Top Visitor Attractions
Trinity was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1st on grounds confiscated from an Augustinian priory and is the oldest University in Ireland. The Campanile, erected in 1852, was built on what is believed to be the centre of the monastery. Built to further the education of the ruling Anglo-Irish families, restrictions were imposed to prevent Catholic from attending courses.
These restrictions were not fully lifted until the 1970’s. Trinity however admitted women in 1902, earlier than most British universities. Most of the main buildings off the main square were built during the Georgian period, some of which replaced older buildings. Within its walls, you will be able to admire Parliament Square and its 18th Century edifices. Trinity College has had many famous students such as Jonathan Swift and Samuel Beckett who later became a lecturer in French at the university. The Inter-denominational Church is very much worth a visit, should it be open during your visit.
Book of Kells at Trinity College
The Book of Kells dates back to the 9th century and is one of the most famous medieval manuscripts in the world. It is one of the main attractions in Dublin. Thomas Burgh built the Old Library building in the 18th century. Today it houses one of Irelands most illustrious books, the 9th century “Book of Kells”. Before viewing the famous book visitors pass through an excellent exhibition based on the book of Kells and other important books written in monasteries around Ireland from the 9th century. After viewing the book of Kells visitors are invited to visit the long room built in 1745. Once the principal library of the University, it now contains over twenty thousand books and manuscripts of the Trinity’s oldest volumes. Brian Boru’s harp said to be the “ oldest harp in Ireland” and a copy of the 1916 proclamation, one of the most important documents relating to Irish history are also on display in the long room.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St Patrick’s is the National Cathedral of Ireland and is built on the site where St Patrick preached. There was a small church on the site which was still in existence when the when the Anglo-Normans arrived. This church was replaced with a stone church in 1191 and it was further remodeled in 1225 to the same design as Salisbury Cathedral. Ireland's first university was founded at St. Patrick's in 1320 and intermittently operated for 200 years. St Patrick’s is Gothic in style and it’s splendid interior, is adorned with funeral monuments, such as The Boyle Family Memorial and the grave of Dean Jonathan Swift. Swift was dean here until his death in 1745. The Chancel has ornate stained-glass windows, and spectacular choir stalls, once used by the knights of St Patrick adjoin the Altar. The massive west towers, houses a large peal of bells whose ringing tones are so much part of the character of Dublin.
Built in 1796, Kilmainham Jail has witnessed many of the events leading to Irish independence. It has housed many patriots taken prisoner during the many rebellions witnessed in Ireland ~ from the United Irish Rebellion of 1796 to those prisoners taken during the Irish Civil War. While opened initially as a jail for all offences, it became intrinsically linked with Irish Nationalism. The jail has two main areas of cells, and several exercise yards, one of which was used for executing the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising. The original wing dating from the opening of the jail is incredibly dark and oppressive. The later Victorian wing with its wide walkways and toplit main hall paved the way for new thinking in designs of jails in the 19th century. Touching in so many ways on the people and forces that shaped modern Ireland, Kilmainham Jail offers a panoramic insight into some of the most profound, disturbing and inspirational themes of modern Irish history. A must for visitors interested in Irish history.
Glasnevin Cemetery Tour
Glasnevin Museum is the world's first cemetery museum. Visitors can explore the history and the lives of more than 1.5 million people that are buried here Glasnevin Cemetery is Ireland’s most important – it's the final resting place of many of the big names in Irish history. The cemetery hosts daily tours that will bring the stories of its residents to fascinating life!
Free things to do in Dublin
Chester Beatty Library
With free admission and described by the Lonely Planet as not just the best museum in Ireland, but one of the best in Europe, the Chester Beatty Library is a must-see on any Dublin visitor's itinerary. As the only museum in Ireland to win 'European Museum of the Year' and rated at number 2 in Trip Advisor’s list of recommended Dublin cultural attractions, the library's rich collections from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. Alfred Chester Beatty was a bibliophile who was both rich and blessed with exceedingly good taste. The fruit of his extensive labours (ancient books, scrolls and other objets d’art) are gathered across two floors of the Chester Beatty Library in Dublin Castle.
The highlights at Ireland's foremost collection of classical and modern art, the National Gallery, include a terrific Caravaggio and a series of paintings by Jack B Yeats, brother of William Butler and one of the country’s best-known artists.
Irish Museum of Modern Art
Located in the grounds of Kilmainham Gaol (see above – Dublin attractions). Modelled on the Invalides in Paris, this former 18th-century hospital for wounded soldiers is now the country’s foremost modern art gallery. As good as the art is, the real distraction is the building itself and the beautiful gardens around it.
Dublin City Gallery: The Hugh Lane
The Hugh Lane's fine collection of modern and contemporary art is all well and good, but its faithfully reconstructed studio of hell-raising painter Francis Bacon (who was born in Dublin) turns this gallery from good to outstanding.
The Science Gallery
Hands-on, interactive and compellingly relevant is the two-storey Science Gallery devoted to explaining the intricacies of science and how it applies to everyday life, a must for those of us who snoozed through science class in school. Located at Trinity College.
St Stephen’s Green
A hidden oasis in the centre of Dublin City. Stretch out on the manicured lawns of Dublin’s favourite city park. St Stephen's Green is the preferred sunshine resting spot for lovers, loafers and workers on a lunch break. Whatever you do, don’t pick the flowers!
Sandeman’s New Dublin Tour
This free, three-hour walking tour of the city departs Dame St every day at 11 am and 2 pm. The guides at Sandeman's are informed, energetic and lots of fun – you can tip them if you like, but it’s strictly optional.
