Ireland Map

Ireland Map

ESSENTIALS

Currently, Ireland’s biggest rock export is HU2. From the adrenaline-soaked promise of 1980’s Boy, the band ascended into the stratosphere, culminating in international fame with The Joshua Tree (1987). After a brief turn to techno dance tunes (1997’s Pop), the recent All That You Can’t Leave Behind (2000) has been heralded as the band’s triumphant return to its roots. Other recent Irish bands to make it off of the isle include The Corrs, Boyzone, which recently conquered the UK charts, and their girl-group equivalent, Bwitched.

THE VISUAL ARTS

FILM. Hollywood discovered Ireland in John Wayne’s 1952 film The Quiet Man, giving an international audience of millions their first view of the island’s beauty, albeit through a stereotypical lens Irish film has long struggled to change. Aside from the garish green of Hollywood technicolor, art-filmmakers have also tried to capture Ireland, including Robert Flaherty, who created cinematic Realism in his classic documentary about coastal fishermen, Man of Aran (1934).

In the last decade, the government has encouraged a truly Irish film industry. Jim Sheridan helped kick off the Irish cinematic renaissance with his universally acclaimed adaptation of Christy Brown’s autobiography, My Left Foot (1991). More recently, Sheridan has worked with Irish actor Daniel Day-Lewis in two films that take a humanitarian approach to the lives of Catholics and Protestants during the Troubles with In the Name of the Father (1993) and The Boxer (1997). Based on Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy, The Commitments (1991), The Snapper (1993), and The Van (1996) follow a family from the depressed North Side of Dublin as its members variously form a soul band, have a kid, and get off the dole by running a chipper. Dublin native Neil Jordan has become a much-sought-after director thanks to the suc-cess of The Crying Game (1992), Michael Collins (1996), and The Butcher Boy (1998). Most recently, the appeal of Irish scenery and accents was demonstrated in the production of two highly Irish sounding and looking films by non-Irish filmmakers: Hollywood produced a film version of Donegal playwright Brian Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa (1998), and the government of the Isle of Man sponsored Waking Ned Devine (1998), which describes the antics of a village of rustic eccentrics.

WHEN TO GO

Irish weather is subject to frequent changes but relatively constant temperatures. The southeastern coast is the driest and sunniest, while western Ireland is considerably wetter and cloudier. May and June are the sunniest months, July and August the warmest. December and .January have the worst weather. Take heart when you wake to clouded, foggy mornings the weather usually clears by noon. Make sure you bring rain gear, regardless of the season.

DOCUMENTS AND FORMALITIES

VISAS. Citizens of Australia, Canada, the EU, New Zealand, South Africa, and the US do not need a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

EMBASSIES. All embassies for the Republic of Ireland are in Dublin (569). For Irish embassies at home, contact: Australia, 20 Arkana St. Yarralumla, Canberra ACT 2600 (s’ 062 73 3022); Canada, Suite 1105, 130 Albert St. Ottawa, ON KIP 5G4 (613-233-6281); New Zealand, Honorary Consul General, 6th fl. 18 Shortland St. 1001, Auckland 1 (09 302 2867; www.ireland.co.nz); South Africa, 1st fl. Southern Life Plaza, 1059 Shoeman St. Arcadia 0083, Pretoria (012 342 5062); UK, 17 Grosvenor PI. London SW1X 7HR (020 7235 2171); and US, 2234 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 ( 202-462-3939).

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