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The Mini Rough Guide to Dublin (Mini Rough Guides) Paperback – 28 Nov 2002
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This guide to Dublin features entertaining accounts of all the attractions, from Dublin Castle and Christ Church Cathedral to vibrant Temple Bar. It also gives insider's reviews of the best accommodation, restaurants, clubs and drinking spots, as well as the pick of the day-trips, from the gardens of Powerscourt Estate to the remarkable prehistoric tombs of the Boyne Valley.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
WHERE TO VISIT
Central Dublin is easy enough to navigate its fairly compact, and youre likely to make most of your explorations either on foot or via short bus hops. One obvious axis is formed by the River Liffey, running from west to east and dividing the city into two regions of very distinct character (the northside, poorer and less developed than its southside neighbour), each of which has a strong allegiance among its inhabitants. The other main axis is the northsouth one formed by Grafton Street and Westmoreland Street south of the river, running into OConnell Street to the north. The centre as a whole is bordered by two waterways: the Royal Canal to the north, and the Grand Canal to the south.
The majority of the better-known attractions are south of the river, and for many visitors, the citys heart lies around the best of what is left of Georgian Dublin: the elegant set pieces of Fitzwilliam and Merrion squares, where the graceful red-brick houses boast ornate, fan-lighted doors and immaculately kept central gardens, and the wide, decorous open space of St Stephens Green. The southside is also the setting for the compelling displays of the National Gallery and the National Museum, as well as Trinity College, Dublins august seat of learning and home of a famous library; Grafton Street, the citys upmarket shopping area; and the Temple Bar area, the in-place for the arts, alternative shopping and socializing. Parallel to the river, Dame Street strings together a handful of historic monuments: the Bank of Ireland, City Hall, Dublin Castle (new home to the glorious collections of the Chester Beatty Library) and Christ Church Cathedral. The tangle of lanes between here and Wood Quay are remnants of the medieval city, though these too are now undergoing renovation in a new development aimed at complementing Temple Bar. South of Christ Church lies the majestic St Patricks Cathedral, while to the west a drab urban scene unfurls, worth exploring nonetheless for the Guinness Brewery and, slightly further out, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and Kilmainham Gaol.
North of the Liffey, the key monument along OConnell Street is the General Post Office building, which still bears the scars of incursions during the Easter Rising of 1916. Elsewhere, the northside is noted for its strong literary and artistic connections; at the north end of OConnell Street lies Parnell Square, around which youll find the Dublin Writers Museum and Hugh Lane Municipal Art Gallery. A little way to the east is the James Joyce Cultural Centre, dedicated to the memory of one of Dublins most renowned literary scions. The inner-city area northeast of OConnell Street (specifically, east of Gardiner Street) is run-down and should be explored with caution, especially at night. However, regeneration is taking place around the river, and to the east of OConnell Street, lodged amidst all the new buildings beside the quays, stands the impressively elaborate Custom House. The streets running west of OConnell are busy with a mix of workaday shops and markets, but beyond here are the elegant Four Courts; St Michans Church, its crypts containing mummified remains; and Smithfield, famous for its monthly horse fair. Further west is the National Museums prestigious decorative arts collection at the Collins Barracks, as well as Phoenix Park, one of Europes largest urban open spaces.
Travel beyond the centre is fairly straightforward. The DART line allows easy access to the outskirts along the curve of Dublin Bay such as Sandycove, which boasts another fascinating James Joyce museum, as well as the scenic headlands of Dalkey and Killiney to the south and Howth to the north. Regular buses serve all the other suburbs: in the north, Glasnevin home to botanic gardens and a historic cemetery and Marino site of the exquisite Georgian folly of the Casino and to the southeast of the centre, Ballsbridge and Donnybrook, which are fruitful areas for accommodation.
There are also plenty of options if you plan on heading out into the surrounding countryside. Dublin is within easy reach of the wild, open heights of the Wicklow Mountains, which shelter the secluded monastic settlement of Glendalough; a sprinkling of choice stately homes; and some of Europes most important prehistoric sites, including Knowth and Newgrange.
WHEN TO VISIT
Dublins warmest months are usually July and August, which are also often the wettest. However, no month is especially hot or cold, and though the climate of Ireland is often damp, the weather shouldnt be the main determining factor in deciding when to travel. Obviously, the summer is the most popular time and, consequently, the most expensive for both flights and accommodation. If youre planning to visit then, make sure youve got your travel arrangements and accommodation sorted out well before you go and if your stay is going to straddle a weekend, book your room in advance whatever time of year you visit. Before making your decision, you should take a look at the citys calendar of festivals and special events, which range from the parades of St Patricks Day in March and the meanderings of Bloomsday on June 16 to rock music in and around Temple Bar in early May and the All-Ireland hurling and football finals in September.
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I found the taxi drivers to be very friendly and helpful, so you might be better asking them!!!
Also contained accurate maps to help me find my way around.