The Temple Bar is quite possibly one of the most iconic bars in all of Dublin, with tourists flocking from all over the world to have a drink inside its famous walls. Although the history of the bar dates to the early 1300s, it still remains popular to this day due to its famous red exterior, its great location in the heart of the city, as well as being a huge part of Dublin’s central nightlife scene. At present, The Temple Bar is the most popular bar frequented by young tourists – and even some locals alike – looking to have a glass (or two, or three) of strong Irish whiskey and enjoy a hell of a night.
One of the most unique and beautiful bars in the city, The Church is not what its name may make it seem. In fact, The Church used to originally be called St. Mary’s church; however, it closed in 1964 and was eventually restored and converted into a popular bar and nightclub in 2007. On the main floor, you can find a magnificent island bar that almost spans the length of the church, complete with booths, tables and bar stools for guests and a small stage that plays live traditional Irish music from 7pm – 9pm on Sunday – Wednesday. Downstairs, you can find the nightclub – open every Friday & Saturday night from 10pm until 3am – with a resident DJ that plays all the latest popular music and Rn’B tracks.
Located in the heart of St. James’ Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Ireland. In fact, the interior is designed to look exactly like a pint of Guinness itself and is known to be the largest pint in the world. A ticket to the Guinness factory (roughly €18) will take you on a tour through seven floors of Irish brewing history, where you will learn all about the Guinness family, as well as how the beloved stout beer is meticulously crafted to perfection. At the end of the tour, you will be dropped off at the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor, where you can enjoy a refreshing pint of Guinness with a 360-degree view of the Dublin skyline.
Another historical gem is the Old Jameson Distillery, located just off Smithfield Square. This location previously used to be the original site where Jameson whiskey was manufactured and distilled until it stopped production in the early 1970s. A tour of the old distillery will take you through the history and process of creating the refined whiskey, along with the unique opportunity to take part in a comparative whiskey-tasting experience. At the end of the tour, you will be given an exclusive Whiskey Taster Certificate to officially certify your knowledge in traditional Irish whiskey that you will be able to show off to your family and friends back home.
One of the easiest monuments to spot from afar, The Spire stands proudly in the centre of O’Connell street towering approximately 120 meters above ground. This completely stainless-steel structure is about 3 meters in diameter at the base and 15 centimetres at its apex. On sunny days, you can notice its exterior being gently illuminated by the sun – lighting up the monument for all to see. The tip of the structure is also lit up by an external light source at night-time in order to act as a beacon in the night sky.
Take a trip back to prehistoric Dublin by visiting the famous Dublin Castle. With over 800 years of Irish memories encapsulated within its walls, this incredible structure has borne witness to some of the most pivotal events in all the country’s history. Spanning an area of over 11 acres, the Castle stands proudly on the highest ridge in the locality and offers self-guided and guided tours of the grounds, including the Castle’s many rooms, gardens and museums such as the Chapel Royal, the Chester Beatty Library, the Garda Museum and the Revenue Museum.
A strikingly unique white-picketed beauty, the Ha’penny Bridge is famously known as the first pedestrian bridge to span over the river Liffey. Its name was derived from the price pedestrians had to pay (a “halfpenny”) to cross the bridge back when it was built in 1816. Today, it has become one of the main “monuments” or structures that identify Dublin – appearing on postcards, tourism brochures, books and memorabilia.
The second of Dublin’s medieval cathedrals, Christ Church Cathedral, is yet another of Dublin’s architectural wonders. More formally known as The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, this fully operational church is the cathedral of the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough. Although it is open to tourists who wish to marvel at its Romanesque interiors, the staff of the cathedral do charge admission and ticketing fees, as the building receives no support from the state. However, the fee is worth the visit and will help contribute to maintaining this beautiful piece of Irish history.
A humongous walled park (about 1,700 acres) that lies just about 2 miles from downtown Dublin, Phoenix Park is more than just your ordinary park. In fact, aside from the long stretches of green and multitude of incredible trees and plants, it is also home to the Dublin Zoo, a sports field, the Wellington Monument, and both the Presidential and US Ambassador’s Residences. With so much to do and see, you can easily spend the entire day relaxing, sightseeing or simply roaming the grounds.
An incredible architectural wonder, and a room most bibliophiles would only dream of finding themselves in, the Trinity College Library is the largest library in all of Ireland. It is also home to the famous Book of Kells – an ornate, beautifully-illuminated manuscript containing all of the four Gospels of the New Testament that’s over 1000 years old. Its most famous section, known as The Long Room, has been known to resemble the Jedi Archives in Star Wars. Unfortunately, the main library is only open to staff, graduates and students of the university, but that doesn’t stop tourists from taking a gander at the Old Library that’s open to visitors and located within its quarters.
An absolute must-see destination for all history lovers, Kilmainham Gaol is an abandoned prison that offers guided tours of its restored quarters. With a cheap ticket fee of €4 per person, each tour includes a 45-50 minute tour of the facilities where your knowledgeable guide will take you through the history of the jail, detailing the extremely poor treatment of inmates during that time, along with countless other interesting facts about the politics and restoration of the prison. You will leave this tour with a much broader understanding of this devastating time in Irish history.
Located within Phoenix Park, the Dublin Zoo is an excellent addition to your day. With a huge variety of animals to see and a very well laid-out map, this excursion is great for individuals or groups of all ages. Not only are the animals at the zoo incredibly cared-for, but they all have spacious habitats for them to roam and play, making each encounter as close to the real thing as possible. Be sure to visit the Meerkat Café, where you can look at the meerkats up close while you are enjoying a drink or bite to eat!
Rated #1 on TripAdvisor’s list for Top Things to Do in Dublin, the Glasnevin Cemetery Museum is an atypical, but thoroughly interesting way to take in some Irish history. During your tour, you’ll get to wander through some of the various graveyards of famous Irish political figures, poets, writers and other people of interest, along with hearing some very informative commentary about each person, and the political history of Ireland. Tickets range from €6 to €25, depending on the type of package.
Another popular Dublin park to relax in is St. Stephen’s Green, filled with lush green grass, a variety of plants and flowers and some marvellous bodies of water. If that’s not enough, there are even some monuments scattered around for you to see and many paths for you to walk, bike or jog. Bring a book, a packed lunch, or stop at a café before heading to St. Stephen’s Green to enjoy a brisk, beautiful day at the park.
One of the best free museums in all of Dublin is definitely the National Museum of Ireland. Some of the most notable exhibits in the museum include the Viking exhibit, the exquisite gold artefact display or the remarkable collection of “bog men” – bodies found and recovered from bogs all over Ireland. Each body comes with a story that will give you spectacular insight into the lives of these men who once lived in the country and have now become a permanent part of Irish history.
A great combination of Ireland’s best traits – history and booze – the Irish Whiskey Museum has everything you could possibly want in one great place. Located in the popular Grafton street area, the museum tour gives you a detailed history of all types of whiskey (not just Jameson). At the end of the tour, you get to taste three unique types of whiskey as celebration. Plus, if you purchase the VIP package, you get an exclusive 4th whiskey and a unique shot class to take home with you.