clan gathering 2005!
For any and all information regarding the reunion, contact Pat Gagin
Below are some tips and options
Preparing to visit Ireland
The Galway Option
Options in Dublin
Preparing to Visit IRELAND
Ireland (an island) is 303 miles long and 189 miles at its widest point, has an amazing diversity of terrain. Geographically, it is somewhat like a basin, with mountains rising up around the rim and a limestone plain in the centre which is alternately flat and rolling, broken by low hills, called drumlins, and numerous lakes. Much of the land is agricultural, fed by meandering rivers and divided by thick hedgerows or stonewall fences. The most unique feature of Ireland's landscape is the vast stretches of blanket bog that cover much of the central and northwestern counties, a sight all the more startling when you learn that this country was once covered in thick oak forests. Ireland has both the longest river, the Shannon, and the largest lake, Lough Neagh, in the British Isles, as well as the highest sea cliffs in Europe.
It's not, however, turquoise blue of the lakes, the purple gray of the mountains or the tawny gold pelt of the boglands at sunset that is most frequently used to describe Ireland. This is, after all, the Emerald Isle, and it is the spectrum of greens you most remember, from dark and lush to shimmering with an almost electric brightness. The price to be paid for all this green is rain, and you should be prepared for sudden changes in the weather. However, the climate is moderated by the Gulf Stream, allowing fuchsias and even palms to flourish in sheltered spots.
The 'four green fields' of Irish ballads refer to its four provinces: Ulster in the north, Leinster in the east, Munster in the south and Connacht in the west. They are based on the country's ancient kingdoms, and while they have no political significance today, they still hold cultural and historical importance.
Irish humour and wit are legendary, and ordinary people express themselves with great imagination and insight. No place in Ireland is without a story, and a lyrical one at that. People know and respect their history, for the sense of place and belonging to the land is inherent in the Irish character, a fact that makes the tragedies of the past all the more poignant. 'You are very welcome' is the greeting you'll receive in an Irish home, for their hospitality is second to non, a custom that dates back to Celtic times when such behaviour to travelers was a matter of honour.
Ireland can now boast, they have the fastest growing economy in the industrialized world. It has been christened the Celtic Tiger, and its roar has reversed the tide of economic emigration for the first time in decades. Computer software and services, along with tourism and agriculture, are at the forefront of the economy.
Ireland is an easy place to travel - it's informal, friendly with all the comforts of home. Because the country is small, it's tempting to try to cover as much ground as possible. You might see a lot that way, but you'll miss much more, for rushing is a foreign concept in Ireland and its greatest rewards lie in the chance encounters and unexpected charms you'll discover when you match its pace.
A word about the leprechauns&ldots;If they do exist, they only come out at night to tamper with the road signs. When driving the back roads you often get the feeling that they're sitting in the field sniggering as they watch you drive off in the opposite direction from where you want to go. But apart from this bit of mischief, you'll find Ireland a delightful place for a touring holiday and it's likely that your first trip here will not be your last.
&ldots;visitors to Ireland are allowed about $195 US worth of goods per adult, 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars, 1 liter of spirits, 2 liters of wine, and 60 mls of perfume or 250 mls of toilet water. US visitors can take home $400 US worth of goods per person, including 200 cigarettes or 100 cigars and 1 liter of spirits or wine. Canadians are allowed $500 Canadian worth of goods per person, including 200 cigarettes and 1.14 liters of spirits or wine.
The price of most goods includes value-added tax, or VAT. As a visitor, you can have this sales tax refunded at the end of your trip. Be sure to ask for a tax-free shopping form with each purchase and present these forms to either Global Tax Free Shopping or Tax Back at the airport prior to your departure.
Ireland has a mild, temperate climate with summer temperatures generally ranging from 60 to 75 degrees F. Showers can occur at any time of the year. The temperatures in spring and fall are generally in the 50s F and in winter in the 30s and 40s.
&ldots;.range from luxurious castles to horse-drawn caravans. Almost all accommodations in every category includes breakfast. High season in Ireland is July and August, so it is wise to book ahead.
These two web-sites are very helpful in searching for a car rental or accommodation:
Hotels are classified from one to five stars. Five-star hotels are luxurious world-class establishments; all four- and three-star hotels and most two-star hotels have en-suite facilities, as well as restaurants; one-star hotels may also have some rooms with private bath or shower.
Guest-houses are rated separately, from one to four stars. All rooms in three- and four-star guest-houses have en-suite facilities and may serve dinner. Some rooms in one- and two-star guest-houses may also have en-suite rooms.
Irish Homes and Farmhouses (B&B) give you a chance to experience daily life with an Irish Family, in traditional cottages, bungalows, farmhouses and other homes located in towns, villages and the countryside.
Self-catering is available in cottages, houses, apartments and other properties, which are often located in scenic areas.
Over 60 percent of Ireland's population is under age 25, children won't lack for company. Restaurants often have children's menus. Children are allowed to enter pubs until around 1730, although they cannot drink alcohol until the age of 18. Most parks and other attractions geared for children may offer family tickets. When booking hotels and public transport, be sure to ask about any children's discounts.
Ireland is one of the wettest countries in Europe with the west receiving the most rainfall. One of the most amazing things about this climate is how quickly it changes. You can get soaked in a downpour one minute and have bright blue sky the next, so be prepared for anything. Even in high summer, it's never unbearably hot.
If service is not already included in your bill, the standard tip in restaurants is 10 percent (up to 15 percent for particularly good service). Tip taxi drivers about 10 percent of the metered fare, but hackney cabs who drive for prearranged sums do not expect tips. Tipping is not expected by bar staff in pubs, or for hotel services such as serving a drink or carrying bags to your room.
The standard electrical current in Ireland is 220 volts AC (50 cycles). You will need to bring a converter for appliances from abroad, as well as a plug adaptor to fit the 3-pin flat or 2-pin round wall sockets.
Ireland's unpolluted waters and fertile farmlands produce top-quality beef, lamb, pork, fish, seafood and vegetables. Ireland is the place to indulge yourself with seafood - it's fresh, plentiful and reasonably priced. Beef from the Midlands and tender lamb cutlets will please the pickiest carnivore.
Among the traditional dishes to try are Irish stew, a thick lamb or mutton casserole topped with potatoes; Dublin coddle, a supper dish made with chopped sausages, ham or bacon cooked in a stock with potatoes and onions; and boxty, a potato pancake stuffed with marinated beef, chicken or other fillings. Ireland is also renowned for its fine cheeses.
You are advised to take our medical insurance, as you will be expected to pay for treatment if you fall ill. Travel insurance covering theft or loss of luggage, travel delays, etc. is always a good idea. Check your home contents policy to see if you are covered while traveling abroad.
Hours Monday - Friday 1000 - 1600. In larger cities banks stay open all day, in small towns and rural areas they close for lunch 1230 - 1330. There are ATMs all over.
Shops and businesses
Hours Monday - Saturday 0900 - 1730 or 1800. Smaller towns may close early on one day. Many towns and most shopping centres have late-night shopping until 2000 or 2100 Thursdays or Fridays.
Pubs and Bars
Monday - Saturday 1030 - 2330 (some pubs close for lunch). Sunday 1230 - 1400 and 1600 - 2300.
Lunch is generally served from 1200 - 1430 and dinner from 1830 - 2200. Many ethnic and city-centre restaurants stay open later.
If you learn no other words of Irish, remember that 'Fir' means 'men' and 'Mna' means 'women'. When looking for the public toilets in Gaeltacht areas, the word is 'Leithris'.
Throughout Ireland, the rules of the road are similar to those in Britain, with some minor differences. Drive on the left and overtake (pass) on the right. Cars on roundabouts have priority, and at unmarked road junctions the vehicle to the right has the right of way. A continuous white line down the centre of the road means overtaking is prohibited.
Dangerous bends and accident black spots are usually signposted - heed them - but beware those charming stone bridges, which are usually approached suddenly round a sharp curve that obscures oncoming traffic until you meet head on. Many town centres are clogged with traffic. Farm vehicles and an inordinate number of road works also add to delays. And, in rural areas, there are some amazingly poor, often elderly, drivers, so be prepared for anything.
You may notice some cars with red 'R' plates, which means "Restricted'. This identifies inexperienced drivers who have held their license for less than a year and must keep to low speeds.
A round sign with a red 'P' indicates parking is permitted; if crossed by a diagonal line, parking is prohibited. Obey the signs, as fines run high and more if you get towed. A blue 'P' sign indicates a car park or a lay-by. Car parks are free or have a nominal charge in most towns, and its best to use them. You can also park on the street, unless there is a no-parking sign. Many towns operate a disc parking scheme; these are scratch cards which you buy from nearby shops and newsagents for the designated time you intend to park.
To contact the police (GARDA) in an emergency dial 999. Local police numbers can be found in the telephone directory.
You may notice the old granite milestones along road verges, especially in County Down, which are marked in Irish miles. An Irish mile measures 2,240 yards, which is 480 yards longer than an English road. All modern road signs give distances in standard English miles.
Speed limits are 30 mph (45 kph) in towns unless signs indicate otherwise. The general speed limit on most roads is 60 mph (95 kph) unless otherwise posted. The motorway speed limit is 70 mph (110 kph).
