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Ten Things to do in Dublin

Dublin may be a relatively small capital city, but it is huge when it comes to character, culture, history, tourist attractions and things to see and do. In putting together a little list of ten things to do in Dublin, we soon realised that choosing just ten is a tough task; so, we’ll have ten more following very soon. Here’s the first of our lists to inspire all of you Dublin-bound curious travellers to make the most of your trip to the Irish capital.

 

The Guinness Storehouse


Located along the river Liffey, in one of the oldest parts of Dublin, is the country's most visited tourist attraction and home of the nation's most iconic and famous brand export, the Guinness Storehouse.
The storehouse is a 'pint-shaped' wonderland in St. James’ brewery charting the official story & cultural legacy of Guinness throughout seven floors. At the very top sits the Gravity bar, offering delicious pints of the black stuff complemented by fascinating 360-degree panoramic views of Dublin's cityscape.

Open daily from 9:30am with last admission at 5pm (6pm in Summer season), the experience is self-guided and at €18.50 for an adult ticket (10% discount when booked online), it's not exactly cheap but seeing & learning the heritage and history of Guinness, and it's a very important role in national history and culture, before enjoying a pint from source is really a great, worthwhile experience.

Guinness Storehouse

 

Dublin Castle


The seat of British power in Ireland until 1922, Dublin Castle has a fascinating history stretching back well beyond the 18th Century to Celtic and Viking & Norman times and has witnessed many dramatic & pivotal events in history, from invasions, rebellions & risings to lavish balls & historically significant dinners.

Located just off Dame Street, the relatively small complex consists of a characteristic Georgian courtyard, the scene of the 1761 Irish crown Jewels heist from the Bedford tower, a medieval records tower, royal chapel and an intimately sized yet peaceful public garden from which Dublin gets its name.

Dublin Castle and the site on which it stands is fundamental to how Dublin has grown and been shaped and you can get a fantastic insight to this from friendly local guides on the Free walking tours of Dublin available to book on the FREETOUR.com platform.

Dublin Castle

 

Trinity College


Situated on College Green is Trinity College, a renowned University campus established by Queen Elizabeth I of England in 1592. On this cobblestoned campus is an exquisite 18th Century old Library which houses the world's most famous medieval manuscript, the Book of Kells – an intricately decorated and remarkable 9th Century book of which a different page can be viewed each day in a protective glass case.

This same library controversially played an unknowing role in Star Wars Episode II: Attack of The Clones when it's the long room was apparently the basis for the appearance of the Jedi archives, despite permission having not been granted for use. Just one of many random interesting things to be discovered about Trinity College and we recommend catching a Free city tour of Dublin to find out more about this historic university.

Trinity College

 

Mummies of St. Michan's Church


St. Michan's is an ancient church dating from circa 1095 which is still being used today and contains an organ, still used, which is believed to have been played by George Friedric Handel when he premiered his most famous piece, Messiah, 273 years ago on nearby Fishamble street.

There is a more unusual attraction here through - the naturally mummified remains of human bodies. This unorthodox attraction is well-worth visiting as a trip down the narrow stone stairway into the vaults and along the limestone tunnel to discover the naturally preserved, leather-like-skinned bodies and their stories is quite the unique experience, if not somewhat macabre.

Mummies of St. Michan's Church

 

Kilmainham Gaol


The largest unoccupied jail in the country, Kilmainham Gaol is a remarkable visitor experience. In operation from 1796 until 1924, it is where many political and military leaders of many rebellions, including the 1916 Rising, were held and, in many cases, executed.

It is an integral and very important part of national history and at just €8 for adults and €4 for students for entry (when booked online), a guided tour and exhibition, it is a fantastic way to explore some of the most dramatic and influential themes of modern Irish history.

Kilmainham Gaol

 

Christchurch Cathedral


An ancient church in the heart of the Viking & Medieval district of Dublin, Christchurch Cathedral is a beautiful and characteristic building in Gothic / Romanesque style with an interior mix of medieval and Victorian pastiche. There are many attractions to this cathedral beyond its strikingly beautiful appearance such as the reputed tomb of Strongbow, the largest crypt in the Irish or British Isles, old secular carvings, medieval carved statues, punishment stocks from 1670 and a mummified Cat & Rat among many other interesting and fascinating things.

Tickets are €7 (€5.50 for students) and include access to the Belfry tower from where you can experience unique views of Dublin, learn about the bell ringers and even learn how to ring the bells of Christchurch Cathedral yourself under the guidance of an expert. Christchurch Cathedral is, of course, a stop on most free tours of Dublin.

