Explore Dublin City, where Gormlaith would have reigned as queen when married to Óláfr Sigtryggsson (known as Amlaíb in Irish sources), Norse king of Dublin and York.
Dublin City is spilling over with historic sites, exciting attractions, great shops and a plethora of places to eat and drink.
Start with a tour around the historic and prestigious Trinity College, a beautiful university that has known many notable alumni including Jonathan Swift, Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde. In the college’s Old Library, make sure to check out the Book of Leinster, a book featuring Queen Gormlaith and other Irish historical characters. The library also contains the infamous Book of Kells, a richly decorated book of the Gospels, which is well worth a look at.
After a tour of Trinity take a wander along Grafton Street, one of Dublin’s busiest shopping streets and where buskers and street acts can be found entertaining passersby all day long. After some shopping, have a picnic at St. Stephen’s Green, a park situated at the top of Grafton Street. The park’s pretty lake and green areas make it a perfect sanctuary from the busy streets of the city. Alternatively, pop into the famous Bewley’s Coffee Shop for Afternoon Tea if the weather isn’t in your favour.
Finish your sightseeing with a tour of Christ Church Cathedral, founded by Gormlaith’s son, Sitric Silkenbeard, in 1030. The building is also associated with the likes of Strongbow and the Patron Saint of Dublin Laurence O’Toole. Walk through the cathedral and be captivated by 1,000 of years worth of history.
Located beside Christchurch is Dublinia, a magnificent museum detailing the ins and outs of the medieval and viking city that would have existed during Gormlaith’s husband and son’s reign.
End your day in Dublin with dinner in the city’s Temple Bar area. The area has plenty of restaurants catering to every budget – from burger joints to fine dining restaurants. Finish your evening at one of the area’s famous pubs for a traditional Irish session and a pint of Guinness.
Leave Dublin to explore Kildare, the area where Queen Gormlaith was born. Here you can imagine Gormlaith’s humble beginnings in Naas, County Kildare before her days of being a queen.
Begin your Kildare adventure by visiting Castletown House, a stunning Palladian-style mansion in the town of Celbridge. Built in the 18th Century, Castletown is Ireland’s largest Palladian-style house, while the estate has over 100 acres of stunning woodlands and gardens just waiting to be explored. The estate underwent a restoration project in 1994, which transformed it into one of the finest public houses in Ireland.
Journey further along to the town of Newbridge, where the Newbridge Silver Museum and Visitor Centre is situated. This is a great stop for those interested in the craftsmanship that goes into making silver products or for those keen on picking up a unique gift. As you travel to Newbridge, be sure to make a stop in Naas, the birthplace of Queen Gormlaith. Here you will find the ruins of St Davids Castle and the Museum of Motorsport which is located near Mondello Park, a motorsport venue which offers high-speed driving experiences.
Kildare itself is a wonderful part of Ireland to journey across, it’s quaint villages, country roads and beautiful landscape proving popular with visitors. It is also home to some of Ireland’s finest racecourses with The Curragh, Punchestown and Naas all located in the county (an extra day would be needed to enjoy one of the races at these courses).
As well as being the location of some of the nations best racecourses, Kildare is also home to the Irish National Stud and Gardens, with the county considered by many to be the Equestrian Capital of Ireland. Highlights at The Stud include the Horse Museum, the Living Legends centre, the Stud itself, and acres of stunning grounds in the famous Japanese Gardens, and St Fiachra’s Garden.
Travel on to the historic Kildare Town, one of Ireland’s oldest towns, dating back to 480 AD. Here you can visit St. Brigid’s Cathedral and other historical highlights including the Round Tower (the highest in Ireland that can still be climbed), St. Brigid’s Fire Temple, Kildare Castle and White Abbey.
Follow up with shopping at Kildare Village, one of Ireland’s premier shopping facilities, before snuggling into one of the town’s pubs for a well-earned dinner and pint.
Should you want to experience something truly unique on your travels through Kildare, consider a visit to Lullymore Heritage Park in Rathangan. Lullymore provides a great insight into Irish Peatlands and the lives of people who lived in these bog land regions for generations. The Heritage Centre in the village of Athy is another great place to consider visiting in the area, to find out more about the town and its early Anglo-Norman ties.
Kildare is also home to two of Ireland’s finest golf courses, with The K Club (former host of The Ryder Cup) and Carton House up there with the very best inland golf courses in Ireland.