Ireland’s bustling capital is big enough to offer a wide choice of activities and sightseeing for a month-long city holiday or a select few for a short city break. Paradoxically, it is also a small city, or at least compact enough to encourage the less energetic visitor to explore on foot many city centre attractions without becoming exhausted.
Dublin has scores of famous sights, all well worth seeing. Since no two people have exactly the same preferences, the selection below doesn’t rank them in order of importance. But if you’re undecided and pressed for time, you should visit at least the first three.
1. Trinity College and the Book of Kells — College Green, Dublin 2
2. National Gallery of Ireland — Merrion Square, Dublin 2
3. Christ Church Cathedral — Dublin 8
4. Guinness Brewery — James’s Street, Dublin 8
5. Jameson Distillery — Bow Street, Dublin 7
6. Dublin Castle — Palace Street, Dublin 2
7. Irish Museum of Modern Art — Kilmainham, Dublin 8
8. Kilmainham Jail — Kilmainham, Dublin 8
9. GPO and The Monument of Light, known as The Dublin Spire — O’Connell Street, Dublin 1
10. Dublin Writers Museum — Parnell Square Nth, Dublin 1
11. Dublin Zoo — Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
12. The Custom House — Custom House Quay, Dublin 1
13. Dublin Docklands and IFSC, Irish Financial Services Centre — Dublin 1
Dublin is world famous for its Georgian buildings. Two impressive city squares provide ample testimony to this remarkable architecture’s understated splendour. They are Merrion Square (where the National Gallery is located) and nearby Fitzwilliam Square. Fitzwilliam Street, which runs along the square, is one of the longest continuous Georgian streets in the world.
Two other broad areas worth visiting are Temple Bar — Dublin’s “Left Bank” — and The Phoenix Park. Extending over seven hundred hectares, it is Europe’s largest urban park. Nestling among its trees and lawns, is Dublin Zoo as well as the magnificent official residences of Ireland’s President and the US Ambassador.
Apart from these specific areas and places of interest, no one should pass through Dublin without experiencing the unique atmosphere of an Irish pub. Take your pick — they’re everywhere. In the evening, enjoy the warm conviviality of a Dublin bar that offers live Irish folk music.
If you like to shop, Dublin boasts some of Europe’s most elegant stores. Not far from Trinity College is the famous Grafton Street. At the bottom of this stylish pedestrian thoroughfare is a somewhat revealing statue of Molly Malone, who clearly has outgrown her dress and needs a replacement as soon as possible. Luckily, Grafton Street houses many world-renowned fashion boutiques and department stores.
If you’re looking for reading material, nearby Dawson Street houses some of Ireland’s largest, most famous and best-stocked bookstores. Whether you’re browsing for yourself or for a gift to bring home, be warned; some of these bookstores are big and the literary air is somewhat addictive. Don’t be surprised if you spend an entire afternoon in any one of them and still don’t want to leave.
Up to a few years ago, it was regarded as an expensive place to visit; now prices in Dublin, especially for accommodation and food, have reduced considerably. Some of the newer more outlandishly-priced restaurants have simply closed. The visitor benefits from this, since most of the truly good restaurants in all price brackets are still alive and well and have dropped their prices, but not their standards.
When it comes to transport, Dublin is very well serviced. There is a sizable international airport on the outskirts and two busy ferry ports. Modern road and rail networks link the capital to the rest of Ireland. Within the city The Dart light suburban rail line runs around the bay area. There is also a comprehensive urban bus network, as well as two new tramlines. Especially for tourists, there are “hop-on, hop-off” busses which call to all the main attractions and city sights. Once you’ve bought a ticket, you can hop-on or hop-off where and when you wish. Oh, and if you’re feeling energetic, why not rent a bike from one of the many self-service stations throughout the centre and pedal around the city at your own pace?
This article on visiting Dublin, Ireland was supplied by J.D. Fencer from Constant Content.