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Things to do and see in Dublin

18.10.2021
Hapenny Bridge Dublin
© Lukas Bischoff Photograph / Shutterstock

Dublin is a small European capital with a long and rich history. Not surprisingly, its main attractions are related to the ancient centuries. There are cathedrals, a library, and even a real castle in the center of the city. In addition, Ireland is proud of its traditions and manufacturers, which can be experienced in local pubs and museums dedicated to beer and whiskey. On the other hand, Dublin is a modern, developing city with a rich cultural and social life, where it is impossible to get bored.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is one of the most important sights in Ireland and its capital and is a must-see. It was built in the XII century, but after numerous reconstructions, the current building can be dated to the XVIII century. For many centuriesб Dublin Castle had been used as a residence of kings. It also housed the parliament, courts, location for inaugurations, and residence of presidents. In the XXI century, it holds government receptions and banquets. During a visit to the castle, tourists can see the state apartments, the Viking dungeon, go inside the chapel, and stroll through the gardens.

Castle in Dublin
Dublin Castle © Mike Drosos / Shutterstock

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park is one of the largest urban green spaces in the world. It covers an area of 707 hectares. In the XVII century, the Viceroy Duke of Ormond ordered to surround the area with a wall and start breeding pheasants and fallow deer. The latter still live here and move around without restrictions. The park consists of green lawns, clear lakes, and woodlands. It contains the residence of the Irish President, the Dublin Zoo, Ashtown Castle, and the Wellington's Column.

Couple of deer in the park
Phoenix Park © Alessandro de Leo / Shutterstock

Dublin Zoo

Phoenix Park is another location without which a trip to the Irish capital would not be complete — it is Dublin Zoo. Its history dates back to 1830, but it opened its doors on September 1, 1831. All the animals live comfortably in several themed areas: Wolves in the Woods, African Plains, the Kaziranga Forest Trail, South American House, Gorilla Jungle, Orangutan Forest, and Sea Lion Cove. Dublin Zoo is home to chimpanzees, elephants, gibbons, giraffes, hippos, lemurs, rhinos, sloths, penguins, lions, and other interesting animals.

Giraffes at Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo © Dawid K Photography / Shutterstock

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol, not far from Phoenix Park, is a very grim place. It was built in 1796 and had served its intended purpose until 1924. The leaders of the Irish rebellions of different years were imprisoned and executed here, and the conditions of detention of prisoners left much to be desired. At the end of the XX century, the Museum of the History of Irish Nationalism was established in the building, and the interiors and courtyard were restored.

Prison Museum in Dublin
Kilmainham Gaol © David Svestka / Shutterstock

The National Gallery of Ireland is Dublin's major art museum. It contains the complete collection of works by Irish masters. In addition, there are works of great European artists — Degas, Vermeer, Velázquez, Picasso, Monet, Goya, Caravaggio, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Titian, and others. The National Gallery of Ireland has very well-developed educational programs for children and adults. There are also lectures, workshops, and podcasts.

Paintings and sculptures in the gallery
National Gallery of Ireland © Benoit Daoust / Shutterstock

Little Museum of Dublin

One of the Dublin attractions is perhaps the most unusual local history museum in the world, the Little Museum of Dublin. It opened in 2011, and it now contains a collection of more than 5,000 artifacts donated by Dubliners. There are exhibits related to film, music, politics, history, and culture. The exhibits that draw the most visitors are those devoted to the 1916 Easter Rising and the visit of American President John F. Kennedy.

Framed photo on the wall of the museum
Little Museum of Dublin © dublincitihotel.com

Temple Bar

Ireland is tightly associated with the alcoholic beverages produced here. Not surprisingly, the Temple Bar is one of the most popular areas that tourists want to visit. People come here to have a pint in the pub, have lunch in the cafes, buy craft goods in the stores, and explore the art in the galleries. It's home to Ireland's oldest drinking establishment, The Brazen Head Pub. In the evening, the streets of Temple Bar become very lively, and you can hear folk music coming from every door. Locals tend to avoid this neighborhood, preferring the quieter, more authentic establishments.

Tourists are photographed against the backdrop of the pub
Temple Bar © VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock

Trinity College Library

Trinity College is the oldest university in Ireland, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. It is renowned not only for its prestigious education but also for its library, which is striking in its scale and picturesque interiors. The thousand-year-old Book of Kells, containing the four Gospels in Latin, is housed here. It stands out for its rich decorations and beautiful illustrations. The library's long room may seem familiar to fans of Star Wars. Episode II: Attack of the Clones movie. It is very reminiscent of the Jedi archives.

