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Issue 2, 2015

Discover Dublin Bay & The City by Rail!

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Howth Head

Editor: Rachael Finucane Contributing Writers: Bríana Walsh, Rosaleen Regan, Adam Leahy, Louise Harrison, Julianne Clarke, Matthew Faughnan and Rachael Finucane. Photography: Primary sources of photography include Fáilte Ireland/Tourism Ireland (Ireland’s Content Pool) and Shutterstock. See individual photos for more information. Copyright retained by photographers/organisations. 2|

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Killiney Hill


Contents From the Editor




Dún Laoghaire


Top 10 Things to Do


City Centre



DART Route Planner


Grand Canal Dock

Sandycove & Glasthule




Lansdowne Road














Malahide & Portmarnock


Clontarf Road

Salthill & Monkstown





Useful Information

A Tourism and Marketing Initiative from Southern Marketing Design Media For enquiries about inclusion in updated editions of this guide, please contact 061 310286 / No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written permission of the publishers. © Southern Marketing Design Media 2015. Every effort has been made in the production of this magazine to ensure accuracy at the time of publication. The editors cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions, or for any alterations made after publication.

RRP: €3.00

For further information on Dublin go to:

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So many places SO MANY STORIES


here is a famous quote by Henry Miller that says “one’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things”. I hope Dublin Off the DART will present visitors to Dublin, as well as its natives, with a new way of seeing things.

The DART is primarily seen as a commuter train and though it’s not a ‘tourist train’ in the conventional sense, it gives people a convenient, low-cost way to travel out to the greater Dublin area and for people on the outskirts to access and engage with the city. Whether you are visiting from another location in Ireland or abroad, the bustling city centre is just one part of Dublin. The suburbs and the towns and villages of beautiful Dublin Bay have so much extra to offer. With its recent UNESCO Biosphere designation, Dublin Bay has gotten due recognition as a unique natural and cultural area. There has never been a better time to experience it! Even if you are living in the capital for years or you are a true blue Dub’, ask yourself: “have I ever tried being a tourist in my own town?” It can be a lot of fun to explore somewhere new and try something different. When people are abroad, a short train journey to the seaside or city is just a way to make the most of your day or break. It comes naturally. Why not use the DART for that change of scenery? The Best of Ireland Series is founded on the principle that “every place has a story”. This overall story is made up of umpteen individual stories of things to do, places to see, eateries, bars, accommodation outlets and more. I have no doubt that we have missed out on stories in this guide. I urge people to let us know what we are missing so in our next edition we can tell you what you might be missing. This project, and that of the 2014 edition before it, have been very enjoyable journeys. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to those who have offered support, contributed content and also to all who have helped us along the way with introductions, suggestions and revisions. I would like to extend a personal thanks to our contributing writers, our editorial & design team and the project directors at Southern Marketing Design Media. Happy DART-ing! Rachael Finucane


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Top Ten




Pack in the sights from the Spire to the Molly Malone statue, the Guinness Storehouse to Dublin Zoo, Temple Bar to one of many Martello Towers…the list is endless!


Get a taste of Howth by browsing in its funky market, ordering delicious Dublin Bay prawns in one of the great eateries and taking a boat across to Ireland’s Eye.


Explore Malahide, a picturesque village that retains its historic character with magnificent Malahide Castle, its traditional shop fronts and try touring it in a road train.

4. Go south to delve into Dalkey where heritage really comes to life thanks to the historical re-enactments in Dalkey Castle, learn about Ireland’s great writers and pay a visit to one of the quaint harbours and Dalkey Island. 5.

Retrace the footsteps of writer, James Joyce, at locations like Sandymount beach and the James Joyce Tower & Museum in Sandycove.

6. Discover Dún Laoghaire’s refreshing sea air and stroll along the East Pier (with an ice cream or fish and chips in hand), look out on Dublin Bay from the Victorian bandstand and relax in the People’s Park. 7.

Let yourself be entertained. Take in an event like a sports match at Croke Park or Aviva Stadium, a play at one of the city’s many theatres such as the Abbey or a gig at a venue like the 3Arena.


Energise with an active pursuit whether it be hiking up Killiney Hill, kite surfing on Dollymount Strand, cycling in the city, swimming in Greystones, sailing in Dún Laoghaire and kayaking in Dalkey to name but a few.


Immerse yourself in history and art by touring the huge selection of museums and galleries, sites like Glasnevin Cemetery and exhibitions like the Shackleton Exhibition in Dún Laoghaire.

10. Shop ‘til you drop for gifts and souvenirs, take a walking/cycling/bus tour, socialise in a traditional pub and much more. Uncover a hidden Dublin Off the DART!

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Irish Rail/DART Route Map





























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Explore Dublin Rail


ublin is a vibrant capital with a captivating coast. While the city on the Liffey is Ireland’s number one tourist destination for many reasons, Dublin Bay is also a must-visit for holidaymakers from Ireland and abroad. Its recent designation as a UNESCO Biosphere—recognising its unique ecological and cultural status—highlights what a great experience visitors can enjoy here.

you. Or if you want something more relaxing, let the trendy cafes, mouthwatering seafood restaurants or cultural gems tempt you. Visitors can meet the locals at artisan food markets, at literary and artistic festivals or in the village pub.

The beautiful bay is like another world but yet, the charming coastal villages are within a stone’s throw of the city centre. Hopping on a DART train offers an escape from the hustle and bustle. Whether you go north or south on the line, it opens up a vast range of possibilities. An abundance of outdoor activities, seaside strolls and cliff top hikes await 8|

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The Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) system is primarily a commuter train line, bringing thousands of people to and from the leafy suburbs and seaside towns surrounding the city. But it is also an excellent way to enjoy a day trip without the worries of traffic jams and other pitfalls. You can simply hop on and hop off the train to see the sights. A section of the DART line—from the city centre to Dún Laoghaire—was the first railway in Ireland, opening

in December 1834. Since then the DART has evolved into a much more far-reaching mode of getting around and almost 16 million journeys were made on the DART in 2013.

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© Adventure Publishing-Fáilte Ireland

In this guide, we will show you a selection of must-see destinations around Dublin Bay that can be accessed with ease through the DART line—which runs north to south. The train is ideal for families too, with plenty of novelty, space and comfort on offer. With this leisurely mode of


and historic buildings all over Dublin. transportation, the wider Dublin area is your oyster…or Dublin Bay prawn as the case may be! You can enjoy a morning paddle and spot seals in Howth, explore a castle in Malahide, build up an appetite with an action-packed activity in Dún Laoghaire and have a delicious dinner in Dalkey…all in one day if you like! The city centre and Dublin Bay are conveniently connected with unrivalled versatility of the DART. There is a wealth of cultural sites to explore as well as a lengthy list of shops, activities, eateries and traditional pubs to visit. You can get up close and personal with history through a visit to one of the many museums, galleries, heritage centres, castles, churches, cathedrals

Aside from the oasis of fine parks and green spaces in the city centre, there is some stunning scenery further afield ranging from coastal vistas and beaches to gentle parkland and woodland. The east coast is renowned for its seafood and you can use the DART line to enjoy a meal in the one of the many eateries in the region. Or if you’d prefer to engage in a leisurely round of golf or go sailing or horse riding, there are many options. There is truly something for everyone, visitors young and old, to experience. Whether you are looking for adventure or your aim is to relax, each town and neighbourhood has a different character, flavour and speciality. Off the DART there is a whole new Dublin to get to know. Go north, go south, get out and about, Dublin Bay is just waiting to welcome you. With 31 stations spanning 53 km, the options are endless. The only question is: Where do you want to go? Best Of Ireland Series


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© Dermot McBrierty


Howth Harbour Lighthouse


or a day by the sea with lots of entertaining extras, get the DART out to Howth. This harbour village in north Dublin is a soughtafter address and is popular with visitors from Dublin and further afield in summer.

The Howth Peninsula offers splendid panoramic views over Dublin Bay and looks out on to Ireland’s Eye. It is home to a working harbour, marina , two lighthouses and historic attractions include a Martello tower, a castle, an old abbey and a portal tomb. The neighbourhood has a variety of terrains including coastal paths, rocky hills and woodland. It has a large SAC (Special Area of Conservation) making it a nature haven and is ideal for hikers and birdwatchers.

year. There are numerous award-winning restaurants in the area and you can get your fill of the finest fish fillet, or whatever seafood dish you prefer. Pubs are a’plenty should you be looking for a pint and there are numerous B&Bs if you decide to stay over.

You won’t be stuck for things to do here either. Go sailing, take a boat trip or kayak to Ireland’s Eye. Go sea angling for a fish supper or watch the professionals come in and out of the harbour. Go walking around the hills and take in the stunning views out across the sea and down along the east coast. Visit the museums, including the National Transport Museum and the


Seafood is in no short supply here and you are guaranteed the freshest catch with trawlers unloading in the harbour regularly. The region is home to the Dublin Bay Prawn and celebrates the crustacean with a special festival every 10 | Best Of Ireland Series

Museum of Vintage Radio or go golfing at the large complex in the grounds of the castle. There’s also an open market by the harbour at the weekend. Howth is called ‘Binn Éadair’ in Irish. This name has pre-Christian origins when the Celtic tribes called this peninsula ‘Ben Edar’, the mountain or hill of Edar, possibly after a chieftain of the Tuatha De Danann. It may also have come from ‘Benn na Edar’ meaning ‘Hills of the Oaks’. The English name Howth comes from the Vikings who invaded in the 9th century and called it ‘hoved’ meaning head. Over the years this came to be Howth. Discover what Howth is really about—visit it yourself.

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fast facts

Howth Head

Pirate’s Welcome In 1576 the pirate Gráinne O’Malley was turned away from Howth Castle on a courtesy visit. In retaliation she abducted Lord Howth’s grandson and heir. Her ransom? A promise that unanticipated guests would never again be turned away nor would the gates of Deer Park be closed to the public. An extra place is still laid at the table for meals.

Harbour Silting In the early 18th century, Howth was the chosen harbour for the location of the mail packet (postal service ship). Advocates of Dún Laoghaire said that coaches might be raided “in the badlands of Sutton”. The service eventually was relocated to Dún Laoghaire because of repeated harbour silting, not stealing.

Restless Spirits Howth is home to some ghostly goings on. Restless spirits include a three year-old and her father who were washed out to sea back in the 1800s. Howth Castle is haunted by an albino rat that warns the owners of imminent dangers.

Must-See VIEWS & HISTORY Howth Head offers amazing panoramic views of Dublin Bay and the islands of Ireland’s Eye and Lambay. It has a number of peaks including the Ben of Howth, the adjacent Black Linn (the highest point at 171 m), Dun Hill and Shielmartin with the nearby Bog of the Frogs. Howth Head has 230 hectares in a designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and 21 km of rightof-way paths for the public to enjoy the great outdoors. The Hill of Howth was once the base of legendary Fionn MacCumhaill and his men, na Fianna. Howth Castle and its estate, Deer Park, cover 180 hectares near the village. The ancestral home of the line of the Earl of Howth, it’s now held by their heirs, the Gaisford St. Lawrence family. On its present site for over seven centuries, the original was on Tower Hill. The estate has parkland, forest and the largest rhodedendron gardens in Europe. The castle is not open to the public but the kitchen hosts the Kitchen in the Castle Cookery School. The grounds hold the Deer Park Golf Complex, the National Transport Museum of Ireland and a collapsed dolmen known as Aideen’s Grave. Visit

Howth Abbey

Howth Abbey, or St. Mary’s Abbey, on Abbey Street was built in 1042 by Sigtrygg, King of Dublin. It was replaced by an abbey about 1235 before the present church was built in the late 14th century. It was modified in the 15th and 16th centuries and the St. Lawrences of Howth Castle also modified the east end to act as a private chapel with a burial tomb. Baily Lighthouse, built around 1814, is on the south-east corner of Howth Head known as Bail(e)y. The first lighthouse was built here around 1667 by Sir Robert Reading. Baily was the last Irish lighthouse to go automatic in late 1996 with the last of the keepers leaving in March 1997. In 2000, a small museum was established by the Commissioners of Irish Lights, including small artefacts gathered from retired staff. This museum does not have a set opening schedule. Contact 01-2715400 or for more details. Best Of Ireland Series | 11

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Experience the Place


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Discover ...

Do ...

A walk around Howth Harbour will clear your cobwebs and is an easy stroll if you’re not ready to tackle the hills. It is a working fishing harbour so you might see trawlers unloading as well as tour boats that go to Island’s Eye. It also has a large marina for recreational boating. You might spot a seal as they are plentiful in the harbour area (but please make sure not to feed them). The small cove of Claremont Beach nearby is also a lovely spot for walking and paddling. Brave souls sometimes bathe here too although it is quite shallow at low tide and quite high when the tide is in. It has a lifeguard station during the summer. The sea air has been known to work up an appetite and there are a variety of pubs and restaurants nearby.


Visit ...

A journey well worth taking, the Howth Coastal Walk was recently awarded a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence. The walk starts at the carpark of Balscadden Bay (a few hundred metres east of the village). From here, a path leads up and around the Nose of Howth and onto the cliff tops. If you continue uphill, there are excellent views of Lambay Island and Ireland’s Eye (be careful on the cliff edge) and a slight detour to the south takes you to Baily Lighthouse. At the highest point of the walk (171 m), you will reach the Ben of Howth—marked by an ancient burial cairn. The path then returns downhill to Howth Village. In total, the walk is 7 km and takes 2-3 hours. Alternatively, instead of returning to the village you could continue on the cliff path until you come to Sutton and then take either the DART or the No. 31 bus back to Howth. For more information on this and other local walks see

Howth Farmers’ Market is on from 10am-5pm every Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday opposite Howth Harbour. The number of stalls varies week to week but there are typically about 40 stalls with a wide variety of produce from fresh fruit, organic vegetables and local fish to homemade chocolates and handmade jewellery. Amble around and you will find lots of delicious fare ready to eat such as barbequed prawns, sausages and venison. There are lots of international influences too, with a Malaysian food stall, a crêperie and a Mediterranean stall and many more. Artisan sweet treats abound too. For more information, phone 01-8394141 or see

Howth in Numbers

819 900




The year the Vikings invaded Howth.

The distance in kilometres from Howth Village to Dublin City Centre.

The number of hectares in the SAC Special Area of Conservation located here.

The year the doubledecker tram, running since 1901 over a five mile route, ceased operation.

The number of rifles landed at Howth by Robert Erskine Childers for the Irish Volunteers in June 1914.

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In Howth


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wer artello To

Howth M

Ireland’s Eye Ferries

Deer Park Golf Course

Ireland’s Eye Ferries East Pier, Howth 086-0773021

© Siobhán Pepper Photography

National Transport Museum Visit the National Transport Museum of Ireland (01-8320427) in the grounds of Howth Castle at the Heritage Depot (entry via gates to Deer Park Hotel). Some 60 vehicles including buses, lorries, trucks, fire engines, military vehicles, trams and tractors from across more than a century are currently on display, the newest dating to 1984. The restored Hill of Howth No. 9 Tram is also on display. Martello Tower & Museum of Vintage Radio Examine a vast collection of radios, gramophones and other radio-related paraphernalia on display in the HurdyGurdy Museum of Vintage Radio in the recently refurbished Martello tower on the site of a former motte castle of the St. Lawrence Estate. The collection belongs to the curator, Pat Herbert, and the museum is run by him and a team of other volunteers, with the venue being provided by Fingal County Council. And as for the name, well, discover for yourself here! http://hurdygurdyradiomuseum.

Play Golf at the Deerpark Go golfing at Deer Park (01-8322624), Ireland’s largest golf complex offering a variety of courses set in 180 hectares of parkland and overlooking the sea. Courses include two 18-hole courses, two 9-hole courses, a full length 12-hole par three short course, a championship 18-hole pitch and putt course and a large putting green. Scuba Diving Scuba diving is a popular activity in Howth too. Take a dip in the deep with Feelgood Scuba & Powerboating (0863660542), which is a PADI dive centre, an ISA Training School and Ireland’s only Disabled Dive Centre—making this wonderful activity truly accessible. Events Big and Small There is a variety of events on in Howth all year round, such as music in the local bars. The Dublin Bay Prawn Festival in April is a huge highlight (22-24 April in 2016; www.dublinbayprawnfestival. ie). Howth also held its inaugural Howth Midsummer Literary Arts Festival in June 2015 and there are hopes that will return next year. For regular updates on local events, see

Ireland’s Eye Ferries run boat trips to Ireland’s Eye. With four generations of experience offering boat trips and operating fishing vessels, you will be in safe hands aboard one of their vessels, the blue boats, Pinalia and Christmas Eve. Boats are fully licensed and equipped with modern safety equipment. There are two options for your excursion to Ireland’s Eye: take a scenic trip around the island to see the birds and seals; duration is approx. 40 minutes.

LAND ON TH E ISLAN D AN D EXPLORE AT YOUR LEISU RE TH E SITES AN D SANDY BEACHES Alternatively, land on the island and explore at your leisure the sites and sandy beaches or climb to the top of the island and see the nesting seabirds (landing is not always possible in certain tidal conditions). Trips depart hourly between 11am and 5pm from the East Pier. Advance bookings at bookings@ or by phone on the day. The scenic trip costs €10 per adult and €5 per child; the landing trip costs €15 per adult and €5 per child.

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Beshoffs uniquely brings together the very best of seafood; available fresh from the fish counter or cooked to order at the bustling seafood tapas bar.


Beshoffs The Market

Beshoffs The Market 17-18 West Pier, Howth 01-8390766

The Freshest Fish, Organic Produce, Café, Restaurant and Tapas on Howth Pier.


Crabby Jo’s

Crabby Jo’s

14 West Pier, Howth 01-8323999 Overlooking Howth Harbour, Crabby Jo’s is a firm fixture on Howth’s dining scene and its relaxed ambience and delectable fare at keen prices are very popular with visitors. Run by seasoned seafood specialists, Wrights of Howth—established in 1893—the eatery is open from 8.30am. The breakfast selection includes sweet 14 | Best Of Ireland Series

The Market is a real feast for the senses with its enticing displays and wonderful aromas. Soak in the ambience and get some culinary inspiration as you sit with a cup of coffee and a freshly baked pastry or take seat at the bar and enjoy some exciting seafood tapas dishes and a good glass of wine with friends. Beshoffs The Market has all this under one roof…and is just a minute’s walk from Howth DART station. The Market is open seven days a week. and savoury continental and cooked options. The scrambled eggs and Wright’s renowned smoked salmon is a highlight. For lunch and dinner, the menus are diverse. Starters include Giga Sligo oysters, crab claws, crispy whitebait, calamari, buffalo wings and warm goat’s cheese salad. Mains have the best of surf and turf with steamed fillet of cod, linguine vongole, Dublin Bay prawn scampi, lobster, braised shank of lamb, 10 oz. beef burger, crispy half duck, sharing platters and more. There is a selection of quality wines at modest prices as well as craft beers, ciders and cocktails too.

A FIRM FIXTU RE ON HOWTH’S DIN ING SCEN E The service is friendly and the décor has a seaside theme; check out the impressive mural made of shells. If you love seafood (or just great food), you’ll fall for Crabby Jo’s hook, line and sinker! For more information, email


The Bloody Stream

The Bloody Stream

Howth Railway Station, Howth 01-8395076 The Bloody Stream is an engaging mix of quaint and contemporary with a unique atmosphere and craic on tap. Located just below Howth DART Station, it gets its macabre name from the stream over which it was built— which ran red after a battle in the Norman invasion in 1177. The pub has an abundance of exposed brick and cosy nooks and crannies with traditional touches like an open turfburning fireplace, wood paneling, classic signage and Irish memorabilia.

QUAINT AN D CONTEMPORARY WITH A UN IQU E ATMOSPHERE AN D CRAIC ON TAP It serves food seven days a week and the extensive a la carte menu includes dishes like chicken wings, bruschetta, golden fried calamari & tiger prawns, fish cakes, Beef & Guinness stew, the Stream Irish beef burger, seafood bake, steaks, grilled fillet of cod, seafood platters and more. The pub offers late opening Friday to Sunday and for music fans, there are live Acoustic Sessions every Saturday night and a DJ on Sunday nights. The Bloody Stream also has a large beer garden to take in the sun and sea air and you can reserve several areas for all types of functions.



Aqua Restaurant

Aqua Restaurant 1 West Pier, Howth 01-8320690

Take some time to meander the West Pier of Howth (first left after exiting the DART Station). The working boats may be docked, depending on the time of day and there are always local seals adding to the charm. At the end of the West Pier is Aqua Restaurant, a first floor dining room with


Deep Restaurant

Deep Restaurant 12 West Pier, Howth 01-8063921

Deep Restaurant has been specialising “in all things fishy” since 2004 and has developed a few signature dishes that you simply must try when in Howth. The early bird menu—two courses from a choice of 12 starters and 12 mains for only €22— runs from 12–9.30pm Monday to Friday and 12-6.45pm

stunning views over Howth Sound and Ireland’s Eye. Menus are varied with excellent deals for Early Bird and lunch. Since December 1999, the restaurant has served the very best of seafood from local shores. Salads come from their kitchen garden on Howth Hill and they have a dedicated lobster fisherman delivering daily.

DIN ING ROOM WITH STU NN ING VIEWS OVER HOWTH SOUN D AN D IRELAND’S EYE Sample dishes include steamed mussels, pan-fried cod or char grilled corn-fed chicken. The á la carte menu is extensive with culinary delights such as Carlingford oysters, ‘Surf & Turf’ or lobster from their own tank. Menus are seasonal and change often, visit for details or follow them on Facebook for special offers and giveaways. For more information, email or visit on Saturday (not available Sunday). With such an extensive menu the only problem is where to start. Regulars recommend the Deep Calamari and for the non-fish eaters, well, the chicken wings practically fly out of the place.

SPECIALISI NG IN ALL TH INGS FISHY The focus at Deep Restaurant is on fresh, seasonal and sustainably sourced ingredients. Apart from fish, beef, chicken and vegetarian dishes, there’s also a pasta, risotto and catch of the day. If you’re overwhelmed with options, try one of their signature seafood platters. A children’s menu, party menu and extensive wine menu are also available. Deep also does breakfast Saturdays, Sundays and bank holiday Mondays from 10am–12.30pm.



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Wright’s Findlater Café Bar & Restaurant

Wright’s Findlater Café Bar & Restaurant Findlater House, Harbour Road 01-8324488

Located in a landmark red brick Georgian building and set over three floors, Wright’s Findlater offers fine food, refreshing drinks and lively entertainment all under one roof. The relaxing feel of the place puts visitors instantly at ease. Upon entering, you are greeted by décor echoing a stylish Parisian café serving some of the best cocktails in town to accompany the no-fuss bar food.

FIN E FOOD, REFRESHI NG DRIN KS AN D LIVELY ENTERTAINMENT The first floor is The Restaurant at Findlaters, “north Dublin’s finest grill”, where guests are treated to a menu packed with the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. From seafood to steak, the menu is diverse and delicious—prepared with flair by chef partner, Max Usai. Dishes include Dublin Bay prawns, roast corn-fed chicken, seafood grill, hake, fish and chips, three different cuts of steak and more. The top floor Sky Bar has breathtaking views of Howth Harbour and Ireland’s Eye and is especially suitable for functions, meetings and more. The venue opens late on Fridays, Saturdays and bank holiday Sundays with DJs spinning every weekend. Best Of Ireland Series | 15

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Malahide & Portmarnock

© neurtelena


Malahide & Portmarnock


he neighbouring areas of Malahide & Portmarnock (both have their own DART stop) offer a wealth of seaside vistas, sandy beaches and exciting things to do from exploring castles to putting on the greens of a championship golf course.

The picturesque village of Malahide combines an old-world feel with modern conveniences. As you stroll down cobbled streets, you can satisfy your appetite whether you crave heritage, great cuisine or lively entertainment. Situated 16 kilometres north of Dublin by the Broadmeadow Estuary and the Irish Sea, Malahide (translated as ‘the sandhills of the Hydes’) has a rich history, with evidence of first settlers around 6,000 BC. St. Patrick visited in 432 AD, followed by the Vikings in 795 AD and then the Danes settled there the late ninth century. The last Danish King of Dublin, McTurkill, retired to Malahide in 1171 but was executed for rebellion and his lands were given to Sir Richard Talbot, a Norman Knight who built the first stone castle in Malahide around 1250. The village developed around the castle and by the nineteenth century, it was well known for its safe harbour and many successful local industries developed around the sea. A visit to

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and both kite and wind-surfers. This beach has a special place in aviation history. It was the starting point for two pioneering flights—the 1930 flight of Australian aviator, Charles Malahide Castle & Gardens is a must Kingsford Smith and his crew on the and the Toots road train ferries visitors second, westbound transatlantic flight to around many other sights. circumnavigate the globe and in 1932, British pilot, Jim Mollison, undertook the first solo © Tiramisu Studio westbound transatlantic flight. The renowned Portmarnock Golf Club is based at the sandy peninsula to the south of the village and dates back to 1894. In the 1990s, another links course designed by German golfer, Bernhard Langer, was added. The challenging course—one of Ireland’s best—has hosted Portmarnock is on the coast between tournaments such as the Irish Open. Malahide and Baldoyle. The name Both Malahide & Portmarnock translates as ‘the port of St. Marnoch (or overlooking the Irish Sea have an Mernoc)’. Excavations have revealed abundance of amenities and a strong traces of settlers from Neolithic times local community. and the remains of a ring fort are visible For more information, see from the air to the south of the village. and Portmarnock’s beach, nicknamed ‘the Velvet Strand’ for its smooth stretch of sand, is popular with walkers, bathers

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Malahide & Portmarnock

MALAHIDE CASTLE & GARDENS Malahide Castle & Gardens

NT AN D HISTORIC MALAHI DE CASTLE IS A MAGN IFICE TH E BEAUTIFUL 12TH CENTURY CASTLE LOCATED ON HEART OF TH E NORTH COAST OF DU BLIN IN TH E MALAHI DE. PICTU RESQUE SEASIDE VILLAGE OF The castle is a short stroll from Malahide DART Station. Set on 260 hectares, Malahide Castle is one of the oldest castles in Ireland, owned by the Talbot Family for almost 800 years. It is one of Dublin’s top visitor attractions today. The castle is steeped in history and has many fascinating stories of the descendants who lived here. On entering the castle, visitors have the opportunity to browse through the interactive interpretive area on the ground floor, retelling the history of the Talbot family, not forgetting their ghostly residents! Castle tours are carried out by informative and friendly guides daily. Guiding visitors through the historic reception rooms on the first floor including the magnificent ‘Great Hall’ where banquets are often catered for. Up the sweeping staircase are the beautiful bedrooms which overlook the vast parkland and West Lawn. Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery of Ireland adorn the walls throughout the castle which adds to the castle’s rich history and culture.

