Dublin Day Trips
Glendalough © Jeremy Rebelka
GlendaloughLocated just south of Dublin, Glendalough is a very popular destination for day-trippers. Although it gets busy, the site has a very tangible spirituality that can be experienced whilst standing amidst the remains of the monastic settlement. The Gaelic name translates to 'valley of the two lakes' and there are beautiful walks around the ruined monastery and along the clear-as-glass lakes. St Kevin founded the monastery in the 6th century and it became a great European centre for learning. His body lies in the 9th century cathedral. The site is adorned with St Kevin's Cross, carved in about 1150. Other buildings here have survived from the 8th and 12th centuries, the most famous of which is the round tower, standing 112ft (34m) high with a base measuring 52ft (16m) in circumference. Glendalough is a remarkable place both in its profound history and its natural splendour. Photographers will be in heaven with the scenery and the romantic ruins. All told, the place fires up the imagination.
Address: 18 miles (30km) south of Dublin; Website: www.glendalough.ie; Telephone: +353 404 45325; Opening time: Visitor Centre opening hours: Mid-October to mid-March: 9.30am-5pm Mid-March to Mid October: 9.30am-6pm; Admission: Adults €5.00, Children and Students: €3.00. Concessions available.
James Joyce Museum © William Murphy
James Joyce MuseumLocated nine miles (14km) south of Dublin, the Martello Tower is one of 34 towers built in 1804 to protect Ireland against a possible Napoleonic naval invasion. The tower was demilitarised in the 1860s and is now home to the James Joyce Museum. Sylvia Beach, the Paris-based publisher of Ulysses, founded the museum in 1962. It was the place where Joyce stayed in 1904 and where he was inspired to set the opening chapter of his famous book. The exhibition hall contains first editions of most of Joyce's works as well as other interesting memorabilia, including one of the two official death masks made of Joyce, and reproductions of how the rooms would have looked when Joyce wrote the book. This is essentially a museum for Joyce fans, and it will delight lovers of Ulysses in particular. Those who are not in the know may not be overly captivated. Having said that, everybody who visits will be astounded by the lovely views and picturesque setting of the tower, and many find the historical structure interesting in its own right. The museum is now run by volunteers who are wonderfully friendly and enthusiastic. There is no charge for admission but donations are welcome.
Address: Sandycove Point, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin; Website: http://www.joycetower.ie/; Telephone: +353 85 1982218; Transport: DART to Sandycove, or bus 59 from Dun Laoghaire; Opening time: Summer: 10am-6pm Winter: 10am-4pm; Admission: Free
Clonmacnoise © Steven Isaacson
ClonmacnoiseClonmacnoise is Ireland's most important monastic site, and it's situated in Shannonbridge, west of Dublin in County Offaly. It was founded by Saint Ciaran in the 6th-century, on the banks of the River Shannon. It includes the ruins of a cathedral, eight churches (10th to 13th-century), two round towers, and three high crosses. The site is extremely atmospheric, with some beautiful ancient stonework, and it provides the visitor with a real sense of what monasteries must have been like in their day. Everything still feels authentic and the spirit of the place has been preserved. The Visitor Centre displays a large collection of grave slabs, hosts numerous exhibitions and provides further interest with an audio-visual show. It is a good idea to start with a browse around the museum to get some historical context before exploring the ruins, many of which are remarkably intact. There is lots to see and explore and Clonmacnoise offers some really glorious photographic opportunities. Although it is ideal to visit in good weather, as the whole site is worth exploring, the ancient monastery can ignite the imagination despite mist and drizzle. As this is a very popular attraction, visitors may experience queues during the summer months.
Address: Clonmacnoise, Shannonbridge, Athlone, County Offaly. ; Telephone: +353 90 9674195; Opening time: November to mid-March: 10am-5.30pm Mid-March to mid-May: 10am-6pm June to August: 9am-6.30pm September to October: 10am-6p; Admission: Adults €8, Children and Students €4. Concessions available.
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