Categories
Ireland

What’s on this August Bank Holiday?

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For those of us who haven’t managed to book a getaway this August Bank Holiday weekend, you may be on the lookout for something fun to pass the time this long weekend.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”21428″ title=”What will the weather be like?” title_color=”#ffffff” title_size=”50″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Friday is expected to be a bright day with good sunny spells and some scattered showers and Saturday will be much the same, with some light to moderate breezes also.

Sunday is supposed to be a generally dry day too with just a few showers but on Bank Holiday Monday, rain will affect much of the country. Heavier rain is forecasted for the south but there should be some drier periods further north.

For a comprehensive weather forecast, check out Met Éireann before you travel.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”21443″ title=”What’s On in Dublin and Leinster?” title_size=”60″]

There’s plenty of activity going on across the province over the Bank Holiday. Whether you’re up for a decent comedy gig, looking for quality sporting action or prefer a good family day out, there’s plenty happening around the place that will appeal to all sorts.

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If you plan on travelling around Dublin City over the Bank Holiday, there are major Luas Cross City works taking place in the city centre over the few days. For full details on these closures and diversions see here.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Any good shows or gigs on over the weekend?” title_color=”#000000″ background_color=”#ffffff”][vc_column_text]If you fancy good quality entertainment, then the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre is your go-to spot this weekend. One of the most beloved shows on stage comes to Ireland for the first time and takes place each night over the bank holiday from 7:30pm. If you want to bring the kids along, they’re showing matinee performances on Thursday 28th and Saturday 30th, but remember that the musical contains some strong language. Traffic delays are likely on Macken St, particularly as people head home after the show. Dublin Bus and Luas operate services within walking distance of the theatre and for more on that, head over to our website.

Feel like having a good laugh this weekend? Then look no further than the Iveagh Gardens. This weekend sees the annual Vodafone Comedy Festival descend on the beautiful surroundings of the gardens and this year’s line-up is one not to be missed. From Al Porter to PJ Gallagher and Jason Byrne to Eleanor Tiernan, there are an array of good quality stand-up comedians taking to the stage over the weekend and you’re guaranteed a lively atmosphere and a bit of a chuckle. If you’re bringing the car, the handiest carparks are Q-Park at St. Stephen’s Green, Q-Park at Setanta, Park Rite Drury St or the Brown Thomas Carpark. There are two LUAS Green Line stops close to the Iveagh Gardens and Dublin Bus and DART services run within walking distance of the venue.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Any festivals going on?” title_color=”#000000″][vc_column_text]Of course there are! For a bit of variety, fun and colour The Beatyard Festival in Dun Laoghaire Harbour is a good shout. It takes place on Saturday and Sunday with gates opening at midday and the event ending at around 10:30pm both days. This festival really has everything – from food and drink to tech and the arts, you won’t be short of activities. It’s a great place to bring the kinds too if they’re getting restless with face-painting and games set to run through the two days. Thinking of heading along? Your best bet is to get the DART to Dun Laoghaire as the station is right opposite the venue.

Moving to the sunny south east and if your taste buds need a tickling this weekend, The Enniscorthy Rockin Food Festival might be what you’re looking for. It runs from Friday to Sunday. It promises to be a dynamic mix of rock ‘n’ roll and dancing with tasty tapas and delicious food thrown in for good measure.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Any sporting events taking place this weekend?”][vc_column_text]It wouldn’t be a Bank Holiday weekend without a number of exciting sporting fixtures. Dedicated GAA fans will flock to Croker this weekend, where there’s a triple header at Croke Park on Saturday. An All-Ireland MFC Quarter-Final and two SFC Round 4B Qualifiers take place. The 2pm kick-off sees Donegal take on Cork in the minor match. That’s followed by Cork and Donegal in the first senior match at 4pm. Then at 6pm, Mayo take on Westmeath. There are ample ways to get to GAA Headquarters and full details of those can be found on the AA Roadwatch website.

If you’re more into the soccer, then you may be making your way to see two great international sides go head-to-head in the International Champions Cup. It’s your chance to see the likes of Lionel Messi do his magic on our very own home turf. There are five entry routes to the stadium; at Shelbourne Rd, Lansdowne Lane, Lansdowne Rd, Herbert Rd and Bath Ave. Each ticket will be colour coded to correspond with an entry point to the stadium. Patrons must follow the route shown on their ticket.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” title=”What’s On in Munster?” title_size=”60″ image=”21454″]

A handful of fun, entertaining festivals come to the Munster region this bank holiday. Whether you’re a die-hard foodie, an indie fan or just looking for a decent family-orientated event, there are plenty going on. Here are just a few of the highlights.

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A fun weekend for all the family, the Waterford Spraoi Festival takes place from Friday until Sunday. Crowds of about 25,000 people are expected to come to the city for the event each day so you can expect lots of colour, vibrancy and activity throughout the few days. Street entertainment and theatre is on the menu this weekend in Waterford, with the highlight being the parade which takes place on Sunday with about 50,000 people expected to attend.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Cork” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Die-hard music fans will be flocking in their thousands to the beautiful surroundings of Deer Farm in Mitchelstown, County Cork for Indiependence from Friday until Sunday. All car parks are located just off site within very short walking distance and open from 10am on Friday. This year’s festival has a stellar line-up with the likes of Editors, Bell X1, Hudson Taylor, The Blizzards and Walking on Cars all taking to the stage over the three days and if you’re heading to see any of these, the main area opens at 5pm on Friday then at 2pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Staying in County Cork and what better way to spend the Bank Holiday than with a massive BBQ? That’s exactly what’s happening in Bantry this weekend as the Bantry BBQ Festival takes place from Saturday right through until Monday. If you’re unsure what your best route is, check out our website.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”21342″ title=”What’s On in Connacht and Ulster?” title_size=”60″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]The wild west has a number of breath-taking attractions on any given day but there are extra sprinklings of fun over the August Bank Holiday weekend. Of course, the major event taking place this week has been the Galway Races. With Friday’s Fair Lady competition and family days at the racecourse on Saturday and Sunday, this weekend in Ballybrit is set to be even more enjoyable. Friday’s race card starts at 5:10pm in the evening and finishes at 8:30pm.

If you’re looking for a family day out, then Saturday or Sunday at the races are your best option. They’re the dedicated family days and children even get free entry. There will be an abundance of entertainment for the young racegoer including bouncing castles, slides and face painting. The stiles open two hours before the first race each day and you’ll find Galway Racecourse roughly 5km from the city centre, in Ballybrit on Bothar na dTreabh. For more details on what to expect from the Galway Races, check out our guide.

There are a few smaller events taking place over the bank holiday elsewhere too. In Mayo, the Annual Pilgrimage to Croagh Patrick takes place on Sunday, starting at Murrisk Abbey. East of the county then, Síamsa Sráide takes place in Swinford until Wednesday. The festival is free to attend and with both live music at night and entertainment for the family during the day it is well worth a visit.

