Compact and walkable, it's still the charming city that allows visitors to brush shoulders with the spirits of George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce. However, its cozy pubs are being joined by high-rises, luxury hotels and chic new restaurants, as it evolves into the European capital of the high-tech industry. Dublin's unpretentious charm, traditional Irish lilt and wry Irish humor are still there to delight you, but you'll not fail to sense as well its new urbanity and vigor.
Passport, sufficient funds and onward ticket required of Australian, Canadian and U.S. citizens. U.K. citizens should bring a passport. Reconfirm travel document requirements with your carrier before departure.
Businessmen wear suits and ties, and women wear the female equivalent. Weather can be very changeable; layer for greatest flexibility. Even in summer, bring a sweater and (always) an umbrella. The warm-ups-and-Reeboks look will brand you as a tourist and exclude you from some upscale pubs and restaurants.
Business and Cultural Practices
People tend to be informal, and many deals are concluded over a pint. It's customary to buy rounds of drinks in a pub with everyone taking his or her turn. Three-course business lunches are not unusual.
Ireland's country code is 353, the Dublin city code is 1.
Greenwich Mean Time. Daylight Saving Time (called Summer Time) is observed from April to October.
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Dublin Airport lies just north of the city, approximately 20-25 minutes from the center under normal driving conditions; however, a bad rush hour can add 15 minutes.
Approximate fare to central Dublin: [sterling]12-[sterling]13.
Hotel Courtesy Vans
Three hotels provide complimentary vans at the airport: the Forte Post House Hotel (adjacent to the airport), Fitzpatrick's Castle Hotel (Killiney) and the Regency Hotel. All three hotels need to be notified in advance.
Airlink goes from the airport to Busaras (the central bus station) in about 35 minutes and costs [sterling]2.50. Cost is [sterling]3.50 to Heuston Station, the main rail link to the south. Exact change not required, but recommended. Phone 873-4222.
Hertz, Avis, Murray's, Budget, Eurodollar and Argus.
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Although Irish (called Irish, not Gaelic) was "the first official language," it's the principal language only in very small localities in Kerry, Galway and Waterford. English is the spoken language everywhere.
The currency system is decimal and is based on Irish punts, more commonly called "pounds." Like the British pound, the currency is designated [sterling]. Unlike the British pound, the Irish pound is pegged within the European Monetary System.
At press time, the exchange rate was [sterling]0.44 for one Australian dollar, [sterling]1.12 for one British pound sterling, [sterling]0.44 for one Canadian dollar, and [sterling]0.68 for one U.S. dollar.
Note: Ireland is one of 11 EU countries participating in monetary union. On 1 January 1999, the value of the Irish pound will be fixed to the new currency, the euro. (At press time, the rate was expected to be about [sterling]0.79 to one euro.) While euro coins and banknotes will not be circulated until 2002, the euro will serve as an intermediary currency for all exchanges. This means that euro amounts may appear on credit card statements and exchange receipts.
Porters: 50p per bag. Taxis: 10%. Check restaurant bills to see if service is included (10%-12.5% of the bill); if especially pleased, leave a little more.
Sales or Use Tax
A 21% VAT (value-added tax) is incorporated in almost all prices (books and children's clothing excluded). Get a refund form from the shop where you make a purchase. Hand it in to airport customs officials if Ireland is your point of departure from European Union countries. If you're having goods sent home, the VAT refund will be figured at point of sale. Tax on services, including hotels and restaurants, is 12.5%.
ATMs are now the most convenient and cheapest way to get cash, accepting major bank cards and credit cards (if you've obtained a PIN before leaving). Banks and Bureaux de Change along Grafton and O'Connell Streets give better rates on traveler's checks than on cash. The Foreign Exchange Company of Ireland has offices in the bus and train stations, at Arnotts Department Store on Henry Street and Clery's Department Store on O'Connell Street. American Express is at 41 Nassau St. (phone 679-9000) and in the Dublin Tourism headquarters on Suffolk Street (phone 605-7709). Thomas Cook at 51 Grafton (phone 677-7422).
Offices generally open Monday-Friday 9 or 9:30 am-5 or 5:30 pm. Smaller offices often close during lunch.
