Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Dublin's Fair City

I’m continuing to feature some of the places that appear in my soon to be published new novel ‘Irish Inheritance’ –and today we're visiting Dublin. Jenna and Guy first meet at Dublin airport, visit a lawyer on St. Stephen’s Green, and then spend the rest of the afternoon and evening together.

In such a short time, they don’t see a lot of Dublin, but they do go to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. The illuminated manuscript, considered to be Ireland’s finest national treasure, was created by Irish monks about 800 A.D. It contains the four Gospels in Latin, and is a wonderful example of medieval calligraphy and illumination.

On the way from Grafton Street (the main shopping street in Dublin), Jenna and Guy would have passed one of the city’s many statues. It’s unlikely that this one represents a real person (although some would argue differently) but she features in one of Ireland’s most well-known songs – ‘as she wheels her wheelbarrow, through streets broad and narrow, crying ‘Cockles and Mussels, alive, alive-oh’. Of course, it’s Molly Malone – or, as this statue is sometimes called, ‘The Tart with the Cart’.

They spent the evening in Temple Bar, known as Dublin’s ‘cultural quarter’, due to the photographic and artists’ studios in the area. However, it has become more of a tourist centre, regarded by the locals as having ‘ye olde Irish’ pretensions. There are plenty of bars and nightclubs in the area, as well as street performers and musicians.

On a later visit to Dublin, they crossed the River Liffey on Ha’penny Bridge, a cast iron footbridge which was built in 1816, and known originally as the Wellington Bridge (after the Duke of Wellington). Before the bridge was built, William Walsh operated seven ferries across the river. They were in bad condition, and Walsh was told either to repair them or build a bridge. He chose the latter, and was allowed to charge half a penny from anyone crossing the bridge. The toll was later increased to a one and a half pennies, but was finally dropped in 1919. Officially, the bridge is the Liffey Bridge, but is known to everyone as the Ha’penny Bridge.

What did Jenna and Guy miss seeing in Dublin? The list is probably endless, but here are some of the places I have visited in this wonderful city:

The Guinness Brewery, founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759, has an excellent exhibition (including a tasting experience!) and also one of the best views of Dublin from the Gravity Bar at the top of the building.

Kilmainham Gaol, built in 1796,  has held many famous people involved in the campaign for Irish Independence, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, some of whom were executed here. It has also been used as a location for several films, including The Italian Job.

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O’Connell Street is Dublin’s main thoroughfare, named after Daniel O’Connell, a nationalist leader in the early 19th century, whose statue stands at one end of the wide street. Part way along the street is the large Georgian General Post Office, which served as the headquarters of the 1916 Rising. Near the Post Office is the Spire, a stainless steel monument almost 400 feet high, erected in 2002-3, and sometimes referred to by Dubliners as ‘The Spike’ (or even ‘The Stiletto in the Ghetto').

This post would go on forever if I added all the other interesting places in Dublin. Maybe I’ll write about them in a later post.


  1. You brought back such lovely memories of my visit to Dublin some years ago and all the sites we managed to visit.

  2. Wonderful rundown of Dublin's highlights, Paula. I was there in October. Your post has me wanting to return already. Nicely done. Good luck with your story!

  3. Thanks, Carol and Pat. I'm always happy to bring back memories for you of this great city!