This historic prison, built in 1796, housed many leading Irish revolutionaries who were ultimately put to death for their resistance to British rule in Ireland following the failed rebellion of 1916. Kilmainham became notorious for its harsh treatment of its inmates, including women and children who were arrested and incarcerated for crimes as minor as stealing food to stave off hunger. The complex is now a restored museum offering extraordinarily moving tours of the old cells and courtyards where the course of Irish history was forever altered.
Dublin, and Ireland as a whole, is synonymous with Guinness. The legendary Guinness Storehouse is the most visited tourist attraction in the whole country, and it’s not hard to see why. Here you will learn about the long history of Ireland’s most famous brand through a series of exhibits which will take you back in time to when Arthur Guinness himself signed a 9,000 year lease for his brewery. You will then be taken to the iconic Gravity Bar on the top floor, where you can enjoy a free pint of the black stuff while taking in the incredible view of Dublin from above.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
The largest church in Ireland, named after Ireland’s patron saint, St Patrick’s Cathedral was founded in 1191 and has remained an iconic and central part of the city ever since. The site is regularly used for events of national significance, such as the annual Remembrance Day celebration, which takes place every November. Nearly half a million visitors pass through the cathedral’s doors every year, and many find the experience to be incredibly profound and moving.
The Little Museum of Dublin
Situated inside an 18th century Georgian townhouse, this small museum tells the story of the city and its people in an engaging and lively way. The cultural, political and social history of Dublin is explored though fascinating historical records and memorabilia. The Little Museum also has highly knowledgeable guides who will help you to gain a solid understanding of Ireland’s capital city. For U2 fans, there is an entire room dedicated to the iconic rock band.
Chester Beatty Library
This small treasure trove of cultural relics is one of Dublin’s most underrated attractions. Established in 1950 by Sir Chester Beatty, this museum offers a display of an extraordinary variety of manuscripts and rare books from Christian, Jewish and Islamic traditions. You can also see numerous artefacts from China and Japan, including lavishly illustrated scrolls and intricately carved snuff bottles. Admission is free of charge and there is a small café at the entrance where one can relax and take in the atmosphere.
Located on the south bank of the river Liffey, Temple Bar has established itself as one of the most popular destinations for tourists seeking a fun-filled night out. With a wide assortment of pubs and restaurants situated right next to each other, Temple Bar is bound to offer something for everybody. The cobbled streets add to the area’s charm, as does the presence of many cultural institutions such as the Irish Film Institute and the Project Arts Centre.
National Botanic Gardens
These wonderful gardens offer a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. While in the National Botanic Gardens you can partake in a leisurely stroll around the grounds and enjoy the diverse flora, before sitting back and relaxing in the adjacent restaurant. Entry is free and they are open every day of the year other than Christmas day. Guided tours are also available every Sunday afternoon.
The stone walls of Phoenix Park, an enormous urban park, enclose 707 hectares of land, making it one of the largest parks in Europe. As you take a stroll through the lush greenery, there is a good chance that you will see wild deer roaming freely across the vast open fields. The park also contains Dublin Zoo, the largest zoo in the country, and an extensive visitor centre, where you can learn about the history of the park while enjoying a delicious lunch out in the open air.
Trinity College Dublin
This venerable academic institution has long been at the intellectual heart of Irish society, with graduates including literary giants such as Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett. Established by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592, visitors today are free to wander around the extensive campus grounds and observe the students coming and going to class. The real draw however is the opportunity to see the Book of Kells, an illustrated manuscript of the Christian gospels dating to 800 AD, which has been kept on permanent display for all to see.
National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery of Ireland houses some of the most important works of Irish art, as well as many significant works by other European artists. Located in the heart of Dublin, and offering free admission, no art lover could leave the city without first experiencing what this lavish gallery has to offer. The most famous work currently on display is ‘The Taking of Christ’ by Caravaggio, which is nothing less than a masterpiece.