Top 5 Tourist Attractions to See in Dublin, Ireland

By on December 4, 2014

Dublin has a rich history going back more than 1,000 years and the Dublin city sights to show for it. The buildings are a bit of a jumble but, like the locals, they ooze personality.

The Temple Bar area is the heart of Dublin, packed with pubs and folk music. The main attractions are mostly south of the River Liffey and all within an hour’s walking.

In the peak summer season, Dublin’s top attractions can get packed so it’s best to turn up early to beat the crowds. Castles and churches crown the historic Dublin city centre and the prosperity of the pre-independence city is evident in the many splendid mansion houses, many of them dating from the Georgian period.

Georgian Dublin

Georgian Dublin

 

The area south-east of Nassau Street is regarded as ‘Georgian Dublin’. Many tours of these historic squares and streets, lined with many splendid Georgian houses, start at Merrion Square. Laid out in 1762, it is planted with beautiful shrubs and flowers. ‘Secret paths’ make this an attractive and peaceful oasis on a Dublin city break. Famous past residents include W. B. Yeats, the Duke of Wellington and Daniel O’Connell.

West of the Square is Leinster House, a fine Georgian mansion that now houses the Irish Parliament and next door is the noteworthy National Gallery of Ireland.

To the south is the best-preserved of Dublin’s Georgian squares, Fitzwilliam Square. While some of the houses date to 1714, this was the last square to be completed in 1830. The central park is residents only.

The front doors of the houses in Dublin’s Georgian streets are famously painted in different colours, reputably making it easier for the occupants to find their home after a night out drinking. Others insist the multi-coloured doors were a snub to English overlords who demanded the doors be painted the same colour in advance of a royal visit.

Trinity College Dublin

Trinity College Dublin

Founded in 1592 by Elizabeth I, Trinity College is famed as the home of the 1,200-year old Book of Kells, displayed in the Colannades Gallery beneath the Old Library.

The University sits on College Green and has a fine crop of elegant buildings (a notable exception being the 1960s-built Berkeley Library) at the very heart of Dublin. Former students include Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Samuel Beckett and Oliver Goldsmith.

You can walk around the College Green but many buildings are closed to the public. You can, however, lunch in the Dining Hall which has been nicely restored.

St Stephen’s Green Dublin

St Stephen's Green Dublin

At 27 acres, St Stephen’s Green is one of the largest city squares in the world, a relaxing oasis of lawns, fountains and duck ponds. A bust of James Joyce faces the south side and imposing buildings include, at the north east corner, one of Dublin’s leading hotels, the Shelbourne, built in 1824.

Guinness Brewery Dublin

Guinness Brewery Dublin

One of the top Dublin attractions is the Guinness Storehouse. Chances are you’ll be drinking the ‘black stuff’ on a Dublin city break and here is where to learn how to make it and how to pour it – an art in itself.

Built in 1904 to house the Guinness fermentation plant, this is now one of Dublin’s top tourist sights. Modelled on a giant pint glass which stretches up to The Gravity Bar way above. If filled, this giant glass would hold approximately 14.3 million pints.

There’s a shop packed with merchandise; you learn about the history of Guinness advertising and about safe drinking. You get a lesson in pouring a perfect pint and a free tasting in the seventh floor bar.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

This one-time symbol of British occupation is today a blend of beauty and power. Now used for ceremonial events, Dublin Castle features a Viking and Norman Defences museum, the State Apartments (not to be missed), St Patrick’s Hall and the Church of the Holy Trinity. We know every city has a castle, but Dublin Castle really is a must for Dublin city breaks.

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