Tag Archives: Dublin

Thursday Doors – Shops in Ireland

“only in Ireland” is a common phrase in the Emerald Isle and it seems to me that this collection of doors illustrates that rather well.  My favourite is the Post Office with the gas cylinders stored right next to the petrol pump…

Angel WorldDick MacksLittle CheeseMoriartyMother HubbardsoBriens BakeryOHerlihyPost OfficeRecollections

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

Thursday Doors – Pubs in Ireland

I don’t want to give the wrong impression but I confess to visiting a lot of pubs in Ireland.

Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favourite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments’ on Norm’s site, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American Eastern Time).

 

European Capital of Culture 1991 – Dublin

Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) diesel powered 22000 class train

“I go off into Dublin and two days later I’m spotted walking by the Liffey with a whole bunch of new friends.” – Ronnie Wood (Rolling Stones)

Although we were staying on the west coast of Ireland we really wanted to visit Dublin and I was delighted to discover that the cost of a return rail ticket to the capital city was only €25 (£20) which was sort of surprising because I considered this to very good value compared to UK rail travel prices when most other things in Ireland seemed to me to be about 20%  or so more expensive than in the UK.

It was an early start today so we missed breakfast at the Hotel Victoria and made our way to the railway station just a couple of hundred yards away to catch the seven-thirty Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) emerald green-liveried diesel powered 22000 class train service to Dublin which left exactly on time.

I have to say that the two hour journey wasn’t especially thrilling as we quickly left the dramatic scenery of the west coast behind us and travelled across the rather ordinary interior of the country with miles and miles of low lying land, livestock farms and the occasional stop at the various forgettable towns along the way and I was glad when we eventually arrived at our destination at Heuston station in Dublin.

Dublin Postcard

We only had a few hours in Dublin so we thought that maybe a good way to see the city was to take the city bus tour which left from just outside the station so we purchased our tickets and climbed to the roofless top deck and as the bus set off rather wished that it was a little bit warmer as it drove towards the first stop at Phoenix Park (the largest public park in Europe by the way) and Dublin zoo and then back towards the city along the north bank of the river Liffey and then into O’Connell Street named after the nineteenth century Irish nationalist hero known as the liberator and not to be confused with Daniel O’Donnell the singer and TV presenter known as the imitator.

Dublin Castle

After an unnecessary change of bus when we told to get off but then got straight back on again we crossed the river to the more up-market and obviously affluent south side of the city and drove around Trinity College, Georgian Merrion Square and the birthplace of Oscar Wilde and then left the bus to start a walking tour at St Stephen’s Green, a large area of serene parkland and an oasis of green in the centre of the city.

From St Stephens we walked back to Merrion Square to photograph the red brick Georgian town houses and the famous coloured doors.  These are all wonderful (although a little plain) buildings that until the 1950s were largely residential but which are too expensive to buy and maintain for that purpose any more and are now all business headquarters and public buildings.

Until 1972 the British Embassy was based here but following the Bloody Sunday riots in Northern Ireland an angry crowd marched on the place and burnt it to the ground.

The replacement building is about half a mile away, a modern purpose built building with a lot of security features.  Hopefully they will never be any need to activate them!

Doors of Dublin

In the grounds of the park at the centre of the square we found the jesters chair, a memorial to Father Ted actor Dermot Morgan and then a rather strange statue of Oscar Wilde lounging in a very unflattering pose on an uncomfortable looking granite rock which I didn’t care for a great deal.

Oscar Wilde Statue Dublin

It seemed to me to be somewhat inappropriate, the poor man clinging on like a piece of lichen to a boulder with his legs wide apart showing his crotch which was what got him into a whole load of trouble in the first place!  Dubliners have christened it the ‘fag on the Craig’.

Leaving Merrion Square we continued our walking tour into Trinity College, one of the seven ancient universities of Great Britain and Ireland.

Somewhere in the bowels of the splendid buildings surrounding a perfectly manicured green is the Book of Kells which is one of the oldest and most important illuminated monastic manuscripts from the medieval dark ages and is regarded as Ireland’s finest national treasure.  We would have liked to have seen it but there was a queue a mile long that was shuffling slowly forward at a pace as though people had their shoe laces tied together and we didn’t really care how important it was because we didn’t want to waste our precious time in Dublin standing in a line.

The sun was coming through now, it was approaching lunch time and everyone wanted a Guinness so we left the hallowed halls of Trinity College, pushed our way through the patient queue of people more determined than we were to see the Book of Kells and made our way to Temple Bar.

Temple Bar Dublin Ireland

Narrow cobbled streets with beer bottle tops crushed for near eternity into the tarmac joints, winking like silver coins and capturing the memories of wild party nights and happy drinking, brightly coloured buildings decorated with hanging baskets with brassy flowers spilling over like floral waterfalls and street entertainers on every corner.