Just along the pathway from the castle is the Visitor Centre, which lies adjacent to the castle and opposite the old abbey. The centre is where visitors can learn and explore the facinating history and geography associated with the unique and wonderful botanical gardens, through an interactive exhibition area. A ticket to visit Malahide Castle also includes admission to the famous Talbot Botanic Walled Garden. Here, gardening enthusiasts and visitors can learn about Lord Milo Talbot’s passion for gardening and travel. Lord Milo was responsible for bringing new and exciting species of plants from the southern hemisphere, creating this uniquely charming botanical garden for visitors to enjoy some peace and tranquility!

from locally sourced ingredients. Avoca also hosts a wonderful range of gifts and of course, a colourful range of their famous hand-woven throws. There’s something for everyone! Malahide Castle & Gardens are open daily from 9.30am-5.30pm. The last guided tour of the castle is at 4.30pm and 3.30pm (November-March). Admission rates: Adult €12; Child €6; Student €8; OAP €7.50 and Family Tickets from €26. Book online at or contact the reservations team on 01-8169538 or

The Avoca Store and Cafe, also located in the visitor centre is the perfect place to enjoy some time out with a selection of freshly made Avoca salads, gourmet sandwiches and delicious seasonal dishes made mainly Best Of Ireland Series | 17

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Malahide & Portmarnock

HEAPS TO DO In Malahide

Malahide beach is just a 10 minute walk from both the village centre and the DART station. The 2 km stretch is popular with bathers and water sports enthusiasts as well as walkers. This beach has a lifeguard during the summer months and is accessible for those with disabilities. The Velvet Strand stretches all the way to Portmarnock and it boasts views of Lambay Island, Howth and Ireland’s Eye. You can also enjoy the 4-5 km Malahide to Portmarnock Coastal Walk, which is on a footpath with parkland on one side and the beach on the other.

One of the most prolific water sports in the area is sailing. Malahide Yacht Club ( runs training courses for all age groups and levels of sailing experience. It is unique among sailing clubs because it has two separate sailing waters and clubhouses—one for dinghies and one for cruisers. Fingal Sailing School (01-8451979; www. specialises in lessons not just for sailing but also windsurfing, stand up paddleboard and kayaking in the sheltered water of the estuary. Swords Sailing & Boating Club (01-8454686; www. is a family friendly centre that runs Irish Sailing Association courses for beginners to advanced sailors. The club has an extensive fleet for training and hire. DMG Sailsports (01-8456946) is another water sports training centre, teaching power-boating, windsurfing and sailing at all levels. Facilities locally include Malahide Marina (01-8454129), which has 350 berths and excellent quality facilities in the services building for visiting clients and members. Malahide Golf Club (01-8461611), founded in 1892, has a beautiful 27 hole course, offering challenges to 18 | Best Of Ireland Series


Malahide Be

© A Adam

suit every level of player. The elegant clubhouse is enhanced by stunning views of Howth Head and the Wicklow Mountains. If you’re looking for a revitalising walk, Malahide has several coastal and inland walking routes. Malahide Castle Demesne Sylvan Trail is a perimeter walk walk covering a 4.5 km fraction of the sizeable 109 hectares estate. There are various wooded and grass field paths, unmarked forest paths, trails demarked by cut grass and wooden exercise points in the demsnes. Watch out for wildlife including rabbits, birds, squirrels and Malahide Marina

even the occasional fox. The Robswall Park Hillside Hike mostly takes place in the 90 acre park and is accessible from the Malahide to Portmarnock Coastal Walk. There are numerous trails in the hillside facility, all with spectacular views. For the 7km Broad Meadow Estuary Stroll, head west out of Malahide and the walk continues to Seabury and onto Swords. There are excellent views of the inner estuary. Look out for sails and swans alike! For more information, see www. Commenced in 1837, St. Sylvester’s Church was constructed on the site of an earlier small thatched chapel. The church has several notable features including a steeple (added in 1901), some striking stained glass windows and a stunning, hand sculpted marble high altar. The working church has regular services and events.

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Malahide & Portmarnock

Toots: The Malahide Road Train Malahide DART Station 086-3858753

Since June 2013, Toots, the classic Italian crafted novel road train, has become one of the most well loved and recognisable activities in the award winning village of Malahide. With its new look red, silver and white makeover for the 2015 season, Toots can always be seen zooming all over Malahide putting a smile on the faces all it whizzes by. The family owned and operated business has put down firm tracks in the community since its maiden voyage— with over 80,000 passengers since June 2013.

Following their motto “winning hearts and minds one journey at a time”, Toots has also won some real awards—getting the Malahide Chamber of Commerce, “Malahide Has It!” award as well as becoming the number one family activity in Fingal and ranking among the top three things to do in Malahide on tourism site, TripAdvisor. Both Toots and founder, Michael Place, are known to spread much joy throughout the village with the live guided commentary on all there is to know about Malahide along the way. A little known fact about Toots is that the happy little engine was named by the local primary school children of Malahide. Trips last around half an hour and depart every 30 minutes from Malahide DART station, running through Malahide village and its beautiful marina before reaching the end of the line at Malahide Castle. Passengers can also hop off at the beach to make a day of it! The must have addition this season is Toots’ stickers allowing visitors to avail

of many discounts across Malahide, including Avoca, Tony Byrne Menswear and Gibney’s. Train only pricing is from €5 for adults, €3 for children and €4 for students/senior. Family tickets cost €15 (2 adults/3 children). Passengers can also

Toots: The Malahide Road Train

book online at and can purchase a discounted combined ticket which includes entry to Malahide Castle and Gardens (€15 adult, €10 student/senior, €35 family). Toots runs Monday–Friday from 9.30am-4pm and Saturdays/Sundays from 9am-6pm. Special bookings can also be made for birthdays, anniversaries, school trips and all other occasions. A wheelchair lift is also available outside Platform 1 at the forecourt. Best Of Ireland Series | 19


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Malahide & Portmarnock


The pub has regular live music and serves delicious home cooked food daily from 10am–9.30pm weekdays, 10am–8pm Saturdays and 12pm–8pm Sundays. The sports bar to the rear offers great live sports coverage on their multi screens, catering for all sports enthusiasts, including GAA, soccer, rugby, horse racing, boxing, golf, tennis, cricket, NBA and American football.

Gibney’s Pub

Gibney’s Pub

New Street, Malahide 01-8450606 Set in picturesque Malahide, this family owned pub and off licence portrays real charm and character. The Gibney family has been running this popular watering hole since 1937, a pub which has continuously evolved without compromising on the traditional atmosphere.


Gilbert & Wright (Living Room)

Gilbert & Wright (Living Room) 1 Ross Lane, Malahide 01-8456580

Gilbert & Wright aims to be a “friendly neighbourhood bar” and with its funky retro décor and relaxed atmosphere, it’s a great spot to drink, dine and dance. Inside the impressive stone building, the vibe is seventies inspired in the music playing, the artwork on the walls and touches like the couches and shag pile carpets. 20 | Best Of Ireland Series

ATMOSPHERIC BEER GARDEN IS TH E PLACE TO BE Their atmospheric beer garden is the place to be with a chilled glass of wine or beer when the sun is shining. Their adjoining off licence is three times winner of ‘National Off-Licence of the Year’. Here you can pick up a bottle of the current month’s “corkage free” wine to enjoy on the premises.

This watering hole welcomes a broad mix of clientele with its delicious cocktail menu, drinks promotions and regular events, such as the ever-popular ‘Afterwork Party’. The friendly staff members are part of the charm. Entertainment takes the form of live music and DJs every weekend (and the occasional week night) as well as screenings of major sports events and more.

IT’S A GREAT SPOT TO DRIN K, DIN E AN D DANCE The food menu is informal, bistrostyle food and the star of the show is the pizza menu, where all the pies are served in a box and have quirky names like ‘Say Cheese’ and ‘When in Rome’ and ‘Go Fish’. The bar caters for functions of all kinds too. Casual, fun and vibrant, Gilbert & Wright promises a memorable experience…all in the comfort of the Living Room!


Bon Appétit

Bon Appétit

9 James’ Terrace, Malahide 01-8450314 Since 2006, Bon Appétit has been setting the standard for quality modern Irish and European cusine. Located in an urban chic Georgian townhouse in beautiful coastal Malahide, this ground breaking restaurant and tapas bar provides a first class culinary experience in tastefully decorated, sophisticated surroundings.

BON APPÉTIT’S IS HOME TO TWO EXCITING EATERIES Bon Appétit’s is home to two exciting eateries. The newly renovated restaurant, tailor-made for lunch, dinner, or even a spot of afternoon tea gives guests a chance to dine in style with their regularly updated seasonal menus using only the freshest and finest locally sourced ingredients. The tapas bar is a favourite far and wide for after-work and visiting guests looking for a light bite and a fine wine from the varied house menu. The second floor sees the restaurants lavish private dining rooms, a real treat for private parties, weddings and more. Bon Appétit also offers exclusive cookery master classes with founder and head chef Oliver Dunne, Ireland’s youngest Michelin Star chef and former student of celebrated chefs Gordon Ramsey and Gary Rhodes.

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Malahide & Portmarnock

Get to know Portmarnock! Enjoy ...

Discover ...

olf Club

Get Active ... Portmarnock Sports & Leisure Club (01-8462122) on Blackwood Lane offers facilities such as a swimming pool, a gym, a sports hall, indoor and outdoor courts and more. There is a packed schedule of classes, seasonal activity camps and it can also host events and functions.

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Boasting dual Blue Flag and Green Coast status, Portmarnock beach is nicknamed the ‘Velvet Strand’ because of its 5 km stretch of smooth sand. For this reason, the beach is popular with windsurfers and kite-surfers, as well as bathers and walkers. It also has expansive sand dunes. The path running alongside the beach leads to Malahide and is used by many people on a daily basis. It has lovely views of the Dublin Mountains and Howth Harbour. The beach has a lifeguard in bathing season and public toilets.


Behold ...

Like many of Dublin’s coastal settlements, Portmarnock has a Martello tower from the early 19th century—located at the start of the coastal walk to Malahide. These structures were built by order of the National Defense Act of 1804. The story goes that the British attacked a French headland ck M on Cape Martello in Corsica ar tel lo T in 1794 and were so impressed ower with Napoleon’s defense system that they replicated the towers in Britain and Ireland. n ar tm Por

Portmarnock Golf Club Portmarnock is a world class spot for golf. Portmarnock Golf Club (01-8462968) has a superb 27 hole course, which is ranked at number two in Ireland’s Top 100 courses 2015 by Golf Digest Ireland. The championship course, located on the sandy peninsula to the south of the village, first opened in 1894, and another fine links course designed by renowned golfer, Bernhard Langer, was added in the 1990s. It has played host to competitions like the Irish Open and the Walker Cup and Bernard Darwin said of the course: “I know of no greater finish in the world than that of the last five holes at Portmarnock”. If you want to combine a few rounds with a luxury break away, the four star Portmarnock Hotel & Golf Links (01-8460611; offers superb facilities including the Oceana Spa.

Portmarnock Beach

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Portmarnock Beach

Malahide & Portmarnock in

15846 1990

The year Malahide The population of Malahide according won the National to the 2011 Census. Tidy Towns Competition.

795 19 The year AD that the Viking landed in what is now Malahide.

The number of times Portmarnock Golf Club has hosted the Irish Open Championship.

Numbers 23

The date in June 1930 Charles Kingsford Smith and his crew took off from Portmarnock Strand on the second, transatlantic flight circumnavigating the globe.

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Clontarf Road


Clontarf Road I

n the pleasant spot that is Clontarf, you can stroll down the promenade by the sea and take in spectacular views of Dublin Bay, the Wicklow mountains and the Irish Sea.

Clontarf attracts many people including nature enthusiasts, history lovers, foodies, fitness fanatics, families and sports fans…the list goes on! Whatever the length of your stay, you’ll find great hospitality in local B&BS, hotels, bars and eateries. Steeped in history, Clontarf or ‘Cluain Tarbh’ (meaning ‘meadow of the bulls’) was a major Celtic settlement until the 9th century when the Vikings invaded the area. This incursion led to the famous Battle of Clontarf in 1014. The momentous battle is seen as marking an end to the Irish-Viking Wars. Its 1,000 year anniversary was marked with many events in 2014. Around a century after the battle, the Normans arrived here. In 1172, Hugh de Lacy Lord of Meath or his tenant, Adam de Phepoe, built a castle in Clontarf. This changed hands many times in the centuries that followed, most famously in the 1640s when its owner joined a rebellion against Oliver Cromwell. Cromwell subsequently seized the castle and awarded the estate to a new owner, John Blackwell. No trace of the original structure remains. Clontarf Castle (the current building dates back to 1837) has

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also held many guises over the years but is now a luxury hotel. Clontarf grew significantly as a suburb of the city in the 19th century and benefited from the addition of a tramline along the coast. In 1835, Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, of the noted brewing dynasty, purchased lands in Clontarf and Raheny and combined them to form St. Anne’s Estate—most of which now encompasses St. Anne’s Park. This park spans over 109 hectares of parkland and also has a multitude of sporting and other facilities.

many well-known individuals have lived or currently reside here. Over the years, it has only increased in popularity as a neighbourhood and adjoins the likes of Marino, Killester and Raheny. The attractive area has many amenities, from Dollymount Strand to Bull Island, which was designated as a national nature reserve in 1988.


Clontarf is the birthplace of renowned Irish author, Bram Stoker, who wrote the spine-tingling novel, Dracula. From actor, Barry Fitzgerald to Erwin Schrodinger,

Participation sports are well serviced in Clontarf, along with rugby, GAA, soccer, tennis, cricket, hockey, kitesurfing and badminton clubs. There are also three golf clubs and a yacht and boat club. Clontarf has regular events throughout the year including an annual festival (generally held in summer), fundraisers, sports fixtures and much more. Clontarf has much to recommend it; just come and see for yourself!

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Don’t Miss! NATURE & HISTORY Clontarf Road

As you stroll around Clontarf you could be walking in the very same footsteps of Brian Boru and the Viking warriors, as you are in fact, walking on the site of the Battle of Clontarf which took place on Good Friday 1014. The battleground stretched from Ballybough Bridge to Glasnevin, beginning at dawn with the arrival of hundreds of Viking ships at Clontarf strand. Thousands lost their lives. By evening, the Norse were compelled to retreat to an area between Casino in Marino Castle Avenue and Seaview Avenue and were pushed downhill towards the sea, where they were either slain or drowned.

Earl of Charlemont, is a treat for architectural enthusiasts. The Casino, meaning ‘small house’, appears from the outside to be a single roomed structure but in fact contains 16 rooms on three floors, a basement with a kitchen, a main floor with reception rooms and a top storey with servants’ rooms and a State Bedroom. It also has beautiful plasterwork ceilings and elaborate hardwood parquet floors. Four of the columns which surround the building are hollow and the Roman funerary urns on the roof are in fact chimneys, not just decorative embellishments. CasinoMarino

The picturesque Fairview Park, situated beside the Tolka River, was created in the late 1920s and is renowned for its stunning seasonal bedding displays. It also has playing fields, a playground and beautiful tree-lined walkways. There is an interactive Unit The imposing 18th play section, © National Monuments Service Photographic century neo-classical a skateboard Casino in Marino, area, plenty which was designed by Sir William of seating and a 400 metre athletics track Chambers for James Caulfield, the first where you can test your sprinting skills.


fast facts Clontarf Island

An island called Clontarf Island used to exist at the mouth of the Tolka River. The island was used as a refuge from plague in 1650 but construction work on the Great South Wall and the Bull Wall changed the flow of water and the island was engulfed.

St. Anne’s Park, located between Clontarf and Raheny, is the second largest municipal park in Dublin with a fantastic range of facilities. Named for an ancient holy well in the area, the roughly 109 hectare park has a fairytale feeling to it as you wander among the trees and flower displays. Discover the award-winning rose garden, the walled garden, which includes a 12 acre herbaceous garden with a beautiful clock tower and ‘follies’ (a building created purely for decoration) like the Herculanean Temple near the duck pond. There are nature/walking trails, a dedicated dog park, a playground, 35 St. Anne’s Park playing pitches, 18 tennis courts and even a par three golf course. The complex housing the Red Stables Art Centre also has the Tír na nÓg Caife. There is a Saturday market (9am-5pm) on here too. Bull Island Nature Reserve was made a bird sanctuary in the 1930s, then a national nature reserve in 1988 and it is also listed as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO, now expanded to include Dublin Bay. In 1986, an interpretative centre was built on the island in order to teach people about the wildlife. With more than 180 different bird species, 300 plant species and six mammal species such as the Irish hare, European rabbits, brown rats, red foxes, hedgehogs and field mice, Bull Island is a must-see for nature lovers. It is linked to Clontarf via a wooden bridge at Dollymount.

Easter Island


The promenade in Clontarf has a replica statue of the Easter Island heads, a diplomatic gift from the Chilean Ambassador to Ireland. The Chilean Embassy is located in Clontarf.

Long before the DART arrived, residents of Clontarf travelled to the city centre via horse-tram. This service was initiated between the centre and Dollymount in 1880 and was later electrified in 1898. This convenient transport link was one of the main reasons why so many people settled here in the late 19th century. Best Of Ireland Series | 23

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Clontarf Road


Kite surfing is a regular activity on Dollymount Strand. Exciting to watch and thrilling to take part in, Dollymount’s endless flat sands, panoramic sea views, strong easterly onshore breeze and shallow waters make it kite surfing paradise. Pure Magic (018054912) runs lessons and its instructors go the extra mile to ensure your experience is “fulfilling and memorable”. The company also provides stand up paddleboarding (SUP) lessons. Visitors can also swim at Dollymount, but it is best to do so when the tide is in unless you want to walk a good distance to reach the water. Fore! Or should I say three? Clontarf is home to three superb golf courses. The Royal Dublin Golf Club (018336346) established in 1885, is the second oldest in Ireland. The par 72 seaside links course spans 7,200 yards with plenty of testing features. St. Anne’s Golf Club (01-8336471), also a links, has two signature holes, the 7th, one of the most difficult par 4 holes in the country and the par 3 17th, rated by Padraig Harrington as one of the best par 3’s in Ireland. Clontarf Golf Club (01-8331892) established in 1912, has a magnificent clubhouse built in 1781, which was originally a private residence known as Donnycarney House. This is a short parkland course with challenging narrow fairways. Westwood Leisure Centre (01-8530353) is a one stop shop for fitness fanatics. Along with an Olympicsize swimming pool (50 m), 25 m pool and 25 m kids’ pool, it has an array of tennis courts and classes, personal trainers, fitness classes, a 24 | Best Of Ireland Series

The Royal Dublin

Golf Club

supervised fit-zone area for children and teens or for those who just need to relax there are luxurious beauty and spa facilities.


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Clontarf Road

Immerse yourself in the area! Discover ...

Get Active ...

Irish author Abraham (Bram) Stoker—most famous for his Gothic novel, Dracula—was born in 15 the Crescent, Clontarf in 1847. Castle Dracula (01-8512151), a new exciting evening visitor experience in Clontarf, allows people to combine a tour and theatre as characters from the book come alive to tell you their stories and that of the vampire, Count Dracula. You are led through various spooky rooms and tunnels etc before ending up in Ireland’s (and possibly the world’s) only ‘Graveyard Theatre’. Castle Dracula is located behind the Westwood Club; it is not suitable for anyone under 14 or with certain medical conditions.

Behold ... If you want to experience the arts in Clontarf, check out a performance at the Viking Theatre (087-1129970), situated upstairs at Connolly’s The Sheds at 198 Clontarf Road. It hosts an array of plays, music gigs, stand-up comedy and more. The Clasac Regional Resource Centre (01-8363060) is based at Alfie Byrne Road. Run by Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, it promotes Irish culture through classes offered in Irish music, singing, dancing and language, which take place from September to May. The comfortable 340 seat theatre hosts performances of traditional Irish music and dancing throughout the year.


The year of the Battle of Clontarf, where Brian Boru defeated the Vikings.

Clontarf Promenade which is 3 km long and up to 40 metres wide is very popular with runners and walkers. With plenty of seating if you tire you can take in the stunning views of Dublin Bay, the Wicklow mountains, the Irish Sea and the distant city centre. The cycle track that also runs along the prom’ offers an extremely safe environment for cyclists of all levels. For more experienced cyclists, the route can form part of a much longer route that takes in Howth and Sutton peninsula. The track is about 2 m wide with a tarmacadam finish, over a mostly flat area. Clontarf Yacht & Boat Club (CY&BC) (01-8332691) was established in 1875 when Sir Arthur Edward Guinness became the first president. There is a lot of pride that some club members have attained national championship status, but the club is equally keen in welcoming and encouraging new members who they will train in the sport and hope will join in the active social calendar of the club.

Clontarf in

Numbers 1847 55000 40000 2008 The year Bram Stoker was born in Clontarf.

The price in pounds that Dublin Corporation paid for St. Anne’s park and mansion in 1939.

The number of birds of various species that winter at Bull Island every year.

The year Clontarf Scout Troop turned 100, the first active scout company to reach this age.

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© David Soames

Docklands ALIGHT AT


he Dublin Docklands district is a massive area consisting of 526 hectares of land on both sides of the River Liffey. When the Vikings invaded Ireland in the ninth century, Dublin’s importance as a port started to grow.

Step back in time to the 19th century docklands where thousands of men were employed on a casual basis as labourers and carters on the docks. Sailing ships were sometimes weeks in port slowly offloading their cargoes. The owners of more expensive steamships were anxious to load or unload ships fast so they hired a large number of casual labourers. The strong seafaring tradition among docklands families still survives today. If you were to take a walk along the quays in those days, you would also spot coal merchants bringing coal to homes throughout Dublin.

Typical industries along the docklands included fertiliser and manure companies, flourmills, joinery plant and a sugar refinery. Goods were then transported throughout Dublin and Ireland via the canal system. However after World War II, the number of jobs in the Docklands decreased significantly with the rise of container traffic and the switch from rail to road transport. Coal was a less important source for fuel and this gave rise to fewer coal merchants. Most of the older factories closed and much of the docks area fell into dereliction.

The working conditions in the docklands were harsh. There were often two to three men for every job and injuries were common. These tough conditions sparked industrial disputes—the most famous being the ‘1913 Lock Out’ led by Irish trade union leader and socialist activist, James Larkin.

Thanks to a revival starting in the nineties, the Docklands is thriving again today with many cosmopolitan buildings, bustling workplaces and apartment blocks.

Attractions include premier entertainment venue the 3Arena (formerly the O2 Arena and the Point Depot) and notable structures such as the Convention Centre, which plays host to international conferences and other events. It features a glass fronted atrium which runs the full height of the building and gives visitors spectacular views of the River Liffey, Dublin city centre and the Wicklow mountains. There are umpteen things to see and do here. There are also lots of wonderful eateries and watering holes to be found in the Docklands. The restaurants, cafés and bars cater to the varied tastes of the hungry visitor.

Convention Centre

© Bartkowski

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No shortage of Docklands BIKES & BOATS fast facts DUBLIN | off the DART


Custom House The 18th century Custom House was nearly destroyed in the War of Independence in 1921 when the Dublin Brigade of the IRA attacked it and set the building on fire. It burned for five days, leaving only the shell.

North Bull Wall The construction of the North Bull Wall to prevent sand building up in the mouth of the harbour resulted in the creation of modern Bull Island. When the wall was finished in 1842, sand gradually accumulated to make the island.

The Samuel Beckett Bridge The Samuel Beckett Bridge, linking Guild Street on the northside of the city with Sir John Rogerson’s Quay on the southside, was delivered to Dublin by barge from Rotterdam in Holland. The 1,011 km journey took around five days.The bridge was opened in 2009.

Dublin Discovered! Boat Trips (01-4730000) offer the visitor an alternative way to explore the Docklands and its historical sights as well as seeing quite a bit more of Dublin “differently”. The tour travels along the River Liffey just as the Vikings did in their longboats over a millennium ago. The informative guides give visitors a good insight into the history of the Docklands and Dublin itself. The tour leaves from a landing station at Bachelors Walk. Cruises operate daily with a journey time of about 45 minutes.

For real water-babies and those looking for a fun day out Sea Safari (01-6689802) offers a lot. It runs a Dublin Bay Port Tour, departing from outside the Convention Centre on North Quay and also from the Poolbeg Yacht Club in Ringsend. The tour outlines the history from the 17th and 19th centuries up to the present and also of the surrounding docks on the River Liffey and the port area. To go further afield, the Dublin Bay South Tour leaves from Poolbeg Marina. Tour sights include Lambay Island, Dalkey Island, Ireland’s Eye, Howth and Killiney Bay. School tours and corporate events are a specialty.

Famine sculpture

Cycling is a fun way to see Dublin city and for keen cyclists Dublin Bikes offers a great bike rental scheme. The Dockland and quays area has many stations for the self-service bike rental scheme (for those 14 years of age and over). Visitors can enjoy the city at a leisurely pace and return the bike whenever it suits to one of the close to 50 bike stations spread throughout the city. A three day ticket is available for just €5 and can be purchased from a credit card enabled terminal at a bike station. This ticket can then be used to rent or return a bike from any Dublin Bike station. An annual card is just €20. There is a poignant memorial, Famine, on Custom House Quay. The statues, designed and crafted by Dublin sculptor, Rowan Gillespie, commemorate the Great Famine of the mid 19th century. They were commissioned by Norma Smurfit and presented to the city in 1997. During the famine—caused by potato blight—approximately one million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland. This location is particularly appropriate because one of the first voyages of the Famine period was the vessel, ‘Perserverance’ which sailed from Custom House Quay on St. Patrick’s Day, 1846. East of the statues lies the World Poverty Stone—a commemorative stone by artist, Stuart McGrath, which marks the United Nations International Day for the Eradication of World Poverty (17 October). Best Of Ireland Series | 27

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The Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship

DS IS WELL THE INDUSTRIAL HERITAGE OF THE DOCKLAN OF ATTRACTIONS DOCUMENTED BUT NOW IT HAS A VARIETY CONCERT IN THE FORM OF ON E OF IRELAN D’S MA JOR REPLICA VEN UES, A UN IQU E MUSEUM ON BOARD A AREA. FAMINE SHI P AN D EXCELLENT WALKS IN THE The 3Arena (01-8198888) is one of Ireland’s premier venues to go to for live entertainment, situated in the heart of the Docklands on North Wall Quay and just a 20 minute walk from the DART stop. It has a capacity of over 14,500 and hosts the best in national and international music, comedy and other events. In 2011, this venue was named as the fifth busiest arena in the world. Information on events is available at and tickets are available from 0818-719 300 and The Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship (01-4730111) is a must-see for history fans (located on Custom House Quay but only five minutes away from Connolly DART station). This unique museum is on a replica of a real ship that made 16 emigrant journeys to North America between 1847 and 1855, carrying over 2,500 people with no loss of life. It allows visitors a chance to see what

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conditions were like on board for the millions who left Ireland in the Great Famine to seek a better life across the Atlantic. It is also an ocean-going sail training vessel.

© Nicolae Nica

The Royal Canal is a great place for walks. It was built originally in 1817 for carrying freight and passengers and although it fell into disrepair, much of it is now restored for leisure purposes. There are various walks along the Royal Canal in Dublin. You can amble any distance but for a brisk four hour walk (18 km), you can start at Newcomen Bridge on North Strand Road, a few minutes from Connolly Station, and continue all the way to Cope Bridge in Kildare, where you can catch a bus back to the city centre. To go further afield, take the Royal Canal Way. The 144 km hike/cycle takes in Dublin, Kildare,

Meath, Longford and Westmeath along grassy towpaths, gravel and tarmac canal-side roads in some cases. You can walk certain sections and return to your start point or progress on to a later stage using trains or buses. For more detailed information, see

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The number of hectares of land making up the Dublin Docklands Development Area.

