Aras An Uachtaráin (Aras an Uachtaráin, Phoenix Park, Dublin 8) – originally built during the mid-1700s, and used by the British Lord Lieutenant of Ireland during the 1870s, this is the current residence of the President of Ireland. This residence (which resembles the White House in Washington, D.C.), is often used to receive foreign heads of state and other dignitaries (such as U.S. Presidents John F. Kennedy, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Obama – who all have some Irish decent), Pope John Paul II, Spain’s King Juan Carlos and Queen Sophia, Princess Grace and Prince Rainier III of Monaco, among others.
Aras an Uachtaráin is open to the public only on Saturdays. Free admission tickets are issued at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre on the day. Group and/or advance booking is not permitted. Hours: 10.15am – 4 pm (Summer/Saturday only), 10:30 am – 3:30 pm (Winter/Saturday only).
Blanchardstown Centre (Blanchardstown, Dublin 15) – located in the northwest Dublin suburb of Blanchardstown, this shopping center has over 180 leading high street retailers, numerous cafes and restaurants, together with a Leisureplex, 9-screen cinema, Library and Draiocht Theatre – Blanchardstown Centre is an excellent destination for all the family. Four Anchor Department Stores – Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Penneys, Dunnes Stores.
Aviva Stadium (62 Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4) – this is the home of Irish Rugby and Football (its chief tenants being the Republic of Ireland football team, and the Irish rugby union team). This new stadium which opened in May 2010 is built on the grounds of the old Lansdowne Road Stadium, the oldest (1872) sporting stadium in the world.
Come and experience the “behind the scenes” tour of this magnificent stadium with your personal guide. Relive the history while absorbing the new stadium, a venue sure to add many new chapters to that history. Tour prices: €10 (adult), €7 (seniors/students), €5 (children). See the Aviva Stadium website for details on this and other tours: www.avivastadium.ie
Alchemy Club & Venue (Fleet Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2) – this nightspot is centrally located in the heart of the city’s entertainment quarter on Fleet Street (popular on Friday & Saturday evenings, as well as on “bank holiday Sunday evenings”. The club has already become known for the quality of the music played by its resident DJs – Graham Short and Rob C. The club has an energetic atmosphere and a friendly crowd.
Chapter One (18-19 Parnell Square, Northside, Dublin 1) – this restaurant, located in the basement level of the Dublin Writers Museum, serves a variety of Irish dishes (including some with French influences) from locally-sourced ingredients (whenever possible). Main dishes there range from Salt baked Irish beetroot with feta cheese mousse, caper sprout cream with pickled red onion and orange oil; to Mulloy’s smoked haddock with crab mayonnaise, rope mussels, pickled Atlantic seaweed and citrus dressing; and Aged fillet of Irish Hereford Beef cooked in smoked onion oil with parsley root, gratinated onion stuffed with braised cheek and buttermilk potatoes.
Aldborough House (Portland Row, Dublin 1) — built in 1796 by Edward Stratford, second Earl of Aldborough and Viscount Amiens, Aldborough House is amongst the most important surviving historic houses in Dublin. Located on Portland Row, it was the last great mansion to be built in Dublin city during the second half of the 18th century. It had since become a Feinaglian School, and afterwards a military barrack, branch of the General Post Office, the headquarters of IMRO (Irish Music Rights Organization), and then into the ownership of a number of private developers during the “Celtic Tiger” days of the 1990s.
The northwest European country of Ireland, which is just west of the island of Great Britain, traces its origins back to the prehistoric era (when Gaelic Ireland first existed – extending its time into the 17th century). British rule over the entire island of Ireland occurred in the early 1600s (with latter colonization of Northern Ireland by British settlers). By 1801, Ireland became a part of the United Kingdom, setting the stage for an eventual war of independence in the early 1900s. The outcome of that conflict created the Irish Free State (which included most of the country, except for Northern Ireland – which is still under British rule).
During World War II, Ireland was technically neutral. However, as many as 50,000 Irishmen volunteered to join the British forces to fight against Nazi Germany. Since Northern Ireland was still part of Britain, that part of the country was subject to German aerial bombings (especially Belfast).
Despite Ireland’s reputation for economic hardships (especially during the Irish Potato Famine of the 1840s – which resulted in massive migration to the USA and elsewhere), it experienced economic prosperity during the 1990s (earning it the nickname, “the Celtic Tiger”). In 1999, Ireland joined the Euro zone. However, the financial crisis of 2008-2009 put an end to the country’s boom years –with recession and high unemployment bedeviling the local economy ever since.
With Ireland struggling to bring back its “Celtic Tiger” days, the local government recognizes that tourism is crucial for the country’s economic recovery (and job creation). In 2011, tourism represented 6% of the country’s GDP (€9.1 billion). With Britons representing nearly half of the 6.2 million tourists that visited Ireland in 2012, Americans (833,000) were the second-largest group of foreigners that visited the country (a sizable number were actually Irish-Americans, coming from states like Massachusetts – home of famed American president, John F. Kennedy). Those visiting Ireland conduct a variety of activities – from exploring its natural attractions, to touring the country’s famed breweries (such as Guinness), as well as coming across stone sites from the country’s Celtic past.