Galway, Ireland

Galway, Ireland

Galway  –  Is an artsy, university town with a lot of young people in the city. This is a good city for walking because of the stores. The city is scattered with canals and bridges giving it an air of Amsterdam. Plenty of things to see, I would recommend seeing the Spanish Arches. Beside the arch is the Galway City Museum with free admission to see Churach, Irish skin boat, exhibits. Galway Cathedral has large public parking space. If you want to ferry to Aran Islands there is a station beside the Spanish Arch.

Newgrange

Newgrange

Newgrange – If you have time for only one sight to see in Ireland, this is what you must see. Newgrange is a burial caves built by the Neolithic people. It is slightly older than the Stone Henge infact, this is also called the wood henge because there were originally columns built out of wood.  This cave took a few hundred years to build only to be used for less than one hundred years and the interesting thing is it is only used twice a year for fifteen minutes during the Solstice. It was designed to face the Horizon such that during a solstice, the cave will illuminate until the sun moves out. No traces of burn marks have been found in the cave meaning the Neolithic people never used torches for light. It took so many years for them to build because different stones were used from different parts of Ireland. The construction can be equated to the construction of the pyramids.

Poulnabourne Dolmen

Poulnabourne Dolmen and limestones

Poulnabourne Dolmen – A five thousand year old portal tomb stone table surrounded by pavements of stone. The stone is just like any other stone but the ancient limestone bedrock is definitely a sight to see. It’s almost like a miniature grand canyon.

Hills of Tara

Hills of Tara

Hills of Tara – This is a sacred place in Irish history. A lot of things have happened here, laws were passed, burials, parties and lot of folklore and stories written about it. At 900 ft. it gives a magnificent view of Ireland. It went into decline as Christianity was adapted. Since most structures on the hills were built of wood, you’ll only see a mound, church and a small cave. The view of the city is pretty good.

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin – Dublin is one of the nice cities for walking. Grafton street is a pedestrian street with good shopping. It’s close to Trinity college where “The Book of Kells” is displayed. At the end of Grafton street is St. Stephen’s Green park. North of Grafton street is Temple Bar area, another walking street.  This is a great place for pub hopping and watching plays. On weekends there are street fairs particularly by Rory Gallagher Corner. Temple bar connects to Henry Street, another great pedestrian shopping street. Intersecting Henry Street and O Connell street you will see “The Spire”. A modern monument. O’ Connell Street is where you can take the bus to the airport.  There is also a Viking/Midevil area where the City Hall and Dublin Castle is located. I would recommend taking a free Irish walking tour. You only have to tip the guides. The guides do a fantastic job of explaining Irish history with a lot of humor. Of course there is the Guinness tour. Admission includes a free Guinness. The Guinness in Ireland is definitely much better then what they sell in the U.S. It’s taste like chocolate milk over there. North of the Guinness Factory is The National Museum with free admissions to their exhibits.

Belfast, Northern Ireland – Local bus from Dublin to Belfast takes around three hours and cost 15 Euros.  It’s a great way to see the country side. Belfast is part of the United Kingdom so currency used is the Pounds. Different banks print their own money and it’s accepted anywhere in the country. However, not all currency printed in Northern Ireland are accepted in England. Only the money with the Queen of England can be used anywhere in the United Kingdom.

Due to the conflict between catholic and Protestant in the past, many tourists try to avoid visiting Northern Ireland. The city is actually pretty safe. You will see a lot of Murals on the walls. A famous one is the Solidarity wall. It’s a wall of a flour mill and the murals here changes over time because I saw one with Barak Obama’s portrait. This wall is along Falls Road. Walk further north and you’ll see the Sinn Fein Headquarter with a mural of Bobby Sands, a famous hungerstriker. Further north is Milltown cemetery where other IRA’s volunteers are buried including Bobby Sands.

Queens University is a good place for a stroll. There is a good park, and a tropical forest green house.

Giant's Causeway

Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

If you made it all the way to Belfast, you definitely should see the Giant’s Causeway. It’s a World Heritage Site. Natural hexagonal rock formation formed naturally millions of years ago along the coast. Same geological formation are found in Scotland hence came the familiar Irish Folklore about Finn MacCool and Benandonner. Also check out the famous Rope Bridge. If you don’t walk on the bridge, just looking at the cliffs and waves is quite a sight.