Docklands in Numbers 40 1796 54 600 The span in metres of the Spencer Dock Bridge.

The year the original Custom House Dock opened.

Height in metres of the tilted glass cylinder in the Convention Centre Building.

The approximate number of businesses in the Docklands area.

Lots of

Events & Festivals Taste ...

Discover ...

For a gourmet experience, why not stroll around the Central Square Gourmet Food Market? This market is held every Wednesday from 11.30am-2pm, offering fresh food and stalls featuring all the flavours of the world. Located in the lovely Central Square Park in Spencer Dock (to the rear of the National Convention Centre), you will find many local residents and workers at this market.

Oktoberfest Dublin takes place in the autumn in the Docklands at George’s Dock (17 September-5 October in 2015). This festival brings a taste of Germany to Ireland. Visitors to this festival enjoy German fun, food and entertainment as well as real Bavarian beer, of course. The sound of Bavarian brass and dance music add to the authentic nature of this festival.

er at W

The beautifully restored CHQ Building is home to a range of food outlets and shops. Options for coffee breaks, lunch and dinner include TOSS’D The Point Village, close to the O2, has played host to a Noodles & Salads, The Bakehouse skating rink the past few years. It has various sessions Express, Starbucks, J2 Sushi & throughout the year, including the festive season. Tea, Insomnia Coffee Company, There Seven Wonders and ely bar & are other events in the brasserie. You can pick up a Docklands throughout rare vintage at Mitchell & Son the year, from small Wine Merchants and shop community affairs the finest menswear or get like coffee mornings measured up for a customand book sales to made suit at Louis Copeland fun on a larger scale and Sons. CHQ also has its like the Waterways own farmers’ market on Fridays Ireland Docklands 11am-6pm, offering a delectable Summer Festival—held w ay choice of sweet and savoury goods annually over a weekend in May. sI rel al an and much more. CHQ also plays host Further information can be found on dD stiv o c k la n er Fe m m d u s S to launches and other corporate events. Best Of Ireland Series | 29

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O’Connell Street

City Centre


City Centre D

ART trains alight at three city centre stops—Connolly Station, Tara Street and Pearse Street. Whether on foot or using the excellent transport links like the Luas light rail system and bus routes, visitors can reach a multitude of interesting sights and attractions.

Connolly Station was opened originally in 1844, when it was known as Amiens Street Station. It has since developed into one of the most important railway stations in the country—serving dozens of routes and catering for enormous numbers of passengers every day. It is well-known for its striking exterior and the Italianate tower located in the centre is a particular focal point. The station itself has a colourful history. It took a direct hit from a German bomb in 1941. In 1966, the station was renamed Connolly Station, in honour of the Irish freedom fighter, James Connolly who was executed after the 1916 rising. Connolly Station is very conveniently located for making transport connections, with its own Luas stop and the Busáras station located nearby too. During the 1990s, the station was completely revamped, making the station hall area much more spacious and adding a café and bar.

Tara Street is named after Tara, the home of the ancient high kings of Ireland. It has a firm place in historic events including the Easter Rising and the former base of the Dublin Fire Brigade was located here. Tara Street’s railway station dates from 1891. The Pearse Street DART Station is located on Westland Row in the heart of the city, The thororoughfare is also steeped in history. Irish revolutionaries, Patrick and William Pearse were born at 27 Pearse Street and this is where the street gets its name. Both brothers were executed for their role in the Easter Rising in 1916. The street was formerly called Great Brunswick Street. The DART station itself has an interesting heritage. It opened in 1834 as Westland Row Station and was the city terminus of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway—the first commuter line in the world. The station was renamed in 1966 after the


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Pearse brothers, as part of the Easter Rising 50th anniversary celebrations. The street is one of the longest streets in Dublin and is flanked by College Street at its western end and the world famous Trinity College at its southern side. In the following section, a multitude of things to do and see in the city centre will be outlined—from museums to galleries, heritage sites to monuments, theatres to shopping. There is something for everyone in Dublin’s ‘Fair City’!

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Connolly Station

fast facts Money Matters

The International Financial Services Centre (IFSC) is a major financial services centre that houses financial institutions, law firms, accountancy and taxation advisors such as Allied Irish Bank, Citibank, Commerzbank and Sumitomo.


MUSEUMS If you are interested in exploring Ireland’s past and getting a better understanding of the culture, two branches of Ireland’s National Museum (01-6777444; are a short distance from all the city centre DART stops. The Archaeology & Ethnography Museum in Kildare Street is next door to Government Buildings. Various eras are illustrated here including prehistoric, Early Christian, Viking, Medieval and more. It has over two million objects in its collections. Notable items include treasures such as the Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch and Derrynaflan hoard.

Natural History Museum

Remembering ‘The Troubles’

A memorial commemorating the 33 victims of the 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings stands near the station on Talbot Street. As well as the 33 who died, 300 people were injured in the UVF car bombing attack—the highest number of casualties in a single day during ‘The Troubles’. A ceremony is held annually on 17 May to remember the casualties.

The Natural History Museum at Merrion Street contains over two million specimens from insects to amphibians, mammals to reptiles. Visitors can feast their eyes on the skeleton of the giant Irish elk, among other artefacts. Admission is free to both museums, and its other Dublin location—which is not too far away. Boasting its own stop on the Luas red line, the National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts & History is located in the historic Collins Barracks. The museum—also close to Heuston Station—is home to almost four million objects and specimens that relate primarily to the history of Ireland. These collections are beautifully displayed in an interactive setting that allows visitors to learn their relevance to the history of Ireland. Please note that all the national musuems mentioned close on Mondays. In continuous occupation since its establishment in 1204 AD, Dublin Castle (01-6458800) houses various museums including the Garda Museum as well as the eminent, Chester Beatty Library. A former winner of the ‘European Museum of the Year’, the library has a fantastic collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts from across the globe. The castle’s State Apartments are among the most prominent State rooms in the country and are open for guided tours too. It has conference and dining facilities too.

In the Name of the Father

Sheriff Street has many claims to fame. It was a filming location for Jim Sheridan’s 1993 film In the Name of the Father and the home of Daniel Day-Lewis’ character in the film, The Boxer (also directed by Sheridan). The street is also the birthplace of former Dubliners singer, Luke Kelly, who is one of Ireland’s most iconic musicians and distinctive voices.

Dublin Castle

Located on the first floor of a Georgian building on 15 St. Stephen’s Green, near the corner of Dawson Street, the Little Museum of Dublin (01-6611000) aims to tell “the remarkable story of Dublin in the 20th century”. It was launched in 2011 with a public appeal for historic objects. Over 5.000 items were submitted and the result is a unique museum, which was named as ‘Dublin’s best museum experience’ by the Irish Times. Guided tours begin on the hour, every hour. While these are some of the best known, there are several other smaller museums in the city such as the Irish Jewish Museum, the Pearse Museum, the National Wax Museum Dublin, the National Leprechaun Museum and more.

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Guinness Store Ho

Kilmainham Jail


© Kevin Dunne Pho


The Guinness Storehouse (01-4084800)—Ireland’s leading paid tourist attraction—is located in St. James’s Gate. Visitors are brought on a tour that showcases the brewing process of the world famous stout, teaches them how to pour their own pint and allows them to enjoy a unique view of the city from the Gravity Bar.

For a high spirited experience, the Old Jameson Distillery (01-8072355) is in Smithfield. Visitors can take an engaging tour telling the story of how Jameson whiskey came about, see how the drink is made and even taste some. Both of these attractions are within walking distance of O’Connell Street or a short Luas journey away from the centre. Dublin Science Gallery

The Dublin Science Gallery (018964091) has the aim of “opening science up to passionate debate” and its innovative and informative displays are well worth a look. Located at the Naughton Institute in Trinity College, this facility has had over one million visitors since it opened in 2008. There is always something new to see at this gallery, as it does not house Croke Park a permanent collection but rather constantly changing exhibits. Between exhibitions, there can be a gap of a few weeks where only the shop and café is open so be sure to check what’s on to avoid disappointment. The home of native Irish sports, Croke Park (01-8192300) is 15 minutes’ walk away from Connolly Station. The GAA Museum located inside the stadium provides a great interactive

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way for patrons to learn about the history of both of Gaelic Games. There is also a skywalk tour on a specially built walkway on top of the 82,000 seat stadium. Whilst this is not for the faint hearted, it offers a unique view of Dublin. If you’re lucky enough to get a ticket for a match here, the atmosphere is electric. Kilmainham Jail (01-4535984) is on the Inchicore Road— accessible by bus routes 69, 79, 13 & 40 as well as the red Luas line (Suir Road). One of the largest unoccupied prisons in Europe, it is now an atmospheric museum. Guides talk visitors through the significance of the jail in Ireland’s history and you will learn all about some of prison’s most famous inhabitants. There are currently building works going on so some areas may be restricted. kilmainhamgaol

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Many Monuments to Behold! See ...

Walk ...

C O’

O’Connell Street has a number of noteworthy monuments. A monument dedicated to Daniel O’Connell—the 19th century Irish Nationalist for whom the street is named—overlooks O’Connell Bridge at the entrance. Other statues on the street are of prominent 19th century political leader, Charles Stewart Parnell, Nationalist, William Smith O’Brien, early 20th century labour activist, Jim on ne Larkin and MP and businessman, l l St re e t Sir John Gray. There is also a statue of Father Theobald Mathew, known as ‘The Temperance Priest’, who advocated taking a pledge not to drink alcohol for life. The 37 m high Nelson’s Pillar overlooked the street from 1808-1966, when it was blown up by the Republican movement. The space left was empty until 2002-2003, when the Spire was constructed. Officially titled the ‘Monument of Light’, the stainless steel, needle-shaped monument is 121.2 m tall. Be sure to look out for statues of famous Irish figures scattered around too, from writer, James Joyce, in North Earl Street to rock star, Phil Lynott, in Harry Street to Republican and socialist leader, James Connolly, in Beresford Place and much more.

There are many bridges in Dublin city centre but the Ha’penny Bridge is one of the most recognisable. Built in 1816 and recorded as one of the first iron bridges in the world, it was the only pedestrian bridge over the Ha’penny Bridge Liffey River for 184 years. It inherited its name from the halfpenny toll that pedestrians had to pay to cross it before it was abolished in 1919. It was refurbished in 2001 by Dublin City Council. The bridge is 43 m in length and 3 m wide. Its official name is the Liffey Bridge.

Photograph ... ‘Molly Malone’ is arguably Ireland’s most famous traditional song and Dublin’s unofficial anthem. Its chorus of “Alive, alive, oh/Alive, alive, oh/Crying ‘Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh” has been sung by many an artist here and abroad. The song is about the story of a pretty girl who was a fishmonger and traded on the streets in Dublin. The iconic Molly Malone Statue is a well-known landmark for visitors to the city. The most photographed statue in Dublin was unveiled during the Dublin Millennium celebrations in 1988. The statue was located in Grafton Street but due to ongoing building work, it is currently located outside the tourist office in the former St. Andrew’s Church on nearby Suffolk Street.

Connolly Station in

14000 1846 The number of people employed in the IFSC.

The year construction finished on Connolly Station (Amiens Station).


The year Republican, Seán Treacy, was shot and killed on Talbot Street.

Molly Malone statue

Numbers 5 1941 The walking distance in minutes from Connolly Station to the city centre.

The year Connolly Station was hit by a German bomb during World War II.

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Custom House

Dublin has many fine buildings worth visiting including places of commerce, worship and state affairs. The Custom House, built in 1791, is now home to the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. The huge 18th century neoclassical structure is located on the north bank of the Liffey on Custom House Quay between Butt Bridge and Talbot Memorial Bridge. Designed by James Gandon, it took 10 years to build. It houses some stunning sculptures by Irish artists. Burnt to the ground in 1921 during the War of Independence, it was restored to its former glory by 1928. Built in 1028, Christ Church Cathedral (01-6778099) gives an excellent insight into medieval Ireland. The ancient crypt located below the beautifully ornamented cathedral is the oldest structure in the city. It has notable features and stone carvings, the alleged tomb of Strongbow and the heart of St. Lawrence O’Toole, patron saint of Dublin. The history is illustrated by exhibits and audiovisual presentations. Guided tours are available too. The cathedral is a 10 minute walk from Tara Street DART station and is on bus routes like the 123, 13, 27, 40, 49, 77a and 77x. 34 | Best Of Ireland Series

St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral (01-8745441) is located on Marlborough Street and is the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland. The building—built between 1815-25—is in the Neoclassical Doric style, which is unusual for the time. The exterior portico is modelled on a Grecian temple while the interior is Renaissance style, with many interesting features. Many state funerals have taken place here. There are five daily masses.

Trinity College (01-8961000) is not just a working university but is also one of Dublin’s most historic landmarks. Five minutes from either Pearse or Tara Street Station, it is located on College Green. Trinity dates back to 1592, with its design influenced by Oxford and Cambridge. There are many attractions for the visitor including the Old Library and its most famous tome—the illuminated manuscript The Book of Kells. You can also visit the Douglas Hyde Gallery or catch a performance in the Samuel Beckett Theatre. Located in Phoenix Park, the President of Ireland’s home and official residence, Áras an Uachtaráin (1890-430430), dates from 1750. It is possible to visit and tour the magnificent house and grounds on Saturdays (though it closes occasionally for official business so be sure to check). Free admission tickets are issued at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre only on the day, on a ‘first-come, first-served’ basis. Group visits and/ or advance bookings are not permitted. Another popular visitor destination is Farmleigh (01-8155914)—close to the Áras—which is the official State guest house. The former residence of the Guinness family and the 32 hectare grounds are truly spectacular. There is a year-round cultural programme here and guided tours are also available. Farmleigh Estate is open daily and admission is free (the house may close at short notice for official business).


© Derek Cullen Christ Church Cathedral

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Tara Street

fast facts Temple Bar


The modern street pattern of Temple Bar is based upon the old medieval plans and distinctive features such as narrow lanes and archways. The Vikings had a stronghold here from the 9th la ra Century. H C



Long Distance Tara Street Station is not just for the DART line. Longer distance commuter trains services go from here to Maynooth, Balbriggan, Drogheda, Dundalk, Arklow and Rosslare Europort.

Dublin Brigade The headquarters of the Dublin Fire Brigade for over 90 years (1907-1998) was the fire station at the intersection of Tara and Pearse Streets. The brick watchtower there is now a protected structure. The HQ moved to Townsend Street in 1998.

Explore Literary Dublin Dublin is a Unesco City Of Literature and the city is synonymous with writing and writers. All four Irish Nobel Prize for Literature winners— George Bernard Shaw, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney—have close connections with Dublin as have other other greats like Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce to name but a few.

The National Library of Anyone who is interested in Ireland (01-6030259) on Kildare Street literature should certainly take “collects and preserves the documentary a visit to the Dublin Writers and intellectual record of the life of Museum (01-8722077) at 18 Ireland”. It has several collections Parnell Square. Located in including the largest collection of W.B. a restored Georgian house, Yeats manuscripts in the world, which Dublin’s literary celebrities from numbers over 2,000 items. It is open, the past 300 years are brought free of charge, to anyone who wants to life through their to consult the books, letters, portraits and collections or National Library of Ireland personal items. the genealogy advisory service and visit the At the James Joyce Centre exhibitions. (01-8788547) at 35 North Current Great George’s Street, exhibitions you can tour this historic include Yeats: house where many rooms The Life and relate to a specific element Works of William of Joyce’s life. There are Butler Yeats, regular exhibitions and which The Irish events. The centre also Times called runs walking tours of the “one of the most city based on Joyce’s life important literary and work (three times a week during exhibitions yet staged internationally”. spring/summer and once a week in autumn/winter). Bloomsday (16 June) is a particularly lively event here and For a more immersive experience, all over Dublin when Joyce’s magnum the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl (01opus, Ulysses, is celebrated with events 6705602/087-2630270) gives visitors an including re-enacting episodes from the insight into the lives of some of Ireland’s novel. greatest writers through a mix of guided tour and performance. This amble was once ranked in the Top 5 in the ‘50 Best Walks in the World’ by The Sunday James Joyce Centre Times. The same company offers a ‘Lit Walk’ tour during the daytime too. These are just a selection of sites that may interest readers and bibliophiles but there are many more around the city and County Dublin. For more information and suggestions, see Best Of Ireland Series | 35

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TAKE A TOUR around Temple Bar

can experience and explore theatre, music, literature, art, film, dance to name just a few. Opened in 1995, The Ark was Europe’s first custom designed arts centre for children and over the years it has won many awards. With exciting programmes of performances, exhibitions and creative workshops, children will want to return again and again to this unique venue. To see Irish life in pictures, The National Photographic Archive (016030373) has regular exhibitions based on the library’s photographic collections. The collections consist of historical and contemporary photographs numbering approximately 5.2 million in total, the vast majority being Irish. The subject matters range from landscape views to studio portraits, from political events to early tourist snaps. You never know what you might see!

Temple Bar is where Dublin began with the Viking settlement here but it is better known as a cultural quarter these days. It is thought to have taken its name from Sir William Temple, provost of Trinity College in 1609, who lived here. The medieval streets are cobblestoned and compact, with a diverse selection of boutiques, shops, pubs, restaurants, cafes and cultural outlets. The area is perfect for a ramble or to pass a few hours during the day and is famed for its lively nighlife too. Temple Bar’s two squares have been renovated in recent years and two markets are held here every week (subject to change/seasons). Temple Bar Food Market runs from 10am-4.30pm on Saturday at Meeting House Square and the Temple Bar Book Market is held on Saturdays and Sundays, 11am-6pm, in Temple Bar Square. Designer Mart takes place every Saturday 10am-5pm on Cow’s Lane in Temple Bar too. Temple Bar was and still is a hot spot for artists, poets and musicians. In fact, Handel’s Messiah was premiered in 36 | Best Of Ireland Series

Neals’ Musick Hall, Temple Bar in 1742. It is no surprise that there are a range of theatres, exhibition spaces and other items for culture vultures here. Project Arts Centre (01-8819613) is a multidisciplinary contemporary arts centre here. Often dubbed “Dublin’s busiest arts centre”, it is hosts theatre, music, dance and visual arts. Children will love The Ark (016707788), which is a cultural centre for children aged two to 12 where they

The Irish Film Institute (01-6793477), also known as the IFI, is an arthouse cinema, a national body that supports Irish film heritage and incorporates the Irish Film Archive. It screens new releases and independent and world cinema you can’t catch in the usual multiplex. Other interesting things to see here include the Arthouse Multimedia Centre and the Temple Bar Gallery and Studio. Europe’s oldest built theatre, the 17th century, Smock Alley Theatre, and one of Ireland’s smallest, The New Theatre, are located in the area too.


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ent gC


on S t re et

Main Streets ...

The year the eminent Irish Times newspaper moved to Tara Street.


’s Green



Indoor ...

The city centre has plenty of shops but there are some main thoroughfares worth checking out. Grafton Street—running from St. Stephen’s Green to College Green— has a great variety of retail stores, cafés, bars and restaurants. The street is often populated by talented buskers and street performers. Some famous musicians who have performed here include Paddy Casey, Glen Hansard and Damien Rice so be sure to throw the buskers a few cents; they could be the next big thing! www.graftonstreet. ie The smaller streets around Grafton Street have a large retail presence too. The other notable shopping area is Henry Street, which is off O’Connell Street, and its continuation Mary Street. The street is lined with roughly 200 stores and there are cafés to grab a bite too. Henry Street is also popular with musicians and street performers.




Gr aft

© A n d r e w B ra d l e y


Shop ‘Til you Drop!

Markets ...

For inclement weather, the city centre has multiple shopping centres scattered around. The bigger facilities include: the Jervis Shopping Centre (01-8781323; on Henry/Mary Street, the Ilac Shopping Centre (01-8288900; on Henry Street and Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre (01-4780888; at Stephen’s Green West at the entrance of Grafton Street. Smaller centres include the Powerscourt Centre (www. between Clarendon Street and South William Street and the Westbury Mall on Grafton Street. Georges Street Arcade (012836077; is an enclosed Victorian market full to the brim with boutique shops and stalls selling funky clothing, collectables, jewellery and souvenirs. There are also some wonderful cafés and eateries where you can take a break to refuel for more shopping. Opened in 1881, the arcade is Europe’s oldest shopping centre and a true taste of Dublin’s retail heritage.

For a less formal experience, why not try one of Dublin’s markets? The colourful Moore Street Market is renowned for the street barrow vendors, who sell a selection of fruit, vegetables and flowers. In Temple Bar, there are small markets on a Saturday selling food and crafts and a book market Saturday and Sunday. Every Thursday and Saturday, the Dublin Food Co-Op Organic Food Market takes place at Newmarket Square. there. At the same location on the last Sunday of every month, there is a Flea Market with around 60 stalls “selling everything from vintage clothes to second hand bikes, retro furniture and random odds and ends”. Smithfield Outdoor Market is held every Friday for the months of August and September 11am-3pm near Smithfield Luas stop. The stalls sell food, crafts and more. For more information on local markets see

Tara Street in


The maximum walking time in minutes from Tara Street Station to O’Connell Street.

Numbers 1891 1742 1 The year Tara Street Station opened.

The year Handel’s Messiah had its world premiere in Temple Bar.

Way. The traffic flow on Tara Street.

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Experience History in Dublin Remember ...

Hop On ...

Discover ... The fierce Vikings founded Dublin in the 10th century and there are some ways to learn about its rich heritage. At Dublinia (01-6794611) you can imagine being a Viking and experience what life was like through the ages in Ireland. Connected by medieval footbridge to Christ Church Cathedral, there are three interactive exhibitions covering the Viking times in Dublin, medieval Dublinia life from the time of Strongbow to the Reformation and another about how archaeology, history and science reveal history’s secrets. You can also visit the medieval tower, which has panoramic views of Dublin. Viking Splash Tours (01-7076000) is another fun way to learn about the city. The amphibious vehicle takes visitors through the streets and even out on the Liffey in their Viking helmets. See pg 41 for more details.


The address in Westland Row where Oscar Wilde was born and now home of the Oscar Wilde Centre. 38 | Best Of Ireland Series

Pearse Street in


The year Pearse Street Station opened, orginally called Westland Row Station.


The number of city centre DART stations, of which Pearse Street is one.

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Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum (01-8826500) is a moving look into Dublin’s past and many well-known citizens are interred here. It is 3km from the city centre and you can get here on bus routes 40, 140, 4, 9 and 83. There are guided tours daily. See pg 41 for more details.

There are many types of tour around Dublin—bike, boat and bus included. There are hop-on hop-off bus tours run by Dublin Sightseeing Tours (01-7033028; www.dublinsightseeing. ie) and City Sightseeing Dublin (01-4580054; www.— among several other tours run by the two companies. Walking tours are also widely available with popular options include Pat Liddy’s Walking Tours (01- 8329406; www.walkingtours. ie), Historical Walking Tours of Dublin (087-6889412;, Sandemans New Dublin Tours ( and many more. If you want to cycle, Dublin City Bike Tours (087-1341866; www. is another choice. See for information on more tour options. blin / Du

The General Post Office on O’Connell Street was one of the most prominent conflict sites of the 1916 Easter Rising—serving as headquarters to the men and women who took part in the rebellion. The imposing building was destroyed e by fire during the Rising but was Gen fic e r a l Po s t O f fully restored. The imposing façade, including a huge ionic portico and six columns, has been a constant since 1818. It is still a working post office.

Vi kings Sp

Numbers 16860 27 The number of registered students who attend Trinity College on average per year.

h las

u To


The house number Pearse Street, birthplace of Irish revolutionaries Padraig and William Pearse.

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Natural Dublin

The Phoenix Park (01-8205800) in Dublin 8 is one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. Set on 709 hectares, around 30% of the park is covered by trees and it is a sanctuary for many mammals and birds including a herd of Fallow Deer. Other features include the Victorian People’s Flower Gardens, a visitor centre, tea rooms, bike hire facility and its own tourist train. Dublin Bus routes to and from the park include routes 37-39, 70, 46A and 25/26. It is a short walk from Heuston Station and from Connolly Station, commuter trains operate on a regular basis to Ashtown and Phoenix Park Train Stations. Situated close to the Parkgate Street entrance of Phoenix Park is Dublin Zoo (01-4748900), founded in 1830. Over 400 animals make this their home and you can learn all about them in a fun, engaging environment. The magnificent zoo is a great day out for people of all ages.

Dublin Galleries It is a five minute walk from Pearse Street Station to the National Gallery of Ireland’s (016615133) Clare Street entrance. The gallery houses the national collection of European and Irish fine art and holds over 15,000 works dating from the 13th to the 21st century. Prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture are included. Admission is free.

Dublin City Gallery

The RHA or Royal Hibernian Academy (01-6612558) at 15 Ely Place is another place to enjoy some art. Focusing on painting, sculpture and architecture, it was founded in 1823 by 30 Irish artists. The building has four galleries. An open submission art show has been organised annually by the Academy since 1826. The RHA also curates regular exhibitions. Admission is free. Dublin City Gallery (01-2225550) —also known as the Hugh Lane—in Charlemont House, Parnell Square North is highly recommended. It houses one of Ireland’s foremost collections of modern and contemporary art with over 2,000 artworks, ranging from Impressionist art by the likes of Monet and Renoir to works by leading national and international contemporary artists. It also boasts the entire contents of Francis Bacon’s Studio—relocated from London

© Eugene Langan-

to Dublin in 1998. Regular events include lectures by artists, philosophers and art historians. Admission free. The National Museum of Modern Art (01-6129900) at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham is a few minutes from Heuston Station (accessible from Connolly Station on the Luas red line or by walking from the city centre). This beautiful gallery features some of the best Irish and International modern art, focusing primarily on collections from the 1940s onwards. The museum also hosts occasional music concerts. Admission is free except for occasional special exhibitions. There are other galleries as part of museums and other facilities as well as many smaller galleries (see a list at

The picturesque National Botanical Gardens (01-8040300) in Glasnevin were founded in 1795. You can marvel at this amazing collection of over 15,000 plant species and cultivars from a variety of habitats from all over the world. It is also famous for its exquisitely restored and planted glasshouses. There are three bus services to get there—routes 4, 9 and 83. Other tranquil spaces in the city include Victorian park, St. Stephen’s Green, the Garden of Remembrance in Parnell Square East and The War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge.

National Gallery of Ireland

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The National Concert Hall

Olympia Theatre

The Gate Theatre

Dublin city centre has many theatres, which host many different media and performance types, and a selection are outlined below. The Abbey Theatre (01-8787222) is located on the street of the same name and a stone’s throw from the Luas red line stop here. Ireland’s national theatre played a central role in the Irish literary revival and writers such as WB Yeats, Sean O’Casey and JM Synge staged some of their most renowned works on the stage here. Today, it hosts classic and brand new productions in its two auditoriums. The performances here are high quality, often acclaimed and showcase the best in Irish talent.

