Dublin, capital of the Republic of Ireland, is on Ireland’s east coast at the mouth of the River Liffey.
Dublin, capital of the Republic of Ireland, is on Ireland’s east coast at the mouth of the River Liffey. Its historic buildings include Dublin Castle, dating to the 13th century, and imposing St Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191. City parks include landscaped St Stephen’s Green and huge Phoenix Park, containing Dublin Zoo. The National Museum of Ireland explores Irish heritage and culture.
10:00am-10:30am : St. Michan's Church
St. Michan's Church may be one of the capital city's architectural landmarks, but its major appeal lies in the underground vaults, which house many mummified remains. The star attraction of the limestone vaults is an 800-year-old mummy of a Norman crusader, a man so tall the undertakers had to chop his feet off in order to fit him into a coffin. You can see this macabre world of mummies by guided tour only, but you can explore the upstairs on your own. Spend the few moments before your guide arrives by taking a look at an 18th century organ, allegedly played by composer G.F. Handel for the first-ever performance of his "Messiah" oratorio.
11:00am-12:30pm : Saint Patrick's Cathedral
The resting place of writer Jonathan Swift, Saint Patrick's Cathedral represents the largest church in Ireland. Over a thousand years old, this imposing Gothic structure features a 43 m (140 ft) tall spire, one of the city's major architectural landmarks. Built in honor of Ireland's patron saint, the building stands next to an old well allegedly used by Saint Patrick to baptize converts to Christianity. Pay the small fee to sightsee inside the historical cathedral, which contains fine examples of medieval stained glass and a 4,000-pipe organ, one of Ireland's largest. Check online for a downloadable audio guide and a schedule of daily services, guided tours, and special events.
1:00pm-3:00pm : Guinness Storehouse
Have a pint of Ireland's favorite beer at Guinness Storehouse, which narrates the history of one of the country's major exports. The old storehouse is the only part of a massive brewery open to the public--its signature attraction is a glass atrium designed to resemble a pint of Guinness. Discover the history of both the historical brewery and the popular brand on the ground floor, and then proceed up through seven more floors that demonstrate everything from the selection of barley and hops to the transportation and advertising of the finished product. Once you reach the top, claim your complimentary pint of the black brew at the storehouse's glass-enclosed bar, which offers panoramic views of the city.
3:30pm-5:00pm : Dublin Writers Museum
Celebrate Ireland's rich literary history at Dublin Writers Museum, which features exhibitions on James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, and Patrick Pearse, among many others. Take a look at this nation's illustrious world of writing from a Dubliner's perspective. Visit the expansive museum, which opened in 1991 and is housed in a beautiful 18th-century home. Walk through the gallery, library, and rooms displaying artifacts and memorabilia from Ireland's most beloved writers. You'll have the opportunity to listen to an authentic recording of Joyce reading excerpts from "Anne Livia Plurabelle."
5:30pm-6:00pm : Garden of Remembrance
Find a quiet place to sit and reflect at Garden of Remembrance, a garden designed by Daithi Hanly and a memorial dedicated to the lives lost for the cause of Irish freedom. Look for the sunken water feature in the shape of a cross, as well as the memorial's focal point, a statue called "Children of Lir" by Oisin Kelly. Queen Elizabeth II visited in 2011 and laid a wreath here.
10:00am-10:30am : National Library of Ireland
Lose yourself among the stacks and shelves of National Library of Ireland, a reference library with endless amounts of Irish material. You can peruse books, maps, manuscripts, music, newspapers, periodicals, and photographs, and even collections from famous writers such as James Joyce and Roddy Doyle. Even if literature is not your thing, you can still admire the library's architecture and antique decor. Do not miss the reading room for a visual treat, featuring stained-glass windows, marble accents, and an exquisite cupola. Check the library's website ahead of time for special exhibitions.
11:00am-12:30pm : Irish Whiskey Museum
Located in the heart of Dublin City sitting directly across from the main entrance to Trinity College. This interactive and contemporary museum is set in a beautiful Edwardian building and depicts the rise, the fall and the current revival of Irish Whiskey across the Globe. Our guided tours incorporate all Irish whiskey brands and focus on the wider and intriguing history of Irish Whiskey as opposed to the individual distilling process. We guarantee an educational tour, sampling some fine Irish whiskeys and a lot of fun along the way!
