Dublin is the capital and the largest city in Ireland. Located in the east coast of the country at the mouth of the River Liffey. This historic city dates back to the 7th century AD with the first establishment of Celtic-speaking people. It was later expanded during the Viking settlement and Norman invasion.
During my three days visit in Dublin, I have explore most of the historic landmarks and parks, searching for its hidden gems, get the taste of every Irish food I can find and learn about the Irish culture and music. The city is worth to explore with the mixture of old and modern Dublin.
So, I have gather the list of places and fun activities to do if you are planning to spend a couple of days in Dublin.
1. Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Company is situated at the heart of St James’s Gate Brewery and home to the production site since 1759. As you enter the storehouse, there is the now-famous 9,000 years lease enclosed with glass on the floor that signed by its founder Arthur Guinness. This existing visitor center was restructure from a former fermentation plant to dedicated the history of Guinness. And believe it or not, this seven floors building shaped around a giant pint glass atrium can fill up to 14.3 million pints of Guinness!
Did a self-guided tour to learn how the famous brew is made and transport them around the world, visit the Tasting room and most of all, get to the highest point of the building- the Gravity Bar. The bar offer a 360-degree panoramic view of Dublin city where you can relax, chill and enjoy a pint of Guinness beer. And after of my trip here, the one Irish word I learn is “Slainte”, means “Cheers”. (Visit website)
2. Trinity College
Visit the country’s oldest surviving and most prestigious university that was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. Trinity College is one of the seven ancient universities of Britain and Ireland and also among the most elite in Europe due to its long history. Join their college’s guided tours and visit the famous Old Library. (Read more at Trinty College Tours and Stay for full story cover)
3. O’ Connell Street
O’ Connell Street was named after Daniel O’Connell, a nationalist leader of the early 19th century. This street has often been the center-stage in Irish history, attracting the city’s most prominent monuments and public art through the centuries. Some notable historic events were held here including the 1913 Dublin Lockout gatherings, the 1916 Easter Rising, the 1922 Irish Civil War, the destruction of the Nelson Pillar in 1966 and many public celebrations, protests and demonstrations until the present day. The main attractions are the Spire of Dublin, the world’s tallest public art and GPO Witness Center.
4. Dublin Castle
Join the guided tour as they take you through this historic Irish government complex, the Royal Chapel and uncover the underground passage once belong to the settlement of the Vikings. In 1204, King John of England ordered the construction of the castle and functioned as the seat of colonial rule, the center of military and political power, and the glittering social stage for Ireland’s ruling classes for over 800 years. In January 1922, six years after the Easter Rising and the end of Irish War of Independence (1919-1921), Dublin Castle was handed over to Michael Collins, the first leader of the new Irish Free State. (Visit website)
5. Christ Church Cathedral
The church was founded by the Hiberno-Norse, rebuilt by the Anglo-Normans and extensively restored in the 1870s. The present building is an intriguing blend of original 12th and 13th-century material alongside exacting recreated Victorian Gothic features. Step right below the church to visit the medieval crypt, one of the largest in Britain and Ireland and the oldest working structure in the city. (Visit website)
6. St Patrick Church
Sit back and relax outside Saint Patrick and admire the architectural design of the old church. Built on the honor of Ireland’s patron saint, it stands adjacent to the famous well where tradition has it Saint Patrick baptized converts on his visit to Dublin. This church was granted collegiate status in 1191 and raised to cathedral status in 1224. Today, this cathedral is a church of the Anglican communion.
7. Experience Airbnb-Hosted City Tour
Join a 3-hours city tour led by Cristy, an Airbnb host as she shares a brief history and takes me to some hidden gems of Dublin apart from the popular tourist destinations. We visit Trinity College, St Stephens Gardens, her own neighborhood, Dublin Castle, a site of Vikings settlement behind Christ Church Cathedral (which I’m not aware of this when visited the church), Temple Bar and beautiful street arts.
8. The Garden of Remembrance
The Garden of Remembrance was built to dedicated to the memory of all those who sacrifice their lives in the cause of Irish Freedom. Its symbolic design was created by architect Daithi Hanly in 1946 and contains a large cross-shaped pool, symbolic of the dead with a tiled mosaic pattern as its base.
Important objects from the history of prehistoric and medieval Ireland were woven into the structure of the Garden. While the shape of the Brian Boru harp, the Loughnashade trumpet and the Ballinderry sword can be seen in the railings. The Children of Lir unifies the theme.
9. Dublin Writers Museum
This museum was established to promote interest through its collection, displays and activities in Irish literature as a whole and in the lives and works of individual Irish writers. It provides a link with living writers and the international literary heritage left in their past like James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, William Bulter Yeats and Patrick Pearse. It brings to life the writers and their times with photographs and portraits, letters, first editions and evocative personal possessions.
Smithfield was a marketplace back in the mid 17th century and presently home to Dublin City fruit, vegetable and flower market. In 1964 Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor spent time here, as Burton worked on the film set based on a novel named “The Spy Who Came in from The Cold“. Smithfield also featured as the Berlin Wall crossing point- Checkpoint Charlie in the movie. The main attraction here is the Jameson Distillery Bow Street and the Observation Tower.
11. Temple Bar
Stroll the streets and dine-in at one of Irish restaurants, bars and pubs as well as some international food cuisines. My choice is having early dinner at the Old Mill and try out the Irish beef stew. The atmosphere inside is simply cozy and the food was superb. After dinner, I wander around the lively local street market that is so happening even when the night is still young. Locals and tourists flocked in to enjoy the nightlife.
12. Irish Pub Crawl Tour
An Irish trip will be incomplete without having a night out in an Irish bar or pub filled with Irish music. Join the local hosts, Anthony and Dave, as they take you on a traditional Irish Musical Pub Crawl tour at Olive St John Gogarty’s and Ha’Pemmy Bridge Inn in Temple Bar and Brannigan’s at Upper O’Connell Street. Learn the history of Irish music, music instruments and how that music can relate to the local community.
13. Phoenix Park
Take a morning walk at this 707 hectares Phoenix Park where the weather is pretty cloudy. This park is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city with a stonewall 11 km in length and has 22 km of roads. It is larger than all of London’s city parks combined together and more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park.
Phoenix Park was initially a royal deer park in 1662 and first opened to the public in 1747. 93% of the park consists of old grasslands, woodlands and rare examples of wetlands that covered 351 different plant species. It also has mammal and bird species living around the park. One of the most common animal here is the wild fallow deer, which 550 of them has roamed here for over 350 years. Unfortunately, I did not encounter any of them during my 2-hours walk here.
Ashtown Demesne has a number of interesting attractions that suitable at Chesterfield Avenue. Most notable landmarks include Ashtown Castle, a two and a half acres Victorian Kitchen Walled Garden, Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, The Phoenix Cafe, woodland walks, picnic area and a playground. There are toilet facility and car and coach parking cater for visitors.
Aras an Uachtarain (right pic) is the residence of the President of Ireland dates from 1750 and served from 1782 to 1922 as the residence of the British Viceroys. The United States Ambassador’s residence, built in 1774 in former times was the Park Bailiff’s lodge and then became the Chief Secretary’s Lodge
The Wellington Testimonial was designed by Robert Smirke as a testimonial to Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, who is reputed to have been born in Dublin. This 62 meters monument was completed in 1861 and is the tallest obelisk in Europe. There are four bronze plaques cast from cannons captured at Waterloo- three of which have pictorial presentations of his career while the fourth has an inscription at the base of the obelisk.
14. River Liffey
Walk across Sean O’Casey Bridge and Samuel Beckett Bridge to admire the scenic view of River Liffey and the architectural buildings close the Dublin docklands. The main attractions at both sides of the river include Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship, the EPIC Emigration Museum, The Custom House and the Convention Center Dublin.
15. EPIC and the Great Famine
Experience and learn from the unforgettable stories of those who migrate from the island of Ireland and how they influenced and shaped the world. They had left for a betterment of lives in America, Canada, Mexico and other parts of Europe. The museum embraces the past and the future with 1,500 years of Irish history and culture. You can learn them by using state-of-the-art interactive galleries, touch screens, motion sensor quizzes, audios and videos throughout the museum. (Visit website)
One of the friendly staff take me around on one part of the exhibits and share some details of early immigrates. It comes to my surprises that some of the descendants of U.S. former presidents, celebrities, singers and sports stars are Irish. This includes former president J.F. Kennedy and Barrack Obama, R&B singer Rihanna, Mariah Carey and boxer Muhammad Ali.
The Famine Memorial Sculptures outside the EPIC Emigration Museum tells the story of the Great Famine. It was a period of mass starvation, disease and emigration in Ireland between 1845 and 1849. About one million people died and a million more emigrated from this island, resulted to its population to declined from 8 million to 6 million people.
Getting There and Around
Dublin International Airport (DUB) is the airport serving Dublin and there are several ways to get into the city. The most affordable mode of transport is by Airlink Express routes 747 and 757, which allows you to reach the city center and some suburbs. Those bus services come within every 15-20 minutes and operate from 4.50 am to 11.20 pm. There is no rail connection between the city and the airport. The another alternative is ride a taxi but the fare is very expensive.
Getting around the city is very easy and most tourist attractions are within walking distance. There are trams called LUAS that connects the city centre with its surrounding suburbs in the south and south-west city. Tourists can purchase City Sightseeing Hop-on Hop-off Bus ticket or take the public bus. Renting a car is highly not recommended because the parking fee is expensive and public transport is widely available.
- It is advisable to use public transportation instead of private/ rented car to avoid traffic congestion in the city. You can explore and see more of the city by foot.
- You are encouraged to purchase tickets to any attraction to avoid long queue and enjoy some discounts for early bookings.
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