The Abbey Theatre

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The architecturally stunning Victorian theatre, the Olympia Theatre (016793323) on Dame Street, has a very rich history of ownership, refurbishment and of staging internationally renowned performances. Originally called The Star of Erin, it opened in 1878, then closed, was remodelled and re-opened in 1897. Many famous performers have treaded the boards such as Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy and Alec Guinness to but name a few. The interior is classical but the entertainment is thoroughly modern. It hosts diverse acts from the worlds of music, to comedy, theatre, pantomime, operas and ballet. The Gate Theatre (01-8744045/8746042) is located in a landmark building on Cavendish Row, Parnell Square. The theatre company was formed in 1928 by Hilton Edwards and Micheál MacLiammóir and offered Dublin audiences “an introduction to the world of European and American theatre and also to classics from the modern and Irish repertoire”. Orson Welles, James Mason and Michael Gambon began their acting careers with the Gate. It remains a vibrant venue today with a diverse, yearround programme of events.

The Gaiety Theatre (01-6795622) on South King Street, just off Grafton Street, has brought culture, entertainment and joy to the people of Dublin for 142 years. Showing operas, musicals, drama, comedy, concerts, dance, festivals and pantomime, the‘Grand Old Lady’ of the Dublin theatre scene is as relevant now as ever reflecting aspects of Irish culture and society. Refurbished in 2007, a show at the Gaiety is a treat for everyone and anyone. For theatre fans, the Dublin Theatre Festival, held annually in the autumn (24 September-11 October in 2015) brings some of the best in Irish and international theatre to the city. The upcoming programme will be announced in July. One of Ireland’s premier music venues, The National Concert Hall (01-4170000) on Earlsfort Terrace, showcases opera, traditional, jazz, musicals and pop music but especially classical. It boasts weekly performances by the resident orchestra, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestras, as well as a range of other performances and activities. These are just a selection of venues, there are more covered throughout the guide.


City Centre

Both the award-winning museum and the guided tours chart the fascinating history of this place, telling the stories of grave-diggers and grave robbers, cholera epidemics, and world wars.


Glasnevin Cemetery & Museum

Finglas Road, Glasnevin, Dublin 11 01-8826500 Since 1828, more than 1.5 million people have been interred in Glasnevin - rich and famous, paupers and politicians, artists, warriors and heroes, all resting side by side in this famous Victorian Garden Cemetery.


There are daily walking tours and re-enactments led by experienced and personable guides and actors and a visit inside Daniel O’Connell’s Crypt and the iconic tower is included. Glasnevin captivates the curious through special events, commemorations and exhibitions. A genealogy research area, shop and café complete the picture. Glasnevin is proud winner of Tripadvisor’s Travellers Choice award (2013) and Certificate of Excellence (2014). Dublin City Sightseeing operates a hop on hop off service from O’Connell Street but walking distance from Connolly Station is less than 2.5 km. With pedestrian links into the Botanic Gardens there’s more than one good reason to visit this intriguing place. is the recognised leader in the field of heraldry. The practice of heraldry dates back to the 12th century and through its vast library, expert researchers can trace 96% of all known names requested, including those of Irish, British and European origin.

House of Names

House of Names

Shop 1: 26 Nassau Street, Dublin 2 (01-6797287) Shop 2: 8 Fleet Street, Dublin 2 (01-6777034) House of Names is the true “home of heraldry” and can reveal the secrets of your surname and coat of arms to forge a solid link to your heritage. The manufacturing wing of the business was established in 1953 and

EXTENSIVE PRODUCT RANGE The extensive product range includes superbly crafted, Irish made pieces by a dedicated team of heraldic artists. The most popular items include wall shields, embroidery, parchments, heraldry rings and other tokens like coasters. National and international delivery is available so overseas customers can be easily facilitated. House of Names coats of arms take 2-3 weeks to be hand-painted. So if you have a loved one who you would like to give a special gift for their birthday, marriage, anniversary or Christmas present, they are currently taking orders.


Viking Splash Tours


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Viking Splash Tours

Departures from St. Stephen’s Green North, Dublin 2 01-7076000 See the best of the capital by land and water with the Vikings in Tripadvisor’s number one boat tour and watersports activity in Dublin. Established in 1999, Viking Splash Tours have pillaged their way into the hearts of all their guests with their witty and informative guides at the helm.

A HISTORY BU FF’S DREAM, VIKINGSTO-BE BOARD TH E REFU RBISH ED WORLD WAR II AMPH IBIOUS VEHICLE A history buff’s dream, Vikings-tobe board the refurbished World War II amphibious vehicle at St. Stephen’s Green for a swashbuckling tour from Molly Malone to Dublin Castle, O’Connell Bridge to Trinity College before taking a dip in the Grand Canal Dock. Tours last 1 hour, 15 minutes and cost €22 for adults, €12 for children (aged 2-12), €18 for teenagers and just €20 for students/OAPs with some concessions for online bookers and groups (great package offers also available!) It is perfect for birthdays, stag/hen parties, school tours, aspiring Vikings, work outings, or simply seeing the sights and sounds of the city in a fun new way!

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Grand Canal Dock

© Mattihi


Grand Canal Dock


ork started on the Grand Canal Dock basin in 1791 and the grand opening was on the 23rd of April 1796 when the Lord Lieutenant, the Earl of Camden performed the opening ceremony, coming into the basin on his yacht, the Dorset, followed by 20 barges and pleasure boats. Today, the Grand Canal Dock is managed by Waterways Ireland and is a recreational resource for the city centre. Located in Dublin’s city centre between the most easterly point of Dublin 2 and the most westerly point of Dublin 4, it can accommodate 150 seagoing vessels. A docking enclosure located between the majestic river Liffey and the historic Grand Canal, the Grand Canal is the southern-most of a pair of canals that connect Dublin. While the idea of connecting Dublin to the Shannon was proposed as early as 1715, work on a canal only began in 1757 when the Irish Parliament granted Thomas Omer £20,000 to start construction. The 42 | Best Of Ireland Series

last working cargo barge passed through the Grand Canal in 1960. While there may not be many barges on this beautiful man-made stretch of water anymore, business certainly has not slowed down. Both Irish and International investment in Grand Canal Dock has led to it evolving into

the commercial and cultural capital of Dublin. Companies such as Google, Facebook and LinkedIn have made the area their home, leading to it being dubbed ‘Silicon Dock’. Since the turn of the millennium, Grand Canal Dock has undergone major redevelopment as part of the Dublin Docklands redevelopment project. Amenities include several public bike hire stations, to see the area on two wheels. At night, the Grand Canal Dock is striking to behold and an elegant lighting scheme adds to an already eclectic atmosphere. The area is scattered with great pubs, restaurants and cafés, some of which offer the diner the opportunity to dine al fresco and enjoy the modern surroundings. This area of Dublin is immensely popular with tourists yet it has managed to maintain the genuine qualities that made it so popular in the first place. Grand Canal Dock represents what the locals call ‘real Dublin’ with its unique marriage of contemporary and historical architecture and a vibrant cultural atmosphere.

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Grand Canal Dock

Grand Canal Dock

fast facts

The Factory, located here, houses sh Irish Film and Television Network studios and rehearsal and recording studios where a number of Irish band U2’s albums were recorded. at u



There are many notable buildings in the area such as the Altovetro apartment building which won a silver medal for housing from the Royal Institute of Architect’s in Ireland 2007-2008.

Forty foot pole

© Fe

Award Winner

Music Makers

A BOATLOAD OF HISTORY Grand Canal Dock opened in 1796 and although it has changed immeasurably since then, there are some landmarks of old to remind us of days gone by. The Design Tower—located at Grand Canal Quay—was built in 1862 as a sugar refinery by a company called Bewley, Moss and Co. it is one of the first buildings one of the first multistorey buildings in the world to have a steel skeletal structure. The sugar refinery was open until 1900, when it became a foundry. Today, the Design Tower is home to 26 craft people working in materials like silver, gold, leather and ceramics. The studios are open to visitors by appointment so

The Design Tower

people can visit to see the artisans at work and perhaps, take some unique pieces home. Boland’s Mill, sitting on the Inner Dock, was one of the original buildings when the dock was opened in 1796. The concrete structure, which were the hoppers for grain, were added between 1940 and 1960. At one stage Boland’s owned all of the buildings surround this inner dock. It closed down in the late 1980s and planning permission has recently been granted for a multi-use development, which will retain the listed buildings and remove the newer concrete elements.

At one time there was a hospice for lepers located on ‘Misery hill’. Such was the belief that lepers were unclean, these poor souls would be walked to the hospice with a man tolling a bell and another carrying a 40 foot pole to keep other people at a safe distance. The expression “I wouldn’t touch him with a 40 foot pole” originates from this practice. Visitors can take pleasant stroll up to the three sea locks, which allowed ships to enter and leave the Grand Canal Dock from the River Liffey. The biggest is called ‘Camden Lock’ and the others, ‘Buckingham Lock’ and ‘Westmoreland Lock’. These were named after the subscribers to the Grand Canal Company, shareholders in today’s company structure. Buckingham Lock is operational today, while it would originally have been opened by men using winches now it is opened electrically. Take time to imagine a constant stream of boats coming through here laden with goods and freight, the basin filled with up to 150 boats tied up being loaded or unloaded—all by hand by dockers working a 10-14 hour day in summer. The Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre (01-6777510) is a family friendly facility located at Grand Canal Quay and offers an insight into the rich history here. For more information, see pg 45 or www.waterwaysirelandvisitorcentre. org.

The Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre

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Grand Canal Dock

PLENTY OF THINGS TO DO AROUND Grand Canal Dock © Clara Hooper

Bord Gáis Energy Theatre Grand Canal Square

For a night at the theatre or opera, the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre (016777999) is a leading entertainment venue in the city hosting top international and domestic productions. The theatre, which opened its doors in 2010, is a visually stunning building thanks to world renowned architect, Daniel Liebeskind, who designed it. The interior of the theatre is beautifully laid out and has fabulous acoustics, among its many other fine features. The yearround programme offers everything from ballet, musicals, family shows, plays, concerts, comedy shows, orchestral performances and operas.

Located a few minutes away from Grand Canal Dock in Ringsend is Shelbourne Park Greyhound Stadium (01-6683502) where ‘going to the dogs’ is never a bad thing. Ireland’s premiere greyhound racing venue holds races three nights a week (Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday) and the exciting racing is great entertainment. Aside from an action-packed race-card, there are excellent bar and dining facilities onsite. The stadium can cater for any event, big or small. You can bet on a lively night out here! There are plenty of activities to take part in when visiting the Grand Canal Dock area. Water sports companies based in the area are Surfdock and Wakedock (01-6683945/01-6643883). With over 20 years experience, the qualified instructors offer specialist tuition in exciting activities including windsurfing, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, dinghy sailing and cable wakeboarding. For the more experienced, you can rent all you need to go for a kayak, a paddle or a windsurf here too.

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Patrick Kavanagh Statue

’Let’s Walk & Talk’ is a community initiative of Dublin City Council comprising of weekly walks in various parts of the city, themed historical walking tours and other events. Walks along the Grand Canal are nearly always a part of the seasonal programme, along with many other interesting locations. Some walks—led by volunteers—are even narrated in Irish, French and Spanish. According to the council, these walks are “a great way to stay healthy, meet people and learn a little something about our Fair City”. All tours and weekly walks are free of charge, last about 90 minutes and no advance booking is necessary. More information on ‘Let’s Walk & Talk’, including details of routes and meeting points, is available on

Grand Canal Dock

Enjoy the Area


out what life in the past was like living and working in Dublin’s Docklands and discover how the canals played a consistent role in the history of the city’s economic, social and cultural development.

Waterways Ireland Walking Tour & Visitor Centre


Shop ...

Every week, there are several small pop-up markets around the Grand Canal Dock area, selling tasty lunch fare and other fresh foodstuffs. These markets include one at the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre at Grand Canal Dock every Wednesday, one at Mespil Road on the banks of the Grand Canal every Thursday and at Percy Place every Friday. Vendors and stalls vary but the bustling, friendly atmosphere stays the same. Information on these and other pop-up markets around Dublin can be found at

Waterways Ireland Walking Tour & Visitor Centre Grand Canal Quay, Dublin 2 01-6777510

The Waterways Visitor Centre is the start of the Grand Canal Dock Walking Tour, which explores the Dock’s development in the 18th century, the story of the Grand and Royal Canals and the race to reach the Shannon. You can admire this fantastic mix of industrial and modern architecture, find

Pitstop ... Another aspect of the Grand Canal Dock that sets it apart from other areas is the exciting urban space of Grand Canal Square. Designed by Margaret Swartz, this square is the largest urban public space in the city and is surrounded by some of the top commercial premises in Ireland. It has an innovative design and while it makes for a pretty location for a ‘selfie’ during the day, it should be seen at night to be fully appreciated because of its interesting lighting scheme.

You will also see firsthand the continued development of the area to what’s become known as Ireland’s ‘Silicon Dock’. Inside the centre are hands on activities and an interactive quiz testing your knowledge of Ireland’s waterways and tonnes of interesting information for would-be skippers. Tours last 90 minutes and cost €8 per person. Group rates available. For more information contact visitorcentre@ The centre opens March to September. Wednesday–Sunday, 10am-6pm. Guided tours are at 11.30am and 2.30pm.

For Kids ...

Grand Canal Sq



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For anyone with little ones, Docklands Chimney Park play area is must visit. This park offers more than a standard playground and is set in the backdrop of the historic red brick chimney. The park features a mirror wall, a wobbly play platform, a water play feature, palm trees and a blue lounging wall.

Grand Canal Dock in Numbers 1960 67 8 2007

The number of Bike Stations in the area.

The year the last cargo boat passed through the Grand Canal.

The height in metres of Montevetro or “Google Docks” building—the tallest commericial building in Dublin.

The time in minutes it takes to walk from Grand Canal Dock Station to Grand Canal Square.

The year Grand Canal Square opened to much acclaim.

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Lansdowne Road

© Pavel L Photo & Video/Shutterstock

Aviva Stadium


Lansdowne Road S ports and music fans will be familiar with this part of Dublin as the area is home to two celebrated sports and concert venues. The stop takes in well-known residential and business districts like Ballsbridge and Donnybrook too.

There is a huge stadium based at Lansdowne Road. It was formerly named after the location but is now called Aviva Stadium. It is the world’s oldest rugby international test venue and the oldest sports stadium in Europe. The first rugby international was held in March 1878 between Ireland and England. The first ever international athletics meeting in the world was held in June 1876 between

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Ireland and England here. Steeped in history, Aviva Stadium rises proudly on the Dublin skyline with its stunning, ultramodern design. Aviva Stadium is the home of the Irish football and Irish rugby and is a spectacular concert venue also. One can always tell when a big match or concert is on just looking at the fans hopping off the DART wearing their team colours or band merchandise. Crowds often pack the stadium to capacity to watch iconic international soocer matches and rugby tournaments like the Six Nations. No matter what the sport, the special atmosphere of the hallowed ground is palpable. Top music acts such as Madonna, Lady Gaga, U2 and Roger Waters have played to sell-out crowds in the stadium too. Details of Aviva Stadium Tours can be found on pg 59. Also in the area, The Royal Dublin

Society (RDS) is just as popular for sport, being the home of Leinster Rugby and the annual Discover Ireland Dublin Horse Show in August. Equestrian fans come from all over the world to watch the best in international show jumping and of course to cheer on the strong team of Irish riders and horses. Loyal Leinster fans can be heard chanting “Allez les bleus!” (come on the blues) during home fixtures. The RDS also plays host to a number of events from concerts to lavish exhibitions and fairs. There are so many different events at the RDS, something is sure to tickle your fancy. The bulk of Dublin’s embassies and many diplomatic residences are located in the southern part of Ballsbridge too, including the impressive American Embassy. There is plenty to see and do while here around the area, you can take a gentle stroll along the river Dodder or take the air in Herbert Park. Those with an interest in Irish history might like to take a peek at the Irish Labour History Museum or the National Print Museum. There are plenty of fascinating stories just waiting to be discovered.


Lansdowne Road

The Irish Labour History Museum (01-6681071) in Beggar’s Bush Barracks on Haddington Road highlights this area of history, which is often overlooked in favour of other momentous events. Opened in 1990, this museum houses a valuable archive of historical material relating to trade unions, labour movements and organisations as well as campaigns.

The National Print Museum (01-6603770) is housed in the Old Garrison Chapel in Beggar’s Bush Barracks and offers visitors the chance to discover traditional letterpress printing in a digital age. The ground floor features a permanent exhibition that shows the story of printing. Items of note include an original 1916 Proclamation. The upper floor has changing exhibitions and more of the museum’s resources, as well as items from abroad. Visitors have the option of taking guided tours. There is also an on-site shop and café. Named after Sidney Herbert, the father of the 14th Earl of Pembroke, Herbert Park is 13 hectares of idyllic parkland in an urban setting. Opened in 1907, it is one of Dublin’s oldest and most popular parks. It boasts floral displays, mature trees and a native tree trail, tennis pavilions, dressing rooms as well


Aviva Stadium Tours


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advanced engineering and world-class sustainability. You can browse through the memorabilia exhibition kindly arranged by the Football Association of Ireland and the Irish Rugby Football Union. Experience ‘behind the scenes’ areas normally only occupied by players and officials. Visit the home dressing room, players’ tunnel, dugouts, media centre and go up to the top for a bird’s eye view of Dublin.

Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4 01-2382300


Experience the culmination of 150 years of Irish and world sporting heritage at Aviva Stadium by making a pilgrimage to the birthplace of Irish rugby and the spiritual home of Irish football and rugby. Aviva Stadium wows all visitors with its stunning architecture,

To experience the elation of the match day atmosphere, audio-visual materials are used in the tour. You are entertained by passionate tour guides throughout. Aviva Stadium is a must see attraction in Dublin—one of the world’s elite stadia situated nearly at the heart of the city.

as a large playground. Games such as croquet, bowling and bowls are often played here as well as other more athletic endeavours on the sports fields and all-weather pitch. The jogging/ walking circuit is popular, as are the duck pond and bandstand. The park opens daily from 10am and closing times vary by the season.

including Tallaght, Donnybrook, Ballsbridge and enters the Liffey near Ringsend. The Dodder (An Dothra in Irish) has an abundance of flora and fauna to spot on your walk from herons to swans, otters to foxes. Local fishermen can be seen casting their lines during the fishing season.

Aviva Stadium Tours

Whatever the season or weather, a stroll or jog along the gentle banks of the River Dodder is time well spent. One of the three main rivers in Dublin, The Dodder (‘An Dothra’ in Irish) is the largest tributary of the Liffey. It flows through several Dublin suburbs © Eoghan McNally/Shutterstock

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© Semmick Photo



Sandymount S

andymount has a strong sense of place despite being only three kilometres from Dublin’s city centre. Its well-preserved village character, its central green area and its variety of architectural styles and pretty properties make for a desirable community.

It enjoys a pretty seaside location and is equally blessed as a ‘leafy suburb’.

Sandymount Beach

Villagers enjoy a variety of amenities on their doorstep. The vibrant village has a selection of services and shops, with schools and sporting facilities nearby. There are no less than four churches in the area: Christchurch Presbyterian; Sandymount Methodist Church; St. John the Evangelist and St. Mary’s Star of the Sea; all offering regular services. There is also a Sikh Gurdwara on Serpentine Avenue. Sandymount is a place of interest for literature buffs and offers several serene spots to sit and read for a while. It is the birthplace of Nobel Prize-winning poet, W.B. Yeats. James Joyce lived here for a time and in his novel Ulysses, Joyce placed the characters Stephen, Leopold and Gerty on Sandymount Strand. The poet Séamus Heaney, another Nobel Prize winner in Literature also lived here in his later years. 48 | Best Of Ireland Series

The village offers good shopping, from books to bikes to boutiques, shoes to souvenirs to second-hand items. There is an organic food store, convenience store, supermarket and specialist wine store to meet the needs of locals without having to visit the city centre.

Eateries abound and there are cafés, restaurants and fast food outlets as well as three pubs in the area. Sandymount is a good place to grab a bite or drink before a match in the nearby Aviva Stadium, or before a gig or conference in the RDS. Accommodation options in the area include various hotels and B&Bs. For more information on local goingson, see Sandymount Strand is a major draw to the area and the promenade and walking trails add to its popularity with walkers. There are plenty of other activities available too with cricket, rugby and hockey all popular here. Sandymount has two gyms and yoga classes are available in three different locations.

Kite Surfing at Sandymount

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fast facts On Paper Sandymount Strand is the setting for two episodes in James Joyce’s book, Ulysses — the ‘Proteus episode and the Nausicaa’ episode. In the latter, Leopold Bloom sits on a rock and pleasures himself while watching Gerty lift her skirt. This incident led to the book being banned in the USA for obscenity. Quotes include: “Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand? Crush, crack, crick, crick. Wild sea money.” .

Must-See VIEWS & HISTORY Sandymount Strand is just a short walk from the DART station via Sandymount Village. This strand is the location of ‘Cockle Lake’ in Ulysses, making it one of the most famous beaches in Irish fiction. The strand stretches from Irishtown through Sandymount and Merrion and on to Booterstown. It’s great for walking but the water is too shallow to swim in near the shoreline. You can also stroll along Sandymount Promenade—a 2.5 km walkway along the coast from Gilford Avenue to Saint Alban’s Park. There is a Martello tower about halfway along the strand.

That’s News! One of Ireland’s most recognisable television personalities was born in Sandymount in 1960—RTÉ newscaster, Bryan Dobson. He has presented the flagship daily news broadcast, the RTÉ Six One News, since 1996 but also contributes to other programmes. He joined the news and current affairs department of the national broadcaster in 1992.


Poolbeg Po wer Statio n

Lighthouse and follows the same path back. For information on this and other Slí na Sláinte (‘path to health’) routes, see

Tonne of Bricks Sandymount was once known as Brickfield Town. In the 18th century, Lord Merrion established a brick works along the shore which provided bricks for many of Dublin’s Georgian buildings and by 1760 the original settlement was documented as Brickfield Town. In 1791, Lord Merrion commenced construction of the sea wall to protect his brick works.

© Paul Camp


Poolbeg Lighthous

The Irishtown Nature Reserve and Sandymount Strand were formed after the building of the Great South Wall (also known as the South Bull Wall). When it was finished in 1795, it was the longest sea wall in the world. If you walk from Sandymount Strand towards Poolbeg Power Station, you will come across this wall near the ESB station. You can walk along it towards the sea and at the end is Poolbeg Lighthouse. A stroll in the opposite direction leads to Ringsend. You can also park at the end of Pigeon House Road near the start of the wall and walk along it, which takes an estimated 40 minutes. There is also the Poolbeg Lighthouse Slí na Sláinte—a 10.2 km loop route beginning on Beach Road beside Sean Moore Park. The route runs alongside Sandymount Strand, through Shelly Banks, the Irishtown Nature Reserve, out to Poolbeg

Apart from being a valued amenity for Dubliners, the strand attracts thousands of migrant birds and so makes a great location for bird watching. The area is part of the Special Protection Area (SPA) of Dublin Bay and is home to a large number of winter wading birds and Brent Geese. The adjoining Irishtown Nature Reserve was designed with a focus on habitat creation and nature conservation but is also a well-used amenity area. Sandymount Green is a small triangular park in the village and dates to the early 1800s. Sit and read next to the bronze bust of poet W.B. Yeats or have a picnic on the green with tasty food from the local cafés. The houses along the south side of the green are part of what was once Sandymount Castle.

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Dublin’s Great Writers


Sandymount Hotel

Sandymount Hotel

Herbert Road, Sandymount, Dublin 4 01-6142000

As outlined in pg 35, Dublin is a Unesco City of Literature and many famous writers were born here or indeed, worked here and found it a source of inspiration. All four Irishmen who were awarded a Nobel Prize for Literature have strong Dublin connections through birth or residency. Playwright, George Bernard Shaw was born at 33 Synge Street while poet, W.B. Yeats born in Sandymount and playwright and novelist, Samuel Beckett, was born in Foxrock. Poet, Seamus Heaney, was born in Northern Ireland but lived in Sandymount from 1972 until he passed away in 2013. From Pygmalion to He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven and from Waiting for Godot to Digging, the work of these men will endure for many generations. Born in Strabane, novelist, playwright and satirist, Flann O’Brien, lived at 4 Avoca Terrace and later at 81 Merrion Avenue in Blackrock. His famous novel At Swim- Two-Birds is set in the Dalkey, Sandycove & Glasthule area. Bram Stoker was born in Clontarf and is renowned as the writer of the original vampire novel, Dracula. Brendan Behan, poet, short story writer, novelist and playwright was born in Dublin— living at 13 Russell Street in his childhood. Author, James Joyce, was born in Rathgar and lived in various places in Dublin including Sandycove. His books such as Dubliners, A Portrait of the 50 | Best Of Ireland Series

Artist as a Young Man, Finnegan’s Wake and Ulysses are set in Dublin and draw a vivid picture of the place and its people. Witty playwright and novelist, Oscar Wilde was born in 21 Westland Row. His great works include The Importance of Being Earnest. The satirist, essayist and poet, Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin. One of his best-known works is Gulliver’s Travels. Sean O’Casey was the first Irish playwright of note to write about the Dublin working classes with pieces like The Plough and the Stars. Maeve Binchy, the much-loved novelist and columnist, grew up and lived in Dalkey. Her books include Circle of Friends. Playwright and novelist, Hugh Leonard, wrote Home before Night about growing up in Dalkey. His play, Da, set in Dalkey, won four Tony awards on Broadway in 1978. Roddy Doyle has written numerous bestselling and critically acclaimed books including The Commitments, The Snapper, The Woman who Walked into Doors and the Booker Prize winning, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. Some other well-known writers from Dublin include Sebastian Barry, JM Synge, John Boyne, Christy Brown, Joseph O’Connor, John Connolly, Elizabeth Bowen, Paul Howard (aka Ross O’Carroll-Kelly), Cecilia Ahern and many more.

Currently celebrating 60 years of hospitality, Sandymount Hotel is very proud to be the largest family-run hotel in Dublin. Currently run by John Loughran, eldest son of original owners George and Rosaleen, the family provides a home from home for each guest with a famously warm welcome. The Sandymount boasts 168 bedrooms, recently upgrading 60 premium rooms, which really reflects the hotel’s ardent passion for providing a comfortable, modern hotel experience. It has been awarded the TripAdvisor Excellence Award for the last five years in a row.

