An Irish Glossary

  • 01 of 22

    Irish Glossary – A

    An Irish Glossary

    Amrhann na Fiann – originally a popular “rebel song”, that later became the Irish national anthem by default. The original text was written in English as “The Soldiers' Song”, the Irish version is a translation.

    Angelus – a Catholic devotion starting with the words “Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ” and traditionally recited three times daily, at 6 am, at noon, and again at 6 pm. The Angelus is usually accompanied by the ringing of the Angelus bell. Since 1950 RTÉ transmitted the Angelus bell daily at noon and 6 pm on radio and television, a recording of the bell of St. Mary's Pro-Cathedral in Dublin is used. On a related note – Angelus was also the original “vampire name” of Angel in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” (and the spin-off “Angel”), who in life was an Irishman called Liam.

    Anglican Communion – originally the Catholic Church in England under the sole patronage of King Henry VIII, who broke away from Rome in 1531 mainly for personal reasons (his infatuation with Anne Boleyn and the pope's refusal to grant a divorce). Churches that see themselves as part of the “Anglican Communion” do still adhere to many Catholic traditions, but are under the patronage of the Englich monarch. In Ireland, this is the Church of Ireland (CoI).

    Anglo-Celt – local newspaper published in County Cavan since 1846, the name aims to include both communities in the border county. News coverage in the weekly paper is very parochial, for a sample see the Anglo-Celt website.

    Anglo-Irish War – a guerilla war waged between 1919 and 1921, the issue was the independence of Ireland, hence this conflict is known better as the “War of Independence” in Ireland. It ended with “the Treaty” and the partition of Ireland.

    Anglo-Normans – a blanket term for the invading forces of Strongbow, which began their conquest of Ireland in 1169. They were of Norman descent, but had already been settled in England and Wales for some decades. Later it became a blanket term for any non-Irish that adhered to “English” ways.

    Anti-Treaty Forces – Republican troops in the Civil War, fighting against “Free-Staters” and opposing the partition of Ireland. Often also known under the blanket term of the Irish Republican Army.

    Antrim – county in the province of Ulster, part of Northern Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Antrim.

    Apprentice Boys – The original Protestant defenders of Derry, who slammed the town gates shut when Jacobite forces approached in 1688. With a shout of “No Surrender!”, a common slogan of unionists and loyalists in Northern Ireland even today.

    Armagh – county in the province of Ulster, part of Northern Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Armagh.

    Assembly – often used as a shortened version of the Northern Ireland Assembly, the parliament of Northern Ireland, meeting in Stormont.

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  • 02 of 22

    Irish Glossary – B

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Bandit Country – a common name for South Armagh, christened in this unusual way due to the high level of uncontrollable illegal (mostly paramilitary) activity during the Troubles. This tradition is still being upheld by organised crime gangs (often former paramilitaries), these days engaging in activities like smuggling and fuel laundering..

    Battle of the Boyne – the only battle of the Williamite Wars in which both kings were present, with King William III fighting his passage over the Boyne at Oldbridge, and King James II failing to hold his position (and then fleeing head over heels) As a comprehensive article on the Battle of the Boyne explains, it was not a decisive battle at all – and, apart from being fought on Irish soil, it had not a lot to do with Ireland either.

    Belfast – capital of Northern Ireland.

    Belfast Agreement – the Belfast Agreement (or Good Friday Agreement) was the most important political development during the Peace Process in Northern Ireland during the 1990s. The constitutional status of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom is based on the agreement. At the same time, Northern Ireland's devolved system of government is established in the Belfast Agreement. For more, see our dedicated article on the Belfast Agreement.

    Belfast Blitz – German air raids on the capital of Northern Ireland (and home of important shipyards) during the Second World War (also known as “the Emergency” further south) became collectively known. Originally the term referred to two devastating attacks on Belfast by Luftwaffe bombers in April and May 1941. Find out more in this comprehensive article on the Belfast Blitz.

    Big Fellow – common nickname for Michael Collins, both referring to his standing within the republican community and his burly physique. In contrast, his opponent de Valera was called “the long fellow”.

    Bloody Sunday (1920) – a massacre of civilians that took place on a Sunday, when British forces shot into the crowds at Croke Park (Dublin) during an anti-terrorist operation.

    Bloody Sunday (1972) – a massacre of unarmed civilians by British paratroopers in Derry, when the soldiers opened fire on a crowd of demonstrators. In common parlance, this is the Bloody Sunday that is nearly always referred to when the term is used.

    Bloomsday – the 16th of June, which sees strange goings-on in Dublin every year. With mostly elderly gentlemen and ladies in decidedly old-fashioned garb tramping through town and reciting literature that has often been deemed unreadable (or pornographic). These people are celebrating Bloomsday. The day on which James Joyce had his fictional character Leopold Bloom criss-crossing Dublin in “Ulysses”. Find out more about Dublin's Bloomsday here …

    Blueshirts – descriptive term for a fringe political group, that identified itself by wearing a military-inspired uniform with blue shirts, similar to the German fascist “brown shirts” or Mussolini's black variety or sartorial politicizing. The official name of the grouping was the “Army Comrades Association”, later rather grandiosely renamed as the “National Guard”. During the 1930s this group was actively promoting fascist ideas and ideals, many members later fighting with Franco's troops in the Spanish Civil War. Politically the group later merged with others into Fine Gael.

    Border, the – the border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, established after the partition of Ireland. Cross-border travel in Ireland still has a lot of myths surrounding it, but most of the preconceived ideas about travelling from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland are misconceptions. Today you can easily cross and re-cross the border, without controls – but you may inadvertently break a law or two.

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  • 03 of 22

    Irish Glossary – C

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Carlow – county in the province of Leinster, part of the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Carlow.

    Cavan – county in the province of Ulster, part of the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Cavan.

    Ceann Comhairle – literally the “chief of the council”, the chairperson of the Dail Eireann, named by the largest party and automatically deemed re-elected.

    Celtic Cross – the typical Irish (and Scottish) cross, the arms of which are connected by a circle. In its most spectacular form, the Celtic cross can be a high cross or a scripture cross.

    Celtic Football Club – a football (soccer) club in Glasgow (Scotland), founded by Brother Walfrid from Ballymote (County Sligo), and initially catering for the Irish (and Roman-Catholic) immigrant community in the second city of the Empire, Celtic Glasgow is still regarded as an “Irish” (and “Catholic”) football club by many, not the least by arch rivals Glasgow Rangers.

    Celtic Tiger – the boom period of the 1990s and 2000s. For more information, please read the comprehensive article on the Celtic Tiger.

    Celtic Tiger Cubs – children that grew up in the Celtic Tiger period, with a strong sense of entitlement. For more information, please read the comprehensive article on the Celtic Tiger Cubs.

    Church of Ireland – this former state church is part of the Anglican Communion, a Catholic church that does not recognise the pope as its superior.

    CIRA – see Continuity Irish Republican Army below.

    Civil War – also called “Irish Civil War” outside of Ireland, was the armed confrontation between the official Free State forces and Anti-Treaty Republicans between 1922 to 1923. It ended with a victory of the Irish Free State.

    Clare – county in the province of Munster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Clare.

    Clonycavan Man – one of the most famous bog bodies ever found in Ireland, renowned for his extravagant hairstyle. Today this (alleged) chieftain, called Clonycavan Man after the area he was found in, resides in the National Museum of Ireland in Kildare Street, Dublin.

    Continuity Irish Republican Army (CIRA) – the Continuity Irish Republican Army, also called CIRA or the “Continuity IRA”, is a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army, formed in the 1980s. For more information, please read the comprehensive article on the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

    Cork – county in the province of Munster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Cork.

    County – the traditional sub-division of the four provinces of Ireland ran to 32 counties, of which today 26 are in the Republic of Ireland, with the partition leaving the other six in Northern Ireland (often also called “the Siix Counties”). While most counties still have a definite administrative role, this has been broken up in Dublin (which consists of the City of Dublin, plus the counties of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, Fingal and South Dublin), as well as in Northern Ireland (where the local government was re-organised in council areas).

    Croppies – common name for the rebels during the 1798 events – so called after the closely cropped hair they were said to sport. The singular is croppy. The name lives on in the Croppies' Acre in Dublin, the site of a mass grave. For a good overview of the rebellion, a visit to the 1798 Centre in Enniscorthy is recommended.

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  • 04 of 22

    Irish Glossary – D

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2015

    Dail Éireann – literally the “assembly of Ireland”, the elected Irish parliament (for the Republic of Ireland), sitting in Leinster House (Dublin).

    Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) – one of the largest parties in Northern Ireland, sworn to defend the union with Great Britain; most prominent members were/are the Rev. Dr. Ian Paisley as well as Peter and Iris Robinson. For further information, see the official Democratic Unionist Party website.

    Derry – county in the province of Ulster, part of Northern Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Derry. Note that the name “Londonderry” is only used in loyalist or unionist circles.

    Dev – short form of the name of revolutionary and politician Eamon de Valera, also called the Long Fellow.

    Diaspora – short for the “Irish Diaspora”, a term coined to encompass all those with Irish roots, worldwide.

    Direct Rule – also sometimes known as “Rule from Westminster” or “Westminster Rule”, was the term used for the administration of Northern Ireland directly from Westminster – as a short term for the seat of the government of the United Kingdom in London (the Houses of Parliament are in the Palace of Westminster). For more information, see this article explaining the Direct Rule from Westminster.

    Donegal – county in the province of Ulster, part of the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Donegal.

    Down – county in the province of Ulster, part of Northern Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Down.

    DUP – see Democratic Unionist Party (above).

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  • 05 of 22

    Irish Glossary – E

    An Irish Glossary

    Easter 1916 – normally referring to the Easter Rising, see below.

    Easter Rising – the ill-fated armed insurrection of 1916 – for more detail see the main article on the Easter Rising of 1916.

    EEA – the European Economic Area, see below.

