CLIMATE

Ireland has a maritime climate and the east coast does not usually suffer from extreme weather, summer or winter. The temperature ranges from about 16C - 26C from June through August during the day, dropping to about 12C - 16C during Autumn [September - October]. Winter is cold but daytime temperatures usually stay above freezing - Dublin only gets a prolonged snow fall (more than three days) about every three years! However, Ireland is not called the Emerald Isle for nothing - and it is likely to rain at any time of the year, even throughout the summer.

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Walking is an excellent mode of travel in the city centre, and there are useful signposts at the main features of the city. As in any large city, avoid looking blankly into maps as you often attract unwanted attention. The vast majority of city-centre streets have more than one access, so i is most unlikely you will walk yourself into a dead end. We don't use a block system, but there is a certain logic and expectancy in the way in which the streets have been built and planned.

Most Dubliners will be happy to help with directions if asked. You can also disguise your tourist identity by acting like a Dub: (a) don't wait for the green man at lights [few Dubs have been arrested/charged with jaywalking] (b) cross the road in a diagonal line (c) walk between as many stationary cars as possible!

St. Patrick's Cathedral [see map section L-51] is one of the most popular tourist spots in Dublin and well worth a visit during your Ireland vacations. The grave of Jonathan Swift, former Dean and author of Gulliver's Travels is frequently missed by tourists; it's marked by some brass plates on the ground just as you enter the Cathedral on your right hand side (look out for some red ropes). Another interesting exhibit is a door with a hole allegedly hacked through by the sword of the Earl of Kildare during a feud; he subsequently offered a handshake through same door to his adversary following a siege and the infamous act gave us the expression "chancing your arm". How would you feel if someone on the other side started making an opening through a door separating you both from life and possible death and then popped his hand through?!

Although the mystical and elusive River Poddle used to flow beside the west side of the cathedral, it has long been contained in a deep culvert somewhere beside the main road. In the 1980s (if I remember correctly), following prolonged rainfall, the north-west part of the cathedral flooded, probably from the effects of the river. St Patrick's well (there are two in the city - the other is in the grounds of Trinity College) was presumably fed by the river but no trace remains, apart from a stone on display in the cathedral. Don't miss the original Father Willis organ, displayed in the north trancept near the organ steps. When you enter the cathedral, walk towards the Altar (east) end and turn left - this is the north trancept. The marble steps lead to the organ loft and the triforium. If the organ is playing, you can see the organist from the south trancept. Another important artefact often missed by visitors is the chair in which King William of Orange sat. This is in the Lady Chapel, behind the High Altar and towards the front of the cathedral. King Billy, in case you didn't know, defeated King James at the Battle of the Boyne, so creating modern Irish history which reverberated up to the end of the twientieth century. The Huguenot memorial is on the wall near the metal gates to the Lady Chapel, also visible from the south aisle. The area around the cathedral was highly significant for Huguenots since they had a church and cemetery in Peter's Row, just east of the cathedral.

Another gem often missed by tourists visiting St Patrick's Cathedral is Marsh's Library, just up the Cathedral Close. For a small charge you can see the beautiful eighteenth century library in almost original condition. The library is open to the public every day except Tuesday and Sunday, 10am to 12:45pm, 2pm to 5pm and Saturdays 10:30am to 12:45pm. Scholars and students are most welcome to carry out research, and are admitted free.

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