15 sci-tech hotspots you have to visit in Dublin

100,000 tourists were expected to visit Ireland last week as St Patrick’s Day looms into view. While many of these holidaymakers travel right throughout the country, the vast majority base themselves in Dublin.

The landmark day alone is expected to bring €70m to the capital city but, rather than go down the paddywhackery route, we’re here with 15 places to visit that showcase Ireland’s science and technology achievements, past and present.


Tour of Dublin: Broombridge (D7)

Quaternion mutterings don’t usually make headlines, or indeed get inscribed in stone. Yet, at Broombridge along the Royal Canal, William Rowan Hamilton’s ‘eureka’ moment is captured in all its tangible glory.
It was here that Hamilton came up with the idea for a revolutionary new form of algebra.

Trinity College (D2)

Sticking to the tangible theme, Trinity College is full of hits. For example, the iron railings along Nassau Street sport the inscription R&J Mallet, which, as all you eagle-eyed engineering historians out there already know, relates to Robert Mallet.He was dubbed the ‘father of seismology’, with his iron foundry business obviously well enough respected for Trinity architects.
Elsewhere there’s the painstakingly boring pitch drop experiment, and plenty more besides when you get indoors.


Science Gallery (Pearse Street, D2)

We love the Science Gallery here at Silicon Republic and, after the wonderful Trauma: Built to break exhibit finished up last month, the team are back in force in March with a new farming show. Check the video!

Makeshop (Nassau Street D2)

Created by Science Gallery, Makeshop is for everyone from novices to advanced makers, young to old. The aim of Makeshop is to provide people with the tools, materials and guidance they need to get making, in a place where creativity is encouraged and everyone is welcome.

Silicon Docks (Grand Canal Dock, D2)

If it’s more of a modern schtick you’re into then check out Dublin’s very own Silicon Valley: Silicon Docks. Home to plenty of software companies you rely on for much of your social media-ing, you could gaze at Facebook’s European HQ, or even watch Google staff out in the wild, getting a coffee at 3fE.

If you want, you can struggle to understand why the red pipes outside the Grand Canal Theatre are supposed to represent trees – come back in the summer to check out Inspirefest these, too. Also, if you’re flush with money and want to invest in start-ups, let out a yell and someone there will be happy to talk to you.

Merrion Square (Merrion Square, D2)

Do you like moderate mistreatment of cats? Austrian physicist Erwin Schrödinger sure did, at least intellectually speaking. He also took a shine to Dublin many moons ago.
Landing here from England at the outbreak of the World War II in 1939, Schrödinger’s self-described ‘long exile’ was 16 years, during which he became the first professor of physics at the newly-established Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies.
He also penned What Is Life? during this time, one of the most significant scientific contributions ever made in Ireland. His name adorns a plaque around Merrion Square.

The Little Museum of Dublin (St Stephen’s Green, D2)

The Little Museum of Dublin is, well, little. It’s also a treasure trove of trivial historical artefacts related to the city. Situated on St Stephen’s Green, it’s an easy find. The Irish Times voted it “Dublin’s best museum experience”, with the tours there very enjoyable.

Natural History Museum (Merrion Square, D2)

One of the better cabinet-museums around, Dublin’s Natural History Museum is great and well worth a trip. It holds millions of specimens, with just a fraction on display at any one time. If you can’t make it down there’s always this 3D virtual tour, should you like that kind of thing.

The Zoo (Phoenix Park, D8)

Of course, not everybody likes hanging out with dead specimens, so, if you prefer the real thing, then Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park should sate your appetite. Highlights here include the new gorilla enclosure and the excellent zebra, giraffe, ostrich and rhino enclosures.

Wi-Fi murals (Throughout Dublin city)

Okay, this is a bit of a weird one but, if you occasionally look up from your phone when you’re walking around the city you may succeed in (a) not walking into traffic, bikes or other people and (b) see some of the really cool tiled murals signifying Dublin’s free Wi-Fi.

Croke Park (Jones’s Road, D3)

Right now, Croke Park is home to a whole host of cool pieces of technology. A test bed for internet of things developments, Croke Park is testing everything from micro weather patterns to crowd control.
For example, on the roof, at this very minute, Intel has a tiny little weather centre. In the stands, cameras are monitoring shade levels in minute detail to improve grass growth. The future of stadia, and perhaps cities, is all here.

Botanic Gardens (Glasnevin, D9)

An animal-free alternative for nature fans would be the Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin. Billed as “an oasis of calm and beauty”, not even dogs are allowed here, so any cynophobia sufferers out there rejoice.
A premier scientific institution, the gardens also contain the National Herbarium and several historic wrought-iron glasshouses.

