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We're Off To Ireland

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WEEKEND GETAWAYS - Friday, March 16, 2007
Make The Most Of Your Vacation - From Coast to Coast!

Greetings Getaway Lover,

Since tomorrow is St. Patricks Day We're going to check
out Ireland. Just in case you're planning a Vacation to
Ireland in the near future...We'll give you a Heads Up
on what to expect....Enjoy!

Happy Trails,
Jan

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--DESTINATION: Dublin, Ireland

Ask any Dubliner what's happening and you may hear echoes
of one of W. B. Yeats's most-quoted lines: "All changed,
changed utterly." You can practically hear the roar as
this old city on the western shore of the Irish Sea trans-
forms itself into Western Europe's fastest-growing urban
tourist destination -- a center of new construction and
restoration.

Even though it has shown recent signs of slowing down,
"the Celtic Tiger" -- the nickname given to the roaring
Irish economy -- has turned Dublin into a boomtown.
Elegant shops and hotels, galleries, art-house cinemas,
coffeehouses, and a stunning variety of restaurants have
sprung up on almost every street in the capital.

Roughly half of the Irish Republic's population of 3.6
million people live in Dublin and its suburbs. It's a
city of young people -- astonishingly so. Students from
all over Ireland attend Trinity College and the city's
dozen other universities and colleges. On weekends,
their counterparts from Paris, London, and Rome fly in,
swelling the city's youthful contingent, crowding its
pubs and clubs to overflowing. After graduating, more
and more young people are sticking around rather than
emigrating to New York or London, filling the raft of
new jobs set up by multinational corporations and
contributing to the hubbub that's evident everywhere.

All this development has not been without growing pains.
With London-like house prices, increased crime, and
major traffic problems, Dubliners are at last suffering
the woes so familiar to city dwellers around the world.
An influx of immigrants has caused resentment among
some of the otherwise famously hospitable Irish. "Me
darlin' Dublin's dead and gone," so goes the old
traditional ballad, but the rebirth, at times difficult
and a little messy, has been a spectacular success. And
enough of the old Dublin remains to enchant. After all,
it's the fundamentals -- museums with astonishing works,
lovely parks, the Georgian elegance of Merrion Square,
the Norman drama of Christ Church Cathedral, a foamy
pint at one of Dublin's 1,000-odd pubs -- that still
gratify.

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--WHAT TO DO AND SEE:

Anglican parish church
Religious Site, Monkstown

John Semple, the architect of Monkstown's Anglican parish
church, built in 1833, was inspired by two entirely dif-
ferent styles, the Gothic and the Moorish, which he join-
ed into an unlikely hybrid of towers and turrets. The
church, which is in the town's main square, is only open
during Sunday services.


The Chimney
Viewpoint, Dublin West

Just in front of the Chief O'Neill Hotel stands one of
the original brick chimneys, built in 1895, of the Old
Jameson Distillery, which has been turned into a 185-
foot-tall observation tower with the first 360-degree
view of Dublin. The redbrick chimney now has a two-tier,
glass-enclosed platform at the top. The trip aloft in
the glass elevator is just as thrilling as the view
from the platform. www.chiefoneills.com. COST: EUR5.
OPEN: Daily 10-5:30.

Address: Smithfield Village, Dublin, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Phone: 01/817-3820


Custom House
Government Building, Northside

Seen at its best reflected in the waters of the Liffey
during the short interval when the high tide is on the
turn, the Custom House is the city's most spectacular
Georgian building. Extending 375 feet on the north side
of the river, this is the work of James Gandon, an
English architect who arrived in Ireland in 1781, when
the building's construction commenced (it continued for
10 years). Crafted from gleaming Portland stone, the
central portico is linked by arcades to pavilions at
either end. A statue of Commerce tops the copper dome,
whose puny circumference, unfortunately, is out of
proportion to the rest of the building. Statues on the
main facade are based on allegorical themes. Note the
exquisitely carved lions and unicorns supporting the
arms of Ireland at the far ends of the facade. After
Republicans set fire to the building in 1921, it was
completely restored and reconstructed to house govern-
ment offices. A visitor center traces the building's
history and significance, and the life of Gandon.
www.visitdublin.com. COST: EUR1. OPEN: Mid-Mar.-Oct.,
weekdays 10-12:30, weekends 2-5; Nov.-mid-Mar., Wed.-
Fri. 10-12:30, Sun. 2-5.