Huge old library
Trinity College Library © Salvador Maniquiz / Shutterstock

Guinness Storehouse

One of the main tourist attractions of Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse, is located in the center of St. James's Gate Brewery. Its name is known even to those who have never had a drink because it was the brewery manager who invented the famous Guinness Book of Records. During a walk through the seven floors of the building, visitors learn about the history of the Guinness family and the technology of beer production. At the end of the tour, everyone is entitled to exchange their admission ticket for a pint of dark Guinness at the Gravity Bar on the seventh floor. There is a wonderful view of the city from here, by the way.

Beer racks in the museum
Guinness Storehouse © Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock
Steel columns in the beer museum
Guinness Storehouse © Anton_Ivanov / Shutterstock

Abbey Theatre

You can understand the cultural code of the Irish at the Abbey Theatre. It was founded in 1904 by the famous playwrights William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory, proclaiming the manifesto "to bring upon the stage the deeper emotions of Ireland." In 1916, the theater was tightly associated with the Easter Rising. In 1951, the original building was damaged by a major fire, but already in 1966, the Abbey Theatre opened in a new house constructed on the site of the old one. In the XXI century, you can see more and more plays by modern Irish playwrights and directors on its stage. There are also backstage tours for visitors.

Facade of the theater
Abbey Theatre © cdn.britannica.com

National Museum of Ireland

The National Museum of Ireland consists of four separate branches specializing in archaeology, history and decorative arts, natural history, and rural life. The first building is located on Kildare Street and houses collections devoted to prehistoric Ireland, the Vikings, Ancient Egypt, and the Swamp People. The second has exhibitions on the Irish War of 1919-1923, Asian art, national furniture, silverware, etc. In the third branch, visitors can view Irish fauna and mammals from around the world. The latter is not in Dublin, but in County Mayo, in the west of the country. It contains exhibits about the everyday life and work of the Irish in the countryside.

Exhibits in the zoological museum
National Museum of Ireland © media.cntraveler.com
Large building of the Irish museum
National Museum of Ireland © trabantos / Shutterstock

Patrick's Cathedral

The largest cathedral in Ireland, St. Patrick's Cathedral, stands in the center of Dublin. It was built in Gothic style in the XII century. This majestic building has been in decline several times throughout its existence, but it has been reconstructed repeatedly. Once, in the XVII century, Oliver Cromwell even ordered to turn the church into a stable. The head of the cathedral is the Dean. From 1713 to 1745, the author of Gulliver's Travels, Jonathan Swift, served as such, and he is buried in the central nave.

Church in Dublin
Patrick's Cathedral © Sandra Mori / Shutterstock
Church interior in Dublin
St patrick's cathedral © Mr. Sergey Olegovich / Shutterstock

Ha'penny Bridge

At the beginning of the XIX century, there was a need in the city to build a pedestrian crossing over the River Liffey. So, in 1816, Ha'penny Bridge appeared here. It got its strange name because of the price people had to pay to cross it. It was half a penny. Now Ha'penny Bridge is one of the main attractions in Dublin. Its image can often be found on postcards and magnets, in tourist brochures and books.

Steel Bridge over the River Liffey
Ha'penny Bridge © Bernd Meissner / Shutterstock

National Botanic Gardens

The National Botanic Gardens, founded in 1795, are four kilometers from the center of Dublin. You can see about 20,000 plants there. It is pleasant to stroll through the shady alleys past the openwork glass orangeries of the Victorian era. The most famous of these is the Palm House. The National Botanic Gardens has classic and modern sculptures, a Viking house, a sundial, a rock garden, a rock garden, and more.

In a greenhouse at Dublin Botanical Gardens
National Botanic Gardens © Davi Costa / Shutterstock
Dublin Botanical Gardens greenhouse
National Botanic Gardens © Davi Costa / Shutterstock

Jameson Distillery Bow St.

Jameson is one of Ireland's most famous drinks. No wonder that the old distillery, where this whiskey had been bottled until 1971, is so popular with tourists and is highly recommended to visit. During the tour, visitors are introduced to the process of distilling the drink and take part in a tasting. In the end, a certificate is issued, confirming the obtained knowledge. In addition, anyone can learn how to make cocktails on the basis of whiskey and, of course, buy a bottle for their collection. The brand store also sells souvenirs and clothes with the Jameson logo.

Whiskey distillery interior
Jameson Distillery Bow St. © 4H4 Photography / Shutterstock

The Spire of Dublin

The Spire of Dublin or the Monument of Light (according to its official name) is the most prominent memorial in the Irish capital. The structure is 120 meters high, 3 meters in diameter at the base, and 15 cm at the top. It's made of polished stainless steel, perfectly reflects the sunlight during the day, and is artificially lit at night. The Spire of Dublin was erected in 2003 on the site of the monument to Admiral Nelson, which was blown up in 1966.

