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A vacationing traveler could wander Dublin for months and not encounter half of the great resources in this guide

Book Review: ‘Secret Dublin: An Unusual Guide by Pól Ó Conghaile – Jonglez Publishing’

Travel guides published by Editions Jonglez help you pack wisely. They go beyond guidebooks listing every hotel, cafe, and transit maps. Instead, they are filled with unusual details about your destination, in a unique style, written by local residents. As a result, Jonglez guides appeal to locals in popular destinations as well as global travelers.

secret dublinSecret Dublin: An Unusual Guide, by Pól Ó Conghaile for Jonglez, covers Dublin city center, magnificent Phoenix Park, and sends you away from city center to explore rarities in the north and south of Dublin. Surely, if you’re curious about the Jewish Cemetery, you can journey by bus for a visit. This tiny area served as a burial ground for Jews from the early 1700s until 1900, when a larger cemetery opened. While the caretaker is not always available for a tour, only a Jonglez guide would offer you this hint: “Take the #123 double-decker bus along the road and peer over the wall.”

Perhaps the fiercest site is the Stoker Dracula Museum. When traveling with children who say “There’s nothing fun here.” This is one museum that will surely spook them. Bram Stoker’s Dracula is honored in the birthplace and childhood home of the author, and is now the Bram Stoker Hotel. While Stoker is not as well known to most of us as other Irish authors, such as James Joyce or Oscar Wilde, his legacy continues to inspire writers of all ages. Having been to Dublin twice, I learned of the Stained Glass Room, which I missed on both occasions. A visit to the Dublin City Gallery without seeing this room is a tourist’s loss. As the guidebook author calls it, the Stained Class Room is “a whispery, church-like and ridiculously beautiful room…”

History comes alive when you immerse yourself in the colors, craftsmanship and pure artistry of stained glass. Whether you are touring Dublin as a musician, writer, historian, culture buff, or to explore religion, architecture or landscape, your senses will fill with a lifetime of memories. You may even be the first in your clan to observe the beech tree in Temple Gardens, which is slowly consuming an iron bench. Don’t skip the Dublin City Archives, thinking it hosts only ancient civic records. Instead, history buffs will enjoy the archived objects from the past century and beyond. Dublin’s National Print Museum is a working museum, in that it conducts hands-on tours, shows working machinery, offers tours, and invites school children to have fun with paper and book-making.

The impression you’ll likely take back home is an image of the importance of print in our world, over the centuries. Our world would be vastly different without it. A vacationing traveler could wander Dublin for months and not encounter half of the great resources in this guide. Secret Dublin fully lives up to the Jonglez publishing motto: “Local guides by local people.” Explore Dublin with this unusual guide and you’ll return with more than memories of scenery and restaurants. You’ll experience the charm and surprise of the city’s richest treasures – the secrets others may miss.

About Helen Gallagher

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