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10. Jul, 2012

Top Five Dublin Beaches

dollymount-strand

Sandy Shores In And Around Dublin

Dublin may not be known as a seaside city, but there are many nice beaches in the area that are only a short bus ride away from the city centre. Go there to sample seafood, take a walk or just to relax. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even try kite surfing. Beaches in and around Dublin are rarely used by locals and it’s sometimes even possible to get one all to yourself!

Claremont Beach, Howth

Hidden away in the Dublin suburb of Howth, Claremont Beach is a great place to get away from the crowds. There are hardly any signposts approaching it, so you get the sense that you’re in a secret spot. It’s a wide, quiet stretch of beach that’s great for walking the dog or even going for a horse ride. U2 drummer Larry Mullen lives in one of the beautiful houses nearby, and restaurants like Ivan’s and Nicky’s Plaice offer great seafood. Also in the area is Deer Park Hotel, one of the finest Dublin hotels by the coast.

North and South Beach, Skerries

The village of Skerries takes its name from the Norse word sceir meaning ‘reef’ or ‘rocky islands’. Skerries has its own quaint, old-fashioned charm and two long, sandy beaches, which are great for swimming if you can stand the freezing cold water. At sunset there is a beautiful view over the harbour where a colony of grey seals resides, and the harbour is one of the main landing ports for Dublin Bay prawns.

Bay Beach, Portrane

Portrane is a small seaside town near Dublin where some of the October album by U2 was composed in a caravan. Tower Bay Beach itself is a tiny cove surrounded by good walks, including the famous cliff walk to Donabate Beach. The water is clean for bathing, and there are nice views over Lambay Island and Rockabill Lighthouse.

Strand, North Bull Island

Dollymount Strand is located on a small island in Dublin Bay only a short bus ride away from Dublin centre and accessible from a bridge to the mainland. The beach is huge at over 5 km long and at low water the tide goes out for miles. Dollymount Strand is popular with kite surfers due to the constant wind but the water is not the cleanest in the area. The island is also a wildlife sanctuary and a haven for migrating birds.

White Rock, Killiney

White Rock is located in a suburb of Dublin and is one of the only places on the east coast of Ireland where you can see a pod of bottlenose dolphins. It’s a great place to bring kids as there is a playground at one end of the beach, although the beach can be rather rocky in places. The area itself is beautiful and has been favourably compared to the Bay of Naples in Italy. It also makes a great spot for beach fishing and surfing when the wind is in the right direction.

03. Jul, 2012

Road Trip Around Ireland

river shannon eire

Escape For a Road Trip Around Ireland

Ireland is a fantastic country! The Emerald Isle encompasses everything that is great about a travel destination: friendly people, world class food and drink, bustling cities alongside lush, peaceful countryside. What more could you ask for of a holiday destination? Maybe the fact it’s only a 20 minute hop across the Irish sea from the UK? Allow us to tempt you into a holiday in Éire by showing you our top tips when travelling around this great country.

Escaping To Dublin

Most people start their Irish adventures in the capital city, Dublin, undeniably one of Europes’ best, most popular (and most visited!) cities. Steeped in history, but also incredibly cosmopolitan, Dublin is a city that can provide a great weekend break and extended holidays alike, with a fabulous nightlife, many landmarks and museums to explore, as well as shopping districts that are out of this world. It’s no secret that the Irish like a drink, that’s probably what attracts the hundreds of thousands of students who migrate to study in Ireland every year, so make sure the Guinness Factory is on your list of places to see and you won’t be disappointed!

Heading South To Cork

Cork is a city with a population of over 150,000, and has all the culture, excitement and activity you would expect of a big city. It still still retains the feel of a traditional Irish harbour town. The people are known as some of the most talkative people in the country, so make sure you are ready for a good old chat! The docks and quays of Cork are magnificent and provide great views out to sea, and being the second biggest harbour in the world, it is sure to provide an interesting look back to Ireland’s industrial heritage. But Cork isn’t just about industry -the city has built its reputation on music, theatre, dance and poetry, so get your  dance shoes on or open that old copy of Callanan and soak up the culture!

