Baile Átha Cliath … loads of free atmosphere!

No. 10 Dublin
Once No.1 – so what has happen with Dublin???? It has gone fare too expensive and busy – have lost quite a bit of it’s friendliness, but still the atmosphere is free and there is loads of it.
Founded as a Viking settlement, it evolved into the Kingdom of Dublin and became the island’s principal city following the Norman invasion. All ready in the 17th century Dublin became the second largest city in the British Empire. Today the urban population is 1,045,769.

Came to Dublin the first time March-91 … to stay for nearly a year. Hundred after hundred of daffodils in full bloom welcomed me along the road from the airport to the city. Amazing view and the first reason why I fell madly in love with the city and island. Stayed out in Dun Loagharie – about 30 min with the Dart (green commuter train) from city center. A beautiful place that has a Mediterranean feeling with palm trees, seafront promande and sandy beach. For 6 months I stayed at the prestige’s Royal Marine Hotel – gave me plenty time to find my own Dublin.

Dublin has really developed and become a modern cosmopolitan city with so much history – a big city with bright light – banking has always been big in the city – today massive companies like Microsoft, Google, Amazon, eBay, PayPal, Yahoo! & Facebook – have their European HQ in Dublin.

So what does my Dublin continue of; loads – but this are my favorites.
1. Afternoon tea at The Westbury Hotel
2. Shopping on Henry Street
3. Visiting Brown Thomas, to have a look around
4. Chicken wings and a burger at “Elephant & Castle”
5. Trinity Collage
6. Guinness Store House
7. The Kitchen
8. Post Office
9. Stephen’s Green
10. Dinner at “La Stampa” – today “Balzac”

Let’s work the list;
1. The Westbury Hotel serves afternoon tea at The Gallery– a traditional hotel just behind the famous Grafton Street. It’s just for the stress free surrounding, because Dublin is stressful – find it more stressful then London, and delicious finger sandwiches.
Westbury Hotel,
Balfe Street/Grafton Street
Dublin2, Ireland
Phone; +353 (0) 1 679 1122
http://westburyhoteldublin.org/
2. Henry Street, was the poor relative to the Grafton Street once – today it’s have new shopping centre’s and fashionable shops. Arnott, the department store has got a massive face lift.Also the flower and fruit market is on one for the side streets, Moore St – a must.1991 Grafton St had all exclusive Irish shops, but through the years the British shops has taken over.
3. Brown Thomas the most exclusive shopping in town and on Grafton Str – once much smaller with a beautiful stair case in the foyer. Has moved across the street and left the stair case to Mark & Spencer’s. Fantastic shop for looking, great lunch salad and to pick up ideas. Nothing comes cheap at Brown Thomas.

4. “Elephant & Castle” was the first restaurant I ever visit in Dublin and I have been coming back every time I visit. Famous for their chicken wings, omelets and burgers. Queue to get in for lunch – been busy-busy so long as I have gone there. Located in the popular entertainment area, Temple Bar.
“Elephant & Castle”
18 Temple Bar Dublin 2.
Phone: +353 (0)1 679 3121.
http://www.elephantandcastle.ie

5. Trinity Collage – was founded 1592 – and the first university in Great Britain and was modeled on Cambridge university. You can walk into Trinity at any time and have a look at the area and buildings, although going inside and seeing the Books of Kells is only aloud at certain times. A university with world class reputation.
(text; http://en.wikipedia.org) – The Book of Kells is the most famous, and one of the finest of a group of manuscripts in what is known as the Insular style, produced from the late 6th through the early 9th centuries in monasteries in.
6. Guinness Storehouse, has become Irelands No.1 tourist attractions. Guinness, the nearly black dry stout – that I dare to call the most famous beer in the world. Sorry, Budweiser.
Located at St. James’s Gate Brewery and opened in 2000. So much to see and take part in – 7 floors. Guinness well know for their high quality merchandises. The Gravity Bar gives the most stunning view over Dublin. Also they serve wholesome food in the Brewer’s Dinning Hall and with a view into a working kitchen.
Guinness Storehouse,
St. James’s Gate Brewery,
Dublin,
http://www.guinness-storehouse.com           

                                                                                                    

7. The Kitchen – U2’s fashionable nightclub and one of the best in town.
The Kitchen has won three awards at the Smirnoff Dance Awards, including the prestigious “Best Venue” award. Muzik Magazine was recently quoted as saying that the Kitchen is “The best nightclub in the world at the moment.” It speaks for itself.
The Clarence Hotel,
East Essex Street,
Dublin 2, Ireland
Phonel: 086-0450084
http://www.thekitchennightclub.com/
8. General Post Office – the most famous building in the city on O’Connell St – completed 1818.
Has a massive part in the history of Ireland. It was here during the Easter Rising of 1916 it served as the headquarters of the uprising’s leaders. The assault by the British forces extensively damaged the building and it was not repaired until the Irish Free State government took up the task some years later. An original copy of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic is on display in the An Post museum at the GPO. It’s an impressive building with old post office features inside. It’s also had big part in the condolences for the Omagh bombing’s victims in 1996. Flowers where left outside the building and taken to Omagh every night. One of the bouquets where mine.
9. Stephen’s Green is really two things for me – a beautiful park surrounded by magnificent Georgian buildings with the famous Dublin doors, became a park in 1663  – and it’s the Stephen’s Greens beautiful shopping arcade/centre … both just in the top of Grafton Street. Always do both every time I’m in town.
10. “Balzac” / La Stampa – an expensive and very special restaurant – now also a boutique hotel.
Because the restaurant is in graded building and – it’s in a narrow but long townhouse – is it short of daylight – that is all solved with massive mirrors along the walls with large stunning candleholders with candles in front. Refurbished and with a new name. Gone Italian to Paris brassiere. Mirrors and candleholders still there.
Balzac
35-36 Dawson Street
Dublin 2, Irland
Phone: 01 677 4444
http://www.lastampa.ie

Dublin will always be very special to me – it was all mine for so many years – until I met Belfast. It’s exciting to come back and own it all over again … time after time.’It’s a bit with Dublin and me – like the son of  Dublin, Oscar Wilde, once said it.