    Éire – official Irish name of the Republic of Ireland, simply meaning “Ireland”.

    Emergency – “the Emergency” is more commonly known as the Second World War (1939 to 1945), during which period neutral Ireland simply declared a “state of emergency”, “for the duration”.

    EU – see European Union below.

    Euro – the currency in the Eurozone (see below), also the currency in the Republic of Ireland. 

    European Economic Area (EEA) – the European Union (see below) plus Switzerland, Norway, and minor non-member states.

    European Union (EU) – A political and economic union of 27 sovereign European states. Apart form the Republic of Ireland, member states include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom (and through this, Northern Ireland). Not to be confused with the EEA (see above), and/or the Eurozone (see below) – they are overlapping, but not identical.

    Eurozone – the zone where the Euro is used as the main legal tender. Countries in the Eurozone proper and currently using the Euro are Austria, Belgium, Cyprus (but not Northern Cyprus, though), Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. Interesting facts: Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City mint their own Euro coins but are not considered full members of the Eurozone. The Euro is also official currency in Montenegro and the Kosovo, these states do not mint their own coins and are not part of the Eurozone either. Beware: there are a number of “bogus Euros” about, minted for collectors as “proof editions” (like Polish Euros, for instance). These are sold at fairs, usually with a high “mark-up”, and are almost never seen in circulation. The Thai 10 Baht coin, however, is the same size, weight and basic design of a 2 Euro coin … you'll sometimes encounter it. Nice keepsake, it is worth about 0.25 Euro. Important: the Republic of Ireland is in the Eurozone, Northern Ireland is not and uses the Pound Sterling – find out more about money in Ireland here. And a final note … the Euro is also one of the three legal tenders used in Zimbabwe (the other two are the US Dollar and the South-African Rand – the Zimbabwean Dollar having become worthless in 2009).

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  • 06 of 22

    Irish Glossary – F

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Fermanagh – county in the province of Ulster, part of Northern Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Fermanagh.

    Fianna Fail – literally “warriors of destiny”, party founded by Eamon de Valera in a split from Sinn Fein; fielding the Taoiseach more often than any other party. During the Celtic Tiger period, Fianna Fail stood for a politic of low taxes and high expenditure, which brought the Irish economy crashing down in 2008, soon followed by the crash of Fianna Fail. For more information, visit the official Fianna Fail website.

    Fine Gael – literally “the Irish race”, slightly liberal party, more than often the main opposition party, but occasionally leading a coalition government. For more information, visit the official Fine Gael website.

    First Minister – the head of the government of Northern Ireland, this is always the candidate nominated by the strongest party in the (enforced) coalition government.

    Flight of the Earls – the flight of Hugh O'Neill and Rory O'Donnell (Earls of Tyrone and Tyrconnell respectively) from Ireland in 1607, clearing the way for the “Plantation of Ulster”. Their story is told in the Flight of the Earls Heritage Centre in Rathmullan, County Donegal.

    Free State – Ireland self-ruled, but nominally under British control – an interim state of affairs before the re-declaration of the Republic (from 1922 to 1927).

    Free Staters – slightly derogative term for supporters of the Free State (as opposed to “Anti-Treaty Forces”) in the Civil War.

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  • 07 of 22

    Irish Glossary – G

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Gaeltacht – Gaeltacht (also occasionally spelled Ghaeltacht) is an Irish language word denoting an area where Irish is spoken – implying it is the first language and in everyday use there. The word Gaeltacht can refer to an individual region or, in a more general way, to all areas where the Irish government recognises the Irish language as the predominant language. The definition for this is roughly that Irish has to be the everyday language spoken at home. Gaeltacht districts were initially given official recognition and special status by the Irish Free State. Seen as an integral part of the so-called “Gaelic Revival”, government policy was to restore the Irish language and make it the first language of Ireland (which, by law, it is … though the actual vernacular is English). The validity of the historic Gaeltacht boundaries is questioned by many and definitely threatened by further decline of the Irish language in everyday use. The original boundaries laid down by the Gaeltacht Commission (Coimisiún na Gaeltachta) in 1926 were vague, to say the least. As were the rules for Irish being recognised as the “predominant” language – if a quarter of the population spoke Irish, this was deemed to be predominant enough for Gaeltacht status. These obvious shortcomings were addressed by a further commission in the 1950s, which laid down much stricter boundaries and reduced the counties actually containing Gaeltachts from fifteen in 1926 to just seven. Gaeltachts are now to be found in counties Cork, Donegal, Galway, Kerry, Mayo, Meath (an enclave of re-settled Irish speakers) and Waterford.

    Galway – county in the province of Connacht. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Galway.

    Gathering – the Gathering was a tourism marketing initiative in 2013, with an emphasis on a “return to the ancestral homeland”. It was aimed mainly at the so-called Irish Diaspora, first and foremost at Irish-Americans. For more on the Gathering, see this website.

    Gentleman in Black Velvet – a humble mole that caused King William III's horse to stumble, throwing him off and thus hastening his demise (at least according to legend and popular belief). Jacobites used to sarcastically toast the “Gentleman in Black Velvet” for this noble deed.

    Good Friday Agreement – the Good Friday Agreement (or Belfast Agreement) was the most important political development during the Peace Process in Northern Ireland during the 1990s. The constitutional status of Northern Ireland as part of the United Kingdom is based on the agreement. At the same time, Northern Ireland's devolved system of government is established in the Good Friday Agreement. For more, see our dedicated article on the Good Friday Agreement or Belfast Agreement.

    Green Party – Irish party based on an ecological and social platform, entered a coalition government with Fianna Fail in 2007 and managed to dwindle to insignificance as a result.

    Guinness – Guinness can be a family name, a brewery name (taken from the family name), often a synonym for “typical Irish beer”, and finally be referring to the “Guinness World of Records” (originally created as a marketing ploy for the Guinness brewery, see below). For more about Guinness, please refer to this article.

    Guinness Cake – Guinness Cake is so “typical Irish” that it hurts … because Ireland's favourite drink (that would be Guinness) is in it, a bit at least. Otherwise it would be just another heavy, fruity, moist cake best enjoyed during the colder months. Which makes it a good Christmas treat as well. Just remember to prepare it well in advance, like French wine and Scottish whisky, Irish Guinness Cake actually improves with age. What it definitely does not improve is your waistline. And here's how to bake a cracking good Guinness Cake.

    Guinness Storehouse – Dublin's most popular attraction, a museum dedicated to the “pint of plain”. Find out more about visiting the Guinness Storehouse here.

    Guinness World Records – a (sort of) reference book with an annual publishing schedule. It features a varied collection of data concerning “world records” in both human achievements and natural extremes. For more on the continually revised editions listing the Guinness World Records, see this page.

    Guy Fawkes Night – Guy Fawkes Night (which might also be called Guy Fawkes Day, Bonfire Night or Fireworks Night) is a commemorative event taking place on November 5th. It is first and foremost a British event and has been almost forgotten (or replaced) by other festivities around the same time. In Ireland, Guy Fawkes Night used to be observed – these days only some Loyalist communities in Northern Ireland may host events on the day.

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  • 08 of 22

    Irish Glossary – H

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    High Cross – the most prominent form of the typical Celtic cross, the arms of which are connected by a circle, used as markers in graveyards most of the time, but also as memorials and market crosses. In its most spectacular form, the the high cross can be a scripture cross.

    High King – basically an overlord of Ireland (which was ruled by several dozens of local “kings”, glorified tribal chieftains). The concept was quite nebulous, find out more about the most famous high king of Ireland, Brian Boru, here.

    Holy Wells – a holy well may not be a properly built well at all, quite often it is just a spring, maybe enclosed (and sometimes covered) by more or less ornate architectural additions, revered either in a Pagan or Christian context. At times these contexts coexist or even intermingle. And most of the time it remains unclear whether a certain holy well had already been revered in Pagan times and then been adopted (or adapted) into Christian belief systems. Find out more about Ireland's holy wells here. And do not miss my personal experience with a holy well, curing a headache …

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  • 09 of 22

    Irish Glossary – I

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Irish – officially the first language of the Republic of Ireland, though it is rarely spoken outside the Gaeltacht. Find out more about the Irish language here.

    Irish-Americans – generally speaking those citizens of the United States of America who claim to trace (part of) their ancestry to Ireland. Irish-Americans are the second largest (self-reported) group claiming common ancestry – with German-Americans being the largest. They are also the most important segment of the Irish diaspora. Find out more about Irish-Americans here.

    Irish Brigade – generally any military unit in foreign service made up from Irishmen, most often applied to Irish-influenced units in the American Civil War. Also the (rather grandiose) name of a unit raised by Roger Casement in Germany during the First World War. Irish brigades or regiments composed of “Wild Geese” (and their descendants) were part of many European armies, mainly France and Spain, but also other Catholic countries.

    Irish Diaspora – there is no hard and fast definition of the term “diaspora” or “Irish diaspora”, but most commonly it is used as a blanket term to cover all those people worldwide who have (or think they have) Irish ancestry. Though the term “diaspora” is used by politicians (in many contexts), there is no legal definition an no official guideline. Read more about the Irish Diaspora here.

    Irish Mile – colloquially an “Irish Mile” today more than likely refers to a long but very vague distance, often sugar-coated to make it seem much shorter. This plays upon both the ideas of anything “Irish” being imprecise and at times occupying its own space-time-continuum … as well as the perceived Irish mentality not to discourage others. An example would be a distance that is given as “just two miles” when it is much longer, hence “two Irish miles”. Historically, however, the Irish Mile was an actual measurement of distance, that was in use in Ireland but (like so many other miles) differed from the English standard mile (the “Statute Mile” set down in 1593). In Elizabethan times, four Irish miles were reputed to add up to five English miles. In the 17th century, the Irish Mile was 2,240 yards or 2,048 metres. Irish counties in the Georgian era commissioned survey maps at scales of one or two inches per Irish Mile. Other maps were drawn to English Miles. The Howth to Dublin Post Office extension of the London to Holyhead turnpike had mileposts in English Miles. the coach road from Carlingford to Dublin used Irish Miles (a milestone giving just 70 miles to Dublin can still be seen in Hillsborough). The Irish Mile was legally abolished by the Weights and Measures Act 1824, but still used up until 1856 by the Irish Post Office. A 1965 proposal by a few Irish politicians to replace Statute Miles with Irish Miles in the Road Transport Act was (thankfully) rejected.

