Ireland and Scotland

IRELAND

DUBLIN

Dublin can claim to be one of the most beautifully situated of the world's capitals, located in the wide plain overlooked by the legendary Wicklow Mountains and facing a broad sweeping bay that leads into the Irish Sea. The city has a population of a million people which is about a third of the total population of the country. Dublin is the centre of government, commerce and industry and it is the seaport of the River Liffey. It was with the coming of the Vikings in 841 that Dublin started as a town. Dublin is a city for walkers, talkers and a city where the people are as worth watching as the architecture.

Moore Street is a thriving street market off Henry Street. The women here with their prams and battered baby carriages filled high with a variety of fruit, toys or bric-a-brac, are descendants of the infamous Molly Malone, a street trader of the 18th Century. The street traders today, as then, are renowned for the food humour, loud voices and sharp witted banter.

Music is never too far away in Dublin. The streets are full of talented buskers and Grafton Street on a Saturday afternoon is virtually impassable for the crowds surrounding the young musicians. One of the most attractive features of Dublin nightlife is the music and singing pubs. Visitors will find that Dublin is a place of great cultural and historical interest. As the birthplace of Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and many other renowned writers, Dublin often featured in their books. Numbers of truly great writers became part of Dublin's heritage.

CORK

Ireland's second largest city, Cork is a county borough in Ireland and the capital of County Cork. It is located at the mouth of the Lee River at the head of Cork harbour. The word Corcaigh means marshland and the city was built in a marshy valley area where the Lee splits to form an island that is the heart of the city.

Tradition holds that the city was founded in the late 6th or early 7th century by St. Finbarr, who went there to kill the last dragon in Ireland and who built a monastery on the current south side of the city.

A famous landmark is the Shandon Steeple of St. Ann's Church, which contains the Bells of Shandon. Cork is the seat of University College (founded 1845; since 1908 part of the National University of Ireland). The Cork Film Festival is held each summer and it hosts a Jazz Festival each October Bank Holiday weekend . The famous Blarney Castle is just five miles north of the city.

In the shops of Cork, you will also get a sense of the traditions of the city. Patrick Street and Grand Parade make up the commercial heart of Cork. Modern chain stores stand alongside the more modest businesses which have lined these streets for decades. One hundred yards from Patrick Street is the Coal Quay Market, the ideal place to peruse local crafts and organic produce. A visit to the Cork Public Museum in Fitzgerald Park is a must. Charting the history of Republicanism primarily, the museum has side exhibits on trade and the guilds in Cork as well as information on silver and glassware in the area.

Cork City is full of pubs and traditional music can be heard in a number of them. Cork is also well supplied with fine restaurants and interesting cafes and bistros.

SCOTLAND

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND

Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland, is partly an accident of Nature, for the city is built upon a jumble of hills and valleys. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the natural geography was enhanced by the works of a succession of distinguished Georgian and Victorian architects. The result today is high drama. There are countless spots where Edinburgh looks less like a city and more like a theatrical backdrop. The view from Edinburgh's Calton Hill, across the River Forth to Fife, looks more like a scene from ancient Rome.

The Palace of Holyroodhouse is now the residence of Her Majesty the Queen when she and other members of the Royal Family make their regular visits to Edinburgh. The Palace is normally open to the public, who are admitted to the State apartments and the historical apartments. Mary, Queen of Scots, spent the last six tragic years of her reign here.

Edinburgh and the whole surrounding region is a golfers' paradise, and many of the private clubs welcome visitors. The City of Edinburgh itself runs six golf courses, and there are no fewer than 28 courses altogether within the city boundaries.

The City of Edinburgh owns the King's Theatre and the Royal Lyceum Theatre, with plays and other shows presented by either resident or touring companies the year round.

Edinburgh possesses a wide range of restaurants which offer menus to suit all tastes and pockets. Visitors looking for the cuisine of other lands and cultures will find restaurants representative of, amongst others, France, Italy, Switzerland, America, Turkey, India, Bangladesh and Hong Kong. Apart from the restaurants the visitor will also find that the city's pubs include a considerable number of particular distinctions and character, many with Victorian or Edwardian interiors carefully conserved.

The area surrounding Edinburgh forms the beautiful lowlands of Scotland. The farmland of East Lothian, some of the richest in the country, rises to windswept hills.

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