Ireland

Republic and Northern



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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 emigration to Scotland, England and the new world 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 years.


The Giant's Causeway

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 Scotland. 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.

Dublin Streets


Temple Bar

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 postcard.

A Door...duh


Real old mountain dew

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 shellfish.

Alive alive-o!


Believe...

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.

Trinity College Dublin


Pub

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 London's Crystal Palace, with its glass and wrought iron design.

St Stephen's Shopping Centre


Kenmare

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.

Ireland's White House


The ha'penny bridge

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.

What are you insinuating?


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Copyright © Ross Wattie 2002-2013