1:00pm-3:30pm : Walking tours
4:00pm-6:00pm : Grafton Street
Pedestrian-friendly Grafton Street serves as one of Dublin's main shopping districts, located in the busy city center. Consistently ranked among the world's most expensive shopping streets, this popular destination attracts both locals and foreign visitors with its high-end shops and trendy eateries. Closed to motorized traffic for most of its length, the broad boulevard is a prime location for street performers, eager to impress the passing shoppers and sightseers with their various talents. Even musician Glen Hansard, a standout among the city's famous street performers, busked along this street not long before he won his Academy Award. Check the website for upcoming special events here.
10:00am-11:30am : EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
An interactive experience, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum guides you on a journey to discover the stories of Irish emigration around the world, from early times to the modern day. Step through 20 themed galleries to find out why people left, see how they influenced the world they found, and experience the connection between their descendants and Ireland today.
12:00pm-12:30pm : Ha'penny Bridge
A charming Georgian Era pedestrian bridge, Ha'penny Bridge offers a restful and historical route across the Liffey River. Opened in 1816 to replace the dangerous ferries that operated in the same spot, the bridge is one of the first cast-iron bridges to be constructed in the world. The official name of the bridge is "The Liffey," but you'll hear it referred to as the "ha'penny" due to the toll that was long charged to make a crossing. Come and walk the artfully refurbished bridge and admire the ornamental rail work. Stop in the middle and look both ways along the river, day or night, for a lesser-seen view of Dublin.
1:00pm-2:30pm : Dublin Castle
A taste of medieval times in the middle of a modern downtown, Dublin Castle served as the seat of British rule in Ireland for over seven centuries. Although it remains part of a major government complex, the castle now mostly serves as a venue for ceremonial events, such as the inauguration of the country's president. Transformed over the ages from a medieval fortress to a Georgian palace, the castle complex contains an 800-year-old tower, the sole survivor of the original fortifications built on this spot in the early 13th century. Take a guided tour to see the gardens built over a site once occupied by a black pool, the "dubh inn" from which the city of Dublin got its name.
3:00pm-5:00pm : Temple Bar
Capture Dublin's street culture at Temple Bar, a former slum now recognized for its vibrant nightlife. In the 1980s this neighborhood on the south bank of the Liffey River offered cheap rent to artists and young entrepreneurs, and quickly became the city's foremost cultural quarter. The neighborhood's cobbled streets offer family-friendly attractions during the day, including shops, restaurants, and galleries. After dark this riverside neighborhood transforms into a magnet for rowdy partygoers, attracted by the quarter's many pubs and bars. If daylight activities seem a bit more appealing, visit one of the area's four markets, offering everything from rare books and vintage clothes to organic foods and decorative arts.
5:30pm-6:00pm : Gallery of Photography
The Gallery of Photography is Ireland's leading centre for contemporary photography. With the support of its active membership of over 400 independent photographers, the Gallery serves as a resource base and informal meeting point for everyone interested in photography.
10:00am-12:00pm : Croke Park Stadium Tour & GAA Museum
Learn about Ireland's rich sports culture at Croke Park Stadium Tour & GAA Museum, which opens a window into the world of the country's top athletes and their coaches. The popular "Croker" as it's called is one of the largest stadiums in Europe, offering guided tours of its lockers rooms, VIP areas, corporate suites, players' tunnel, and pitch. Complement your stadium tour with a visit to the on-site museum, showcasing the greatest achievements in Ireland's national games of hurling and Gaelic football. The museum features an interactive exhibit area where you can test your hurling skills, or learn the rules the popular Gaelic, one of the world's last remaining strictly amateur sports.
12:30pm-1:30pm : Christ Church Cathedral
One of Dublin's oldest buildings, Christ Church Cathedral sits in the medieval heart of the city. A thousand years old, this imposing cathedral is both a place of pilgrimage and a major architectural landmark, noted for its flying buttresses and stained glass windows. The cathedral's southern aisle features a monument to Richard de Claire, known to history as the Anglo-Norman "Strongbow" who invaded Ireland in 1170. Below the cathedral lies an ancient arched crypt, reputed to be the largest in the country. A guided tour can show you the crypt's curious features, which include a display of a mummified cat chasing a mummified rat trapped inside an organ pipe in the 19th century that's now affectionately called "Tom and Jerry."