Spire and General Post Office at night on O'Connell Street
The Spire of Dublin © David Soanes / Shutterstock
Bridge and spire in Dublin at night
The Spire of Dublin © EQRoy / Shutterstock

Stephen's Green Park

The central city park, St. Stephen's Green Park, is one kilometer from Dublin Castle. It got its present form with ponds, greenery, and alleys in the 1880s when politician Arthur Guinness bought the land and gave it to the city. A monument to the patron of the arts is placed at the west end of the park. The north entrance is crowned by Fusilier's Arch gate, opened in 1907. There are also playgrounds and bicycle paths in St. Stephen's Green Park.

Lake gazebo in Dublin park
Stephen's Green Park © Conor Phelan / Shutterstock

Irish Museum of Modern Art, IMMA

It's an ideal place to explore the current work of artists from different countries. The Irish Museum of Modern Art opened relatively recently, in 1990, in the historical building of the Royal Hospital. In total, there are about 3,500 works — photographs, paintings, installations, sculptures, and the collection continues to grow. In addition to permanent and temporary exhibitions, IMMA hosts workshops, film screenings, and concerts.

Art Museum courtyard
Irish Museum of Modern Art, IMMA © Roy Harris / Shutterstock

Christ Church Cathedral

One of the oldest churches of the Irish capital and its most interesting place is Christ Church Cathedral, constructed in the Gothic style. It was founded in 1031 by the Viking king Sigtrygg Silkbeard for the first archbishop of Dublin. It has been the pulpit of the Anglican head of the church ever since. In the XIX century, the building underwent a major restoration — the interior was updated, and additions were made. In the crypt of Christ Church Cathedral is a permanent exhibition of works of art, as well as the mummies of a rat and a cat found while cleaning the organ in 1860.
Stone dublin cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral © Frank Lambert / Shutterstock

Farmleigh House

Phoenix Park is home to the Farmleigh State Guest House, which has rooms for dignitaries and facilities for meetings. It was built in the middle of the XVIII century and became one of the residences of the Guinness family in 1873. The main building is a fine example of Georgian-Victorian architecture. There are also water and regular gardens, a lake, and a clock tower on the grounds. The Cowshed Gallery and Theater are available to the general public. There are also frequent farmer's fairs, with the largest ones celebrating Easter and Christmas.
State residence
Farmleigh House © Croatorum / Shutterstock

Irish Whiskey Museum

Visiting the old Jameson distillery, you might think that this is the end of the museums devoted to the strong drink in Dublin. But this is not the case. There is also the Museum of Irish Whiskey. It was opened in 2014, and it now contains a large collection of bottles. During the tour, guests are told the history of the origin of this alcoholic beverage of different brands and the intricacies of its production. In the end, a tasting awaits everyone. In addition to the museum, the building houses a bar with a restaurant and a souvenir store.
Copper tank for making whiskey on the territory of the museum
Irish Whiskey Museum © Irina Wilhauk / Shutterstock
Whiskey Museum Tasting Bar
Irish Whiskey Museum © Irina Wilhauk / Shutterstock

Grafton Street

One of the city's main shopping arteries, Grafton Street, is worth seeing in downtown Dublin. It runs from St. Stephen's Green Park to St. Andrew's Church. One of the symbols of Grafton Street, a monument to the heroine of a popular Irish song, Molly Malone, is located near the cathedral. Unsurprisingly, street musicians love this place. It's where Bono, the future frontman of U2, once performed. Tourists come here not only to listen to improvised concerts but also to check out the many stores and pubs.
Shopping Walking Dublin Street
Grafton Street © Arcady / Shutterstock

Samuel Beckett Bridge

In 2009, the Samuel Beckett cable-stayed bridge opened in Dublin, connecting the banks of the River Liffey. It is named after the famous Irish writer and Nobel Prize winner for literature. The structure stands out for its white color and harp-like shape. Both cars and pedestrians use the bridge.
Beckett Bridge over the River Liffey
Samuel Beckett Bridge © Lukas Bischoff Photograph / Shutterstock

Dublinia Museum

One of the most interesting museums of the city, Dublinia, is located near the Cathedral of Christ. Its first exhibition introduces visitors to the life of the Vikings. Visitors learn how these ancient warriors lived during their voyages, made weapons, and fought. Anyone can try on traditional clothes and visit the Viking home. The second one is dedicated to medieval Dublin. Here you can learn all about the medicine of those years, visit the fair, learn how to play traditional games, and take a walk down a lively street. The Dublinia Museum displays artifacts found during excavations. End your visit with a visit to the original tower, a remnant of the Middle Ages. Ninety-six steps lead up to the top and a spectacular view from the observation deck.
Old Museum in Dublin
Dublinia Museum © Peter Krocka / Shutterstock

Dublin's Art & Antique Quarter

In 2003, Francis Street merchants banded together to create a single antique neighborhood called the Art & Antique Quarter. It sells amazing antiques, contemporary art, handmade stationary, jewelry, furniture, and more. Take a break from shopping at one of the local restaurants.
Antique Shop Quarter
Dublin's Art & Antique Quarter © scontent-iev1-1.xx.fbcdn.net