The Emerald Isle, so called for its lush greenness due in no small part to the amount of rain
it gets, holds a special place amongst many people the world over. Its troubled history encouraged
in particular, and together with their resourceful
intrepidness means that you are never far from an Irish person no matter where you may find yourself.
Even more happily, you are never far from an Irish pub, those social centres which bring together the
luck, wit and charm of the Irish people.
Back in Ireland, to be sure, were many great holidays.
Our family visited in 1996 and stayed on a farm near Cookstown, Northern Ireland. We
toured a lot of the towns in Ulster, including some time spent in Donegal and Sligo. It coincided with the
annual Orange marches, many of which caused problems and there was a lot
of violence during those two weeks. Undeterred, we still had ourselves a good holiday.
In 1999 I went with my Venture Scout unit on a tour of the Republic, taking in Cork, Dublin
and Kilkenny amongst others. I have since returned to Cork, Kerry and Dublin various times in subsequent
The Giant's Causeway on the north coast of Ulster is a formation
of hexagonal stacks of volcanic rock, pushed up during rapid cooling of lava around the
time of the demise of the dinosaurs. Legend has it that Finn MacCool the Irish giant was waging war with
the neighbouring Scottish giant Benandonner, and built the causeway to attack him. The causeway
exists under the sea today, and similar structures are found in the western isles of
This picture is me before I got my hair cut in summer 1996.
This street is quite representative of central Dublin, it
is mostly Georgian and in this style. This was taken from the city bus tour.
Temple Bar was done up in the 1990s to be the trendy gentrified
district in Dublin, with Hard Rock cafes and many themed (Irish) pubs. Live music
can be found most nights but prices were certainly beyond my range as a student. Temple Bar confused
me at first, although the bar you see here is by that name, Temple Bar is in fact the
name of the street too.
The most photographed of all the Georgian doors
in Dublin, if you go to a souvenir shop you are more than likely to see this on a
How could I have a page on Ireland without some
typical Irish pubs? As you might guess, this pub is near the Guinness breweries on
St James's Gate.
One of the many old tales of Dublin is that of sweet
Molly Malone, who wheeled her wheel barrow through the streets broad and narrow
crying "cockles and mussels alive alive-o!" Locally she is referred to as "the
Tart with the Cart", for in the grown-up version of the story her profession extended beyond
Guinness has been brewed here at St James's Gate
for more than 250 years, and is arguably the most famous beer in the world. Perfectionists
will of course tell you that it's not beer, but a drink in its own class, a meal in a glass.
The lease for the site was signed for a duration of nine thousand years, for which the company
still pays the same rent they did when they opened. A million pints a day are pumped
out of here, of which only twenty percent is for export, leaving a phenomenal quantity
of Guinness that is consumed in Ireland daily.
Trinity College is Ireland's oldest university, and the best and most famous
in Ireland. This is the central courtyard, and the Book of Kells is held here,
featuring the four gospels and written around
800 AD. It has been at Trinity College since the 1600s.
Another Irish pub, although here they just call them pubs. MJ O'Neill's looks very pleasingly
Irish so I was compelled to photograph it, quite representative of what pubs in Dublin are (meant to be) like.
Dublin's shopping scene is also pretty good, this is the St Stephen's Green shopping centre
at the bottom of Grafton Street by the eponymous Green. To me it is somewhat reminiscent of
Crystal Palace, with its glass and wrought iron design.
Leaving Dublin behind, now we are down in County Kerry, in the south
west of Ireland. This is Kenmare, recently done up and repainted, it is a really
nice little place, lined with quaint shops.
It is a little off the beaten track, and in unspoiled country.
In Phoenix Park the President of Ireland resides,
in a house which uncannily resembles the White House in Washington DC. Its proper name is
Aras an Uachtarain, and the surrounding park is the largest urban green space in Europe. The
house was opened in 1751, but it did not take on its current form until much more recently.
The Ha'penny Bridge is so called because it used to be a
toll bridge, with travellers being relieved of half a penny at each crossing. It is now an iconic Dublin
landmark, spanning the Guinness-black waters of the River Liffey.
Irish commercial humour: Knobs and Knockers, purveyors of fine door furniture throughout Ireland.
If you aren't Irish (or British), ask someone who is.