Ireland's small country roads are scenic, but they can also be frustrating to navigate. In the Republic of Ireland, routes have been numbered as 'N' (National) and 'R' (Regional) routes. (i.e. N19 or R551).
limits are given in miles on black-on-white fingerposts. New white
signs and all of the green signs give the distances in kilometers,
with 'km' after the number. Brown and white signs indicate tourist
attractions, facilities or scenic drives. Blue and white signs give
The Galway Options
Arriving June 24, 25 or 26, 2005
If you arrive early or before you join the group in Athlone for the family gathering, below are three options you may want to explore. Or, head right to Galway to relax or explore the Connemara.
Those inclined to play golf - Ballybunnion is one of Ireland's premier seaside resorts with a championship golf course (2000 Tiger Woods played here).
>From Shannon Airport take N18 through Limerick, catching N69 South through Mungret to Askeaton. On the way you'll pass the turn for the Celtic Theme Park & Garden, a re-created prehistoric settlement and, Curraghchase Forest Park (Tel: +353 61 396558) - a 618-acre plantation with forest walks, a lake and arboretum. Askeaton was the medieval stronghold of the Desmonds, whose ruined castle with its enormous Great Banqueting Hall sits on an island in the River Deel in the centre of town. Also on the river banks are the well-preserved cloisters of a 15th-century Franciscan friary. The most scenis portion of this drive begins at the small port of Foynes. The Flying Boat Museum documents the transatlantic sea-plane service that
operated here in the 1930s and 1940s. The road continues through pastoral riverside landscape to Glin. Continue West on N69 to Tarbert, where there is a handy car ferry that crosses the Shannon to Killimer in County Clare.
The Tarbert Bridewell courthouse and gaol re-creates the fate of a prisoner in the 1830s. In Tarbert you need to take R551 which continues to Astee, then on to Ballybunnion. It has a magnificent beach backed by striking ruins and stunning cliff walks.
B&B - Ballybunnion
The 19th Green (Mary Beasley)
Golf Links Road
Tel: +353 68 27592
>From here to return to Galway, take the car ferry out of Tarbert to Killimer in Cty Clare. From Killimer take N67 North to Ennis, catching N18 to N6 for Galway.
Cliffs of Moher, The Burren, Ballyvaughan
>From Shannon Airport (N19) to West N18 going to Ennis, taking N85 West to Ennistymon.
Ennistimon: the waterfalls on the River Cullenagh are visible from the seven-arch bridge that spans the river.
In Ennistymon go south on N67 to Lahinch, taking R478 West past Liscannor to the Cliffs of Moher. (Scenic route: Take R477 out of Liscannor to
Cliffs of Moher
These sheer striated cliffs, rising over 700 feet out of the Atlantic, are one of the west coast's most impressive natural sights. Stretching for nearly 5 miles along the coast, they form a massive housing estate for nesting gulls, kittiwakes, puffins and other seabirds. O'Brien's Tower, built in the 19th century as a viewpoint for Victorian tourists, sits atop the highest cliff; on a clear day you can see the mountains of Connemara.
>From Cliffs of Moher, travelers may want to continue the coast road (R477) south of Black Head which provides a fine view of the huge boulders, deposited at the end of the Ice Age, which rest on the bare limestone pavement; in fine weather the Aran Islands, or similar geological formation, are visible offshore - on to Ballyvaughan where you may want to spend the night.
OR from the Cliffs of Moher take R478 to Lisdoonvarna.
Lisdoonvarna: the village is Ireland's only spa; the sulphur spring at the Spa Wells health Centre is used for medicinal purposes. A 17th century crucifix adorns the Roman Catholic Church of Our Lady of Lourdes (1878). Every September bachelors from Ireland and beyond arrive in the town to seek a wife at the Lisdoonvarna Fair.
Spa Wells Health Centre
Tel: +353 65 74023 (book in advance for baths and treatments)
From Lisdoonvarna take N67 North through The Burren past Corkscrew Hill which provides a good view of the limestone terraces. One may want to spend the night in Lisdoonvarna before proceeding to Galway.
Newtown Castle and Trail: The stone spiral staircase of this fine 16th century defensive tower house lead to a series of exhibits illustrating the recent restoration of the building and the importance of the region in medieval times as a centre for the study of law. The gallery of the Great Hall beneath the new domed roof leads to a balcony with extensive views over the Burren. A trail on the hillside behind the tower leads to a variety of natural and historic man-made features including an early lime kiln and a Victorian gazebo.
On to Ballyvaughan where one may want to spend the night here before proceeding to Galway.
Ballyvaughan: Burren exposure, just east of the village centre by N67. This interpretation centre occupies a splendid setting overlooking the harbour; it uses a series of audio-visual presentations to describe the geology, flora and human history which have combined in the unique landscape of the Burren.
Aillwee Cave (south of Ballyvaughan). The single tunnel stretching deep into the Burren presents stalactites and stalagmites and a waterfall which is impressively floodlit from below. The bones of a brown bear were found in one of the hibernation pits near the entrance. At the back of the Highway, the largest chamber, there is a vertical drop; even in dry weather
the sound of flowing water can be heard.
The Burren Centre (Kilfenora)
Tel: +353 65 88030
>From Ballyvaughan proceed north on N67. A stop at the Corcomroe Abbey is in order here before traveling on to Galway.
Corcomroe Abbey the ruins of this Cistercian abbey are almost indistinguishable from the stone of the surrounding Burren. The abbey of St. Mary of the Fertile Rock was founded in about 1180 by Donal Mor O'Brien or more likely his son Donat. There are carved capitals and fine vaulting in the choir and transept chapels. It was here that William Butler Yeats set his verse play The Dreaming of the Bones. On the north slope of Turlough Hill are the ruins of three 12 century churches.
>From here our journey continues north on N67 to Kinvara, where one must stop to visit Dunguaire Castle. The four-story tower house with adjoining bawn, which stands by the shore at the head of Kinvarra Bay, was built in 1520 by the descendants of Guaire, King of Connaught in the 7th century. The Martyns of Galway owned it from the 17th century to 20C, when it was restored by Oliver St. John Gogarty (1924) and by Christobel Lady Ampthill (1954). Traces of the wickerwork support used in its construction are visible on the ground-floor vault. The first and second floors are furnished for medieval banquets, the top floor (76 steps) as a 20C sitting room. The castle faces Kinvarra.
>From Kinvara you are a short distance to Galway.
Bunratty Castle / Limerick
>From the Shannon Airport proceed N19 to East N18 to Bunratty Castle and on to Limerick.
Bunratty Castle regarded as one of the finest surviving examples of an Irish Tower house. Like most such buildings, Bunratty has had a bloody and violent history. Its strategic position on the river Shannon made it the centre of many a battle, and it has been destroyed and re-built on at least eight occasions.
Originally the Vikings built a fortified settlement here, a former island surrounded by a moat. Then the Normans came: Thomas de Clare built the first stone structure on the site in the 1270s and the castle played an important role in the ongoing struggle between the Normans and the Thomond family for centuries thereafter. The current building dates back to 1425,
and was restored in 1954.
The Folk Park adjoins Bunratty castle and aims to show what everyday life was like in rural Ireland about 100 years ago. It contains reconstructed farmhouses, cottages and shops, and care has been taken to make them as authentic as possible. The Park is a living museum: animals are tended, bread is baked, milk is churned, walls are whitewashed and roofs are thatches; where buildings typical of a dispersed rural settlement are complemented by a village settlement.
The Great Limerick Tour of the city sights by open-top bus runs twice daily from mid-June through Aug. Contact Bus Eireann; tel 061 313333. They also run the Angela's Ashes tour (famed setting for Frank McCourt's novel Angela's Ahes). The slums of McCourt's childhood have long gone, and Limerick's beautifully renovated Georgian buildings - best seen along the Crescent and O'Connell Street - and its prosperous city centre create a fine impression of the City today.
Limerick has many beautiful churches that are worth a look. Whether or not you're a McCourt fan, pay a visit to Mungret Abbey, where Angela's ashes were finally scattered in the churchyard. These atmospheric ruins lie on the southwest outskirts of town and date back to the 16th century. It is said that a long-standing rivalry existed between the monks of Mungret Abbey and Clonmacnoise as to which were the greatest scholars. They decided to settle the matter once and for all with an early-Christian version of 'University Challenge'. On the day their guests were due to arrive, the monks of Mungret dressed as washerwomen and went down to the shrahan, a little trench used for laundering clothes. When the monks of Clonmacnoise passed by and asked directions to the abbey, they answered them in Greek and Latin. At that, the visitors decided that if the washerwomen of Mungret were this well educated there was no point in challenging the monks, and they returned to Clonmacnoise.
The Hunt Museum (Tel: +353 61 417826.), with a superb collection of Celtic and medieval treasures as well as Irish and European paintings.
Limerick Museum has a fine collection of artifacts, including a brass-topped stone pillar known as 'the Nail'; this once stood in the Exchange (now gone), where business transactions were finalized with cash 'on the Nail'. The museum is housed in two of the attractive Georgian buildings at St. John's Square.
St. Mary's Cathedral, which dates from the 12th century, has interesting tombs and King John's Castle, a Norman fortress, houses good historical exhibitions. Alongside the castle is Castle Lane, an authentic 18th- to 19th-century streetscape. Across Thomond Bridge is the Treaty Stone, where the treaty that ended the siege of the Williamites was signed.
