireland, was founded in 1191 and restored by the Guinness family in the 1850s. There is an impressive exhibition of stone memorials, busts and crosses dating from the 10th century as well as important figures of those who contributed to Ireland’s history.
Grafton Street is a beehive of activity with street musicians — some of whom are quite good — entertaining passersby, along with loads of retail shops, pubs and restaurants. One of the notable landmarks is a life-sized bronze statue of Molly Malone, reputed to be a fishmonger by day and lady of the night in the evening, pulling her cart along the Dublin streets.
The Temple Bar is famous for its bright red façade and cool pints of Guinness. It was originally owned by Lord Temple and was where merchants offloaded their ships by the River Liffey.
While lesser known, the one-off boutiques, sidewalk cafes, pubs and alfresco dining on William, Drury, Fade and Georgia streets provide visitors with a new, hip and trendy vibe.
The Guinness Storehouse is one of the most popular sites in Dublin. With seven stories of history, the storehouse is a must-see. The Gravity Bar on the top floor, with spectacular views of Dublin, is the perfect spot to enjoy a pint of what is arguably one of the most famous brews in the world.
As the sun sets and you head back to your hotel, you will no doubt feel that your short visit is but a prelude to another venture exploring the country’s rich heritage. Until then, Ireland bids you “slán abhaile” for a safe journey back home.
Currency: The euro is used in Ireland.
Voltage: You will need to bring appropriate converters with you. Here is a website that may help: dochara.com/info/electricity/electricity-in-ireland
Rental Car: Check with your insurance company before you leave about renting a car in Ireland. Make sure you know what is and isn’t covered. Check out autoeurope.com for pricing and location information.
Where to Stay:
The Shelbourne Hotel
The largest 5-star hotel in Dublin, The Shelbourne is celebrating 190 years of distinguished service. From the drafting of the Irish Constitution in one of its rooms to playing host to celebrities such as John Wayne and Grace Kelly, this hotel is the perfect way to begin your whirlwind tour of Ireland.
The Fitzwilliam Hotel
A contemporary-designed luxury hotel located right across from St. Stephen’s green and upscale shopping areas.