Saturday, 17 July 2021

Ireland open to Brits from Monday......

Photo www.ireland.com
The latest news is that Ireland's tourism industry will be open for business for Brits from Monday.  The country has announced that it will no longer require British visitors that have been double vaccinated to quarantine or take Covid-19 tests from 19th July (applies in both directions).

With this policy shift, Ireland becomes the first European country to allow fully vaccinated travellers from the UK to enter without a test requirement.

Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: "We are pleased to confirm this change in arrangements to welcome British visitors to Ireland from 19 July. The Covid pandemic has been tough on everyone and these changes will afford many people an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends in a way that hasn’t been possible for a long time. Ireland’s tourism industry has adopted a safety charter to ensure the wellbeing of both our guests and hospitality workers. We wish all our British friends a safe and enjoyable visit to Ireland."

Great Britain is traditionally a very important market for tourism to the island of Ireland, delivering 42% of all overseas visitors and around 25% of all overseas tourism revenue. Its contribution to the regional tourism economy and to our season extension objectives are also significant, with 41% of visitors from Great Britain arriving between October and March.

In 2019, Ireland welcomed almost 4.8 million visitors from Great Britain, up 1% on 2018 numbers, who spent €1.4/£1.3 billion whilst in the country - up 3%. 83% were from England, 14% from Scotland and 4% from Wales.



Here are some of our top picks for visits to Ireland.....


Dublin Castle  


So much history in one place!  It goes back to 930AD when there was a Danish Viking fortress on the site. The first stone cast by King John of England in 1230, Dublin Castle’s historical significance did not stop there, under British rule from that point until 1921, it has been a court, a fortress, even a site of execution in its time. The architecture has evolved and grown with each metamorphosis. 

Photo www.ireland.com

It might not seem like your traditional castle, with hardly any turrets in sight, not a giant moat to vault over or a secret tunnel to fine. In truth, for many, it seems more like a giant campus of a university rather than a castle, but it forms the backdrop to many big occasions, integrations and events, so much so that it forms part of the soul and the very fabric of Dublin city. But, you don't need a big event in which to enjoy the castle.  It's great to hang out there,  perhaps take a picnic on a nice day, or have a tour around the chapel, the undercroft and the big state apartments. 



The National Gallery 



Photo www.ireland.com
It has a simple mission is to care for, interpret, develop and showcase art in a way that makes the National Gallery of Ireland an exciting place to encounter art. The encompasses a vast amount and whilst so much has changed in the last year or so,  the gallery is still open and with some amendments, still creates a vibrant environment for both the eyes and the mind.  There are various exhibits, exhibitions and delights, that you're sure to find something to interest you, plus it is FREE!    Make sure you book a ticket in advance, follow the right one-way system and plan for a little extra time - not because of delays, but you're bound to see something beautiful that you perhaps hadn't expected which captivates you so much that you'll lose track of time. 



Guinness Storehouse

Photo www.ireland.com
If it is your first visit to Dublin, then perhaps a visit to the home of the “Black Stuff” is the key thing to do.  It is pretty much the most visited tourist attraction in Ireland and features gleaming multimedia exhibitions on everything from retro advertising to the craft of brewing, topped off with a pint in the 360-degree Gravity Bar. 



Kilmainham Gaol

Firstly,  I was a little unsure about planning a visit to a prison,  there is something a little morally dubious about touring around the site of misery and suffering. It is the same sort of foreboding tension you experience before going to a concentration camp elsewhere in Europe. Yet this is a chilled tingling sensation that sweeps over your body as you tootle into to Kilmainham Gaol's East Wing.  It is gigantic, deserted, cold and eerily compelling. Your mind can't help but wonder what stories and tales those extra-thick walls boar witness to over the years. Apparently, it is the largest unoccupied prison in Europe and one of the most visited.  

The guide says that by the time it had closed in 1924, many of Ireland’s foremost political figures had passed through its cells, including Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, President Eamon de Valera, and the leaders of the 1916 Rising of which 14 were executed in the stonecutter’s yard. It really is one of those places that you really ought to see in Dublin, even with limited time, as you'll learn a lot about Irish history and the cruelty of men. Yet, also marvel at how even a prison can have beautiful architecture!  

Photo www.ireland.com


Of course,  there are so many other places to see and experience in Dublin,  not least Trinity College, St Patrick's and Christ Church Cathedrals, the EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum,  Iveagh Gardens - ideal for a rest, a picnic and people watching. St Stephen’s Green, which was used for public executions until the 1770s is also a nice place to relax and unwind a little - especially if you've been on a bit of a tourist whirlwind tour of the city in either new shoes or worn-out trainers! 

Merrion Square is also a good place to see,  it is perhaps one of Dublin's largest and grandest Georgian squares. On three sides are Georgian Houses and on the fourth the gardens of Leinster House and two museums.  It's only got a relaxed statue of Oscar Wilde, which always attracts visits and dozens of insta moments.  









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