Things to do in Dublin

‘In Dublin’s Fair City’, the lyrics of the song tell us we’ll find pretty girls but it’s not just the inhabitants that are attractive. The city itself is one of the prettiest in Europe with parks and architecture from its Georgian heydays adding to the welcoming atmosphere of the city. Popular with stag and hen parties, the city has a thriving night life and after dark the bars and clubs ring out with lilting Irish melodies.
Posted on: June 01, 2012 by David Lewis
1. Glendalough
For something a bit different, visit one of Ireland’s many ghost towns and villages. Glendalough, which means ‘Glen of the Two Lakes’ was once the home of a monastery. The village was a thriving community based around the monastery until its destruction by the English in 1398. Whilst it never regained its glory, the monastery remained a place of pilgrimage as it is today. Aside form the interest of the village, the surrounding landscape is beautiful for walks and picnics.

2. Kilmainham Gaol
OK, visiting a prison might not be your idea of a day out Kilmainham Jail is a great example of a prison with lots of history. It operated as a  prison for more than 140 years since the end of the 18th century and has held many notable Irishmen within its cells. Now fully restored, it is beautifully preserved inside and gives the curious visitor an insight into life in prison in the 19th and early 20th century.

3. Georgian Dublin
Dublin is famous for its Georgian architecture which adds to the city’s beauty. The city is proud of its architectural heritage and in No. 29 Fitzwilliam Street Lower the architecture has been complemented by the fully restored exterior giving way to the house full of Georgian furniture and antiquities. A walk through the building gives a good insight into life for the middle classes in the city at the time.

4. The Book of Kells
Kept in beautiful preservation in Trinity College, The Book of Kells is Ireland’s greatest literary and religious treasure. It is a stunningly illustrated copy of the four gospels with additional notes and texts and was compiled around 1200 years ago. It is considered a masterpiece of illuminated work and western calligraphy. The original idea of illuminated work was to illustrate the writing for the illiterate and for the Book of Kells, the word illuminated is no understatement. The way the colours have been preserved through history make it a vibrant work of literature and art.

5. Dublin Zoo
The biggest zoo in Ireland and situated very conveniently in the centre of Phoenix Park. Over 180 years old it houses over 200 species of wildlife. The zoo is divided into climatic and geographical zones, each with their own particular habitats and native species. The zoo runs trails and competitions for children and it’s a great educational as well as fun day out.

6. Dublin Castle
Whilst only an 18th century castle, the origins of the site are much older and it’s believed that a castle has stood on this site since the twelfth century. It was of great importance during British rule and became a symbol of the struggle against Britain in the struggle for independence. Now the building serves as a conference centre where meetings of global importance are held regularly. Its state rooms now host visiting dignitaries but guided tours are available when they aren’t occupied

7. National Museum of Ireland
Ireland has a fascinating and turbulent history and there’s nowhere better to find out the truth behind the hype than at the National Museum of Ireland. Here you’ll find out about the hardships of the Great Hunger following the potato famine. Uncover the passion behind the struggle for self rule and in other galleries find out more about the artistic history of the Emerald Isle through ceramics, weaving, costumes and furniture. Finally, find out what else inhabits this beautiful country with a tour around the natural history section.

8. Grafton Street
Dublin doesn’t disappoint shoppers either. Grafton Street is a pedestrianised street extending from College Green to St Stephens Green and is jam-packed with high street shops, department stores and exclusive boutiques. At one end, a statue of Dublin’s most famous fishmonger, Molly Malone stands proudly and is used as a landmark or meeting point for the city centre. Everything you need for a day out shopping can be found here as well as cafes and restaurants for when in need of sustenance.

9. Temple Bar
Temple Bar is the party land of Dublin. Scores of Irish bars and clubs clamour for trade in this good natured street. At night time it’s packed with hen and stag parties so to see the historic aspect of it without the noise and crush, visit during the day. At one time, Temple Bar was a dilapidated area which had decayed through the centuries of neglect. At one point the whole area was to be demolished but recognising its cultural importance a fund was set up that saved and renovated it to the thriving area it is today. Thought of as one of the city’s top cultural destinations, it is one of the most visited areas of the city.

10. Guinness Storehouse
No one should leave Dublin, or Ireland for that matter without visiting the Guinness Storehouse in St James’s Gate. It is the most visited tourist attraction in Ireland with over 4 million going through its gates each year. The educational tour of the site is fascinating showing where the famous dark brew has been made for over 200 years. The storehouse itself was constructed in 1904 to be the fermentation area of the manufacturing process and continued until being converted to a museum in the eighties. Make sure that when you finish your tour you sample the black gold that tastes even better being served just metres from where it was made.

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