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Ireland – greenery, dairy and the land of Guinness
From:
Ajay Kaul, Author Mumbai Matinee Ajay Kaul, Author Mumbai Matinee
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Diego , CA
Monday, July 09, 2018

 

The first thing that stands out when you land in Dublin, Ireland, is the rows of colorful shops and restaurants with pots of flowers hanging from the top. It feels like a picture straight out of a travel journal. Then you notice a lot of hamburger joints and pubs and you realize you’re in the land of Guinness – one of the most successful brands of beer, worldwide. While the rest of Ireland shuts down by 7 PM, the pubs come alive, just around that time.

Dublin airport is not designed to be grand – it is functional and operationally efficient – the passage past immigration is quick and in a short amount of time you’re out, ready to get to your place of lodging. The  Airlink Express bus service is an economical way of getting to central Dublin, from the airport – set schedule and set stops.

River Liffey runs across Dublin and supplies most of the water to the city. About 21 bridges from the James Joyce Bridge to the Samuel Beckett Bridge connect the northern and southern halves of the city. The Samuel Beckett Bridge is one of the recently built bridges and stands out because of its unique harp shape – a tribute to the Guinness logo,

Dub_Liffey_C
Dublin – River Liffey

O’Connell Street is one of the busier streets in Dublin and is lined with colorful shops, hamburger joints and Pubs. It appears a little littered at times and on evenings, one can see a mini-truck sweeping out the trash along the pedestrian walkway. The trees dotting the pedestrian walkways are laid out such that their branches overlap, creating a green umbrella of shade – this is a very pleasing sight across Dublin.

St. Stephen’s Green is just a few paces down from O’Connell Street – it’s a well laid out park with flower islands, lakes and jogging tracks. The park was first opened to public in 1880 and among various busts dotting the park, is a statue of Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore – this was a reciprocal gesture for a street in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi that was named after former Irish President, Eamon De Valera, in 2007. Besides the greenery and the colorful flowers that are a highlight of the park, the lakes are home to ducks, swans and pelicans. This is the ideal location for quiet relaxation or just an intense morning/evening jog.  

Grafton Street connects St. Stephens Green to Trinity College. Grafton Street is an elegant high end shopping area in Dublin – meandering through the street window shopping, is a relaxing experience.

You end up at the entrance to Trinity College at the end of Grafton Street. The entry is free, but if you want to see the famous Book of Kells at the library, you need to purchase a ticket. Founded in 1592, Trinity College is one of the 7 ancient Universities of Britain and Ireland. The alumni include Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Erwin Schrodinger, Jonathan Swift, Ernest TS Walton and the current Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar. The Trinity College Campus is massive and you come across lush green fields, various labs and several sculptures – the ‘Sphere within Sphere’ bronze sculpture by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, opposite the Berkley Library and the ‘Splitting the Atom’ sculpture honoring physicist Ernest TS Walton are the notable ones.

No trip to Ireland is complete without a visit to the Cliffs of Moher. You travel from Dublin towards the west coast of Ireland. The Cliffs are in county Clare. The Cliffs run for about 14 km at the southern end with a max height of 120 m (390 ft) above the Atlantic Ocean and 8 km at the northern end, with a max height of 214 m (702 ft). The O’Brien’s Tower a round stone tower is located at the northern end of the Cliffs. The rain was heavy on the day of our visit – so visibility was a challenge. The cliffs still looked majestic in the mist. The heavy rain made the lush green Irish countryside stand out, making our drive through the day, full of soothing landscapes.

The lush green Irish landscape covering parts of three counties, Limerick, Tipperary and Cork, is considered the best land in Ireland for dairy farming and as a result, is aptly named, the Golden Vale. You pass by herds and herds of cows relaxing in the rain. Ireland’s dairy industry processes approximately 7 billion liters of milk annually, supplied by 18,000 family farms. Irish dairy is exported to 155+ markets world-wide.

As you keep driving along the wild Atlantic way, you come across the Burren – a region of environmental interest dominated by glaciated karst landscape of bedrock incorporating a vast cracked pavement of glacial-era limestone, with cliffs and caves, fossils, rock formations and archaeological sites. This is aptly described as a strange lunar landscape.

We drive past the Burren towards the town of Galway and we continue to witness verdant landscapes, the scenic Galway Bay and some beautiful views of the ocean. Our guide is full of stories about the Irish origin of a lot of English terms and phrases like “daylight robbery.", “lynching." and “crossing the threshold.." In fact, Galway is home to the Lynch Castle – this majestic building stands as testimony to Galway’s splendid medieval past – it was home to one of the most powerful families in Galway.

Galway is a quaint town with great shopping and eating experiences – you could sit in a street corner and get inspired watching the crowds meander by. The world famous Aran sweater, known for the quality of its stitching and design is one of the Irish products you can buy in Galway – the prices are reasonable and shipping is free!

The lush green landscapes, the Burren, the food and colorful cities make Ireland one of the great places in Europe, to visit, besides the ubiquitous pubs of course.

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