Things to Do in Dublin - page 2
Flowing through the center of town and dividing Dublin in two, the River Liffey is the waterway around which the city first grew and developed, and it remains at the heart of city life. Originating in the Wicklow Mountains, the river flows through Wicklow, Kildare, and Dublin, before emptying into the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay.
Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol is a sobering reminder of Ireland’s fight for independence. Built in 1787, the damp cells of this former jailhouse held many prominent Irish nationalists before the gaol was closed down in 1924. Today, visitors can tour the eerie building and explore its storied past through a number of onsite exhibits.
Founded in 1877, the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology branch houses a vast and varied collection of precious archaeological finds. See well-preserved Iron Age bog bodies, Celtic gold jewelry, and other ancient treasures such as the eighth-century Ardagh Chalice, which was used to dispense altar wine, and the intricately detailed Tara Brooch.
The Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship is a working replica of the 19th-century vessel that carried Irish emigrants to North America on 16 journeys undertaken between 1847 and 1855. Today, the vessel and museum offers tours of the re-created ship revealing what the transatlantic passage was like for those fleeing the devastation of the Great Irish Famine.
The Irish Whiskey Museum is dedicated to one of Ireland’s most beloved tipples: whiskey. With multimedia exhibits and Irish whiskey memorabilia, the museum looks at the distilling process, the origins and history of Irish whiskey production, and the rise, fall, and current revival of the Irish whiskey industry.
A working post office and symbol of Irish Independence, the General Post Office is best known as a significant landmark of the 1916 Easter Rising. Patrick Pearse declared a free Irish Republic on the front steps of this building. While the original structure from the early 1800s was largely damaged during the ensuing battles, a restored building remains.
Ireland has long been a country of emigrants, with around 70 million people across the globe claiming Irish heritage. Epic the Irish Immigration Museum (EPIC) offers an interactive look at the remarkable tales of Ireland’s emigrants, chronicling their journeys to pastures new, their lives in foreign lands, and the influence they have had on the wider world.
Founded in 1864, the National Gallery of Ireland holds works spanning the 13th to 21st century. In addition to its comprehensive collection of Irish art, including paintings by Jack B. Yeats (brother of poet W.B. Yeats), the gallery also has pieces by European artists such as Rembrandt, Titian, Goya, and Picasso.
This museum documents the story of Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery, which was opened in 1832 to serve as a multifaith burial place. Exhibits memorialize many notable Irish figures who are interred here, and tell the history of burial practices, religious beliefs about the afterlife, and even instances of body snatching.
Built in the late 18th century as Dublin’s Royal Exchange, this grand Georgian building was designed by renowned architect Thomas Cooley. Nowadays, it hosts Dublin City Council meetings and a multimedia exhibition in the basement, which follows the development of the Irish capital over the centuries.
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Malahide Castle and Gardens is one of Ireland’s most easily accessible, important, and oldest castles. The crenelated site was in the hands of the Talbot family for almost 800 years before being sold to the state in 1975. Behind its sturdy stone exterior, the oldest parts of which date as far back as the 12th century, is an antique-rich interior, while the 260-acre (105-hectare) estate features walled gardens and glasshouses.
Housed within an 18th-century military barracks, the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History branch displays an eclectic collection of furniture, coins, ceramics, silverware, and decorative objects. Permanent exhibits focus on Irish military history, furniture over the centuries, and the evolution of Irish fashion.
Linking the northern and southern halves of central Dublin, O’Connell Bridge is one of the most heavily trafficked routes across the River Liffey. The 18th-century construction, now named after 19th-century political leader Daniel O’Connell, offers views of the riverfront and accommodates vehicles, trams, and pedestrians.
Loughcrew Cairns—a series of Neolithic passage tombs scattered among the green hills of Ireland’s Boyne Valley—date back to about 3,000 BC. The Stone Age monuments are thought to have been used as burial sites and for ritual and ceremonial purposes. Though many are on private land, Cairn T is open to the public.