Address: Custom House Quay, Dublin, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Phone: 01/888-2538

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Other Places of Interest:

Dublin Castle
Castle/Palace, Dublin West

Neil Jordan's film Michael Collins captured Dublin
Castle's near indomitable status well: seat and symbol
of the British rule of Ireland for more than seven
centuries, the castle figured largely in Ireland's tur-
bulent history early in the 20th century. It's now
mainly used for Irish and EU governmental purposes. The
sprawling Great Courtyard is the reputed site of the
Black Pool (Dubh Linn, pronounced dove-lin) from which
Dublin got its name. In the Lower Castle Yard, the
Record Tower, the earliest of several towers on the
site, is the largest remaining relic of the original
Norman buildings, built by King John between 1208 and
1220. The clock tower building now houses the Chester
Beatty Library. Guided tours are available of the
principal State Apartments (on the southern side of the
Upper Castle Yard), formerly the residence of the
English viceroys and now used by the president of
Ireland to host visiting heads of state and EU ministers.
The State Apartments are lavishly furnished with rich
Donegal carpets and illuminated by Waterford glass
chandeliers. The largest and most impressive of these
chambers, St. Patrick's Hall, with its gilt pillars and
painted ceiling, is used for the inauguration of Irish
presidents. The Round Drawing Room, in Bermingham Tower,
dates from 1411 and was rebuilt in 1777; numerous Irish
leaders were imprisoned in the tower from the 16th
century to the early 20th century. The blue oval Wedg-
wood Room contains Chippendale chairs and a marble
fireplace. The Castle Vaults now hold an elegant little
patisserie and bistro.

Carved oak panels and stained glass depicting viceroys'
coats of arms grace the interior of the Church of the
Holy Trinity (formerly called Chapel Royal), on the
castle grounds. The church was designed in 1814 by
Francis Johnston, who also designed the original General
Post Office building on O'Connell Street. Once you're
inside, look up -- you'll see an elaborate array of fan
vaults on the ceiling. More than 100 carved heads adorn
the walls outside: among them, St. Peter and Jonathan
Swift preside over the north door, St. Patrick and Brian
Boru over the east.

One-hour guided tours of the castle are available every
half hour, but the rooms are closed when in official use,
so call ahead. The easiest way into the castle is through
the Cork Hill Gate, just west of City Hall.
www.dublincastle.ie. COST: State Apartments EUR4.50,
including tour. OPEN: Weekdays 10-5, weekends 2-5.

Address: Castle St., Dublin, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Phone: 01/677-7129

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--WHERE TO SLEEP:

Bewleys at Newlands Cross
Under EUR80, Dublin West

Cheap and cheerful would best sum up this four-story
hotel on the southwest outskirts of the city. It's
ideal if you're planning to head out of the city early
(especially to points in the southwest and west) and
don't want to deal with morning traffic. The hotel is
emulating the formula popularized by Jurys Inns, in
which rooms -- here each has a double bed, a single bed,
and a sofa bed -- are a flat rate for up to three adults
or two adults and two children. www.bewleyshotels.com.
258 rooms. In-room: no a/c. In-hotel: restaurant,
parking (no fee), no-smoking rooms. AE, MC, V.