    Irish Vote – the term “Irish vote” is traditionally used to describe the polling behaviour of a (more or less defined) “Irish” part of any population … outside of Ireland. It is occasionally used in any country with a strong Irish diaspora among those eligible to vote in elections. Most of the time it is used to refer to the electoral preferences of Irish-Americans (which, at roughly 12% of the population, are a hefty lump of the body politic). In an effort to win the “Irish Vote”, politicians will go to great lengths, from tangible concessions to the voters covered by that blanket term to claiming Irish ancestry and thus a sort of birth-right to the vote (which, in all fairness, is often a bit of light relief in hotly contested elections). In recent years, the basic validity of the term “Irish vote” has been severely criticised, most noticed when Trina Y. Vargo penned her piece “The non-existent Irish American vote”.

    Irish Whiskey – maybe Ireland's favourite tipple, and not to be confused with “whisky”.

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  • 10 of 22

    Irish Glossary – J

    An Irish Glossary

    Junior Minister – Irish government official, but not a member of the “core cabinet”, and holding a (sometimes very) minor portfolio. With the possible exception of the occasional “Super Junior Minister”, who is more important, but not as important as a full Minister … it generally is all about titles for the party faithful. Junior Ministers were once known as Secretaries of State, which led to occasional confusion in contacts with the government of the USA.

    Jacobites – originally a term describing the supporters of King James II (“Jacobus Rex”, hence the “Jacob”) against King William III (who only once clashed in person, during the Battle of the Boyne in 1690). The term was later also applied to supporters of the Old and Young Pretender as well (mainly during the the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745 in Scotland).

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  • 11 of 22

    Irish Glossary – K

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Kerry – county in the province of Munster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Kerry.

    Kildare – county in the province of Leinster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Kildare.

    Kilkenny – county in the province of Leinster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Kilkenny.

    Kyteler, Alice – born in 1280 in Kilkenny, died after 1325 at a location unknown. Mainly famous for being suspected of using witchcraft, but more than likely a serial killer. Find out more about Alice Kyteler and her (alleged) crimes here.

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  • 12 of 22

    Irish Glossary – L

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Labour – Irish left(ish) party in almost permanent opposition. For more information, have a look at the official Labour website.

    Laois – county in the province of Leinster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Laois.

    Legislative Assembly – another term for the Northern Ireland Assembly, the parliament of Northern Ireland; for more information see their official website.

    Leitrim – county in the province of Connacht. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Leitrim.

    Leprechaun – Leprechauns are the best known fairy-folk in Irish tradition, usually portrayed as a small old man, clad in a green coat (though they used to be red up to around 100 years ago), usually involved in some mischief. Generally speaking, leprechauns are said to spend most of their time making shoes, presumably selling those and then hiding away all their money in a (hidden) pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. You can see where the imagery of a million “quaint Irish” postcards, souvenirs and t- shirts comes from. If captured by a human (a hard enough feat), leprechauns have the power to grant (usually three, thereby keeping them firmly within fairy tale tradition) wishes in exchange for their release. By the way, leprechauns are also known as cluricawne (Monaghan), logheryman (Northern counties), luricawne (Kerry), lurigadawne (Tipperary), and alternate Spellings include lubrican, leprehaun, lepracaun, lepreehawn, lioprachán (Irish), leipreachán (Irish), luchrupán (Middle Irish), and luchorpán (Old Irish). A whole museum is dedicated to the leprechauns in Dublin – the National Leprechaun Museum. 

    Ley Lines – alignments of places. These can be of either geographical, historical or mythological significance – depending very much upon which ley line theory you subscribe to. Find out more about ley lines (and their possible occurrence in Ireland) here.

    Liberator, the – Daniel O'Connell, Irish politician and reformer in the 19th century.

    Limerick – county in the province of Munster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Limerick.

    Long Fellow, the – Eamon de Valera (also called “Dev”), Irish rebel and politician in the 20th century. His direct adversary Michael Collins was nicknamed the “Big Fellow”.

    Longford – county in the province of Leinster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Longford.

    Louth – county in the province of Leinster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Louth.

    Loyalists – general term for those loyal to the British crown. Used a a derogatory term by nationalists and republicans (very much like the use of “loyalist” in the final season of “Fringe”).

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  • 13 of 22

    Irish Glossary – M

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Mayo – county in the province of Connacht. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Mayo.

    Meath – county in the province of Leinster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Meath.

    Member of Parliament (MP) – the elected representative of a constituency in Northern Ireland in the parliament of the United Kingdom in Westminster. For more information and current MPs, see the Parliament website. Note that Sinn Fein regularly has elected MPs, even though they do not take the oath on the British monarch … and therefore are not active in parliament.

    Member of the European Parliament (MEP) – what it says, the elected representative of a constituency in either the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland in the European Parliament. For more information and current MEPs, see the European Parliament website.

    Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) – what it says, the elected representative of a constituency in Northern Ireland in the Northern Ireland Assembly. For more information and current MLAs, see the Northern Ireland Assembly website.

    MEP – see Member of the European Parliament (above).

    MLA – see Member of the Legislative Assembly (above).

    MP – see Member of Parliament (above).

    Monaghan – county in the province of Ulster, in the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Monaghan.

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  • 14 of 22

    Irish Glossary – N

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2015

    NAMA – the National Asset Management Agency is a special agency, created by the Government of Ireland in 2009. The creation of NAMA was one response to the Irish financial crisis caused by the worldwide downturn of 2008 and the rapid and dramatic deflation of the “property bubble” (effectively devaluing many assets to the point of ridicule). NAMA in effect, if not in name, operates as a “bad bank”, acquiring property development loans from Irish banks in return for government bonds. The long-tern plan being to improve the availability of credit in the Irish economy. Original book value of the loans taken over by NAMA was around € 77 billion (of which far above ten percent were rolled up interest) – with the original asset values to which the loans related being €88 billion. The realistic market value was, however, estimated at € 47 billion only. NAMA has been criticised as spending (even “squandering”) public money to bail out private banks. In conversations, NAMA is used as a blanket term for the whole belly-up economy, the actual workings of NAMA not being clear to a large part of the population. The NAMA website may help to understand. In Irish, the official (but almost never used) name is Gníomhaireacht Náisiúnta um Bhainistíocht Sócmhainní.

    National Asset Management Agency – institution better known by its acronym NAMA, see above.

    Nationalists – general term for those in favour of an independent, united Ireland. The distinction between nationalists and republicans is often not quite clear, though the very term “nationalism” would imply a slightly more conservative view of the independent Ireland to be achieved.

    North – generic term often used to describe Northern Ireland. A misnomer, as the terms of the partition of Ireland made sure that the county of Donegal extends even further northwards, and is part of “the South”.

    Continue to 15 of 22 below.

  • 15 of 22

    Irish Glossary – O

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Offaly – county in the province of Leinster. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Offaly.

    Official Irish Republican Army – also occasionally abbreviated as OIRA, this is the direct continuation movement of the Irish Republican Army. The name was created after the split of the “Provos” (PIRA, Provisional Irish Republican Army) from the mainstream movement in the 1960s. For more information, see the comprehensive article on the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

    OIRA – see Official Irish Republican Army (above).

    Orangemen – members of the Orange Order (see below).

    Orange Order – also known as the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland, a fraternal society dedicated to upholding the union of Ireland and Great Britain and, more important, the domination of the Protestant faith. Often regarded as a secret society … find out more on the not-so-secret website of the Orange Order.

    Continue to 16 of 22 below.

  • 16 of 22

    Irish Glossary – P and Q

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Partition – the division of Ireland into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, a direct consequence of the Treaty. Read the linked article to find out more about the partition of Ireland.

    PIRA – see Provisional Irish Republican Army (below).

    Plantation – the state-sponsored (and often enforced against the will of the previous inhabitants) settlement of colonists on Irish soil. Contrary to public belief that the plantations were all Cromwell's idea, the first plantations were actually undertaken by the Catholic Queen Mary (“Bloody Mary”) in 1549, in the area corresponding to today's counties Laois and Offaly.

    Plantation Castles – castles built (or substantially re-built) during the Plantation period (see above). Most, if not all, combined the aspects of a fortress and a more palatial home. A number were built in contemporary Scottish style (in the Ulster Plantations, by Ulster-Scots landowners mainly – a home away from home, so to say). Many are in ruins today, though even those evoke the erstwhile grandeur of the place. Notable Plantation Castles you may like to visit when travelling in Ireland include Monea Castle, Parke's Castle, and Tully Castle.

    Provisional Irish Republican Army (PIRA) – the Provisional Irish Republican Army, also called PIRA or the “Provos”, is a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army, formed in the 1960s. Find out more about the Irish Republican Army and its complicated history here.

    Provos – short “nickname” for (members of) the Provisional Irish Republican Army (see above).

    Quango – a “quasi-autonomous non-government organisation”, an organisation to which a government has devolved certain powers, thus taking an “arms length approach” to regulation (and responsibility). There are more than 800 Quangos reportedly active in the Republic of Ireland alone.

    Continue to 17 of 22 below.

  • 17 of 22

    Irish Glossary – R

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Real Irish Republican Army (RIRA) – the self-styled Real Irish Republican Army, also called RIRA or the “Real IRA”, is a splinter group of the Irish Republican Army, formed in the 1990s. Read the comprehensive article on the history of the Irish Republican Army to find out more.

