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Revised November 10, 2007

Anyone who has Irish roots has a wee spot in their heart that wants to head back to the homeland. Those who have made the journey talk of friendly people who are warm and welcoming and have a unique way with words that will charm those of us with a less colorful way with language.

But even if no Irish blood runs through your veins, they are great reasons to head to the Emerald Isle: great people and great golf spread across a lush green landscape dotted with ancient castles and quaint country villages. In Dublin you'll find all the conveniences of an efficient modern city blended with more than a millenium of history, but as you head west, you'll get to see the soul of Ireland.

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For most visitors, Trinity College where the famous hand illustrated Book of Kells is on display is one of the must see destinations in this town. What was the most prestigious college in Ireland over the last three centuries has grown to be a world-recognized school with students from over 70 countries. Its most famous alumna is Jonathan Swift, a satirist who often criticized his government and is most well-known for Gulliver's Travels.

Another important stop on any tour of Dublin is which was originally established in 1030 AD. 150 years later, work began on the current structure which has a well-preserved underground crypt that tourists may view.

Not far from Christ Church Cathedral is Trinity College. The university which was founded by Queen Elizabeth I is more than 400 years old. Many of Ireland's most famous citizens earned their diplomas from this prestigious institution. But the books, not the students, draw most visitor to the campus; here you will find the famous Book of Kells, a gold-leafed copy of the gospels of Christ's life that was hand copied and decorated more than 1200 years ago, is considered one of the treasures of medieval art. Above the room where the Book of Kells is found, Trinity College has a massive library holding more than 200,000 ancient works in an environment designed to protect the books for generations to come.

A popular intermission on the walk through history is a stop at the Guinness Brewery which has been brewing Ireland's favorite beer for 250 years. Admission to the Guinness Storehouse runs $14 for adults with reduced prices for children, students and seniors and those who purchase their tickets online. Currently, their off-season hours are from 9:30 am to 5 pm; July and August hours are from 9:30 am to 8 pm. Double check the website for exact information.

Head on to St. Patrick's Cathedral where the writer and theologian, Jonathan Swift, served as dean for 45 years; he remained there after his death as one of the many famous Irishmen buried in the cathedral. The cathedral marks the spot where St. Patrick baptized thousands of Celts and converted them to Christianity.