Grave stones

Graves stones in Ireland, here in Clonmacnoise, county Offaly, are pretty impressive and massive. Most of the time, they are decorated with sculptures and the celtic Cross on the top. Some of them date from the early centuries and have seen their beauty fading through the time, others are burying little by little in the ground, giving to the cimeteries their exceptionnal authenticity.

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Located in the middle of Ireland on the Shannon side, Clonmacnoise is very known for its several churches and grave stones... in ruins. From the sixth century, this historic and religious site have seen so many wars, theft, and fires, that it is almost surpising that the is something left... even ruins. At that time, Clonmacnoise was famous for its religious instruction, with an impressive library. Pilgrims used to, and still use to walk until this monastery every year. The pope John Paul II came to Clonmacnoise during his journey throughout Ireland in 1979, gathering thousands of people.
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The Custom House

The Custom House is an eighteenth-century building in Dublin which houses the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government. It was designed by James Gandon to act as the new custom house for Dublin Port. It has been completed in 1791.
As the port moved further downriver, the building's original use became obsolete, and is now used as the headquarters of local government in Dublin.

The Docklands

This new area of Dublin used to be the docks of the city. Today, the docks are more in the east, close to the Dublin's Bay, redesigned to fit with the big ferries and industrial boats. The Docklands is now in works, where a lot of buildings are growing up, with a brand new architecture. Hotels, appartments, squares, shopping centers, theatre and even a new bridge, this area is meant to be very posh in the future, with very expensive restaurants, shops and flats for some tens of thousands of euros...
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The Maritime Festival

Once a year, in June, a large selection of tall ships visit the Dublin's main river, the Liffey, in the Docklands. I went to this festival last year, it is pretty impressive. There are some tens of tall ships, selected among the most beautiful tall ships in Europe, travelling town to town, gathering thousands of people. The best point is that you can really board the boats, and for free ! You can of course fill the "tip box" if you enjoyed the visit, in order to encourage its occupants. This festival is also the opportunity to discover (or rediscover) the food from other countries, like this very particular "grass shot" I drank this day... a "one in a life" opportunity !
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Liberty Hall

Liberty Hall (Irish: Halla na Saoirse), in Dublin, is the headquarters of the Services, Industrial, Professional, and Technical Union (SIPTU). It was formerly the tallest storeyed building in Ireland at 59.4 m, and is currently the second tallest in Dublin after the Millennium Tower in Grand Canal Dock. It is more historically significant in its earlier form, as the headquarters of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union early in the 20th century, and as that of the Irish Citizen Army (ICA). Believe it or not, this building mainly made of windows used to be an hotel at the begining.
Today, Liberty Hall is meant to be redesigned, with plans to demolish the current building in 2009. The successor is planned to be complete within 18 months of this. Personnally, I'm not against this decision, because though this building is among the highest of Dublin, its design is quite kitch, and to be honest, not that beautiful...

Source : [Wikipedia.org]
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Dublin's National Botanic Gardens

The National Botanic Gardens were founded by the Royal Dublin Society in 1795. It is a wonderful place to hang around in Dublin north inner city. I went there many times to enjoy all the tropical flowers, plants, ponds but also squirrels, ducks and swans, which are not that afraid of you if you got some snacks ! The gardens count over 20.000 different species and 3 greenhouses, spreading over about 19,5 hectares.

Here is the main greenhouse of the gardens, in which are growing loads of tropical plants. During the good days, the temperatures inside can reach 40°C with a very high humidity level. You better be warned before coming in... and loose your jumper !
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Like everywhere, Ireland has got loads of windows throughout its cities, above is one from Galway (West Ireland). I like to look at them while walking down the streets, especially when it shows an artistic or antique side. One thing I noticed here, the numbers : they are displayed in big size, which is particularly unusual for me but I like that style. I might post others windows later on...
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Oscar Wilde and others Irish writers

Oscar Wilde, born in 1854, is one of the most famous Irish writers. His first performance was The Importance of Being Earnest, which came out in 1895. The Irish poet and dramatist, dead in 1900, is also known for Winderman's Fan and The Picture of Dorian Gray. A statue in his honor has been erected in Marrion Square park, just in front a the Oscar Wilde's School.
To quote others famous Irish (or anglo-irish) writers, we can talk about James Joyce (1882-1941) with his novel Ulysses, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) with Gulliver's Travels and Bram Stoker (1847-1912), with Dracula.
It is true that Ireland is rich of talented writers, poets, dramatists, ... but this country and its past has also been - and still is ! - the inspiration of lots of foreigns writers.

To conclude this post, here is a quote from Oscar Wilde :
"My experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better,
they don't know anything at all."

Sources : [The Irish book of Lists, Julian Ashe and Wikipedia.org]
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