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Dublin, Ireland: “The fly in the amber”


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Ireland is unique - traveling to just a city is not enough – I encourage you to explore the entire country!  It is an amazing and most beautiful place – full of traditions and legends.

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Ireland is unique - traveling to just a city is not enough – I encourage you to explore the entire country!  It is an amazing and most beautiful place – full of traditions and legends.


Ireland has been referred to as “the fly in the amber,” due to the fact that it was separated and able to retain its historical traditions much longer than other countries of Europe.  From mystical fairytales which have their roots in the worship of nature to St. Patrick and the Book of Kells, written by Catholic monks, Ireland continues to express its uniqueness to the world and welcomes you to unlock its secrets!


The magic begins with a visit to the Cliffs of Moher  -  Ireland’s most visited natural attraction that captures the heart of millions of visitors every year.  702 feet at the highest point, it stretches for 5 miles along the Atlantic coast. 


Ireland is one of my most favorite countries and I shall begin our trip today with a focus on Dublin and the places which I particularly love to explore.


When visiting Dublin the very first thing you will notice are the many brightly colored doors from teal blue, purple, yellow to various shades of red!  There are two different stories behind this tradition!


 One is that after King Philip died, Queen Victoria ordered all doors of the British Empire to be painted black as a mark of mourning!  So typical of the Irish spirit, they rebelled and painted their doors bright colors instead!  The other rendition, which I love, is the women of Dublin were sick and tired of their drunken husbands going to the wrong house after a night at the local pub, so they painted their doors a unique color to help them find their way home at night!  Whatever the story, it truly adds to your enjoyment and a wonderful talking point with the locals!


1. The etiquette of Beer!  Yes, you may be surprised that there is a tradition on how to pour your beer – Guinness that is!  Technically there are two pours, allowing the bubbly to settle between pours!  A visit to St. James Guinness Brewery is a must for they have been producing dark stout since 1759!  I so enjoyed walking through the tour and learning about the history of Guinness, how it is made.   Visit the Guinness Storehouse full of gifts and paraphernalia!


2. National Gallery – permanent collection is free and guided tours are free on weekends!  As an avid lover of European art, I can spend days viewing all the masterpieces.  My favorite include:  Caravaggio’s, The Taking of Christ, Joshua Reynolds portraits, Claude Monet, Raphael, Goya & Greco, Picasso as well as Rembrandt and Vermeer.


3. The Book of Kells – the manuscript of the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text written on calfskin, is on display at Trinity College.  Tradition has it dating back to 800 AD, written by Columban monks.  It has been on display since the mid-19th century and attracts over 500,000 visitors annually! 


4. Christ Church Cathedral – Dublin City Center.  You cannot leave Dublin without a visit to Christ Church!  This summer they have a special historical tour, 1,000 year history of Dublin in one hour!  Not to be missed as you learn about the Viking and medieval influence!  This will enrich your visit to their famous medieval crypt; view the miraculous speaking cross and a piece from the crip of Jesus!  Also the mummified cat and mouse “Tom & Jerry” await your visit! 


In addition I strongly suggest if you have the time to visit many of the castles throughout the countryside!  Even Enya, my favorite Irish singer, lives in Manderley Castle in Killiney overlooking Dublin Bay – 9 miles south of Dublin!  As she has said often, “my home is my castle.”  Truly a literal translation!


In conclusion, I hope you will blow the dust off those old books you have sitting on the shelf – such famous Irish authors as James Joyce, W.B. Yeats and perhaps Oscar Wilde, and through their eyes on your visit to Ireland you will be able to capture the spirit of this great land and its people!


Happy Travels!


September 19, 2023

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