Address: Newlands Cross at Naas Rd., Dublin, Co. Dublin
22, Ireland
Phone: 01/464-0140
Fax: 01/464-0900


Clifden Guesthouse
Under EUR80 to EUR130, Northside

The Gardiner Street area deservedly gets some bad press,
as it's home to a host of cheap, poor-quality guesthouses.
But there are a few diamonds in the rough, and the Clifden,
although still certainly a bargain, is a cut above the
rest. The Georgian building has been stylishly refurbished,
and the rooms are huge, with simple furnishings and wonder-
fully tall, period windows. O'Connell Street is only a
five-minute walk away. As an added bonus, you can park
here free even after you have checked out.
www.clifdenhouse.com. 15 rooms. In-room: no a/c. In-hotel:
parking (no fee), no-smoking rooms. MC, V. Full breakfast.

Address: 32 Gardiner Pl., Dublin, Co. Dublin 1, Ireland
Phone: 01/874-6364
Fax: 01/874-6122


The Clarence
Over EUR230, Temple Bar

If coolness is contagious you definitely want a room at
Temple Bar's most prestigious hotel. You might well bump
into celebrity friends of co-owners Bono and the Edge of
U2. Dating to 1852, the grand old hotel was given a total,
no-expense-spared overhaul by its new owners in the early
1990s. The unique shapes and Arts and Crafts style of the
old hotel were maintained in the Octagon Bar and the
sleekly fabulous Tea Room Restaurant. Guest rooms are
decorated in a mishmash of earth tones accented with deep
purple, gold, cardinal red, and royal blue. With the
exception of those in the penthouse suite, rooms are small.
The laissez-faire service seems to take its cue from the
minimalist style, so if you like to be pampered, stay else-
where. www.theclarence.ie. 43 rooms, 5 suites. In-room:
dial-up. In-hotel: restaurant, bar, laundry service, park-
ing (no fee), no-smoking rooms, minibar. AE, DC, MC, V.

Address: 6-8 Wellington Quay, Dublin, Co. Dublin 2,
Ireland
Phone: 01/407-0800
Fax: 01/407-0820

--WHERE TO DINE:

Bad Ass Café
American, Under EUR10 to EUR24, Temple Bar

If you want to make a Dublin native wince, mention with
excitement that Sinéad O'Connor used to wait tables at
this lively café in a converted warehouse between the
Central Bank and Ha'penny Bridge. (A "Rock 'n Stroll"
tour plaque notes O'Connor's past here.) Old-fashioned
cash shuttles whiz around the ceiling of the barnlike
space, with bare floors and primary colors inside and
out. You can indulge in some great people-watching
behind the wall of glass here. The food -- mainly
pizzas and burgers -- is unexceptional, but the Bad
Ass can be a lot of fun and appetites of all ages love
it. www.badasscafe.com. AE, MC, V.

Address: 9-11 Crown Alley, Dublin, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Phone: 01/671-2596


Ar Vicoletto
Italian, EUR10 to EUR30, Temple Bar

Learn Italian for free! Simply book a table and eaves-
drop on the people next to you at this cheerful eatery
where members of Dublin's Italian community congregate
in the evenings to enjoy authentic Roman cuisine and
lament the Irish weather. Specialties include melanzane
parmigiani, a delicious dish of baked eggplant and
cheese, and the excellent cream-based pastas, such as
spaghetti Alfredo and carbonara. Beware of finishing
the meal with too many flaming sambucas (anise-flavor,
semisweet Italian liqueurs). The best table, by the
window, overlooks the street. AE, DC, MC, V.

Address: 5 Crow St., Dublin, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Phone: 01/670-8662


Burdock's
Irish, Under EUR10, Dublin West

Old man Burdock has moved on and the place hasn't been
the same since. But the hordes still join the inevitable
queue at Dublin's famous take-out fish-and-chips shop,
right next door to the Lord Edward pub. You can eat in
the gardens of St. Patrick's Cathedral, a five-minute
walk away. No credit cards.

Address: 2 Werburgh St., Dublin, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Phone: 01/454-0306


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newsletter have been selected by our editors. Apart from
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links presented here are paid promotions for any company
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(c)2007 NextEraMedia. All rights reserved.

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