>From Limerick to Galway, take N18 north through Ennis, catching N6 to Galway (you may want to spend the night in Ennis and travel to Galway the next morning).
Clare's county town dates from 1240 when the O'Briens, kings of Thomond, invited the Franciscans to establish a settlement on an island, or 'Inis', formed by two streams of the River Fergus. The friary still stands and is famous for its richly carved monuments, particularly the 15th-century McMahon tomb. The town is a lively and characterful place, with narrow winding streets and bright shopfronts in the town centre. In O'Connell Square a statue atop a high pedestal commemorates Daniel O'Connell, 'The Liberator' who was MP for County Clare between 1828 and 1831. Numerous mementoes from Irish political history can be seen in the Ennis Museum. Above all, Ennis is famous for traditional music and hosts the annual
Fleadh Nua music festival at the end of May.
Ennis Tourist Information Office
Tel: +353 65 28366
Monday, June 27 through June 29, 2005 (June 29 departure - 2.5 hours to Athlone)
Group Dinner, Monday, 6/27 (time and place to be determined)
Bus Trip to Connemara (full day) (if we have enough participants)
(if you are planning on attending dinner 6/27, please e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org the number in your group)
(if you'd like the day trip to Connemara (6/28), please e-mail to email@example.com the number in your group)
The Shannon Airport is approximately 1.5 hours south of Galway (from airport take N19 to North N18 through Ennis then N6 to Galway).
The Shannon River is the longest river in the British Isles, running 170 miles from its source in County Cavan to its meandering mouth.
Irish coffee, the internationally acclaimed beverage, was invented at Shannon in 1943 by Chef Joe Sheridan.
Is a large county divided into two contrasting regions by the expanse of Lough Corrib. To the west, lying between the lake and the Atlantic, is Connemara, a region of superb scenic grandeur dominated by the rocky mountain range known as The Twelve Pins. East of Lough Corrib a fertile limestone plain extends to the Galway-Roscommon border and the River Shannon. Galway City, with its seaside suburb of Salthill, lies south of the lake. It is an important tourist centre and a gateway to the scenic areas of the county.
Galway is situated near the head of a large bay and is the principal city of the province of Connacht. The streets and buildings of this ancient town have many interesting features and its position on the fringe of western Gaeltacht (Irish-speaking area) makes it the obvious gateway to Connemara, where the ancient language and customs of Ireland are preserved.
Galway Tourist Information Office
Tel: +353 91 537700
Fax: +353 91 537733
Salthill Tourist Information
Tel: +353 91 520500
History of Galway City
A town existed here from the earliest times and may have been the city of Magnata mentioned by Ptolemy. According to the Annals of the Four Masters (1632-1636), a fort was erected here in the 1124 by the Connachtmen. From 1232, when Richard de Burgh took the city and made it his residence, Galway became a flourishing Anglo-Norman colony. Among its settlers were the families who later became known as the '14 Tribes of Galway' - the Blakes, Bodkins, Brownes, D'Arcys, ffrenches, Kirwans, Joyces, Lynches, Morrisses, Martins, Skerrets, Athys, Deans and Ffonts.
The settlers guarded themselves against intercourse with the native Irish and a by-law of 1518 ordered 'that neither O or Mac shall strutted ne swager thro' the streets of Galway'. The native clans, however made many successful raids on the city, a practice reflected in the inscription which was once to be seen over the west gate: 'From the fury of the O'Flahertys, good Lord deliver us'.
Galway's first charter was granted by
Richard II in 1484, an event which was celebrated by a Quincentennial
year in 1984. A fountain was erected to mark this special year in
Galway's history. The city was long celebrated as an educational
centre and in the sixteenth century had the most renowned classical
school in the country. An extensive trade developed not only with the
Continent, importing French and Spanish wine, but also with the West
Indies. During this time the town acquired some Spanish features
- most notable in the architecture and in the dress and
manners of the people. This prosperity, however, did not survive the
religious disputes of the Reformation and their political
consequences. After two lengthy sieges
- by the Cromwellians in 1652 and by William of
Orange's forces in 1691
- Galway went into decline.
The Claddagh ring - two hands holding a heart with a crown on the top - represents love, loyalty and friendship. This Galway tradition originated in the fishing village of Claddagh, which was located on the west bank of the river just outside the medieval walled city (now a suburb). It is said to have been made in the 1730s by Richard Joyce, who was captured by Moorish pirates and trained as a goldsmith. When King William ordered his release, he made the ring to express his gratitude. It became popular as a wedding ring and to symbolize friendship or betrothal. If the ring is worn with the heart pointing inward, it signifies the wearer's heart is taken. If the heart points outward, the wearer's heart is open.
Points of Interest
Eyre Square - the focal point of the modern city between the old town and the docks centres on a small park, named after John F Kennedy, President of the USA, who visited Galway in 1963. There are several monuments: the Browne doorway (a relic of Spanish architectural influence) removed from their house in 1906; cannons from the Crimean War presented to the Connaught Rangers; a statute by Albert Power RHA of Patrick O'Connor (1882-1928); a statue of Liam Mellows who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising and was executed by the Free State army during the Civil War. The sword and mace of the city corporation, which was instituted by Richard III in 1484 and abolished in 1841, are displayed in the Bank of Ireland Building; the sword (1610) bears two Galway silversmiths' marks; the mace, a massive highly-decorated piece made in Dublin (1710), was presented by Edward Eyre in 1712.
In Lombard Street the Church of St. Nicholas, founded by the Normans in 1320, is remarkable for its unique triple nave. The medieval church, which was dedicated to St Nicholas of Myra, the patron saint of sailors, was begun c 1320 and frequently enlarged, especially in the 15C and 16C. Columbus is said to have prayed here before setting out for America, a tradition supported by the fact that a Galway man named Rice de Culvy accompanied him on his great voyage. The exterior is decorated with gargoyles and carved mouldings over the doors and windows. The interior includes a medieval water stoup, a font and numerous tombstones, some with vacationed marks. The south transept was extended to include the Lynch tomb which bears the family crest. The Lynch Memorial recalls the legend that in the 15C Judge James Lynch condemned his son Walter to death for murder and acted as hangman since no one else would carry out the sentence.
At the corner of Shop Street is Lynch's Castle, a fine old mansion (1320) which was the residence of the Lynch Family. The building belonged to the most powerful of the 14 tribes. The grey stone façade bears some fine carving; gargoyles, hood mouldings over the windows, medallions bearing the lynx, the family crest and a roundel bearing the arms of Henry VII.
National University of Galway
The University College, founded in 1845, is a Tudor-Gothic building beautifully situated outside the city, close to the banks of the River Corrib. In the college library are the minutes of Galway Corporation from 1485 to 1818, a map of the city in 1640, and many rare books. The college is the centre of Gaelic culture and many of its students are native Irish speakers who take their degrees in Irish.
Roman Catholic Cathedral
The cathedral, which is dedicated to Our Lady Assumed into Heaven and St. Nicholas, was designed by John J Robinson in 1957 and built of black Galway "marble", the local limestone which takes a good polish. A copper dome surmounts the crossing. Above the altar in St Nicholas' Chapel in the east transept are the early-17C carved stone plaques, depicting the three persons of the Trinity surrounding the Virgin, which were rescued during the Cromwellian period from St. Nicholas' Church.
The name is a reminder of the city's trading links with Spain. The arch itself seems to have been part of a bastion, incorporating four blind arches, one of which was opened in the 18C to give access to a new dock beside Eyre's Long Walk. Part of the medieval town hall (20ys/20m long) is visible on the south side of the arch, together with the tidal quays dating from 1270. The adjoining buildings house the Galway City Museum, a miscellany of articles illustrating daily life in the area in past centuries. A spiral staircase leads to the rooftop terrace (open in fine weather only) which provides a fine view of the River Corrib as it enters inner Galway Bay.
Nora Barnacle's House, the wife of James Joyce, lived in this two-up-two-down cottage until she left Galway to work in Dublin, where she met Joyce - souvenirs, photos and letters.
Salmon Weir Bridge was built in 1818 to link the old prison (1802-1939), which stood on the cathedral site, with the County Courthouse, built (1812-15) on the site of the Franciscan Abbey. Upstream is the salmon weir; beyond are the pontoons of the Galway-to-Clifden railway viaduct (1890-1935).
Things to Do
Galway Family History Society offers a full genealogical service for West County Galway (an area stretching from Dunmore in the East to Kinvara in the South and as far west as the Aran Islands). The centre holds church records, land valuation records and census records (1900, 1911) on database - dating back as far as the early 1800's. The society also produces an annual journal "Galway Roots, Clanna na Gaillimhe".
Directions: Take exit N17 and turn left at the AIB Bank. Follow road right around and follow signpost for Castle Point. Across the road is the centre.
Phone/fax: +353 91 756737
Address: Unit 3
Woodford Heritage Centre offers a Genealogical Research Service through church, state, land, graveyard and census records. At present, they are expanding their database to include Estate records, transportation records and prison registers. Pre-assessment research can be made by filling out their pre-1900 family information form.
Contact: Cora Fitzgerald
Phone: +353 90 9749309
Fax: +353 90 9749546
Address: Mail Street
Direction: 55km from Galway City via Loughrea. Located on Bark Hall beside the Church.