PROVIDES A HOME FROM HOME FOR EACH GU EST Located in Dublin 4, the hotel is next to the Aviva Stadium, within walking distance of the city centre and close to other key venues like the RDS and the 3Arena—not to mention its proximity to the picturesque Sandymount Village and beach. The Line Out Bar is a popular choice for those visiting Aviva Stadium and the menus change seasonally with only the freshest ingredients used in each classic dish. The Line Out serves lunch and dinner daily and boasts a garden terrace overlooking stunning private gardens. The Sandymount Hotel truly has something for everyone. For more information and offers, see

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Inbetweeners... Inbetweeners

This guide has 19 featured stops but the DART line itself has 31 stations, with some connecting to other suburban commuter lines too. There are highlights outside of the featured stops and these ‘Inbetweener’ pages—separate to the guide’s sections—outline some of these. If you refer to the rail route planner on pg 6, you will get an idea of their locations… The stations of Malahide, Portmarnock, Clongriffin and Howth Junction & Donaghmede connect to the northern suburban line, which continues in the direction of Louth and goes all the way to Belfast. Stations on that line include the coastal town of Donabate, located on a peninsula between Rogerstown Estuary and Broadmeadow Estuary. It has a great beach and has five golf courses nearby. Newbridge Demesne is within walking distance of Donabate. The estate consists of around 150 hectares of gently undulating pasture and woodland. It is now a public park, playground and model farm. Its centrepiece is the fine Georgian mansion, Newbridge House. Portrane (around 1km from Donabate) has a beach too and in the grounds of St Ita’s Hospital in the village is a 30 m modern round tower—erected in 1843 by Sophia Evans of Portrane House, as a memorial to her husband, George. Rush & Lusk Station serves two separate urban centres in North County Dublin. Rush is a pretty seaside stop and was once considered to be the centre of market gardening in Leinster. Looking out to sea here, you will get a view of Lambay Island— the privately-owned bird sanctuary. There are two beaches in the town and the south beach is popular among kite-surfers and joggers. There is a huge promontory fort on the headland of Drumanagh, north of Rush, dating back to ancient times and the ruins of St. Maur’s Chapel in Whitestown Cemetery date back to the Anglo- Norman era. Lusk is a delightful village. Lusk Heritage Centre is housed in a complex including a round tower, a medieval belfry and a 19th century church. Between the hills of North Fingal and low-lying beaches, lies the seaside town of Skerries. From walks to golf, kite surfing to heritage, there is lots to see and do here. As the only west-facing harbour on the east coast, Skerries enjoys spectacular sunsets. One of Ireland’s most famous motorcycle road races, The Skerries 100, takes place here and the town has long been associated with road racing. One of the main attractions is Skerries Mills, a flour mill dating back to the 12th century. The fully restored complex illustrates the authentic workings of a windmill, water mill and bakery of the 1800s. Balbriggan is a large town with a lot of history from medieval battles to the notorious ‘Sack of Balbriggan’ during the Irish War of Independence. It has three beaches and a Martello tower. More information on local amenities and events is available on


© Aitormmfoto

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lackrock, ‘An Charraig Dhubh’ in Irish, is an affluent suburb just 15 minutes from Dublin’s city centre by DART and is a good spot for shopping outside of the city.

Hundreds of years ago, Blackrock was known by several longer names such as ‘Newtown-at-the Black Rock’ but over time, it was abbreviated. It is named for a rock formation found locally—a limestone that appeared black when wet—and this was once visible on the shore and forms part of the foundations of Blackrock Park. When the railway from the city centre to Kingstown was being built in 1834, this rock used for wall cappings between Williamstown and Blackrock and it can also be seen in the walls of the train station at Blackrock and other buildings like St. Marys Chapel of Ease in St. Mary’s Place in the city, which is nicknamed ‘The Black Church’. The Rock Road, which forms the south western boundary of the park, is part of one of the oldest roads in the country— the ancient Slíghe Chualann constructed by the High King of Ireland to connect Tara in Co. Meath with what is now southern Dublin and north-east Wicklow. In the 18th century, it was notorious for highway robberies. Once a small coastal village, Blackrock evolved as Anglo-Irish aristocracy began 52 | Best Of Ireland Series

to build a number of stately homes in the area in the 17th century. Estates were established at Mount Merrion and Stillorgan. The area quickly developed, attracting wealthy Dubliners. It transformed into a popular seaside resort in the 18th century, before the new railway line to Dún Laoghaire in the 1830s changed its fortunes once again as the crowds moved further down the line. Modern Blackrock is home to one of the best private health clinics in the country as well as Blackrock College, a stronghold for the rising stars of Irish rugby. It has a bohemian feel to it with numerous art galleries dotted about the town as well as a popular market, a mix of flea and farmers’ market every weekend.

A pleasant afternoon is easily had in Blackrock. While the time away in Blackrock Park, enjoying the lush scenery and views over Dublin Bay or go bird watching in nearby Booterstown Nature Reserve. Once you’ve had enough of the sea air and scenery, hit the shops. There are two big shopping centres and several boutiques in the town for an afternoon of shopping without the city centre traffic. For eating out there are several options, from cafés to gastro-pubs to restaurants. James Joyce is said to have frequented a popular pub here which is still serving up pints to this day. Take some time out at Blackrock and you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

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fast facts That Towering Feeling

Williamstown Martello Tower is now half-buried in Blackrock Park. When the tower was built in the early 1800s it was surrounded by sea water at high tide as it was built in the inter-tidal beach area. The area became marshy when the railway was built. The marsh was subsequently filled in to form Blackrock Park.

ARCHITECTURE & NATURE See the sights on a coastal walk from Blackrock to Booterstown DART station with the sea on one side and Blackrock Park on the other. Blackrock Park boasts green areas and trees, a well-equipped children’s playground, cycle paths and a pond with swans and The Peace Fountain. The story of the park is an unusual one. With the construction of the railway close to the shoreline, the space between the shore and the railway created an area that flooded with sea water at high tide. A smelly salty marsh became a cause of local discomfort for years until it was decided to fill the area in and create a park in the early 1870s.

A Novel idea Irish novelist, playwright and satirist, Flann O’Brien (19111966), lived at 4 Avoca Terrace and later at 81 Merrion Avenue in Blackrock. His real name was Brian O’Nolan and his day job was in the civil service until 1953. Some of his well-known novels include At SwimTwo-Birds and The Third Policeman. He also wrote many satirical columns in The Irish Times (and an Irish language novel, An Béal Bocht) under the name Myles na gCopaleen.

Blackrock Bandits The Blackrock Road was once a hotspot for highway robberies. In 1787, they were so commonplace that a local meeting was chaired by Lord Viscount Ranelagh to find a solution. They resolved to “give a reward of £20 to any person who will apprehend and prosecute to conviction any person guilty of a robbery upon the Blackrock-road, from Dublin to Dunleary, Bullock, Dalkey, Rochestown, Cabinteely, and Loughlinstown”.

The Williamstown Martello Tower, now located in Blackrock Park, was built between 1804 and 1806, before the park was established. When the tower was built, it was surrounded by sea water at high tide as it was built in the inter-tidal beach area. It wasn’t until the filling in of the area to form the Blackrock Park that the tower found itself on dry land. The part of the tower visible today is actually the first floor (the ground floor is now buried).

Back in town see Blackrock’s Market Cross on Main Street. The cross dates from the eighth or ninth century. It is believed to have been a burial slab, as evidenced by the circle and band adorned on it, and to have belonged to the Celtic foundation of St. Mochanna in Monkstown. The present day cross is smaller as parts have been removed from it. It was moved to Blackrock in 1678 by Walter Cheevers and was shifted to several different locations in the area before it was finally moved to the Main Street.


Go a little further on past Blackrock Park to Booterstown Nature Reserve, a saltwater marsh, where you are likely to see a variety of flora and wild bird species such as snipe, redshank, mallard, moorhen and sedge warbler. The 4-hectare area is sandwiched between the main road and DART line. It is a very important educational resource for biology students and the teaching of ecology. More information on Best Of Ireland Series | 53

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In Blackrock

maze of stalls you can “buy just about anything worth having” according to the organisers. It is mostly indoor and has a variety of independent merchants selling everything from Bric-a-Brac to crafts, fashion accessories to flowers. If you’re peckish, there are food outlets and stalls selling baked goods, crêpes, fish and all sorts of other culinary delights. The market is open on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from 11am-5.30pm Blackrock is a top spot for shopping with two shopping centres and numerous shops and boutiques in the town. Blackrock Shopping Centre (01-2104618; www.blackrockcentre. ie) at the intersection of Rock Road and Frascati Road, has around 40 shops with a huge variety on offer. You will find art supplies, books, clothing and footwear, health food, a supermarket, cafés and more. Frascati Shopping Centre (01-2107666), just a short walk from the Blackrock DART station on Frascati Road, has department stores Marks & Spencer and Debenhams as well as shops specialising in fashion, household goods and more. Blackrock Market (01-2833522) is one of Dublin’s most established markets and in the unique atmosphere among the 54 | Best Of Ireland Series

Blackrock Bowling and Tennis Club (01-2881933) on Green Road has social and league tennis right through the year, with floodlights allowing tennis to be played up to 10pm each evening. Founded in 1906, it is a family-oriented club and welcomes new members to both bowling and tennis sections. For a bit of fun, get you out on the green have a go at bowls.

Hone your culinary skills at the Dublin Cookery School (01-2100555). Based at Brookfield Terrace in Blackrock, Lynda Booth’s school was the winner of ‘Best Cookery School in Ireland’ in 2013 and 2015 at the Irish Restaurant Awards. It has excellent facilities. Whether you are a total beginner or a confident cook, there is something for you here with its selection of evening, one-day and full time courses. DCS also runs professional courses and can accommodate corporate events and birthday/hen parties. Culture vultures can experience the vibrant Irish art scene with a visit to the town’s art galleries including the Millrace Gallery (01-2880867; and Waldock Art Gallery (01-2781861;



More Sights To See



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The shop has an eclectic range of both new and used books on its shelves that will entice any reader. Ravens Books stocks all of the quality works that you would expect as well as some well-kept secrets. No subject matter is left behind and if you can’t find it, it can be ordered in.


Ravens Books

The Blackrock Library & Blackrock Further Education Institute building on Main Street was recently nominated in the Public Choice category in the Irish Architecture Awards 2015 and is an excellent example of old and new structures blending together. The complex includes the original Blackrock Town Hall, Carnegie Library and VEC school. There are several protected buildings here—all with decorative façades—from the 1860s and early 1900s. The modern additions include a glass atrium. The public library here celebrated its centenary in 2005.

Ravens Books

34 Main Street, Blackrock 01-278 9509 Never has there been a better time to ‘hit the books’ than with independent bookshops like Ravens Books on the scene. The first thing that the customer notices when they enter the compact shop is the authenticity of both the staff and the place itself.

The staff is very friendly and pride themselves on their knowledge of the books in their collection as well as being able to recommend titles to readers. It also has a dedicated children’s section, including a magical reading cubby for youngsters. Ravens Books strives to foster an inclusive atmosphere of reading, learning and community so if you have a passion for books or simply a passing interest, call in for a browse.

Internationally renowned sculptor, on Custom House Quay in Dublin— Rowan Gillespie, was born in Blackrock commemorating Ireland’s Great Famine in 1953. His work is quite unique and in the mid 1840s. his public work can be seen in Ireland, Europe and North America. One of his works Blackrock Dolmen can be seen near the Blackrock bypass and Temple Road. Named ‘Blackrock Dolmen’, it “depicts three elegantly elongated figures holding up a large capstone to symbolise the essence of Blackrock”. It is part of the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Sculpture Trail. www.dlrcoco. © Sarah777 ie/arts/dlr_sculpture_map He makes much of his work in a purpose-built bronze casting foundry at Clonlea in Blackrock. One There are many houses of worship in of his most famous works is ‘Famine’, a Blackrock. The Catholic Church of St. series of haunting and emaciated figures John the Baptist on Temple Hill dates

back to 1845. For more information and mass times, see The Church of the Guardian Angels, Newtownpark Avenue also serves the local Roman Catholic congregation. The likes of St Philip and St James’ Church, established in 1824 (www. on Cross Avenue between Booterstown and Blackrock and All Saints Church at Carysfort Avenue (www. serve the local Church of Ireland community. St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Mountmerrion Avenue was built in the 1890s and some items in the church, such as the communion table and baptismal font, have been there since the first mass was celebrated in 1899. For more information and mass times, see


The sum in pounds granted by Andrew Carnegie towards the Carnegie Library, built in 1905.

Blackrock in


The year The Blackrock Animation Film Festival started. It has now been renamed The Dublin Animation Film Festival.

Numbers 80 1996 The highest point in metres in Blackrock.

The year Blackrock Market started.


The journey time in minutes from Dublin’s city centre to Blackrock by DART.

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Salthill & Monkstown


Salthill &



estled between Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire, Monkstown (Baile na Manach) is an ideal location to spend a fun day out, where, surrounded by historic buildings, you can take in the architecture of the Victorian, Georgian and Edwardian periods and the pretty coastline. The notable suburb gets a mention in volumes as diverse as James Joyce’s Dubliners and South Dublin- How to Get by on, Like, 10,000 Euro a Day by Paul Howard (writing as fictional schools rugby star, Ross O’Carroll Kelly).

seized by King Henry VIII and given to Sir John Travers in 1539. In 1580, it was given to Sir Henry Wallop, then in 1640, it was passed to Walter Cheevers until it was finally purchased by the Archbishop of Armagh, Michael Boyle. His son, Murrough, built on to the castle, making it a very impressive residence in its day. In 1837, a new railway track transformed Monkstown from a rural area to a commuter suburb of Dublin City. The seaside location makes it wonderful for walks and for the more adventurous, a dip in the sea at Seapoint. Enjoy various leisure activities or enjoy a magical visit to the Lambert Puppet Theatre & Museum.

Historically known as ‘Carrickbrennan’, Monkstown has a colourful history. The castle here is said to have been built by the monks of the abbey of the Virgin Mary around 1250. The estate was 56 | Best Of Ireland Series

For shopaholics and browsers, there is an abundance of unusual and interesting shops to choose from, whether you want clothing, wine, flowers, or items that will improve the interior design of your home. There is also a weekly market where you can purchase organic food and browse a variety of stalls.

Daytime or evening, whatever cuisine you fancy, you will not be stuck for choice. Then why not venture to one of the lively pubs, popular with locals and tourists alike. Or for those who prefer more traditional entertainment, at Craobh Chualann, a branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eíreann, you can enjoy an evening or even take part in a session of traditional Irish music.

Salthill & Monkstown




fast facts Up Periscope Sir Howard Grubb (1844-1931) who lived in Longford Terrace, Monkstown invented the periscope which could be used in wartime submarines during World War 1. He had worked with his father’s firm, the Grubb Telescope Company. Grubb telescopes were also supplied to the Dunsink and Armagh observatories. Incidentally, another Irishman, John Philip Holland, from Clare first came up with the idea of submarines in the 1870s.

Star Struck Dame Margaret Lindsay Huggins (1848-1915) who lived in 23 Longford Terrace, Monkstown, invented photographic spectroscopy, which is the analysis of electromagnetic radiation to determine the properties of an astronomical object. Her work centred on the study of the Orion Nebula, which showed that the nebula consisted of gases rather than stars as previously believed.

Missionary Link Mother Mary Martin (1892-1975), the Foundress of Medical Missionaries of Mary, lived in Greenbank, Monkstown, which was a stately home on the site where Carrickbrennan Lawn is situated today. She volunteered as a nurse during World War 1, then was a lay missionary in Africa, and by 1937 she had made her Profession of Vows and then went about setting up the missionary order, which now works in 16 countries.

Eugene toured the UK and Ireland extensively.

Lambert Puppet Theatre & Museum

Lambert Puppet Theatre & Museum Clifton Lane, Monkstown 01-2800974

The Lambert Puppet Theatre was established in 1972. Eugene Lambert, founder and Director of the Lambert Puppet Theatre, had an interest in puppetry from a very early age, making his own ventriloquist dummy Frankie, which later developed into Finnegan, the ventriloquist act. In the early years with Finnegan,


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In later years, he promoted Ireland for Irish Tourist Board, touring the USA, Japan and Australia. The Lambert Puppet Theatre building boasts facilities for both the private and corporate client. The theatre itself seats up to 250, depending on the requirements of the event. The theatre venue is equipped with modern sophisticated sound and lighting equipment. On the ground floor, the venue has a large foyer, coffee and sweet shop, containing a variety of glove and finger puppets. Upstairs, the building houses Ireland’s only museum of puppetry, a small studio space suitable for rehearsals and small scale productions and a dedicated party room, catering for all kinds of events from birthday parties to corporate events.


is a state of the art gymnasium or for fun filled family frolics, there are many activities for all the family such as a skate park and an all weather pitch.

Monkstown’s nearest beach is Seapoint Beach (there is a DART stop here too) and this is ideal for swimmers and beach goers. The beach is flat and shallow and you can swim at high tide in this area. The north side of the beach is favoured by bathers. At the south of the beach, the sea covers some of the rocks so swimmers should take care. This section is popular for canoeing, surfing and jet skiing. A restored 19th century Martello tower adorns the beach too.

For budding tennis stars, Monkstown Lawn Tennis Club (01-2842582) has excellent facilities. Monkstown Village Market, which runs every Saturday throughout the year from 10am-4pm, is heaven for browsers and fans of organic produce. You can buy delicious cheese, olives, many Italian products, mouthwatering baked goods and unique crafts and jewellery.

As well as picturesque walks and watersports for outdoor enthusiasts, for those who prefer a more luxurious swim and changing facilities, DLR Leisure Services (01-2301458) has an indoor pool here. For fitness enthusiasts, there Best Of Ireland Series | 57

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Dún Laoghaire

© artfootage


Dún Laoghaire


large coastal town south of Dublin, Dún Laoghaire is steeped in maritime history and adorned with Victorian architecture. The DART station is right by the harbour, which boasts pier walks and the largest marina in Ireland.

The development of the town is largely connected to its importance as a port. Dún Laoghaire means ‘fort of Laoghaire’ referring to a 5th century High King of Ireland, Laoghaire Mac Néill, who chose the site as a sea base from which to carry out raids on Britain and Gaul. The tables Victorian Bandstand were turned and it later served as a major port of entry to Ireland from Great as a preferred suburb of Dublin and a Britain. popular holiday destination. Building of the new harbour started Kingstown Town Commissioners in 1817 and King George IV came to was set up in 1834 and organised the view the progress in 1821 and renamed building of the Town Hall as well the town Kingstown. One of the largest as the transformation of a disused man-made harbours in the world, its quarry into People’s Park, among completion led to a new era for the other developments in the town. Dún town and in 1834, Ireland’s first railway Laoghaire returned to its former name in opened, running from Dublin city centre 1920 in the run up to the foundation of to Kingstown. The railway resulted in the Irish Free State. the relocation of the mail packet boat to The harbour can accommodate cruise the town and helped establish Kingstown ships and they are a familiar sight 58 | Best Of Ireland Series

here. It is expected that 100,000 cruise passengers and crew will visit local shores in 2015, with similar numbers expected for the next two years. There are many attractions and activities in Dún Laoghaire. Sailing is a common pursuit with yacht clubs, sailing schools and rowing clubs in abundance. The 820-berth marina is the largest in the country and the first in Ireland to be awarded a 5 Gold Anchor rating. The biennial Dún Laoghaire Regatta is one of the biggest sailing events in Ireland. Other water sports available locally include powerboating, paddleboarding, kayaking and scuba diving. Many more prefer being by the water than on it, with walkers a familiar sight up and down the two long piers forming the harbour. Cyclists will find plenty of routes—on and off road—to enjoy too. From climbing to sightseeing cruises, adventure to culture, visitors are never short of things to do here. After all that sea air, you’ll find plenty of bars and bistros, cafés and restaurants to satisfy your appetite. There are several hotels and B&Bs in the town, some offering amazing sea views. For more information on what to see and do, visit Dún Laoghaire’s Tourist Information Centre at County Hall on Marine Road or see

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Dún Laoghaire

Dún Laoghaire

fast facts U-Boats

In October 1918, a German submarine torpedoed the Royal Mail Steamer Leinster off Dún Laoghaire, killing 500 people, many of whom were local people working and travelling on the mail boats. In World War II, Dún Laoghaire was hit directly, by German bombs which landed near the People’s Park.


SIGHTS & STROLLS Dún Laoghaire Pier

© Jason Baxter

Dún Laoghaire Harbour is one of the largest in the country and is notable for its two granite piers. The East pier is 1.6 km and the quieter West pier is slightly longer. The East Pier is particularly popular with walkers and was featured in the 1996 movie Michael Collins. The Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company restored the picturesque bandstand here to its original condition in 2010. On your stroll—ice cream cone or hot, salty chips in hand perhaps—you may even

Twin Cities

Dún Laoghaire enjoys a town twinning relationship with three cities in three different nations. They are Brest in France, Izumo in Japan and Holyhead in Wales. The town once had a literal connection with Holyhead too because of the seasonal ferry connection between the two places.

see people fishing from the end of either pier. People fish here year-round but the most popular time is May to September. People’s Park has been open to the public since 1890 and features great examples of Victorian architecture including the Gate Lodge, Tea Rooms and a bandstand featuring the original gaslight standards. It is well maintained and has beautiful flower displays for most of the year. The park has a café and a playground and hosts a bustling market every Sunday. Find it on the Park Road between Glasthule and the seafront, about 10 minutes walk from the DART station. See the sculptures on the Sculpture Trail, a significant collection of public sculpture and monuments in the Dún Laoghaire Rathdown area. The trail map (find it on details 39 pieces altogether with several around Dún Laoghaire. There’s Richard Enda King’s ‘Vigil’ at the fire station and ‘Journey through the Centre of the Earth’, ‘George IV Testimonial’ and Shell Sculpture ‘Christ the King’ pieces near the piers.

Grunge Rock

A little-known band played here in 1991. The venue was the Top Hat Ballroom and the band was Nirvana. At that time, they were the supporting act at a Sonic Youth concert but enjoyed massive global success in the grunge rock scene, particularly with the release of album, Nevermind. The group was disbanded in 1994 when lead singer, Kurt Cobain, took his own life.

t Oratory of the Sacred Hear

the Sacred Heart in the old grounds of the Dominican convent. It was built in 1919 to house a statue of the sacred heart sent from Flanders. The walls and ceilings are beautifully decorated in Celtic revival style by Sr Concepta Lynch and windows are by Harry Clarke, a renowned Irish artist of the time. Telephone in advance for visits (01-2054700).

Dún Laoghaire has World War I memorials for its for its fallen soldiers, including the abovementioned statue of Christ the King by Andrew O’Connor and the Oratory of Best Of Ireland Series | 59

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Dún Laoghaire


Dún Laoghaire

Dún Laoghaire Harbour

TO ENJOY A SPOT OF SWIMMING, THE CLOSEST BEACHES TO DÚ N LAOGHAIRE ARE SEAPOI NT, SAN DYCOVE AN D KILLINEY. THE FAMOUS FORTY FOOT IS NEARBY Whether you want to learn about heritage, do an activity or even combine both, Dún Laoghaire has much to offer. Opened in late 2014, dlr LexIcon—Dún Laoghaire’s new library, cultural and community space—is ultramodern inside and out. The building is 29 metres above street level and has three main floors as well as stunning views from the large windows. There are thousands of books of all genres available for lending and reference on the oak shelves as well as open & study spaces, reading & meeting rooms, a municipal art gallery, a large new junior library and numerous internet portals. The top floor is dedicated to local history, with many resources to help with research etc. There are regular events for all ages, from storytelling to art exhibitions. More information on events is available on http://libraries. Housed in the historic former Mariners’ Church on Haigh Terrace, the National Maritime Museum of Ireland (01-2800969) is a fascinating voyage through time and all things nautical. The museum’s collection covers all facets of maritime heritage. The building, built in 1837, offers a great selection of artefacts 60 | Best Of Ireland Series

and exhibits illustrating various aspects of a seafaring nation. The Pavilion Theatre (01-2312929) on Marine Road is Dún Laoghaire’s municipal theatre and it runs a varied and extensive programme including live music, theatre, comedy and a range of children’s programmes in its spacious modern auditorium. Booking ahead is advised. Dublin Bay Cruises (01- 9011757) operates cruises between Dún Laoghaire, Dublin Port and Howth Harbours with a large range of excursions. It offers passengers “a unique opportunity to see Dublin from a different perspective as they take in the panoramic views and discover the wonderful wildlife reserves that string the bay from north to south of Dublin’s coastline”.

National Maritime Museum of Ireland

Get active with a huge choice of fun stuff to get involved in. Aboveboard Water Sports Centre (01-2804774) on the West Pier offers kite surfing, wake boarding and stand up paddle boarding lessons and excursions. www. CP Adventure Dún Laoghaire (087-9803201) has a wide range of activities/tours on land and sea, from kayaking to rock climbing to Segway tours and bike rental. To see under the sea, Oceandivers (01-2801083) is a PADI Diving school based here. For a family-friendly activity, Dún Laoghaire Cycle Tours (086-8758744) provides guided cycling tours from Dún Laoghaire to Killiney and back, with plenty of scenery and history to drink in along the way. This is a “fantastic way to explore a slice of Ireland’s east coast while staying active and enjoying the outdoors!” dunlaoghairecyclingtours These are just a selection of activity providers operating in the area and lists many more. To enjoy a spot of swimming, the closest beaches to Dún Laoghaire are Seapoint, Sandycove and Killiney. The famous Forty Foot (see pg 68) is nearby too.

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Dún Laoghaire

A feast of Festivals & Events Discover ...

The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta (087-9380779) is now established as the biggest sailing event in Ireland. The biennial event will take place 9-12 July in 2015 and involves a series of races and courses as well as off the water events with a full social programme across all four La waterfront yacht Clubs. Even og ha if you are not interested in ire Reg atta sailing, it makes a great spectacle and brings additional buzz to the town.

Market in People’s Park

T he

D lvo Vo


Experience the sights, sounds and smells of the Market in People’s Park (01-2047024) on Sundays from 11am-4pm. There are over 50 vendors each Sunday selling a wide range of products including hot food, baked goods, artisan and local food products, as well as arts and crafts. There will be music on the renovated bandstand throughout the summer.

See ...

Enjoy ... There are many events in Dún Laoghaire all year round, including the annual Mountains to Sea dlr Book Festival in March (10-13 in 2016). The Port Summer Carnival—complete with big wheel and dodgems—runs in Dún Laogahire Harbour from 26 June to 12 July 2015. At the same location, The Beatyard festival will take place over two days (1-2 August) combining “three areas of music, great food, drinks and games all under one roof”. Performers include Sister Sledge, Four Tet and Neneh cherry among others. The 85th annual Dún Laoghaire Harbour Swim will take place on 23 August 2015. The harbour will also host Proms on the Pier, “ a festival of 70s & 80s nostalgia” on 29-30 August 2015. Acts include Air Supply, 10cc, Johnny Logan and more. For more information on local events, see and

With a five star TripAdvisor rating, the Shackleton Exhibition (01-2360544) at the Ferry Terminal is a must-visit site. It tells the “extraordinary story of determination, endurance and resilience of 28 men” who survived the Endurance Expedition to the Antarctic in 1914-1917, led by Sir Ernest Shackleton. It includes over 150 photographs taken by the expedition photographer, Frank Hurley and a full size replica of the James Caird lifeboat.

Dún Laoghaire in


The number of years it took to construct the harbour from 1817 to 1859.


The year Ireland’s first railway from Dublin to Kingstown opened for business.


Numbers 820 12

The year thousands of people lined the streets to welcome the Papal Legate on his journey from Dún Laoghaire to the centre of Dublin for the 31st Eucharistic Congress.

The berths in the marina here, the largest in the country.

The number in kilometres from Dublin city centre to Dún Laoghaire.

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Dún Laoghaire

Walking in Dún Laoghaire Walk Dún Laoghaire (086-0777848) runs tours from mid-March to mid-September, which depart from the Tourist Information Centre on Marine Road (located in the foyer of the County Hall). The tours take in memorials, iconic 19th century architecture, literary links to the area and more. All tours are bookable in advance and the minimum number of participants is three people. There is also a special evening tour, available on Thursdays, where you can have a stroll as well as breaking off to enjoy a lively traditional music session in McLoughlin’s Bar.