    Remembrance Sunday – the Sunday nearest to November 11th (Armistice Day), on which the dead of all wars are remembered in the United Kingdom (and, to a much lesser extent, in the Republic of Ireland). Find out more about Remembrance Sunday here.

    Republicans – general term for those in favour of an independent, united Ireland with a republican (and possible socialist) constitution. Slightly to the left of the term “nationalists”, though both are often interchanged freely.

    RIRA – see Real Irish Republican Army (above).

    Rising – generally a short term for the Easter Rising of 1916 (unless you are baking, of course).

    Roscommon – county in the province of Connacht, part of the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Roscommon.

    Continue to 18 of 22 below.

  • 18 of 22

    Irish Glossary – S

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Shinner – slightly derogatory term for a member (or supporter) of Sinn Féin (see below).

    Siege of Derry – the (ultimately unsuccessful) Jacobite encirclement of Derry during 1689, necessary because the Apprentice Boys slammed the city gates shut at the last moment.

    Sinn Féin – literally “We Ourselves”, Ireland's oldest political party (but beset by splits, and some reinventions) with a strictly republican agenda. The second-largest party in Northern Ireland, and a rising star in the Republic. For more information, see the Sinn Féin website.

    Sligo – county in the province of Connacht, part of the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Sligo.

    South – see Southern Ireland (below).

    Southern Ireland – the Republic of Ireland, a term commonly used in Northern Ireland. Despite the fact that geographically parts of “the South” are north of “the North”.

    Strongbow – Richard Fitz Gilbert, Anglo-Norman mercenary commander hired by Diarmaid Mac Murchú to regain his throne, who then managed to start the Anglo-Normans' own conquest of Ireland before dying of a minor injury in 1176.

    Continue to 19 of 22 below.

  • 19 of 22

    Irish Glossary – T

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Tanaiste – literally “heir presumptive” or “crown prince”, Ireland's deputy to the Taoiseach (see below).

    Taoiseach – literally “the leader” or “the chieftain”, the Irish prime minister. The 1930s term was selected in line with contemporary Italian (“Duce”) and German (“Führer”) terms.

    TD – see Teachtai Dala (below).

    Teachtai Dala (TD) – literally “representative in the assembly”, an elected and sitting member of the Dail Éireann. For more information and current TDs, see the official website of the Oireachtas.

    Tipperary – county in the province of Munster, part of the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Tipperary.

    Treaty, the – more than often the document (the Anglo-Irish Treaty or An Conradh Angla-Éireannach, officially the “Articles of Agreement for a Treaty Between Great Britain and Ireland”) signed in 1921 by Michael Collins and other Republicans, establishing the partition of Ireland into Northern Ireland and the Free State.

    Treaty of Limerick – document signed at the official end to the Williamite War in 1691. Unfortunately, William III's signature was given without parliamentary approval, and thus null and void.

    Troubles – a rather low-key, ever so slightly diminishing, descriptive term used for the war in Northern Ireland.

    Tyrone – county in the province of Ulster, part of Northern Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Tyrone.

    Continue to 20 of 22 below.

  • 20 of 22

    Irish Glossary – U and V

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Uachtarán na hÉireann – literally “superior of Ireland”, the president of the Republic of Ireland (a largely non-political role). For more information, visit the official President of Ireland website.

    Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) – the oldest and second largest (after the DUP) unionist party in Northern Ireland. For more information, visit the official Ulster Unionist Party website.

    Uncrowned King of Ireland – Charles Steward Parnell, Irish politician and reformer in the 19th century.

    Unionists – general term for those in favour of the continued union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom).

    UUP – see Ulster Unionist Party (above).

    Volunteer – generally a term for an Irish soldier, used by the paramilitaries, and in the Irish name of the Republic of Ireland's armed forces. The term goes back to the Irish Volunteers, main participants in the Easter Rising. 

    Continue to 21 of 22 below.

  • 21 of 22

    Irish Glossary – W

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    War of Independence – the Anglo-Irish War, a guerilla war waged between 1919 and 1921, the issue was the independence of Ireland, hence this conflict is known better as the “War of Independence” in Ireland. It ended with “the Treaty” and the partition of Ireland.

    Waterford – county in the province of Munster, part of the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Waterford.

    Westmeath – county in the province of Leinster, part of the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Westmeath.

    Westminster Rule – short term for the direct rule of Northern Ireland from London, named after the seat of Parliament in Westminster.

    Wexford – county in the province of Leinster, part of the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Wexford.

    Wicklow – county in the province of Leinster, part of the Republic of Ireland. For more information, see the specific website giving you the basics you need to know about County Wicklow.

    Wild Geese – general term for Irish mercenaries in the pay of (mostly Catholic) European rulers. Many were grouped into specifically Irish brigades and regiments.

    Continue to 22 of 22 below.

  • 22 of 22

    Irish Glossary – X, Y, and Z

    An Irish Glossary

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    X Case – officially “Attorney General v X”, a landmark Irish Supreme Court case in 1992. This case established the right of Irish women to an abortion. Albeit only in circumstances where a pregnant woman's life was at risk because of the pregnancy. This included the risk of suicide.

    Young Ireland – in Irish Éire Óg, a mainly political, but also cultural and social movement during the mid-19th century, similar to movements in continental Europe. The focus was on Irish nationalism, activities included the aborted rebellion often known as the “Young Irelander Rebellion” of 1848.

    Young Irelander – member of Young Ireland, see above.

    Zoos in Ireland – see under Belfast Zoo, Dublin Zoo, Eagles Flying, Fota Wildlife Park, and Tayto Park.

    Zozimus – pseudonym of Michael J Moran (1794 – 1846), a sightless Dublin street rhymer, often known as the “Blind Bard of the Liberties”. He is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery.

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An Irish Road Trip From Dublin to Killarney

  • 01 of 06

    The Museum of Style Icons

    An Irish Road Trip From Dublin to Killarney

    DOK Photography & Newbridge Silverware – used with permission

    After leaving the M50 and driving nearly 30 kilometers, you’ll be approaching Exit 10 on the M7, signposted for Newbridge—get off here, head into Newbridge and make your way to Newbridge Silverware. Unless you want to do some shopping here, or have a snack in the excellent café, head straight for the “Museum of Style Icons”, a weird and wonderful experience.

    Because in Newbridge an eclectic collection of dresses and accessories worn by some of the greatest stars has been assembled. You’ll see costumes and clothing worn by The Beatles (those suits from “A Hard Day’s Night”), Tippy Hedren (her suit from “The Birds”), Audrey Hepburn (the cocktail dress from “Breakfast at Tiffany's”, for instance), Michael Jackson (a red vinyl shirt, no less), Grace Kelly (her dress from “High Society”), Liza Minelli (that stage outfit from “Cabaret”), Marilyn Monroe (a chiffon jacket from “The Prince and the Showgirl”), Elvis Presley (his jacket from “Speedway”), Princess Diana (the dress worn during the state visit to India in 1992)… and more. Great for movie buffs and fans of nostalgia.

    Address: Athgarvan Road, Newbridge, County Kildare

    Opening Times: Monday to Saturday 9 AM to 6 PM, Sundays and Holidays 11 AM to 6 PM

    Entry Fee: free

    Website:​ Museum of Style Icons on the Newbridge Silverware website

    Time Needed: budget for an hour

    After your visit, rejoin the M7 and keep going west.

  • 02 of 06

    The Historic Town of Kildare

    An Irish Road Trip From Dublin to Killarney

    Bernd Biege 2017

    About ten minutes later you’ll be leaving the M7 again, at Exit 13 for Kildare. Here you have a veritable choice of what to do, the most obvious being a good look at Kildare Town itself, a historic place with links to Ireland’s most important female saint, Brigid of Kildare, abbess, bishop, and maybe goddess. Walking around Kildare, an easy thing because of the compact size of the town, you will be reminded of Brigid several times—artworks and installations in her memory are scattered around town. But her presence is (maybe) most closely felt in St. Brigid’s Cathedral, which tends to dominate the center anyway. So much so that the fine round tower right next to it is almost forgotten. As is Kildare Castle, an overgrown tower house somewhat hidden away off the main street.

    Some people will, however, debate the importance of the cathedral, and instead prefer the quaint and recently restored Saint Brigid’s Well just outside town, near the Irish National Stud. This certainly is worth a visit, with its modern statue, a fine landscaped garden, and living evidence of (almost pagan) folk devotion to the “Mary of the Gaels”. A good place to breath and relax.


    Time Needed: depending on your interests, between 30 minutes and two hours

  • 03 of 06

    The Irish National Stud and Japanese Gardens

    An Irish Road Trip From Dublin to Killarney

    Bernd Biege 2017

    The big visitor draw here (apart from actual horse racing, County Kildare is ground zero for the sport in Ireland) remains the Irish National Stud, a government-owned working stud farm with a museum, landscaped woodlands, and a stunning Japanese garden to boot. An excellent place for horse and nature lovers and an insight into the quirkiness of horse “science”. The exhibition on the astrological influences once heeded here is nothing but hilarious.

    Be warned, however—the stud and gardens are good for a day trip on their own. So if you are running to a tight schedule, you might start budgeting your time now!

    Address: Brallistown Little, Tully, County Kildare

    Opening Times: daily 9 AM to 6 PM

    Entry Fee: Adults 11.50 €, Children 6.5 €, concessions available

    Website: Irish National Stud

    Time Needed: at least an hour, two to three for a full visit

  • 04 of 06

    The Kildare Village Outlet Center

    An Irish Road Trip From Dublin to Killarney

    Bernd Biege 2017

    There is, however, another big magnet in the neighborhood (which may attract females most)—the Kildare Village, an outlet center of epic proportions right next to the motorway. If you are traveling light, yet with big suitcases (and pockets), you may want to stop here as well. On offer are, amongst others, goods by Armani, Barbour, Boss, Brooks Brothers, Calvin Klein, Crabtree & Evelyn, Diesel, DKNY, Escada, Falke, Fossil, French Connection, Gucci, Guess, Heidi Klum Intimates, Jaeger, Karen Millen, Lacoste, Le Creuset, Levi's, Longines, Louise Kennedy, Lulu Guinness, Polo Ralph Lauren, Samsonite, Superdry, Swarovski, Swatch, The North Face, Timberland, Tissot, Tommy Hilfiger, Versace, Villeroy & Boch, and Zwilling. Be warned: prices are not necessarily that competitive compared to home, as the discounts start with high Irish retail prices.