Ireland operates on 220-240 volts. Plugs have three flat prongs. North American appliances require both an adapter and a converter.
Dial 999 for fire, police and ambulance. 112 is an emergency number as well.
Emergency Health Care
St. Vincent's Hospital, Merrion Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, phone 269-4533; St. James' Hospital, James' Street, Dublin 8, phone 453-7941. Emergency care available to all at a fixed charge of [sterling]20. Emergency dental care is available at the Dental Hospital at Lincoln Place, Dublin 2, phone 612-7000; get ticket for waiting system Monday-Friday at 8:30 am or promptly at noon.
U.S. Embassy, phone 668-8777; Australian Embassy, phone 676-1517; Canadian
Embassy, phone 478-1988.
There is no 24-hour pharmacy (chemist). Two city-center chemists open for extended hours: O'Connell's Pharmacy (daily 10 am-10 pm), 55 Lower O'Connell St., phone 873-0427; and Donnybrook (daily 8 am-10 pm), 8 The Mall, Donnybrook, Dublin 4, phone 269-5236.
The National Rehabilitation Board provides the following free guides: Access Guide to Dublin, Guide to Accessible Accommodation and Guide to Accessible Amenities. 44 N. Great George's St., Dublin 1, or call 668-4181 and ask for the Access Officer.
Mail and Package Service
Post offices are called An Post. The central post office is in the middle of O'Connell Street (phone 705-7000), open Monday-Saturday 8 am-8 pm, Sunday 10:30 am-6:30 pm. Most post offices close for lunch 1-2:15 pm. Many close at 1 pm Wednesdays and Saturdays. UPS (phone 800-575-757), DHL (phone 844-4111) and Federal Express (phone 800-535-800).
City Newspapers, Magazines
Published daily are The Irish Times and The Irish Independent. Published Sunday are The Sunday Independent, Ireland on Sunday, the Sunday Business Post and the Sunday Tribune (the latter two with excellent business coverage).
USA Today, the International Herald Tribune and The Wall Street Journal are available from Eason's, O'Connell Street, phone 873-3811; and Tuthill's, in the Hibernian Way off Dawson Street, Dublin 2, phone 679-4956.
For More Information
Dublin Tourism has offices in Suffolk Street, the Baggot Street Bridge, in the suburb of Tallaght, in the Ferry Terminal in Dun Laoghaire (south of Dublin) and at the airport. For Dublin tourist information, call 1-850-230-330.
Entertainment guides: The Event Guide (free, at many locations); In Dublin ([sterling]1.95 at newsstands); and the daily "What's On" column in The Irish Times.
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Many hotels have executive centers and computers, secretarial assistance, audiovisual equipment, photocopiers and fax machines available for their guests. Additional options follow. (Don't count on any of these functioning on a weekend!)
IAPI, 35 Upper Fitzwilliam St., Dublin 2, phone 676-5991; MAV, 6a Baggot Court, Lower Baggot St., Dublin 2, phone 676-4011; GFD, 15a Parkmore Industrial Estate, Dublin 12, phone 456-9500.
Air Call, Dublin Airport in the Arrivals Hall, phone 844-4844; Talkshop, Unit 1, The Granary, 20 Temple Lane South, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, phone 672-7207.
Livingston Rental, Unit 42, Airways Industrial Estate, Dublin 17, phone 1-800-425-000; Cyberia Internet Cafe, Temple Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, phone 679-7607; and Cafe @ Arthouse, on Curved Street, Temple Bar, phone 605-6800, offer computers for use by the hour.
Convention Services/Meeting Planning
International Conference Organisers, Western Parkway Business Centre, Dublin 12, phone 450-2940; Symposia, 1 Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin 2, phone 676-1639.
Hurricane Couriers, Scope House, Whitehall Road West, Dublin 12, phone 453-1577; Pony Express, 7 Lower Fitzwilliam St., Dublin 2, phone 661-0101.
Machines are located at just about every city-center newsagent; prices vary greatly. Two of them are Read's Newsagent, Nassau Street (opposite Trinity College), phone 676-1044; and Baggot Print & Design, 38 Upper Baggot St., Dublin 4, phone 660-9777.
