Sailing The British Isles with Ed Buchholz on Cunard’s Queen Victoria | All About Dublin

Hosted Cruise – Cunard Queen Victoria – 12 Nights
June 7 – 19, 2020
British Isles

Port of Call – Dublin, Ireland – June 10

Dublin has been in the news since the 9th century, and while traces of its Viking past have been largely washed away, the city is a living museum of its history since then, with medieval castles and cathedrals on display alongside the architectural splendours of its 18th-century heyday, when Dublin was the most handsome Georgian city of the British Empire and a fine reflection of the aspirations of its most privileged citizens. How power was wrested from their hands is another story, and you’ll learn that one in its museums and on its walking tours.

The pub remains the alpha and omega of social interaction in Dublin. The city’s relationship with alcohol is complex and conflicted but, at its very best, the pub is the perfect social lubricant and one of the highlights of a visit to Dublin. Every Dubliner has their favourite haunt, from the never-changing traditional pub to whatever new opening is bringing in people. With more than 1000 of them spread about the city, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

For as long as it’s been around, Dublin has looked beyond Irish shores for inspiration. Once the second city of the (British) Empire, Dublin has always maintained a pretty cosmopolitan outlook and in the last three decades has conspicuously embraced diversity and multiculturalism. You’ll hear languages and eat foods from all four corners of the globe.

Top Attractions:

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Irish Pubs:  With over a thousand pubs in Dublin, it’s not hard to find one and you’ll enjoy the warm Irish hospitality.  A couple famous pubs include:

  • John Mulligan’s – This brilliant old boozer is a cultural institution, established in 1782 and in this location since 1854. A drink (or more) here is like attending liquid services at a most sacred, secular shrine. John F Kennedy paid his respects in 1945, when he joined the cast of regulars that seems barely to have changed since.
  • The Hairy Lemon Pub – Traditional Irish music, or trad, is one reason many people visit Ireland. And The Hairy Lemon Pubis certainly unconventional… you never know what you’ll find in this aptly-named green and yellow 19th-century house. One thing is for sure, The Hairy Lemon does the best Trad Sessions in Dublin! If you have never been to an Irish Trad Session, prepare yourself for an unusual experience, it can get pretty wild especially when the Guinness is flowing. The Hairy Lemon is also known for their traditional Irish food like Dublin Coddle, Cottage Pie and Irish Stew.

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Trinity College:  Created in 1592, Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university, hosting students such as author Bram Stoker, poet Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels.  The building has also been home to the ancient Book Of Kells since 1661. The Book of Kells Exhibition in Trinity College is a must-see in Dublin.  The Old Library houses 200,000 ancient books in beautiful oak bookcases, which is why J.K. Rowling used it as inspiration for Hogwarts in Harry Potter! The library is one of the most popular Instagram spots in Dublin too.

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Guiness Storehouse:  The most popular visit in town is this multimedia homage to Guinness in a converted grain storehouse that is part of the 26-hectare brewery. Across its seven floors you’ll discover everything about Guinness before getting to taste the brew in the top-floor Gravity Bar, with panoramic views. The floor directly below has a very good restaurant.

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Kilmainham Gaol:  If you have any desire to understand Irish history – especially the long-running resistance to British rule – then a visit to this former prison is an absolute must. A threatening grey building, built in 1796, it’s played a role in virtually every act of Ireland’s painful path to independence, and even today, despite closing in 1924, it still has the power to chill.

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral: Founded in 1191, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland, and the National Cathedral. It has been said this is where St. Patrick himself baptized Christian converts over 1500 years ago.  Unusually, St. Patrick’s isn’t the only Cathedral in Dublin. It’s a “two-cathedral” city, sharing the title with Christ Church Cathedral nearby. The writer Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, was once Dean of the cathedral. He’s buried there too.

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Glasnevin Cemetery: Built in 1832, Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery is surrounded by seven watchtowers which were home to armed guards. Ireland’s most famous cemetery was a key target for bodysnatchers!  It was also the final resting place for many historical figures like Michael Colins, a soldier and politician who played a key role in the struggle for Irish independence, Brendan Behan, Irish poet, novelist, and playwright who was imprisoned for IRA activity and Luke Kelly, vocalist in one of Ireland’s greatest bands, The Dubliners.  Nowadays, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum has vowed to tell the stories of over 1.5 million people, the people who helped to shape the Ireland of today. They also have the best tools for your family’s Irish genealogy search.

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There are many more wonderful sights to see in Dublin, including the Ha’Penny Bridge, Oscar Wilde Statue, Howth Cliff Walk, St, Michen Church Mummies and so much more.  This will be a magnificent port of call on this cruise!  Don’t miss out!


Ready to dive in and join this amazing sailing through the British Isles?  Reach out to the team at UNIGLOBE Carefree Travel Group in Saskatoon at 306-242-TRIP today!

The Emerald Isle With Stephanie – Part 3

The scenery in Ireland is some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. The past few days have consisted of scenic drives of the west coast. On the way from Limerick to Killarney, we start off with the Dingle Peninsula. This is the most stunning 46 km drive, and I highly recommend it if you are in the area. The coastline is unbelievable, with many spots to pull off for photo opportunities. You’ll want to give yourself up to 2 hours to complete the circle, especially if you want to take a lot of photos.

Dingle

Dingle Peninsula

The Ring of Kerry is the most well-known costal drive, and is longer than the Dingle Peninsula at 179 km in total. With stops for photos and snacks, this route will likely take you 4 or 5 hours from Killarney. If you can’t get enough of the jagged Irish coast, with crashing waves and green cliffs, be sure to take in both the Ring of Kerry and Dingle Peninsula.