    Address: Nurney Road, Kildare Town, County Kildare

    Opening Times: 10 AM to 8 PM daily, extended opening hours until 9 PM on Thursdays and Fridays

    Website:​ Kildare Village

    Time Needed: from a quick look to ages

    After your visit to Kildare (and if you still have money to continue your vacation), rejoin the M7 and keep going west. After a while, the M8 splits off in a southerly direction—take this motorway.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.

  • 05 of 06

    The Rock of Cashel

    An Irish Road Trip From Dublin to Killarney

    Patrick Swan/Getty Images

    After around an hour you will approach Exit 7, leave the M8 here heading straight into Cashel, following the signs to the famous Rock of Cashel. One of Ireland’s most stunning historic places (though the best view of the whole attraction is from a distance), and certainly worth a stop-over in any circumstances. The stony outcrop was the traditional seat of the kings of Munster until Muirchertach Ua Briain donated it to the church in 1101. Today it is famous for its collection medieval art and architecture, with the majority of buildings dating from the 12th or 13th century.

    Oldest (and tallest) of these is a round tower of 28 meters height, built around 1100. Cormac's Chapel (named after King Cormac Mac Carthaigh) was built between 1127 and 1134 as a sophisticated Romanesque church with the help of German craftsmen. The chapel is currently completely enclosed in a rain-proof structure for preservation reasons—a necessary measure, but not necessarily a nice sight. The cathedral on the Rock of Cashel was built between 1235 and 1270 with a central tower and adjoining a residential castle. Comparatively young is the Hall of the Vicars Choral (15th century), restored and now used as the entrance to the complex (which is walled all around).

    Address: Cashel, County Tipperary

    Opening Times: generally between 9 AM and 4.30 PM, longer in the summer

    Entry Fee: Adults 8 €, Children 4 €, concessions available

    Website:​ The Rock of Cashel on the Heritage Ireland website

    Time Needed: one to two hours

    After your visit to the Rock of Cashel, rejoin the M8 and keep going southwest.

  • 06 of 06

    On to Killarney

    An Irish Road Trip From Dublin to Killarney

    Bernd Biege 2016

    If you have time to spare, feel free to leave the M8 again at Exit 10, for a quick look at Cahir Castle, or a long detour to Carrick-on-Suir and the splendid Ormond Castle, this will add about 90 minutes to your schedule. And that schedule is the long drive to Killarney, nearly 150 kilometers from Cashel, and taking two hours.​

    In any case, here are the directions: you follow the M8 until exit 12, there you switch onto the N73 towards (and around) Mitchelstown. Continue on the N73 until you reach Mallow, where you switch onto the N72 towards Killarney. And now you have earned a good rest—explore Killarney in a jaunting car or maybe drive the Ring of Kerry tomorrow.

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10 of Our Favorite Irish Drinks

02 of 10

Guinness – A Pint of Plain

10 of Our Favorite Irish Drinks

Greybird Galleries / Getty Images

In 1759, Arthur Guinness leased the St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin and soon after began brewing the popular London “porter”. He and his family have never looked back and the porter or “stout” is now synonymous with the family name. The beloved Irish drink is available on tap pretty much everywhere and even used to be given to new mothers in Dublin hospitals. It is no longer considered a health supplement, but Guinness is still the quintessential Irish beer. Some consider it an acquired taste but Irish citizens will tell you that the beer is an entirely different drink outside of the Emerald Isle because it “doesn't travel well.” Having said that, the Guinness Storehouse is Dublin's top tourist attraction and a great place to have a look over the city from the Gravity Bar (a pint is included in your entrance fee).

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Easter Rising 1916 in Dublin – What Places to Visit

  • 01 of 10

    General Post Office (GPO) and O’Connell Street

    Easter Rising 1916 in Dublin - What Places to Visit

    © Bernd Biege 2017

    Patrick Pearse read the proclamation of the Irish Republic in front of the Dublin General Post Office to eager rebels and some bemused civilians. After this, the rebels made the GPO in what was then Sackville Street their headquarters and main stronghold. Which basically was a military disaster waiting to happen. The front of the GPO and the nearby O'Connell Monument still have visible battle scars. Sackville Street itself had to be totally rebuilt after being shelled by artillery.

    A new exhibition detailing the role the GPO played during the Easter Rising of 1916, GPO Witness History, was opened in the basement in 2016. It is certainly worth a visit.

  • 02 of 10

    National Museum of Ireland – Collins Barracks

    The National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks has other exhibitions dedicated to the Easter Rising. A comprehensive special exhibition gives visitors a good overview of the background, as well as documenting the events of 1916 and also the aftermath. The exhibition gives a fairly balanced view of history and can score highly in original artifacts.

  • 03 of 10

    Parnell Square

    On the eastern side of Parnell Square, near the Rotunda Hospital and the Garden of Remembrance, a small monument with an Irish inscription can be found. The image of a broken chain symbolizes the breaking free of Ireland from British chains – and reminds the passer-by that the Irish Volunteers were founded nearby. The Volunteers later formed the largest contingent of the 1916 rebels, alongside the Irish Citizens Army and the Hibernian Rifles.

  • 04 of 10

    Magazine Fort, Phoenix Park

    Still towering above the Liffey, and definitely one of the lesser known sights of Dublin, the (disused) Magazine Fort on the southern fringes of Phoenix Park was the scene of the first engagement of the Easter Rising – Volunteers pretended to play football, kicked the ball “accidentally” towards the gate and then rushed the surprised sentries. In vain, as the actual magazine was locked and the key not on site.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.

  • 05 of 10

    Glasnevin Cemetery

    Easter Rising 1916 in Dublin - What Places to Visit

    © Bernd Biege 2017

    Dublin's largest cemetery in Glasnevin is full of memorials to those killed during or involved in the 1916 rising. Though the focal point should be a monument designed by Dora Sigerson, the most striking grave may be the simple slab commemorating Roger Casement, executed in London for high treason. Other graves of note include those in the “Republican Plot” and that of murdered journalist (and pacifist) Francis Sheehy-Skeffington.

  • 06 of 10

    Saint Stephen’s Green and the Royal College of Surgeons

    A rebel force led by the Countess Markiewicz (her bust stands near the center of St. Stephen's Green) occupied the park of Saint Stephen's Green in a heroic but extremely futile gesture. They realized their mistake when British machine guns began to rake the park from the windows of the Shelbourne Hotel. And retreated into the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland (RCSI) building, the front of which is still pock-marked by small arms fire.

  • 07 of 10

    Four Courts

    Around the court buildings north of the Liffey, known collectively as the Four Courts, rebels faced down superior British forces for a considerable time. The image of severely wounded Cathal Brugha singing “God Save Ireland” from the barricades at the top of his voice went straight into Irish folklore. As did his later death in the Irish Civil War, fighting against the Free State Government.

  • 08 of 10

    Kilmainham Gaol

    This massive (and lovingly restored) prison complex that is Kilmainham Gaol was the place of internment for most leaders of the rebellion captured by British forces. It also was the place of execution for, amongst others, Patrick Pearse and James Connolly, thus making it hallowed ground for the Irish nation. The exhibition reflects this.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

  • 09 of 10

    Arbour Hill Prison Cemetery

    You are standing at the very end of the story here – the Arbour Hill Prison Cemetery (just beside the still working prison complex, which has a certain menacing presence) is the burial place of most of the movers and shakers behind the rebellion, executed by the British military after a farcical military tribunal. The cemetery is within walking distance of the Collins Barracks.

  • 10 of 10

    Easter Rising 1916 in Dublin - What Places to Visit

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    The harbor of Howth did not play a major role in the Easter Rising, but the armed rebellion was made possible here. Sailing in from Germany, writer and Irish nationalist Erskine Childers brought arms on his yacht Asgard for the Irish Volunteers. A small plaque near the lighthouse commemorates the “Howth Gun-Running”, as the event became popularly known. By the way – independence hero Childers was executed by the Free State Government during the Civil War.

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The Best Pubs of Dublin

  • 01 of 04

    The Best Pubs of Dublin

    Bernd Biege

    These are the pubs that are popular with the crowds, have good reviews, and ones that people tend to come out of with a smile. They are worth a visit when you're in Dublin and looking for a decent night out. A starter guide, not to be treated as gospel.

  • 02 of 04

    The Best Pubs of Dublin

    Bernd Biege

    Want to party in Dublin? Well, for a slightly off-the-beaten-track experience, follow this list. With it, you avoid the thick of it in Temple Bar and get into the hustle and bustle at some of the lesser obvious, yet immensely popular pubs. Some cosmopolitan, some very much down to earth, but all recommended.

  • 03 of 04

    Drink in Pubs Where Dublin’s Thinkers Found Inspiration

    The Best Pubs of Dublin

    Bernd Biege

    Ever wanted to drink with Ireland's finest writers? At least in spirit? For the literary set, Dublin should surely be the place to go, and some pubs are legend. A substantial number of establishments have literary connections. Some more direct than others. You may even meet some writers having a pint.

  • 04 of 04

    Heading for Dublin’s Temple Bar After All?

    The Best Pubs of Dublin

    Bernd Biege

    Okay, Temple Bar. It's the big tourist magnet, so we can't leave it out even if many feel that it is way overrated. To be honest, if I had guests who wanted a real Irish pub experience, I'd stay clear of Temple Bar with them. But seeing Dublin would not be complete without a glance at Temple Bar, so everybody heads there anyway.

