Dublin, the capital of Ireland, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. It is a vibrant and ever-evolving city, with easy-going charm and cultural heritage. Whether it is sporting events, shopping, architecture buildings or historical landmarks, there is plenty to discover. We have compiled a couple of tips and recommendations with the Top 10 Things To Do In Dublin.
“When I die Dublin will be written in my heart” – James Joyce
The tourist hub of Temple Bar has turned from an area full of crumbling houses and warehouses into Dublin’s Cultural Quarter. This is the undisputed hub of activity in Dublin, garnished with lively pubs, bars, restaurants, quirky shops, markets, galleries, street musicians and cultural events on a regular basis. Temple Bar is also home to three different markets over the weekend: 1. Food Market with a wide range of stalls from cheese to seafood to freshly baked goods. 2. Designer Market with Irish handmade crafts, clothing, homewares and jewelry 3. Books Market with vintage books and vinyl for literature and music lovers alike.
The Botanical Gardens contains many features from arboretum, sensory garden, rock garden and burren area to a large pond, extensive herbaceous borders, and an annual display of decorative plants. The Botanical Gardens is also an active scientific study and is home to over 21,000 samples of plant life.
Built back to the 13th century by King John of England, this complex represents some of the oldest surviving architecture in the city. It has stood witness to some of Ireland’s most pivotal historical moments, it functioned as defense center against the Normans, seat of the English government, royal mint, police headquarters and the residence of various British leaders. Dublin Castle is now used for important State receptions and Presidential Inaugurations, hosts grand diplomatic or state functions, and occasional performances like concert recitals.
National Gallery of Ireland
With free entry, great permanent and exciting temporary exhibitions, the collection in Ireland’s National Gallery includes a wide variety of pieces with over 2,600 paintings and 11,000 other pieces of are including watercolors, drawings, prints and sculptures from the 14th to the 20th centuries. The gallery’s highlights include works by Vermeer, Caravaggio, Picasso, Van Gogh and Monet. Take a free tour to properly immerse yourself in the European and Irish masterpieces.
Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum
Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 as the new county gaol (Jail) for Dublin and remained in operation until 1924. Along the years, it held dozens of famous political and military leaders in Irish history such as Henry Joy McCracken, Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, Eamon de Valera and the leaders of the 1916 Rising. Kilmainham Gaol will give you a dramatic and realistic insight into what is was like to have been confined in one of these forbidding bastions of punishment and correction, covering some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland’s emergence as a modern nation.
National Museum of Ireland
Founded in 1877 to promote and preserve Ireland’s material and natural history. The museum focuses on archaeology, decorative arts & history, country life, and natural history. Go back in time in ‘The Treasury’ with Celtic and Medieval art, such as the famous Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch and the Derrynaflan Hoard. Ramble through prehistoric Ireland and experience life at the same time of the Vikings in Viking Age Ireland.
Guinness is an Irish icon and one of the most recognizable drink in the World, has its spiritual home in Dublin’s city centre. Consistently voted the most popular visit in town. This massive 7 story building, a former Guinness fermentation plant, has been remodeled into the shape of a giant pint of Guinness. It provides an interactive tour about the history of Guinness and details how the famous stout is brewed. The best way to enjoy the product is to head up to the top-floor Gravity Bar, where pints are served with panoramic views of Dublin.
Dublin Zoo, located in the Phoenix Park in the heart of Dublin city, is one of the oldest zoos in the world and home to more than 600 animals. The most recent addition is the Kaziranga Forest Trail, a new habitat for the zoo’s breeding herd of Asian elephants. Don’t miss the ‘African Savannah’ with giraffes, zebras, scimitar oryx and ostrich.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
Built between 1220 and 1260 and said to be the first Christian site in Ireland, St Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the few buildings left from the medieval city of Dublin with beautiful design and great architecture that will leave you speechless. Surrounded by tenements and Victorian houses, St Patrick’s Cathedral retains a great religious and historical value and it is a must when visiting Dublin.
Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity College is Ireland’s first university. Its campus is a mix of classical and contemporary buildings interspersed with elegant gardens. This oasis of peace and beauty boasting over one million old books and manuscripts and home to one of the most important books in the history of mankind – the old Book of Kells, located on display in the Old Library.
Just So You Know…
- Dublin’s O’Connell Bridge that covers the famed River Liffey is reckoned to be the only bridge in the European continent that has the same width as its length.
- Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula was born in Clontarf district of the city.
- There are twelve places called Dublin in the United States and six in Australia.
- Brazen Head is the “Oldest Pub in Ireland” is reputed to be located in Dublin, since 1198.
- Take a ride with Dublin Bus Tours – a great tour with amazing tour guides that will make you laugh while giving you a good introduction to the city. Stops includes: St.Patrick’s Cathedra, Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College and the National Gallery.
- Do a walking tour with 1916 Rebellion Tour – a highly acclaimed tour and very entertaining even if you are unfamiliar with the history.
- The Irish Film Institute is the best place to catch an indie film on a rainy day.
- Go to the popular exhibition “U2 Made in Dublin” in The Little Museum of Dublin.
- Shopping: Brown Thomas the most aspirational department store in Ireland. Debenhams is another great department store. Fran & Jane is an iconic Irish brand with unique designs. Dundrum Shopping Centre is a bit far from the center but it worth it.
Grab A Bite:
- Gallagher’s Boxty House with traditional Irish food. Shanahans with the best steak dinner. Doheny & Nesbitt for the best lunch in Dublin. Queen of Tarts for the best breakfast in Dublin.
- Favorite Bars: Dublin is famous for its old style pubs, attract a mix of all ages. Go on a Pub Crawl: Palace an old pub with character. Grogan’s the best Pint of Guinness in Dublin. The Long Haul with good buzz in the air and a great mixture of locals and tourists. Mullligans a great traditional bar. Upstairs is an absolute gem of a place if you love cocktails.
- St Patrick’s Day Festival on 17 March offers the perfect excuse to drink, if you need one.
- Don’t expect to drink all night, Most pubs close at 11:30pm on weeknights and 1am on weekends.
- Above all, please remember – Don’t call an Irishman ‘British’.