In the northwest close to the beautiful surroundings of Malin Head in Donegal lies the beautiful village of Clonmany, where the Clonmany Festival takes place. This festival runs from Sunday until Sunday 7th. It’s a real family-orientated event with everything from raft races and cycling events to treasure hunts and talent competitions. It also has lively county music acts playing every night with even the likes of Nathan Carter, Mike Denver and Gerry Guthrie making an appearance over the eight nights.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Ireland

Galloping to the Galway Races

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Crowds of race-lovers will descend on the west of Ireland again this year, as the Galway Races get underway from Monday 25th July. Whether you’re a fully-fledged race enthusiast or it’s your first-time joining in on the fun, the Galway Races has something for everyone. As it’s one of the biggest racing festivals of the summer, you can expect it to draw massive crowds both to the racecourse and to the city itself and traffic delays are unfortunately inevitable.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”21342″ title=”When’s the Best Day to go to the Races?” title_size=”60″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]The festival runs from Monday 25th right up until Sunday 31st July, which is the weekend of the August Bank Holiday. You’re always going to get a great day out at the races no matter what day you pick. If you want to avoid the worst of the crowds and opt for a more relaxing racing experience though, Monday or Tuesday are your best days as they tend to be quieter.

On Wednesday, the infamous Galway Plate race takes place and this one usually garners the most media attention and in turn, massive crowds of people. It’s a great day out and the atmosphere is second to none.

Thursday is an equally monumental day as the fashionistas and finery come to the fore. The ever-popular Ladies Day descends on the racecourse in Ballybrit and it’s usually the most colourful and vibrant day on the Galway racing calendar.  If you’d like to chance your arm and put your own style to the test, the good news is that you don’t have to go through a formal entry procedure. The judges simply wander through the crowds and select a number of eye-catching finalists. Be sure to be in a prominent part of the racecourse before 11:30am though, as that’s when the judges start their rounds! The Annual Best Hat competition and Most Stylish Man event also take place on the day so if you can’t claim the big prize, those awards might make for a suitable consolation.

It’s another style-filled spectacle on Friday as Friday’s Fair Lady competition gets underway. This is likely to be another very busy day for the racecourse, so be prepared for traffic delays and long queues to both the bookies and the bar. Again, if you’re looking to enter the Fair Lady competition, there is no formal entry – just sit pretty in a prominent position for the judges and you’re sure to be spotted. Don’t dilly-dally though as finalists are usually picked out before 6pm.

If you’re looking for a family day out, then Saturday or Sunday at the races are your best option. They’re the dedicated family days and children even get free entry. Think the kids will find race day a bit dull? Think again. There will be an abundance of entertainment for the young racegoer including bouncing castles, slides and face painting. The Mad Hatters Day takes place on the Sunday and is a real fun way to get the kids involved in race day. There are prizes available for adults and children sporting wacky hat designs but make sure you head to the Mad Hatters Tent, found behind the Tote if you want your entry to be recognised.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”What Do I Wear?” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

There isn’t an overly strict dress policy at the Galway Races but if you want to keep in tune with the crowds, it’s best to stick to your smart/casual attire. You’ll get away with dressing more informally on Monday or Tuesday but from Wednesday onwards, it’s a good idea to get your finest glad rags out. Thursday and Friday are the big ‘dressed up’ days, when the Ladies Day and Fair Lady competitions take place so you’re encouraged to dress as smartly as you possibly can.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Where is the Racecourse in Galway?” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]You’ll find the racecourse about 5km from the city centre, in an area called Ballybrit. It’s easily accessed off the N17 Tuam Road or the N6 Bothar na Dtreabh and delays are likely on both of those approaches to the racecourse. There will be ample car parking facilities available in the vicinity of the racecourse and parks will be located on both approaches to the racecourse.

Remember!

If you’re using the N17 from Sligo to get to Galway for the races, the road will be closed between Collooney and Tobercurry near Ballinacarrow North from Tuesday 26th until Thursday 28th July between 4am and 5pm each day. You will be diverted but do expect that to add to your journey time.

Top Tip

If you’re using the N17 to get to the races and want to avoid the heavier traffic. You can take a left at Claregalway onto the N18 (signposted Limerick). At the traffic lights, take a right and drive past the airport. After about 3 and a half kilometres, you’ll take a right onto Ballybrit Crescent and head into the racecourse that way. You won’t avoid the inevitable delays around the vicinity of the racecourse, but you should bypass the heaviest traffic on the N17.

Still unsure of your route? Check out AA Routeplanner or use our new AA Roadwatch/ Routeplanner app for live traffic information.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”What’re My Public Transport Options to the Racecourse?” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]There will be a shuttle bus service operating every day of the races between Eyre Square and the racecourse. It will pick up people outside The Skeff Restaurant on Eyre Square and buses will start running from approximately 2 hours before the first race. Return services will start bringing people back into the city from after the second-last race each day and you’ll find the service at Entrance B and C of the arena.

The demand for buses will be high so expect some queues. An adult single fare is €6 and you’ll pay €9 for the return service while for children, a single ticket will cost €3 and €5 for the return. The pick-up stop at The Skeff is just a short five minute walk from Ceannt Train Station and the adjoining Galway Bus Station, so this may be a good option for you if you’re using public transport to get to Galway.

There will be numerous taxis travelling between the city centre and the racecourse. If you want to get a taxi out of the venue, the taxi rank will be located at Entrance B.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”What Else Do I Need to Know?” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″ title_color=”#000000″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

  • You’re advised to arrive at least one hour before the time of the first race and turnstiles will open about two hours before the first race each day.
  • No need to worry about pre-booking tickets. Admission can be paid on the day through the turnstiles.
  • OAP’s and students can get a discounted admission rate on the day, provided you have proof of a current ID. Discounted rates are as follows: Monday €10, Tuesday €15, Wednesday €15, Thursday €20, Friday €15, Saturday €10 and Sunday €10.
  • Children under 12 will be admitted free of charge to the Summer Festival and if the kids are over 12, they will be offered the discounted student rate.

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Categories
Ireland

Longitude Gig Guide

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]It’s another busy summer for the Rathfarnham park with big names such as Kendrick Lamar , The Lumineers, Jamie XX and Major Lazer all taking to the stage this weekend for Longitude.

If you’re lucky enough to have nabbed tickets this year, chances are you’re figuring out how to get there, how to get home and what to expect.

Lucky for you, AA Roadwatch have compiled this handy gig guide for anyone heading to Longitude this weekend:[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

If you’re looking for tickets to Longitude, click here. Remember that gates open each day at 1:30pm.

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Getting to Marlay Park

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”By Car” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” border_color=”#dd9933″ background_color=”#ffcc00″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]If you’re bringing the car along with you, bear in mind that traffic and parking delays are inevitable. Marlay Park concert traffic tends to be extremely heavy and motorists are strongly advised to use public transport or carpool if you can.

We strongly recommend you plan your journey in advance allowing at least an extra 2 hours travel time to and from the venue, to allow for the worst possible delays.

The heaviest traffic is likely to be exiting the M50 southbound at J13 Ballinteer. You should also expect delays heading out of the city on Harold’s Cross Rd and through Terenure before the event.

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Your best route out Longitude from the city centre is through Rathmines and Rathgar before heading towards Terenure on Terenure Road East. You’ll then turn left onto Rathfarnham Road at Terenure Cross. Continue along Rathfarnham Road for a time and then take a right onto Grange Road (signposted Sandyford and Ballinteer). Continue on that stretch of road before turning right onto Taylor’s Lane at the T-junction. You’ll then take the next left onto Whitechurch Road and then left onto College Road, where the entrance to the car-parks is located.