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Dublin’s Best Fish and Chips, Sorted

  • 01 of 09

    Beshoff Bros

    Dublins Best Fish and Chips, Sorted

    © Bernd Biege 2017

    They call themselves “#1 for Fresh Fish and Chips”, and for many people, they are very true to their word. The Dublin chipper comes with an interesting story: in 1905, founder Ivan Beshoff sailed on the Imperial Russian battleship Potemkin.  Eight years later he arrived in Dublin, to build a thriving family business away from the high seas. Still family-owned, Beshoff Bros now run five shops in the Dublin area. The best (and maybe busiest) of them being the small takeaway right at the seafront in Howth.

    Address: 12 Harbour Road, Howth, County Dublin

    Phone: 01-8321754


  • 02 of 09

    Leo Burdock

    Another Dublin institution, fryers have been busy at this chipper since 1913. The first Leo Burdocks outpost was opened by Bella Burdock and husband Patrick in Christchurch, near the Liberties. They named the shop “Leo” after their son. Their shops also have a photo wall known as the “Hall of Fame”, documenting famous customers from local boy Colin Farrell, to “Boss” Bruce Springsteen, and actress Hilary Swank. Leo Burdock in Christchurch is the place to go, for nostalgic reasons, but five more shops can also be found in the Dublin area.  

    Address: 2 Werburgh Street, Christchurch, Dublin 8

    Phone: 01-4540306


    (Note that the website still features the Leo Burdock's in Phibsborough, this has closed in late 2016).

  • 03 of 09


    The Italian family name of Macari was, and maybe still is, synonymous with your neighborhood chipper, and a good bet if you need sustenance on the run. Shops are found in several locations on Dublin’s Northside. The Glasnevin shop, in particular, does a busy local trade in fish and chips and comes recommended by locals.

    Address: 79 Glasnevin Avenue, Glasnevin, County Dublin

    Phone: 01-8425516


  • 04 of 09

    The Lido

    Located near Trinity College, this shop serves many a starving student and a distinguished lecturer, who walk through the door in search of Irish comfort food at its best. It is rumored that some of the best chips in Dublin can be had here. If you had enough fish already, the Taco Mince Chips that are topped with spicy beef, cheese, and sauce are a decent meal all on their own. Trust us.

    Address: 135a Pearse Street, Dublin 2

    Phone: 01-6707963

    Continue to 5 of 9 below.

  • 05 of 09


    Dublins Best Fish and Chips, Sorted

    © Bernd Biege 2017

    Another chipper with Italian heritage, Romayo's has been a well-known destination for the hungry Irish since 1959. In the past several years, the trusty chain of Dublin fish and chip shops has expanded and there are now 11 in the Dublin area, as well as outposts in Maynooth and Slane. One favorite is the shop in Blanchardstown Village, which still operates (slightly confusing) under the old Macari name. Like many Romayo’s, they also do a great pizza there!

    Address: Macari’s, 22 Main Street, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15

    Phone: 01-8213377


  • 06 of 09

    Beshoff Restaurant

    Not a mistake – this centrally located restaurant also takes its name from Ivan Beshoff, but is not part of Beshoff Bros (see above). Nonetheless it is a good bet if you want to get your fish and chips on the Northside, and want to rest your feet at the same time. Unpretentious on the outside, the shop has a sizeable dining area that is often missed by people who pass by in too much of a hurry.

    Address: 6 Upper O'Connell Street, Dublin 1

    Phone: 01-8724400


  • 07 of 09


    Another Italian chipper that is well loved by Dubs, this shop is just outside the busy city center in the Portobello area. Pizza, kebabs, chicken breasts, and of course fish and chips. Try the “Fish Box” for a great value meal that rings up at just €5.

    Address: 46 South Richmond Street, Portobello, Dublin 2

    Phone: 01-4759355


  • 08 of 09


    Dublin 4 generally is typically known as a wealthy area full of very people who like the finer things in life, but there is nothing pretentious about Borza. The food may not be posh, but it makes for a cheap, comforting and delicious dinner. Fish and chips is a staple, with the burgers being customer favorites thanks to their to size and flavor. Be ready to wait because the chipper can get very busy on weekends.

    Address: 4 Donnybrook Road, Dublin 4

    Phone: 01-2693975

    Continue to 9 of 9 below.

  • 09 of 09

    The Golden Chip

    Dublins Best Fish and Chips, Sorted

    © Bernd Biege 2017

    If you are visiting the Mater Hospital, Mountjoy Prison, or simply Bohemians FC in Dalymount Park, the Golden Chip is a local favorite for fish and chips on this side of Dublin. If you are not, the detour to the Golden Chip, just a bit outside the city center, is worth it. Fish and chips start at six Euros, or you might opt for the Tex-Mex Quaterpounder for that extra bit of yeeee-haw!

    Address: 108 Phibsborough Road, Phibsborough, Dublin 7

    Phone: 01-8301506


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Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

  • 01 of 12

    You Better Watch Out

    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Bernd Biege

    Dangerous animals in Ireland? Come on, you must be kidding… but not all wildlife, and even domestic and farm animals, are without dangers. In fact, a farm animal is the one most likely to kill you.

    So, let's take a look at animals in Ireland and the associated dangers they bring with them, in alphabetical order. And let's look at some useful hints on how to avoid becoming a victim as well. And what to do, just in case, when wild Ireland attacks.

    Continue to 2 of 12 below.

  • 02 of 12


    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Bernd Biege

    Ireland has a lot of feline pets and a feral cat population reaching crisis level. Cats you encounter may or may not be used to interacting with humans, so don't assume they are all cuddly kittens. On the other hand, it is quite safe to assume that they are not infected with rabies.

    A cat will usually hiss, spit, flatten its ears, and make itself as big as possible before actually attacking, with the attack being the option only when cornered or protecting something (food, kittens, etc). Just put some distance between yourself and the cat in a calm way. If you get bitten, clean the wound with water, then see a doctor and refresh (if needed) relevant vaccinations (tetanus).

    Continue to 3 of 12 below.

  • 03 of 12


    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Bernd Biege

    Cattle, especially bulls, are big, heavy, and surprisingly agile once dragged out of their usual bovine ruminations. And even though most will have no horns, their hooves and sheer mass can be very dangerous indeed.

    Death by cattle may well be leading the statistics regarding fatal incidents of human-animal encounters in Ireland, and it happens to professionals on a disturbingly regular basis. Cattle become agitated first, signs being snorting, a scratching with hooves, lowering of the head—if you notice this, it is time to head away. Take the shortest possible route for a safe exit but try to walk rather than run—you really don't want to stumble. Unfortunately, you will only notice agitation when you are quite near most bovines, so prevention is better than cure; simply stay away. Avoid trespassing on grazing land and if you absolutely have to, stay near the edge. If you just get bowled over, nurse your bruises and pride. If you get trampled, you better get checked for fractures and internal injuries.

    Continue to 4 of 12 below.

  • 04 of 12


    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Bernd Biege

    Bambi the killer? No, but Bambi's parents can become deadly foes to humans. Normally shy and retiring, all this changes seasonally. During the mating season, male deer will become aggressive to any competition. And female, as well as male deer, are very protective of their young, even attacking with ferocity.  If you spot deer on a hike, they will the give you a slightly disinterested look at a few hundred paces, and at 50 paces or so they will move away. If they don't, and especially if there are young deer in a group, they may be contemplating a first strike. Backtrack or move around them in a wide circle. Never try to “Shoo!” them away. First aid is the same as for cattle attacks, though the danger from a full-grown deer's antlers might be multiple stab wounds, necessitating a tetanus shot (or a few stitches).

    Continue to 5 of 12 below.

  • 05 of 12


    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Bernd Biege

    First things first. Currently, there is no rabies problem in Ireland so being bitten by a “mad dog” is not as potentially deadly as in, say, India or China. But dog bites can be painful and carry infections. That said, most Irish dogs are quite friendly or at least uninterested. Exceptions are, however, always possible, especially if you stray into their territory or if their owners have mistreated them or even use them as a weapon. Though “dangerous breeds” (starting with Alsatians) are regulated in Ireland, these regulations are regularly ignored by many people.

    Barking alone signals nothing, but when snarling and bared teeth combine with flattened ears, this canine means business.  Get out of the dog's (perceived) territory, but in a calm way and never by running because this might trigger a hunting impulse. Avoid eye contact, but keep observing the dog with your peripheral vision. Don't shout and don't wave your hands about. Basically, accept the dog's claim and otherwise “ignore” it. If you get bitten, clean the wound with water, then see a doctor and refresh (if needed) relevant vaccinations (tetanus).

    Continue to 6 of 12 below.

  • 06 of 12


    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    NASA 2004

    Flipper or Fungie, dolphins are often regarded as man's best maritime friend— intelligent, caring, sociable. So much so that “swimming with dolphins” is a highly prized experience. Provided the dolphin is willing to participate If you see a pod of dolphins with young ones, there is a danger. Also, if a dolphin is swimming toward you enthusiastically, he may be on attack course. Swim away as calmly as possible, ignoring the pod. Or just float about. If you come under attack, curl up into a ball as far as possible—dolphins usually go in for full head-butts into the soft underbelly. As to getting away from an attacking dolphin by out-swimming him? Good luck. You may get scratches and bruises and may want to clean up and then consider a tetanus shot. If you are head-butted by a dolphin in the belly or groin, better get checked for internal injuries… after finding somebody to drive you to a doctor or hospital because you will be out of action.

    Continue to 7 of 12 below.