The Galway Irish Crystal Heritage Centre provides a memorable introduction to the rich history and culture of the West of Ireland. A guided tour commences in the impressive Great Hall where notable features include crystal chandeliers and a ceremonial staircase. A highly atmospheric audio visual presentation recounts the story of the heritage of Galway. Learn about the craft process at Galway Irish Crystal and see master cutters and craftspeople demonstrate the most intricate forms of marking and cutting.
Direction: Five minute drive from Eyre Square, Galway City Centre.
Phone: +353 91 757311
Fax: +353 91 757316
Address: Merlin Park
Walking Tour of Galway City (Allow 2 hours)
Begins at tourist information office: 1) medieval town wall; 2) Eyre Square; 3) Lynch's Castle; 4) Lynch Memorial; 5) St. Nicholas Church; 6): Nora Barnacle House; 7) Tigh Neachtain; 8) Kirwan's Lane; 9) Columbus Statue; 10) Spanish Arch; 11) Salmon Weir Bridge; 12) Galway Cathedral
Literary Walking Tours of Galway (Allow 1 hour)
A detailed look at some of Galway's Literary Landmarks including the O'Conaire Statue, An Taibhdhearc, Kenny's, Walter Macken, Druid Theatre Company, Lady Gregory's Townhouse, the Kirwan's Lane Theatre and the Nora Barnacle House.
Phone: +353 91 589544
Address: 10 Whitestrand Park
Walking the Western Way Galway
This route starts at Oughterard and follows the shores of Lough Corrib.
>From Maam it finds a low level way through the great quartzite ranges of the Maun Turks and Twelve Pins, before descending to the deep, narrow valley of Killary Harbour and junction with the Western Way (Mayo) near Leenaun.
Phone: +353 91 563151
Address: Galway County Council
Liosban Retail Centre
Route Detail: Oughterard, Maam, Maumeen, Inagh, Toorenacoona, Leenaun
Total Distance: 50km (31 miles)
Longest: Maam to Toorenacoona - 18km (11 miles)
Highest Point: Maumeen - 259m (850 feet)
Leisureland - Salthill
Salthill is Galway's seaside resort, just 2 miles west of the town centre, and a holiday destination in its own right. Many of the city's large hotels are located here. It has good beaches, nightlife and family attractions, such as Leisureland, with a variety of pools as well as amusement park rides. Salthill's best feature is its 2-1/2 mile long promenade, the longest in Ireland. This is associated with a strange tradition: local strollers kick the wall when they reach the end of the prom. No one knows how the custom originated, but it goes back generations.
Phone: +353 91 521455
Fax: +353 91 521093
Buses leave from Eyre Square and go directly to the racecourse.
Directions: 3 miles outside Galway City Centre at Ballybrit, off the Galway-Tuam Road (N17) and 1 mile from Galway Airport.. Directions from the city are clearly marked with AA signs.
Phone: +353 91 753870
Fax: +353 91 752592
Rusheen Riding Centre
Equestrian centre located near Salthill at Rusheen Bay. Ten horses and 5 ponies. Extensive back riding, besides stables, cross country course, trekking around Rusheen Bay.
Directions: Beside Salthill, on the road to Barna
Phone: +353 91 521285
+353 87 6811837
Address Blakes Hill
Siamsa The Galway Folk Theatre
Siamsa na Gaillimhe's explosive mix of music, song, dance and folk drama provides a heady introduction to the finest in Irish culture. From fast and furious jigs to madcap reels, the diverse and exhilarating artistic tradition is showcased in a spirited celebration of the rich heritage of the west of Ireland. Singers, musicians and dancers in traditional dress whirl through an evening packed with rhythm and energy, cutting across all language boundaries.
Phone: +353 91 755479
+353 91 588044
Address: Claddagh Theatre
Corrib Cruises Oughterard provides cruises on glorious Lough Corrib. Highlights include the splendour of Ashford Castle, the beauty of historic Cong and the charm of Oughterard. From the QE2, view the Connemara coastline and stop off and have a guided tour of the 5th century historical ruins on Inchagoill Island.
Directions: N59 approximately 30 minutes from Galway City.
Phone: +353 94 9546029
+353 91 552808
Curising on Lough Corrib
Daily cruises on the Corrib provide a relaxing sightseeing trip for the entire family. An evening cruise is the perfect way to relax after an eventful day.
Address: Lough Corrib
Galway Golf Club
This course consists of an 18 hole (par 71) layout by the scenic Galway Bay with panoramic views of the Atlantic shoreline. The undulating ground arrangement of this course is characterized by hillocks, whin and shrubbery. Visitors welcome except Tuesday and Sunday.
Course: Championship 5316m, forward 5117m, ladies medal 4343m
Directions: Take Salthill road from Galway, the Golf Club is on the
Phone: + 353 91 522033
Galway Bay Golf and Country Club - Oranmore
The course incorporates many water hazards, not least the Atlantic Ocean, which washes the perimeter on three sides. The spectacular setting on Galway Bay is distractingly beautiful and the cleverly designed mix of holes presents a near confined challenge which demands total concentration. Visitors welcome every day.
Course: 6537m (Par 72 men, 73 ladies)
Directions: From Galway take N18 towards Limerick, at the roundabout
Oranmore exit. Travel through Oranmore and follow the
signs for the
Phone: +353 91 790503
Galway Ryan Leisure Club is centered around 2,500 square foot deck level swimming pool which has 63 foot lengths for the serious swimmer, a children's pool, geyser pool and lounger pool. Other pool facilities include a Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and cold pressurized shower. A fully equipped gym and aerobics studio are the ideal venues for working out. There is a 5,200 square foot Sports Hall for badminton, volleyball and indoor football. The club also boasts two all weather flood lit tennis courts.
Phone: +353 91 753181
Address: Galway Ryan Hotel
Connemara (a full day trip)
Connemara is one of the wildest and most beautiful areas in all Ireland.. This westward expanse of County Galway would be a peninsula were it not for the mountain barrier that thwarts the joining of the fiord-like Killary Harbour with the Republic's largest lake, Corrib. Around the southern and western coasts, the Atlantic has taken great jagged bites out of the shoreline; tranquil fishing villages like scattered along the rocky bays and across the causeways that bridge the islet stepping stones. This is the heart of the Gaeltacht, home to thousands of native Irish speakers.
Leave Galway City on N59 which will take you through Moycullen, Killarone, Oughterard, Derryerglinna, Maam Cross, Derryneed, Recess on to Clifden. Clifden, Connemara's largest town, set in forested hills between the mountains and the sea, is a great base for exploring the region. It's a pretty place whose distinguishing landmarks are the two pointed church spires. There are several good restaurants and pubs. Along the beach road are the ruins of Clifden Castle, built in 1815 by the town's founder, John D'Arcy, a Galway sheriff who dreamed of establishing law and order in the Commemara wilderness.
Before you arrive Clifden, you pass the inland region with its kaleidoscope of beauty, sapphire-blue lakes, vast bogs and heathlands, and stunning sculpted mountains such as The Twelve Pins, centered around the wilderness of Connemara National Park.
Mal Dua Guest House (a 4-star family guest-house on the outskirts of
Tel: +353 95 21171
Mitchell's Restaurant (gigantic mound of mussels a favorite choice, superb seafood)
Tel: +353 95 21867
East of Clifden on N59 is the Connemara Heritage and History Centre. This visitor attraction strikes the right note between informing and entertaining. It centres around the homestead of Dan O'Hara, a Connemara farmer whose life was shattered when he was evicted for non-payment of a windows tax. Forced to emigrate, his wife and three of their seven children died on the passage, and Dan ended his days selling matches on the streets of New York. After learning how the family lived in happier times, a little train takes you up the steep hill to the restored cottage. Some Neolithic burial sites have been excavated nearby. Back at the heritage centre, there is a replica of a crannog, ring fort and stone oratory. There is also a herd of Connemara ponies.
Dan O'Hara's Homestead
Tel: +353 95 21246
South of Clifden on R341, according to Joe Geoghegan, is where the Geoghegans, who were forced from Castletown Geoghegan to Bunowen, lived in an impressive (now a ruin) mansion in a very scenic area just near Ballyconneely.
North of Clifden on N59 is Connemara National Park, which covers some 4,490 acres. The Park contains expanses of bog and heath, grasslands and four peaks of the majestic Twelve Pins. The entrance to the park at Letterfrack leads to an excellent visitor center, where there are exhibits on the nature and formation of the bogs and the park's flora and fauns. Walking trails into the glorious landscape start from the visitor centre, one leading past a paddock where there are Connemara ponies. There is a good tea room and picnic area, and in the summer guilded walks, talks and activities.
Tel: +353 95 41054
Kylemore Abbey was built in 1868 as a private home and is one of Ireland's great neo-gothic castles. In 1920 it was purchased by Benedictine nuns fleeing war-torn Belgium; they converted it into an abbey and girls' school. Two reception rooms and the main hall are open to visitors, as is the recently restored Victorian walled garden, the country's finest in its day. Also on the grounds is a Gothic church, with beautiful stained-glass windows, marble columns and intricate stone carvings. Visitors can enjoy the lake walk or watch the abbey's distinctive pottery being made in the pottery studio.
