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Old August 8th, 2013, 02:20 PM   #61
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@ Tourist trail app - the South side tourist trail?
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Old August 8th, 2013, 03:14 PM   #62
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Northside is somewhat neglected IMO, in many ways. The area needs some investment, it has fantastic potential, Smithfield being a good example.

I was in Dublin for a meeting last week and had some free time so I went to the National Museum at Collins Barracks, place was deserted, which was great for me. I was somewhat disappointed that they hadn't renovated all of the old buildings and opened them up as extra exhibition space. It gets a bit run-down and derelict once you pass the Asgard building. All of the open space looks so barren, it's a fantastic opportunity for public art and outdoor exhibits.
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Old August 29th, 2013, 07:26 PM   #63
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Quote:
Blackstone in talks to buy stake in Ballsbridge hotels once owned by Dunne

Last Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013, 16:20



Blackstone Group is in talks to buy a 25 per cent stake in three hotels once owned by now-bankrupt developer Sean Dunne in Ballsbridge, Dublin.

The real estate, once Ireland’s most expensive, is being sold by the administrators of the UK unit of failed Icelandic lender Kaupthing Bank hf, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander Ltd.’s administrators, EY, declined to comment on the transaction. A spokesman for Blackstone, the biggest manager of private-equity real estate funds, also declined to comment.

Mr Dunne bought the former Berkeley Court, the Towers and Jurys Hotel in 2005 for about €380 million. At the time it was the highest price per acre paid for sites in Ireland.

His banks, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc’s Ulster Bank, Rabobank and Kaupthing, took control of the hotels in 2009 after planning authorities refused Dunne permission to redevelop the 6.8-acre site amid a real-estate market collapse.

The UK Treasury put Kaupthing Singer and Friedlander into administration in the UK in 2008 as it went into default. Mr Dunne was declared bankrupt in Ireland’s High Court last month.

Blackstone is among a wave of US investors, including Kennedy-Wilson Holdings and Oaktree Capital Group, to snap up Irish real-estate assets in the past two years.

Blackstone, based in New York, bought the 501-bedroom Burlington Hotel in the same district in November for €67 million from Lloyds Banking Group. That’s less than a quarter of the €288 million an Irish real-estate developer Bernard McNamara paid for the property in 2007. McNamara was declared bankrupt in the UK last year

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© 2013 irishtimes.com
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Old August 30th, 2013, 01:12 PM   #64
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Quote:
Croke Park to get zippy with it

Mark Paul

Last Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013, 13:15



Aiming high: Croke Park director Peter McKenna says plans are proceeding to have a zipwire installed from the roof of the Canal End down to the pitch in front of Hill 16 and this will be “operational for 2014”. photograph: Alan Betson

Either Dublin or Kerry will fall from a height at Croke Park this Sunday when the old enemies clash in the All-Ireland football semi final.

From next year, however, falling from a height will be a daily occurrence at the stadium.

Croke Park director Peter McKenna says it plans to install a zipwire from the roof down to pitch level, to attract thrill seeking tourists.

Punters bullish enough to have a go will be hooked up to a harness on the roof of the Canal End, a mere 17 storeys high.

Presumably after a quick prayer, the lunatics will take off at high speed on the wire, coming to a rest on the grass in front of Hill 16. No tricks; no instructor to cling on to; no way I’m trying it.

Visitor boost

McKenna, however, believes the new attraction will help boost non-matchday visitor numbers.

Wembley stadium in London has a similar ride.

“We are looking for support from Fáilte Ireland, and that process is ongoing. We hope to start work on it this year, and to have it operational for 2014,” said McKenna.

He says the whole thing could be installed for just €100,000. Croke Park already has planning permission, and needs only an engineer’s report and safety certificates before work can begin.

Last summer, Croke Park launched its rooftop Skyline tour, sponsored by Etihad. McKenna says it helped boost tourist numbers to 100,000 annually. He has been unable, however, to convince Dublin Bus to send its city tour buses up to the stadium.

