Dublin Zoo, in Phoenix Park, is the second-most popular visitor attraction in Dublin (only the Guinness Storehouse gets more visitors each year). The zoo was established in 1831, making it one of the oldest in the world. It has changed a lot since then, today, instead of iron cages, the animals are housed in large, natural- style enclosures. The zoo also does important breeding and conservation work for endangered species. Animals here include Indian Elephants, Lions, Tigers, Bears. The large African Plains area has Rhino, Hippos, Giraffe, Gorillas and Chimps.
There’s also a Reptile house, full of snakes and lizards and the zoo recently welcomed two new baby Red panda cubs. There are some very charming Otters and Sea lions and many more species to enjoy. Feeding-time for the seals, and the penguins is a very popular attraction. You can check the zoo website before your visit, to see the different feeding times
Farmleigh House, also in Phoenix Park, is a former Dublin home of the Guinness family. The last ones to live here were Benjamin Guinness (4th earl of Iveagh) and his wife Lady Miranda. (Benjamin was chairman of the famous family business, and he and Miranda were well-known philanthropists and collectors) . The house was bought in 1999 by the Irish state then opened in 2001, as accommodation for official state visitors to Ireland. Since then the queen of England and Emperor of Japan have stayed here. However, Farmleigh House is only used this way for a few days a year, so not being used by visiting heads of state, is open to the rest of us to view and visit. Inside the house you can see tapestries, a library of rare old books, and a ballroom.
The grounds around the house have a herd of pedigree cattle and an exhibition centre/gallery. The grounds often host an organic farmers market too, at least one day of the weekend and sometimes has other events too. It’s always worth checking the website, for details of times, and to see if any markets or other fun events are on. For example, there are sometimes puppet shows, especially leading up to Christmas time. In the summer times there are free concerts in the lovely old glass and wrought iron conservatory- ballroom. You can get free tickets to these concerts, but only if you can apply online enough time beforehand. This is a really lovely experience to have in Dublin, and free, so I recommend trying to apply having a go. (Tickets are free but allocated several weeks ahead and, if demand is high, they are allocated by lottery) But try!
The Guinness Storehouse at St James Gate, off Thomas Street in Dublin 8: is the number one paying-visitor attraction in Dublin –a statistic which makes some of us Irish worry about our image internationally! But on the other hand, most visitors enjoy the self-guided tour here, around the audio -visual style displays on the history of this huge brewery, founded in 1759, and its world-famous black beer. Exhibits include models of the old ships, trucks and barges the company used to transport it product, and the famous, amusing old adverts (with animals like toucans and ostriches) claiming “Guinness is Good for You!” At the end of your tour, you can enjoy a pint of it at the top of the enormous building, taking in the panoramic views from the “Gravity Bar”.
This article is part 1 of a longer article, part 2 will be published on Tuesday 6th May 2014
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