There is a lot more to Ireland than just St. Patrick’s Day, Guinness, corned beef, leprechauns and pots of gold. Plan a trip to Ireland’s bustling capital city, Dublin, where you can explore all the facets of Irish culture. From outdoor adventures to literary pub crawls and everything in between, Dublin will enchant the whole family.
Getting Your Bearings
The River Liffey runs through Dublin, dividing the north and south of the city. The south is historically the wealthier area of town, and it contains some of Dublin’s most famous sights. Lounge in St. Stephen’s Green and wander up and down Grafton Street, but don’t overlook the area just north of the river. This part of Dublin includes the General Post Office, the grand and imposing Customs House and one of Dublin’s newest landmarks, the Spire of Dublin.
Get acclimated to the city and its history by taking a 1916 Rebellion Walking Tour. This will take you throughout the city center, exploring landmarks that played a role in the 1916 Easter Rising. Another fascinating (yet gruesome), historic spot is the Kilmainham Gaol, where those captured in the Easter Rising were held and some were executed.
Dublin boasts many fine museums and galleries, including the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Chester Beatty Library and Gallery of Oriental Art. All three of these attractions are a wonderful, and best of all, they’re free!
The east of Ireland enjoys some of the country’s best weather, making Dublin a great place to enjoy Ireland’s outdoors. St. Stephen’s Green is a lovely park in the middle of the city.
While Ireland no longer has royalty, it still has some breathtaking castles. In the city, you will find Dublin Castle, the former seat of British-appointed rulers. Dublin’s suburbs have some beautiful castles as well: The Dalky Castle & Heritage Center is worth a visit, as is the Malahide Castle.
The Guinness Storehouse is a great place to start. The Storehouse, often mistakenly called the Guinness Brewery, is located behind the iconic St. James Gate, just west of the city center. Once inside this modern attraction, the self-guided tour teaches you about the history of Ireland’s most famous drink, from how it’s made to its groundbreaking advertising history. If you fancy something a bit stronger, take a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery.
Catching a play is a great way to sample some Irish culture. If you are in the city in late September and early October, don’t miss the Dublin Theatre Festival, one of Europe’s oldest theater festivals. If your stay in Dublin doesn’t coincide with these dates, check out the Abbey Theatre. This renowned theater features classic Irish and international plays and is an obvious destination for drama aficionados.
Ireland has a long and proud literary history, and Dublin is its most prolific city. James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker all hail from Ireland’s capital. Fans of Ulysses can retrace Leopold Bloom’s journey through the city, or if you want someone else to do the work for you, join a Literary Pub Crawl to see famous literary sights throughout the city while you enjoy a night out on the town.
Plan a trip to Dublin on TravelMuse, and may the luck of the Irish be with you.
Read More Articles About Dublin on TravelMuse:
“Dublin’s Pubs and Grub”
“Irish Greens: Dublin Outdoor Attractions”
“Dublin Shopping: Irish Crafts to Guinness Souvenirs”
“Literary Attractions in Dublin”
Post adapted from “Irish Enchantment: Dublin’s Top Attractions” by Candace Driskell.