For most travelers Ireland short breaks are associated with Dublin, the thriving and vibrant city, recognized by international visitors as the most popular entry to Ireland. And though the city is large for the country's size with nearly a third of Ireland's population living in the Dublin area, the city center is relatively small and can be explored on foot. The city lies on Dublin bay and is seen by many as a wonderful destination for a weekend getaway, allowing you to discover the charm and luck of the Irish.
If a lively and vibrant experience is something you are looking for during Ireland short breaks, Dublin is an ideal destination, since the city is most famous for its great nightlife, with a number of students and a variety of clubs and bars within the capital.
For quieter short breaks Dublin has much to offer as well. The rich history of the country is represented in its many museums and art galleries, while a wide selection of department stores, shops and boutiques, as well as excellent restaurants can be found in the city center. Some of the most popular tourist attractions include the National Museum of Ireland, the National Gallery of Ireland, and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Trinity College, Dublin Castle, Chester Beatty Library, Christ Church Cathedral, Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo among others.
An essential part of Ireland short breaks is a visit to the National Museum of Ireland, the main museum in the country that places a strong emphasis on the Irish culture, art and natural history. Among the outstanding exhibits are examples of early medieval metalwork in the country, notably the Tara Brooch and Ardagh Chalice, as well as the ornaments from the Bronze Age. The most recent part of the National Museum of Ireland, Country Life opened in 2001 and features materials that date from the rural Ireland of the 1930s.
The most delightful and desirable location for art lovers on Ireland short breaks, the National Gallery of Ireland is home to the Irish national collection of European and Irish art. Established in 1854, it opened ten years later. Currently the Gallery features an extensive collection of Irish paintings, and is also renowned for its Dutch and Italian Baroque paintings.
The seat of British rule in the Republic until 1922, Dublin Castle served as the seat of the British Government in Ireland under the Kingdom of Ireland, Lordship of Ireland and United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Despite the fact that the castle was built during the rule of King John, the first Lord of Ireland, most part of its building dates back to the 18th century. Over the centuries Dublin castle performed a number of roles. First and foremost, it was a royal residence and home to Viceroy of Ireland or the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Today the castle houses offices of Revenue Commissioners and is maintained by the Office of Public Works.
Nestled in Phoenix Park, the world's largest city park, Dublin Zoo is the largest zoo in the country and one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. In addition to being the largest, it is also the third oldest zoo in the world after London and Paris. Established in 1830, it has grown in both size and popularity and claims to have 500,000 visitors annually.
And now you know why Ireland casts a spell on so many visitors, pulling them back for future visits.