Ireland: Cultural & Culinary Highlights

Apr 15, 2015

Dublin

Ireland enthralls: it’s why it’s a common place to come back to over the years. For more experience travelers who have seen the biggest sites, we suggest these places on a return visit.

Love to read? Got extra time in Dublin? Try these stops:

  • Audio Tour at Writers Museum: Gripping a larger-than-life cell phone-esque device, wander the many rooms and floors for a self-guided tour of some of Ireland’s literary greats. One favorite aspect will be seeing the actual items belonging to the writers. Did you know Bram Stoker was Irish?
  • Yeats exhibit at National Library of Ireland: Home to more than 8 million items, the NLI is free and well worth a stop. Hosting temporary and permanent exhibits, one favorite was the one for the well-known poet, William Butler Yeats. This exhibition focused on his life and his close associations with much original material, included a personal photo album to flip through.
  • James Joyce Center: Housed in a townhouse from the 18th century, the facility hosts permanent and rotating exhibits, educational talks, outreach programs and seasonal events.
Memorable meals in Dublin
  • Splurge: Dinner at Rustic Stone. Prices are not outrageous but with a menu full of options, the desire to order more than one course is hard to resist. Our deal experts loved the Iced Cucumber Soup with Frozen Avocado -- the frozen avocado is presented in a dish and the cold cucumber soup is poured on top tableside. Portion sizes are fairly small, perfect for tastes and shares.
  • Steal: Breakfast at Hansel and Gretel. Wander into this bakery and use just a handful of change to pick up a fresh scone with homemade raspberry jam.
  • Splurge: Prosecco and cheese plate at the Four Seasons Lobby Lounge. This is the perfect place to sample Ireland’s delicious dairy products with five cheese selections washed down with a glass of Prosecco. Even though it cost more than the average meal in Dublin, it’s well worth it.
  • Steal: A traditional meal at Leo Burdock’s. Nosh on a local favorite, fish and chips, at the famous restaurant. It’s become such an institution there are now three locations in the city.
Galway: The Warm City of the West

Perhaps not as well-known as Dublin, but without good reason, this charming city is easily walkable and dotted with cobblestone streets, bookstores and farm-to-table restaurants. The City of Tribes warmly welcomes visitors and has plenty sights to be remembered:

  • Ard Bia at Nimmo’s, located in a two-story cottage by the Spanish Arch (an original extension of a wall that protected the city’s quays), offers up unique, local cuisine with dishes like wild rabbit stew
  • Right in the middle of town is Eyre Square, a park easily identifiable and known for its unique iron sculpture and fountain
  • William and Shop streets -- from sweets to top fashion, here is where to shop in Galway
  • Salt Hill, just over the River Corrib, has an array of pubs, including a well-stocked craft-beer joint named Salthouse
  • Bookshops, like 25-year mainstay Charlie Byrne’s, deserve a perusal and perhaps a purchase of some prose by an Irish great like W.B. Yeats
  • Moran’s Oyster Cottage, visited by the likes of Anthony Bourdain, is less than a half-hour drive from the city, steeped in 250 years of tradition and shells out some of the best oysters in the country

Galway Bay

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