Ireland’s National Theatre: Abbey Theatre (Amharclann na Mainistreach

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Denise Gough and Barry Ward in THE PLOUGH AND THE STARS by Sean O’Casey, directed by Wayne Jordan, on the Abbey stage 2010. Pic by Ros Kavanagh

Founded in 1903 by W.B. Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory, two of the central proponents of the literary revival movement of the twentieth century, the Abbey Theatre‘s history is rooted in the development of the Irish national identity. The movement sought to improve intellectual life in Ireland through the written word and the Abbey’s artistic mission developed in line with that principle, seeking to foster new Irish writers, artists and topics related to Irish society. In 1925, the theatre became the first ever state-subsidized theatre in the English speaking world and it continues to receive an annual grant from the Arts Council of Ireland today. The original building on Old Abbey Street was destroyed by fire in 1951 forcing the theatre to relocate to Queen’s Theatre until 1966 when it returned to a new building at is original location, where it continues to remain today. In addition to the rich, historic traditions of the Abbey, the theatre is worth a visit as it remains a mainstay of the Dublin arts and entertainment scene.

Evening performances on the Abbey stage start time at 7.30pm, Saturday matinee performances start at 2.00pm.

26 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin

Dublin, Ireland: The Ha’Penny Bridge

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Erected in 1816, you’re bound to come upon the Ha’Penny bridge during your visit to Dublin. The only existing pedestrian bridge over the River Liffey until the Millennium Bridge was constructed in 2000, the Ha’Penny bridge is made of decorative cast iron and was given its nickname as a result of the half penny toll that was required to cross the bridge up until 1919. Once across the bridge to Wellington Quay, you’ll come upon the Ha’Penny Bridge Inn, an old-style Dublin pub that retains as much character as its namesake. Reasonably priced pints and occasional live music in the upstairs.

Dublin: The Irish-Jewish Museum

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A collection from Ireland’s influential, yet little known, Jewish community. The museum maintains an interesting collection reflecting the mixed traditions of the Irish and Jewish cultures. Located in the former space of the Walworth Road Synagogue, the collection consists of memorabilia related to the last 150 years, including a full-size replica of a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony in the upstairs. Uniquely Irish-Jewish pieces of the collection include Hebrew labelled Guinness bottles, shamrock decorated kippahs and propaganda printed in Sinn Fein newsletters.

3/4 Walworth Road,
(Off Victoria Street)
South Circular Road,
Dublin 8

Dublin: Guinness Storehouse

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Definitely one of Dublin’s top tourist attractions, but you can’t hold that against it, the Guinness Storehouse is a must during any trip to the city. The tours through the storehouse are self-guided, so you can spend hours touring through the various exhibits or just head straight up to the Gravity Bar for your free (read-included in your admission price) Guinness. Arthur Guinness entered into a 9000-year lease for the St. James’s Gate Brewery at an annual rent of £45 (although at the time the brewery was only 4 acres and today is 64). The building housed the fermentation process until 1988 but is now broken down by floor to take you through both the history of the national drink and the brewing process. You will tour five floors before reaching the Gravity Bar, where you will not only get to enjoy a perfect pint, but unparalleled 360 degree views of the city.

Adult tickets are EUR 13.50, even during busy times, the storehouse is large enough to easily make your way through the tour (finding a seat at the Gravity Bar may be another story).

St. James Gate, Dublin