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Published: August 7th 2007
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 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).
Sightseeing Tour Dublin
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 commentary in 7
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languages (English, Spanish, Italian, German, Japanese and Russian). 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.
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 -
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 Mdern 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!
I will be featuring in my future journal the countryside and coastline areas of the Republic of Ireland like Donegall and Sligo and other neighbouring towns in the north of Ireland like Enniskillen, Portrush, Newry and many more.
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