DAY 1: MEET YOUR CULTURAL HEROES
AM: Begin your Dublin story by exploring the various landmarks dedicated to Ireland’s literary stars. The Writers Museum, in a fittingly splendid Georgian mansion, is devoted to famous Irish wordsmiths. Browse your way through the poems, manuscripts and personal ephemera of Swift, Shaw, Sheridan, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce and Beckett.
Joyce fans are particularly in for a treat. Five minutes away from the museum is the James Joyce Centre. Belvedere College displays a copy of Joyce’s death mask and furniture from the house he lived in while working on Finnegan’s Wake. And pop into the charming Victorian emporium, Sweny’s Pharmacy. As well as performing readings from the author’s books, they sell the same lemon soap here that Joyce mentioned in Ulysses.
PM: Sit down for lunch in a nearby gastro pub such as, Davy Byrnes – the regular watering hole of Leopold Bloom in Ulysses. Then walk off your meal with a leisurely stroll through Merrion Square Park near Oscar Wilde’s home. Further on are the cobbled streets of Trinity College Dublin. Its Old Library building is where you’ll find the 800-year-old Book of Kells. Revered as Ireland’s finest national treasure, this early Latin Bible features the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts you’re ever likely to see.
While away the rest of the afternoon in the Dublin Castle where the Rivers Liffey and Poddle meet. Its name comes from ‘Dubh Linn‘, the Gaelic for ‘the Black Pool’ which used to be a lake in the present-day Castle garden. After a spot of refreshment in the Dubh Linn Castle Tearooms, make your way to the Medieval Undercroft, Chapel Royal and the State Apartments where magnificent presidential functions regularly take place.
A half hour drive out of Dublin will take you to the 12th century Malahide Castle. Guides will tell you all about the castle’s many secrets, scandals, lavishly furnished rooms and botanical gardens.
While there’s no underground system in Dublin, you can easily get in and around the city centre using the trams (LUAS), trains (DART) or taking the city buses.