There are Anglo-Norman castles in Ireland, and then there’s the powerful Trim Castle. Located in the hills of County Meath, this massive, 12th-century fortress and castle is the largest Anglo-Norman castle in Ireland, and features a 20-sided building at the castle’s center in a uniquely cruciform shape. This building was surrounded by a ditch and a moat—both of which were needed to protect residents from the frequent outside attacks—since during the late 1100s when the castle was built, the area around Trim was the farthest frontier of English expansion into Ireland. Beyond these walls were Gaelic Irish, and the number of battles that took place in these hills is evidenced by the number of headless remains that have been excavated from the soggy ground. Though the castle today appears somewhat run down when standing and viewing from afar, visitors who take a tour of the interior will find themselves in a stone compound that’s stood for 900 years. Here amid the cold gray stones, where war, struggle, and harsh living conditions were an everyday part of life, the sense of rugged, historical chill is so powerful and potently felt, that the castle was used to film parts of the Hollywood classic, Braveheart.
Once the ancient seat of the High Kings of Ireland, the Hill of Tara (or Teamhair) in the Irish language) is a series of grassy mounds with panoramic views over the surrounding land in County Meath. Travel outside Dublin with a day trip to explore the Hill of Tara’s Neolithic burial mounds and passage tombs.
The Dublin Writers Museum features unique works and memorabilia from famous writers heralding from this city. Letters and personal items from such icons as Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett allow visitors to connect with their favorite Irish authors on a more personal level while also admiring their works, which are also on display. Over 300 years of historical memorabilia and literature are displayed in this charming Georgian house-turned-museum, complete with a library, gallery and lecture rooms. There are also an adjoining bookshop and cafe as well as a basement restaurant that all follow the literary theme.
Built as a centre to honor past Irish literary figures, the museum has also become a place for young aspiring writers to gain perspective and inspiration for their own works. The headquarters for these authors, the Irish Writers' Centre, is conveniently located next door to the museum, providing them a respite to work and share ideas. The relationship between these two institutions illustrates that while Dublin has a rich history of talented writers it also has a group of bright and promising authors destined for future literary success.
A visit to Dublin’s National Wax Museum Plus is an entertaining experience suitable for the whole family. Snap a selfie with wax models of the members of the band U2, learn about Irish history through the ages, and discover the works of important Irish writers and scientists. You can even make a wax mold of your own hand.
Set within the 82,300-capacity Croke Park stadium, the GAA Museum is devoted to Gaelic games and the role of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) in Irish life. Exhibits, audiovisual displays, and interactive zones introduce visitors to Gaelic football and hurling, a fast-paced game played with a hurley (stick) and a sliotar (ball).
Sitting on the north bank of the River Liffey, the copper-domed neoclassical Dublin Custom House was erected in the 18th century as part of a city-wide project to enhance and beautify Dublin. Originally headquarters of the Commissioners of Custom and Excise, it now houses local government offices and a visitor center tracing the history of the building.
Set within the grounds of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Library houses the collection of wealthy American mining magnate Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. Exhibits include thousands of rare books, from copies of the Quran and the Bible to ancient Egyptian papyrus texts, as well as paintings, woodblocks, textiles, and decorative arts.
The late fifth century monastic settlement of Monasterboice is home to a collection of religious ruins, including a cemetery, churches, a 92-foot (28-meter) tall round tower, and—the highlight—three ancient high crosses. Used to preach Christianity to the mostly illiterate population, the crosses are adorned with biblical carvings.
Learn about the role Vikings played in medieval Dublin, and the lives of Dubliners during the medieval period, at the interactive Dublinia museum and heritage center, complete with a replica Viking warship and relics from sites all across the city. Climb to the top of St. Michael’s Tower for views over Dublin’s rooftops.
Visit Dublin City Gallery the Hugh Lane on Parnell Square to see more than 2,000 pieces of modern and contemporary art by renowned artists such as Monet, Renoir, Degas, and Manet. Simply the Hugh Lane to locals, the gallery is also home to a re-created studio of Francis Bacon, an Irish-born painter who earned international acclaim for his work.
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