Croke Park clubbed together with the Botanic Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetery, two other local tourist attractions, to commission PricewaterhouseCoopers to compile a report on its bus proposal. It was sent last December to Dublin Bus and Leo Varadkar, the Minister for Transport. So far, no dice.

They should threaten to catapult the Minister off the roof on the zipwire if he can’t convince Dublin Bus to play ball.

© 2013 irishtimes.com
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Old November 29th, 2013, 05:27 PM   #65
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Meant to post this yesterday but here goes; Dublin to Cherbourg ferry route for next January. This will make the booze cruises to avoid the extra €1 on a bottle of wine more feasible!
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Old December 11th, 2013, 09:09 PM   #66
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Quote:
Nama plans to offload prime Dublin hotels in New Year

Mark Paul

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 11, 2013, 10:08


The National Asset Management Agency (Nama) will bring “several prime Dublin hotels” to the market shortly after Christmas to capitalise on significant international interest in the sector, according to a senior Nama executive.

Patrick Ryan, a senior adviser in the agency’s hotels division, told the Hotel Property Conference in Dublin yesterday that it has raised €160 million in hotel asset and loan sales to date.

He also strongly rejected criticisms from the conference that the agency was driving down rates in the industry, or that it has too much influence on the sector.

Mr Ryan confirmed that Nama controls 10,900 hotel rooms, which is close to a fifth of the country’s entire stock.

“We do not have a dominant position in the market,” said Mr Ryan. The Competition Authority “has twice investigated” Nama’s influence on the market and found it has no case to answer.

He also denied that Nama supports so-called zombie hotels, loss-making properties that would otherwise close, but are propped up to sell cheap rooms and generate cash. “Eroding a hotel’s earnings potential is not in our interest,” he said at the conference, which took place in the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel, formerly the Burlington.

He said that the agency originally transferred loans attached to 134 Irish hotels. Mr Ryan said of these, 108 of these are still operating; 11 have closed down; two, including the Kilternan hotel in Dublin, never opened; and 10, including the €35 million Trinity Capital in Dublin, have been sold.

Nama has taken “enforcement action”, such as appointing a receiver, to 27 hotels. The agency controls 34 hotels in the Dublin area, 29 in Munster, 15 in Connaught, four in Ulster, with the balance in Leinster outside of Dublin.

Referring to the decision to bring more hotels to the market in Dublin in the new year, Mr Ryan said the agency “recognised the need to do this selectively”.

“The focus will be on prime Dublin assets in the short term,” he said.

Nama has received inquiries about its hotels mostly from “private equity, funds and high-net worth individuals”, he added.

The agency will listen to applications from hotels under its control for finance for capital expenditure, he said, and it will provide to prospective purchasers up to 60 per cent of the price in vendor financing.

“We finance at a rate of about 4 per cent above Libor [an interbank lending rate], and we would look to get our money back within three to five years.”

He said the agency was also looking at rolling the loans of several hotels together into portfolios, following demand from international buyers.

“But it is difficult for us, because the investors say nobody is interested in portfolios of less than €100 million. A lot of our hotel loans are quite small.”

Mr Ryan was also highly critical of public criticism of international investors coming to Ireland to snap up property assets at low prices.

“We should be at the airport rolling out the red carpet for these guys,” he said.

He also criticised the commercial rates charged by local authorities to hotels. “It is an absolutely savage burden. It beggars belief.”

© 2013 irishtimes.com
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Old December 13th, 2013, 08:45 AM   #67
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A lot of demand. Go for it.
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Old December 30th, 2013, 03:11 PM   #68
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Quote:
Freedom Trail will put 1916 Rising sites on tourist map

MARK O'REGAN – 30 DECEMBER 2013



AN Independence Trail for tourists visiting sites associated with the 1916 Rising will be launched next year, the Irish Independent has learnt.

The project is inspired by Boston's Freedom Trail, which is based on locations linked to the American Revolution.

