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My Ireland

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    Birdmen_Galway_International_Arts_Festival_2018 Birdmen_Galway_International_Arts_Festival_2018

    Dublin and Galway: UNESCO cities

    Dublin and Galway have both been honoured with UNESCO titles in literature and film respectively. But what makes these cities so special?

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    Dublin: UNESCO City of Literature

    Dublin is a UNESCO City of Literature and it’s easy to see why: home to three of Ireland’s four Nobel Prize winners for literature, the city is synonymous with literary giants. Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce all cite Dublin as their inspiration. It’s woven into the very fabric of the city, with bridges named after literary legends James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Sean O’ Casey. Few cities on the planet have come close to boasting such a literary heritage. But don’t take our word for it – experience it for yourself.

    Library at Trinity College Dublin © James Bowden Library at Trinity College Dublin © James Bowden

    Libarary at Trinity College Dublin © James Bowden

    Dublin Literary Pub Crawl

    A must-do for book buffs, the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl is ranked fourth in the Sunday Times World’s 50 Best Walks. This quirky tour is led by witty and highly informative guides, performing works from Dublin’s best-known writers.

    Step inside the haunts where Ireland’s literary greats once pondered over a pint. Enjoy a creamy Guinness at Davy Byrnes, where James Joyce was a regular, and pull up a stool at the Palace Bar where writers Flann O’ Brien and Brendan Behan used to hang out. Open since 1843, this pre-Victorian bar has an extra-special nostalgic feel.

    Dalkey Book Festival (June)

    Salman Rushdie hailed it as “the best little festival in the world”, and it attracts internationally renowned writers every year (past guests have included a Nobel Laureate and several Man Booker Prize winners). The idyllic seaside town of Dalkey packs a big literary punch: schoolhouse of James Joyce and playground to Samuel Beckett and Flann O’Brien. It’s the perfect hotbed of creativity, and you’ll find events taking place anywhere from pubs and cafés to the medieval graveyard.

    Dublin Literary Pub Crawl Dublin Literary Pub Crawl

    Dublin Literary Pub Crawl

    Bloomsday Festival

    Bloomsday is celebrated all over the world, but Dublin is the only place to get the truly authentic experience. It is, after all, where Ulysses is set and where the fictional Leopold Bloom took us on an epic odyssey through the city on June 16, 1904. Follow in his footsteps, tuck into a breakfast of liver and kidneys at the James Joyce Centre, and even pick up lemon soap at a real-life Ulysses relic, Sweny’s Chemist. Can’t make it in June? Don’t worry, there are weekly Joyce walking tours all year round.

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    Sweny's Pharmacy, Dublin city

    Galway: UNESCO City of Film

    In 2014, Galway became a UNESCO City of Film, and was only the fifth city in the world to do so. It’s a dynamic, artistic city, with bohemian vibes, so it comes as no surprise that it was named as a European Capital of Culture in 2020. It also has a talent for throwing arty parties, including annual oyster, arts and film festivals!

    The Long Walk, Galway city The Long Walk, Galway city

    The Long Walk, Galway city

    Galway Film Fleadh (July)

    Hailed by MovieMaker magazine as one of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World, the Film Fleadh has been going for a whopping 26 years and it’s built up a cult following. Its intimate venues throughout the city make it the ultimate hangout for film lovers to experience new cinema. This six-day cinematic celebration screens classic movies and brand new cinema, and awards are offered in a huge range of genres.

    The festival brings together a diverse range of filmmakers from all over the world to experience the magic of film, and it’s hosted some impressively big names over the years, including Maureen O’Hara, Anjelica Huston and Peter O’Toole. But this Galway institution is not just about showcasing the best of Ireland cinema, it’s also about sharing and telling stories, with masterclasses, debates, workshops and seminars to get stuck into.

    Galway International Arts Festival Galway International Arts Festival

    Galway International Arts Festival, Galway city

    It’s a wrap: filming in Galway

    Galway is a filmmaker’s dream. It is both old and new; a city in itself and a gateway to Connemara. The city’s medieval streets are lined with dusty old pubs comfortably sitting side by side with bright and breezy modern architecture. Take a short drive and you’re in another world of lush greenery and ancient stone walls: Connemara.

    It’s the diverse landscape – and the feeling it evokes – that makes Galway so unique. No wonder then, that box office biggies such as Into the West, Marley and Me, and Tristan and Isolde were filmed here. Not to mention The Guard, one of the most successful Irish independent films ever made. Want to take the whole tour?

    dublin-galway-unesco-inset-connemara dublin-galway-unesco-inset-connemara

    Connemara, County Galway