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Blarney Castle

On our final days, as we make our way back up to Dublin before ending our journey, one of my favorite stops was Blarney Castle. The current castle dates back to 1446, though there are parts of the structure that date back to 1210. The Blarney Stone is located at the top of the castle, and you have the opportunity to hang upside down to kiss it. I opted not to, since it was wet and rainy. Since its still off season in Ireland, there were not a lot of crowds at the castle, which allowed me to get some fabulous photos inside and of the grounds. Some of the staircases are quiet narrow and steep, and often wet, so be sure to wear suitable shoes and go slowly.

The last day of the tour brought us back into Dublin, via the small town of Avoca. The Avoca Mill, which is Ireland’s oldest weaving mill, has been around since 1723. Though they haven’t been in production continuously since then, they are fully functioning today. The small staff of 18 produces beautiful hand and machine woven wool clothes, blankets and more. There is a shop on site of course, so you can treat yourself to a fabulous woolen piece for our chilly Saskatchewan winters.

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Avoca Mill

To finish everything off, Cosmos offers an optional excursion to Taylors Three Rock for a fun night of Irish Cabaret. You’ll be treated to a great 3 course meal, drinks, traditional Irish dance and folk singers. The hosts are fabulous, and have a great sense of humor. The venue is small and intimate, with every seat offering a good view of the stage. It’s a fabulous way to end the tour, with lots of laughs and good cheer.

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Irish Cabaret

It’s hard to believe my time in Ireland has come to an end. It feels like I have done so much, in such a small amount of time. I’ve made a complete circle of the island, and put on a lot of miles. I can’t wait until my adventures bring me back here again!

 

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The Emerald Isle With Stephanie – Part 2

I’m so glad this tour has included Northern Ireland.  Giant’s Causeway, and the whole northern coast, is not something to be missed. The stunningly beautiful landscape was formed from several volcanic eruptions, ranging from roughly 58 to 61 million years ago.  During your visit, there is an audio guide to go along with your walk, which tells you about the folklore of the giant Fionn MacCool and how he created the causeway. There are thousands of natural columns, and 3 different trails to hike. The views are spectacular, and the folklore makes it that much more interesting.

Gians Causway

Giant’s Causeway

After our visit, we make our way back into Ireland to Sligo via Derry and Donegal, both towns of which we get a quick stop for a bite to eat or cup of coffee, and a bit of time to walk the streets. There is a pub on every corner, and even more in between. You’ll never be far from a pint!

The next day is another full of stops and sights. Galway is the first pit stop mid-morning, giving us time for a snack and cup of coffee. Since its Sunday, most of the shops are still closed in the morning, so we don’t have much of an opportunity for shopping. The city is popular for tourists in the summer, as there are lots of festivals. There is also a great historical district with a pedestrian only area full of shops, restaurants and pubs. I’ll have to make a point of coming back here in the summer to experience the city to its fullest.

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Cliffs of Moher

The highlight of this leg of the journey is the Cliffs of Moher. Located about 90 minutes from Galway, the cliffs are a sight to behold! I heed a warning first; it is extremely windy here, and the weather changes on a dime (much like Saskatchewan). Within 30 minutes there was sun, wind, rain and snow. Dress in layers, and make sure everything is secure; ball caps will definitely be gone with the wind. Once you get past the hurricane force wind (at least it seemed so), the views are spectacular.

Cliffs of Moher

Cliffs of Moher

The cliffs are nearly 700 feet high, and have the beautiful ocean crashing along the bottom. If the wind hits just right, it will carry the mist all the way up the cliffs. You’ll end up with fabulous photos, and scenery that is second to none.

The day finishes up in Limerick, where there is an optional excursion available to Bunratty Castle for a night of medieval feasts and entertainment. I’ve opted to just stay at the hotel tonight, and enjoy dinner at a nearby pub. It was a pretty long day already, and I’m definitely ready for bed. Tomorrow brings another day filled with small towns and majestic scenery.

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The Emerald Isle With Stephanie – Part 1

Céad Míle Fáilte…..one hundred thousand welcomes! I’ve been in Ireland for a few days now, and feel right at home. Though it’s a familiar land, there is still a foreign uniqueness to it. The first thing you need to remember driving is opposite of home, which means looking right instead of left before crossing the street. Luckily many of the streets have a reminder right on the street at each of the crosswalks; I’m guessing one too many tourists stepped out into traffic at the wrong time.

GuinnessIn the few days I’ve been here, I feel like I’ve already done so much. The Guinness Storehouse is a great place to start, since Guinness has been a part of Dublin’s history since 1759. You’ll start with a self-guided tour through their history, and finish off with a pint of the good stuff at the Gravity Bar with 360 degree views of the city. Jameson.jpgFor the whiskey aficionados, a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery is not to be missed. The 40-minute guided tour will bring you through their family history, the highs and lows of the business, and of course includes a taste of the world renowned whiskey at the end. The best way to get around to all the sights is with a hop on-hop off bus pass. The 2 lines hit all the major sights, plus include some bonuses such as complimentary pints, and food discounts.

Another highlight has been Malahide Castle, located about 40 minutes from Dublin city center. This castle was owned by the Talbot family for more than 800 years, and they have occupied the land since the 12th century.

Malahide Castle

After the castle tour, I set off to start a 9 day tour with Cosmos Vacations that encompasses the island. The group has 41 people, and seems to be a good mix of ages. We’ve headed up to Belfast in Northern Ireland, where we’ve just wrapped up a city sightseeing tour and a trip to the Titanic Experience Belfast, which is located at the original construction sight of the ship. This is the world’s largest permanent Titanic exhibit, and I highly recommend a visit if you are a fan of the history.

Tomorrow we head up to Giant’s Causeway on our way back into Ireland, where we will end up in Sligo for the night. I still have a full week here ahead of me, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the country has in store.