As well as battle sites and monuments associated with Easter Week, the Dublin route will also include places associated with the 1798 insurrection and Robert Emmet's short-lived but dramatic rebellion in 1803.

A Department of Transport spokesman confirmed the initiative is expected to be running within the next 12 months.

REBELLION

"Some aspects of the trail, including an Independence Trail app for tourists, are likely to be available well before that date," he added.

The rebellion of 1803 is particularly associated with the Christchurch and Kilmainham areas of Dublin.

The 1798 uprising is linked to Dublin Castle, among other locations. "A total of three Independence Trail loops have been developed based on these historical events," said the spokesman.

The app to guide visitors along these historical routes will be launched in March or April. For the less technologically minded there are plans for signposts and information boards at key locations, as well as a series of special pictorial maps designed for tourists.

These are also expected to be launched by April and will provide detailed background to iconic Easter Week locations such as the GPO, Moore Street, Boland's Mill, Mount Street Bridge, St Stephen's Green and Glasnevin Cemetery.

Failte Ireland says it has also identified a strong demand for self-guided tours related to the 1916 Rising, as well as other key events in Irish history.

The trail will run in tandem with the €4m-funded Dublinia Trail currently in operation. Running from College Green to Kilmainham, it tells the story of Dublin, with special focus on the Viking, Medieval, Norman and Anglo-Irish periods.

Refurbished premises at Barnardo Square in Dame Street will be an information hub for both trails. Tourism is worth over €1.5bn annually to Dublin.

Irish Independent
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Old December 30th, 2013, 03:35 PM   #69
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Quote:
O'Connell Tower set to get new stairwell

CORMAC MURPHY – 27 DECEMBER 2013 02:30 PM

THE landmark O'Connell monument in Glasnevin Cemetery is to offer impressive views of Dublin once again.

The Glasnevin Trust, which manages the historic graveyard, is preparing to install a stairwell in the round tower more than 40 years after the original was destroyed in a bomb attack.

Permission was granted for the project by Dublin City Council in September.

Approval was given for the reinstatement of an internal staircase with five internal platforms conforming to "historic detail with minor modifications and internal lighting".

It comes more than four years after Daniel O'Connell's crypt in Glasnevin was refurbished.

O'Connell, the Great Liberator, who secured greater rights for Catholics in 1829, died in Genoa while on a pilgrimage to Rome.

He had requested that his heart be taken to Rome and his body to Ireland.

O'Connell's coffin has been entombed in Glasnevin since 1869 beside a large altar stone of black Kilkenny marble.

The round tower stretches 51m above the crypt. Ten members of O'Connell's family are also laid to rest there.

A suspected loyalist bomb attack resulted in the monument being closed in the early 1970s. Installation of the new staircase is expected to begin soon.

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Old December 30th, 2013, 03:37 PM   #70
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@ Freedom Trail. Interesting. Let's hope additional infrastructure is put in place in support like street furniture and improved walkways and that sort of thing.
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Old December 30th, 2013, 04:13 PM   #71
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Quote:
Green light for enlarged Jewish museum in Dublin
Updated: 13:41, Monday, 30 December 2013

Plans for an enlarged Jewish museum in Dublin's Portobello have been given the go-ahead by An Bord Pleanála.

The scheme had the personal backing of Taoiseach Enda Kenny, but was opposed by many local residents.

The Irish Jewish Museum had sought permission to demolish five houses, including the old synagogue on Walworth Street in Portobello, which was once the heart of Dublin's Jewish community.

The board of the museum said it needed more space to accommodate exhibits and to qualify for proper accreditation.

But local residents were concerned, particularly about the plan to excavate six metres into the ground, fearing this could destabilise surrounding homes.

They were also concerned about traffic congestion with visitor numbers projected to increase from 10,000 to 50,000 a year.

But in its ruling An Bord Pleanála allowed the development, pointing to the historic connections of the existing museum and old synagogue to the site.

It also ruled the plan would not seriously injure the residential amenities.