Tel: +353 95 41146
Continuing north on N59 to Leenane is a tiny village surrounded by a giant of a landscape, set on the edge of Killary Harbour between billowing curves of the Maumturk Mountains and the peak known as Devilsmother. The mountain walls shelter this long, narrow fiord, which maintains a constant depth, making it one of the safest anchorages in the world. In the 1990s, Leenane was the setting for the filming of John B. Keane's play, The Field. The Leenane Cultural Centre focuses on the area's sheep and wool industry, with demonstrations of spinning, weaving and dyeing. Nearby, on the road to Louisburgh, is the impressive Aasleagh waterfall.
Tel: +353 95 42323
Southwest Coastline of Galway Bay
Out of Galway City, take R336 which lies close to the shore of Galway Bay, passing through Salthill to Barna, a picturesque little spot with an excellent bathing beach known as the Silver Strand. Eleven miles beyond is Spiddal, in the heart of an Irish-speaking district is a charming little holiday resort with a fine sandy beach. The route continues through Inverin, where Connemara marble is processed commercially, and runs north-west to Costelloe, site of the national headquarters of the radio services for Irish-speaking areas. The coastline here is greatly indented and fringed by numerous islands, while inland lies an extraordinary maze of rocks, lakes, moors and sandy beaches. At Costelloe turn left (R343) going to Carraroe, which stands on the peninsula between Cashla Bay and Greatman's Bay. Going back North R343 take a left at R374 which leads out across the islands of Lettermore (Leitir Moir) and Gorumna to Lettermullan (Leitir Meallain), along a narrow road that crosses bridges and causeways connecting this stony landscape. Views are lovely but driving is slow.
The Aran Islands
Thirty miles out to sea from Galway lie the three Aran Islands, home of the fisherfolk immortalized by the playwright J.M. Synge in Riders to the Sea and The Aran Islands. The life of this remarkable community has also been portrayed in the film 'Man of Aran'.
The three islands, Inishmore (7,635 acres), Inishmaan (2,252 acres) and Inisheer (1,400 acres) are rugged and barren. Through unremitting toil the islanders have made soil from sand and seaweed to provide sustenance for their livestock. From these meager acres and the surrounding sea they wrest their livelihood. Some fishermen still use currachs, boats made of laths and tarred canvas. The everyday language of the islanders is Irish, and their songs and stories enshrine much of Ireland's folklore and culture.
Ferry Service: Regular ferry service operates from Rossaveal, Doolin and Spiddal. There is also an air service to all three islands from Galway Airport.
Walking the Aran Way
The three Aran Islands project into the Atlantic from Galway Bay. The Aran Way consists of separate walks on each of them. They are specially designed to show the walker the history of the islands, from the mysterious stone forts of unknown origin to the early Christian churches and graves. They show too how the islanders have created a living and happy community despite the harshness of their environment.
Phone: + 353 99 73010
Address: Comhar Chumann
Route Detail: Inis Mor Way, Inis Meain Way, Inis Oirr Way
Total Distance: 32.5km
Highest Point: Baile na mBocht - 122m (400 feet)
Freeneys Sports Fishing Tackle
We can arrange a traditional guide to take you on a picturesque fishing trip for salmon and brown trout on Lough Corrib and Connemara. Sea angling trips can be arranged from July onwards. Salmon and trout flies framed personally for you.
Phone: +353 91 568794
Address: 19 to 23 High Street
Bird Watching in County Galway
Galway Bay is bordered by the Burren of Clare to the south, the west Galway hills to the south and to the east by low-lying agricultural land. The best sites for bird watching are in the inner bay area which is split in two separate regions by Twain Island. The southeastern part from Clarinbridge to Oranmore has a number of areas of mud and sand, salt marshes and several shallow lagoons. Species, which can be viewed year round, include: Cormorant, Shag, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and Mallard.
Lough Corrib is the second largest lake in Ireland and bare limestone or a thin covering of bog surrounds much of the lake over the limestone. Species which can be see year round are the Cormorant, Mallard, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull and occasional Red-breasted Merganser.
Rahasane Turlough (a turlough is a lake which fills with water at times and then drains off through underground channels). Species which can be seen all year include: Grey Heron, Mallard, Skylark, Red Bunting and Meadow Pipit.
The River Suck acts as a border between the counties of Galway and Roscommon as it flows in a south to southeasterly direction, joining the River Shannon at Shannonbridge. Species which can be seen year round are: Mallard, Grey Heron, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting and Skylark.
Rostaff Lake located near Lough Corrib, is shallow in its depth. A flock of Greenland White-fronted Geese, Teal, Shoveler, small numbers of Bewick's Swans and Whopper Swans are present on a regular basis during the winter months while frequent visitors to the lake are peregrines.
Restaurants and Pubs
The Galleon Restaurant - Galway/Salthill Area
Menu: Traditional Irish - varied menu
Directions: Situated beside the Church in Salthill
Phone: +353 91 522 963
+353 91 521266
Camilaun Restaurant - Galway
Ardilaun House Hotel
Menu: Varied menu - specializes in vegetarian
Phone: + 353 91 521433
Cactus Jacks - Galway
Menu: Varied menu - specializes in vegetarian and gluten free
Address: Courthouse Lane
Quay Street - Galway
Phone: +353 91 563838
GBC Restaurant and Coffee Shop
Menu: Varied menu - specializes in steak, seafood, vegetarian
Address: 7 Williamsgate Street
Phone: +353 91 563087
The Huntsman Inn - Galway City
Menu: Varied menu - specializes in local seafood
Address: 164 College Road
Phone: +353 91 562849
Menu: Varied and pub grub available
Address: 3 Eyre Street
Phone: +353 91 568917
An Pucan Bar
Address: 11 Forster Street
Phone: +353 91 561528
The Skeff Bar
Address: Eyre Square
Phone: +353 91 563173
The Quays Bar
Address: Quay Street
Phone: +353 91 568347
Donnellys of Barna
Menu: Specializes in fresh seafood
Phone: +353 91 592487
Menu: Specializes in seafood and vegetarian
Address: Spiddal Village
Phone: +353 91 83286
The Boat Inn
Menu: Specializes in seafood, vegetarian and meat
Address: The Square
Phone: +353 91 82196
Keanes Pub (10 mins from Galway)
Irish Traditional music
Phone: +353 91 794075
Top of Page
Sunday, July 3 - 6, 2005 - DUBLIN
Dublin Tourist Information Office
Tel: +353 1 605 7787
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Pat has located two hotels in the city centre within walking distance of all the city sights and will try to obtain a group discount depending on the number of people staying. Please contact Pat at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you prefer making your own reservations, she has listed the phone number, address, web site for each hotel.
Arlington Hotel Knightsbridge Bar & Bistro
3-star hotel in Dublin overlooking the river Liffey at O'Connell Bridge and offers a unique medieval theme evident throughout the lobby, bistro and magnificent bar. The hotel incorporates 115 spacious & elegant bedrooms with every modern amenity including complimentary tea/coffee making facilities. The Knightsbridge Bar offers a relaxing atmosphere and the best of Irish music, song and dance. Themed bistro with varied and unique meals. Private underground car park.
23-25 Bachelors Walk
Tel: +353 1 804 9100
Fax: +353 1 804 9112
Temple Bar Hotel
130 comfortable en suite bedrooms, Rendezvous bar and cocktail lounge, Citrus restaurant, multi-storey car park opposite hotel. Suitable for wheel chair access and less able-bodied guests. All bedrooms have channel TV, direct dial telephone, tea/coffee making facility, hairdryers and garment press.
Tel: +353 1 677 3333
Fax: +353 1 677 3088
apologies to Pat, the WebDruid would add that, as with any city
center, Dublin can be a little rough at night. Visitors who would
prefer to have hotel a little away for the downtown area, but still
within striking distance (i.e. a longish walk or a $10 taxi ride)
might consider two other hotels.
Bewleys Hotel, Ballbridge, Dublin 4. Tel: +353 1 668 1111 Fax: +353 1 668 1999
Situated in Ballsbridge, on the corner of Merrion and Simmonscourt road next to the RDS, just minutes from the City Centre. Only 20 minutes from Dublin Airport via the East Link and close to the Sandymount Dart Station. If you are arriving from Dublin airport, Bewley's Hotel Ballsbridge is serviced by AirCoach which departs from arrivals hall every 15 minutes, tickets can be purchased for 6.00 on the coach.
The service departs Dublin Airport every 15 minutes from 5am until Midnight and runs hourly from Midnight to 5am.
Also serviced by the number 7, 8 and 45 bus routes.
Room rates for 2003 are 99 per night.
Mespil Hotel, Mespil Road, Dublin 4, Ireland. Tel: +353 1 667 1222 Fax: +353 1 667 1244
Located on the Grand Canal at Baggot Street Bridge in an elegant part of Georgian Dublin, the Mespil is an ideal City Centre location. Overlooking the leafy banks of the Grand Canal and just a short walk from St. Stephen's Green. Designed to meet the needs of both the corporate and leisure traveller with modern, stylish bedrooms, professional friendly personnel and tantalising dishes from the Glaze Restaurant. The Mespil is the perfect base from which to discover this bustling capital city.
Room rates for 2003 are 89 per night.
