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Ireland

Walking Dublin

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Feeling Like I’m Back Home

Very few places I have traveled have felt like home. I’ve lived in several states in the US, and visited different countries in my limited time here on earth. Needless to say, I am American through and through, apple-pie, red, white and blue. Few places capture my heart and make me feel free, as does Dublin Ireland. I agree with James Joyce who once said, “When I die, Dublin will be written in my heart.”

I lived in Ireland for almost a year and became immersed in the city and it’s culture. My family emigrated from Ireland just before the American Civil War, thus making my own Irish linage rather thin. However, every time I visit Dublin, my very thin Irish ancestral blood boils with anticipation for a long awaited homecoming.

Dublin is a very walk-able city; it’s not a very large. Street signs are mostly easy to find and both in English and Irish (Gaelic). The Irish joke that the street signs are in both languages so that you can get lost in both languages. The city begs for you to stroll its streets just as the poets and philosophers of old.

You can take in the some of the best parts of Dublin by beginning your day at St Stephen’s Green. Easy to get to, it’s one of the main parks in city Centre. The Green is Irelands best-known Victorian public park. Strolling through the park you find many water and flower gardens, sculptures, and unique structures such as the delicately carved Victorian Swiss shelter in the center of the park. The park also has a good children’s playground. On weekends, many artists selling their works often surround the Green.

Exit the parks northwest corner through the Fusiliers’ Arch and cross the street to Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s best shopping districts. You will find many unique shops, tourist traps and restaurants on Grafton Street. If you’re hungry, grab some excellent Italian food at Pasta Fresca on nearby Chatham Street. If you’re looking for a snack, about mid way through your walk on Grafton Street, you will find one of my favorite places to get a cup of tea or coffee and croissant: Bewely’s Café.

At the end of Grafton Street you will find Trinity College. Many folks will visit the historic and beautiful book of Kels and the breath-taking Library, which are fantastic, but walking the grounds of the campus is well worth the time. The hustle and bustle of the city falls away as the peaceful campus invites you to wander and admire the architecture and walk ways. Get away from the crowds and you will see another side of Trinity that many don’t bother to see.

Across the street from Trinity are a couple of great stores worth a look. Stop off at Books Upstairs, and pick up book of poems by Yeats, or a book on philosophy from Thompson (if your into books on anti-capitalism). Books Upstairs is an eclectic store similar to those found near college campuses throughout the world.

Once you cross the river you are on O’Connell Street. O’Connell street claims to be the heart of Dublin’s urban center and is lined with several statues and monuments dedicated to the leaders in the fight for Irish independence. It is worth a walk up and down to admire the architecture, but not much more to be perfectly honest. As a matter of safety, be sure to keep an eye on your purse and wallet. O’Connell Street tends to be a hot bed for petty crime. When you see The Spire hang a left and you are on Henry Street. Henry Street is Dublin’s second most attractive shopping district. In some regards it’s better than Grafton because more locals visit here than tourist; it also has a Butlers Chocolate store!

By the time you reach the end of Henry Street you’ll be hungry and thirsty, take time to stop at The Church, a restaurant in a gorgeous converted church, the former St. Mary’s Church of Ireland. The Church features excellent food in the Gallery Restaurant as well as The Cellar Bar and Nightclub; where you can finish the night off dancing till the morning hours.

This walk takes about one hour if your walk it straight through. I don’t recommend that you power through the walk however. Take your time, absorb the atmosphere in Dublin, and admire its architecture, statues, and most importantly, feel free and independent in a very unique and personal city.

Note:  I originally published this article on WeSaidGoTravel.com 

Walking Dublin

I love Dublin, it is one of my favorite cities to visit and maybe someday live there.  It’s a city with plenty of amenities, steeped in history, and tons of culture.

Written by Chris

March 4th, 2014 at 2:00 am

Travel Essay: Dublin Freedom Walk

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Hi everybody! I am honored to have my travel essay published as a guest post on We Said Go Travel.  We Said Go Travel is the travel blog of George and Lisa Rajna, who are accomplished travel agents, bloggers, and speakers.  Lisa is a member of the Traveler’s Century Club, a unique travel club limited to travelers who have visited one hundred or more countries.  My Essay is about a walk that I love to do in City Center Dublin, please check it out at: http://www.wesaidgotravel.com/dublin-freedom-walk

Canon Xti | Canon 18-55mm @ 31mm | 1/160 @ f/10 | ISO400 | Processed in LR4

Written by Chris

July 27th, 2013 at 7:00 am

Dun Laoghaire Harbor Dublin Ireland

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Dun Laoghaire Harbor in County Dublin, Ireland is off the beaten tourist path.  The suburb of Dun Laoghaire is located about 12km south on the N31 from Dublin City Center and can be accessed by bus or car.  Parking is tight in this part of the metro area and I recommend utilizing public transportation, which extremely easy in Dublin.  The harbor as you can see is full of boats and the occasional ferry.  It is also a short walk to Blackrock Park which has great paved paths to stroll and overlooks the Irish Sea.