Menswear Shop in the UK & Ireland by Drapers Magazine. Spread over two levels the shop offers only the finest brands, friendly service and a relaxed atmosphere.


Frewen & Aylward Menswear 44 George’s Street Lower, Dún Laoghaire 01-2803127

Frewen & Aylward Menswear is a multi award-winning store and is one of Ireland’s leading independent stores. They have been voted Best


breakfast from 9.30am-12pm offering a range of light, healthy and cooked options. There are hot drinks, pastries, scones and delicious cakes available throughout the day.

Joe’s Walks (086-1296780) is a way to explore the coastline with Joe Fitzgerald, a Dubliner who decided he wanted to combine his two loves— people and walking. His tours also start from Dún Laoghaire Tourist Information Centre twice daily, taking in sights like the East Pier, Sandycove, Bullock Harbour, Dalkey and Vico Road. Booking is advisable with both companies. For a 6 km return walk or cycle from Dún Laoghaire, you can take The Metals Heritage Tour. There is a free iPhone and Android app to bring visitors on this 11 stop audio tour. The Metals is the route by which stone was brought from Dalkey Quarry to the harbour works in Dún Laoghaire. Over 600,000 tonnes of stone was pulled by horse along a railway to make the facility. The Metals is a walk (or cycle path) charting the industrial history of this part of Dublin. It takes you from Dún Laoghaire harbour to the views from Dalkey and Killiney Hill. There is a similar app for a heritage tour of Dún Laoghaire’s East Pier. 62 | Best Of Ireland Series

The unique list of collections is impressive: Armani, Zegna, Strellson, Gant, Scotch n Soda, Bugatti, Meyer, Eton, MMX, Hiltl, Mabrun Eden Park, Canada Goose, Remus Uomo, Mezlan and many others. Frewen & Aylward have been dressing the men of South County Dublin and beyond for over 50 years— with this wealth of experience you know you are in safe hands. Tailoring is their speciality. Whether you are looking for a ready made suit or made-to-measure you will be spoiled for choice.


Teddy’s Promenade Café

1-2 Windsor Terrace, Dún Laoghaire 01-2148991 TeddysPromenadeCafe With relaxing sea views, this café-bistro is perfectly placed to indulge in a sweet or savoury bite before or after a stroll on Dún Laoghaire’s pier, a visit to People’s Park or a day on the beach. Open seven days, the eatery serves

The aptly seafood-inspired lunch/ evening menu is served 12.30-7.45pm and dishes include fresh seafood chowder, mussels, fresh pan-fried hake, warm Dublin Bay prawn salad, oven baked salmon and minute steak. There are also a wide selection of sandwiches as well as delectable daily specials in soups, salads and homemade quiches on offer. Guests can enjoy a glass of wine or a beer with their food too. Teddy’s Promenade Café—which has both indoor and outdoor seating— boasts décor with a Nautical theme and has various sea-inspired local prints on display and for sale. The friendly staff team can accommodate large groups with advance notice.


Dún Laoghaire

Royal Marine Hotel

Royal Marine Hotel Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire 01-2300030

Built in 1828, this opulent Victorian four star hotel has a host of period features including sweeping staircases, cornicing and sash windows, making a visit to discover this wonderful architecture thoroughly worthwhile. Retrace the footsteps of esteemed guests such as Queen Victoria, Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra and Michael




5 Windsor Terrace, Dún Laoghaire 01-2300890 When the sea air in Dún Laoghaire works up your appetite, visit the award winning Toscana restaurant on the sea front for a meal to remember. Open since 2001, Toscana Restaurant specialises in authentic Italian cuisine with an emphasis on organic, locallysourced produce, some of it coming from their own Wicklow Garden. Enjoy a delicious lunch with sea views overlooking Dublin bay, call in for a pre-theatre dinner with a glass of fine Italian wine, or go continental and enjoy

Collins while enjoying the stunning views of Dublin Bay. The luxurious, Hardy’s Bar, at the Royal Marine serves a mouthwatering range of light bites, main courses and sandwiches in contemporary surroundings from 12.30-10pm daily.



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WONDERFU L ARCH ITECTURE There are also plenty of seating areas in the Bay lounge for enjoying a relaxing lunch or afternoon tea. Perfectly placed for long walks after lunch, the hotel has direct access to the promenade and pier. Sansanaspa is one of the most popular spas in south Dublin, offering a wide variety of spa and beauty treatments. Boasting nine treatment rooms, waterbeds, ‘float and relax’ rooms, mud chambers, and experience showers, this is the ideal retreat for unwinding. There is also a full list of beauty treatments available. your meal outdoors in Toscana’s new heated al fresco dining area. Toscana offers several menu options including: a great value wine & dine deal for two from Monday to Thursday; an Italian lunch menu on weekdays; an a la carte menu and an early bird/ pre-theatre menu. The latter offers two courses for €18.95; three courses for €21.95. A variety of wines and cocktails are also available.

AUTH ENTIC ITALIAN CU ISI NE WITH AN EMPHASIS ON ORGANIC, LOCALLY-SOURCED PRODUCE Altogether, Toscana offers a relaxed dining experience with an emphasis on excellent food and superb service. Toscana opens seven days from 12 noon to 10pm. Buon Appetito!

Seán McManus Jewellers

Seán McManus Jewellers

58 George’s Street Lower, Dun Laoghaire 01-2802202 Jewellery has a special place in all of our lives, whether it’s the emotion attached to an engagement ring, the memories clinging to an antique brooch or the pride of a classy pair of cuff links. When you make that special purchase, you want to know you are getting expert service and at Seán McManus Jewellers you can be sure of it.

A SU PERB SELECTION OF JEWELLERY Established in 1928, Seán McManus Jewellers stocks a superb selection of jewellery, both contemporary and antique, with an expertise in the latter. The silver ware range includes table ware, hip flasks and jewellery boxes, with a variety of gifts for special occasions and corporate gestures. They also provide an extensive range of after sale services that cover all areas such as engraving, valuations, jewellery restoration and repair as well as a design service should you like to give a new lease of life to an old gem stone. For heirlooms present and future, visit Seán McManus Jewellers. Best Of Ireland Series | 63


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Dún Laoghaire


Teddy’s Ice Cream Store

Teddy’s Ice Cream Store

1A Windsor Terrace, Dún Laoghaire 086-4529394 Consistently rated among the best places to get an ice cream cone in Ireland, Teddy’s has been an institution in Dún Laoghaire for decades where nostalgia is served up with the classic 99s. Founded by Edward ‘Teddy’ Jacob, Teddy’s has been a fixture here for 65 years and the place for natives and visitors alike to to start their walks down


MAO Dún Laoghaire

MAO Dún Laoghaire The Pavilion, Seafront, Dún Laoghaire 01-2148090

Mmmm … Mao. We’re not talking about the Chinese communist revolutionary but a contemporary Asian restaurant on Dún Laoghaire’s seafront. Feast the senses with a meal at Mao overlooking Dún Laoghaire harbour. 64 | Best Of Ireland Series

the promenade. Overlooking Scotsman’s Bay, Teddy’s is the quintessential beachfront store— selling its famous ice cream as well as candy floss, popcorn, confectionary, coffee as well as an array of apparel and other beach essentials.

AN INSTITUTION IN DÚ N LAOGHAIRE FOR DECADES The Irish Times newspaper said of Teddy’s: “Dún Laoghaire’s best and original ice-cream shop is a repository of memories without number, the place to go for an enduring summer experience in a changing world.” Teddy’s services are available for hire for weddings, private parties, fetes, birthdays, concerts and all other special occasions. The mobile ice cream units can also provide strawberries and cream and of course, the classic 99 and a wide range of other ice cream varieties. Watch Mao’s passionate chefs at work as they prepare your meal using only the finest fresh ingredients. The fruits of their labour are always authentic, healthy and virtually low fat dishes, crammed full of flavour. Dishes range from mild or spicy curries, fragrant wok specials to the popular Mao Classics, with fish, beef, chicken, pork and tofu options. A variety of tasty appetisers, sides and desserts are also available and Mao offers a full drinks menu including wine, beer, spirits and cocktails.

AUTH ENTIC, HEALTHY AN D VIRTUALLY LOW FAT DISHES For a quick lunch, try one of their lunchbowl options, such as black pepper beef, Thai green chicken curry or wok fried pork belly, available from 12-4pm weekdays for €9.95. Mao chefs are happy to cater to any special dietary requests.


J.J Darboven

J.J Darboven

01-2808898 64 Lower George’s Street, Dún Laoghaire Coffee lovers and tea connoisseurs alike will enjoy browsing for the perfect blend in J.J Darboven—a dedicated stockist of coffee, tea and related products. Celebrating 150 years in existence in 2016, J.J Darboven offers an unrivalled selection and expert knowledge. The brand came to Ireland 27 years ago and its flagship store here is just a five minute walk from Dún Laoghaire’s DART station.

UN RIVALLED SELECTION AN D EXPERT KNOWLEDGE The neatly arranged shelves are stocked with over 40 varieties of coffee and over 60 varieties of tea as well as several types of hot chocolate. Big names stocked include Alfredo Espresso, IDEE Coffee, Movenpick, Eilles Gourmet Coffee, Eillies Tea and Cocaya Hot Chocolate to name but a few. In addition, the store offers confectionary, biscuits, gifts & hampers, a stylish range of tea/coffee accessories and an espresso bar. Visitors can taste the products before buying and get hot drinks or an iced tea to go to warm up or cool down on their seaside stroll. To discover delicious, top quality coffee and tea to enjoy at home, J.J Darboven is a real find.

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Dublin Bay


Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay has been awarded a Biosphere designation by UNESCO in recognition of its unique ecological and cultural status—making it only the second such designation in Ireland. The designation previously related to Bull Island only but the awarding of Biosphere status to all of Dublin Bay means it now extends to an area of around 300 km2. Key areas in the Dublin Bay Biosphere include: North Bull Island, Howth Head, Killiney Hill, the Tolka and Baldoyle Estuaries, Booterstown Marsh, Dalkey Island and Ireland’s Eye.There is a huge diversity of mammals, birds, fish, insects and plants living and breeding on the bay’s coastal habitats and over 300 plant species have been recorded on North Bull Island alone. The award coincided with the public launch of the new Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership, which will protect and promote the bay. It has been established by Dublin City Council, Dublin Port Company, Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, Fingal County Council and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. It is the first time that these organisations have formed an alliance to promote the conservation and cultural heritage of Dublin Bay. UNESCO’s new designation will greatly facilitate the ability of Dublin Bay Biosphere Partnership to pursue a sustainable green economic model for

Ireland’s Eye

the bay. The strategy for the biosphere is based on the themes of conservation, research and education, tourism and recreation and sustainable business. Ireland’s only other UNESCO Reserve is in Killarney National Park. For more information, see www., www. and #LoveDublinBay on social media like Twitter.


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© OwenJ.Fitzpatrick/Shutterstock

Sandycove & Glasthule


Sandycove & Glasthule S a ndycove and Glasthule is one of Ireland’s treasured beauty spots in a picturesque seaside location. It is situated between the flourishing town of Dún Laoghaire and Dalkey village. This area is a sanctuary of natural beauty and tranquillity for visitors looking to relax for the day.

The area of Sandycove and Glasthule is also rich in artistic and political history and has some interesting literary connections.

beautiful shops, cafés and restaurants offering a gourmet experience including local seafood for the visitor after a day’s exploring.

Roger Casement, the Irish activist, nationalist and poet was born in 1864 in Sandycove. The celebrated writer James Joyce lived in Sandycove for a time. Well known Irish stage and television actress Maureen Toal’s home was in Sandycove up to her death in 2012.

There is no shortage of things to do for the visitor to Sandycove and Glasthule. Be sure to

For those wishing to spend the night in this magical area there are a few nice bed and breakfasts to choose from.


© OwenJ.Fitzpatrick

Glasthule is the main setting for Jamie O’Neill’s 2001 novel At Swim, Two Boys and the wider area is also featured in Flann O’Brien’s book, At Swim-TwoBirds. Sandycove is also well known for its historic bathing area known as the Forty Foot. In addition to its beauty and rich literary and political connections, Sandycove and Glasthule are bustling villages with a wide selection of 66 | Best Of Ireland Series

call to the James Joyce Museum, which is based in one of the early 19th century Martello towers dotted along the coast. The Sandycove Heritage Trail is a charming walk around this historic coastal village.


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Sandycove & Glasthule

Sandycove & Glasthule

fast facts Air Strikes

The railway station here was bombed by the Luftwaffe on 20 December 1940 despite the fact that Ireland was a neutral country in World War II. There were three injuries but no fatalities. There are several theories as to why German planes bombed Ireland but it may have simply been by mistake because of the close proximity to Northern Ireland and the UK.

Links to


The James Joyce Tower & Museum (01-2809265) is situated in the iconic Martello tower in Sandycove, which has a real-life connection with Ireland’s world-renowned author of tomes like Dubliners, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and Ulysses. The tower was commissioned by the British and built by local man, John Murray, in 1804 as part of a series of military defenses all over Ireland. As time passed, some of these structures were converted for private use.

The James Joyce Tower & Museum

Not just an Act

Up and coming actor Jason O’Mara hails from Sandycove. Born in 1972, Jason has starred in American television network dramas such as Life on Mars, Terra Nova and Vegas as well as Band of Brothers and Monarch of the Glen.

In 1904, James Joyce stayed in this tower as the guest of Oliver St. John Gogarty who was renting it. At the time Gogarty was a medical student but he later became noted in Irish history as a surgeon, politician and writer. Joyce only stayed at the tower for a short while but it was enough to provide inspiration for the opening setting of his influential, modernist novel, Ulysses. In the novel, the character, Stephen Dedalus, lives in the tower with a medical student, Malachi ‘Buck’ Mulligan. The Joyce collection in the museum includes letters, photographs, first and rare editions and personal belongings. In addition, there are items associated with the Dublin portrayed in Ulysses. From the top of the tower there are breathtaking views of Dublin Bay. The museum is open daily from 10am-6pm (10am-4pm in winter). Admission is free. Sandycove & Glasthule and the James Joyce Museum play a central role in the annual Bloomsday celebrations on 16 June, which is the day in 1904 over which Ulysses takes place. The celebration is named for protagonist,


The first lifeboat station in Ireland was established at Sandycove in 1803. On 28 December 1821, a lifeboat from this location rescued the crew of the brig Ellen of Liverpool. Four volunteer lifeboatmen drowned. The names of all crew members who lost their lives are inscribed on the RNLI Memorial sculpture at Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) headquarters in Poole, UK.

The James Jo yce Tower & M


Leopold Bloom. Events include readings and re-enactments of events in the book and they take place all over Dublin, Ireland and the world. The first Bloomsday celebrated in Ireland was in 1954 when the writers Patrick Kavanagh and Flann O’Brien visited the Martello tower at Sandycove, Davy Byrne’s pub and 7 Eccles Street, reading parts of Ulysses and enjoying high jinx as they went. For more information on Bloomsday and Joyce, visit


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Sandycove & Glasthule


The People’s Park

In Sandycove & Glasthule © OwenJ.Fitzpatrick/Shutterstock

SAN DYCOVE HARBOU R IS GREAT FOR THOSE VISITORS WHO WANT TO DO A BIT OF SNORKELLING AN D EXPLORE THE WATERS. There is an abundance of outdoors activities and sites to visit in Sandycove and Glasthule and the surrounding area for those visitors who would like lots of fresh air on a visit to this spectacular location. The People’s Park is a public park just 10 minutes’ walk from Sandycove beach. The park is small but perfect for a picnic. It has a playground, a bandstand and tearoom for those who need a recharge. If you visit on a Sunday, you will get to experience some great local produce at the Farmers’ Market. Sandycove Harbour is great for those visitors who want to do a bit of snorkelling and explore the waters. It is known as one of the best safe diving 68 | Best Of Ireland Series

spots on the east coast. To see under the sea, Oceandivers (01-2801083) is a PADI Diving school based here. The Forty Foot, a historic bathing pool on a promontory on the southern tip of Dublin Bay, is a short walk from the James Joyce Tower. It used to be The Forty Foot

a male only swimming spot but today both men and women enjoy a swim here. The character of Buck Mulligan in James Joyce’s Ulysses takes a dip in the Forty Foot. People have been swimming here for the past 250 years. The origin of the name is unclear. It has been speculated that it may have been called after the British army regiment, the 42nd Highland Regiment of Foot, which may have been stationed here. Other suggestions forwarded include the depth of the water (which is actually less than 40 feet) and the width of the road leading to the bathing spot. Sandycove Beach is a lovely small inlet with fine sand. The visitor can take a dip in the sea off the pier area above the cove or just walk out to the water from the beach. There is a lifeguard on duty in high season. The beach is packed in summer so you need to come early to secure your spot and there is always an ice cream van in high season selling drinks and other treats.

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Sandycove & Glasthule

Sandycove Heritage Trail Discover ...

Explore ...

The Sandycove Heritage Trail is a tourism trail published by the active Tidy Towns committee in Sandycove. It starts in the People’s Park and stretches to the James Joyce Tower & Museum. The third stop on the trail in the DART station so walkers can continue from there or double back. There are many interesting stops on the trail taking in Sandycove’s heritage and important landmarks. This walk is great for history buffs. The People’s Park at the start of the walk was known as Glasthule Quarry in the late 18th century. The second stop is the Metals Walkway. It was laid in 1816 to provide a way of carrying stone from quarries to the site for the new harbour at Dún Laoghaire. Then the walk moves on to the Sandycove & Glasthule DART Station. This was opened in 1855 by the Dublin and Kingstown Railway.

Sandycove baths, dating back to the 19th century, is en route. The journey on this heritage trail moves on to Joyce’s Tower built in 1804, the famous Forty Foot and Sandycove castle, which is an example of mid-19th century villas built in the area. The trail takes the visitor to a stretch of water known as Scotsman’s Bay and the Nuns Bathing place with magnificent views on the coastline. The walk takes about an hour to do. It is suited to all age groups as there are no difficult climbs and you can see the local flora and fauna along the way too. A copy of the trail is available at the James Joyce Tower & Museum or by emailing

The James Joyce Tower & Museum

The visitor on this heritage trail will also stop at St Joseph’s Church, Glasthule—built in 1868 and designed by architects Pugin and Ashlin in a Neo-Gothic style. Other notable stops include Tara Hall, the home of the late Monk Gibbon, author and poet from 1948 to 1985. The visitor will also pass 29 Sandycove road, which is thought to be the house where Roger Casement, a leading figure in the 1916 Rebellion, was born.

Sandycove & Glasthule in Numbers 1855

The year Sandycove & Glasthule railway station opened..


The anniversary of Bloomsday on June 16, 2015.


The year Jamie O’Neill’s novel, At Swim, Two Boys, was published.


The urban population of Sandycove in 2006.


Coupled with ‘Foot’ is the name of a famous bathing spot here.

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Sandycove & Glasthule

Fitzgerald’s of Sandycove

Fitzgerald’s is a short distance from the DART Station and the emphasis is on the literary and many photos of famous authors and novels decorate the walls but none more so than memorabilia relating to Joyce himself.



Fitzgerald’s of Sandycove 11 Sandycove Road, Sandycove 01-2804469

If you want to experience a Dublin watering hole as it was in times gone by, Fitzgerald’s is one of the city’s last Victorian pubs and can claim James Joyce among its clientele. As quaint today as it was when established in 1861, the period furniture and fittings gives it an authentic feel and punters get a good, old fashioned welcome.

There are 18 stained glass windows depicting scenes from Ulysses. Annually on June 16, the pub goes all out to celebrate the work of the author on Bloomsday (the day Ulysses is set). Lunch is served daily from 12.303.30pm, serving homemade soups, salads, hot wraps, gourmet bagels, freshly made sandwiches—all made from locally sourced, seasonal ingredients. For its relaxed and charming atmosphere, Fitzgerald’s of Sandycove deserves a literary prize!

© Featureflash


fast facts

Eminent Irish rock band, U2, have many connections to places in Dublin and on the DART route. The band—Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen Jnr.—formed in 1976 in Mount Temple Comprehensive School in Clontarf. Lead singer, Paul Hewson got his famous nickname from a shop, Bonavox Hearing Aids, which is just off O’Connell Street. U2 played their first gig at St. Stephen’s Green (marked with a Rock ‘n Stroll plaque). 70 | Best Of Ireland Series

The group have made a lot of recordings at Windmill Lane, situated just south of the Liffey in the Dublin Docklands. They shot the video for song ‘The Sweetest Thing’ around several Dublin streets. Bono and The Edge own The Clarence Hotel in the city. Bono married his childhood sweetheart, Ali, with Adam Clayton as best man, in All Saints Church in Raheny. U2 have been awarded the Freedom of Dublin. Several band members live in the city’s suburbs. To date, U2 has released 13 studio albums and are among the all-time bestselling music artists—having sold more than 150 million records worldwide.

Juggy’s Well Restaurant

Juggy’s Well Restaurant 3 Glasthule Road 01-2148451

Confirmed by many as having the best apple tart, scones and brown bread in Dublin, this is a good enough reason to stop at Juggy’s Well. Established in 1991, in a converted Georgian house, this unique restaurant prides itself on being a welcoming family run business, offering healthy wholesome home cooked food. With an open fire for those cold wintery days, the daytime restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea. For lunch, the specialties include homemade quiches, soups, salads, chicken liver paté, sandwiches and main dishes include, Irish stew, bacon and cabbage, beef Stroganoff, pan-fried sea bass and oven baked salmon to name but a few. If you have a sweet tooth, you can indulge in Nell’s famous apple tart, rolled pavlova, Victoria sponge or bakewell almond squares plus many more. Gluten free options include chocolate brownies, lemon drizzle or coffee Madeira cake. A range of coffees, teas and wines are on offer too. Guests can dine indoors or in good weather, on the attractive roof terrace. Juggy’s Well is open Monday to Saturday 9am-5pm. It is owned and managed by Nell Fitzgerald and her daughters, Ann and Katherine. Catering for parties is available upon request. Find them on Facebook @Juggy’s Well Restaurant.

Sandycove & Glasthule



fast facts Bray & Ardmore Studios Neil Jordan’s movie The Miracle was set in Bray and a lot of the television series, Ballykissangel, was filmed here. Ardmore Studios in the town have been used for lots of films and small screen projects such as The Tudors (Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin was used in the series too), Moone Boy, Breakfast on Pluto, King Arthur, Ella Enchanted, In America, The Lion in Winter, Braveheart…the list goes on and on!

Wicklow Killruddery House in County Wicklow was featured in Far and Away and My Left Foot and the Wicklow Mountains provided a spectacular backdrop for such hit films like Excalibur, Lassie, Reign of Fire, Braveheart and Michael Collins.

64 Wine

64 Wine

64 Glasthule Rd, Sandycove, Co. Dublin 01-2805664 If you are something of a wine connoisseur, or just love the café culture of the continent, then a visit to 64 Wine is sure to satisfy you. The tempting aromas of coffee and freshly baked bread are irresistible and clients keep coming back, whether it’s


Around Dublin My Left Foot, PS I Love You, Haywire, Tara Road, The General, Veronica Guerin, Leap Year and Albert Nobbs, to name but a few movies, have scenes in them that were filmed around Dublin. For more information on film locations in and around Dublin, see or MovieMaps at


58/59 Glasthule Road, Sandycove Shop 01-2809120 Restaurant 01- 2809245 From humble beginnings selling fish, Cavistons has grown into a fresh food emporium of the finest. The first incremental step in their big success was selling cooked chickens of a Sunday morning over 50 years ago, quite a revolutionary move that quickly won the custom of hungry regulars. From there they branched out into freshly made salads, cold meats,

for coffee and cake or fine wine and cheese. The café’s interior is rustic, resembling a wine cellar, with its aged brick arch and wooden shelves. The wine menu is extensive with carefully chosen vintages from around the world, including organic and biodynamic wines, served by the glass or bottle.

COFFEE AN D CAKE OR FIN E WI NE AN D CH EESE Start the day with a flaky French croissant and a good cup of Italian coffee, or pop in for a tasty lunch—a sandwich on sourdough or crusty fig bread, or the cheesy croque monsieur. Antipasti, cheese and meat plates are also on the menu. A variety of wines, charcuterie, cheese, etc. are also available to take home.


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cheeses, traditional pies and wholesome ready-meals. For great food on the go, Cavistons offers gourmet sandwiches, homemade soups and quality coffees from their deli counter. The in-house bakery prepares fresh staples and treats daily including spelt breads, French sticks, ciabatta, bagels, scones, cheesecakes, flour-free chocolate cake and more. Pop by the counter for some samples.

CAVISTONS’ RANGE OF PRODUCE IS SPECIAL Cavistons’ range of produce is special—local and organic where possible with a fine selection of artisan Irish products and some exotic finds, like Brie de Meaux with truffles. Their acclaimed restaurant serves lunch Tuesday to Saturday from 12–5pm and evening meals Thursday to Saturday from 6pm.

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© OwenJ.Fitzpatrick/Shutterstock


Dalkey O

nce you step off the DART in the Heritage Town of Dalkey, you can see history and modernity side by side. Heritage Towns of Ireland are so designated “because of their unique character provided by a combination of architectural styles, often spanning many centuries, which gives them - and their visitors - a special feeling for the past” as well as the careful way in which their historical features are presented. Dalkey certainly inspires such a feeling. The medieval town with its cluster of historical attractions and historical walks will inspire you. The award-winning Heritage Centre brings history to life in a tangible and interesting way.

Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre

Dalkey is shaped by the sea, as are many towns along the DART line. Dalkey is different however, in that it once had the most important harbour in Dublin. Coliemore Harbour was the preferred port of entry from Viking times up to the 17th century. The Normans traded from here and built seven castles, serving as fortified warehouses, to ward off marauders. Before the construction of 72 | Best Of Ireland Series

Dún Laoghaire harbour, the deep waters of Dalkey Sound acted as the proverbial, and real, ‘port in a storm’. Dalkey has served the city in another important way. The great granite quarries of Dalkey supplied flagstones for the city and most of the stone used to build Dún Laoghaire Harbour as well as the South Bull Wall, part of the outer defence of Dublin Harbour. Quarrying went on for a

century and in 1914 the land was added to Killiney Hill Park. The quarry has since metamorphosed into a Mecca for rock climbers. The island inspired the name of Dalkey - it was called ‘Deilginis’, or ‘Thorn Island’ in Irish. Providing shelter for the harbours, it is also a nature haven and has several historical features making it well worth the short boat trip from Coliemore. Various water sports are popular in these waters, with equipment and lessons widely available. Dalkey offers the opportunity to rub shoulders with the stars as many well-known creative artists, writers, musicians, film directors and rock stars live in the vicinity. Michelle Obama stopped off here on her official visit to Ireland to have lunch with U2’s Bono in local pub Finnegan’s. The wellmaintained houses and shopfronts are easy on the eye while the tasteful cafés, pubs and restaurants offer great fare. For a day to be remembered, take a daytrip to historic Dalkey.