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Dublin is one of the hottest destinations in Europe. The Celtic Tiger has set the city roaring, generating new restaurants and a lively nightlife in such areas as Temple Bar. Dublin is no less fashionable as a centre for the arts. The Vikings founded the city around 837 beside the black pool, or dubh linn for which it is named. It was the centre of the Pale in Norman times, and reached its golden age in the 18th century, when the city's handsome public buildings and elegant Georgian squares were built.
Despite a wealth of attractions, Dublin is a compact city, dissected by the River Liffey. After you've explored the attractive streets, river quays, superb museums and atmospheric pubs, the Dublin environs are easily reached by train.
The urban landscape of Dublin is greatly enhanced by the five waterways which traverse the city - River Liffey, personified as Anna Livia Pluribella, which bisects the centre as it flows out to sea in Dublin Bay; two tributaries, the River Dodder on the south bank and the River Tolka on the north bank; and two canals, the Grand Canal (1757-1803) which passes through the southern suburbs to join the Shannon at Shannon Harbour, north of Birr, and the Royal Canal (1790-1817) which passes through the Northside to join the Shannon west of Longford.
In 1962, five ships were discovered submerged in Rosklide fiord in Denmark. They had been deliberately sunk across a channel around ad 1100 to form a barricade to protect Roskilde, an important medieval city. One warship measured 98 feet - the largest Viking longboat ever found. With a crew of between 60 to 100 warriors at the oars, it could reach speeds of 5 knots; under sail in favorable winds it would have been much faster. Tree ring analysis of the wood showed that the boat had been built in Ireland in the 1060s, probably in a Dublin shipyard.
The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) is a rail service along the coast from Howth in the north to Bray in the south. The service operates daily between 6 am (9 am Sunday) and 11:45 pm with trains running every 5-10 minutes during peak times and every 15 mins off-peak. All-day tickets available at any station. Tel: +353 1 836 6222.
Dublin Bus (CIE) operates the bus network which covers the whole city from the Central Bus Station in Store Street (behind the Custom House); any bus bearing the direction "An Lar" is going to the city centre. Tel: +353 1 873 4222.
In the city centre there are paying car parks, parking meters, pay and display machines and disc parking areas: an electronic panel, advertising parking spaces, is visible from the west side of St. Stephen's Green.
There is no parking on double yellow lines at any time; no parking on single yellow lines during the hours indicated on the time plate; no parking in clearways and bus lanes during the hours indicated on the time plate. (An old saying goes that if there's a single yellow line, then there's no parking at all, while a double yellow means no parking at at, at all)
Parking bays for the disabled may be used only if a disabled parking permit is displayed. Cars parked illegally may be clamped: declamping is payable by phone by credit card only or at the Parking shop (Tel: +353 1 602 2500)
A Supersaver Card is available from the Dublin Tourism Centre, provides entry to the following tourist attractions and saves up to 30% on admission prices: Dublin's Viking Adventure, Dublin Writers Museum, James Joyce Museum, Shaw Birthplace, Malahide Castle, Fry Model Railway and Newbridge House. Three different heritage trails, walking tours with historical themes, are organized by Dublin Tourism (Tel: +353 1 602 2500).
A historical walking tour of Dublin enables you to see all the famous Dublin landmarks while learning about key events in Irish History. This two-hour award-winning and entertaining 'seminar on the street', conducted by history graduates of Trinity College, explores the mean features of Irish History - Dublins development, the influence of the American and
French Revolutions, the Potato Famine 1845 to 1849, the 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, partition, concluding with the current peace process.
Assemble at the front gate of Trinity College.
Contact: Tommy Graham
Tel: +353 1 878 0227
+353 1 845 0241
Fax: +353 1 8783787
Circular bus tours of the city centre on an open-top bus: for a comprehensive tour (2 hr 45 mins) including all the famous sights and a running commentary given by an approved guide (Dublin Bus Co Tel: +353 1 873 4222)
Dublin Bus Coast & Castle Tour - departs from the Dublin Bus Office - tour lasts 3 hours and includes a visit to the magnificent Malahide Castle (Malahide is famous for being the birthplace of our webdruid)
Tel: +353 1 873 4222
For hop-on-hop-off city tours - see the sights of Dublin on an open top double decker and use this hop on, hop off tour to see it at your leisure. Ticket if valid all day. Tour duration is approximately 90 mins. Tour departs from 12 Upper O'Connell Street, near the Gresham Hotel, every 15 mins.
Contact: Linda McConn
Tel: +353 1 458 0054
+353 1 401 1092
A ride in a horse-drawn open carriage is a more romantic and leisurely way of seeing the city: departure point St. Stephen's Green (northeast corner).
Dublin Brewing Company Craft Tour - tour the brewery floor, meet the brewers, smell the hops, taste the results in our taste bar afterwards. Directions: Just around the corner from Ceol, The Chimney & The Old
Distillery in the heart of Smithfield Village.
Tel: +353 1 872 8622
Fax: +353 1 872 8653
Address: North King Street, Smithfield Village
The central shopping areas extends from Grafton Street (south bank) to O'Connell Street (north bank). Nassau Street (parallel with the south side of Trinity College) contains several good shops selling a range of Irish goods from high fashion to modest souvenirs - clothing, craftwork, pottery, Irish music and instruments, family crests.
The Temple Bar area offers an eclectic mix of individual little shops and outdoor stalls.
Market-lovers should try the Moore Street market or Mother Redcaps Market, the oldest market in Ireland, which offers a wide assortment of goods, including antiques, bric-a-brac, knitwear and crafts. For antiques go to Francis Street (a street known to have hosted several Geoghegan businesses in times past).
The National Concert Hall (Earlsfort Terrace) has a regular programme of classical and modern orchestral music.
Smaller venues offering more specialized music, such as jazz, blues, etc. are to be found in Temple Bar.
Theatre-lovers can enjoy performances at the historic Abbey Theatre or at the Gate theatre.
Sporting venues include Croke Park, the home of Gaelic games (football, hurling), and Leopardstown (south) and Fairy House (north) for horse racing.
The Real Irish Pub Crawl takes in both pubs and historic buildings (Tel: +353 1 493 2676 or try the Jameson Literary Pub Crawl at +353 1 670 5602.
Taylors Irish Night Banquet and Show - two hour show of Irish ballads, songs and music featuring the Merry Ploughboys and guests and Taylors Irish dancers. This is a high powered performance for those looking for a lively night out. Food is served prior to the show in this air conditioned venue. The award winning cuisine accommodates both individuals and groups of all sizes (adults over 18 years only). Advance booking is essential, although customers coming for entertainment-only are accommodated.
Directions: 30 mins south of Dublin city centre & 10 mins from Dundrum Village and Rathfarnham Village. Located beside new M50 extension and Marlay Park.
Tel: +353 1 494 2999
Fax: +353 1 494 6599
Address: Taylors Three Rock
Pubs & Restaurants
The greatest concentration of pubs is in Temple Bar. The following is a selection of pubs offering traditional Irish music:
Keatings Pub Jervis Street Tel: +353 1 873 1567
Clifton Court Hotel O'Connell Street Bridge Tel: +353 1 874 3535
Brazen Head Pub 20 Lower Bridge Street Tel: +353 1 679 5186
Castle Inn 5-7 Lord Edward Street Tel: +353 1 475 1122
Harcourt Hotel Harcourt Street Tel: +353 1 478
The Norseman 29 East Essex Street Tel: +353 1 679 8372
Oliver St John Gogarty Temple Bar Tel: +353 1 671 1822
O'Shea's Merchant Pub 12 Lower Bridge Street Tel: +353 1 679 3797
Kitty O'Shea's 23-25 Upper Canal Street Tel: +353 1 660 8050
Viking Settlement - the name Dublin is derived from Duhn Linn, the Dark Pool at the confluence of the Poddle and the Liffey: the Irish name, Baile Atha Ciath, means the city by the hurdle ford. The first permanent settlement beside the Liffey was established by the Vikings in the 9C at Wood Quay; at the Battle of Clontarf on the north shore of Dublin Bay in 1014 their power was curbed by Brian Boru. Anglo-Norman Stronghold - after the Anglo-Norman invasion late in the 12C Dublin was granted to the port of Bristol as a trading post by Henry II in 1172. Under constant harassment by the Irish tribes and an unsuccessful attack in 1316 by Edward Bruce of Scotland, the extent of the Anglo-Normans' influence waxed and waned but they never lost control of Dublin which gradually became the seat of Parliament and also the centre of government.
Dublin is famous for its splendid Georgian architecture, from its handsome public buildings to its well-proportioned town houses. These are best seen around the city's five elegant squares: Merrion, Fitzwilliam, Parnell and Mountjoy squares and St. Stephens Green. The town houses were typically built of red brick, standing four storeys high above a basement and three bays wide. The plain facades are evlivened by simple, semicircular wrought-iron balconies on the second-storey windows. Their finest decorative feature are the doors, which are framed with classical-style pillars and architraves, paneled and painted in bright reds, blues and yellows, adorned with heavy brass knockers and crowned by decorative fanlights.
Capital of the Republic - with the Act of Union (1800) political affairs removed to London and, despite being known as the "second city of the Empire", Dublin stagnated. After the brief rage of the Civil War, the city restored the Four Courts, the GPO and the Custom House to something like their former glory. The refurbishment projects carried out in the last decades of the 20C mean that Dublin well deserved the title European City of Culture awarded in 1991 by the European Union. The major public buildings have been restored and are floodlit at night. Temple Bar was transformed from a dilapidated district into a network of pedestrian streets, vibrant with pubs, restaurants, hotels, craft shops and cafes.