Merrion Business Centre, 20 Upper Merrion St., Dublin 2, phone 676-1044; Europa Business Centre, Regis House, Harcourt Road, Dublin 2, phone 475-4244.
Askus Translation Service, 130 Rathgar Rd., Dublin 6, phone 497-2120; DCU-LS, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, phone 704-5552.
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Expect to pay within these general guidelines, based on the cost of a dinner for one, including tax and tip but not including drinks: $ = less than [sterling]6; $$ = [sterling]7-[sterling]13; $$$ = [sterling]13-[sterling]30; $$$$ = more than [sterling]30.
Best in Town
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud (elegant setting, excellent wine cellar), in the Merrion Hotel, Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, phone 676-4192, $$$$; Mermaid Cafe (award-winning bistro), 69 Dame St., Dublin 2, phone 670-8236, $$-$$$; Eden (trendy, stunning decor), Meeting House Square, Temple Bar, phone 670-5372, $$-$$$; Peacock Alley (with famed chef Conrad Gallagher), The Fitzwilliam Hotel, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin 2, phone 662-0760; The Tea Room (classy, creative), in the Clarence Hotel, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, phone 670-9000, $$$.
Hot and Trendy
Odessa (artsy crowd, delicious weekend brunch), 13 Dame Court, Dublin 2, phone 670-7634, $$; Elephant and Castle (the place for breakfast), 18 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, phone 679-3121, $-$$; Botticelli (try the gnocchi), 3 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, phone 672-7289; 101 Talbot (pasta, couscous and actors from the Abbey are stars), 100-10-1 Talbot St., Dublin 1, phone 874-5011, $$.
Il Primo (homemade pasta, great wine list), 16 Montague St. (near St. Stephen's Green), Dublin 2, phone 478-3373, $$$; Tosca (lively Italian), 20 Suffolk St. (off Grafton), Dublin 2, phone 679-6744, $$-$$$.
Rajdoot (Indian, good vegetarian selection), 26 Clarendon St. (Grafton Street area), Dublin 2, phone 479-4274; Chili Club (Thai bistro), 1 Anne's Lane, S. Anne Street (off Grafton), Dublin 2, phone 677-3721, $$; Yamamori (Japanese noodle house), 71/72 S. Great Georges St., Dublin 2, phone 475-5001, $$; Orchid Szechuan (top-quality Chinese), 120 Pembroke St. (Ballsbridge area), Dublin 4, phone 660-0629, $$-$$$.
Jury's Coffee Dock (pricey, but open till 4:30 am Tuesday-Saturday), in Jury's Hotel, Pembroke Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, phone 660-5000, $$-$$$.
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Georgian Squares: 18th-century mansions with landscaped gardens; Merrion
Square, Fitzwilliam Square, St. Stephen's Green, Mountjoy Square.
The Medieval City: Laid out by Vikings, dominated by 13th-century
Dublin Castle. Monday-Friday 10 am to 12:15 pm and 2 to 5 pm, weekend
Christ Church Cathedral: Dublin's oldest (11th century). Open daily,
services at 11 am and 3:30 pm Sundays. Donation requested. Christ Church Place,
Dublin 8, phone 677-8099.
Trinity College: Campus dating from 1700; historic structures,
world-renowned 8th-century illuminated manuscript, Book of Kells; also
the audiovisual Dublin Experience. Dublin 2, phone 677-2941.
The National Museum of Ireland: Antiquities from the Stone Age to
medieval times, including spectacular gold jewelry; also recent Irish history.
Tuesday-Saturday 10 am to 5 pm, Sunday 2 to 5 pm. Free. Kildare and Merrion
Streets, Dublin 2, phone 677-7444.
The Writers' Museum: Memorabilia from Ireland's great literary heritage.
Monday-Friday 10 am to 5 pm (till 7 pm in summer), Saturday 10 am to 5 pm,
Sunday 2 to 6 pm. 18/19 Parnell Square, Dublin 1, phone 872-2077.
The National Gallery of Ireland: Monday-Saturday 10 am to 5:30 pm
(Thursday to 8:30), Sunday 2 to 5 pm. Free. Merrion Square, Dublin 4, phone
Kilmainham Jail: Site where many Irish political figures were
incarcerated. Open May-September weekdays 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday 1 to 6 pm.
