Hotspot Dublin, Ireland

March 15, 2009|By Liz Atwood

Everyone and every place is Irish on St. Patrick's Day, but to experience the authentic Ireland all year-round, you need to visit Dublin. The Irish capital, home to James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and U2's Bono, began more than 1,000 years ago as a Viking village. Today, it is a diverse city in the heart of a metropolitan area of more than 1 million people. Here are five places not to miss on a visit to the Emerald Isle's largest city:


Dublin Castle : Here on a ridge at the junction of the River Liffey and its tributary Poddle, Dublin was born. The city is named after a black pool that was where the castle garden is today. Visitors can see a portion of a Viking fortress that once stood on the site.


Book of Kells : Considered Ireland's most important national treasure, the beautiful illuminated Latin manuscript contains the four gospels transcribed by Celtic monks about A.D. 800. Today the book is housed in the Trinity College library.


Christ Church Cathedral : Dublin's oldest building is the mother church of the dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough in the Church of Ireland. The cathedral was founded in 1030 by Sitriuc, king of the Dublin Norsemen. An exhibition at the church reflects 1,000 years of history, architecture and worship in Ireland.


St. Stephen's Green : Probably Ireland's best-known Victorian public park, this 9-hectare refuge from the city bustle has tree-lined walks, shrubberies, colorful flower beds and an ornamental lake. There are lunchtime concerts in the summer.


The Old Jameson Distillery : No visit to Dublin would be complete without a closer inspection of its famous Irish whiskey. The Old Jameson Distillery shows you how three simple ingredients - water, barley and yeast - are transformed into the smooth golden spirit. Visitors are rewarded with a Jameson signature drink at the end of the tour.

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