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A lovable jumble of pubs and poetry, storytellers and street art, big dreams and burnished history, Dublin remains a city very much of its own making. Its spirit, despite the financial woes of recent years, isn’t the type to be sapped.
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Top 5 sights for first-timers
A vision of hushed squares, manicured lawns and handsome Georgian architecture, Trinity stands as the most prestigious university in the country. There’s a wealth of historical detail to take in, although its most famous feature remains the Book of Kells, a dazzling 1,200-year-old manuscript displayed in the Old Library.
Dublin’s main thoroughfare stretches north from the Liffey River. It’s lost much of its 18th-century elegance over the decades, but still offers a fascinating through-the-ages insight into Dublin’s recent history. Examples? Contrast the General Post Office, still inextricably linked with the Easter Rising of 1916, with the defiantly modern Spire of Dublin monument.
North of O’Connell Bridge
The most visited attraction in Dublin bar none. Situated in the heart of the still-working St James’s Gate Brewery, the Storehouse is a multimedia museum dedicated to Ireland’s most iconic drink. Learn about its origins, ingredients and brewing processes, then nurse a pint in the panoramic Gravity Bar.
St James’s Gate
St Stephen’s Green
An elegant public park surrounded by mid-18th-century buildings, St Stephen’s Green attracts strolling locals from sunrise to sunset. It was once a site for public whippings and hangings – things are far more genteel now. Statues including Oscar Wilde and James Joyce add to the air of reserve.
St Stephen’s Green
Closed as a jail since 1924, Kilmainham figured heavily in Ireland’s long struggle for independence. Leaders of uprisings were routinely detained here, meaning a guided tour of the building today gives a vivid insight into the part-heroic, part-tragic upheavals of the period from the late 1700s onwards.
Inchicore Road, Kilmainham
Top 5 sights for old hands
Sitting some 50 kilometres outside of town but easily visited on a daytrip, Newgrange is a Stone Age passage tomb and one of the most remarkable prehistoric sites in Western Europe. It’s been here for well over 5,000 years, although that doesn’t stop its exact purpose still being the subject of swirling speculation.
Located a hymnbook’s throw from St Patrick’s Cathedral, Marsh’s Library was founded in 1701, making it the oldest public library in Ireland. You won’t find too many tourists browsing its carved oak bookcases, which helps the rarefied, old-world atmosphere feel all the more special.
St Patrick’s Close
Croke Park Stadium Tour
There’s no more impressive way of steeping yourself in Dublin’s proud sporting heritage than through a tour of the 82,300-capacity Croke Park – known colloquially as ‘Croker’ – where Gaelic events have been taking place since the 1880s. The tour incorporates a newly refurbished museum.
St Joseph’s Avenue, Croke Park
A truly evocative way of learning more about the trans-Atlantic journeys made by so many Irish men and women during the famine years, the Jeanie Johnston is a working replica of a 19th-century ship. It bills itself as a ‘Famine Museum’, and represents one of Dublin’s most poignant attractions.
Custom House Quay
Hugh Lane Gallery
A gem of an art gallery. Showcasing a top-notch collection of Irish and international modern and contemporary art, Dublin’s Hugh Lane Gallery also benefits from being located in an 18th-century townhouse. It features the actual studio of Francis Bacon, relocated piece by piece from London.
Charlemont House, Parnell Square North
Written by World Travel Guide