2:00pm-5:00pm : Phoenix Park
Wilderness in the middle of a big city, Phoenix Park features tree-lined avenues and vast grasslands and is home to a herd of wild deer. Encompassing over 700 hectares (1,700 acres), the park serves as one of the largest walled urban parks in Europe. The site includes a zoo, cricket and polo grounds, and several 18th century mansions, including one serving as the official residence of the country's president. To see the best of this big park quickly, rent a bike and ride all or part of a 14 km (8 mi) long network of traffic-free lanes. You can also hop on the tourist train that stops at the park's Victorian garden, noted for its ornamental lake, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
5:30pm-6:00pm : James Joyce Statue
At James Joyce Statue see a life-sized representation of Dublin's literary genius, the then-unpopular writer of now-famous Irish classics such as "Ulysses." Take your picture standing next to James Joyce's figure, looking critically into the distance. Find the statue on North Earl Street, a side street off of O'Connell Street.
10:00am-11:00am : GPO Museum
GPO Museum invites you to experience the events of the 1916 rebellion from the perspective of both sides involved in the conflict. The highly immersive exhibit brings history to life by using interactive materials, such as videos, touch screens, and authentic artifacts like a Morse code translator. The onsite courtyard cafe is a great place to collect your thoughts over a cup of coffee or a plate of freshly baked scones. Amenities include a gift shop offering 1916 memorabilia and a range of souvenirs.
11:30am-12:30pm : National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology
Housing a trove of archeological treasures, National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology displays items unearthed in Ireland as well as items from ancient Egyptian and Roman relics. The museum building, a major tourist attraction in and of itself, features a colonnaded entrance opening into a rotunda, designed to pay homage to ancient Roman architecture. Inside you can explore an extensive collection of prehistorical gold artifacts and metal objects from the Celtic Iron Age. Be sure to visit the second-floor galleries, chronicling the four centuries of Viking rule over Dublin. To discover the exhibits at your own pace and focus on areas most suited to your interests, pick up a floor plan at the entrance, or check online for a free downloadable brochure. Only the ground floor is wheelchair accessible. Closed on Mondays ( including Bank Holidays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day).
1:00pm-2:30pm : St Stephens Green
Made famous by writer James Joyce, St Stephens Green has been Dublin's favorite picnic spot for over a century. Opened in 1880, the park is adjacent to one of the city's major shopping streets, drawing equal numbers of nature lovers and shoppers in need of a place to rest. The largest of Dublin's Georgian gardens, this 9 hectare (22 acre) urban park once provided a marshy setting for public whippings and executions. Today, the elegantly landscaped garden features Georgian buildings and statues of some of Ireland's most celebrated figures, including Arthur Guinness, Robert Emmet, and W.B. Yeats. Located in the heart of Dublin, the park is accessible by tram from almost anywhere in the city.
3:00pm-4:30pm : Trinity College Dublin
To soak up the academic atmosphere of a historical university, take a student-guided tour of Trinity College Dublin. Established by Queen Elizabeth I over four centuries ago, this college is one of the country's major architectural landmarks, its campus boasting numerous well-maintained Georgian and Victorian buildings. The college library holds 250,000 rare volumes, most notably the "Book of Kells," a lavishly decorated sacred text created around the year 800. End your day with a visit to the science gallery, featuring engaging exhibits about the relationship between art and science. Check online for available tour dates and times, and remember to pick up your library tickets at the university's front gate.
5:00pm-6:00pm : Merrion Square
Tucked away from large crowds of tourists, Merrion Square provides a beautiful, historical retreat. Take a quiet walk down shady paths past traditional gardens. Grab a coffee, or enjoy a picnic with your family after taking a look at the park's famous Oscar Wilde statue, dedicated to the author who took up residence in the area for some time. W.B. Yeats and Daniel O'Connell also lived among the Georgian red-brick townhouses lining the sides of this square. You can visit their previous homes, along with the Natural History Museum, National Gallery, Leinster House, and several government buildings.
