The Emerald Isle – Dublin

Ireland is a small country with a big personality. Its rolling green hills, dramatic coastline, rich history, and friendly people make it an ideal destination for travelers looking for a unique experience. In this series, I’ll recap my nearly weeklong journey with Sceptre Vacations, as we travelled through Dublin, Kilkenny, Killarney, Adare, Limerick, and County Offaly.

Our tour started in the capital city of Dublin. Dublin is a bustling, vibrant city with a rich cultural and literary history. It is very walkable, and a stroll through the city center will take you past some of the most famous landmarks in the city, including Trinity College, Temple Bar District, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Guinness Storehouse.

At Trinity College, we had the opportunity to tour an exhibit about the Book of Kells, and even see the famous book in the treasury. Printed on vellum circa 348AD, the Book of Kells illustrates the four gospels of the New Testament, and is believed to be the oldest book in the world. Photographs were not allowed of the original, but there is a facsimile in the library. The exhibit details how the book was made, the importance of symbolism in the illustrations, and the extensive preservation methods employed.

From Trinity College, we journeyed to Dublin Castle, via Temple Bar District. This colorful neighborhood dates back to the 17th century, and is a hub of activity and entertainment, with its many bars, restaurants, and street performers. Temple Bar had a bit of a wait, so we popped into a nearby pub for a traditional lunch of Irish stew.

Dublin Castle’s striking façade features a combination of medieval and Georgian architecture, with a large central courtyard that is surrounded by imposing stone walls. The castle’s history dates back to the 13th century when it was originally built as a fortress by King John of England. Today, visitors to the castle can explore the State Apartments, which are decorated with ornate furnishings and artwork that reflect the castle’s royal heritage. The castle also houses a number of museums and galleries, including the Chester Beatty Library and the Revenue Museum, which provide fascinating insights into Ireland’s cultural and political history.

Next we were off to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland. The cathedral, which dates back to the 12th century, is a magnificent example of Gothic architecture, with its soaring spires, intricate stonework, and beautiful stained-glass windows. The interior of the cathedral is equally impressive, with a grand nave, ornate chapels, and stunning altar pieces. Visitors to the cathedral can also explore its many historical artifacts and monuments, including the tomb of Jonathan Swift, the author of “Gulliver’s Travels,” who served as Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the 18th century. The cathedral is also home to a vibrant choir and a busy calendar of events, including concerts, lectures, and religious services.

Then we were off to the Guinness Storehouse. Located in the heart of the historic St. James’s Gate Brewery, the Storehouse is a seven-story building that offers visitors a fascinating insight into the history and production of Ireland’s most famous beer. The highlight of the visit is the Gravity Bar, located on the seventh floor, which offers stunning panoramic views of Dublin’s skyline and a complimentary pint of Guinness. The Storehouse also features a range of interactive exhibits, including a virtual brewing experience and a tasting room where visitors can sample a variety of different Guinness beers. The building itself is an architectural masterpiece, with its glass atrium and iconic pint-shaped exterior that is visible from miles around.

Not a bad day considering I had a red eye flight and hit the ground running on zero sleep. The evening ended early with a room service fish-and-chips dinner that was to die for!

Make sure to check back for more! And a Happy St. Paddy’s Day to ya! ☘️

The Emerald Isle – Dublin / The Emerald Isle – Kilkenny / The Emerald Isle – Kenmare and Killarney

The Emerald Isle – Killarney, Adare, and Limerick / The Emerald Isle – County Offlay

As a full-service travel agent, I would love to be of assistance to you. I am passionate about what I do and pour that energy into crafting perfectly planned itineraries for you. Email to learn more.

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