Guinness Storehouse (St James’ Gate, D8)

What is a widget? It’s a Guinness creation that floats about in some cans of beer and stout, keeping the drink’s make-up relatively natural. If you take a tour of the Storehouse – Ireland’s most popular paid tourist attraction – you’ll hear all about it.
There’s far more cool stuff inside the building, too, like the pint-glass-shaped interior and some of the biggest steel beams you’ll see in the country.

Teelings Whiskey Distillery (Newmarket, D8)

We could recommend the Jameson tour in Smithfield but, given it doesn’t actually produce any whiskey, we’ll plump for Teelings. Take a tour, learn about whiskey and enjoy your samples. Simples.

The Digital Hub (Thomas Street, D8)

Right beside the Guinness Storehouse sits a hive of start-up activity, with the Digital Hub and the Digital Exchange home to businesses like Slack, Emaint, Tibco and even, eh, Silicon Republic.



Ten best kept tourist secrets Dublin has to offer

Dublin is one of Europe's top tourist spots, attracting almost four million visitors every year.
But well-known tourist attractions like Trinity College and the Guinness storehouse are just some of great things travelers can discover.
Here are ten of the best kept secrets Dublin has to offer.


1. The U2 Wall

The graffiti-covered wall at Windmill Lane studios stands as a testament to where the iconic Dublin band recorded some of their greatest tunes.
A music lover must-see, this fan wall is more of an accidental gallery than a contrived piece of art
Situated at Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, it’s covered in cartoons, lyrics and declarations of love from home and abroad for the greatest band on the planet.
While the studio itself was demolished in April to make way for apartments, the wall – much like the band – remains intact.


2. National Leprechaun Museum

If you fancy something a little more left of center, why not visit the cute National Leprechaun Museum?
Learn the history of the leprechaun and other figures of Irish mythology at the museum on Jervis St.
Venture inside the house of a giant, find the crock of gold at the end of the rainbow and even learn how to spot fairy folk in everyday life.
Every bit as mad as it sounds.


3. Grangegorman Military Cemetery

Some might find visiting a graveyard spooky but this cemetery feels more like a chilled out sanctuary.
History buffs will enjoy learning about the World War I casualties buried throughout the graveyard.
The Graveyard is on Blackhorse Avenue, off the Navan Road so if it’s a nice day pack a picnic and head to the Phoenix Park afterwards.

Forty Foot

4. The Forty Foot

Swimmers have been diving off this bathing spot at the southern tip of Dublin Bay for over 250 years.
If you really want an authentic experience – and can stomach the mortification along with the cold – hop into the water naked as this bathing area was traditionally a nudist bathing haunt.
After drying off, head to the Martello Tower once inhabited by Oliver John St Gogarty and James Joyce right next to the baths.
Now the James Joyce Tower and Museum, it’s also where the opening of Joyce’s iconic novel Ulysses is set.


5. Experience a GAA Match

You’d be hard pushed to find a more exciting day out than watching a Gaelic football or hurling match in Croke Park.
Check the GAA website for fixtures so you can catch a game during your visit – or check out Experience Gaelic Games for a more hands on experience.


6. City of a Thousand Welcomes

Dublin is considered one of the friendliest cities in the world, so who better to show you around than a local with insider knowledge?
The City of a Thousand Welcomes is an innovative scheme which helps tourists connect with locals.
More than 3,000 Dubliners have signed up as ambassadors to guide tourists around the city.
Experience the capital with a local by your side and make sure they bring you for a pint of the black stuff.


7. Take a tour around Kilmainham Gaol

If history is your thing, a visit to Kilmainham Gaol is unmissable.
A tour through this former prison where 1916 rebels were executed will give you a real feel for Ireland’s resistance to English rule.
You’ll be horrified by tales of life and conditions of 18th and 19th century prisoners, where death in the cells was common.


8. The Little Museum of Dublin

This adorable little museum tells the incredible tale of Dublin in the 20th century.
Launched in 2011 with a public appeal for historic objects, this little gem has gone from strength to strength since.
The Irish public have responded generously and today there are over 5,000 artifacts in the collection.
Children attend free civics classes here every morning. The museum also launched the City of a Thousand Welcomes project.


9. Dublin Literary Walking Tour

Immerse yourself in the lives of our greatest writers like James Joyce and Jonathan Swift.
Tour participants visit the places where these famous Dublin writers lived, taking in some of the city’s most iconic landmarks at the same time.
You’ll learn which writer was a university athletics champion and who stole and married the gal of a fellow famous novelist.
Literary idols like James Joyce, Johnathan Swift, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde will come to life on this tour, leaving you feeling both learned and cultural.