The South Coast Of Ireland

Once out of the cultural hub of Cork, a great idea is to travel along the south coast and sample some of the lesser known delights that Ireland has to offer. Towns like Kinsale, Skibberereen and Bantry are all special in their own right, offering peace and quiet and taste of real ireland. The jagged rocks of this part of the coast provide a great backdrop to any visit, but the many great pubs, restaurants, beaches and galleries along this particular stretch are second to none.

The West Coast, Shannon and Galway

There are hundreds of beautifully picturesque towns on the west coast of Ireland worthy of a visit when you’re in Ireland, but two cities that should be on everyone’s list are Shannon and Galway. Great cities in their own right, they provide a great look at traditional Irish cities combined with modern culture and life. Education plays a big part in the industries of these two towns, with many people who move to Ireland finding work teaching English in Ireland, but the local landmarks, museums and art galleries are also very important to the area.

Onwards and Upwards

If you have time when you’re in Ireland, whether you’re there to travel, visit relatives or even study in Ireland, heading over the border into Northern Ireland is a great idea if you have the chance. There are many differences between the two countries, but the friendly, helpful people and great cultures are common to both sides of the border. Wherever you escape to in Ireland, hopefully our tips have helped and you will have a great time.

19. Apr, 2012

Dublin’s History

chapel Dublin Castle

Best Places To Visit To Learn About Dublin

If, like me, you enjoy finding out about the history of the places you visit on holiday, Dublin should definitely be on your list of cities to head to. The Irish capital has a rich – and at times tumultuous – past that has left a vast cultural legacy just begging to be uncovered. Whether you’re visiting Dublin on a short city break or have booked car hire from Dublin Airport as a means of exploring the wider region, you’d really be missing out if you didn’t spend at least an afternoon learning more about the city.

Fantastic museums, landmarks and other cultural institutions can be found all over Dublin, but the following are some of the places you definitely ought to check out.

National Library of Ireland

Established in 1877, the National Library of Ireland contains the most comprehensive collection of Irish heritage anywhere in the world – although, given its name, that shouldn’t really be too much of a surprise! With its collection consisting of over eight million items, from photographs and maps to books and periodicals, you’re bound to find some element of the city’s history that fascinates you in the Kildare Street institution.

In addition, there’s an exhibition dedicated to Dublin poet William Butler Yeats where you can see rare books and photos of how the capital used to look. The library’s prints and drawings collection, meanwhile, accounts for 100,000 works – including 17th-century pieces and modern art – with officials noting this acts as a visual record of Ireland’s history for the past five centuries. There really is a lot to see here, so the library can’t be recommended enough. Perhaps best of all though, it’s free to enter!

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle has played a pivotal role in the city’s history – and Ireland as a whole – ever since it was built in 1204 and has been continually occupied for more than 800 years.

Over the centuries it has been the venue for numerous state events, including presidential inaugurations, a function that it continues to perform to this day. Spend a few minutes wandering through the grounds, before going on a guided tour of the state apartments. Much of Dublin Castle continues to be used for government purposes, so although you won’t be able to go everywhere, but there is lots to explore over the 44,000 sq m complex.

Garda Museum

One must-see is the Garda Museum, situated in a 13th-century Norman tower, where you can find out more about the police force and how the building was once a high-security jail used to house criminals. You should also check out the Chapel Royal, an ornate Gothic structure that contains the coats of arms of all the local justiciars, lord deputies and lord lieutenants from 1172 right through to 1922.

City Hall

Not only is Dublin’s City Hall the venue for local council meetings, it’s also an incredibly beautiful and historic building that’s well worth seeing in order to learn more about the region’s history.

However, it isn’t just the events taking place inside that make it a worthwhile attraction to visit, but also the fantastic Georgian exterior. Many people consider it to be one of the finest pieces of architecture in the entire city, with its 12-column rotunda especially wonderful, and you can step inside to wander through a multimedia exhibition that traces the evolution of the city over the past 1,000 years.