Several Nobel Prize winners figure in the long roll of Dublin-born writers who have achieved international fame - Swift, Mangan, Wilde, Shaw, Yeats, Synge, O'Casey, Joyce, Behan, Beckett. Their places of residence are marked with plaques or converted into museums. The major figures are named together with their work in a literary parade in St. Patrick's Park.
Genealogy tips from Pat Cusack, Clan Historian ?
The National Library - excellent place to go with trained genealogists to help you - no charge. They have parish records on microfilm. NLI also have a collection of Dublin City directories - very rare - if anyone has Dublin ancestors.
Registry of Deeds on Henrietta Street (Pat's favorite) - a good stop for people who already know which part of the country their family was from, and if their Geoghegan was from Dublin, or a financially strong farmer.
Joyce House - is for individuals beginning their search - located near Trinity College. Joyce House has a large index books of births, deaths and marriages. Here you can get copies of the certificates allowing you to get the names of parents of bridge and groom and their homes.
National Archives on Bishop Street - has will indexes and some wills. The Archives also have the original 1911 census records.
Trinity - Pat did not find good material there.
National Archives Dublin
The National Archives was established in 1998. It is an amalgamation of the Public Record Office of Ireland and the State Paper Office. The National Archives also have overall statutory responsibility for Church of Ireland parish registers of marriages pre-dating April 1, 1845, and baptisms and burials per-dating January 1, 1871. The new Reading Room is open from 10:00 to 17:00. Archives are produced to readers between 10:00-16:30.
Tel: +353 1 407 2300
Fax: +353 1 407 2333
Address: Bishop Street
Irish Genealogy Limited
The umbrella organization for genealogy in Ireland is in the process of setting up a Central Signposting Index. The primary function is to allow, in the case of a genealogical inquiry in which the location is unknown, for the identification of the catchment area to which it pertains. Irish Genealogy Ltd. is happy to direct customers seeking to trace their family history in Ireland to one of the IFHF centres, to APGI or AUGRA, or, for those who prefer, to the Consultancy service on ancestry tracing at the Genealogical Office.
Contact: Colm Grogan
Tel: +353 1 661 7330
Fax: +353 1 661 7332
Address: 7-9 Merrion Row
Telephone or postal enquiries only.
Symbol of British Rule for 700 years until 1922. People under suspicion languished in its prisons; traitor's heads were exhibited on spikes over the gate. Early Lord Deputies operated from their own power bases in the Pale - Trim, Maynooth and Kilkenny - but in the 16C Sir Henry Sidney, who was four times Lord Deputy, took up residence in the castle and put it in good repair. Gradually the medieval fortress evolved into an administrative centre and vice-regal court.
The Vikings built a fortress on this strategic site, on a ridge at the confluence of the River Liffey and its tributary, the Poddle. Here they formed a black pool, or dubh linn in Irish, which gave the city its name. The present castle was built by the Normans in the early 13th century. Little of that early structure remains beyond the Record Tower. Highlights include the lavish State Apartments where the English viceroys lived, the Undercroft ruins of the Viking fortress and the Gothic Revival Chapel Royal.
Tel: +353 1 677 7129
Christ Church Cathedral - founded by the Vikings in 1038, Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin's oldest building, though the magnificent stone edifice that stands today was built in 1169 by the Anglo-Norman conqueror, Strongbow, who is buried here. It was built for Laurence O'Toole, archbishop of Dublin, who became Dublin's patron saint. The Great Nave, 68 feet high, has some fine early Gothic arches. The crypt is nearly as large as the upper church and houses many unusual relics, including a mummified cat and rat, discovered in an organ pipe. Open daily.
Tel: +353 1 677 8099
Dublin's medieval heritage centre traces the development of the city from the arrival of the Anglo-Normans to Tudor times in the 16th century. Ten scenes from Dublin's medieval history are re-created in sets and tableaux. In the museum area are artifacts from the Wood Quay excavations where the Norsemen founded their first settlement in 841. A panoramic view over Dublin can be had from atop St. Michael's Tower, and a pedestrian bridge connects Dublinia with the grounds of Christ Church Cathedral.
Tel: +353 1 679 4611
St. Patrick's Cathedral
A church beside the well where St. Patrick is said to have baptized early converts has stood here since 450, making this the oldest Christian site in Dublin. The present edifice, the largest church in Ireland, was built in 1191, and the first University of Ireland was founded here in 1320. Jonathan Swift served as Dean of St. Patrick's from 1713 until 1745. Among the highlights of the cathedral are the medieval brasses, tiles and Chapter House, the choir with the banners and stalls of the Knights of St. Patrick, and the West Tower, which dates from 1370 and contains the largest set of ringing bells in Ireland. There are also memorials to many famous people, including Carolan, the last of the Irish bards, and Douglas Hyde, the country's first president.
Tel: +353 1 475 4817
Marsh's Library - The building was designed in 1701 by Sir William Robinson to house the first public library in Ireland. The dark oak bookcases, surmounted by a mitre, divide the long room into seven bays. Beyond the office are three "cages" where precious books can be consulted behind locked wire screens. There is a total of 25,000 books in the library.
Tailors' Hall - built between 1703 and 1707, is the only surviving guild-hall in Dublin; it is now the head office of An Taisce, an organization devoted to the conservation of the Irish environment. The elaborate entrance gate, dated 1706, leads into a small garden containing plants imported or developed by Irishmen. The Great Hall has a stage and a
handsome marble fireplace; an elegant pine staircase leads up to the minute gallery with a wrought-iron railing which overlooks the hall.
City Hall (1979-79) - was designed by Thomas Cooley as the Royal Exchange. It was bought by the City Corporation in 1852 when economic activity declined after the Act of Union (1800). The domed rotunda (entrance hall) is decorated with frescoes by James Ward, illustrating the city's history, and a coffered ceiling by Charles Thorp. Thorp also created the righ stuccowork above the doors and on the ceiling of the east staircase, which has an elegant wrought-iron balustrade and mahogany handrail.
Custom House, designed by the master architect James Gandon and completed in 1791, is Dublin's finest Georgian public building. Its gleaming façade of Portland stone stretches 374 feet from end to end. A copper dome rises behind the central portico, crowned by a statue of Commerce. The interior was badly damaged when Republicans set fire to the building in 1921, and it only reopened in the 1990s. It now houses government offices and a visitor centre with exhibits on the building and its architect. The best view of the building is from the south side of the Liffey, particularly at night when it is lit.
Tel: +353 1 878 7660
Dalkey is a picturesque fishing village, home to many rock and film stars, makes a pleasant excursion from the city. Its name comes from an Irish word meaning 'thorn island', and the little island offshore was inhabited in 3500 BC. At the end of the 17th century, Dalkey was a walled town and an important port, with at least seven castles. Only two survive: Goat's Castle, which is now the town hall; and Archibold's Castle, a tower house three storeys high, dating to the 15th or 16th century.
Dublin Writers Museum
Housed in a splendid Georgian mansion on the north side of Parnell Square, this museum commemorates the lives and works of the crème de la crème of Dublin's literary world. You can peruse the letters, diaries, photographs and mementoes that inspired Swift, Wilde, Beckett, Joyce, to name a few.. The house, former home of John Jameson (the whiskey producer), is elegantly restored, particularly the Gallery of Writers, and features magnificent plasterwork and stained-glass windows.
18 Parnell Square North
Tel: +353 1 872 2077
General Post Office
This striking public building, designed by the neo-classical architect Francis Johnston and built between 1814 and 1818, is famous in Irish history as the headquarters of the Republican rebels during the 1916 Easter Rising. From its steps, Patrick Pearse read out the Proclamation of the Republic of Ireland. Most of the original building was destroyed in the subsequent shelling, though the façade survived. After restoration it reopened in 1929 and it remains the city's main post office today. Step inside for a look at the handsome interior.
Guinness Brewery and Hop Store
The home of the world's most famous stout is Dublin's most popular tourist attractions, even though the brewery itself is closed to the public. It was established by Arthur Guinness in 1759 at James Gate, west of Christ Church Cathedral, and as the popularity of the dark brew spread round the world operations expanded to cover some 60 acres. The Guinness Hop Store, in a 19th-century building on Crane Street, contains the 'World of Guinness' Exhibition, an advertising gallery displaying the company's famous campaign posters and, of course, a re-created Victorian pub where you can sample a pint of Dublin's finest.
St. James Gates
Tel: +353 1 408 4800
Howth - this attractive harbour town on Dublin Bay is a favorite excursion, about half an hour from the city by DART. The name Howth (pronounced 'Hoath'), is derived from the Norse word 'hoved' meaning head; in the early 19th century it was the port for sea crossings from Wales. There are several good walks here, the easiest leading out along the sea wall, with fine views of the boars in the harbour and the rock island offshore known as 'Ireland's Eye'. Local boatmen can take you there in good weather to see the old stone church and Martello tower. A 1.5 mile cliff walk takes you around the headland to the Baily Lighthouse, where there are splendid views. You can visit the grounds of Howth Castle, which have beautiful rhododendron gardens, a ruined 16th-century castle and a neolithic dolmen. The National Transport Museum is also here. The steep winding streets of the village have good restaurants and pubs.