  • 07 of 12


    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Renaud Visage/Getty Images

    Insects sting or bite for two reasons—in self-defense (as bees do) or to feed (as mosquitoes do). While the bite or sting may not cause any harm in itself, proteins, poisons, and “painkillers” (to stop you noticing the feeding insect) come into play. This then leads to mild swelling and itching in most people but can cause life-threatening conditions in others. Bees, wasps, and hornets can often be heard before they are seen; just keep calm and avoid threatening them (slapping, stepping on a nest). Midges and other blood-suckers can be seen hovering in “clouds.” Just move away, best in the direction you came from, keeping calm. In the rare case of a massive attack by bees or wasps, cover your face and throat as best as you can. The painful, itchy swelling after an insect bite or sting can be treated with cold water or special antiseptics. Ask for a “stick” or similar in a pharmacy. And don't forget to remove any stings still in the skin. If you have multiple stings and are starting to feel woozy, short of breath or hot, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

    Continue to 8 of 12 below.

  • 08 of 12

    Jellyfish and the Portuguese Man O’ War

    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Biusch/CC BY-SA 3.0

    The most passive of all aquatic creatures might be the most dangerous to many swimmers—they float about, waiting for prey that they can stun and kill with their tentacles (though in the case of the complex Portuguese Man O' War this description is very naive). Contact poison makes for very painful and lasting burns. If you see loads of jellyfish on a beach and the wind is coming inland, assume that there are loads more in the water. Unless you are wearing goggles, you don't really see them when swimming, only in shallow water when standing up. Jellyfish float, so move away with the current; you will be quicker. If you find yourself surrounded, try to pick your way through them toward dry land without coming in contact with the tentacles. The most important thing is to break contact. If you have tentacles adhering to you, get rid of them, obviously not by using your fingers (unless you are wearing protective gloves); use a stick or something similar.

    Continue to 9 of 12 below.

  • 09 of 12


    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Bernd Biege

    Seals are, by and large, indifferent to humans not feeding them fish. For them, we are a curiosity, a species not proficient in swimming, let alone diving, that becomes boring after a short while. After which they go off and hunt for food again with sharp teeth and strong jaws, combined with speed and agility, and perception problems—for a seal anything smallish that flaps about spells “snack.” Warning signs are seals swimming about—that's it. A seal surfacing near you will most likely be just catching a breath, having a short look and then will disappear again. The most dangerous part is when you flap your hands (or feet) from a boat or pier to attract attention. See above—”snack.” So in the water, keep calm. And outside the water, don't offer your limbs as a tasty meal. Treat seal bites like dog bites.

    Continue to 10 of 12 below.

  • 10 of 12


    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Chris Gotschalk

    Jaws it ain't. Sharks in Irish waters are generally peaceful creatures of a smallish size, with one exception, that being the basking shark. Which is still peaceful, but a leviathan. You may see a basking shark breaking the surface like a huge log. Underwater, you will only see it if you are wearing goggles and are already quite near it. If it swims toward you, all you might see is a huge, gaping mouth gathering small organisms. Don't panic! The basking shark is not out to get you and will swim around large obstacles. Let it pass, then take a breather. The highest danger from an encounter is in the human having a panic attack, leading to further complications. Usually a hot cup of tea, a biscuit (cookie to Americans), and a sympathetic ear to listen to your “brush with death.”

    Continue to 11 of 12 below.

  • 11 of 12

    Weever Fish

    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Andrey Nekrasov/Getty Images

    You tend to not see them until you feel them. Weever fish usually nestle into the soft sand near the low water mark, waiting out the tide, which is exactly where swimmers step on them and occasionally sit down on them. Ramming the spikes of the weever fish into soft flesh is a very painful experience. So try to shuffle rather than run through shallow waters at low tide. Weever fish don't attack, you step on them. If the weever fish notices you, he'll get away. If you notice him, it is through​ the pain. At that moment, it's too late to get away. Clean the wound, see a doctor, and get a tetanus shot.

    Continue to 12 of 12 below.

  • 12 of 12

    X-Files Territory: Alien Big Cats

    Dangerous Animals You Might Find in Ireland

    Bernd Biege

    Just because it does not officially exist does not mean it is not there. Tingle your inner Fox Mulder with the thought that big cats may be roaming the Emerald Isle. Not massive moggies, but pumas and similar beasts. There are repeated sightings of them, and they may be escaped or released animals from traveling shows or private collections. They are aptly named Alien Big Cats, or ABCs for short. To be precise, if you spot a big cat, you are potentially in danger. And it is more likely that the big cat spots you first and goes into hiding. Despite many reported ABC sightings in Ireland and loads more in the U.K., there has not been a single case in which humans were attacked. So unless you stumble off a ledge right onto an ABC, getting away usually seems to be the cat's first thought. Should you be the first human attacked by an ABC, curl up in a ball and hope not to die. Play dead. Sell the movie rights. First aid in most ABC encounters is a stiff whiskey. After an attack (however unlikely that is), seek medical attention instead. If you can.

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Dublin’s Best Souvenirs – A Shopping Guide

  • 01 of 11

    The Doors of Dublin

    Dublins Best Souvenirs - A Shopping Guide

    © Bernd Biege 2017


    The “Doors of Dublin” are an iconic image – they represent historic Georgian Dublin and the whole city. Though not all parts of Dublin still feature Georgian buildings, some of the most beloved areas like St. Stephen's Green are known for this classic architecture. A collection of the photos is the perfect Dublin souvenir to take home. The easiest way to do it yourself would be to go on long walks around the Georgian squares, and snap away at your heart’s delight. Half an hour of a leisurely stroll around Merrion Square or Fitzwilliam Square should fill up your memory card nicely. Or simply stroll into the nearest souvenir shop – you’ll find them as posters, postcards, fridge magnets all thanks to the image's icon status.

    • Recommended for anybody, really.
    • Website: All You Need to Know About the Doors of Dublin
    • Disadvantages? You might get hooked on photographing them and try to find as many as possible … which may seriously eat into your Dublin time!

  • 02 of 11

    Butlers Chocolate Delights

    If you have a sweet tooth, the best place to satisfy it in Dublin would be at Butlers – these “Purveyors of Happiness” will indeed do their best to elevate your mood. From the factory near the airport (which is actually open for tours) to their own chain of Butlers Chocolate Cafés, the sweets are easy to find around Dublin because there are more than a dozen shops in the city. As an added bonus, you get a free praline with every coffee, so you might sample your way through quite a selection, before deciding which to take with you. Pick your favorites, or just grab a pre-packed box. And no need to carry it around with you all day: there are airside Butlers Chocolate Cafés in both terminals at Dublin Airport too.

    • Recommended for anyone who really enjoys chocolate.
    • Website: the Homepage of Butlers Chocolates
    • Disadvantages? Well, they may melt (though that is unlikely given the cool Irish weather). The bigger risk is that you might eat them far too fast once you get started.

  • 03 of 11

    The Book of Kells

    Dublins Best Souvenirs - A Shopping Guide

    Public Domain

    Here’s the thing – if the Book of Kells is your thing, you will only see a small part of it anyway, and only for a very short time because only one page is on display every day in order to protect the old text. That is really not enough to take in the marvel of the illuminated gospels, created in Scotland, but now kept in Trinity College Dublin. So why not take the Book of Kells home with you as the ultimate Irish souvenir? This is easier than you might think (you can stop that “Mission Impossible” theme tune playing in your mind). The shop at Trinity’s Old Library offers everything you can think of regarding their most famous exhibit. From coffee mugs with selected images to popular or scholarly works on the book, and even complete facsimile editions of the whole Book of Kells.

    • Recommended for the book lover, and (amateur) mediaevalist.
    • Website: The Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin
    • Disadvantages? None really, only if you opt for a poster then be sure that it is protected by a sturdy cardboard tube for the trip home.

  • 04 of 11

    Dublin Writers’ Books

    .Dublin is a city of writers, and a designated UNESCO City of Literature, part of the Creative Cities Network. Why? Well, think of all the Dublin writers – W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Nobel laureates all. And then those (at least by the Nobel committee) unsung heroes of Irish literature, like Brendan Behan, Bram Stoker, Rodd Doyle, Sheridan Le Fanu, Christy Brown. And the Big Dublin Daddy of them all, James Joyce, who in his “Dubliners” and “Ulysses” made the city immortal. So why not visit the Dublin Writers Museum, their excellent bookshop at the rear can be visited without paying the entrance fee. And has a selection that should satisfy most needs.

    • Recommended for serious readers and visitors who are brave enough to tackle real literature.
    • Website: All You Need to Know About the Dublin Writers Museum
    • Disadvantages? Joyce and Beckett may leave you a bit puzzled, Stoker and Le Fanu a bit nervous, Behan a bit thirsty (but all will still keep you inspired to see more of Dublin)

    Continue to 5 of 11 below.

  • 05 of 11

    Guinness Goodies

    Dublins Best Souvenirs - A Shopping Guide

    © Bernd Biege 2017

    It is rare that a commercial product is as much identified with a city (and a whole country, come to that) as Guinness is with Dublin and Ireland more broadly today. The brewery even uses one of Ireland’s national symbols as a trademark, the harp, and the museum dedicated to “the black stuff” is Ireland’s most successful tourist attraction. Dublin without Guinness? Famed writer Brendan Behan would have shuddered at this thought because this is one of the most iconic drinks in Ireland. This makes anything branded with “Guinness” quite a good Irish souvenir to find in Dublin, though you’ll be a walking advertisement for the company. Guinness goodies are available literally everywhere, but the best (and largest) selection can be found in the Guinness Storehouse itself. And you’ll be amazed at just how colorful and inventive the designers can get.

    • Recommended for anybody who likes the Guinness brand, and does not mind showing this to the world.
    • Website: All You Need to Know About the Guinness Storehouse
    • Disadvantages? It is “Big Beer” advertising, after all, and not really that original but at least it is a real Dublin original.

  • 06 of 11

    Gaelic Gear

    A quick stroll through Dublin will quickly convince you that the most popular sports team in Ireland is … Manchester United. And every sports store offers branded items from the major English and Scottish clubs (Glasgow Rangers excepted). But the real heartbeat of Ireland skips to the ups and downs of the Gaelic games, football, hurling, and camogie. So why not get some Gaelic games team gear as a souvenir? It does not have to be the blue Dublin outfit, provincial club colors are on sale in the capital as well, with the shop at Croke Park carrying the best selection.

