RISMEDIA, March 16, 2007- St. Patrick's Day is celebrated spiritedly around the world, but no city celebrates quite like Dublin, Ireland. The official celebration for the holiday, the Festival, lasts five days and nights. The streets of Dublin, on Ireland's east coast, are glittered with music, performances, carnivals, comedians, dancers, etc. Established by the Government of Ireland in 1995, the Festival brings the Irish people together in celebration of their talents and achievements, attributing every age and social background. The event draws more than 4,000 performers and 1 million people. So whether you are Irish-or just wish you were-Dublin is Ireland's must-see for the Festival or a visit to a historic getaway.
1) Trinity College and Library Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity College dominates the city landscape. Most of the impressive buildings were built during the renovation phase of 1759. Trinity College Library is home to more than 1 million books and manuscripts, the most famous being the "Book of Kells."
2) O'Connell Street and the General Post Office O'Connell Street are Dublin's main traffic artery and the widest urban street in Europe. The center is dominated by statues and monuments, the houses are mainly large and impressive. Pride of place goes to the General Post Office (GPO), scene of the 1916 rebellion and faithfully rebuilt after being shelled by artillery and a warship.
3) National Museums The National Museum of Archa-eology and History on Kildare Street is dedicated to prehistoric and medieval Ireland. The National Museum of Decorative Arts and History in Collins Barracks houses an eclectic collection including the uniform Michael Collins was shot in and an exhibition on the Easter Rising.
4) St Patrick's Cathedral
Ireland's largest church and the National Cathedral-conferred on a church where no bishop actually has his throne. Founded in 1191 by Archbishop Comyn, the building was substantially renovated between 1844 and 1869 with moneys granted and raised by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness. Visitors will find a neo-gothic cathedral with some older parts. Here, you will also see the graves of Dean Swift (of "Gulliver" fame) and his beloved Stella.
5) Temple Bar
On good days, you will meet street artists and enjoy international cuisine and bustling pubs. On bad days, the area will be overrun by parties on "stag" or "hen nights." Temple Bar can be very much of a mixed bag and has been commercially developed to the max-the "bohemian" aspect being facade to a large degree.
6) National Gallery
Ireland's National Gallery is a "must see" for anyone interested in Irish and European art. Opened in 1864, it has approximately 500 major works of art on display-among them Hogarth, Gainsborough, Poussin, Monet, Degas, El Greco, Velasquez, Goya, Picasso, Titian, Caravaggio, Brueghel, Vermeer and Rubens. Especially strong on Irish artists and Irish portraits the National Gallery has recently been expanded by the "Millennium Wing."
7) Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Jail or Gaol is one of Europe's most notorious prisons and has been preserved in working order. In Irish history, Kilmainham Gaol comes only second to the GPO. Today's tours tend to highlight this aspect more than anything else, making the prison more a republican shrine and not a piece of Irish general social history.
8) Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle is the "Irish Stew" of castles, everything thrown in in bits and pieces. The original Viking fortress was expanded, renovated, torn down and rebuilt over the centuries. Today, a massive tower and the Royal Chapel look medieval while all administrative buildings are in more modern styles. The defensive character is gone but the beautiful gardens and impressive state rooms more than make up for it.
9) Phoenix Park
From the magnificent residences of the Irish President and the Ambassador of the United States to the quaint cricket and polo fields, from Ashtown Castle to the Garda Headquarters and from the herds of deer roaming free to the animals in Dublin Zoo. Martial history is emphasized by the massive Wellington Monument and the much-raided Magazine Fort on Thomas Hill.
10) Guinness Storehouse
Nowhere is Guinness more the center of attention than in the Guinness Storehouse. Based at historic St James's Gate, this is part of the original brewery. The exhibitions include the brewing process, the Guinness transportation system and a pipeline much maligned by thirsty but thrifty Dubliners. Highlight of the tour is a "free" pint in the stunning Gravity-Bar, high above Dublin's rooftops.
Sláinte! (Pronounced "slahn-cha," means Cheers! in Irish)