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Entertainment, Media and Television for Expats in Ireland

Submitted: October 2014

Entertainment and Nightlife

The premier form of nightlife in Ireland is still the classic pub. There are over 7000 pubs across the Emerald Isle, from chains such as Wetherspoons to traditional pubs that might be as much as 800 years old, such as the Brazen Head in Dublin. Unless you are particularly short of money, you are best off avoiding the large chains and the throngs of tourists they bring. Instead, do some research in your area and find a nice old institution; many will have live music most evenings, and you will often be able to sit with a pint of Guinness or some fine Irish whiskey and enjoy some Celtic folk songs passed down for generations. The Daily Edge runs a guide to the most unmissable pubs in Ireland, such as Foxy John’s in Dingle, a pub-cum-hardware store that might be the only place where you can drain a pint while buying a set of tools. Otherwise, have a look at the Guardian list, detailing the best pubs across the whole island.

If you prefer nightclubs, Ireland has a fairly limited selection, and most are generally found in Dublin. However, the student demand for nightclubs means that Dublin does include the 1000-capacity Club M, which showcases premier Irish DJs and even offers classes in cocktail making. There is also the gilded ‘luxury club’ Alchemy, which offers great deals on spirits. There are many interesting modern bars across Dublin, from the Art Deco Café En Seine that aims to recreate 19th century Paris, to the Opium Rooms, catering to those looking for live music with their drinks.

As for restaurants, the economic boom from the 1990s to late 2000s, and the increasing number of tourists, mean that Ireland has seen many fantastic restaurants opening in recent years across all price ranges and cuisines. If you are in the mood to splash out, Restaurant Patrick Guilbald has been consistently rated with two Michelin stars for almost twenty years, the only Irish restaurant with this accolade. Be warned that a full dinner including dessert will set you back €105, though a three-course lunch is available for €50. Also worth mentioning is Ard Bia in Galway, highly rated and featuring artisanal menus and lunch for as little as €8. Or, if your tastes fall more towards seafood, make sure not to miss Mourne Seafood, with two locations in the Republic: Dublin and Dundrum. These eateries set out to provide delicious local seafood at affordable prices; their oysters and mussels are certainly not to be missed. The Taste of Ireland is the leading food and restaurant guide for the country, so look out for their seal of approval or do some research before visiting a restaurant.


Sightseeing and Tours

Ireland has a rich history, and there are many different attractions to find over the country. One of the most famous is Blarney Castle, home to the legendary Blarney Stone that supposedly grants the gift of eloquence to anyone who kisses it. Whether this is true or not is a question that can only be answered by making the trip and finding out for yourself. Ireland’s most visited natural attraction are the Cliffs of Moher, a set of cliffs stretching for five miles and standing hundreds of feet high. These towering precipices allow you to see for miles in every direction, across the counties and the sea, and the visitor centre’s mild €6 charge allows parking and access to the environmentally friendly centre while also supporting the upkeep of the cliffs. Irish Tourism runs a guide to the top attractions across Ireland, and also provides sightseeing tour packages.

There are many guided tours to be found around the country, but with the comparatively small size of the island it is perfectly feasible to find an interesting spot, jump on a train to the nearest station and cycle out to your chosen attraction. This is made even easier by the fact that fold-up bikes can be carried on any Irish train free of charge. Bear in mind non-foldable bikes must be paid for along with a train ticket, at a charge of €6 for a single or €12 for a return. Further information is available at the Irish Rail website.


Media and Television

Many high circulation newspapers in Ireland are all English-language; the most widely circulated are the Irish Independent and Irish Times, which fall generally to the centre-right and centre-left respectively. Beyond this, there are many tabloids such as the Irish Sun and The Herald. A daily broadsheet/quality paper costs generally around €2, with the tabloids costing marginally less from €1 upwards. Most Irish newspapers also offer a morning delivery service for a small fee.

As of October 2012, analogue transmissions ended on Irish television. Basic terrestrial television is now provided by RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann, the national broadcaster) in the form of Saorview (i.e. ‘freeview’) a digital subscription-free service that costs only the price of a set top box and installation. This provides 9 digital channels that include Irish shows and international content alike. Digital satellite and cable services are also available, the most popular being Sky Ireland and UPC. An independent comparison of packages is available here, however since both are also Internet providers, you may wish to get a bundle including both broadband and TV. Uswitch.ie runs a comparison of these packages based on price and features.



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