All along the main street a succession of pubs and restaurants with happy music leaking out of the open doorways like the song of the Siren’s enticing people to go inside and get wrecked and a lot of people were falling for it so they were!

There was still more of Temple Bar to see so after lunch we continued along the main street, diverted to the bridges over the river Liffey and then explored the side streets and looked for the statue of Molly Malone but when we arrived at the spot where she should have been singing about cockles and muscles she had been taken away for repairs and a clean.

Molly Malone 2

After the castle we took a dangerous route along Grafton Street back to the bus stop at St Stephens Green; dangerous because it was lined on either side with shops and there was the constant fear that at any moment we might be dragged inside by Kim and Pauline.  We were a little earlier than planned so we spent ten minutes in a curious place, The Little Museum of Dublin, which chronicles the modern history of Dublin through faded photographs and aged bric-a-brac.

We had allowed ourselves an hour to make the second stage of the bus tour and to get back in plenty of time for the return train journey and it was a good job that we did because it was Friday afternoon rush-hour now and the traffic was crawling at snail’s-pace away from the city centre.

We passed the Roman Catholic Cathedral and the Guinness Brewery and then through the site of the original Viking settlement.  Previously we have been to Haugesund in Norway where the Vikings started their sea journeys and it was cold, barren wet and miserable and I can only imagine that when they found this place they must have been delighted to find somewhere less (but probably only marginally) less cold, barren, wet and miserable.

On the return journey I reflected on Dublin, I had liked it but half a day was so not enough time to do it justice so I mentally added to my list of places to return to one day.

Irish Famine

Blue Doors of Europe and North Africa

Wooden Door of Catalonia Besalu

Catalonia, Spain

Door Detail Dinard Brittany France

Brittany, France

Dublin Doors 2

Dublin, Ireland

Milos Greece

Milos Island, Greece

Doors of Ronda 1

Ronda, Spain

Burgau Algarve Portugal

Algarve, Portugal

Essaouira Derelict Doors

Essaouira, Morocco

Amsterdam by Delph

Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Black Forest, Germany

More Doors…

Doors and Windows of 2015

Sardinia – Doors and Windows

Brittany – Doors and Windows

Blue Doors of Essaouira

Doors of Catalonia 1

Doors of Catalonia 2

Doors of Catalonia 3

Doors of Catalonia 4

Doors of Dublin

Doors of Northern France

Doors of Portugal

Doors of Siguenza, Spain

Ireland, North or South?

Ireland 03

There was a short flight delay at Belfast International so that gave me another forty minutes or so to make my comparison between north and south Ireland.

We started our journey in Belfast so I made my first judgement between here and Dublin.  I liked Dublin, it was fun, it was more Bohemian, it was shabby chic compared to the Victorian starched collared style of Belfast which reminded me of the great cities of Northern England.

Dublin has Temple Bar, Belfast has the Cathedral Quarter, Dublin wins hands down on that score but Belfast has the River Lagan, the Titanic Experience (which is way more interesting than the Book of Kells) and the history of the troubles.  I only spent a day in Dublin so I might be being unfair here but my vote goes to Belfast.

Titanic Museum Belfast

North 1 – South 0

Next my thoughts turned to coastal road drives.  Fresh in my memory was the glorious journey along the Antrim Coast, never before have I driven along a road so close to the seashore and with so many wonderful places to stop and admire the natural environment but then I was instantly reminded of the Ring of Dingle with its high level looping journey around the headland where Charles Lindbergh first reached Europe on his solo trans Atlantic flight and where Fungi the Dolphin entertains people on a daily basis.

Ireland Dingle

North 1 – South 1

Ireland is so photogenic that it is no surprise that it has been used extensively in film locations over the years.  In the North they have the Game of Thrones but I admit to having never watched that but in the South they have Father Ted and I have watched every episode time and time again.

Ireland Father Ted Tour Craggy Island Parochial House

North 1 – South 2

I turn again now to the natural environment and the glories of nature.  In the South there is the Cliffs of Moher and in the north there is the Giant’s Causeway.  I like them both but you cannot get anywhere near the cliffs of Moher because of barricades and fencing but on the Causeway you can climb all over the rock formations and really appreciate what it is all about.

I was disappointed by the Cliffs of Moher but I liked the Causeway so much that I went twice.  Also, the Causeway was free but there was an entrance fee to the Cliffs.

Northern Ireland Giant's Causeway

North 2 – South 2

I was thinking about what to compare next as a decider when Kim asked me what I was doing.  I explained that I was drawing up a comparison between north and south. She raised an inquisitive eyebrow and asked me why and she was right.  What was the point of a comparison.  I am not making any political, religious or sectarian judgements here but Ireland should be seen as just that without any geographical divisions and on that basis I declare the contest a draw!

