Written by Arkaprabha Das.
A picturesque medieval city at the heart of Ireland has both its history to explore and the nightlife of modern days to offer. The whole city is not only inhabited by its historic architecture but the quirky Irish people are always ready to welcome the city’s visitors over a free drink at the pub. Though there is a whole list of amazing things to do in Dublin, here are the top ten things you must have on your list to get the most out of your trip to this city.
1. The Temple Bar
The “cultural quarter” of Dublin situated at the heart of the city is one of the oldest bars in Dublin, established in 1840. You might be thinking what is so attractive about this bar? Well if you are not satisfied with the lovely red exterior and the charming nightlife of this bar, then you should consider visiting this bar to witness the largest collection of rare whisky in the world.
The Temple Bar has 450 bottles of the rarest whiskeys that have been collected from around the world for many years. Although this place always attracts tourists and locals all around the year which means it would be quite hard for you to find a place to sit, the quirky atmosphere inside and the elaborate whiskey collection are something a traveller can never miss out on.
2. Trinity College
The most prestigious University of Ireland and among the top-ranked colleges in the world, Trinity College, Dublin was established in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. The students of Trinity College include some of famous writers, political leaders, and poets like Oscar Wilde, Jawaharlal Nehru, David Norris, and many others.
The most interesting part of this college for travelers apart from its age-old architecture and history in the library. The library of Trinity College has around 5 million books including collections of precious manuscripts.
The Library has many buildings and among them is the original library which is the oldest building. The most famous books consisting of ancient texts, The Book of Kells, Book of Durrow, and the Book of Howth are all located in the original library building. During the 18th century, Trinity College received the national symbol of Ireland, the Brian Boru harp which is the three rarest Gaelic harps.
3. Dublin Castle
Wonder where Dublin got its name from? Well, it was from the Black Pool named “Dubh-Linn” situated in the Dublin castle garden from where this famous Irish city inherited its name. This castle which is one of the most important historic marks of Ireland was the seat of British rule in Ireland for 700 years.
The fortress was originally built during the 13th century and was inhabited by the Vikings. Tourists here can take a tour of the castle and view The Dubhlinn Tearooms at The State Apartments, Undercroft, Chapel Royal, Craft Shop, and Heritage Centre. As the castle is often used for high-profile receptions and Presidential inaugurations, it may remain closed whenever there is such a requirement.
4. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
You cannot even hope to miss out on the headquarters of the Church of Ireland and the largest church of the country even if you are not a highly religious person. One of the best sites to explore medieval architecture, St. Patrick’s Cathedral has been a part of Dublin since the 11th century.
The must-watch site inside the cathedral is the burial place of Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels and who was once dean of the cathedral. There are also many impressive memorials belonging to the first President of Ireland, Douglas Hyde, etc.
Plan your visit to the cathedral early morning so that you can be there by the right time to hear the church choir. Do take a look at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral website to get more information on the lists of special events, opening timings, and service timings.
5. Phoenix Park
Hosting the residences of the President of Ireland and that of the United States Ambassador to Ireland, Phoenix Park is Europe’s one of the largest enclosed municipal parks. This park also hosts Ireland’s main zoo, the fourth oldest zoo in the world, and is the home of the fallow deer. This park spans 1752 acres of land. Only a small portion o the park consists of buildings and houses while the rest of it is inhabited by varieties of animal and plant species.
The zoo has around more than 400 kinds of animals and is a popular tourist attraction. Major attractions here are the Orangutan Forest, the Kaziranga Forest Trail, Sea Lion Cove, African Savanna, and the House of Reptiles.
A famous historical monument bearing the mark of the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo is the Ashtown castle. If you are a fan of Cecelia Ahern and have read her famous book “ A Place Called Here” then you might be familiar with the police force named Garda whose headquarters is situated at Phoenix Park.
6. Jameson Distillery
Originally known as the Bow Street Distillery, this site has now become a tourist destination to know more about the extraordinary Jameson Whiskey of Ireland. This is the site where the Jameson Whisky used to be distilled until 1971 but the production has now shifted to the countryside at New Midleton Distillery.
It is one of the most informative and entertaining tours you will get about whiskey whether or not you are a drinker or a non-drinker. You will get to know how whiskey used to be produced and most importantly about the founder of Irish Whiskey John Jameson.
7. Dart Train ride to Greystones
The Dublin Area Rapid Transit abbreviated as DART is the public transportation you would want to choose if you want to witness the coastline of Dublin, its suburbs, and all the tourist attractions that lie on the outskirts of Dublin.
If ever you want to travel from the main city to the north or south of Dublin, traveling with the DART would be the fastest way to reach your destination. The tourist sights which you can visit with the help of the train are Malahide Castle, Portmarnock beach, James Joyce Museum, Killiney to view Dublin Bay and visit the fishing village of Howth. Howth is also the last stop for the DART train.
8. Ha’Penny Bridge
Dublin’s most beloved bridge was built in 1816 with the name Wellington Bridge and it stands to connect the two sides of the Liffey river. This bridge is crossed by over 30,000 people each day. This was the first and only pedestrian bridge over the Liffey river till 1999 when the Millennial bridge opened, before which there were seven ferries operated by William Walsh that used to carry people from one bank to another.
As the toll to cross the bridge has been removed now, the bridge is a free site to visit. There are many places to go which are situated nearby the bridge like The Spire which is a sharpened needle-shaped monument and is 390 feet tall, Dublin Castle, and Temple Bar.
9. Guinness Storehouse Factory
This storehouse is a must-do if you are planning a trip to Ireland. This self-guided tour around the brewery that prepares the famous Guinness dark stout located at St. James’ Gate Brewery will take you around 1.5 hours. Here you will get to see the world’s largest pint glass, enhance your knowledge of the Irish brewing history and then also sip on your own glass of Guinness.
The factory spans around seven floors where you will get to understand how this famous Irish drink is made and how Arthur Guinness, the maker of Guinness began the journey of this renowned brand.
10. The Cliffs of Moher
Over a million tourists take a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher which is around 14km long and rises just above 700ft at its highest point near O’Brien’s Tower. The area all around the cliffs is home to several Atlantic wildlife species and a breeding site for more than 30,000 seabirds.
This photogenic site has also been a backdrop for many popular movies like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, The Princess Bride, and TV shows like Father Ted. These cliffs, when viewed from the north, look like a woman’s head staring out at the sea and therefore also gets the name Hag’s Head.