Tourist Attractions in Dublin, Ireland
Dublin, Ireland, remains one of the oldest cities in existence today. Records date it being inhabited in the Second century by Vikings, but it was only formally established in AD 988 when King Mael Mor II ascended the throne. Known for its tranquil landscapes, friendly people, and architecture, this city boasts of its vast cultural roots and very interesting things to see and do.
Located off of Dame Street, on the south side of River Liffey, is Dublin Castle, one of the oldest structures in the city that still remains a focal point for all of Ireland. It began as a fortress to protect inhabitants from invaders, but it has also served as a prison, the headquarters for the police, the Irish treasury, and the posh residence for the Irish president. Today, it continues to be an integral site for Irish government and ceremonies, including presidential inaugurations. Dublin Castle is also open to the public for tours, theatrical performances, concerts, and other special events.
There are several notable areas of the castle that are available to explore. In the State Apartments, as part of the Great Courtyard, take a tour of the living quarters and the public rooms used for State events and celebrations, or trek through the Undercroft to get to Gunpower Tower and the area of the former town wall that formed a moat around the River Poddle. Visit the Chapel Royal, now the Church of the Most Holy Trinity, which was once the Church of Ireland’s chapel for the Lords Lieutenant of Ireland from 1814 to 1922. You can also peruse the museum of art and expansive library collection from Sir Chester Beatty in the Chester Beatty Library, or stroll through the Dubhlinn Gardens, the place where the infamous black pool that gave the city its namesake once lay.
To understand Dublin’s people from yesteryear, visit Number Twenty Nine. Located at 29 Lower Fitzwilliam Street, near Fitzwilliam Square, this unusual Georgian home-turned-museum offers a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy and their servants who occupied such extravagant quarters, from 1790 to 1820. Artifacts on display include furniture pieces, clocks, paintings, children’s toys, and more. Tickets cost €6.00 for adults, €3.00 for seniors. Free admission for children under 16 and the disabled. Guided tours only.
Other stories of Dublin’s past can be found in the characters at the National Wax Museum, or by taking a tour of the jail of Kilmainham Gaol. View antique texts and manuscripts at the Old Library and the Book of Kells at Trinity College, preserved artifacts at the National Museum and the Dublin Civic Museum, the fine art at the National Gallery, or learn about public and commercial modes of transportation used from 1883 to 1984 at the National Transport Museum of Ireland at Howth Castle, and explore tributes to Dublin’s literature and writers, such as James Joyce and Johnathan Swift, at the Dublin Writers Museum.
Whether by fashion shopping on Grafton Street and Henry Street, or buying foods from the open-air market on Moore Street, you will discover just how Dublin’s history intermingles with current-day trends.
At St. James’ Gate, where the notable Guinness Storehouse stands at 7 stories high, you can tour the facility and learn about Guinness beer’s 200+ years of history and popularity, while getting pointers on how to brew the perfect pint for yourself. Tickets cost €4.80 for children ages 6-12, €8.50 for students under 18, €10.60 for students older than 18, €14.40 for adults (or €12.96 for advance tickets online), €10.50 for senior citizens, and €32.50 for a family package (2 adults and 2 children).
Dublin is known for its abundance of greenery, much of which you will find at the National Botanical Gardens. The area spans over 19.5 hectares (48 acres), which includes plants from various habitats from across the globe, glasshouses, an arboretum, a pond, a rock garden, and many other botanical features. At St. Stephen’s Green, travelers may walk its 9 hectares (22 acres), complete with a lake, fountain, flowering plants and trees, and sculptures. Off the beaten path are the lesser known Iveagh Gardens, full of exotic beauty in their combined styles of English and French landscaping that covers 3.4 hectares (8.5 acres). But the largest park in Ireland is Phoenix Park, known as the largest of its kind among any capital city in Europe, is 707 hectares (1752 acres) and was originally established as a deer sanctuary in 1662. Today, as part of the Dublin Zoo, the park continues to have deer, as well as other species of mammals and birds, many of which are endangered.
Religion has played an integral part of Dublin’s history and heritage as early as AD 450, when St. Patrick’s Cathedral was first established as a parish church in honor of St. Patrick himself. In 1191, the original building was replaced, and went on to became a cathedral in 1224. Today, it remains one of the oldest surviving structures in Dublin and the largest church in all of Ireland. You may attend worship services or tour the facility.
Christ Church Cathedral, founded in 1028, makes it another turning-point for Dublin’s Christianity. Available for worship services and tours, it also contains one of the largest crypts in all of Ireland and England, with unusual relics, such as a piece of Christ’s crib, and other items belonging to saints as early as medieval times. Because of its popularity, the crypt is often rented out for banquets and other events. Another must-see crypt is at nearby St. Michan’s church, one of Christ Church’s parishes that was founded in 1095. Here you may take a tour of the crypt to view the preserved bodies of people from the past, including thieves, crusaders, the wealthy, and average citizens, to learn about how they may have died.
When you have finished exploring the churches, take the footbridge to Dublinia Heritage Centre to get an interactive look at the Irish heritage, and what medieval living in Dublin was like.
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