Category Ireland

The Top Ten Items to Buy in Ireland

In This Chapter

Purchasing the best Irish souvenirs Supporting local craftspeople

Ш reland is a shopper’s paradise, offering everything from one-of-a-kind pottery to rare books.

Remember that one of the best things you can do to help the environ­ment and support the local economy is to buy items that are made by craftspeople in Ireland. Not only are you helping a local artist to do what he loves, but you’re also saving the fuel used to transport imported items. Read the labels carefully — I almost bought what I thought was a hand-knit Irish sweater, only to find on closer examination that it was factory-made abroad.


Ireland is one literary place. Check out the newest releases from Irish authors or hunt through used bookshops for treasures.


Relive the craic of a late ...

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Top Ten Traditional Irish Dishes and Drinks

In This Chapter

Breaking some brown bread Digging into a traditional breakfast Sipping Guinness


hough most Irish cities now offer everything from sushi to margari- tas, you’ll have no trouble finding these traditional Irish dishes and drinks.

Apple and Rhubarb Tarts

The world would be a happier place if everyone sat down a few days a week to a rhubarb or apple tart, served with a dollop of fresh cream.

Brown Bread

Earthy brown bread is the perfect vehicle for fresh Irish butter, as well as the ideal implement for scooping up the dregs of your soup or stew.


Does the thick black stuff really need an introduction? See Chapter 2 for more about the lifeblood of Ireland.

Hard Cider

Sweet and refreshing, a glass or pint of cider is the perfect way to cool down on a warm, lazy e...

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The Part of Tens

The 5th Wave By Rich Tennant

“ Douglas, ii’s time vre – balked about – this Ъеег paraphernalia КоЪЪу o£ yours.’*

In this part . . .


he Part of Tens is all about giving you a couple fun extras.

In Chapter 24, I list ten traditional Irish dishes and bever­ages that you shouldn’t miss, from home-baked brown bread to Guinness.

If you’re wondering what to bring home from Ireland, check out Chapter 25. I describe some of the best authentically Irish products sold on the island and point you toward the finest places to buy them.

Chapter 24

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Other top attractions in County Down

дяміу Castlewellan Forest Park

^(Wrn Castlewellan

This 460-hectare (1,137-acre) wooded park just begs you to stroll around, enjoying the trout-filled lake, wooded paths, and views of a Scottish baro – nial-style castle on the grounds. The highlight is the gorgeous Annesley Garden and Arboretum, a splendid collection of trees and flowering shrubs from around the world, studded with fountains, ponds, and green­houses. Don’t miss the Peace Maze, one of the longest and largest hedge mazes in the world. Give yourself lots of time — my family was in there for a couple of hours. The Grange Coffee House is a sweet little spot for a light lunch and sells heavenly bite-size apple tarts...

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Dining in County Down

For out-of-this-world pub grub, drop in to Grace Neills (see “Hitting the Pubs,” toward the end of this chapter).

The Duke Restaurant

88 Warrenpoint NEW IRISH/SEAFOOD

Fresh, flavorful ingredients are at the root of the dishes served at this busy, jovial restaurant. Main courses range from meat dishes to vegetar­ian options, and although all are excellent, the gems of the menu are the dishes incorporating local seafood. The menu changes frequently; recent hits included grilled turbot with wilted bok choy and prawn bisque cream, and turbot with sauteed Savoy cabbage and an Armagh cider sauce.

Above the Duke Bar, 7 Duke St. (Warrenpoint is 9.7km/6 miles southeast of Newry, on the A2). % 028-4175-2084. Main courses: £12-£16. MC, V. Open: Tues-Sat 6-10 p. m., Sun 5:30-9p. m.

Mourne Seafood...

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Getting to County Down

County Down

The nearest airports are in Belfast, which is also the destination for fer­ries from England and Scotland (see Chapter 22 for information on those methods).

If you’re coming by car from Dublin, take the M1 north to Newry (the M1 becomes the A1 in Northern Ireland). From Newry, take the A28 to Armagh. To get to the coast from Newry, take the A2 southeast (the A2 runs along the entire coast). If you’re driving from Ireland into Northern Ireland, make sure you notify your rental-car company because extra insurance is occasionally required.

Irish Rail (% 1850-366-222; www. irishrail. ie) and Northern Ireland Railways (% 028-90-66-66-30; www. nirailways. co. uk) serve Newry, Portadown, Lurgan, Lisburn, Bangor, and other towns in Down year- round...

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County Down

In This Chapter

Hiking in the Mourne Mountains

► Rock-climbing, canoeing, and more Golfing at Royal County Down

► Paying respects to St. Patrick

he stars of County Down are the velvety green and purple Mourne Mountains. The Mournes are the highest mountains in Northern Ireland, their rounded peaks reaching over 610m (2,000 ft.). A hiking and walking paradise, the sparsely populated mountains are threaded with trails that range in intensity from easy riverside strolls to strenuous boulder scrambles. This just may be the Irish and Northern Irish country landscape that you pictured before you got here, with weathered stone walls and farmhouses, sheep gamboling in the folds of the hills, lazy cows, wind-swept mountain gaps, and winding rivers...

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For the birds: Rathlin Island

In the past, Rathlin’s strategic position between Ireland and Scotland made it the site of many battles. Today, the tiny, boomerang-shaped island off the coast of Ballycastle is a peaceful place and the home of thousands of seabirds and only about 100 people. Storytelling, song, and music flourish here, and islanders are happy to welcome visitors.

On the eastern end of the island is Bruce’s Cave, where the Scottish King Robert the Bruce hid after being defeated by the English. For information on the island, check out

www. northantrim. com/rathlin_island. htm; for the ferry schedule, con­tact the Rathlin Island Ferry ticket office (% 028-2076-9299; www. rathlinbally castleferry. com).

Golfers will certainly want to try Royal Portrush, Dunluce Road, Portrush, County Antrim (% 028-7...

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Best pubs for traditional music

Some of the best pubs in Belfast to get those toes a-tappin’ include Madden’s Bar, Berry Street, right next to the Castlecourt Shopping Centre (% 028-9024-4114; music almost every night); the Duke of York, 11 Commercial Court, off Lower Donegall Street (% 028-9024-1062; traditional music Thurs and often on other nights); the John Hewett, 51 Donegall St. (% 028-9023-3768; music many nights); and Kelly’s Cellars (see review earlier in this chapter).

North Antrim

North Antrim is a place of dramatic beauty, with sheer sea-pounded cliffs, pristine green valleys, and the spectacular weirdness of the Giant’s Causeway. Outdoorsy folks will have a ball. I recommend driving the coastal route along the Antrim Glens, starting at the town of Larne and heading north...

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The Leaning (Clock) Tower of Belfast

Among Belfast’s many beautiful Victorian buildings is the Albert Memorial Clock, at Queen’s Square, built in 1865. The land that the tower was built on has sunk over the years, so that the tower now leans 1.25 meters (4 ft.) off the vertical.

Mount Stewart House and Gardens

Newtownards, County Down

Though its interior is grand, with a fabulous entrance hall and the famous George Stubbs painting Hambletonian, this impressive 18th-century man­sion almost pales in comparison with the spectacular gardens surround­ing it. Check out the Shamrock Garden, which has an Irish-harp-shaped topiary and a flower bed shaped like a red hand (the emblem of Ulster) enclosed in a hedge shaped like a shamrock. Spanish and Italian gardens are in the back, and a colorful sunken garden sits in the east yard...

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