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If you’re using the M50, exit at Junction 12 Firhouse, and follow signs for Ballyboden (R113). You’ll continue straight via Scholarstown Road and Taylors Lane. After the third roundabout, turn right onto Whitechurch Road and then left onto College Road. Entrance to the car-parks is off College Road.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”What Roads will be Closed?”][vc_column_text]The following road closures will be in place following the event each night:

Grange Rd (between Taylors Lane and Ballinteer Ave), Brehon Field Rd, College Rd (between Whitechurch Rd and Grange Rd) and Stonemasons Way (between Grange Rd and Broadford Rd) from 10:30pm.

Access to Grange Rd from Harold’s Grange Rd will be restricted. Access to La Touch Court and Pinevalley Park will be maintained where possible. Access to Stonemasons Way from Barton Rd East towards Broadford Rd will be restricted. Taylors Lane (between Whitechurch Rd and Grange Rd) will close at 10pm.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

For full details of your route, why not use AA Routeplanner?

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Car Parking” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]You’ll find the car-parks off College Road, close to the Park. Remember that there is limited parking available for concert-goers and they open to the public from midday.

Motorists are warned to refrain from parking illegally in areas surrounding Marlay Park, in local housing estates or outside local residences. Parking enforcement rules will be in operation and your vehicle is likely to be clamped or towed.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”By Bus” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Dublin Bus”][vc_column_text]There are a number of Dublin Bus routes that serve the Grange Road entrances of Marlay Park:

 

The below Dublin Bus services stop at Ballinteer Shopping Centre, which is only about a 15 minute walk to the site:

 

Please double-check your timetables before you travel. Take note that not all services will be operating at the end of the concerts and will be on a first come first served basis. For more information, check out dublinbus.ie.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Marathon Coaches Bus Service”][vc_column_text]Marathon Coaches will operate a return bus service from Georges Quay (outside Ulster Bank) in the city centre direct to Marlay Park for all gigs this summer. Bus tickets are available for sale on a first come first serve basis on their website.

Prices for the Shuttle will cost you €10 when you book them online up to 10am on the morning of each service.

Subject to availability, you can also purchase tickets at the bus stop at Geroges Quay each day. Fares will be charged at €15 return or €10 one way.

Return buses to the city centre from Marlay Park will depart from 10:30pm until midnight each evening and will leave on first come first serve basis.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Private Buses and Coaches”][vc_column_text]

There will be coach/bus and minibus parking available within Marlay Park and access to that car park will be via College Road.

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If you want to get the Luas to Marlay Park, the Balally stop on the Green Line is roughly a half hour walk from the venue. However, a shuttle bus will operate between there and Marlay Park. Departure times are every 30mins between 1pm and 6:30pm. Pre-booking is advised. Return services will operate from Stonemasons Way to Dundrum LUAS from 9pm until 12:30am.

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Top Tips from the AA Roadwatch & PR team

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][blockquote text=”“Leave plenty of time if travelling by bus as services are usually full, especially heading to the park. Bring sun cream and also a rain coat/ something water-proof for the unpredictable Irish weather.” – Adrian Harmon” show_quote_icon=”yes” background_color=”#ffffff” quote_icon_color=”#dd9933″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][blockquote text=”“My favourite bus to Marlay Park is the 14 because it drops you at Ballinteer Shopping Centre where there’s a SuperValu and two petrol stations nearby for any last minute essentials. However, getting home from Marlay Park on public transport is another matter. In my opinion, the best option is to arrange transport with a private bus company.” – Nicole Gernon” show_quote_icon=”yes” quote_icon_color=”#dd9933″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][blockquote text=”“Pack bin liners! They make for super compact waterproof blankets that you can sit on with your mates. Have an exit strategy too. Weigh up in advance whether that last song is really worth the two hour journey back into the city centre.” – Yvette Poufong” show_quote_icon=”yes” quote_icon_color=”#dd9933″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][blockquote text=”“Avoid taking the car and use your two feet as much as possible. The ideal option would be getting off somewhere that’s thirty mins walk away from Marlay Park to avoid getting caught in concert traffic. Arrange to meet your lift at that same location after the gig. The last time I went to a concert there I walked from about an hour away and when you take all the traffic restrictions and congestion into account, it was definitely the easiest option.” – Ruth Jephson” show_quote_icon=”yes” quote_icon_color=”#dd9933″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][blockquote text=”“From past experience, getting home is much more difficult than actually getting to Marlay Park. Your first port of call should be organising how you’ll arrive home safely, whether it’s booking a taxi in advance or arranging a lift home from someone you know. Be aware that taxis will be in high demand on the night so you may not be able to rely on just hailing one after the gig.” – Orla O’Callaghan” show_quote_icon=”yes” quote_icon_color=”#dd9933″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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Croatia Czech Republic Europe Germany Netherlands Slovenia

My Interrailling Journey – From Amsterdam to Zadar

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Planning your interrailling journey? AA Roadwatch’s Sharron Lynskey tells us all about her experience travelling through Europe by train.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”20927″ title=”Amsterdam, The Netherlands” title_size=”80″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Our first stop was a quick flight to the Dutch capital and it was the ideal start to our interrailing experience. The vast majority of Irish travellers opt for this city as their first step in their journey. It’s a short hop on a plane from Dublin and the city is brimming with quirks. Although this was the most expensive city on our route, it was worth every penny to experience the magic of the canals, the cobbled streets and the extraordinary sights of the red light district.

We stayed two nights in a dingy hostel with a small Stuart Little for company. It was definitely the worst accommodation and yet, we paid almost double the price for this place in comparison to other hostels.

In terms of local cuisine, make sure you don’t leave the city without sampling the Dutch pancakes. There are small stalls and pop-up restaurants dotted all around the city that serve this delicacy – I’d recommend eating it with lashings of Nutella. You’re only on holidays once, eh?

Boredom simply does not exist in Amsterdam. The city is bursting with fun things to do so whether you want to re-visit the realities of World War II in the Anne Frank House or sip a cold pint at the Heineken Experience, this city has it all. I would definitely recommend taking a spin on one of the many canal cruises that are on offer. I didn’t expect much from this at first but the cruise really was one of the best ways to see this fascinating city. You can go for an evening or dinner cruise, but we spent a sunny afternoon on one of the day cruises, which was a really relaxing way to pass the time.

Amsterdam Bucket List:

  • Anne Frank Museum
  • Red Light District
  • Canal Cruises
  • Ice Bar
  • Heineken Experience

For a more comprehensive guide to Amsterdam, check out Nicole Gernon’s trip to the Dutch Capital.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”20937″ title=”Berlin, Germany” title_size=”80″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]After a (relatively!) short 6hr journey via Munich, we eventually landed late at night to the prinicpal station in the majestic German capital. Luckily for us, the hostel we booked was centrally located in the Alexanerplatz district and was less than a 10 minute commuter train from there. If you’re unsure where to book you accommodation, then I would highly recommend staying around Alexanderplatz. It’s a very central and safe part of the city and there’s an energetic vibe around the square with a number of high street shops dotted around it. There’s also a big train station just off the square that connects you to all the major tourist sites around the city.