Christchurch Cathedral

 

Shopping in Dublin


Being compact and easily walkable, Dublin is a delightful shopping city with a multitude of different kinds of shops, from high-end retailers to vintage-chic and second-hand. The most popular shopping streets are the pedestrianised Grafton Street on the south-side and Henry Street on the north side, both of which offer outlets for well-known international high-street brands and access to shopping centres/malls.

George's Arcade on George's street offers a number of more eclectic shops and stalls and there are vintage, retro & second-hand shops sprinkled generously around the city centre as well as numerous weekend flea markets such as the Ha' Penny flee market. We highly recommend asking your free walking tour guide in Dublin for their recommendations if you’re looking for any specific kinds of shops or items – they always have the best insider local knowledge and great tips, not just for shopping, but eating, partying, chilling, other things to see, whatever you want to know, they’re always a great source of info.

Shopping in Dublin

 

Visit Howth


A short 40-minute journey by scenic rail to the north of the city centre will bring you to the quaint, seaside fishing village of Howth. A visit to Howth is an ideal way to spend a few hours and to get a sense of a more rural Ireland in any easily accessible way. Nestled in stunning natural scenery, the charming Howth harbour (and its playful seals) runs adjacent to a stretch of cafés, restaurants and pubs that extends the length of the waterfront before opening to a coastal walkway, bringing you up along a beautiful cliff-line which offers uniquely spectacular views.

Howth also offers fascinating history too, from Viking raids, Medieval monuments & ruins, ancient Neolithic standing-stones, a castle, a lighthouse, an abbey and 18th Century Martello Tower, and was the backdrop to epic battles and even gun-running during the rebellion. And there's nothing like the sea-air to give you an appetite for delicious local fish & chips and a creamy pint before returning to town. You can get the most from your visit with a free walking tour of Howth led by an expert and friendly local guide too.

The DART, the Dublin commuter train, can be accessed at Tara Street or Connolly station and a return trip to Howth costs just €6.60.

Howth

 

The Little Museum of Dublin


This museum, located at St. Stephen's Green, celebrates and tells the story of Dublin in the 20th Century with a collection entirely donated by the public. There is a significant amount of U2 memorabilia on view as well as a replica of Joyce's death-mask, and many quirky, unusual and fun items charting Dublin's relatively recent social & cultural history.

It's a unique museum providing insight into the shaping of Dublin today. Open daily from 9:30 am to 5 pm (8 pm Thursdays), entrance costs €10 per adult or €8 per student (discount when booked online) and includes a guided tour with enthusiastic and knowledgeable local guides telling the story of Dublin over the past 100 years, starting on the hour every hour.

The Little Museum of Dublin

 

Temple Bar Cultural Quarter


Of course, no trip to Dublin would be complete without at least a perusal around the infamous Temple Bar district. The Temple Bar area is a cobblestoned stretch of pedestrian street with numerous side streets and passageways occupied almost entirely by restaurants, cafés and tourist-aimed pubs, with a sprinkle of vintage-ware shops and the odd gallery.

As it tends to be dominated mainly by tourists rather than locals it is a bit pricier to frequent, particularly in pubs, with drinks costing well above the standard rate than in pubs mere meters from this 'cultural quarter' but it is quite the concentration of tourist-friendly fun with a fantastic high tempo atmosphere and party vibe at night thanks to the array of different pubs, bars, eateries and street performers. But it wasn't always so and the history of this stretch of Dublin is a very interesting and varied one, from brothels and shady characters to squatting and being a centre of creativity & the artistic community, to the current popular area famous worldwide as a focal-point of visitor nightlife.

Temple Bar Cultural Quarter

 

The best way to get a Temple Bar experience while saving a small fortune is on a pub crawl in Dublin; you’ll visit a couple of Temple Bar pubs, as well as non-touristy authentic Dublin pubs popular with the locals before ending up in a popular Dublin nightclub, enjoying free VIP entry, as well as free shots throughout the night, free welcome Guinness at the start, and exclusive drinks specials and discounts. A bar crawl in Dublin is the perfect way to get a real cross-section of our famous nightlife, meet new party-buddies and locals and not break the bank while enjoying an excellent night out in Dublin.

There you have it folks, ten things to do in Dublin. There’ll be ten more coming at you very soon too, so if you’re planning a trip to Dublin, are on the way, or even already there, check back for our next list of must-dos and must-see attractions in Dublin.