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Explore a

fast facts UNIQUE PAST Dalkey as Port Dalkey’s Coliemore Harbour and the deep waters of Dalkey Sound acted as the port for Dublin between the 14th and 17th centuries. The name Coliemore is from ‘Caladh Mór’ meaning ‘Large landing place’ in Irish. Once Ringsend was developed in the late 1500s, Dalkey’s prominence as a port declined.

Dalkey Village maintains its medieval streetscape and the main street, Castle Street, boasts a 10th century church and two 14th century Norman castles. The award-winning Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre (for more details see pg 76) is a must-see. After enjoying the interactive exhibits of the centre, visitors are led internally to a Writers’ Gallery and externally to St. Begnet’s Church & Graveyard. There are also guided walks and living history tours with a theatrical touch available—presenting Dalkey’s unique heritage in an entertaining way. Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre

St. Begnet’s Church Begnet was an Irish princess who fled from an unwanted suitor and embraced Christianity. She founded two churches, one on Dalkey Island and the other is part of Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre.St. Begnet’s became an important meeting point for missionaries on their way to Glendalough.

Friend of William Shakespeare Dalkey native, John Dowland, was a renowned musician in the royal courts in the 1600s and a friend of William Shakespeare. His description of Dalkey Jo is believed to hn Dow e have inspired land Plaqu the setting for Elsinore in the play, Hamlet. You’ll see a plaque dedicated to Dowland in Sorrento Park.

Coliemore Ha


Island, all to the northwest, form part of the ridge of the Island. Birdwatch Ireland has established a colony of Roseate Terns on Maiden Rock. You can also spot Common Terns and Arctic Terns. At Coliemore Harbour, there is a public telescope if visitors want to have a closer look. To the northern end of Dalkey, Bullock Harbour is also a great place to visit and to try kayaking, diving, fishing and boat hire. Visitors can watch the lobster fishermen bringing in the day’s catch and chat to some of the characters living in the harbour.

The picturesque Coliemore Harbour is around 15 minute’s walk south of Dalkey. This small harbour served as Dublin’s main port between the 14th and 17th centuries. Today, the harbour is home to small fishing vessels and tour boats offering trips out to Dalkey Island. This harbour—lying to the south—offers great views of the 4 hectare Dalkey Island, lying some 300 metres off the coast. The island has a long history of habitation going back at least 6,500 years but is currently uninhabited. The well-preserved remains of a 10th century church dedicated to Saint Begnet and the early 19th century Martello tower are visible from the harbour. The Muglins are a group of rocks 500 m to the northeast. The seas around the island are an important marine habitat for seals, dolphins and porpoises. Maiden Rock, Clare Rock and Lamb

There are several impressive parks around Dalkey for a stroll. Towards Sorrento Point there are two public parks. Sorrento Park on the right is a large wooded park, restored in 1994 on the centenary of its official opening. Features include a large granite plaque dedicated to the park’s patron, Lady MacDonnell and a bandstand. Dillon’s Park, on the sea-side, is 440 m long. Killiney Hill Park, at the summit of Killiney Hill, is not far away either. You can either go up the ‘Cat’s Ladder’—a set of steps climbing the hillside or take a gentler route via the hill road.

ard urch & Gravey

St. Begnet’s Ch

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© OwenJ.Fitzpatrick/Shutterstock

In Dalkey Dalkey Island

© Jason Baxter

lkey Quarry Climbing in Da

There are lots of fun activities to enjoy in and around Dalkey. For keen walkers and hikers, there are numerous guided and self-guided walks in the area. Along with historical guided walks, there are literary themed jaunts too. See for more details. For DIY walks, you can go from the church on Castle Street to Coliemore Harbour and return via the Sorrento Road (1 hour). You can also walk from Coliemore Harbour to Killiney Beach/DART station, taking in some stunning views (1 hour). For more suggestions, see Dalkey Quarry is a top spot for rock climbing and abseiling. The disused granite quarry is part of Killiney Hill Kayaking in Dalkey

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Park and is one of the most significant rock-climbing crags in the country. The quarry’s first recorded climbs were made by members of the Irish Mountaineering Club (IMC) in 1942 and a handwritten guidebook was published marking a significant development for climbing in Ireland. Many of those first climbs remain popular and challenging routes and more have been added. Companies like Extreme Ireland Adventures (014100700;, The Adventure Agency (01-2542754; www. and Adventure Burn (086-4012750; www.adventureburn. com) offer climbing lessons/courses and more. You can make your way to Dalkey Island by kayak, boat or cruise. Visit the 10th century St. Begnet’s Church and adjoining holy well believed to have miracle cures and see the Martello tower. The island is a great spot for fishing with pollock, coalfish, wrasse and mackerel off shore just waiting to be caught. Enjoy a picnic while looking out to sea, spot the occasional seal bobbing up and down and bottlenose dolphins have been

Dalkey Harbour

known to visit the area too. (086-1684755) runs daily kayaking tours and beginners’ lessons (Saturdays) in beautiful Bullock Harbour. For sightseeing and sea fishing, boat hire is available from Bullock Harbour too (012806517/01-2800915). Local fishermen also run trips in summer. If you’d rather savour the sea while staying on dry land, try fishing from Coliemore Harbour. For swimming, there are places near Dalkey including the Vico Bathing Place and Whiterock Beach (accessed off Vico Road), Sandycove Beach and the adjacent Forty Foot bathing place are a stroll away, beside the James Joyce Tower & Museum. If you’d like to discover an underwater world while diving, Dalkey Scubadivers (01-1234455) offer an opportunity to do just that. Founded in 1976, this recreational club runs training/ courses and its members go diving and snorkeling regularly off Dalkey Island and The Muglins as well as further afield. Open to all.

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A host of Festivals & Events Shop ...

Experience ...

There is a colourful Craft & Farmers’ Market at the Tram Yard in Castle Street Dalkey every Saturday from around 10am-4pm. While soaking up the relaxed ambience, you can buy fresh produce, sample or take-away some diverse artisan cuisine or buy a unique craft piece or some artwork as a souvenir. There is often live music too.

Literary Links ... Dalkey has many links to writers and writing. Maeve Binchy, the much-loved novelist and columnist, grew up and lived in Dalkey. Visitors can take the ‘Maeve Binchy & Irish Literary Highlights’ guided walk. It leaves from Dalkey Castle on selected days (must be pre-booked, minimum number of six people). For more information, email You can also relax in the Maeve Binchy Garden at Dalkey Library with the reading material of your choice.

Dalkey Lobster Festival (28-30 August in 2015) provides a generous helping of “lobster, crab and all that jazz”. Not only will there be a delicious selection of local seafood on offer, but it will be served up with vibrant musical entertainment. There is something for all ages at this event, which takes place in several local venues. Acclaimed singer/songwriter, Phil Coulter, will perform to open this year’s proceedings. For more information, call 0862615478 or see If you’re not lucky enough to take in an event like this, any time of year is good for soaking up the atmosphere around Dalkey, with its trendy cafés and eateries, welcoming pubs, artisan food stores and quirky shops.

Dalkey Book Festival is held annually in June every year. The festival was set up in 2010 to celebrate and foster the wealth of literary talent in the town and its environs. Since then the festival has hosted personalities and internationally renowned writers for talks, readings and discussions as well as other events like theatre and children’s workshops. Bloomsday (16 June), honouring James Joyce, is often a big event in Dalkey too.

Dalkey in


The year of the last journey of the No. 8 tram which used to run between the city centre and Dalkey on average every eight minutes. You can see the tracks still in the Tramyard.


The year quarrying ended in Dalkey Quarry, after beginning around a century before.

Numbers 1804 5000 The year the Martello tower on Dalkey Island and many others were built.

The sum in pounds paid for the land which formed the original Killiney Hill Park when it opened in 1887.


The number of hectares on Dalkey Island, mainly inhabited by goats and rabbits.

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ART & FOLKLORE Biddy’s Cottage

things culinary—as well as a renowned storyteller and folk artist—it’s no surprise she finds inspiration in her home, which sparks nostalgia for old Ireland at every turn.


Biddy’s Cottage

86 Coliemore Road, Dalkey 086-4117844 Quite possibly Dalkey’s most beloved figure, Brighid ‘Biddy’ McLaughlin is without doubt a lady with a tale to tell. Biddy’s Cottage, voted ‘number one quirkiest thing to do in Dublin’ by LuxuryTravelBlog, is a tribute to the traditional Ireland that can only be experienced first-hand. The gallery portion of the homely cottage hosts Biddy’s own paintings. An ardent foodie and passionate about all




25 Castle Street, Dalkey 01-2849071 With an air of authenticity throughout, DeVille’s in Dalkey could easily make any visitor believe they were in Paris in the 1930s. This chic Parisian-style bistro has been wowing guests since 2012 with its unparalleled dining experience and beautifully designed décor from the authentic wooden and soft leather furnishings to the stylish checkered black and white floor tiles. Owners, Kim and David O’Driscoll, with their life long passion for food, 76 | Best Of Ireland Series

At night, visitors are treated to something special as the tea is made over the turf fire and all gather around the hearth for Biddy’s celebrated storytelling. She holds her guests rapt with tales of Irish folklore, superstitions and times gone by and if they’re lucky, the stories will be accompanied by Biddy’s famous oat cookies! Her artwork can be seen in homes across Ireland, taken home by guests who are eager to keep the profound sense of fun found at Biddy’s Cottage. Visitors can contact Biddy at

have become the talk of the town for their much-lauded bistro and New Yorkstyle steakhouse fare. Both surf and turf are the order of the day with the 28 day dry aged steaks in firm competition with the trademark delicious Dover sole or the early bird menu ranging from €19.50 to €22.50 for two courses.

TH IS CH IC PARISIANSTYLE BISTRO HAS BEEN WOWI NG GU ESTS SINCE 2012 The local eatery also boasts a mouthwatering range of draft beers and cocktails as well as their extensive wine list, specialising in French wines. Open seven nights a week from 5-10pm and Friday/Sunday from 12pm for the popular brunch menu, DeVille’s is a real treat for all foodies in the know.


Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre

Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre Castle Street, Dalkey 01-2858366

Visit the award-winning Dalkey Castle & Heritage Centre, where 21st century technology meets 15th century living history…the best of both worlds! On site, there is a fortified townhouse/ small castle, Early Christian church & graveyard, modern heritage centre with interactive screens showing historical information (in 12 languages).

BRING HISTORY TO LIFE IN A FU N AN D ENTERTAIN ING WAY The Writers’ Gallery has information on 45 writers and creative artists from Joyce and Beckett to Bono and Binchy and more. Every day (except Tuesdays), actors from Deilg Inis Living History Theatre Company bring history to life in a fun and entertaining way. Characters include the Archer who with his longbow and sharp arrows defends the castle from attack. The visiting Barber Surgeon will trim your hair, extract your bad tooth and sometimes has a special offer on urine sampling! The Cook prepares delicious, culinary delights. Open all year, six days per week. Closed on Tuesdays.

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Inbetweeners... This guide has 19 featured stops but the DART line itself has 31 stations, with some connecting to other suburban commuter lines too. There are highlights outside of the featured stops and these ‘Inbetweener’ pages—separate to the guide’s sections—outline some of these. If you refer to the rail route planner on pg 6, you will get an idea of their locations…

Sutton, translated from the Irish ‘Cill Fhionntáin’ or Fintan’s Church, is a residential suburb at the base of Howth Head. It has leisure facilities including Sutton Golf Club, a bustling tennis club, dinghy sailing, a beautiful beach and a walking trail leading all the way to Howth village. It also has a Martello tower at Red Rock, which is a private residence and is available for rent.

the name St. Assam’s here, one a ruin from the 17th/18th century another from the 19th century (still standing but no longer used for worship). Between Raheny and Clontarf is St. Anne’s Park— the second largest municipal park in Dublin, which has a host of natural, architectural and recreational features.

Bayside (‘Cois Bá’ in Irish) is another suburb close to the sea—located on the coast inshore from North Bull Island. North Bull Island, which is around 5km long and 800m wide, is home to Dollymount Strand, which runs the entire length of it. Bayside was a planned development on part of the lands of the large old district of Kilbarrack. Dating back to the 13th century, Kilbarrack’s church and graveyard—dubbed The Chapel of Mone, the mariners’ church for Dublin—is situated along Bayside’s seafront. Kilbarrack (‘Cill Bharróg’ or the Church of St. Berach or of young Barra) also faces North Bull Island across a stretch of water known as ‘Raheny Lake’ or ‘Crab Water’. It is an old district and its name can be found on maps and sea charts going back several hundred years. Kilbarrack boasts two main shopping complexes, a selection of shops, pubs and other local amenities. Famous Irish author and Booker Prize winner, Roddy Doyle, was once a teacher at Greendale Community School in the town and it is thought that Barrytown—the fictional setting used in some of his best-known works—is an affectionate portrait of Kilbarrack. The north Dublin suburb of Raheny is referred to as far back as 570AD but the coastal village has grown mostly in the 20th century. There are views of Howth Head and North Bull Island from here. The remains of a large ancient ringfort from which the area gets its Irish name (‘Ráth Eanaigh’) are still under the centre of the modern village. Raheny was home to two holy wells—dedicated to St. Anne and St. Assam. There are also two churches carrying

Translated from the Irish as ‘St. Mide’s Church’, Donaghmede is another residential area. Historical features include Saint Donagh’s Well—one of three local holy wells—and legend has it that the water has healing powers. In the northern part of Donaghmede, the ruined chapel of Grange Abbey can be found. This national monument is thought to date back to the 14th century. Among the public amenities in the area is Father Collins Park—Ireland’s first wind-powered and sustainable facility of its type. The 22 hectare park has a variety of flora and fauna, sports facilities like a 1.5 km peripheral running/cycling track, playing pitches, fitness stations as well as a promenade, an amphitheatre, picnic areas, outdoor chess/draughts boards, two playgrounds and a skate-park.


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lighting at Killiney DART station allows visitors to experience a small but idyllic seaside resort, which is also one of the most sought after addresses in south Dublin.

Lying north of Shankill and south of Dalkey, a vast proportion of Killiney village was owned for centuries by the Talbot de Malahide family who settled in the area soon after the Norman invasion of 1170. Its Irish name ‘Cill Iníon Léinín’ translates as ‘Church of the Daughters of Léinín’. On the original 6th century site of this church in west Killiney, the ruins of an 11th century structure can be seen today. Killiney Hill Park was opened as a public park in 1887—then named Victoria Hill Park in honour of Queen Victoria’s 50 years on the throne. His Royal Highness, Prince Albert Victor of Wales, performed the official opening. This land, donated for the public park, was once part of the estate of Killiney Castle. The original house, Mount Mapas, was built in 1740 and it was enlarged by its new owner, Robert Warren, around 1840 and renamed Killiney Castle. The property is now Fitzpatrick’s Castle Hotel.

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Killiney Hill Park boasts breathtaking views spanning Killiney Bay, Bray Head and Great Sugar Loaf, one of the Wicklow Mountains. At the peak of the hill, 170 m above sea level, there is an obelisk, among other structures dotted around the park. Both the population and the popularity of Killiney grew from the late 1940s onwards, due to its proximity to the growing capital city and the post-Victorian pastime of holidaying at the seaside. Its fabulous beach, only a short walk from the DART station, is often compared to the Bay of Naples in its style and coastline. It is no surprise then

that there are a spread of Mediteranean names on the surrounding roads and streets including Vico, Sorrento, Capri and San Elmo. The exclusive area is home to some of Ireland’s best known stars including singer Enya, and Bono and The Edge— members of the band, U2 Only a short trip from Dublin city centre, the quaint village is perfect for weekend breaks, a day at the beach, a hillside walk or a pleasant meal before heading back to the hustle and bustle of the city. y Hill Obelisk on Killine


Kick Back in Killiney!


The long stony stretch of Killiney Beach has great views of Bray Head, Dalkey Island and Sorrento Terrace. The beach is suitable for swimming and bathing and has facilities for disabled users. The beach can be accessed from the car park with a walkway and ramps and handrails are also present in other areas. Also ideal for walkers and picnics, you might even see some bottlenose dolphins as they have been known to gather here occasionally.

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel

Killiney Beach

Killiney Hill Park (formerly Victoria Hill) is a jewel in the crown of the seaside town with outstanding panoramic views, particularly from its peak (170 metres above sea level). There are plenty of paths around the park and around half of is covered by mature woodland. It is a popular spot for walks, picnics and more. The 16th century obelisk at the summit is a prominent local landmark


The year Victoria Hill Park (Killiney Hill Park) was opened as a public park.

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel has a relaxed and cosy atmosphere. From afternoon tea in the light-filled lobby to an Irish coffee after dinner, guests completely unwind once they step through the door.


Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel

Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel also has a well-equipped Leisure Club, complete with gym, 20-metre swimming pool, hot tub and wood sauna and steam room. With a range of leisure activities including garden walks, castle tours, golf and the fresh sea air on nearby Killiney beach calling out for a long walk, there is as much on the doorstep as there is indoors at Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel. At the brow of Killiney Hill, 20 minutes from Dublin’s city centre, Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel is a perfect stop when exploring the Dublin coastline by DART!

Killiney Hill Road, Killiney 01-2305400

In the caring, capable hands of the same family of hospitality experts for over 40 years, the Fitzpatrick Castle Hotel is a beacon of old world charm with contemporary comforts in stylish Killiney, overlooking the sea and mere stroll from the DART station. Despite its size and grand style, and the inscription reads: “Last year being hard with the poor, walks about these hills and this were erected by John Mapas, June 1742.” Other structures in the park include a Victorian pyramid, the Wishing Stone (dated 1852), another smaller obelisk known as Boucher’s obelisk and more.

Killiney is close to Dalkey so there is a range of other activities around the area such as hiking, cycling, mountain biking, rock climbing, water sports and more. Check out for hints and tips on more to do.

Killiney Golf Club (01-2851983) is a nine-hole course on the slopes of Killiney Hill, Ballinclea Road. Founded in 1903, it has spectacular elevated views of Dublin Bay and the Dublin Mountains. It has been redesigned in recent years and is a test of skill for golfers of all levels. Visitors are welcome.

The year well-known Irish actor and Killiney native, Allen Leech, was born.

Numbers 2 153

Hil Pyramid Killiney

Killiney in


The time in minutes it takes to walk to Killiney Beach from Killiney DART Station.


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The height in metres of Killiney Hill.



The sum in millions of euro reportedly paid by Irish singer, Enya, for her Killiney home, Manderley Castle. Best Of Ireland Series | 79

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nown as the ‘Gateway to Wicklow’, Bray is located in northern County Wicklow with a portion of the northern suburbs situated in County Dublin. A very popular seaside destination, Bray is about 20km south of Dublin city on the eastern coast and is the longest established seaside town in Ireland. Bray comes from ‘Bró’, meaning ‘hill’, and once you get there you’ll see why. Bray is an excellent destination for family fun. Once off the DART, an abundance of activities are within easy reach. Bray is popular for its mile long beach, Victorian promenade and amusement arcades. The National SEA LIFE centre offers curious visitors a chance to see marine creatures up close and is a great allweather activity.

is the nearby Bray Head where there are some lovely cliff side walks. These include climbing up to the summit of Bray Head or taking the cliff walk trail from Bray to Greystones. There are many activities on offer including water sports, golf and equestrian activities in the locality. With the departure of winter, Bray comes alive with festivals. The season is kicked off with the St. Patrick’s Festival and that is followed by the Bray Jazz Festival in May and the Groove Festival in July to name just a few summer events.


Stalls and shops nearby sell the essential for any day by the sea—buckets and spades, balls, sunscreen, hats and icecream. There are plenty of cafés and restaurants for a family meal or you can eat fish ‘n’ chips by the sea. Many visitors come to Bray year-round for the scenic walks here. Apart from the bustling promenade, a quieter alternative 80 | Best Of Ireland Series

The arts and culture scene is further strengthened by the presence of the Mermaid Arts Centre, a performance space and venue for a variety of visual and performing arts. In addition to all the town has to offer, Bray is a great base from which to explore other parts of Wicklow including Killruddery Estate with its grand house and gardens, the renowned Powerscourt Estate and the Wicklow Mountains.

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© Gary Nugent


Don’t Miss

VIEWS & WALKS Once you get off the DART at Bray you might like to stretch the legs and take in the sea views with a stroll on the Victorian Promenade built by William Dargan, the man who brought the rail to Bray. This mile-long walkway starts from the harbour, near Martello Terrace (the childhood home of James Joyce). See the colony of mute swans where the River Dargle enters the harbour here. Follow the promenade along the sea front to the base of Bray Head steeply (241 m) from the coast.

© Eireann


fast facts Seaside Star

Once called ‘The Brighton of Ireland’, Bray is the longest established seaside town in Ireland. With the extension of the Dublin and Kingstown Railway to Bray in 1854, the town grew to become the largest Irish seaside resort at the time. During the 1950s, many tourists from the UK visited Bray.

Bray Head, visible for afar, is a dominant feature at the end of the promenade. It rises steeply (241 m) from the coast, offering the adventurer willing to take it on spectacular panoramic views of the mountains and sea. To start the climb, follow the promenade up towards the hill. Go up the steps and then follow the well worn path straight up. There is a small scramble over rocks at the top before reaching the cross of the head, which was erected in 1950 for the holy year. From here you can see Bray Head’s neighbouring mountains the Great and Little Sugar Loaf and Carrickgollogan, locally known as Kathy Gallagher north east Wicklow. You can also see some of Bray, North East Wicklow and Dublin Bay.

Bray Seafront

stations. The walk is also accessible from the Sea Front and Raheen Park in Bray. It brings walkers around the side of Bray Head above the railway line and rocky coastline. The path is well maintained and is 100 m at its highest point. It is suitable for families with older children and there is plenty to discover along the way with marine wildlife and stunning panoramic views. If you are feeling tired at the end you can get the DART back to your starting point.

For an enjoyable walk in a fantastic coastal setting, take the route along Bray Head out to Greystones. The 6.2 km route is a linear walk and starts at either Bray and Greystones DART

Olympic Gold

In August 2012, thousands of people flocked to the seafront in Bray to cheer the return home of Katie Taylor from the London Olympics. She is the town’s most famous sportsperson and is not just an Olympic boxing champion but has also won 12 gold medals at European level and five gold medals in the world championships to date.

In the Movies

Bray is home to Ireland’s only dedicated film studios. Ardmore Studios on Herbert Road, Bray are responsible for many internationally acclaimed films including Excalibur, Braveheart, Breakfast on Pluto and series such as The Tudors. You might stumble across the set of something big on a visit to Bray!

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In Bray

From family fun to sporty pursuits, visitors to Bray will be kept well occupied. For a fantastic day out for kids (big and small), visit the National SEA LIFE Centre (01-2860562) on the Seafront, just a two minute walk from the DART station. This aquatic zoo has over 30 displays and is home to over 1,000 marine creatures, See page 85 for more details. Bray Bowl (01-2864455), located very close to the DART Station, is a facility with something for all ages. It boasts 16 ten-pin bowling lanes, a video arcade, snooker, pool and a Quasar laser tag arena. And of course, no trip to Bray is complete without a quick go at the games and perhaps fairground rides at the amusement arcades along the seafront. Around 10 minutes’ drive from Bray (or by taking Dublin Bus 182) is the village of Enniskerry and Powerscourt Estate (01-2046000) with its spectacular house, gardens, waterfall and golfing facilities. Set at the foot of the rolling Wicklow hills, it is a great place to visit. Also based on the estate is an attraction made especially for little ones although it is a treat at any age! At Tara’s Palace & Museum of Childhood (01-2748090) you can enter a “magical miniature world”. It is the home of Ireland’s largest period doll house as well as hundreds of other fascinating exhibits like the “house in a bottle”, “the smallest doll in the world”, a vintage collection of doll’s houses and more. It opens seven days and there are tours available. There are admission fees but all profits are donated to Irish children’s charities. On the grounds of Killruddery House & Gardens, on the Southern Cross Road between Bray and Greystones, Squirrel’s Scramble (085-8627011/0864506626) uses a natural forest setting 82 | Best Of Ireland Series

Bray Harbour

for numerous activities for all ages. It offers more than 40 different challenges on four different levels (1.5 m-8 m) to climb, balance, slide and crawl. It opens weekends and holidays, March to November. In addition to walking and hiking, Bray offers plenty of other outdoor activities. Bray Adventures (0873669999/01-2760973), based on the seafront, offers stand up paddle boarding, kayaking, surfing, coastal exploring, raft building, hill walking, rock climbing and abseiling. www. Bray Sailing Club (01-2860272) runs a full programme of racing, cruising and a sea school, which provides training courses for adults and juniors alike. Horse-riding is also popular in the area with options like trekking in the hills, lessons in outdoor/indoor arenas and more. Local providers include Brennanstown Riding School (01Powerscourt Estate

2863778; and Festina Lente (01-2720704/06; For golfers, whether novices or experienced, there are numerous fine courses in the area and wider County Wicklow. For example, Bray Golf Club (01-2763200; at Quill Road is an excellent parkland course and Old Conna Golf Club (01-2866055; at Ferndale Road is another beautiful mature parkland course, designed by Ireland’s noted golf course designer, Eddie Hackett.

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Bray’s Events, Festivals & Much More! Bray

Celebrate ...

Visit ...

Bray has several festivals and events through the year but summer is a particularly busy time. Bray Jazz Festival ( takes place annually on the May Bank Holiday weekend—offering concerts, recitals and jazz trail gigs. Bray Summerfest runs from 4 July-3 August in 2015. In 2015, proceedings started with the Groove Festival in the grounds of Killruddery Estate (www. Summerfest Fun Fair & Summerbay (Kids Zone) runs from 12 July-3 August (rides are individually priced with weekday offers). There will be Food & Craft markets from 10am on 18 & 19 July and the spectacular free event, the Bray Air Show, takes place Sunday 19 July from 2pm. Another free open-air event is Smash Hits, live on Bray’s iconic bandstand, on the 2nd of August and there will a big firework display on Bray Seafront on 3 August at 10pm (also a free event). For more details, see For up to date information on events, see

Enjoy ... Soak in some of the work of visual and performance artists working in the region with a visit to Mermaid Arts Centre (01-2724030) on Main Street. The centre opened in August 2002 and has greatly added to the artistic and cultural life of County Wicklow with its varied programme of performance including innovative dance, theatre, comedy, music and art-house cinema. Mermaid Gallery exhibits work by artists from Wicklow and further afield. The centre runs workshops, exhibitions, Monday night art house films and more. Find the full programme on

Killruddery House & Gardens (01-2863405) is set on a beautiful estate and has been home to the Earls of Meath since 1618. Ki llr ud The grand house de ry H ouse was commissioned in & Gardens the 1820s by the 10th Earl and many claim it “is the most significant Elizabethan Revival mansion in Ireland”. It also has extensive formal gardens—some dating from the 17th century—and a walled garden. There are guided tours of the house available from July to September. There are tea rooms on-site. Squirrel’s Scramble is a “tree top adventure” experience based on the estate too. Killruddery holds a farm market every Saturday, 10am-4pm (all year round), regular activities and many other events throughout the year, from falconry to Easter egg hunts to outdoor concerts. The Killruddery Film Festival, which celebrates silent and classic cinema, has taken place in September for the past few years (2015 dates TBC). The estate opens weekends only in April and October and seven days, May to September. Fees are applicable for some facilities.

Bray in


The distance in kilometres south from Dublin to Bray.

