25 Chapters
Medium 9781628872682

5 DAY TRIPS FROM DUBLIN

Jewers, Jack FrommerMedia ePub

5

Day Trips from Dublin

Driving in or out of Dublin along the big, bland motorway, it’s easy to dismiss the region immediately surrounding the city’s urban sprawl. However, you’ll find plenty to do within a half-hour drive north, south, or west of Dublin. Rural landscapes, ancient ruins, stately homes—some of Ireland’s most iconic sights are surprisingly close to the city. And while it’s possible to see any of them on a quick day trip, some fine hotels and restaurants in the area reward visitors who opt to stay overnight instead.

North of Dublin, you’ll find the remnants of ancient civilizations at prehistoric sites Newgrange and Knowth, while the nearby green hills of the Boyne Valley hold the long-lost home of early Irish kings. To the west, Kildare is Ireland’s horse country, with a couple of handsome stately homes and interesting historical sites that also make this area worth checking out. South of Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains rise from the low, green countryside, dark and brooding. A beautiful region, dotted with early religious sites and peaceful river valleys, the hills also make a good starting point if you’re heading on to the south of Ireland (see chapters 6 and 7).

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Medium 9781628872927

THE SAVVY TRAVELER

Jewers, Jack FrommerMedia ePub

Dublin Bus.

Before You Go

The Best Times to Go

May to September is the busiest time to visit, with myriad festivals throughout the summer, although it’s also the time when you’re least likely to snag an inexpensive hotel room. The months of May and September are often good choices, since your visit doesn’t clash with the school summer vacation period. Hotels are invariably cheaper from November to February. There’s no particular month to avoid, although be prepared for huge crowds in March for the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, a public holiday. The Christmas season sees shopping areas packed in the build-up, with special holiday markets opening. It’s also a popular destination for New Year’s Eve, especially to hear the midnight bells peal from Christ Church Cathedral, and see the New Year’s Day parade. As Ireland’s capital and a base to explore the country, Dublin enjoys year-round tourism plus major sporting events, so mid- to high-range hotels should be booked well in advance.

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5 THE BEST OF THE OUTDOORS

Jewers, Jack FrommerMedia ePub

Fusilers’ Arch.

St. Stephen’s Green & Iveagh Gardens

St. Stephen’s Green is adored by locals, who flock to its verdant lawns at the first sight of the sun. You can relax here for hours, explore the grounds dotted with sculptures, and enjoy the music and performances. Just a minute’s walk away are the tranquil Iveagh Gardens, exquisite in their near desolation. Nearby, yet a world away. START: Northwest corner of St. Stephen’s Green.  2 hr.

❶ ★ Fusiliers’ Arch. The huge Ballyknockan granite arch, nearly 10m (33 ft) high, marks the northwest entrance to St. Stephen’s Green. Built in 1907, and a replica of the Arch of Titus in Rome, it’s a memorial to young Irish soldiers who died in the Boer War between 1899 and 1900. Stand underneath to read the engraved names of more than 230 who fell in battle. Republicans unofficially renamed it as Traitors’ Gate, as this war was seen as a fight between Imperialist and Republican ideals and far from the Irish struggle. Sharp eyes might spy the bullet marks on the northeast face around the words “Laings Nek,” thought to be from the 1916 Uprising.  5 min. Northwest corner of St. Stephen’s Green.

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6 THE BEST DINING

Jewers, Jack FrommerMedia ePub

Seafood on ice at Super Miss Sue.

Dublin Dining

Dining Best Bets

Best Traditional Reinvention

★★★ Gallagher’s Boxty House $$ 20–21 Temple Bar (p 106)

Most Handsome Dining Room

★★ Bank on College Green $$ 20 College Green (p 104)

Best Pre-Theater Meal

★★★ Chapter One $$$$ 18–19 Parnell Sq. (p 104)

Best Burger

★★ Gourmet Burger Kitchen $ Temple Bar Sq. (p 106)

Best In-Store Replenish

★★ Avoca $ 11–13 Suffolk St. (p 103)

Best for Fast Food

★★ Epicurian Food Hall $ Liffey St. Lower. (p 105)

Most Wow Factor Breakfast

★★ San Lorenzo’s $$ South Great George’s St. (p 110)

Best Food Adventure

★★★ Sabor Brazil $$$ 50 Pleasants St. (p 109)

Best Wine List

★★ Winding Stair $$$ 40 Lower Ormond Quay $$$ (p 112)

Most Creative Main Courses

★ The Pig’s Ear $$$ Nassau St. (p 108)

Best Literary Pedigree

★★ Bewley’s Cafe $ 78–79 Grafton St. (p 104)

Best Fish & Chips

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2 IRELAND IN CONTEXT

Jewers, Jack FrommerMedia ePub

2

Ireland in Context

These are trying times for Ireland, as it reels from an ongoing economic crisis and struggles to find political equilibrium. But Ireland will bounce back; it has been through worse. The complex history of this small country has conditioned its people to be resilient, and there is something to be said for the Irish spirit, for the ability to find humor in the darkest of places. Every new crisis brings fresh jokes alongside the rage. Every new leader is a target for general hilarity. And while nobody in the country would tell you there is not work to be done, you get the distinct impression that the people—if not the politicians and the bankers who got them into this mess—are ready to do that work.

A Brief History

The First Settlers    With some degree of confidence, we can place the date of the first human habitation of the island somewhere after the end of the last ice age, around the late 8000s b.c. Ireland’s first colonizers, Mesolithic Homo sapiens, walked, waded, or floated across the narrow strait from what is now Britain in search of flint and, of course, food.

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