“A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.”
Oscar Wilde

Photos provived by; guinness.stockhouse.com / turzigot.blogspot.com / vanni – trekearth.com / buddyguitar.com / keith levin – worldofstock.com / britannica.com / molly-malone.at / nycarparking.com / dublinrocks.com/ skyscanner.net / architecturelinked.com / gypsytravels – vitrualtourist.com / vitrualvisit-dublin.com / 123movie.info / go.ireland.about.com / dublinimagelibary.com / lonelyplanet.com / flickrhive@mind.net /photounion.com

only do rabbit chasers

Old Head Golf course, Kinsale, Rep. of Ireland

#2 – on my gems list – Kinsale, Rep. of Ireland

This is going to be a lot of writing about a very small place – a hidden gem – on the greenest island in the world.
Kinsale with a population of 2300 – a beautiful little fishing town in bold colours and full of stunning scenery surrounding it. 30 min drive from Cork. This little town has over 100 establishments for drinks and food and every year in October they hold Kinsale Gourmet Festival, festival that you can buy tickets to and eat the most fantastic food for 3 days for €230 this year. Now the town has a new cookery school. It’s said that Kinsale is the Food Mecca of Ireland and I agree. Been there during  festival once about 11 years ago. Have visit Kinsale 3 times in total and I missed it before leaving it every time. It’s a treasure. Then the Irish friendliness everywhere on top of it.

3 golf courses nearby .. the most famous is Old Head – on a small peninsula and extremely windy up there. The Clubhouse you can hardly see, because it’s built in with the rocks and dunes. A stunning view. Don’t play golf – have tried but it has only come to “rabbit chasers” – not able to concentrate enough.

Kinsale is nestles in with hills and ocean – small narrow streets with colourful houses – never fare from the the water. A town that have changed very little during 100 of years. A very charming and pretty town and it has become a very popular with tourists. Came to Kinsale the first time in 1991 when I lived outside Dublin.
A medieval town and in 1601 a battle between a combined Spanish, an Irish force and English armies, was a turning point in Irish history.

Kinsale has also a famous English school. Hard to find a nicer spot to learn English at.

Kinsale is twinned with:
Newport, USA
Mumbles, Wales/UK
Portofino, Italy
Antibes, France

So where to stay and where to eat – endless choices but I will recommend my favourites.
Great Pillows in Kinsale – text from http://kinsale.ie – but I stayed on all 3.
Blindgate House
€€€
Blindgate, Kinsale, Co. Cork
Tel: 477 7858 Fax: 477 7868
http://www.blindgatehouse.com
Overlooking the town, this four star luxury guesthouse combines traditional Irish hospitality with modern facilities and imaginative cuisine for the discerning traveller. All en-suite bedrooms have TV, telephone, fax and modem connections. Private parking, six minutes walk from town centre. Amex accepted. We have a non-smoking policy throughout the house. Closed December – March.

Blue Haven Hotel
€€€
3/4 Pearse Street, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
Tel: 477 2209 Fax: 477 4268
http://www.bluehavenkinsale.com
Award winning Boutique-style hotel situated in the heart of the beautiful Kinsale. Famous for it’s excellent food, service and style, the Blue Haven has an array of dining options to choose from, our cosy café, the Blue Haven Café, to our stylish newly refurbished Bar and Bistro, to our elegant Restaurant. Our menus feature a combination of Irish Cuisine with an international twist, with particular attention to fresh seafood from our local shores. Our now famous Blue Haven seafood chowder is always prominent on our menus. The Blue Haven prides itself in delivering the ultimate in friendly and efficient service in a stylish yet relaxed environment.

Old Presbyery Bed & Breakfast
€€ – €€€
Address: 43 Cork Street, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
Tel: 021 477 2027 Fax: 477 2166
http://www.oldpres.com
Five star Georgian townhouse with Victorian brass beds and antique furniture. Spacious rooms, some with jacuzzi and balcony. Quiet location. Recommended by all major guides. Private car park.

Fantastic waterholes – text from http://kinsale.ie – all 3 tried by me and excellent.
Fishy Fishy Café
€€ @
Crowleys Quay,
Kinsale
021 4700415
http://www.fishyfishy.ie/
Seafood only – all locally caught fish served in a casual, friendly atmosphere.

Man Friday
€€€ @
Scilly, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
Tel: 021 477 2260
http://www.manfridaykinsale.ie
Kinsale’s oldest and most famous restaurant with consistently excellent cuisine and friendly service.

Bulman
€€
Summercove, Kinsale, Co. Cork, Ireland
Tel: 021 477 2131 Fax: 021 477 3359
http://www.thebulman.ie
Bar Food served daily 12.30 to 4.30
Owner run bar serving bar food which specialises in seafood
“Best Gastro Pub in Cork” 2010
”Toddies Restaurant” upstairs open Tuesday to Sunday from 6 p.m.

So for your body and soul – if you are going to Ireland add a couple of days extra and visit Kinsale – one of the pretties and friendliest places on earth.

photos provided by; m.golfweek.com – falling-coconut.tumblr.com – kinsaleireland.com – kinsale.ie – westcorktours.ie