Numbers 1958 1854 1.6 2 The year Ardmore Studios opened in Bray.

The year the Dublin and Kingstown Railway was extended as far as Bray (it opened in 1834 and was the first in Ireland).

The length in kilometres of Bray’s pebbly beach.

The peak chart position reached in the United States by the album, Hozier—the 2014 debut album of Bray-born musician, Andrew Hozier Byrne (Hozier). Best Of Ireland Series | 83


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ATC Language Schools

ATC Language Schools Dunluice House, Strand Road, Bray 01-2845512

ATC Language Schools deliver a range of English language programmes from its flagship school on the seafront in Bray and a school in Dublin’s city centre. They are proud to offer high quality, fun and interactive lessons from native speaking teachers. Opened in 1996 and 2013 respectively, both schools have bright, modern classrooms with interactive whiteboards, Wi-Fi and a student social area.


The Harbour Bar

The Harbour Bar 1-4 Dock Terrace, Bray 01-2862274

The Harbour Bar sits directly opposite Bray harbour and is the perfect spot for a pint and a toastie by the sea. Surrounded by chiming sailboats and the resident bevy of swans, it is the most unique pub in Bray with the stories to prove it. Established in 1872, The Harbour Bar was immortalised in James Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake and has a long history of celebrated patrons, including Joyce 84 | Best Of Ireland Series

ATC offers a variety of courses including: General and Intensive English, individual tuition, native and non-native teacher training including CELT and SQT. Exam preparation courses include IELTS, Cambridge FCE and CAE and TOEIC. All classes have a genuine international mix. In 2013, they welcomed students of more than 40 different nationalities.


A RANGE OF ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROGRAMMES ATC also offers one of the most comprehensive ranges of junior summer programmes for non-English speaking students aged nine to 17 years. They offer host family accommodation and self-catering residences for students. All ATC courses are recognised by the Irish Department of Education. ATC are members of Quality English and founding members of Marketing English in Ireland. himself, Bono, Laurence Olivier and Katharine Hepburn. Music has always been important in The Harbour Bar and the lounge is a comfortable spot in which to enjoy exciting music acts. The lovely snug is perfect for a quiet pint and a chat while the bar is full of character and hosts traditional Irish music sessions. There is live entertainment seven nights a week.

A LONG HISTORY OF CELEBRATED PATRONS, INCLU DING JOYCE HIMSELF A visit to Bray is never truly complete until you visit ‘The Best Bar in the World’, as voted by Lonely Planet 2010. It opens at 1pm on weekdays and 12 noon on weekends to regular pub closing times.

Platform Pizza

Platform Pizza

7 Strand Road, Bray 01-5384000 Platform Pizza Bar is a great place to enjoy fresh oven baked pizza. Made with Platform’s crisp pizza bases & created daily using the best local produce and freshest of ingredients. It was voted ‘Ireland’s Favourite Pizza’ by Irish Times readers.

ENJOY LU NCH, DIN NER OR A SNACK SEVEN DAYS A WEEK With a menu made to work with our top selection of craft beer and cocktails, this is the perfect spot to enjoy lunch, dinner or a snack seven days a week with something for all the family. Platform, according to food critic Lucinda O’Sullivan of the Irish Independent, is “perfect for those who enjoy a glass of something and want to let the DART do the driving”. Platform Pizza opens SundayWednesday, 12 noon-10pm and Thursday-Saturday, 12 noon-11pm. For more information, email: info@



Ocean Bar & Grill

Ocean Bar & Grill 7 Strand Road, Bray 01-286 5071

The recently renovated Ocean Bar & Grill, located on the seafront less than a minute from the DART station, offers stunning views of the horizon and Bray Head. Housed in CIÉ’s old ‘Buffet Bar’, layers of renovation have been stripped away to reveal original features such


National SEA LIFE Centre

National SEA LIFE Centre Strand Road, Bray 01-2866939

This family-friendly, aquatic zoo lets visitors of all ages take a journey under the sea to see over 1,000 creatures and all without getting wet! The National SEA LIFE Centre on the Seafront in Bray is a perfect fun and educational day out. It has over 30 displays showcasing the deep’s most fascinating and fearsome

as a Brazilian mahogany parquet floor and exposed brick walls. Deep purple velvet curtains and atmospheric lighting complement the ambience and makes for a comfortable and relaxing dining experience.

TH ERE IS SOMETH ING ON TH E MENU TO SU IT ALL TASTES Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week from 9am, there is something on the menu to suit all tastes, including succulent fillet steaks, a wide variety of seafood dishes, gourmet sandwiches and everything in between. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely breakfast on the outdoor terrace or dinner by the window, few places have a view and menu as enticing as Ocean Bar & Grill. inhabitants from sharks to octopus, seahorses to stingrays, piranha to clownfish and more. A new addition is the Shark Reef Encounter where you get up close to 11 species of sharks—Ireland’s largest collection!

A JOURNEY UN DER TH E SEA TO SEE OVER 1,000 CREATU RES There are feeding demonstrations throughout the day, an interactive rock pool where you can hold and touch marine creatures and the kiddies can enjoy the soft play area too. This is an indoor no need to worry about the weather! The centre is just a two-minute walk from the Bray DART station and a 30 minute train ride from Dublin City centre. The National SEA LIFE Centre opens seven days a week from 10am-6pm



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The Martello

The Martello 47 Strand Road, Bray 01-2868000

Situated in a stunning location giving breathtaking views across the Irish Sea and the imposing Bray Head, The Martello offers an unmatched combination of accommodation, dining, drink and music on Bray seafront. With 25 en-suite hotel bedrooms and 19 self-catering apartments recently renovated, The Martello is ideal for those on any budget.

STU NN ING LOCATION GIVING BREATHTAKING VIEWS ACROSS TH E IRISH SEA Renowned for its fun-loving atmosphere and style of the hugely popular Martello Bar, which incorporates a continental style outdoor area, The Martello is a hub of social activity day and night. On the first floor the Tower Bistro offers a casual dining experience seven days a week and for those who want to continue the revelry into the early hours Koo nightclub is the perfect spot to let your hair down. Just a 5-minute walk from the local DART station, The Martello is definitely a must see stop on any visit to Bray.

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Dart in Numbers



The numbers of words in the acronym DART—Dublin Area Rapid Transit.


The year of inception of the DART.


The number of DC volts powering DART trains.


The number of DART stations currently operating.


The year the Dublin Kingstown Railway was founded, which is the oldest part the DART system runs over.


The length in kilometres of the DART system.


The sum in millions of journeys made on the DART in 2013.


The width in millimetres of the track gauge (5 feet, 3 inches).


The highest number of passengers on a single day travelling on the DART (July 4, 1996).


The maximum operating speed in kilometres per hour.

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The Porterhouse

The Porterhouse

Strand Road 01-2860668 A real Dublin institution since first establishing this very bar in 1989, The Porterhouse has since opened many chains across Dublin City providing the best of Irish and world beers along with some truly gourmet pub bites to those in the know in a fun and friendly environment. The Porterhouse Bray is no different.

TH E FLAGSHI P BAR HAS AN ENVIABLE SELECTION OF WORLD BEERS— SPECIALISI NG IN BELGIAN BREWS! The flagship bar has an enviable selection of world beers—specialising in Belgian brews!—however the real taste treat comes from the beers from The Porterhouse’s own brewery. A selection of over 10 (or more depending on the season) genuine Irish brews really leave visitors spoiled for choice. The Porterhouse’s brews can be enjoyed in so many ways; in the open air in the new outdoor beer garden overlooking Dublin Bay and Bray Head, or with a gourmet burger or oven-baked pizza from their log-filled oven, or even the Port House Douro Tapas Bar & Restaurant, serving the finest tapas and selection of wines. Function rooms also available for all occasions with package deals available on the website.

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To the Best Beaches

is close to Donabate and is accessible by bus.

Malahide beach

There are plenty of beaches in other areas too. Dollymount strand is located within the city limits of Dublin city heading in the Clontarf direction (DART station on Clontarf Road). This beach is beloved of surfers and kitesurfers. You can get a bus or cycling to the beach is also possible with a dedicated cycle track close by. The Burrow Beach in Sutton is a popular sandy beach (accessible from Sutton DART Station).

SEVERAL DU BLIN AN D WICKLOW NAL BEACHES GAIN ED AN INTERNATIO BLU E FLAG AWARD If you want to escape the hustle and bustle and wash away the grime of the city, there are numerous beaches you can reach by DART and other public transport like buses. Get the sea breeze in your sails and go for a walk, swim or enjoy a water-based activity at one of these beach spots. Several Dublin and Wicklow beaches gained an International Blue Flag Award for 2015, meeting strict criteria relating to water quality, safety, facilities for visitors,

beach management including litter control, environmental education and the provision of information. These are: Balcarrick beach in Donabate, Portrane Beach, the Velvet Strand in Portmarnock, Seapoint beach (near Dún Laoghaire), Killiney beach as well as Greystones beach and Brittas Bay South in Wicklow. Portmarnock, Seapoint, Killiney and Greystones have DART stations. You can reach Donabate via the northern commuter line (the beach is 2km from the station) or bus. Portrane © Tiramisu Studio

There are beaches at Malahide, Sandymount, Sandycove, Howth, Bray and Dalkey Island—all within a short distance of DART stations. If a refreshing swim is all you want, the ‘Forty Foot’ is a promontory on the southern tip of Dublin Bay at Sandycove and is a popular spot for a dip in the Irish sea. Other local beaches include Rush (north of Donabate), Balbriggan’s three beaches—Blackrock Beach, Barnageeragh Beach and the Front Strand Beach—Skerries north & south beaches and more.

Howth Peninsula

See and for more detailed information on the local beaches. Best Of Ireland Series | 87

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© Rodrigo Bellizzi




reystones has an array of places, events, festivals, shops, cafés and restaurants, not to mention the lovely beaches, which makes it the perfect place to spend a day, a weekend or longer. It was named the world’s most liveable community at the LivCom awards in China in 2008. Greystones or ‘Na Clocha Liatha’, was named after its stretch of grey stones between two beaches on the sea front. Greystones is located south of the site of an ancient castle of the Barony of Rathdown. There was a small settlement here which appeared on an early 18th century map but Greystones is a more recent addition and is first mentioned in the 1795 publication, Topographia Hibernica where it is described as a “noted fishing place four miles beyond Bray”. What began as a small fishing hamlet is now a thriving town. The arrival of the railway line in 1855 contributed significantly to its growth. The north beach, which begins at the harbour, is a stony beach partly overlooked by Bray Head. On the south beach you can sink your toes into silky 88 | Best Of Ireland Series

sand and this makes it popular with swimmers and walkers. After a busy or indeed relaxing day at the beach, Greystones has something to suit every palate, you can fill hungry tummies with delicious food. To walk off a filling meal, there are a number of parks and walkways for keep fit fanatics and strollers alike. Popular with anglers and sailors alike, Greystones has a tradition of boat and fishing competitions and events, and the Harbour Marina is a popular sheltered dock that is becoming

more and more popular nationally and internationally.

There are plenty of activities to keep the children busy. Various sports are played here but golfers are particularly spoiled for choice with a multitude of top class courses around Greystones. A number of local festivals and events take place throughout the year and community and business involvement is very strong in general.

ur Greystones Harbo

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Marinas & Beaches, fast facts FISHING & WALKS Greystones Brunel’s Folly

Greystones gained a tangible link with Dublin when the railway arrived in 1855. Building this stretch of railway was so challenging that authorities consulted with famous engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, on the project. The result was an impressive feat—a single rail line with several tunnels—although the cost of building and upkeep was so expensive that it was nicknamed ‘Brunel’s Folly’.

Ballykissangel Greystones was the backdrop for some scenes in the popular BBC series Ballykissangel, which ran for six series from 1996 to 2001. The Ormonde Cinema was used as a setting for the Father Ted episode ‘The Passion of St. Tibulus’, where Ted and Dougal mount a protest at the screening of an obscene film.

Coat of Arms On the coat of arms for Greystones is the motto “Gníomhac idir Carraig is Crúacha” which means “active between rock and mountain peaks” referring to Bray Head in the north and the Wicklow Mountains in the West.

Greystones Harbour Marina (01-2873131) is a perfect place to go sailing from or to dock. Located at the newly developed harbour complex, it has a full range of safe, accessible berths from 6 m-30 m for both power and sail boats. All berths are fully serviced with electricity and water Greystones Beach and the marina boasts up to date facilities including Wi-Fi. The natural beauty of you walk near Greystones beach, on to your surroundings and warm welcome Greystones harbour where you can relax will make you want to return again and and enjoy the view. You can also do the again. walk in reverse and get a DART back to your starting point. When you visit Greystones, you can swim at your leisure at one of the two great beaches, where you can have your picnic and watch the world go by. There is a pebble north beach near the harbour and then the south beach, which is sandy and about half a mile long—ideal for children making sandcastles. There is also a playground beside the beach, toilet facilities and a lifeguard during the summer season. The Bray and Greystones cliff walk is a challenging 7 km trek that could take about two hours but has great rewards for your efforts as you take in the stunning view of the sea and coastline. The route normally begins from the Bray Head Hotel on Bray promenade, the pathway rising to 100 metres at its highest point. Then having rounded Bray head

Another picturesque, tranquil area for walkers is the Black Walk leading up to Kindlestown Park Woods which has a vast array of trees, shrubs and wildlife. It has been a recreational area for generations of people in Greystones and is a perfect opportunity to experience the woodland and the coastal. Greystones is a well known spot for shore angling. There are three main areas for shore fishing—the pier and the rocks to the east and south of the village onto sand. The north beach is a popular fishing venue and small boats can be launched from the harbour for sea fishing too. The Greystones Ridge Angling Club, founded in 1959, holds tournament events throughout the year.

ystones cliff walk The Bray and Gre

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Druids Glen Resort


In Greystones

GOLFERS ARE SPOI LED FOR CHOICE IN GREYSTON ES AND THE SURROUN DING AREAS WITH NUMEROUS COURSES TO CHOOSE FROM. Shoreline Leisure Greystones (01-2878180) was recently voted Ireland’s best Leisure Centre 2015 by Active Ireland at the annual ILAM White Flag Awards. The facilities here including a swimming pool, gym and a sports hall. It runs a selection of fitness classes too. The Shoreline Sports Park, Charlesland (01-2016145) boasts amenities including Astroturf pitches, an athletics track, tennis & basketball courts, an outdoor gym, a children’s playground, skate park, a rock zone area and a baseball pitch. There are fun, innovative fitness programmes for all ages. Golfers are spoiled for choice in Greystones and the surrounding areas with numerous courses to choose from. Greystones Golf Club (012874136) was founded in 1895. The par 69, 18 hole course is surrounded by stunning tranquil views of the Wicklow Mountains and Dublin Bay. Charlesland Golf Club (01-2878200) is a challenging course designed 90 | Best Of Ireland Series

by Ireland’s most celebrated course designer, Eddie Hackett. It has beautiful views of the Irish Sea and the Sugarloaf mountains. It also has a pro-shop, as well as club hire facilities. www.charlesland. com The luxurious Druids Glen Resort (01-2812567), a short distance to the Greystones DART Station in Newtownmountkennedy, includes two superb championship golf courses. The par 71 Druids Glen Golf Course, often called ‘the Augusta of Ireland’, opened in 1995, hosted the Irish Open Tournament between 1996 and 1999. It is known as one of the most challenging but enjoyable golf courses in Europe, where you can retrace the footprints of world famous players. The second course, Druids Heath Golf Course opened in 2003 and has hosted the Irish PGA. The resort offers five star accommodation, a spa and a selection of dining/bar options. Other golf clubs in the wider area include Delgany Golf Club (01-

2874536;, Glen of the Downs Golf Club (012876240; and the nine-hole course, Kilcoole Golf Club (01-2872066; Greystones Rowing & Kayaking Club, founded in 1920, is always looking for new members. The club, originally formed by fishermen, is home to the oldest boat on the east coast called the Shamrock 1. East Coast Skiff Rowing—a competition, which began in the 19th century—still takes place in Greystones. There is also a lawn bowling club located at Burnaby Park (www. and many other sports are played locally so visitors might catch a game at the likes of Greystones United FC’s ground, Woodlands (Greystones Cricket play home games here too), Éire Óg Greystones GAA club’s ground on the Mill Road or Greystones RFC scrumming at Dr Hickey Park on the Mill Road.

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Greystones in Numbers 17000 1855 8 27 2012 The approximate population of Greystones.

The year Greystones Railway Station was opened.

The distance in kilometres from Greystones to Bray.

The distance in kilometres from Greystones to Dublin.

The year cricket returned to town with the formation of Greystones Cricket.

Lots of

Events & Festivals Enjoy ...

With its bright exterior bringing a burst of sunshine all year round, Summerville’s of Greystones on Trafalgar Road (01-2874228) is a café serving up tasty homemade fare and great coffee. Owners, Katie and Niamh, and their staff team strive to suit every taste with delicious daily specials, sandwiches, quiches, soups, salads and sweet treats (all available for take away). The breakfast and weekend breakfast and lunch menus are full of cooked and continental delights. The café is gluten-free and coeliac friendly. They cater for functions both in the café and other venues. The private garden is a great spot to kick back and relax. The Hotspot Music Club (087-2917519) is a combination of weekend café bar and a late night venue—located above the Beach House Pub at Greystones harbour marina. It specialises in live music gigs, arts entertainment and private events. It is self-styled as a venue for events that are “a little too big or a little too unique for your average pub rock gig” and “has the look of a speakeasy and the feel of a naughty house session”. It has hosted the likes of Hozier, Kila and Mary Coughlan previously. At the free Sunday afternoon jam sessions, from 4pm, you could see anything from ukulele to jazz. Check out upcoming events at

Discover ...

There are number of regular events on in Greystones. A highlight of the summer season is the Greystones Art & Photography Exhibition (087-2584144). Every Sunday, 12-5.30pm, from the June bank holiday weekend through to the last weekend in August, local artists and photographers put their vibrant work on display in the village. GRAPE is located on the South Beach walkway and passersby can peruse and also purchase work—a one of a kind souvenir of the village and Wicklow. For movie buffs, Greystones Film Club (087-2848684) is just the ticket. There are film screenings—of varying genres—on the first Wednesday of each month in the Happy Pear on the Main Street. Greystones-Film-Club. The Happy Pear is a natural food market combined with a café/restaurant; it often hosts local events, as do the local bars. From charity fundraisers to sports events, there is often something going on in the town. Check for up to date event listings. The Holy Rosary Church on La Touche Road—one of two Roman Catholic churches in the Greystones parish—dates back to the early 20th century and one of its striking features are two stained glass windows by acclaimed stained glass artist and noted painter, Evie Hone (1894–1955). One of the intricate and colourful windows represents the Good Shepherd and the other shows Our Lady of the Rosary. They are situated on the right and left aisles of the church and the work was carried out in 1948. Best Of Ireland Series | 91


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Vino’s Restaurant & Café

Vino’s Restaurant & Café Church Road, Greystones 01-2874807

dishes Open daily from 7am (9.30am on weekends), Vino’s cafe is perfect for a hearty breakfast, a pitstop for some fresh Illy coffee or a midday snack, with fresh cakes and treats baked daily. Lunch options include sandwiches such as pulled pork or the classic BLT and tasty salads with confit duck leg and grilled goat’s cheese. For dinner, there are numerous


Ideally located beside Greystones DART station, the family-run Vino’s Restaurant & Café is a great spot to dine in the beautiful seaside town. The eatery has been open for over nine years, creating a unique dining experience for all guests. Whether you want to have an intimate meal or celebrate a special occasion, Vino’s has an excellent selection of

varieties of pasta and dishes like steak, roast corn-fed chicken supreme, slow roasted pork porchetta and a daily fish special. The early bird menu is €21.95 for two courses or €24.95 for three (57pm, Tuesday-Saturday). Vino’s has an extensive wine list as well as a range of craft beers and the house wine on draft. The website, Taste of Ireland, complimented Vino’s for its “great food and value for money prices”. For updates and offers, find Vino’s on Facebook.

Dublin & Wicklow

Christian monastery based in modern day Aungier Street. Dublin’s motto is “Obedientia Civium Urbis Felicitas” meaning “the obedience of the citizens makes a happy city”.

fast facts What’s in a name?

Founded as a Viking settlement in 988 AD, the Kingdom of Dublin grew following the Norman invasion of Ireland and became its main city. It expanded substantially from the 17th century and currently has an urban area population of over 1.27 million. It is thought that the name Dublin comes from the old Irish name ‘Dubhlinn’ meaning “black pool”. In Old Norse, it would have been known as ‘Dyflin’ after an early Christian settlement had named it so. In modern Irish, the city is known as Baile Átha Cliath, which translates as “town of the hurdled ford”. Áth Cliath is a place name referring to a fording point of the River Liffey and Baile Átha Cliath was seemingly the name of an early 92 | Best Of Ireland Series

The name Wicklow derives from the Old Norse name ‘Víkingalág’ or ‘Wykynlo’. It is thought to mean “the Vikings’ meadow” or “Viking’s meadow”. Wicklow’s Irish name, ‘Cill Mhantáin’ means “church of the toothless one”. Lore has it that Saint Patrick and followers tried to land on Travailahawk beach and hostile locals attacked them. One of Patrick’s group lost his front teeth and was dubbed ‘Manntach’. Legend has it that he later returned to found a church there. Wicklow’s motto is “Free spirits”.


AMOC Jewellery

AMOC Jewellery Church Road, Greystones 087-2132131

At this little gem in Greystones, Mette O’Connor and her team create handcrafted jewellery by melding ageold Scandinavian techniques with Irish contemporary design. AMOC specialises in unique engagement rings, wedding bands, neckpieces, pendants, bracelets, earrings, cufflinks, brooches and more. The chic boutique has the readyto-wear collections on display and commissioned, bespoke pieces are made here too.

PRECIOUS METALS AN D PRECIOUS AN D SEMI-PRECIOUS STONES In the open plan workshop, all pieces are made on-site from precious metals and precious and semi-precious stones. Visitors can see the intricate processes for themselves. Mette’s inspiration comes from life, nature and her family and she has worked with several different craftsmen around the world. With a background in fine art and as a qualified gemmologist and diamond grader, her expertise is unrivalled. Whether treating yourself or buying for that special someone, the one-of-akind designs at AMOC Jewellery make ideal gifts that will be treasured for years to come. See for more information and the online store.

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Inbetweeners... This guide has 19 featured stops but the DART line itself has 31 stations, with some connecting to other suburban commuter lines too. There are highlights outside of the featured stops and these ‘Inbetweener’ pages—separate to the guide’s sections—outline some of these. If you refer to the rail route planner on pg 6, you will get an idea of their locations…

The Sydney Parade stop is at Sydney Parade Avenue at the southern end of Dublin 4, serving the likes of St. Vincent’s Hospital, the RTÉ studios at Montrose, many national embassies and exclusive neighbourhoods like Donnybrook and Ailesbury Road. Another noteworthy feature is its cricket ground. Home ground of Pembroke Cricket Club, the first recorded match here was in 1897. It hosted a first class cricket match between Ireland and Scotland in 1965 and several one-day women’s international matches between Ireland and the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa and Pakistan. Booterstown (‘Baile an Bhóthair’) is a coastal townland lies along an ancient route once known as Slíghe Chualann—an ancient roadway which stretched from the residence of the High King of Ireland at Tara to lands of Cuala (the area today is seen as from south County Dublin to north County Wicklow including Bray. The area is home to Booterstown Marsh, a bird sanctuary leased for many years by An Taisce, which works to protect it. Species often seen here include mallard, moorhen, grey heron, little egret, redshank, curlew, snipe and many more..

Seapoint is best known for its beach and bathing areas, which lie beside a Martello tower on the seashore. Harmonstown, Killester and Glenageary are all pleasant residential suburbs with some shops and amenities. Shankill, a Dublin suburb on the border with Wicklow, could be named for either an old church or an old wood (Sean-Chill or Sean-Choill). There are prehistoric features here like raths (forts) and cromlechs (tombs). In the middle ages, several fortified structures were built including Shankill Castle, Shanganagh Castle and a fortified house known locally as Puck’s Castle. The remains of these can still be seen. There is also a Martello tower and numerous striking pieces of architecture such as the coastal Gothic mansion, ‘Clontra’ and ‘upside down’ houses by the old Harcourt Street railway line with bedrooms downstairs, and kitchens and living rooms upstairs.

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Useful Information

Useful Information TOURISM: Visit Dublin Visitor Centre 25 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2 1850-230333 Dublin Discover Ireland Centre 14 Upper O’Connell Street, Dublin 1 1850-230330 There are offices in other areas too. For a full list (and other visitor information), see Another very useful website is: EMERGENCY: General Emergency Services (fire, ambulance etc) 999 Pearse Street Garda Station, 1-6 Pearse Street, Dublin 2 01-6669000 Dún Laoghaire Garda Station, 34/35, Corrig Avenue, Dún Laoghaire 01-6665000 See for a full list of Garda Stations in Dublin. 94 | Best Of Ireland Series

St. James’s Hospital, James’s Street, Dublin 8 01-4103000 Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Eccles Street, Dublin 7 01-8032000 Out of Hours GP services Dublin North City & County: D-Doc, 1850-224477 Dublin 2, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20, 22 & Lucan: Dub Doc, 01-6636869] For more information on hospitals and General Practitioners in Dublin, see TRANSPORT: DART You can download the official Iarnród Éireann Irish Rail App so that you can check timetables and real time running information. See for timetables and other information. You can buy a Leap Card to get access to the cheapest fares. More details on All adult and child tickets are available from ticket machines at the stations. Children under the age of four go free.

Luas Dublin’s light rail system has two lines (Red & Green) covering much of the city and suburbs. Tickets available at stops. For more information, see Intercity Rail Connolly Station Amiens Street, Dublin 1 01-7032358/01-7032359 Heuston Station Saint John’s Road West, Dublin 8 01-7032132 Timetables also on: Busáras (Central Bus Station) Store Street, Dublin 1 01- 8366111 Timetables also on: OTHER: General Post Office O’Connell Street Lower, Dublin 1 01-7057000 See for a full list of post offices/services in Dublin.

Booterstown • Blackrock • Seapoint • Salthill & Monkstown • Dún Laoghaire

Sandycove & Glasthule • Glenageary • Dalkey • Killiney • Shankill

Make The Most Of Your Time

off the DART

Discover Dún Laoghaire & Beyond... Visit an area of Dublin Bay that has just been designated a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. You will never be too far from the Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown area while on the Dart line. Follow the tracks Southbound from Booterstown to Shankill and you will see just how big the area is, plus it is only 15-20 minutes away from Dublin City. The area also boasts a great choice of cafés, bars, restaurants, accommodation options from large luxury hotels to cosy country guesthouses, not to mention some of the best shopping malls around!


Adrenaline Visit us

Come visit us and you will experience the total tourism package that truly has something for every taste. For families to couples of all ages, extreme sports enthusiasts to more relaxed travellers. We can arrange bicycle hire, day trips, boat cruises around Dublin Bay, and offer unique local gifts and souvenirs. Visit our new website at for tips and ideas on how to make the most of your time.



Best Of Ireland Series - Dublin Off the Dart 2015  
Best Of Ireland Series - Dublin Off the Dart 2015