We stayed in the One80 Hostel in Alexanderplatz and it was probably the best standard of accommodation we stayed in over the sixteen days. It’s a modern hostel full of young tourists and inter-railers from across the globe. It also has a nightclub, a beer garden and a decent restaurant included in the building so you’ve everything at your disposal. The rooms were clean and tidy and bathrooms and shower facilities were second to none – a rarity in most European hostels!

We stayed a mere three nights in Berlin and I can say, it really wasn’t enough time to truly take in all its historical significance. Saying that, we didn’t waste a single minute and packed in a plethora of activities. Truly, the best way to see the city is to avail of a free walking tour. A lot of the tours actually pick up people from the hostels and take the crowds directly to the tour’s start point – saves a lot of hassle! They’re mostly free of charge but they do accept donations at the end of the tour. Our walking tour took us through the Houses of Parliament, the Berlin Wall and other historical and sometimes quirky points from World War II, including the site of Hitler’s bunker.

Another must-do is the Alternative Pub Crawl. Berlin is well-known for its stellar nightlife but this particular pub crawl is second to none. We stumbled across this pub crawl by accident but it was probably one of the best nights out I had over my holiday. This crawl only travels in small groups and takes you through the more interesting bars around the city including a hippie bar, a ping-pong bar, a Goth rock bar and even a toilet bar (don’t ask!). You will definitely experience a night out like none other! We were also fortunate to stop off in Berlin during one of Germany’s group games with the USA in the World Cup 2014. We caught an open-air screening of the game in the park behind the Brandenburg Gate and the atmosphere was nothing short of electric!

Berlin Bucket List:

  • The Alternative Pub Crawl
  • Walking Tour of Berlin
  • The Berlin Wall
  • Holocaust Memorial
  • Fernsehturm – The Television Tower in Alexanderplatz

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”20954″ title=”Prague, Czech Republic” title_size=”80″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Prague is only a 4 and a half hour train trip away from Berlin but the difference between these two cities is phenomenal. On the train journey, you’ll travel from the bustling contemporary life of Berlin through some of the beautiful, green German countryside and the quaint Czech villages before arriving at the old-fashioned and charming Prague. Although it’s well known amongst young travellers for its crazy pub crawls, this city is definitely more suited to those looking for a relaxing European break.

We stayed in a hostel just off the Old Town Square and although it wasn’t the liveliest area of Prague, it served as a nice place to have some ‘down-time’ mid-trip. Our hostel was called Hostel Franz Kafka and it had all the basics; a clean room, shower facilities and a small kitchen – everything a budget traveller needs!

Prague is such a beautiful city and you could honestly spend hours wandering through the streets and marvelling in the intricate details of the architecture around you. Take in Prague Castle, the Old Town Square and the Astronomical Clock at your leisure. When the sun sets, the Czech nightlife comes into its own.  You can’t leave the city without heading on the Drunken Monkey pub crawl. Every backpacker does it and we met a ton of people from varying nationalities. It’s the best way to meet like-minded travellers and exchange anecdotes of your recent trips.

Prague Bucket List:

  • Prague Castle
  • Petrin Hill & Observation Tower
  • Old Town Square
  • Prague Astronomical Clock
  • Drunken Monkey Pub Crawl

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”20956″ title=”Lake Bled, Slovenia” title_size=”80″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]After our stop in the Czech capital, we departed Praha Hlavni Nadrazi (Prague’s Main Train Station) on an overnight train towards Slovenia. Yes, they’re uncomfortable, rocky and a little stinky but we’d a great laugh on the overnight train.

After the rocky ride, we landed in the most remote train station on our trip – it was like rocking up to a ghost village! Lesce-Bled train station is a good distance away from Bled itself and in the early hours of the morning it’s near impossible to find any signs of life, never mind a form of transport! Lucky for us, we managed to flag down a random passer-by who gave us details of a local taxi company but if you’re planning on arriving in the wee hours of the morning, maybe make sure you’ve some form of transport sorted beforehand.

Despite a pretty hectic start, Bled was undoubtedly my favourite place on the trip. It’s breathtakingly gorgeous, with crystal clear waters, blue skies and luscious greenery to boot and is undoubtedly a hidden gem nestled in Central Europe.

Because it’s not as well known as a holiday destination, the village still retains some of its quaint and old-fashioned charm. The houses have colourful picket fences and there isn’t a major shopping district or brand name in sight – a nice break from the bustling squares of Amsterdam, Berlin and Prague. We stayed in a central hostel which was brimming with backpackers from all corners of the globe and had a small bar out the back which was really cosy and was a great spot to catch the World Cup games.

During the day, this little town is brimming with outdoors-y activities to enjoy. Climb to the top of Bled Castle or rent a bike and cycle around the lake. I’d definitely recommend taking a day out to walk to Vintgar Gorge – an astoundingly beautiful gorge nestled between the Hom and Bort hills about an hour walk from the town. The walk to the gorge is nearly as impressive as the attraction itself. You’ll wind your way through picturesque old-fashioned Slovenian villages and farms before arriving at the beautiful rapids, waterfalls and pools. Best to bring your runners for this one as it’s a bit of a trek!

Lake Bled Bucket List:

  • Take a boat out to the Bled Island
  • Rent a Bike and Cycle around the lake
  • Bled Castle
  • Vintgar Gorge
  • Tobogganing on the Straza

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”20959″ title=”Zadar, Croatia” title_size=”80″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Our next and final stop on our inter-rail adventure was the spectacular Croatian coastal city of Zadar. Another spot that isn’t totally bustling with tourists, it still boasts most of its Roman architecture. If you’re travelling from Bled, bear in mind that it’s not a straightforward journey. We had to get a train and two buses and for some reason, one bus company would not accept our Inter-rail passes so make sure you’ve a bit of cash to fork out on a bus journey if you’re taking this route.

We stayed a full five nights in Zadar and because of this, we decided to rent an apartment rather than rough it in another hostel. We found a lovely AirBnB and although the décor was slightly out-dated, it looked out on the beautiful Roman Forum and was within a five minute walking distance of all the major shopping streets, pubs and clubs.

Zadar has all the blue skies and sandy beaches of a regular sun holiday but with added quirks. The ‘Sea Organ’ is a really interesting piece of architecture located at the sea front which plays music by way of sea waves. The best time to hear it is when a large cruise ship or ferry passes by as the extra waves really make the difference! Just a short walk from there is the Greeting to the Sun. When the sun sets behind the Croatian islands, these solar underfloor lights come alive and create an impressive light show, to the tune of the nearby sea organ – a must see!

Zadar Bucket List:

  • Listen to the ‘Sea Organ’
  • Watch the ‘Greeting to the Sun’
  • Take a stroll along Paseo Maritimo
  • Visit the Roman Forum
  • Sit back, relax and enjoy a cocktail in the sun!

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][action full_width=”yes” content_in_grid=”no” type=”normal” show_button=”yes” background_color=”#0a0a0a” background_image=”18625″ button_text=”Get a Travel Insurance Quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/travel” button_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_hover_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_hover_text_color=”#e5e5e5″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Ireland

Dublin Pride 2016 – A Traffic & Travel Guide

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Our capital city is set to be bursting with colour, vibrancy and good spirits this weekend as Dublin Pride 2016 comes to town.