One of the conditions includes the reinstatement of the original synagogue interior.

Story from RTÉ News:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2013/1230/495...blin-planning/
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Old January 22nd, 2014, 12:02 PM   #72
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Quote:
Westin Hotel could fetch over €50m

Jack Fagan

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 21, 2014, 18:27



The hotel has 163 bedrooms, a basement bar and restaurant, a second restaurant at street level and a coffee shop upstairs. photograph: Cyril Byrne

One of Dublin’s landmark hotels, the Westin on Westmoreland Street, is expected to sell for more than €50 million when it is offered for sale in the coming weeks on the instructions of Nama.

Receivers PricewaterhouseCoopers are due to appoint selling agents shortly to handle the disposal of the four-star hotel which was held as an investment by the now defunct Treasury Holdings for almost 15 years. Treasury was wound up in 2011 with debts of €2.7 billion.

Like most of the other top hotels sold over the past 18 months, the Westin looks certain to be acquired by one of the large number of foreign buyers who have been chasing investment opportunities in Dublin since the property market collapsed.

It is one of the best located hotels in the city, occupying about 80 per cent of an entire block overlooking Trinity College and originally owned by Allied Irish Banks.

Some experts in the hotel market say the hotel may be over-rented at €4 million a year to Westin Starwood Hotels under a lease which has just under 15 years to run.

The rent is subject to five yearly upwards only reviews. A further rent estimated at around €600,000 comes from AIB which operates a bank branch from part of the former Scottish Widows building at the corner of Westmoreland Street and College Street.

The hotel facilities include 163 bedrooms, a basement bar and restaurant, a second restaurant at street level and a coffee shop on the first floor.

Analysts will undoubtedly study recent hotel sales in the city before attempting to put a realistic value on the Westin.

Kennedy Wilson’s decision to pay €110 million for IBRC and Bank of Ireland loans tied to the Shelbourne Hotel would appear to put a valuation of just over €400,000 on each of the 265 bedrooms. And the recent sale of the Clarion Hotel in the IFSC for €33 million works out at €200,000 per key.

A valuation of even €300,000 for each of the 163 bedrooms in the Westin – given the better location, the availability of an impressive banking hall for receptions and the fact that AIB is paying a formidable rent of about €600,000 per year for their bank premises – equates to almost €49 million.

The recent pick up in values in central Dublin and the intense shortage of high-quality investments may well push the bidding for the Westin to between €50 million and €60 million.

No fewer than 33 hotels sold last year in mainly provincial locations, realising €160 million. In 2012, 24 hotels changed hands for €146 million.

© 2014 irishtimes.com
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Old January 23rd, 2014, 03:10 PM   #73
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Quote:
Report on tourism finds Dublin is 'underperforming'

Thursday 23 January 2014 12.36

A new report into Dublin tourism has found that the capital is underperforming and has slipped behind its main city competitors in Europe.

The study, by the Grow Dublin Taskforce, states that Dublin needs to differentiate itself as a "must visit" destination in view of the growing trend towards more trips of shorter duration.

The taskforce has said there are five sectors that offer the best potential for significant growth.

They include cruise, business and event tourism, and attracting those who are "culturally curious" as well as young couples described as "social energisers".

The report finds that although the city has shown the beginnings of a recovery in the last three years, a real awareness of Dublin is not fully appreciated among potential foreign visitors.

The Grow Dublin Taskforce was set up by Fáilte Ireland in 2012 with the aim of growing the number of visitors.

Story from RTÉ News:
http://www.rte.ie/news/2014/0123/499625-tourism-dublin/
Destination Dublin - A Collective Strategy for Tourism Growth to 2020
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Old March 4th, 2014, 06:45 PM   #74
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Might not be in Dublin, but still a pretty interesting development:
Quote:
Plans for National Diaspora Centre announced

Ronan McGreevy

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 4, 2014, 10:32


A new National Diaspora Centre is to be built recognising the huge number of Irish people who have emigrated through the centuries, it has been announced.