Dun Laoghaire Harbor Dublin Ireland

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About Dun Laoghaire Harbor Dublin Ireland

“Dún Laoghaire is a town on the east coast of Ireland, about seven miles (11km) south of the capital Dublin. Its focal point is a splendid harbour and the town is surrounded by spectacular rolling hills. There’s lots to do and a wide range of top quality accommodation, services and amenities on the doorstep. Its easy access to Dublin city and transport links nationwide makes it an ideal place to begin or end your journey through the Emerald Isle.” – From the Dun Laoghaire Online website

Written by Chris

December 28th, 2012 at 10:00 am

Northern Ireland Giants Causeway

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Northern Ireland Giants Causeway is geological phenomenon with about about 40,000 interlocking basalt columns, the result of an ancient volcanic eruption.  I visited Giants Causeway a few years ago leaping from column to column to the very edge of Ireland looking straight into the Atlantic Ocean.  Legend has it that the Irish warrior Finn MacCool built the causeway to Scotland to battle the Scottish giant Benandonner.  All I know is that the Causeway is wicked cool!  In addition to seeing the scenic ocean columns close up, you can see the Causeway from another perspective by hiking the nearby Runkerry Trail.  I highly recommend the trail as the best way to see the causeway.  Be sure to be in shape as the trail is difficult to hike!

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Northern Ireland Giants Causeway

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Written by Chris

December 27th, 2012 at 10:00 am

Dublin Ireland: Powerscourt Pepperpot Tower Cannon

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The Powerscourt Pepperpot Tower, at the Powerscourt gardens just outside of Dublin Ireland, gives a commanding view of the gardens.  This view however is not of the gardens but from inside of the tower itself looking down toward the surrounding cannons.  Interestingly, the cannons were installed to be more decorative than protective.  Powerscourt Estate and Gardens is a large country estate which is noted for its house and landscaped gardens, today occupying 47 acres. The house was originally built as a 13th century castle but was extensively altered during the 18th century.  If you have a green thumb and love historic country manors, this is the place for you.  Easily acessable by car straight down the N7 from Dublin, or by coach service.

Powerscourt Pepperpot Tower

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Written by Chris

December 26th, 2012 at 10:00 am

Dublin’s O’Connell Street

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O’Connell Street in the heart of Dublin Ireland is tourist destination, but well worth the stop.  Full of shops, restaurants and pubs, O’Connell is also home to the historic General Post Office.  At the GPO you can still see the bullet marks from the famed 1916 Easter Rising where Irish Republicans seized control of the building only to beaten off by the British.  Close to the post office is the connecting cross street of Henry Street which is a major pedestrian shopping district which is only second to near by Grafton Street.  O’Connell Street is full of statues and monuments and should be on your itinerary for your next visit to the irish capitol.

Dublin's O'Connell Street

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Written by Chris

December 12th, 2012 at 10:04 pm

Small Passageways and Great Craic

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Head out the Naas Road to the M7 and visit the town Kilkenny in Ireland; one of my favorite destinations on the Emerald Isle.  Known mostly for Kilkenny Castle, there are a lot of great restaurants and shops for you to frequent.  My favorite place to grab lunch on your excursion is Ristorante Rinuccini just down the street from the Castle  Rinuccini is a multi-year Bridgestone award winner and brought a smile to face.  Be sure to take in the castle (one of the best to see in Ireland) and grab some lunch afterward!

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Written by Chris

December 12th, 2012 at 4:25 pm

Homeless Street Artist

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Craig Wightman, a homeless man in Dublin, writes inspirational messages and poems in chalk on the streets almost every day. I saw him last year when I was in Dublin just at the end of Gafton Street. Seeing him and several other homeless was a stark contrast from when we lived there in 2003. The Celtic Tiger of the last decade was a boom time for Ireland, and it really broke my heart seeing the impact the global economic down turn has had on this small country.

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Written by Chris

October 15th, 2012 at 6:00 am

Trinity Bikes

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Trinity College in Dublin Ireland is one of those great old European institutions of higher learning founded in 1592 that we Americans often romanticism about attending; strolling the grounds learning about philosophy and the great writers.  The university campus is located in the heart of city center Dublin and boast amazing architectural.  The campus is open the public and is home to the Book of Kells, a Latin manuscript of the four gospels dating from ca. 800.  Trinity can boast of famous alumni such as:

  • Writer Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels
  • Physicist Ernest Walton who won the Nobel Prize for his work on the atom
  • Playwright Samuel Beckett, Nobel Prize for literature
  • Philosophers George Berkeley and Edmund Burke

Trinity College is a must see for your visit to the Irish capitol.

Trinity College Dublin

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Written by Chris

September 28th, 2012 at 6:00 am

Cliffs Near Moher

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So it’s not the classic shot of  Cliffs of Moher in western Ireland but you can see part of the cliffs in the foreground.  The striking photo was taken near the cliffs taking in the gorgeous clouds coming off the sea that is a very common sight.

Cliffs of Moher

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Written by Chris

September 27th, 2012 at 6:00 am