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The Home of Irish Black Beer

My fascination with Guinness' Home

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I had the opportunity to visit the southern side of Ireland for several times. My first visit was early of 2006 when I attended an exhibition/conference on transport and waste management. Unfortunately, it was a one-day engagement so I was not really able to explore the city centre. For the second time around, I joined my Irish friends to explore the coastal areas - from Donegal to Sligo.

My third visit in the late part of 2006 was a memorable experience one and I dont want to explain here what happen on that day, together with other Indonesian friends. But because of that unavoidable circumstances, I was able to have a quick tour of Dundalk - the town of The Corrs (the Irish singing group). My recent visit was last Easter break when my friends and I decided to stay overnight at Dublin Skylon Hotel. And this time, I decided to take the sightseeing tour for 12 Euros (concession).

The city sightseeing tour (summer edition 2007) is a well organised tourist trip within the city centre. It has two routes to choose from: red and yellow, where red is a multi-lingual route which means that you can hear audio commentaries. My friends and I chose the yellow route since there is not much difference in terms of the places to be visited and besides we need further translations except for English.

It is commonly known as "hop on - hop off" city tour since everyone is allowed to "step out" from the bus at the 25 designated stops if you want to explore the specific attraction, and "step in" when you want to proceed with the rest of the tour, and can do it anytime you like within the 24-hour period. The regular price of the ticket is 15 Euros (approximately £7) which is a saver ticket that also provides tourists avail attraction discounts. The designated stops are very visible along the major roads at the city and the Information/ticket office is located at Upper O'Connell Street which also designated as the first stop.

Quickly, the designated attractions covered in the tour were very interesting which I did enjoy even though we did not really stop and see every detail of these attractions. For me it is alright because I will have the reasons why I need to go back again to Dublin. Initially, it was like a snapshot of amazing places and hopefully I have to choose the best for my next visit to Dublin to explore and learn about these places. Please note that we are riding in a two-deck yellow bus where the upper deck is open which allows everyone to have a bird's eye view of the places for almost 2 hours - not much of interior details, and because of that, it is highly recommended to visit these places again and have time to walk around the premises of each attraction which could be done on the second day where the tickets are still valid.

There are remarkable trivias as our narrator describes each of the attraction, and she told us that Republic of Ireland has the highest of number of Nobel Prize winners, particularly in Literature.

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This is the list of the stops and attractions and I did include some of the salient features.
1. Trinity College - it seems the place is very interesting and need more exploration inside the school library and ground.
2. Nassau Street - old buildings and shopping areas, Book of Kells
3. South Leinster Street -
Guinness Storehouse signpost
National Museum Archaeology
4. National Gallery - National Museum Natural History
5. Merrion Square South - No 29 Museum
6. Merrion Square - The Royal Hibernian Academy
7. Pembroke Street - a historical street with interesting architecture of houses particularly "doors" which Dublin is popular of
8. St Stephen's Green - a park fronting a big shopping mall with clear glass façade
9. Suffolk Street - another commercial area where you could also purchase the tour tickets
10. Dame Street -Dublin Castle, it seems that not big looking from the outside but it is also a must see attraction which need a full stop!
11. Christ Church Cathedral and Dublinia - the towering structures with full of interesting architecture
12. Nicholas Street - I cant remember about this place but again you can find beautiful painted doors!
13. St Patrick's Cathedral - every where you can find St Patrick's church but it always something different from each structure that always need further scrutiny
14. High Street - I cant remember what its here but again interesting buildings and houses along the street
15. Guinness Storehouse - This is "talk of the town" attraction and very recommended for a 2-3 hour tour around the plant/factory. This is my first priority for my next visit. With a reasonable entrance fee, every visitor can have the chance to sip a "Guinness" and learn about this black beauty drink captures the heart of the Irish pubs. My friends told me that I will love this place because I could probably get a good number of beer mats (which I collect) after the tour of the plant.
16. Royal Hospital Kilmainham - I cant remember what makes it interesting aside for being a hospital. Well, the Museum of Modern Art is located nearby
17. Heuston Station - this is an old railway station which is really a stunning façade
18. Parkgate Street - again houses with big windows and interesting doors
19. National Museum - Decorative Arts and History
20. Arran Quay - Old Jameson Distillery where you could still find the black tall chimney
21. Bachelor's walk - Im not sure what its in here
22. Parnell Square - Croke Park, Dublin Writers Museum and James Joyce Centre

I forgot to mention that there is an interesting piece of artwork or I can say a mega structure found at the middle of the city centre - "The Spire" which is visibly found along O'Connell Street. Do not forget to visit the busiest part of the city - "Temple Bar". This is where you could find affordable pubs and restaurants, accommodation, good fun and entertainment. Finally, we stayed overnight at Dublin Skylon Hotel, 25 minutes to the city centre (near the Croke Park) at 99 Euros (£45) for three beds!

