The former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Tip O’Neill famously opined some years ago that ‘All politics is local’ and how right he was! You could equally argue that when it comes to the relative popularity of new air services, you should never underestimate the allure of ‘local’. The ‘local’ in this instance that I am referring to is the new direct service between Cork and Dubrovnik that will start later this year and run right through until October.
Dubrovnik is one of the jewels in Croatia Tourism’s crown and has been attracting visitors from around the world for hundreds of years. Despite suffering malicious and extended mortar bombardment by Serb forces during the Balkan wars of the early nineties, the walled city remains remarkably intact although you can still see evidence of where some of the mortar shells struck. Like Northern Ireland, the city serves as a backdrop to many scenes in the global tv phenomenon that is Game of Thrones where it doubles as King’s Landing and trust me it looks as beautiful and entrancing in real life as it does on the small screen.
The city is a year-round destination, but you are probably better of visiting during the off season if you don’t want to jostle with the hordes of other tourists who descend on the place during the peak summer month – a timely reminder that there is such a thing as over-tourism. It’s easy to see why the city is such a draw with its hugely impressive defensive walls that completely encircle the city and along whose battlements you can go for a two-kilometre walk that provides great elevated views of not only the sea and harbour below but also the private gardens and courtyards of many of the city’s inhabitants.
Dubrovnik can trace its illustrious history back for almost 1,600 years when it was first established by the Romans who built a Roman-Byzantine Basilica on the site of the modern-day city. During the 15th century, the Mediterranean was dominated by city states and Dubrovnik with its fleet of over 300 ships, manned by some 4,000 seamen, was second only in power and influence to Venice.
Aer Lingus will be operating the seasonal direct service to Dubrovnik and the airport is located just 20 kilometres outside the city. Although there’s loads of things to do and see within the confines of the city walls, people staying for more than just two or three days should really take the opportunity to explore some of the beautiful countryside and nearby islands located within relative proximity to the city as there are regular daily boat services to nearby Elaphite islands such as Kolocep, Lopud, Sipan and Mljet and seasonally operated services to the islands of Korkula and Lastovo.