The festival started on Wednesday (22nd) and continues right up until Sunday (26th) with the highlight of the weekend being the Dublin Pride Parade on Saturday (25th).

To keep you informed and up to date on traffic and travel arrangements for Pride 2016, AA Roadwatch have put together this handy guide.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”20969″ title=”Dublin Pride Parade” title_size=”60″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]The Dublin Pride Parade 2016 takes place on Saturday 25th June and participants will assemble at the Garden Of Remembrance at Parnell Square from midday.

The Pride Parade will then move through the city from approximately 1:30pm and will travel from Parnell Square, down to O’ Connell Street before turning left onto the North Quays and across Memorial Bridge.

From there, the colourful parade will continue down City Quay, turning right at Lombard Street and straight through to Westland Row before finishing up at Merrion Square Park.

As with any big parade like this, rolling road closures will be in place along the route. The following road closures will be in place for the duration of the parade:

  • Parnell Square North from 10am to 2pm
  • Merrion Square South and East, Fitzwilliam St Lwr and Mount St Upr will close from 6am to 10pm.

 

Diversions will be in place and Gardai will be on point duty.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”Public Transport” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Dublin Bus are expecting the heaviest delays in the city centre between 1:30pm and 4pm.

As a result of traffic restrictions in Merrion Square, Dublin Bus routes 25, 25a, 25b, 26, 66, 66a, 66b and 67 will have the below diversion from 6am on Saturday (25th) until the Festival Parade ends:

  • Routes 25, 25a, 25b, 26, 66, 66a, 66b and 67 Towards City Centre – Normal route to D’Olier Street then divert to Townsend Street, Shaw Street to Pearse Street and terminate.
  • Routes 25, 25a, 25b, 26, 66, 66a, 66b and 67 From City Centre – Normal route from Pearse Street.

For more information on your route see, dublinbus.ie.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Europe France

How do I get from Lille to Lyon?

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Words by Arwen Foley

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While most of us are still getting over the win against Italy on Wednesday night and dreaming of a possible win over the French on Sunday, there are some very lucky football fans planning the trip from Lille to Lyon.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”How Do I Get There?” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no” background_color=”#ffcc00″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]The quickest route takes motorists from Lille on the A1, onto the A26, bypassing Saint-Quentin, Reims, and Châlons-en-Champagne. Further south, when bypassing Troyes, you will then join the A5, then the A31 and finally then the A6, which bypasses Dijon, Chalon-sur-Saône and Mâcon before bringing you into Lyon.

The journey should usually take between 6 and 7 hours but be prepared for traffic jams, particulalry when you get closer to Lyon. The fuel cost for your average petrol car driving between Lille and Lyon should be about €85 and the tolls will add about another €57 to that.

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For more details on driving in France see our blog post on it here.

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Categories
Europe

The AA’s guide to Interrailing through Europe

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Travelling across the continent in cramped, stinky trains with your good mates – what’s not to love? When we started planning our own interrailing adventure through Europe, I was a little apprehensive about it too. I dreaded the thought of the two and a half hour train from Heuston back home to Mayo every weekend. How on earth would I manage the 13-hour train journey from Prague to Bled?

Turns out that travelling for hours on end on overcrowded trains and buses through Europe is one of the best holidays I’ve ever been on. Europe has some of the best scenery and history on offer and the weather is almost guaranteed to be fabulous or at least, better than it is here in Ireland.

The best part though? Thousands of other young people have had the same idea as you and you’ll meet all sorts of fun people along the way.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Before You Go Interrailing

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Plan Your Trip and Travel Buddies”][vc_column_text]It’s probably the most obvious step, but the sooner you gather your gang of mates together the rest of your plans can fall into place. So get that interrailing Facebook/ WhatsApp group set up ASAP! Once you’ve decided how many of you are travelling, it’s a good idea to all meet up and discuss what route you’re going to take and how long your trip will be.

We found a Facebook group to be extremely helpful. We’d post reminders about booking flights and accommodation and also share whatever information we could find on hostels and things to do in the various cities.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Make a Budget”][vc_column_text]

Interrailing can be pretty pricey when you’re paying for flights, train tickets and accommodation all at once. For cash-strapped students, it’s best to stagger your spending as best you can. We made a list of everything we had to book and then broke that down week-by-week. For example, one week we’d all book our flights, another week we’d pay for our train ticket and the following week we’d book accommodation in Amsterdam etc. This way, we paid a little of our trip every week and just had spending money to spare when we actually jetted off.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Book in Advance”][vc_column_text]Start off with booking your outgoing and return flights. To make sure you’re getting the best deal for your flights, check out Skyscanner. This site combines all airline providers and shows you where you can book the cheapest price for your flights.

The interrail website and app will be your new best friend. The site is packed full of handy maps and travel guides as well as train timetables that you can use throughout your journey. You can also book your interrailing train ticket on this site.

There are two general types of interrail passes – a Global Pass and a One Country Pass. Since we were planning on stopping off in a few different countries, the Global Pass was the best option for us. We chose the ‘5 days within 15 days’ pass, which meant that over the fifteen days, we could choose five ‘travel days’. This option was ideal for us, considering the time we had and the places we wanted to visit. You can get a continuous pass too, which gives you the freedom to travel on any day. Remember that if you use one of your ‘travel days’ on an overnight train, it only counts as one travel day and not two, even if you travel through the night. The ‘5 days within 15 days’ pass starts from €200 and a continuous pass will set you back at least €338.

Once you’ve your flights and train ticket sorted, the next step is to sort out your accommodation. The vast majority of people we met along the way didn’t bother booking their hostels until they landed in different cities. For us, we didn’t want to waste our first few hours in a brand new city frantically searching for somewhere to stay and to be honest, we were delighted we did book in advance.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text image=”20942″ title=”What to Pack”]Obviously, you’re going to be dragging your bags around with you for quite a while so carefully consider what kind of luggage to bring interrailing. The best advice is to stick to hand luggage. A large number of fellow interrailing buddies carried large backpacks and rucksacks with them, but we stuck to small wheelie suitcases and they worked just fine.

Yes, you may cringe at the thought of them but bum bags are a handy way to carry the essentials. You can keep your important travel documents such as your train ticket, passport, flight details as well as the usual bits such as your purse and phone. You’d be surprised how easily valuables can be snatched from you when you’re trying to find your way around crowded train stations. You can even get some extra-thin bum bags that fit neatly under your clothes if you’re extremely fashion conscious!

European weather can be just as unpredictable as it is here at home so you’ll need to pack a good mix of clothes. I found that layering was the way to go when packing for an inter-railing trip. Packing lots of light layers meant that you can add on or take off as many as you like along the way.