For more images, click the link: Guinness' Home

Posted by eTRAVEL 10:14 Archived in Ireland Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

The story of the black gold beer

a popular drink in Dublin

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My visit to Dublin in the middle of August 2007 has a different purpose. I was invited by a friend to be interviewed and will be featured in a Filipino local magazine. The mag is currently circulated in Dublin catering to Filipino community. Without hesitation I decided to agree to visit Dublin and stayed overnight.

I took the opportunity to know the family and joined them in a morning walk along a popular waterway. It was a lovely day and I really enjoyed their company, including the family dog - happy to swim for a wood stick! I also had the chance to visit a newly developed subdivision/village which is really an ideal place to live - everything is there, from school to public transport.

After my appointment with my lady friend, I decided to join my Irish friend to visit the Guinness Storehouse - to see for myself the place of origin of Guinness as well as to hear the story why it is a popular black beer in Ireland and around the world. The plant is not far from the city centre, so we decided to walk and it took us around 20 minutes.

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Briefly, the plant was the fermentation building of the beer from 1904 to 1988 and afterwards it was converted into a tourist attraction - quite similar to a museum . The building is like a shape of a 'giant pint' of Guinness which can hold 14.3 million pints.

Well, I dont want to tell you the whole story on how this black beer becomes the hottest attraction in the country. It is highly recommended to visit the plant and have a 2-hour personal experience find why this place is a must-see tourist attraction. Visiting the plant will give you the chance to sip a complimentary pint of Guinness while enjoying the views of Dublin at the Gravity Bar.

Guinness has 5 basic ingredients: barley, hops, yeast, water and the magic touch of Arthur Guinness! For images, visit this link: Gold Beer in Dublin

Posted by eTRAVEL 09:47 Archived in Ireland Tagged food Comments (0)

Another freezing trip to Mournes

my second visit to the Mountains of Mournes

all seasons in one day

EASTER MONDAY (2008), NEWCASTLE, NORTHERN IRELAND. It was a non-working holiday and I joined for another walk organised by Whiteabbey Presbyterian Church where (sometimes) I also attend Sunday mass. Joining the group for the 5th time, I walked with them for the second time in the highest land of Northern Ireland, the Mourne Mountains. This time, we climbed the 3rd highest peak of the mountain, Slieve Binnian. Well, I had the opportunity to stands tall at the summit, Slieve Donard in winter 2006.

Seeing again the Mournes reminds me of the books written by C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia. The Mournes inspired Lewis to write this series of novels for children. Unfortunately, I havent read any o f the stories, except that I watched the film - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe as adapted from the books.

It was a long drive (1.5 hours) to Newcastle where the mountains stand beautifully alongside of the crystal clear blue sea. While ascending the mountains, the panoramic view is astonishing - combined with brown, yellow and green colours infront of us which dominates the skyline!

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It was a glorious Easter Monday with sunny spell and the frequent touch of the cold wind. Before we proceeded to the peak of Slieve Binnian, we had our lunch besides the small lake and the atmosphere is surreal having such special moment having with the nature - appreciating the wonderful gifts from God! As soon as we finished filling our hungry stomachs, we started our journey and finally reached the foot of Slieve Binnian where the catchment areas for the water source of Northern Ireland take over the view, including the coastline of the Republic of Ireland. Tiny bits of hails struck our faces while ascending the peak!

I can not explain the feeling of being there - at the summit of the mountain watching the well-curved mountains of Mournes, including the icy tip of Slieve Donard, some of the uniformily laid-out stones - the Mournes Wall, the green spots of pine trees and the blue ocean below. It took us almost 2.5 hours to reach the top confronting our fears to be carried away by the freezing wind and not to mention the slippery sloping ground while descending the peak. Descending the icy peak of Slieve Binnian provided us another view of Mournes, where green fields and farms meet with the coastline, including the whistling sound coming from the wind passing through the gaps between the stones of the Mournes Wall.

For more images, visit this link: My world is getting smaller everyday!

Posted by eTRAVEL 09:11 Archived in Northern Ireland Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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