October-April, afternoons only. Admission. Nearby is the Irish Museum of
Modern Art. Inchicore Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, phone 453-5984.
The James Joyce Centre: Guided tours relating to the author's life and
works. Also a walking tour through Joyce country. Separate admission fees. 35
N. Great George's St., Dublin 1, phone 873-1984 or 878-8547.
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A consumer frenzy is developing in Ireland, as shopping centers pop up and smaller retail stores take root. The two main shopping areas are growing rapidly: north of the Liffey -- around O'Connell Street, Henry Street and Mary Street -- and south of the Liffey along Grafton Street, Nassau Street, South Great George's Street and Temple Bar. Two great souvenirs: Waterford crystal (priced identically throughout the city) and smoked salmon (buy it at Clayton Love & Sons market).
Best Department Store: Brown Thomas, the long-established favorite, now
in its luxurious new quarters. Grafton Street, Dublin 2, phone
Antiques: Look for concentrations in these areas: St. Francis Street; Patrick Street (between Christchurch and St. Patrick's); in the Molesworth/Dawson Street area.
Galleries: Solomon Gallery at Powerscourt Centre, S. William Street and John Farrington on Drury Street. In the Temple Bar area: Temple Bar Gallery and Studios (contemporary artists), 5-9 Temple Bar; Craft Council @ DESIGNyard Retail Gallery (new talent in jewelry and furniture), 12 E. Essex St.
Bookstores: Dawson Street (a block from Grafton) has the big guns: Hodges Figgis and Waterstone's, facing each other at the Trinity College end. Both open daily, Thursday till late and Sunday afternoon.
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Well-Known Theaters: Abbey (National Theater of Ireland), 26 Lower Abbey St., phone 878-7222; the Gate Theatre, 4 Cavendish Row, Dublin 1, phone 874-4045; the Gaiety Theatre, S. King Street, Dublin 2, phone 677-1717.
Dance: Traditional dancing at Jury's Cabaret, Jury's Hotel, Ballsbridge, phone 660-500; Dance Theatre of Ireland, phone 280-3455; CoisCeim, phone 670-4076.
Music: National Concert Hall (Earlsfort Terrace, off St. Stephen's Green, phone 475-1666) for symphony concerts; the Point (East Link Bridge, N. Wall Quay, phone 836-3633) for pop concerts and large musicals.
Cinema: The Irish Film Centre (complete with cafe and late-night music), 6 Eustace St., Temple Bar, phone 679-3477.
Cabaret: Jury's Irish Cabaret (see above).
Ticket brokers: HMV Ticket Shop, 65 Grafton St., phone 679-5364; Ticketmaster, phone 456-9659.
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Pubs and Clubs
Mulligan's (best of the real ol'), 8 Poolbeg St. (off the south quays near the O'Connell Bridge), Dublin 2, phone 677-5582; the Brazen Head (oldest pub in Ireland), 20 Lower Bridge St., Dublin 8, phone 679-5786; The Stag's Head (woody bar with authentic feel), 1 Dame Court, Dublin 2, phone 679-3701; The Front Lounge (mecca for the fabulous people), 33-34 Parliament St., Dublin 2, phone 679-3369; Ryan's of Parkgate Street (well known, north of the Liffey), Dublin 8, phone 677-6097; The George (a gay pub), 89 S. Great George's St., phone 478-2983. Check clubs renting the Irish Life Mall (phone 878-1032) and the Gaiety Theatre (phone 677-1717).
The Ferryman Pub (traditional Irish, call first: sessions can be spontaneous), 35 Sir John Rogerson Quay, Dublin 2, phone 671-7053; The Red Box (rock), Old Railway Station, Harcourt Street, phone 478-0166; O'Donoghues (traditional), 15 Merrion Row, Dublin 2, phone 660-7194; Whelan's Pub (cozy, eclectic), 25 Wexford St., phone 478-0766; Harcourt Hotel (traditional, Sunday jazz/blues), Harcourt Street, Dublin 2, phone 478-3677.
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