Ireland, probably Dublin

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sfuqua
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Ireland, probably Dublin

Postby sfuqua » Mon May 16, 2016 12:55 am

For random distant family reasons, it looks like I will be in Ireland for about a week this summer. While DNA testing shows that I am about 30% "Irish", there is zero family tradition. What can I do in Ireland? I suppose my Spanish, Tagalog, and Samoan won't get much of a workout there. I would appreciate any advice, even if it is advice about what to read before I go. I've just started to do my basic reading.
Bars?
Bookstores?
Stuff a guy from California would never think of?
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Re: Ireland, probably Dublin

Postby IronMike » Mon May 16, 2016 1:43 am

When I went to Ireland, there were a couple of Andean musical groups touring Dublin and surroundings, so your Spanish can be used there.

And I'm dying to know how you can be 30% Irish. How does that math work? ;)
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Re: Ireland, probably Dublin

Postby galaxyrocker » Mon May 16, 2016 3:28 am

Spanish definitely can be useful, and I wouldn't be surprised if the others were, especially in Dublin. That said, I suggest you get out of Dublin and visit other towns. The Cliffs of Moher are truly a spectacular sight, regardless of the weather. The town of Doolin is also right beside it, and it hasn't earned its reputation as the Mecca of Irish traditional music for no reason!

I personally also suggest visiting Galway, especially if you're there during the summer. It's a very artsy town, and I feel you get a more 'authentic' feel of Ireland there (or anywhere outside Dublin, really). You're also only a short boatride away from the Aran Islands, one of the most spectacular locations in Ireland.

If you wish to stay in/near Dublin, there is a relatively famous pub, O'Neill's, that does live Irish 'trad'. But the trad here is definitely not the same trad you'll get in Doolin; it's more along the lines of the lyrical works of the Dubliners and such. And Galway Girl will likely be played at least once. It's also part of the pub crawl most hostels offer, but it's still a nice place to listen to some music and get some food.

Another pub is the Brazen Head. It's the oldest pub in Ireland, and, when I was last there, even had a story nights and such, which were interesting. It's also said to be haunted by the ghost of the Irish revolutionary Robert Emmet (known for his famous self-given eulogy) One thing you must do at any pub you go to is drink the Guinness, though. It's got a much better taste than it ever can in the States.

And speaking of Guinness, there is both the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Distillery which are open for tours. Both are quite interesting to see, and you can even pour your own pint at the Storehouse.

Trinity College is also a place you need to visit. It is a beautiful campus and its library is famous for being one of the most beautiful libraries in the world. And the Book of Kells is housed there, so there's a possibility you can see it (sadly, I don't know the rules as I went as a guest of a student when I saw it). There's also Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains right outside Dublin. It's the area where St. Kevin lived, and where he famously kept his arm outstretched for the blackbird. It's got breathtaking scenery, and is an absolutely wonderful location, especially if you're there on a clear day. A walk down Grafton street is a must too.

And, if you don't mind reading, you could try reading The Dubliners or Ulysses beforehand and visiting some of the places mentioned in them to see how it's changed. There's also a "viking tour' that goes through Dublin. It gets kinda annoying to the locals, but it's great craic for those on the tour! Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison turned museum that has a lot of connection to Irish history; could be interesting.

You can also visit Newgrange, which is in close proximity to Dublin; it's a neolithic tomb that is pretty famous. And, while out there, you can visit the Hill of Tara, which is where the High King of Ireland was traditionally crowned. Also outside Dublin there's Waterford Crystal, which I believe offers tours as well. Could be something interesting. Killarney is also an amazing place to visit, as is the entire Dingle peninsula. If you go to Killarney, make sure to visit the Killarney National Park; the Muckross House and the surrounding areas are some of the most beautiful landscape in the country.

There's some famous bookstores, but you really won't find anything in them outside the ordinary, as far as I can recall.
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Re: Ireland, probably Dublin

Postby jeff_lindqvist » Mon May 16, 2016 8:54 am

In Dublin: Trinity College (guided tour for ~€10), National Gallery (impressive art collections), National History Museum (a.k.a. The Dead Zoo), National Museum (archaeology) - all these are close to each other, although you probably don't want to rush through them in just one day. Chester Beatty Library and Collins Barracks are well worth a visit. Don't miss the chips at Leo Burdock's (the shop in Christchurch is close to Chester Beatty and St Patrick's Cathedral).