It’s also important to consider your footwear. For me, comfort totally triumphed style when I was interrailing and once you’re comfortable you’ll definitely enjoy yourself more. Between you and your friends it might be a good idea to pack a basic first-aid kit. Think plasters, dressings and some paracetamol. You’re bound to get some use out of it over the trip.[/image_with_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Here’s a handy checklist of other small travel items that you will need over the few days that can be easily forgotten:

  • Combination Lock – to store valuables in while you’re in the hostels
  • Passport
  • Travel documents
  • Your Travel Insurance details – if you didn’t already know, you can buy travel insurance with the AA
  • Interrail Pass
  • Some other form of identification (eg a driving license)
  • Universal plug adaptor
  • Wet wipes
  • Toiletries (travel size, if you’re travelling with hand luggage)
  • A lightweight towel
  • Phone Charger

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/1″][image_with_text image=”20946″ title=”On the Trains”]We got into the habit of booking our next train the minute we got off our last one. When we first landed in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, we got the Intercity/ Sprinter train to Amsterdam Centraal and once there, we booked our train from Amsterdam to Berlin for later that week.

It did mean a little bit of time queuing at service desks in busy stations but by booking our next train journey, we were sure what time we were leaving for the next city and that we had seats on board. That way, we could just relax and enjoy our time in the city we were in without worrying about translating complicated timetables.

If you can’t be bothered with booking every single train journey, then at least make sure to book any overnight trains in advance. The Interrail Pass generally does cover overnight journeys but again, it will cost you slightly more to pre-book the cabin. A lot of travellers failed to do so and the corridors of the train were littered with people sleeping on the ground – not ideal!

When you’re on the overnight trains remember that station stops aren’t always announced, or may be announced in the native language that you don’t understand. Take note of your scheduled arrival time and set an alarm for maybe a half hour before the train is due to arrive. We were lucky in that a train worker knocked on our cabin about 20mins before our scheduled arrival but others weren’t so fortunate!

Finally, it may be stating the obvious but give yourself plenty of time to board your train. Most train stations around major European cities are massive and it can be as much as an hour walk between platforms so give yourself plenty of time to find your way about the place. Unlike most Irish trains, you cannot travel from car to car on long-distance European carriages so finding out what car you’ve booked is extremely important. Be ready to board the train the minute it arrives as station stops are often very short.[/image_with_text][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

Thinking of going interrailling? Find out how Sharron from AA Roadwatch got on when she went interrailing from Amsterdam to Zadar.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][action full_width=”yes” content_in_grid=”no” type=”normal” show_button=”yes” background_color=”#0a0a0a” background_image=”18625″ button_text=”Get a Travel Insurance Quote” button_link=”http://www.theaa.ie/travel” button_hover_text_color=”#e5e5e5″ button_background_color=”#ffcc00″ button_hover_background_color=”#ffcc00″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Categories
Uncategorised

Bloom in the Park 2016 – AA Roadwatch Travel Guide

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Main Image: Bloom in the Park 2016

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]It’s a special year for lovers of Bloom, as the show celebrates its 10th anniversary. This year, the gardening, food and family festival runs over the June Bank Holiday weekend from Thursday 2nd until Monday 6th June in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Whether you’re looking to spruce up your garden or sample new food products from Irish producers, Bloom in the Park is appealing for all ages.

This year, gates are open between 9am to 6pm each day and visitors can expect to see a new Plant Village, a Fashion Stage showcasing floral-inspired fashion as well as live entertainment and an Irish Craft Village over the five days.

This is a family-friendly day out and this June Bank Holiday, the festival has a wide range of activities to keep the younger ones entertained. A Kids Farm and a dedicated Children’s Stage showcasing magicians and entertainers are just a flavour of the fun events your family can enjoy. You can get your tickets in advance by clicking here.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-3x” image=”20649″ title=”Getting There” title_size=”80″]

Phoenix Park is located just west of Dublin City Centre. The main entrances to the park are at Parkgate Street and on Castleknock Road. Over the June Bank Holiday weekend, extra traffic can be expected on Castleknock Road, Knockmaroon Hill, Chapelizod Hill, Conyngham Road and also on Parkgate Street.

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Parking is available for motorists for €5 a day. There will be two main car parks open to Bloom-goers; Red Car Park A and Green Car Park B. Both of the car parks will be signposted for visitors.

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If you’re travelling from Dublin City Centre, you’ll use the Red Car Park A from the Main Gate at Parkgate Street and the North Circular Road (NCR) Gate. From the Main Gate, continue on to Chesterfield Avenue and turn right at the roundabout. Continue to the end and take a left onto the Back Road and drive straight. Take a left onto Odd Lamp Road. Red Car Park A is located just off that road.

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The Green Car Park B serves City Centre / NCR traffic and traffic coming off the M50 from the Castleknock Gate and White’s Gate. From the Castleknock Gate continue on to Chesterfield Avenue and take the first left off the roundabout at Mountjoy Cross. Continue along the back road until you reach Green Car Park B.

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Need to plan your route to Bloom? Use the AA Routeplanner service.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”By Rail” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Irish Rail”][vc_column_text]Heuston Station is the closest railway station to the Phoenix Park. There is a free shuttle bus close to Heuston on Parkgate Street that will take people directly to the event.

For people travelling to Dublin into Connolly Station, bear in mind that there will no Luas service running between Connolly Station and Jervis to facilitate Luas Cross City works. There is a replacement bus service in place and the closest bus stop to Connolly is a ten minute walk away on Custom House Quay. The bus will then bring you from Custom House Quay to Crampton Quay. The Jervis Luas stop is about a five minute walk away from there and you can then get the Luas as normal from Jervis to Heuston. For more information on the replacement bus service, see here.

If you’re planning on getting the train to Bloom, remember that some timetable alterations will be in place for the June Bank Holiday weekend. For more details on your timetable, see irishrail.ie.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Luas”][vc_column_text]For those looking to avoid the inevitable city centre traffic, the Luas Park and Ride system is a good option. Traffic coming into Dublin City from the N7/ M7 can use the Park and Ride system at the Red Cow and then get the Luas Red Line as far as Heuston Station. The Red Cow Park and Ride is open 24/7 and costs €2-€4, depending how long you are parking for.

Luas users should bear in mind that there are no trams running between The Point/ Connolly Station and Jervis until the end of July to facilitate Luas Cross City works. For more information, see here or go to luas.ie.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”By Bus” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Dublin Bus”][vc_column_text]The handiest bus route for travelling to the Phoenix Park is the 46a. That route will take you from Dún Laoghaire via Kildare Street and O’Connell Street and will drop you off at the NCR Gate. Please note that it is approximately 30 minutes’ walk from the NCR to the Bloom site.

There are also a number of other Dublin Bus routes that stop close to the park:

  • Routes 37, 38, 39 & 70 serve the Ashtown Gate of Phoenix Park.
  • Routes 25 and 26 stop near Parkgate Street, Islandbridge Turnstile and Chapelizod Gate

Remember that there may be some timetable alterations as a result of the June Bank Holiday so double check your bus route on dublinbus.ie.

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The drop off point for visitors travelling by private bus or coach will be beside the Phoenix Monument for large coaches and at the signposted shuttle drop off (the main entrance walkway) for small coaches, both located on Chesterfield Avenue.

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To make your visit as hassle-free as possible, Bloom are running a courtesy shuttle bus from Parkgate Street to the site and back throughout the day. The bus starts at 8:30am and will run frequently until 7pm.

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Chesterfield Avenue is the best pedestrian route to the Bloom site. It’ll take you around 20 minutes to walk from either Parkgate Street or Castleknock Gate to the Bloom site.

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It is possible to cycle right up to the Bloom event site and cyclists can avail of free facilities to park and lock their bikes.

