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Castles, cliffs and crystal

A pair of Metro writers explored two of Ireland’s most unique places: Dublin and Waterford. But the highlights go beyond a good pint and glass.

A pair of Metro writers explored two of Ireland’s most unique places: Dublin and Waterford. But the highlights go beyond a good pint and glass.

Dublin

When you think of Ireland, what comes to mind? Lush green landscapes? James Joyce? Celtic castles? Lively drinking songs? Guinness? If any of these sound like good craic (the Gaelic word for fun, pronounced like “crack”) then a trip to Dublin might be right for you.

For the drinker:
If a frothy beer or a fine whiskey is your fare, there’s plenty to go around in this city. At the birthplace of Guinness and Jameson, you can tour both facilities during your stay and find out exactly what makes these beverages so compelling. Want to mingle more with the locals as you liquor up? Seek out the hidden gem “The Bar with No Name,” the eclectic and bohemian Shebeen Chic or the ever-popular Temple Bar, which offers patrons a real dose of traditional, live Irish drinking songs to help that good ol’ elixir go down.

For the literature buff:
Is there something in the water here that breeds prolific authors? Visit the Dublin Writers Museum to find out what it takes to experience life right out of a James Joyce novel as a real Dubliner, or visit Trinity College where Oscar Wilde attended. While you’re there, check out The Book of Kells in the library.

For the photographer:
Who can leave Ireland without experiencing the breathtaking castles and cliffs? A jaunt north from the city will take you to Malahide Castle. Go back down the hillside coast through fishing town Howth.


Waterford


Take a break from partying in Dublin and drive two hours south to the quaint, friendly city of Waterford, home of Waterford Crystal. Take a break from partying in Dublin and drive two hours south to the quaint, friendly city of Waterford, home of Waterford Crystal. Breathe in the picturesque coastline, find your own Colin Farrell at the local pubs and see for yourself the artistry and pride that goes into making the prized glass.

What to do:
First up on the agenda is exploring the brand-spanking-new House of Waterford Crystal. Take a non-boring tour of the modern facility, where you’ll watch in awe as master craftsmen heat and mold sand into crystal items you wish were sparkling on your table. Wish no further: The tour ends in the stylish new retail outpost, where, along with opulent archival pieces, you’ll find sweet deals. A hundred dollars for four handmade wine glasses? Come on, you can’t go wrong.

Where to eat:
A Spanish name, French chef, hip decor, mouth-watering, eclectic menu and chilled-out atmosphere will make Bodega Restaurant & Wine Bar your instant favorite Waterford hang-out. This forward-thinking restaurant sources fresh local produce such as Blaa, the regional bread, from an artisan baker less than a mile away.

Where to stay:
If you’ve got the bucks, Waterford Castle Hotel & Golf Resort (www.waterfordcastle.com) is your vacation fairy tale. This 500-year-old castle is located on its own private island and was restored to a luxe hotel in 1994, making it a favorite spot of celebrities. When not ruling over your court, spot deer during a nature walk or practice your stroke on the 18-hole championship golf course.

 
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