Did I say that all museums (except the guided tour) are free of charge? :)

Music sessions: Hughes' (near the Four Courts) and Cobblestone (near Jameson's Distillery).
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Re: Ireland, probably Dublin

Postby Montmorency » Mon May 16, 2016 10:42 am

galaxyrocker wrote:
There's also Glendalough in the Wicklow mountains right outside Dublin. It's the area where St. Kevin lived, and where he famously kept his arm outstretched for the blackbird. It's got breathtaking scenery, and is an absolutely wonderful location, especially if you're there on a clear day.


! :-) That's where my maternal great-grandparents came from. I have never been there though, I must confess.
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Re: Ireland, probably Dublin

Postby Josquin » Mon May 16, 2016 12:10 pm

Additionally to what's been said before, you should definitely see St Patrick's Cathedral, which is situated next to a beautiful park, and the James Joyce Centre (especially if you read Dubliners or Ulysses beforehand). You should also visit St Stephen's Green near Grafton Street and the Garden of Remembrance near Parnell Square. Both are beautiful parks, the latter being a memorial for the men and women who died for Irish independence.

When I was in Dublin three years ago, I was looking for some foreign language bookstores as well, but to my amazement all stores I could find on Google had been closed. I ended up buying a copy of Learning Irish and a book about Irish history at Chapters Bookstore on Parnell Street. They definitely didn't have anything out of the ordinary, especially for language afficionados, but it was a good, big bookstore nevertheless.

By the way, if you want to prepare for Ireland language-wise, you can always learn a handful of Irish (Gaelic). It wouldn't be of much use to you in Dublin, but if you actually went to Galway, you could visit the Gaeltacht area where Irish is still spoken on a daily basis. In Dublin, however, there are institutions like Conradh na Gaeilge or Gaelchultúr who support the study of Irish with publications and meet ups.

Generally speaking, the Irish have a, let's say, interesting relationship to their traditional language, so it's totally up to you if you want to open that kettle of fish. It's a very beautiful and rewarding language nevertheless, IMHO.
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Re: Ireland, probably Dublin

Postby sfuqua » Tue May 24, 2016 8:39 pm

Thanks for all the good advice; I've been ruining my super challenge reading books in English and I've learned a lot. I did some digging in my DNA results, and because of some very good luck with the results of other people that are very distant cousins, I realize that my mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother's mother was from County Clare, Ireland.

As for how I'm a third Irish, my Irish ancestors are mainly back fromcolonial Virginia. The number of ancestors you have each generation doubles, so 2, 4,8,16,32,64,128,256,512, and so on. If about a third of these ancestors came from Ireland, you're about a third Irish. Because of the way DNA works it's not exactly that simple, but it's pretty close. Just by looking at DNA, it's difficult to tell the Irish and the English apart, so I might be 60% Irish, although the surname data in our family's records have more English than Irish surnames.

Edited to fix a dumb misstatement :-)
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Re: Ireland, probably Dublin

Postby sfuqua » Sun Aug 14, 2016 2:57 am

Well I spent a couple of weeks in Dublin. I loved it. I'm not sure exactly why I enjoyed it so much, but I did. Dublin, the connection to history, literature, and great beer, well I just loved it.
I found a cool bookstore, with a bunch of things on Irish history, literature and culture, about a block from Trinity College. I heard rumors of other good bookstores, but never made it there. I looked at the Book of Kells, I touched rock laid by Vikings in the foundation of Dublin Castle
I just sat in various cathedrals and stared into space. I rode the tour bus around Dublin, listened to tour, and then did long walks from place to place just looking around. I talked to people in pubs; I read books in pubs.
Dublin is about my speed.

I still have the rest of Ireland to explore.

I'm going back next summer, at least for a couple of weeks....
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Re: Ireland, probably Dublin

Postby desitrader » Sun Aug 14, 2016 3:39 am

Just enjoy their great hospitality. The Irish are without doubt the friendliest people on earth.
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Re: Ireland, probably Dublin

Postby garyb » Mon Aug 15, 2016 9:52 am

I spent a weekend in Dublin a few years ago. I heard Spanish (and French) everywhere. There seemed to be a lot of mainland Europeans there, both tourists and residents. Anyway I was a bit underwhelmed by the city, but maybe I just didn't visit the right places. I was mostly around the touristy area (Temple Bar) which is fun but maybe not the most authentic part.
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