Tourist Places To Visit In Dublin
Dublin is the largest city in Ireland along with being the capital of the country. Situated in the Norwegian Sea, this charismatic and enchanting city boasts wealth and diversity, while still managing to retain its small-town charm. Dublin has made an immense contribution to the literary world with names like Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and many others being from this amazing region. On top of that, the perfect blend of modern and historic architecture, the vibrant alleys with quaint cafes and restaurants, and the wide variety of museums and art galleries make Dublin one of the most charming cities in Ireland. To know more about what is in store for you here, check out our recommendations of the top places to visit in Dublin.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Dublin is a two-cathedral city, where the 12th Century St Patrick’s Cathedral shares its title with the Christ Church Cathedral located nearby. However, St Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in the country and is believed to be the spot where St Patrick himself baptized Celtic Christian converts around 1500 years ago. The famous Jonathan Swift, the writer of Gulliver’s Travels, was once the cathedral’s dean and has also been buried here. There is a lovely park adjacent to the church’s grounds where tourists and locals alike love to enjoy sunny days lounging in the garden and soaking up the history of the cathedral, which is definitely the most popular of the two cathedrals in the city.
Christ Church Cathedral
Also known as the Church of Holy Trinity, the Christ Church Cathedral was built in the year 1030 and is one of Dublin’s architectural highlights. The church was restructured in 1172 and new modifications were made to it, like the addition of a crypt and a bell tower. There are guided tours available of the cathedral, where visitors can walk through the narrow corridors of the church, climb its spiralling staircase, admire the exhibition of the 16th century costumes and even ring the bell that has been ringing out over Dublin’s medieval centre for hundreds of years. The ambience of the cathedral allows visitors to imagine what life might have been like during this era and lets them relive the historic moments that this building has witnessed.
Around 3.5 km away from the city centre, Kilmainham Gaol is a building that was constructed in 1796 and served as the state prison until 1924. After being brilliantly restored into a museum, it is now being run as one of Dublin’s most unusual yet popular tourist attractions since the 1980s. Hour-long guided tours of the prison building give visitors an in-depth look into its history and the unfortunate conditions that the men, women and children incarcerated here lived in. It is a good place to learn more about Irish history and the resistance to British rule, which led to the country’s path to independence. Fans of the movie ‘Shawshank Redemption’ will also be pleased to the prison’s East Wing, which was a major site of a shoot in the movie.
Little Museum of Dublin
The Little Museum of Dublin is an award-winning establishment that is the perfect mash of political and cultural history of the city packed into one place. Through more than 5000 exhibits that include photographs, artefacts and memorabilia donated by the locals themselves, the museum allows visitors to know Dublin’s story over the past century. Each object in the building tells its unique story; some of the notable exhibits here are a lectern used by John Kennedy on his visit to Ireland, and a copy of the treaty of negotiations from 1921 that was given to the Irish envoys and resulted in the Civil War. Guided tours of the three-floored museum are given every hour, and it opens every day of the week.
For one of the best history tours in Ireland, Glasnevin Cemetery is a must-visit. Established in 1832 by Daniel O’Connell, this cemetery has been the burial ground for some of the most important historical figures in the country like Daniel O’Connell himself, Michael Collins, who was a soldier and politician; the Irish poet and novelist Brendan Behan; Luke Kelly, who was a vocalist in the famous band ‘The Dubliners’ and many others. The cemetery also holds great political importance as it was built as a burial ground for people of all religions at a time when Protestants refused to bury Catholics on the same grounds as them.
The Glasnevin Cemetery Museum offers visitors great detail about the history and political story of Ireland through the lives of 1.5 million people who are buried in this cemetery. The City of Dead covers religious beliefs and burial practices of the people who lie here, while the Milestone Gallery has an interactive timeline covering the lives of these people.
Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious college, Trinity College was established in the year 1592 and has been the seat of education for famous names like Bram Stoker (of Count Dracula fame), the great writer Oscar Wilde, and Jonathan Swift (who authored Gulliver’s Travels). Situated in a bucolic setting in the heart of Dublin, the college is a popular tourist attraction for bibliophiles in particular; the Old Library in the building has a collection of over 200,000 ancient books housed in stunning oak bookcases in the legendary Long Room. Known to be the largest library in the country, it is also believed that this is where J.K. Rowling found the inspiration for Hogwarts in her Harry Potter series. One of its most prized possessions is the Book of Kells – an ancient illuminated manuscript of the New Testament’s four Gospels. The manuscript is believed to have been penned down by Scottish monks around 800 AD, which makes this book more than a thousand years old.
National Museum of Ireland
Home to Ireland’s most significant archaeological and cultural treasures, the National Museum was established in 1877 and has stunning displays of Celtic metalwork and exquisite gold crafted artefacts like the Tara Brooch from the 8th-century and the Ardagh Chalice from the 12th-century. The Viking exhibit and a remarkable collection of mummified bodies also make up the highlight of the museum. These bodies have been recovered from all around Ireland and have stories of their own, which gives great insight into the lives lived by these people in this country.
The beer Guinness is widely known as Ireland’s most popular drink. Guinness Storehouse, located in St James’ Gate Brewery, was opened in 2000 and has been dedicated to enthralling visitors with details about the drink and how it’s made. With more than 4 million visitors ever since it opened, the Guinness Storehouse is the most visited tourist attraction in the country. The interiors of this establishment have been designed to look like a pint of Guinness itself, and a tour of the place takes visitors through seven floors of beer history where they get to learn about the Guinness family and the craft of its creation. The tour ends with the visitors being taken to the Gravity Bar on the topmost floor, which is accompanied with brilliant 360⁰ views of Dublin and a refreshing pint of the Guinness itself.
The 13th-century Dublin Castle is situated at the site of a previous Viking settlement. While there isn’t much of the original fortress left behind (much of the structure that remains dates back to the 18th-century; only the Record Tower is part of the original construction), there is still almost 800 years’ worth of Irish history packed into this building. The castle has served pivotal roles throughout its existence; it started with being the Anglo-Norman fortress that was commissioned in the year 1204 by King John, Ireland’s first Lord. After serving as the British administration headquarters in the country till the uprising of 1916, the castle was handed over the Irish government after its independence in 1922.
Guided and self-guided tours of the castle and its grounds take visitors through its royal rooms, gardens, and many museums. The Chester Beatty Library is a world-famous establishment that is a part of the castle. It contains an astounding collection of 20,000 manuscripts and rare books, along with other ancient artefacts.
Phoenix Park is believed to be the largest park in the continent, and probably even the world. It covers an area of more than 700 hectares and was opened more than 300 years ago. Visitors to the park can still see 18th-century houses, a cricket and a polo ground that were originally part of the walled park. Nowadays, the most common sight here are the locals who can be seen jogging or walking their dogs around the lakes and gardens; but the main highlight of Phoenix Park is the wild deer that roam around freely here. Originally introduced into the park for hunting purposes during the 17th-century, there are around 450 deer currently residing here. Having some of these deer wander into your territory while you’re enjoying a picnic with your family isn’t totally an uncommon sight.
One of the most popular attractions in Dublin is the Dublin Zoo, which is also located in Phoenix Park. It was established in the year 1830 and serves conservation and educational roles in the city. It is home hundreds of local and exotic animal species; close encounters with these creatures will surely prove to be a fun experience for children especially.