I need to go back…

Dingle Ireland Murphys Pub

Weekly Photo Challenge: Orange

Restaurant Ennistymon Ireland

In Ireland they like their pubs in bright colours so they do…

After Guinness and sandwiches we left the busy pub and made our way into the centre of the city passing first through a street of brightly coloured buildings, yellow, green, red, vibrant, vivid and loud, the sort of thing that would have town planners in England descending into a frenzy of planning application refusals.

Read the full story…

And thanks to Hugh at “Hugh’ Views and News”  (a very good blog) for giving me a memory nudge about this picture!

Ireland, Ring of Kerry

Ireland Inch Beach

Having gone as far west as possible we were driving east again now on the last leg of our journey back towards Killarney and we followed the coast road as far as the village of Sneem, another tourist logjam with a car park full of growling coaches.

There were two distinct parts of Sneem so we parked in the quieter one next to a plaque dedicated to Charles deGaulle who apparently visited the village many times and selected a shocking pink pub with a garden terrace for a Guinness in the sunshine.

After lunch we crossed a bridge over the river, obviously turbulent in winter judging by the tree debris caught and tangled in the saw toothed rocks but rather indolent today as the water trickled rather than surged over the boulders.  On the other side was the main tourist business with craft and souvenir shops and swarms of day trippers pondering whether or not to buy a traditional Aran cardigan and all along the pavement the street entertainers all hoping for some loose change to be transferred from pockets to collection tins.

Our planned schedule was beginning to fall behind the clock now so we walked back to the car past a lady belting out opera at full volume and the parks full of public art and then left Sneem and followed the coast road until it turned sharply inland at Kenmare and headed towards mountains and the Killarney National Park.  With so many panoramic viewing areas it was stop-start motoring now for a few miles as we stopped as often as possible to admire the scenery most memorably at Moll’s Gap, a mountain pass at the highest point of the climb before the descent towards the Killarney Lakes and the look-out spot at Ladies View where more accordion players and fiddlers were attempting to entertain the bus tour visitors.

As we approached Killarney we left the Ring of Kerry and to be honest I wasn’t disappointed to do so.  On reflection the decision to drive it in just one day was a mistake.  It was too far and it really needed a day or two with a couple of overnight stops to be able to enjoy it fully.  I’ll bear that in mind if I get to go back to the south-west of Ireland.

As we arrived in Killarney the traffic began to get heavier mostly on account of the fact that it had to compete with a fleet of horse-drawn jaunting cars that seemed to enjoy priority over the motor cars and exemptions from the normal rules of the road.

It was too late now to do any real sightseeing, we were way behind time and our plan was to find somewhere for a last meal in Ireland before driving back to the airport at Shannon.  This wasn’t as easy as we had imagined because we were in that late afternoon period when pubs and restaurants close down for a couple of hours but we eventually found somewhere suitable and enjoyed a very good meal and a final glass of Guinness.

After the meal we left Killarney for a final two hour drive to the airport which confirmed the days bad planning as we had already spent four hours or so motoring around the Ring of Kerry and everyone was beginning to get a bit fidgety as we drove the unremarkable and rather dull main road towards Limerick.

The dashboard warning symbols were still continuing to blink on and off like garden fairy lights but I became increasingly confident of getting it back without major incident the closer we got to the airport.  We refuelled the car and returned it to the car hire office and I crossed my fingers as the man at the desk examined the paper work and made an inspection.  I explained about the warning lights but this didn’t seem to concern him greatly as though this was a regular occurrence and he signed off the contract and agreed to the refund for the value of the full tank of fuel but for the next few days I kept my eye on my credit card account in case of any damage charges being charged through.  Nothing happened!

I’m so sorry if I disappointed anyone expecting an engine explosion story!

Back at the airport now we prepared for our flight, fortunately one of a handful not delayed due to a French air traffic control strike, with some time to spare to reflect on out holiday.  Ireland, I have to say, had been a revelation to me and had far exceeded my pre-travel expectations, Galway, Dublin, Ennistymon and especially Dingle were all so wonderful that Ireland is now firmly placed in my ‘must return to’ list.

Galway Ireland postcard  Dunguaire Castle Kinvara Ireland

Dublin Postcard  Dingle Ireland

Postcards From Ireland

County Clare Postcard

Dublin Postcard

Ireland, Just Pictures

Dingle Harbour Ireland

Conor Pass Dingle Ireland

Inch Beach Dingle Ireland

Ireland Inch Beach

Ireland Cliffs of Moher

Ireland Dingle

Ireland, The Pubs

Dingle Ireland Murphys Pub

Eugene's Pub Ennistymon Ireland

Temple Bar Dublin Ireland

Vaughans Pub Kilfanora Father Ted