Cabinet approval was given last week to the venture which the Government believes has the potential to become a major tourism attraction.

The announcement comes on foot of a Fáilte Ireland report which concluded such a centre would be viable and self-financing and would enhance Ireland’s tourism offering.

The centre would cost between €5 million and €26 million depending on the approach taken with the capital cost likely to be considerably less if an existing building can be found.

Fáilte Ireland has now been charged with looking for expressions of interests in building the centre which will have limited exchequer involvement.

No decision has been made on where to locate it.

Minister for Tourism, Transport and Sport Leo Varadkar said the centre will have to “wash its own face” as exchequer funds are scarce.

“The State’s finances remain extremely constrained, and we are not in a position to develop the Centre from our own resources.

But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to make it happen. That is why we have decided to progress this project through a partnership process,” he said.

He said the centre had to be of interest, not only to people within the Irish diaspora, but other overseas tourist.

“We are looking at a partner who can help to fund it and build it,” he said. “The work done by Fáilte Ireland suggests that it should tell the story of the Irish diaspora overseas. It should also tell the story of how Irish people view the world.

“There will also be a different story about how Irish emigration changed Ireland over the years and that is the kind of place we want it to be in. This is going to be something unique.”

The expressions of interest will be assessed first by the Fáilte Ireland executive.

Their findings will be forwarded to, alongside the expressions of interest, to a committee comprising an independent chairman and representatives of relevant Departments and other interested parties. Following consideration of the proposals, the Minister will l advise Government if a suitable partners have been found.

© 2014 irishtimes.com
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Old March 11th, 2014, 11:22 AM   #75
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Quote:
Dublin’s freedom bell to be restored

Olivia Kelly

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 01:46


Dublin’s “freedom bell”, the first Catholic Church bell to ring in Dublin in breach of the Penal Laws 200 years ago, is to be restored as part of a €620 million tourism investment.

The bell at the Smock Alley Theatre, said to have been cracked by a mighty blow from The Liberator Daniel O’Connell, is one of five heritage projects which will share the Department of Tourism fund.

The projects are all along the “Dubline” a new cultural and heritage walking trail running across the south west inner city from College Green to Kilmainham. The bell is in Dublin’s oldest theatre, Smock Alley, which reopened in 2012.

It had been built in 1662, but closed in the late 1700s and was converted into a Church. Fr Michael Blake defied penal laws by tolling the bell in 1811, 18 years before Catholic emancipation. He faced charges, but was successfully defended by O’Connell, then a young lawyer.

Emancipation

Legend has it that O’Connell rang the bell to celebrate emancipation in 1829, creating the crack which remains visible today. “This is Dublin’s, and Ireland’s, great freedom bell,” Smock Alley director Patrick Sutton said. “In America the Liberty Bell is cased behind eight inches of plate glass, our bell is cased beneath eight inches of pigeon poop.”

The bell restoration, which also includes provision of exhibition space for the artefacts found during the theatre restoration, will cost €17,814, the cheapest of the five projects.

The largest grant of €200,000 is going to St Werburgh’s Church to make it more accessible to visitors and create a new exhibition on its 900 years of history.

The Dublinia centre on St Michael’s Hill beside Christ Church is getting €184,000 to redesign the existing Viking legacy exhibition and create a new display on the end of the Viking era including the Battle of Clontarf. Christ Church Cathedral itself will get €188,500 for new landscaping.

© 2014 irishtimes.com
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Quote:
Occupancy rate for Dublin hotels above pre-recession level

Colm Keena

Last Updated: Monday, March 10, 2014, 08:57


Dublin hotels increased their returns more than those in any other major European city last year, a new report indicates.

The report, prepared by financial services firm PwC, also forecast that the revenue per available room for Dublin hotels will increase by a further 5.2 per cent this year, and 3.8 per cent next year, having jumped by a massive 11 per cent in 2013.