11:30am-12:30pm : Rothe House and Garden
Visit an important symbol of Killkenny's heritage at Rothe House and Garden, the only 17th-century merchant's house still standing in Ireland. Built between 1594 and 1610, the residence will give you a sense of Renaissance times as you wander through its three houses. The museum within hosts 2,500 original artifacts all related to Killkenny's history. Many of these are over 400 years old, and some date back to prehistoric times. Tours are self-guided, so take as much time to view the relics as you like. Afterward, stroll through the garden out back, which was recently constructed and emulates a typical 17th-century garden. If you have Killkenny roots, the Rothe House can help you trace your Irish genealogy.
1:00pm-2:30pm : Kilkenny Castle
Preserving more than eight centuries of history within its walls, Kilkenny Castle rises over the Nore River and marks an intersection of several major medieval routes. Although the castle underwent a series of modifications over the ages, it contains three of its original four stone towers, built in 1192 by a Norman invader known to history as "Strongbow." Once a symbol of Norman occupation and a key part of the region's defenses, the castle now attracts thousands of visitors with its extensive gardens and basement art gallery. Also in the basement, the castle kitchen houses a popular tearoom, complete with a Victorian cooking range and rows of pots and plates.
3:00pm-3:30pm : St. Canice's Cathedral & Round Tower
Visit the ancient St. Canice's Cathedral & Round Tower, considered the second-longest cathedral in Ireland. Historians believe that this site has has hosted Christian worship since the 6th century, though the current structure dates back to the 13th century. Walk the grounds and admire the cathedral's English Gothic style. Climb to the top of the 9th-century Celtic Christian round tower that stands 30 m (100 ft) tall. Study the architecture and interiors, which have been carefully preserved in the original style.
4:00pm-4:30pm : Black Abbey
Black Abbey represents a Catholic monastery of the Dominican order built in 1225, and it also serves as the local church of Killkenny. Its name derives from the "black friars," an old English nickname for Dominicans. Join the locals for religious observance, or visit between services to view the building. The old structure impresses with highly detailed stained glass throughout. Brochures describing the history of this important church are available for purchase. Check the mass schedule online before you go; doors may be locked during services.
10:00am-11:30am : Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
The history of Ireland is narrated by Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, home to award-winning exhibits and the guardian of personal stories for over 1.5 million people buried there. Dedicated to the known and the unknown who shaped the country's history and helped create the modern nation, the museum covers the burial rituals and beliefs of those who found their final resting place at the cemetery. While there, you can tour the graveyard itself or conduct a genealogy search for your family's history. Within the museum, pay special attention to the Milestone Gallery's timeline, an interactive exhibit outlining the lives of some of the most famous figures buried at the cemetery.
12:00pm-1:00pm : Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane
Witness the work of contemporary Irish artists and behold Francis Bacon's studio at Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane. Originally the townhouse of the First Earl of Charlemont, this grand building boasts an impressive array of modern artwork with a particularly strong collection of local works and French pieces. The site is perhaps best known for hosting Francis Bacon's studio. In 1998, six years after the painter's death, the studio and its entire contents were moved from London to the Irish gallery. Today you can observe the clutter, chaos, and genius of the room. Each piece has been painstakingly archived, including paint pots, books, slashed canvases, furniture, photographs, and more.
1:30pm-4:00pm : Kilmainham Gaol Museum
Kilmainham Gaol Museum turns the clock back a few decades, offering you a look inside one of history's most notorious prisons. The imposing gray building played a key role in Irish history for over a century, finally closing its doors in 1924. Before then it provided a grim setting for the imprisonment of notable participants in the many uprisings for Irish independence, culminating in the execution of 14 men who led a rebellion that took place during Easter week in 1916. You can take a guided walk through the history of this eerie site, now one of Europe's largest unoccupied structures of its kind. Before you leave, look in on the yard where the infamous 1916 executions took place.
4:30pm-6:00pm : Jameson Distillery Bow St.
Have some history with your Irish coffee at Jameson Distillery Bow St., which provides guided tours and tutored tastings of its best-selling whiskey. The distillery closed for business in 1971 and the building now houses a visitor center and bar, located right above the original fermentation vats, which you can still see through the glass floor of the atrium. Guided tours explain the history of Irish whiskey through a series of reconstructed scenes from the old distillery, as well as through several exhibit areas displaying all of the main stages of traditional whiskeymaking. If the tour's complimentary glass just doesn't hit the spot, drop by the second-floor restaurant, where you can take the next drink with a gourmet meal.