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Dublin, Ireland

Ask travelers what comes to mind when they think of Ireland and they’ll mention green, rolling hills, old stone castles, and a cold Guinness!¬† Dublin is that and a whole lot more, waiting to be discovered as part of a European cruise!

Kilmainham Gaol, an old jail notorious in the 19th century for harsh and brutal conditions, is an interesting excursion. The guided tour gives the visitor a dramatic and realistic insight into what is was like to have been confined here between 1796 when it opened and 1924 when it closed. Kilmainham Gaol played an important part in Irish history as many leaders of Irish independence fights were imprisoned here, with some being executed.

 Dublin Castle is close by and another popular attraction. Built in 1204 by King John, it was meant to act as a defense center against the current invaders of the time, the Normans. Since then, Dublin Castle has also been the site of the royal mint, the police headquarters and the residence of various British leaders. Today it is used by the Irish government for state events such as the inauguration of the Irish President and state banquets for visiting dignitaries. The rooms and grounds are lovely to tour and the stories told by the guides are quite entertaining!

Once you’ve seen Dublin, you owe it to yourself to sit back and taste Dublin! The Guinness Storehouse, a former Guinness fermentation plant, is laid out over seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness. A visit will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about this world famous beer. The seventh floor houses the Gravity Bar where visitors receive a complimentary pint of Guinness and can relax and enjoy the breathtaking 360-degree views across the city.

Dublin is famous for its pubs, all 1000 of them, and no visit to the city would be complete without sampling a local brew in one of these authentic establishments! Most serve traditional pub grub (think shepherd’s pie and stews), and there’s often live music. Pub Crawls are lots of fun and a guide will take you to the best of the best. There are some where you will learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, crawls hosted by actors performing from the works of James Joyce, and others led by musicians that play indigenous Irish instruments!

After cruise passengers compare notes on what they did while in Dublin, the conversation inadvertently turns to the warmth of the Irish people they met throughout the day. Maybe that’s why so many cruisers say Dublin is a favorite port of call on their European cruise!