The occupancy rate for Dublin hotels has passed pre-recession levels, with rates of 79 per cent last year compared with 67 per cent in 2008. The projected occupancy rate for this year is 80 per cent.

The projected increase for revenue per room for this year is highest for Dublin, followed by London and Paris, both at 3.8 per cent. These are followed by Edinburgh, Berlin, Frankfurt, Vienna and Moscow.

London is projected to top the growth league in 2015, followed by Dublin and then Lisbon, Prague and Moscow.

The average daily room rate for Dublin was €89 last year, putting it in 14th place among the cities surveyed. The occupancy level puts it in fourth position.

The average daily room rate for Dublin is forecast to grow to €94 this year, and €96 next year.

Revenue per room is expected to be close to €74 this year, and €77 next year.

Michael Ring, Minister of State for Transport, Tourism and Sport, said that as Ireland emerges from a very tough period for tourism, value for money was still critical.

“Hotels need to ensure that customers get a good bang for their buck, whether that’s at premium or at economy level. Hotels can do this by adding value to their products.”

Best value

Jennifer Gillen of PwC Ireland said it was interesting to note that occupancy had now passed pre-recession levels. It was clear from a consumer point of view that Dublin continues to offer some of the best value hotel rooms in Europe.

According to the report, the improving economic and travel backdrop helped rejuvenate trading in almost all the 18 cities analysed. However the pace of growth varied from city to city, and the challenge for hotels will be to capitalise on this improving climate while responding to the trends impacting on their business.

The report anticipates growth in 17 of the 18 cities in both 2014 and 2015. Madrid is the exception and is the only city seeing no growth in either of the years.

© 2014 irishtimes.com
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Old March 14th, 2014, 03:22 PM   #76
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Dublin to see country's first whiskey museum at end of summer

14/03/2014 - 09:15:10

The country's first Irish whiskey museum is set to become Dublin's latest tourist attraction.

A €2m investment has been secured for the museum at College Green.

When completed by the end of the summer, it will chart the history of all of Ireland's famous whiskey brands and employ 25 people.

BreakingNews.ie
http://www.irishwhiskeymuseum.ie/

Dunno about the "first" whiskey museum, we currently have the Jameson Experience in Midleton and the Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield. There's also the Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim.

I suppose they're approaching the topic from a different angle, though.
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Old March 14th, 2014, 09:18 PM   #77
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catmalojin View Post
http://www.irishwhiskeymuseum.ie/

Dunno about the "first" whiskey museum, we currently have the Jameson Experience in Midleton and the Old Jameson Distillery in Smithfield. There's also the Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim.

I suppose they're approaching the topic from a different angle, though.
They're probably more visitor centres rather than fully-fledged museums. Nonetheless a still welcome development.
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Old March 18th, 2014, 04:32 PM   #78
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Very nice video full of all kinds of imagery.

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Old March 20th, 2014, 02:48 AM   #79
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Hello !

I have a question(s), if you could answer I'd be grateful. Thank you in advance.

Is it possible to buy a train ticket just 15 minutes in advance, before the train's departure ? From the Heuston train station for instance ?

I have a friend that needs to take the Saturday train from Heuston to Athlone, at 7:35 A.M.

So he is looking for a hotel/hostel near this train station in Dublin, the plan is that he leaves the hostel/hotel at 7:00 A.M., reach the train station in 5 minutes, buy the ticket and board the train until 7:35, when the train is moving. Do you think it is ok ? Also, he is coming via plane, so probably 20 kgs. of luggage. Are there any restrictions regarding this ?
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Old March 20th, 2014, 03:03 AM   #80
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Yes, you can buy last minute tickets at the station - there are ticket machines and a ticket desk. However, tickets bought at this time will most likely be very expensive. I would recommend purchasing one in advance on http://www.irishrail.ie/ - they're cheaper and you can also reserve a seat that way!

They should be okay with the 20kg of luggage. There are places to store it on the train.

A good hotel very near to Heuston is the Aisling Hotel, the Generator Hostel isn't too far away either.
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