Ten Dublin Literary Attractions

Dublin

Dublin is known worldwide as the capital of Ireland, hosting landmarks such as the Spire of Dublin, Trinity College and St Patrick’s Cathedral. Along with the UK’s Edinburgh, Melbourne, Australia, Iowa City in the U.S. and others, UNESCO recognizes Dublin as a City of Literature, reflecting the city’s rich and varied history of writers and writing.

As the birthplace of James Joyce and Nobel Literature Prize winners William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett, Dublin pays tribute to its literary heritage in a variety of ways. Statues, streets, bridges, pubs and book stores that make for a grand tour that visitors can take in an organized way or on their own.

James Joyce Centre is dedicated to a better understanding of the life and works of James Joyce and has exhibitions, events and workshops.

National Public Library of Ireland has the most comprehensive collection of Irish documentary material in the world. Talks and major exhibitions are hosted throughout the year.

Dublin Yarnspinners invites visitors to listen as the Storytellers of Ireland spin an array of tales, tall and otherwise, from its members on the second Thursday of every month.DublinBewley’s Cafe Theatre has lunchtime drama and one of the city’s most popular venues for evening cabaret, jazz and comedy every day by reservation.

Sweny’s Pharmacy
features daily readings from the works of James Joyce in the original pharmacy where Leopold Bloom bought lemon soap.

Trinity College has an official, student-guided walking tour of the historic campus on a daily, scheduled basis. The 30-minute tours run from mid-May to the end of September.

St Patrick’s Cathedral, where writer/satirist Jonathan Swift was dean from 1713 to 1745 is open every day. Visitors to the cathedral can see his tombstone and epitaph on an escorted tour.

Marsh’s Library was the first public library in Ireland, opening in 1701. With over 25,000 books relating to the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, the collections covers medicine, law, science, travel and more. Open daily except Tuesday and Sunday.

Dublin City Bike Tours are an easy, eco-friendly way to see the sights with local guides along for the ride. Starting in the lobby of Isaacs’s hostel, the tours run three hours and begin at 10 a.m. daily.

The Dublin Literary Pub Crawl is a fun, walking tour led by a team of professional actors who follow the footsteps of literary greats on an evening filled with prose, drama and song as we see in this video:



For more information on these and over 20 other Dublin literary attractions see www.dublincityofliterature.ie

[Flickr photos by infomatique]

Four Dublin Attractions Not To Be Missed

Dublin

One of Europe’s oldest and greatest cities, Dublin not only retains its historic and cultural identity, but hosts a variety of current, relevant attractions. With a wide variety of friendly bars, stylish shops, elegant restaurants and sidewalk cafes, deciding what to do in Dublin can be tough. But on a recent visit, we stopped by several must-see attractions that give a real feel for the city, its people and its rich heritage.

The Guinness Storehouse is home to arguably the most famous beer in the world. On a 90-minute walking tour, visitors go through the history behind the brand as well as the production process from beginning to end.

Old Jameson Distillery is a good alternate for those who prefer whiskey to beer. Here, visitors learn what makes Irish the best whiskey in the world and get a chance to sample the Uisce beatha – the water of life.St Patrick’s Cathedral was founded in 1191 and has contributed much to Irish life since then. The first performance of Handel’s Messiah and its choir are claims to fame as is the fact that Jonathan Swift, the Anglo-Irish satirist, essayist and political pamphleteer, was Dean here in the 18th century.

The Church Bar and Restaurant is the beautifully restored former St Mary’s church and one of Dublin’s most popular drinking and dining places. Hosting beautiful stained glass windows, an organ once played by Handel and a basement burial crypt, the Church bar, gallery restaurant and nightclub is a top Dublin attraction.

A great way to see Dublin and all it has to offer is via the Hop On Hop Off city tour bus that has 24 stops along its route. The entire tour takes about an hour and a half, runs from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and can be joined from any of the stops along the way.

But just walking down the street, pretty much any street in Dublin make for some great travel memories in a city bursting with color, music, events, sights and scenes.

Visit the Shopping Areas in Dublin, Ireland



[Photos- Chris Owen]

Illegitimate Englishman donated millions to U.S.: Which museum bears his name?

Here’s an unusual piece of American history that illustrates the power of philanthropy and what happens when money is used for the purpose it was intended. Imagine what James Smithson must think if he can view Smithsonian Castle and all the other buildings that line the Mall in Washington D.C.? Possibly, he’s pleased as punch.

Smithson, an illegitimate Englishman who died in 1829, left between $50 to $100 million dollars to the United States, a country he had never visited. His desire was for his money to be used “‘for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.'”

If the slew of buildings that includes the Air and Space Museum, the American History Museum, and the African Art Museum isn’t an indication of what can happen when one person’s generosity is put to good use, I don’t know what is. Of course, Smithson’s money wasn’t enough to create all of the Smithsonian’s building, but still, consider what what can happen when there’s a mighty good idea that has a healthy start.

In this article that first appeared in the Washington Post, Moira E. McLaughlin covers a bit of the history of Smithson’s gift that consisted of 105 bags of gold. She also points out the significance of Smithsonian Castle, the Smithsonian’s first building that is now used for the Smithsonian’s administrative offices and information center. According to McLaughlin, the information center is a perfect place to begin a visit to the Smithsonian. It can help you orient the rest of your time there.

I’ve been to the Smithsonian several times and have never visited The Castle. Next time I’m in D.C., this is my first stop. In case no one has thanked you properly James Smithson,THANKS a million times over. Your gift was truly splendid.

If the style of the building looks familiar, it’s because its architect, James Renwick, Jr. also designed St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Temples and churches to visit in New York City

I have spent so much time in New York City since my brother has lived there for years, that I often forget to look for the new things to do. The tried and true are enjoyable, plus I’m visiting which suits a different purpose. Site-seeing is a small part of my trips. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one place I head to often since it’s right across from Rockefeller Square and I like the way the candles smell.

Seth Kugel’s article, “Devotion in its Various Homes” is one that made me think, “Now, why didn’t I think of that?” as an article idea. It also presents options for my next visit to New York.

Kugel gives presents an overview of the various places of worship in New York City that visitors of any faith might find interesting. Here is his list. Do you know of others?

1. The Islamic Cultural Center

2. The Ganesh Temple

3. The Elderidge Street Synogogue at the Museum of Elderidge Street

4. The Buddhist Association of New York. Kugel suggests a temple that is near the synogugue. Here is a link to a site that marks Chinatown’s temples.

Read Kugel’s article for descriptions of each place. This could be a do-it-yourself type tour you could take in a day. The wonderful thing about cities like New York is that there are large enough communities of the various religions that their places of worship have had time to develop.