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There will be one ATM on site, located near the organiser’s office but there are likely to be long queues. Organisers advise people to bring cash with you if you’re planning on making any purchases.

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Worried about carrying large plants all day? Good news – there will be a complimentary plant crèche on site where you can drop your purchases off while you experience the rest of the festival.

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There will be Wi-Fi hotspots located in various points around the site.

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There will be a Garda office and first-aid office located beside the organiser’s office.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Site Map” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_single_image image=”20714″ border_color=”grey” img_link_target=”_blank” alignment=”center” img_link_large=”yes” img_size=”large”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

For a full-size image of the site map, click here.

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Categories
Ireland

Beyoncé in Croke Park – A Travel Guide

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]The long, bright summer days usually mean one thing – the start of the GAA season. However this summer, it’s not just the football and hurling fans filling the seats at Croker. This July, the GAA headquarters will swap goalposts for  a global superstar as it plays host to Beyoncé’s Formation Tour.

Fresh from the hype of her latest album, Lemonade, Queen B is back to play her first ever gig in Croke Park on Saturday 9th July. Doors will open for that gig at 5:30pm with Bey’s support act coming out on stage at about 7:30pm.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_text_separator title=”How do I get into Croke Park?” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Croker is on the northside of Dublin City in Drumcondra. You’ll notice a colour-coded system on your ticket and this will help you figure out what stadium entrance you will use. Remember that if you’ve a Davin Stand ticket, there is no access to that stand via Russell Street. Your only entry is via St. Margaret’s Avenue off the North Circular Road.

The venue is bordered by Clonliffe Road, Ballybough Road, and the North Circular Road and details of the colour coded entry routes are as follows:[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][icon_list_item icon=”fa-circle” icon_type=”circle” title=”The Hogan Stand – The Blue Route and access via Jones Road and Russell Street” icon_color=”#1e73be” icon_background_color=”#1e73be” icon_border_color=”#1e73be”][icon_list_item icon=”fa-circle” icon_type=”circle” icon_color=”#dd3333″ icon_background_color=”#dd3333″ icon_border_color=”#dd3333″ title=”The Cusack Stand – The Red Route and you’ll get there via St James Avenue and Foster Terrace”][icon_list_item icon=”fa-circle” icon_type=”circle” icon_color=”#eeee22″ icon_background_color=”#eeee22″ icon_border_color=”#eeee22″ title=”Davin Stand – The Yellow Route through St Margaret’s Terrace”][icon_list_item icon_type=”circle” icon_color=”#dd3333″ icon_background_color=”#dd3333″ icon_border_color=”#dd3333″ title=”Pitch Standing – The Red Route by St James Avenue and Foster Terrace”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

You will not be able to queue up early before the Croke Park gigs. Anyone who does turn up early, will be turned away at restricted area points around the arena.

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Traffic in the Drumcondra area can be busy at the best of times. If you’re travelling to the gigs over the summer, public transport or car-pooling is strongly advised as all routes around the stadium will be exceptionally heavy and parking around the arena is limited. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the concert.

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”By Car”][vc_column_text]If you have to take the car, it’s a good idea to park in one of the city centre car parks and get additional public transport to Drumcondra. There will be some road closures or restricted access in and around the venue before and after the concerts.

The closest car park to the stadium is the Clerys/Marlborough St Q Park, which is less than a 20 minute walk from Croke Park. The car parks in the ILAC Shopping Centre and on Parnell St are also a 25-30 minute walk from the stadium. For more details on parking facilities around Dublin City, see here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”By Bus”][vc_column_text]Dublin Bus run a wide range of services that stop in the vicinity of Croke Park including the following routes: 1, 7, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 27, 27a, 27b, 29a, 31/a, 31b, 32, 33, 40, 40b, 40d, 41, 41b, 41c, 42, 43, 44, 53, 122, 123 and 130. While a number of these services will bring you quite close to the stadium many others will get you to the centre of the city which is within a 15 minute walk to the grounds. To check if your bus route stops near Croke Park, see here.

Bus Eireann also provide a nationwide bus service and sometimes, private coach hire for travelling fans. For more details, you can check out their website.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”By Rail”][vc_column_text]Both the DART and the Luas networks bring you within easy walking distance of the stadium. Luas runs additional services to facilitate events at Croke Park. Park & Ride options are also available at various stations along those routes.

If you’re hoping to take the Luas to Croke Park this summer, remember that all stops between Abbey St and the Point will be closed until the end of July to facilitate the Luas Cross City works. It may be wise to get off at the Jervis stop, which is about a half hour walk to the arena. Alternatively, you can use the temporary replacement bus service. For more on that, see here. The temporary stop for Connolly Station is just a 15 minute walk from the venue.

Iarnród Éireann provide services for anyone travelling to Croke Park from a number of locations around the country. The closest rail station to Croke Park is Drumcondra and that station serves the Dublin Commuter line as well as the Maynooth/ Longford line. If you’re using M4/ N4 to get into Dublin, you can exit off the motorway for Maynooth or Leixlip, park your car and then use the rail service to get to Drumcondra. Similarly if you’re on the N3/ M3, you can exit for Clonsilla or Castleknock and then get the train to Drumcondra. Drumcondra train station is less than a ten minute walk from the venue.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][/vc_accordion][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]

Don’t Forget!

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  • The Croke Park concerts will take place rain or shine so remember to dress for the weather. Irish weather is unpredictable at best, so layers and a light rain jacket are a good option. If it rains, don’t bother bringing an umbrella. They will not be allowed inside the venue.
  • Strict security checks will be in operation before both concerts and a number of items will not be permitted: umbrellas, garden furniture or seats, food, banners or flags larger than A4, laser pointers, glowsticks, flashlights, inflatable balls or balloons, weapons, fireworks, glass or cans, alcohol, studs & spikes, shooting sticks, selfie sticks, cameras with more than 1’’ lens, video cameras & audio recording devices.
  • Smoking is prohibited except at designated smoking areas within the grounds.

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Main Image Credit: Wikimedia and Takahiro Kyono. Used under CC License.

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Categories
Ireland

AA Roadwatch Guide to the Irish Open

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Words by Adrian Harmon

 

@Adrian_H21 on Twitter

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_column_text]The K Club in Straffan, Co. Kildare is the venue for this year’s Irish Open which runs from Thursday 19th until Sunday 22nd May. The venue, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, will play host to the world’s top golfers, including reigning Masters Champion Danny Willett, as well as Rory McIlroy, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Germany’s Martin Kaymer and South Africa’s Trevor Immelman.

The weekend is sure to be an exciting one with over 100,000 golfing fans expected to attend and we have put together this guide to ensure you have a great weekend.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Getting There” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]The K Club is located in Straffan in Co. Kildare just a short drive from both the M7 Dublin/ Limerick Rd  and M4 Dublin/ Sligo Rd.

Gardai will be on point duty and there will be two large public car parks (north and south) located either side of the venue. There will also be an additional four smaller car parks in the vicinity of the venue. Like all major events, delays are likely on main approach routes and through the village itself and motorists are advised to leave plenty of time for their journey.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_accordion collapsible=”yes” style=”accordion”][vc_accordion_tab title=”Driving from Dublin”][vc_column_text]The venue is easily accessed via either the M7 or the M4.