Pat Liddy’s Walks
Visit Dublin with renowned Dublin historian Pat Liddy as your personal guide with this series of downloadable audio walking tours, which cover a range of themes from Georgian Dublin to the story of the 1916 Rising.
City Highlights Tour
Our City Highlights tour is your essential guide to Dublin. The charisma of our Sight Walking Dublin Tour guides and their valuable local insights make it the most memorable tour in our city! Through amusing historical anecdotes and of the moment entertaining stories, your friendly Dubliner guide will bring to life the city’s finest squares and liveliest quarters while pointing out Ireland’s best art Galleries, Viking urban design and heritage and where Dublin’s music and nightlife comes alive. Of course we will show you Dublin’s most important landmarks such as our Government buildings, Trinity College and Dublin Castle, all the time learning about a city stepped in history but with a modern friendly and vibrant outlook.
Historic Dublin Tour
This is a fascinating historical journey of Dublin through the ages. Our friendly local guides showcase their pride in their city and trace its development from its earliest Celtic roots. During our tour you will learn about Viking Dublin, medieval times in our city, the episodes that brought about our emergence as an independent nation and the famed inhabitants that shaped our past and cover a multitude of anecdotes and scandals. From bullet holes on buildings to city walls and edifices which have stood the test of time – walk with us and discover Dublin’s living history which runs side by side with the modern city. Booking is required.
Dublin Sightseeing Jogging Tour
For the more active minded people the local knowledge tips from your friendly Dubliner guide will give you an enhanced and exciting experience of our city on this 6.5km jog. You’ll get insider tips on the best restaurants, the most interesting museums and where’s good from music to comedy venues.
Outside Dublin's Surroundings
South Coast - Glendalough & Powerscourt Gardens Tour
Located in County Wicklow also known as the Garden of Ireland, The Glendalough & Powerscourt Gardens Tour offers you an incredible day out with visits to two of Ireland’s most beautiful destinations.The tour begins with a trip along the South coast of Dublin, passing Sandymount Strand, made famous in James Joyce’s Ulysses. You’ll enjoy stunning views of Dublin Bay as you continue on towards Dún Laoghaire harbour, and then turn inland towards the Wicklow Mountains.
Stop one is Powerscourt Gardens which was voted No.3 in the Top 10 Gardens of the World by National Geographic in 2014. The gardens are located to the rear of Powerscourt House, a Palladian Mansion which is now home to fine Café’s, exhibition spaces and design / craft shops. There are formal walks laid out throughout the gardens, which showcase an extensive varieties of trees, shrubs and flowers, as well as fine statuary and ironworks collected from across Europe, with plenty of hidden treasures along the way.
The next stop is just a short distance away in spectacular Glendalough. A favourite destination for Dubliners as well as visitors, Glendalough is steeped in history and you’ll visit an ancient monastic settlement and enjoy stunning views of the lakes and mountain.
Your Fáilte Ireland accredited guide and driver will inform and entertain throughout the trip with fascinating historical and cultural insights into sights you’ll see.
North Coast & Malahide Castle
If you’re in Ireland to see castles, allow us to introduce you to the Dublin North Coast and Castle Tour. Want to escape the bustling centre of Dublin? Then why not jump aboard this enchanting half day tour that is bursting with splendid views, amazing visits and incredible history. From the magnificent stories of Malahide Castle, one of Ireland’s oldest castles, to the unparalleled scenery at Howth Harbour; our Coast and Castle tour will not disappoint.
The tour includes a visit to Malahide Castle where tour guides will take you on a journey through the history of the Talbot family and the fascinating legacy they left behind. The castle itself dates back to the 12th century and is set amidst 250 acres of expansive parkland and gardens. The castle also plays host to the delectable delicacies of Avoca Café and food hall where you can enjoy a cake after browsing the fashion from Ireland’s top designers at the onsite Avoca Store.
Then you will be whisked away to the magnificent fishing village of Howth, known as one of the world’s great seascapes. This working harbour is a hub of activity with plenty to see to do from shopping in the beautiful local boutiques to people watching from the quaint cafés and tea rooms. Whether you want to stroll along the pier, spot the seals lazing in the crystal waters or simply munch on some fish and chips while sitting on the harbour wall; Howth has it all.
Wild Atlantic Way
See Ireland as never before, while you travel along the beautiful west coast, taking in incredible scenery and amazing experiences. The Wild Atlantic Way is the world's longest defined coastal touring route. It's inspiring, renewing, relaxing and invigorating. It's yours to experience however you choose. Wild Atlantic Way is the world's longest defined coastal touring route. It's inspiring, renewing, relaxing and invigorating. It's yours to experience however you choose.
Discover the Lakelands
The Lakelands is a well-loved Irish destination, and it's easy to see why. Stunning countryside around the lake shores and an abundance of picturesque towns like Killaloe and Ballina makes this area perfect for walking, cycling, horse riding and other activities. Browse the four different route sections of the Lakelands - Lough Derg, Lough Ree and Mid Shannon, Upper Lakelands and Lough Erne all have their own truly unique character. Visit Ireland's Lakelands for an unforgettable break.
Discover Northern Ireland
Discover Northern Ireland - Inspirational locations, stunning landscapes and the friendliest of welcomes. Learn about our unique stories from Saint Patrick to Titanic Belfast, from the Giant’s Causeway to the Mountains of Mourne and the Walled City of Derry.