Posted 03 January 2023 in Travel Wanderlust
Seated at the heart of the east coast, Dublin is the historical-cultural hub of the Republic of Ireland. The city that was established during a Viking invasion in the early 9th century has now come to grow into the bustling national capital straddling the River Liffey. A juxtaposition of antiquity and modernity along with prosperity and paucity, Dublin promises the perfect metropolitan experience. Exploring centuries-old architecture and an assortment of specialised museums for learning enthusiasts, kayaking along the River Liffey for those seeking adventure and a thousand different varieties of shopping sites, the city has something to captivate everybody. At the end of a long day, one may relax in a pub with a cold brew of authentic Guinness, imbibing the social life of the city coming alive about them.
The name “Dublin” is derived from the Irish word ‘Dubhlinn’ meaning ‘black’ or ‘dark’, and ‘lind’, that is, a ‘dark tidal pool’. This is a reference to a tidal pool located where the River Poddle merged with the Liffey river on the site of Dublin Castle.
Trinity is the oldest university in Ireland which was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592. Among its numerous illustrious alumni over the years there are names such as Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift (best known for authoring the fantasy satire “Gulliver’s Travels”) and Bram Stoker (of “Dracula” fame). Apart from its picturesque cobbled squares and gardens, Trinity is known for housing some of the most valuable treasures of the ancient world. From a collection of 9th-century manuscripts to the magnificent 18th-century Long Room which houses some 200,000 of the country’s oldest books, this is an experience that will awaken your inner litterateur. If one is lucky, he/she might come just at the right moment when a literary exhibition is being hosted in the halls. Not to mention, the striking architecture of the college building. And, since one has come up here, he/she might as well have a look around the old Irish Parliament House which is situated directly opposite to the College Greens and has its own set of fascinating artefacts and history.
It was built on the site of the first church of Dublin that was founded in 1028 by the then Viking overlords of the country. After its partial collapse in the 16th century, the church was rebuilt in the 19th century into its grand current form. The architecture of Christ Church Cathedral includes massive early Gothic arches, a vast crypt running along the entire underground length of the building (preserved since the 13th century) and a 14th-century replica of the original mausoleum of Strongbow, who was a legendary Norman conqueror. All these features come together to make Christ Church Cathedral a true melting pot of the eras. In the Synod Hall of the cathedral is located Dublinia, which is an excellent recreation of life and scenes from the time of the Vikings to the Mediaeval period. This too is worth paying a visit.
For centuries, Dublin Castle has been at the very centre of Ireland’s unfolding and changing history. The last administrative function bestowed upon the castle was during the 700-year British reign which saw its end in 1922. Apart from this, it has been used as a fortress during various Medieval sieges, as a vice-regal court and for other government purposes. However, at present, the building is being utilised for exhibitions, concerts and ceremonial occasions. A permanent facet of the castle now is that it serves as a site for several museums, most significantly, the Chester Beatty Library and Art Gallery which was established, as the name gives away, by an Irish-American named Chester Beatty in order to expose his personal art and literary collection to public viewing. The gallery houses a fine selection of Oriental art, ancient texts like 14th-century French books, Babylonian clay tablets, Islamic prints, Sanskrit manuscripts and even some Indian miniatures. Relics from ancient Egypt, South-east Asia and the Middle East are also present.
A mere 3-hour drive away from Dublin, these sea cliffs bordering the Atlantic Ocean will give you a sight to behold. A trip to the adjacent countryside of County Clare and the nearby village, Doolin, will prove fruitful for those who wish to infuse into the charming country life and traditional music. Lunch at one of the village inns shall also be great for sampling the local cuisine. And, as an extra attraction to fans of the popular books and film franchise of Harry Potter, the Cliffs of Moher were also a shooting location for the movie “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince”.
St. James’ Gate Brewery, popularly known as Guinness Brewery, is the founding place of the iconic Guinness dry stout beer. It was established in 1759 by Arthur Guinness at a time of an economic recession and since then the product has gone on to become quintessential to the Irish identity, also proving pivotal for the economy. Visitors at the brewery are treated to a guided tour through the beer making process. Also, attached to it is the Guinness Storehouse which is an interactive exhibit of sorts on the history of the beer, its founder and guidelines on responsible drinking. The place may give visitors an insight into one of the most successful business models of Europe and reveals some fascinating tidbits.
There are certain things which are better heeded before commencing one’s Dublin tour. Here are a few such tips to keep in mind: