Home to literary giants, a fascinating castle, and a vibrant pub culture, the city of Dublin can trace its origins back over 1,000 years. From a small Viking settlement, Dublin has evolved into one of the most vibrant capitals in the world. It is a city rich in cultural heritage—from the beautifully illuminated Book of Kells dating from 800 AD, to splendid Georgian architecture, magnificent medieval castles and fine cathedrals. For those interested in history, architecture or art, Dublin is truly the place to be! Here are some fun ways to explore this ancient and modern city.
Dublin’s pubs showcase slices of its lively culture. They are the famous haunts of its writers, poets, politicians, rock stars and of course, Dubliners! Home to some 1,000 pubs, no visit to Dublin would be complete without sampling a local brew in a real Dublin pub. If you want to visit a truly historic pub, try Davy Byrnes located at 21 Duke Street. For over 100 years, Dublin’s original gastro-pub has been serving up fresh seafood and traditional Irish cuisine to prominent literary figures, including James Joyce himself. Kick back with a Guinness and a hearty bowl of Irish stew or a decadent slice of Bailey’s cheesecake, while enjoying Davy Byrnes’ excellent art collection, including three educational murals of Joycean Dublin by Liam Proud.
Based in the heart of the city, the National Leprechaun Museum is a cultural center that helps visitors discover what really lies behind the well-known tales of leprechauns, rainbows, and pots of gold. This museum is structured like a fairytale, with 12 individual chapters transporting visitors to the heart of Irish cultural identity and imagination. The result is a series of captivating, interactive experiences—from the first leprechaun sighting back in the eighth century, through to modern day representations of the leprechaun in film and popular culture.
Grafton Street, a pedestrian thoroughfare located between Trinity College and St. Stephen’s Green, is probably Dublin’s poshest shopping area, with many designer shops such as Brown Thomas and BT2. Georges Street is home to the superb Georges Street Arcade, a red-bricked indoor market of stalls and stores offering everything from unusual fruits and foreign produce to second-hand clothes, memorabilia, fortune telling and more. Located on the south bank of the River Liffey, the Temple Bar district is packed with small shops selling crafts, art, clothes, and music, as well as many well-known pubs.
Built on the orders of King John, the first Lord of Ireland, Dublin Castle is the heart of historic Dublin. In fact, Dublin gets its name from the Black Pool ‘Dubh Linn’ which was on the site of the present castle garden. Much of the castle has been rebuilt several times over its history. Of the original structure, only the Record Tower still stands today and is now more like a palace than a castle with lavish architecture and opulent rooms. Over the years the castle has been used as a royal residence, courthouse and prison and the repository for the Irish Crown Jewels until they were stolen in 1907. And it was here that on December 6, 1921 the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed, effectively ending 700 years of colonial rule and forming what is now the Republic of Ireland. Today, the castle is used for ceremonies and to entertain visiting heads of state.
You can discover Dublin for yourself on tour in Ireland.