10. Howth loop cliff walk

The views on this breathtaking walk are simply spectacular. On a clear day you can see all the way out to Wicklow Head – and all it will cost you is the price of a Dart ticket.



Smithwick announce major Heritage & Tourism Initiative for Kilkenny

Smithwick's Brewery



Monday, 10th June 2013: Smithwick’s today announced a €3 million investment project for Kilkenny that will see a major transformation of the existing Smithwick’s Visitor Centre into a state of the art visitor experience, ensuring the home of Ireland’s original craft beer can be enjoyed by visitors for many years to come. The Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny will be a testament to the significant role that the St. Francis Abbey Brewery and the people of Kilkenny played in shaping over 300 years of heritage, tradition and its influence on Irish cultural life. Welcoming the announcement, Gary Breen, Head of Operations for Fáilte Ireland in the South East said: “Fáilte Ireland, along with the local authority, is making a multi-million Euro tourism investment in Kilkenny as we believe that the city has a strong tourism future with great potential to grow visitors, revenue and jobs in the region. Smithwick’s have obviously recognised this and the significant investment they have announced today will deliver a state of the art visitor centre which will complement our work to grow local tourism and, as an exciting and hands-on attraction, has the potential of becoming a major magnet for increased tourist numbers to the south east”. Over the next nine months, the Victorian brewing building at St Francis Abbey Brewery, Kilkenny will be transformed into a state of the art interactive visitor centre. The Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny will be a sensory, tactile visitor experience that immerses you in Ireland’s oldest beer brand; the history, the brewing craft, the future and ultimately, tasting the pint. Visitors will be able to experience the medieval origins of brewing on the site to the arrival of the amazing John Smithwick. They will discover the Kilkenny-Smithwicks connections through the years with interactive installations bringing the story right up to date. The €3 million investment will be a major boost for the tourism potential of Kilkenny and its catchment area. Through promotion, marketing and the natural pulling power of an iconic brand, it is envisaged that the Smithwick’s Experience Kilkenny will welcome thousands of visitors each year. It is estimated that 40 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the project and approximately 12 when the Centre opens in spring 2014. In addition it is expected there will be significant indirect employment for the Kilkenny region once opened. Speaking at the announcement of the Smithwick’s Kilkenny Experience, Mr. Phil Hogan T.D., Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government said: “The Smithwick’s Brewery has been a central part of Kilkenny for over 300 years. It is tremendous that Diageo has agreed to acknowledge this great history and tradition by establishing this visitor centre”.Mayor of Kilkenny, Cllr. Seán Ó hArgáin expressed his delight and that of the citizens of Kilkenny at the announcement of the funding today by Diageo. ‘Firstly we are hugely thankful to Diageo for their magnificent gesture last year in selling so much of this hugely important site to the people of the city for its future development by our council. To see Diageo now decide to make a decision to develop one of the country’s leading tourism attractions at the historic heart of the Smithwick’s brewery site means that a really fundamental statement of confidence is being made by the company in the future of Kilkenny. The fact that this attraction will celebrate the central importance of the tradition of brewing in Kilkenny in a contemporary and forward-looking development is the best possible way for the next part of the history of this three hundred year old complex to commence. It will also become a key component of our plans to develop the ‘Medieval Mile’ from Kilkenny Castle to St. Canice’s Cathedral and will also we hope celebrate all that the workers of Kilkenny have contributed to our development.’ Commenting on the announcement, Mr. David Smith, Diageo Country Manager said: “Diageo’s significant €3m investment today underpins the company’s commitment to Ireland and will bring added momentum to the economic growth potential of the South-East region over the near term. This is a very significant announcement for the company and represents Diageo Ireland’s largest capital expenditure announcement since the €153 expansion and re-development of the St. James’s Gate Brewery. An investment of this scale in Kilkenny will help bring renewed confidence to the entire region – confidence to invest, confidence to spend and confidence to hire. At Diageo, we value Smithwick’s and its rich legacy. We feel that this new state-of-the-art experience in Kilkenny will honour that legacy while generating substantial local economic activity for the area.” In order to secure the long term future of brewing in Ireland, a new brewing centre of excellence is being built at St. James’s Gate in Dublin and the brewery in Kilkenny is scheduled to close at the end of 2013.

You can now visit the brewery: http://www.abbeytoursireland.com/sightseeing/442/

More information can be found here: http://www.smithwicksexperience.com

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