Tel: +353 1 832 2624
National Transport Museum
Tel: +353 1 848 0831
Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art
The grand Georgian interior of Charlemont House forms the backdrop of the gallery's collection of 20th-century Irish art. The work of Roderic O'Conor, Jack B Yeats, Walter Osborne and John Lavery are displayed alongside contemporary artists such as Kathy Prendergast, Dorothy Cross and Willie Doherty. The international collection includes Impressionist works and those of late 20th-century artists. Some of the painting are exchanged with others in London's National Gallery every few years. There is also a sculpture hall and stained-glass work by Harry Clarke and Evie Hone.
Tel: +353 1 874 1903
James Joyce Centre
Housed in a restored Georgian town house, the James Joyce Centre focuses on the life and works of one of Ireland's greatest authors. Along with the reference library and exhibition rooms, there are tours of the house and walks through Joyce's old stomping grounds in this north section of the inner city. Joyce fans can also pick up the Ulysses Map of Dublin from the tourist information office, which points out related sights of interest..
The James Joyce Museum is located 8 miles south of Dublin in the Martello tower at Sandycove, which formed the setting for the opening chapter of his great novel, Ulysses.
35 North Great George's Street
Tel: +353 1 1878 8547
James Joyce Museum
The Joyce Tower, Sandycove
Tel: +353 1 280 9265
Set in 250 acres of parkland in the seaside town of Malahide, the castle makes a good day-trip from the city. The fortress, built in 1185, was the home of the Talbot family for nearly 800 years. Its mix of architectural styles includes the medieval Great Hall, the Tudor Oak Room and rococo plasterwork in the reception rooms. It contains beautiful period furnishings and a collection of portraits from the National Gallery. The Botanic Garden, with over 5,000 species, is open May to September, and there is also the Fry Model Railway Museum in the castle.
Tel: +353 1 846 2184
This peaceful Georgian square, laid out in the 1760s, is one of Dublin's finest. Winding evergreen paths dotted with monuments lead to a central green with lovely flower gardens. A walk around the perimeter reveals numerous plaques bearing the names of famous former residents. Number 1, on the north side, was the childhood home of Oscar Wilde from 1855 to 1878; it is now the American College in Dublin and is being restored. The 'Liberator' Daniel O'Connell lived at No 58, and WB Yeats resided at No 52 and later No 82. Opposite the west side of the square is the green lawn of Leinster House, with an obelisk commemorating the founders of the Irish State. Built in the mid-18th century, Leinster House is not the seat of the Irish Parliament, the Dail, and the Seanad (Senate). To the left is the Natural History Museum and Government Buildings, a neo-classical edifice built in the early 1900s which now houses the offices of the taoiseach (pronounced 'tea-shook'), the Irish prime minister. Tours of the lovely interior are given on Saturdays. To the right is the National Gallery.
Natural History Museum
Tel: +353 1 677 7444
Tel: +353 1 668 9333
Founded in 1854, the National Gallery houses an extensive collection of paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture. Every major European school of painting is represented, including a major collection of Irish art. The Yeats Museum, dedicated to the works of Jack B Yeats and his family, opened here in 1999. Among the highlights are Caravaggio's The Taking of Christ, Vermeer's Lady Writing a Letter, and Gainsborough's The Cottage Girl. The handsome building was designed by Francis Fowke, architect of London's Victoria and Albert Museum.
Tel: +353 1 661 5133
Designed by Sir Thomas Deane, opened in 1890 and houses a copy of every book ever printed in Ireland, including first editions by all the major literary figures. You can obtain a visitor's pass to see the great domed Reading Room where the likes of James Joyce and WB Yeats researched their material and no doubt grained inspiration. The library now contains the excellent Genealogy Room, which offers advice, references and computer searches for tracing your Irish ancestry.
Tel: +353 1 603 0200
Opened in 1890, the magnificent building designed by Sir Thomas Deane, with its classical domed rotunda, marble pillars and zodiac mosaic floor, is a splendid storehouse for the collection of Ireland's antiquities, dating from 7000 BC to the 20th century. The stunning gold jewellery, carved stones and iron and bronze weaponry comprises the world's largest group of Celtic artifacts. Some of the most famous pieces are kept in the Treasury, including the Tara brooch, the Ardagh chalice, St. Patrick's Bell and the Cross of Cong. Exhibitions on Prehistoric Ireland, Viking Ireland and the Road to Independence put the many artifacts into historical perspective.. There is also a collection of ancient Egyptian artifacts. Another branch
of the National Museum at Collins Barracks houses the collection of decorative arts, including furniture, silver, ceramics, glassware and costume.
Kildare Street and Collins Barracks
Tel: +353 1 677 7444
Comprising Nos 85 and 86 St. Stephen's Green, Newman House contains one of the finest Georgian interiors in the city. It is noted for its sumptuous plasterwork, particularly the late baroque Apollo Room decorated by the La Franchini brothers from Switzerland. The houses were joined in the mid-19th century when Cardinal John Newman founded the Catholic University of Ireland here. James Joyce and Flann O'Brien were former students, and the great Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins taught there towards the end of his life; the room where he lived has been restored in his honour. The house is accessible on a guided tour.
Tel: +353 1 706 7422
Old Jameson Distillery
This distillery produced one of Ireland's most famous whiskeys from its beginnings in 1791 until 1966, when operations moved to County Cork. It was then turned into a museum, and now you can follow the craft of whiskey making on a guided tour. You will see the working mash tun, original copper pot stills and wooden fermentation casks, followed by a tasting in the Jameson bar.
Bow Street, Smithfield Village
Tel: +353 1 807 2355
St. Anne's Church
The pretty interior of this church was completed in 1720, though the somber neo-Romanesque façade was the work of Sir Thomas Deane in 1868. Notice the shelf near the alter, put up in 1723 by Lord Newton for the distribution of bread to the poor. Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Wolfe Tone are among the famous people who worshipped here. Lunch-time recitals are often held.
St. Stephen's Green
The city's most famous part covers 27 acres, a verdant space with formal lawns, flower gardens, an ornamental lake and a Victorian bandstand. It was open common until 1663. During the latter part of the 18th century the north side was known as Beaux' Walk, after the aristocratic gentlemen who strolled here. In 1880, Sir Arthur Guinness paid for the landscaping that gave the green its present shape. Along its shady paths are many monuments, including memorials to the writers Yeats and Joyce, the patriots Robert Emmet and Wolfe Tone, the moving Famine memorial and the bronze statue group, the Three Fates.
Set in 40 acres in the heart of Dublin, was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. Its most famous building is Trinity College Library, which contains the magnificent medieval manuscript The Book of Kells, thought to have been produced by the monks of Iona in the early 9th century. Its intricate, interlacing Celtic patters and symbolic motifs depict the four gospels and it is considered to be the finest illuminated manuscript in existence. An excellent exhibition, 'Turning Darkness into Light' introduces this treasure and provides a fascinating look at how these lavishly decorated gospels were produced in medieval times and from the preparation of the vellum (calfskin) and inks to the symbolic drawing and lettering with quill pens and brushes. Also on view are other fine manuscripts, including the Book of Durrow and the Shrine Book of Dimma, a 'pocket gospel' carried by missionaries in a leather pouch around the neck.
Adjoining the Book of Kells display room is the Long Room, the impressive main chamber of the Old Library, which measures nearly 213 feet in length and houses some 200,000 volumes on high wooden shelves. The barrel-vaulted ceiling was raised in 1860 to create more storage capacity when the original shelves became full. The central aisle is lined with marble busts of distinguished scholars and statesmen, and contains one of the few remaining copies of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
Wander through the campus, where other fine buildings include the Museum Building, home to the geography department. Its Venetian-style exterior is a clue to the rich architectural detail in the lobby, including exquisite Irish marbles, finely carved capitals, arches and mosaic skylights. In the foyer are the skeletons of a pair of extinct Giant Irish Deer. Around the
cobblestoned quadrangle, Parliament Square, are the classical West Front, campanile, chapel and ornate Examination Hall. The modern Arts and Social Building houses the Douglas Hyde Gallery of Modern Art.
Contact: Anne-Marie Diffley
Tel: +353 1 608 2320
+353 1 608 2308
Fax: +353 1 608 2690
Address: Trinity College Library
Also worth exploring ?
Dublin has many more sights that are worth seeking out if you have more time to explore the city. The best of the rest include Four Courts, home of the Irish law courts, designed by James Gandon and completed in 1802; City Hall, a domed classical building (1769-79), seat of the city's governing body, the Dublin Corporation; King's Inns (1795-1817), home of the legal profession. Interesting churches include St. Michan's Church, St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral and St. Werburgh's Church. To the south of the city centre is the Shaw Birthplace, Victorian home of the playwright George Bernard Shaw. In West Dublin, the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, considered the finest 17th-century building in the country, houses the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The enormous Kilmainham Gaol held the leaders of Irish rebellions between 1796 and 1924 and is an insight into the country's turbulent history. The vast Phoenix Park, covering some 1,752 acres, contains the People's Garden and Dublin Zoo. In the north of the city are the National Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin and the delightful villa Marino Casino, designed by Sir William Chambers between 1762 and 1771.
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