If you’re using the M7, exit at J7 Kill and take the local Straffan Rd straight to the venue. If you’re taking the M4 instead, motorists should exit at J7 Maynooth, then take the Straffan Rd (R406) to the venue.  Be aware that traffic is usually very heavy through Maynooth during rush hour and especially if there’s an event on nearby.[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Driving from Galway/ Sligo”][vc_column_text]

Travel towards Dublin via the M6 and the M4 before exiting at J7 Maynooth. Then take the Straffan Rd (R406) to the venue. Expect very heavy traffic through Maynooth during rush hour and before and after the event too.

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Motorists should travel via the M8 and then the M7. Make sure to exit at J7 Kill and take the local Straffan Rd straight to the venue.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_accordion_tab][vc_accordion_tab title=”Driving from Limerick”][vc_column_text]

Take the M7 as far as J7 Kill before exiting onto the local Straffan Rd straight to the venue.

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On the M9 exit at J1 M7 , then exit the M7 itself at J7 Kill and take the local Straffan Rd straight to the venue.

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TRAVEL TIMES

  • Dublin to the K Club: Approx. 40mins
  • Sligo to the K Club: Approx. 2hrs 20mins
  • Galway to K Club: Approx. 2hrs
  • Limerick to K Club: Approx. 1hr 50mins
  • Cork to K Club: Approx. 2hrs 25mins
  • Waterford to K Club: Approx. 1hr 40mins

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Where to Park in The K Club

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][image_with_text image=”20585″]

For a larger version of this map, just click here. If you need a hand planning your journey to the Irish Open, you can use AA Routeplanner.

[/image_with_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Public Transport” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Good news if you’re using public transport to get to Maynooth as a complimentary bus service will operate between Maynooth Train Station and The K Club for the duration of the tournament.

It will transport passengers to the event every half hour between 6:50am and 1:30pm. The return service from The K Club to Maynooth Station will operate every half hour between 3pm and 6pm.

When arriving at the station, the bus will be waiting at the entrance. Spectators returning to Maynooth Station from The K Club should travel to the South Entrance Bus Stop at The K Club.

For more information and to book your ticket, see irishrail.ie.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”20513″ title_size=”100″ title=”Where to Dine”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Barton Rooms – Barberstown Castle, Straffan” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Address: Barberstown Castle, Straffan, Co Kildare

Website: www.barberstowncastle.ie

Phone: 01 6288157

Located just north of the village of Straffan, Barberstown Castle’s Barton Rooms offers Irish country house dining with a French influence. It holds two AA Rosette Awards for culinary excellence. Sunday to Thursday, it offers an A la Carte dining menu. On Friday and Saturday evenings, a five course menu for €55 per person is available.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Westgrove Hotel – Clane” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Address: Abbeylands, Clane, Naas, Co. Kildare

Website: www.westgrovehotel.com

Phone: 045 989900

This superb hotel is a mere 10 minutes from the M4 at Maynooth and the M7 at Naas and is easily accessible from the K Club. The hotel’s Italian restaurant, Assaggio, provides a warm and relaxing atmosphere and serves both old family favourites dishes and more adventurous courses too. If Italian isn’t your thing then fear not, The Oak Bar in the hotel serves bar food and carvery throughout the day.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”The Village Inn – Celbridge” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Address: Main St, Celbridge,, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Website: www.arthurgs-stoutbar.ie

Phone: 01 6288836

Centrally located on Celbridge Main St, this is your go-to place for tasty and filling pub grub. The Village Inn has an extensive menu serving all sorts of hearty food from sizzling steaks to slow-braised lamb shoulder. It boasts a friendly but busy atmosphere and you can expect a lot of people around throughout the Irish Open. The gastro pub is also based at the birthplace of Arthur Guinness and the site was where he brewed his first pint so of course, the Guinness served here is second to none![/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Bistro 53 – Maynooth” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Address: No. 53, Main St, Maynooth Co. Kildare

Website: www.facebook.com/Bistro-53

Phone: 01 6289001

A popular spot amongst locals, Bistro 53 is a family run restaurant, approx. a 15min drive north from the K Club in the town of Maynooth. It’s rated number one in the town on TripAdvisor and offers Mediterranean food and live music on a Saturday night. The Early Bird Menu runs from 4pm to 7pm. Lunch from midday to 4pm – prices from €11.95 for two courses and pre-booking is strongly advised as this can be very busy at peak times.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Picaderos – Maynooth” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Address: Main St, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland

Website: www.picaderos.ie

Phone: 01 629 2806

Picaderos has a very wide-ranging menu of Spanish, Southern-American and Mexican cuisine including paellas, fajitas, burritos & grills. However, they are most renowned for their mouth-watering tapas which are well worth a try if you’re around Maynooth for a few days. You can also enjoy your Prawns Pil Pil or Mexican Nachos with authentic live Spanish music playing in the background – what’s not to love? It is a good idea to book beforehand though, as this is a very popular spot.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][image_with_text_over icon_size=”fa-lg” image=”20520″ title=”Other Things to Do” title_size=”100″]

While the action on the course will be the main attraction throughout the weekend, it’s worth noting that there’s plenty happening elsewhere in the county to keep you and your entourage entertained.

[/image_with_text_over][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Curragh Guineas” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]One of the big flat racing events of the summer is conveniently taking place the same weekend on both the Saturday and Sunday. The event is part of the Tattersalls Irish Guineas Festival. On the Saturday, racing takes place between 3:25pm and 6:45pm. Then on Sunday, the first race is at 1:20pm and the last race is at 5:10pm. Fashionistas are set to be out in force on the Sunday for the Best Dressed Lady and Gent competition. Large crowds are expected over both days for what’s expected to be a great days racing.

Full details on the event can be seen here.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Kildare Village” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]If it’s retail therapy you’re after then look no further then Kildare Village. Located just off the M7 at J13 Kildare and approx. 30min drive from the K Club, the outlet centre boasts 80 fashion and lifestyle boutiques and offers savings of up to 60%. It’s open from 10am to 7pm daily.

Need help planning your journey? Use the AA Routeplanner.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Maynooth Castle & University” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]Located in the heart of the town, the 13th century castle stands at the entrance to Maynooth University and is a popular tourist attraction in the county. The university then was founded in 1795 as a college and is famous for the education of the Irish Catholic priests.

The castle is open Wednesday to Sunday. The last guided tour is at 4:30pm while the grounds close at 5:45pm.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_text_separator title=”Castletown House and Parklands” title_align=”separator_align_center” border=”no”][vc_empty_space height=”32px” image_repeat=”no-repeat”][vc_column_text]

Situated in Celbridge, this 18th century Palladian house was the country estate of the Speaker of the Irish House of Commons, William Connolly. It’s set in beautifully landscaped parkland and there are guided tours of the house daily. It boasts immaculately preserved rooms and contents, not to mention a colourful history. While you’re there, take a stroll through the woodlands and along the river, marvelling at the architecture and historical buildings. The main car park is situated just off the M4 at J6 Celbridge and is well signposted. Some parking is also available in Celbridge Village and it’s a 10-15min ramble up the avenue to reach the house. For more details, you can check out their website.

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