    • Recommended for sporty people, though the large-sized shirts will hide a modest beer belly quite well.
    • Website: Elverys Superstore at Croke Park
    • Disadvantages? As with every sports gear, the design changes on a regular basis, and you might be running around in yesterday’s clothing faster than you like. But then, who outside Ireland would notice?

  • 07 of 11

    Trinity College Treats

    Dublins Best Souvenirs - A Shopping Guide

    © Bernd Biege 2016

    Remember when it was oh-so-hip to wear sweats that proclaimed you were at UCLA, Oxford, or Cambridge? If you still like the look, the Students Union at Trinity College Dublin can satisfy your every need. With a whole range of branded items. From sweatshirts to flannel pajamas, from Harry-Potter-esque scarves to ties that tie you in with the old-boys-network. Don't forget the mugs and teddy bears either, all of which are branded with the Trinity College seal, or other appropriate imagery. While you might get cheap imitations elsewhere, these are the real thing. And you can claim “I went to Trinity College”. Who mentioned actually studying there?

    • Recommended for anyone, really, academic or not.
    • Website: Homepage of the Trinity Gift Shop
    • Disadvantages? None one can think of, though bluffing your way into a job by wearing a Trinity tie may backfire.

  • 08 of 11

    Molly Malone in Miniature

    The most famous statue in Dublin may very well be the “Tart with the Cart”, better known as the bronze depiction of fishmonger Molly Malone. A monument to Dublin folklore, with a monumental bosom, and a frilly blouse that shows it off. Now the real Molly Malone may have looked very different, but the buxom image has been imprinted upon a billion brains and can now be found printed on everything in any souvenir shop – from the ubiquitous fridge magnet to small replicas of the famous statue (or, at least, something very similar to it). Be ready to break into song with a rendition of “In Dublin’s fair city.”

    • Recommended for those who cannot think about Dublin without thinking about sweet Molly Malone.
    • Website: The Story of Molly Malone – a Dublin Song Icon
    • Disadvantages? It is a cliché … and the depictions are more pop culture than realistic.

    Continue to 9 of 11 below.

  • 09 of 11

    Jameson Irish Whiskey

    Dublins Best Souvenirs - A Shopping Guide

    © Bernd Biege 2017

    If you want to take some Irish whiskey as a souvenir with you, you should certainly head for the Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield. Just a short walk from Dublin’s city center, and offering that special something other shops cannot – exclusive bottles that are only available from the Jameson company direct. Not cheap as chips, but a slightly more expensive way to get a bit of a buzz. These are whiskeys made to be enjoyed pure, not dumped unlovingly into a coke, or wasted in cocktails. This Dublin souvenir is whiskey for the connoisseur, which, frankly speaking, is the only whiskey worth buying as a souvenir … as alcohol prices in Ireland are high, and you might get most brands cheaper at home.

    • Recommended for those who really know how to enjoy their whiskey, not for the casual drinker.
    • Website: The Jameson Irish Whiskey Website (for adults only)
    • Disadvantages? They are heavy, they contain liquids – airlines frown upon whiskey bottles in your carry-on, and you need to protect them really well in checked luggage.

  • 10 of 11

    Wrights of Howth

    These people do fish, nothing but fish, and they do it so well … that people want to take the fish home with them. Which, unless you live nearby, might be a bit of a problem. But trust Wrights of Howth to find a solution – and thus they can now provide packs that will survive a transatlantic flight without any problems. The secret? You buy them at Dublin Airport, airside in both terminals at the Wrights shop. The store assistants are helpful and will advise you on the ins and outs of taking a smoked salmon on board.

    • Recommended for anybody who cannot face reintegrating back home without a dose of Irish salmon.
    • Website: Shopping at Wrights of Howth
    • Disadvantages? There are limits on how long salmon may stay fresh, so be careful. And it also helps to know the import regulations back home.

  • 11 of 11

    Mr. Tayto’s Finest

    Dublins Best Souvenirs - A Shopping Guide

    © Bernd Biege 2017

    Tayto’s Crisps are as Dublin as it gets, as Irish as a shamrock, as beloved as fish and chips for a snack. The classic chips come in a cheese and onion flavor that every Dubliner grew up eating. And the spud-man “Mr. Tayto” has become an Irish icon, with his image creeping up on everything. While the best variety of goods is sold at Tayto Park in County Meath, from car fresheners (not smelling of cheese and onion, one hastens to add) to toys, you’ll find Tayto crisps in any shop. Go on, you really want to take a few home …

    • Recommended for lovers of snacks, who brave (and crave) the unique cheese and onion chip rush.
    • Website: The Tayto Homepage
    • Disadvantages? Well, they are gone really fast, and they are highly breakable. But even if you flatten the pack in transit, you can still make a Tayto sandwich with them (yes, two pieces of buttered white bread with crushed Taytos as a filling).

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The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

  • 01 of 10

    Whiskey and Other Spirits

    The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

    Tom Byrne/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

    Irish whiskey is available in all price categories and qualities – if you are not keen on one special whiskey you should try to find a shop where you can actually sample the produce. Or buy directly from the distillery, for example in Bushmills or at Jameson's in Dublin. Do not shun the sweet liqueurs made with whiskey and/or cream. But one word of warning: ​Irish whiskey as a souvenir is a great idea as long as you know your stuff and your prices. Because due to high taxes, the good stuff is often more expensive in Ireland than in other countries. So don't go for the bargain, go for those “specials” that are only sold here. 

  • 02 of 10

    Aran Sweaters

    The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

    LazingBee/Getty Images

    The traditional knitwear from the Aran Islands, once handmade by fishermen and having “family patterns”. To identify the washed-up bodies of the drowned, so the legend goes. Available nearly everywhere in Ireland in natural wool and even synthetics. Choose a white or off-white sweater, not one of the garish colored ones. Again, compare prices – visitors to the Aran Islands themselves have occasionally reported higher prices there than in Dublin!

  • 03 of 10


    The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

    Doug McKinlay/Lonely Planet/Getty Images

    Irish crystal for many people is synonymous with Waterford Crystal – but there are many more factories and craft outlets producing their own wares. These are not of a lesser quality. Caution: insist on crash-proof packing. Or inquire about sending the goods (fully insured) to your home address, often a sensible alternative to lugging breakables across continents.

  • 04 of 10


    The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

    Very Quiet/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Tweed clothing in all forms and sizes is an investment – you will have years to enjoy the garments and they never go out of style. Again available in most stores and from a variety of manufacturers. Men should get at least a tweed cap for those rainy days on the golf links. Maybe avoid the more garish multi-colored ones … then again, they might just go with those “original Scottish” checked trousers.

    Continue to 5 of 10 below.

  • 05 of 10


    The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

    Peter Zoeller/Getty Images

    The linen industry is especially strong in Northern Ireland and you will find factory outlets, craft stores and designer outlets selling everything from tea towels to “grandfather shirts.” Invest in a long nightshirt with a matching cap if you dare! For the less adventurous, a collection of tea towels with prints might be the best idea. They can be used for decorative purposes, and if you get tired of them, you can put them to good use as, well, tea towels.

  • 06 of 10

    Parian China

    The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

    Steve Moses/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Visit the Belleek Pottery and splash out on a whole set. Or shop in any major tourist outlet for single pieces with a sentimental value. Irish china has come a long way from the “rustic tea mug” stage, though the latter is available as well. The pottery showroom in Belleek has a complete collection for sale, and they also specialize in affordable and (above all) safe shipping to all corners of the world.

  • 07 of 10

    Fishing Tackle

    The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

    William Murphy/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Even if you are not planning to rip a fish out of his native element go and have a look at the angling stores. Colorful, handmade flies for fly-fishing can be quite a conversation piece if displayed at home. There even is a famous tackle shop in Dublin's Temple Bar district, Rory's … home of the t-shirt “I'd rather be f***ing!” Fishing, you fool, fishing!

  • 08 of 10

    Irish Music and DVDs

    The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

    William Murphy/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Though a fair amount of Irish music is available everywhere in the world (and more via the Internet) you may find hidden gems in Irish shops. Ask for local artists and you might even get home-produced CDs. If you are planning on buying DVDs be sure to check that these will be compatible with Regions 0 (worldwide) or 1 (USA and Canada) and the NTSC standard.

    Continue to 9 of 10 below.

  • 09 of 10

    Smoked Salmon

    The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

    Matt Brown/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    A culinary treat best bought at the airport to keep the fish fresh. Though not a long-term souvenir it is certainly worth considering.

  • 10 of 10

    And Finally… a Piece of the Auld Sod!

    The Best Souvenirs to Bring Home From Ireland

    Corey Taratuta/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    You can actually get pieces of turf to burn at home, pre-packed for your convenience and transatlantic shipment – look beside the shamrock seeds in souvenir stores. If you do not have an open fire a miniature porcelain cottage with special turf pellets might be an alternative. You light the pellet and it lets off smoke through the cottage's tiny chimney. Corny, but also very popular.

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The Best Things to Do for Free in Dublin

02 of 19

Sculpture and Street Art Hunting

The Best Things to Do for Free in Dublin

© Bernd Biege 2017

Dublin is jam-packed with sculpture in public places—including works by Henry Moore—but one has to know where to look. From the towering Spire in O'Connell Street to the cinema usher near the “Screen,” you can spend an entire day hunting down sculpted masterpieces in Dublin.

Alternatively, you can take a walking tour to explore Dublin's often amazing—though, at times, quickly vanishing—street art, massive murals, or colorful small additions to the city's walls. Graffiti artists from around the world leave their marks all over Dublin, but city officials are quick to cover up these spray-painted murals, so you never know what you'll see or how long it'll be there after you leave.

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