Top Things to see in Dublin City Centre
By: Aj Orji Uzokwe
I set out to visit my favourite spots in Dublin and below is a list of what I believe are the top 10 things to see in Dublin City Centre if you are on a short trip do not have the time to see all the beautiful places, things and landscapes that Ireland has to offer.
Dublin Zoo/Phoenix park: The day started with a trip to the Zoo. The Dublin Zoo is situated in the Phoenix Park in Dublin City. Phoenix Park is one of the most beautiful parks I have ever seen and it is the biggest in Europe. The Zoo is a bit far away from Dublin City Centre to walk, but is easily accessible by taxi or bus and most easily a ride on the Luas redline. Dublin Zoo was founded in 1830 and is the fourth oldest zoo in the world. The zoo provides habit for over 235 species of wild animals. Dublin zoo is split up into different themed areas: African Plains, Fringes of the Arctic, The Kzirange Forest Trail, World of Primates, World of Cats and City Farm & Pet’s Corner. It was a great experience and oh yea don’t forget some souvenir. Click here for pictures of Zoo/Phoenix Park
National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts: Saying farewell to the Zoo and its occupants, I made my way down the green lawns of Phoenix Park to the Parkgate entrances (the New Court of Criminal Appeal) to the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts which is only a stone throw from the Park end of the Park. The National Museum of Ireland is situated at Collins Barracks in Dublin. The museum is easily reached by Luas which passes by the front door. The Luas runs from Connolly Train Station or the O2 (Point theatre) through Dublin City Centre. The Museum contains a wide range of beautiful artefacts including weapons and their places in Irish history. They also contain silver, glassware, ceramics, dress costumes and one of the most amazing collection and history of Irish Crosses.
Guided tours are offered for a cost of €2 per person with each tour accommodating a maximum of 30 people per tour. The tour takes roughly 45 minutes and will take you on an interesting and educational tour of the museum. It is a visit worth making.
Temple Bar: I walked out of the Museum and walked along the River Liffey it was a beautiful walk, it was sunny and warm for a change. Temple Bar is located on the south of the River Liffey, I crossed at the Ha’penny Bridge. The Ha’penny Bridge is the best known bridge in Dublin. It was built in 1816 and is the first Iron Bridge built in Ireland.
Temple Bar is the Dublin’s Cultural Quarters and has the most collection of traditional and contemporary Irish pubs, bars and restaurants and also fast-food places, shops, cultural centre, art gallery, cultural centre and souvenir shops. It is worth mentioning that Temple Bar got its name from the Temple family who lived in the area during the 17th Century. At night the area is flooded with nightlife revellers and is a popular destination for stag/hen parties. Without doubt you should visit Temple Bar and sample some of the famous public houses some of which play beautiful traditional Irish music and of course serves the best pint of Guinness but the area can become very crowded.
Trinity College: I had lunch in Temple Bar, walked around to soak in the beauty of Temple Bar and headed to Trinity College. Trinity College is situated in the hearth of Dublin City on College and is very easily accessible from all over Dublin. The College was established in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I and is the oldest and most prestigious college in Ireland.
One of the biggest tourist attractions to Trinity College Dublin is to the Book of Kells which is housed in the Trinity College Library. The Book of Kells is celebrated for its lavish decoration. The manuscript contains the four Gospels in Latin based on a Vulgate text, written on vellum (prepared calfskin) it is an illuminated manuscript and is widely recognised as one of Ireland’s most valuable historical artefacts. The architectural design makes Trinity College a very popular destination for those who love country architecture and history.
Dublin Castle: Leaving Trinity College, I walked down towards Dame Street to Dublin Castle which is situated just off Dame Street in Dublin City Centre and is easily accessed by bus, foot or taxi. The castle is now a major Irish Governmental conference centres and hosts many significant international meetings annually.
The history of Dublin Castle is not only interesting but also very fascinating. Most of what constitutes the current castle dates back to the 18th Century although a castle has been situated on this spot since the days of the first Lord of Ireland during the 12th Century. During British Rule in Ireland Dublin Castle was the centre of the occupational force. When the Irish Free State was established in 1922, Dublin Castle was handed over to Michael Collins at a ceremony.
You can avail of guided tours of the Castle and the State Apartments which are located in the south part of the Great Courtyard for about €7.
Guinness Store House: It is said that holiday in Dublin isn’t complete without a visit to the Guinness Store House. The Storehouse is located in the hearth of the famous Guinness Brewery in St James’s Gate in Dublin, and is easily accessible by foot from Dublin City Centre, by bus or by tram.
The Storehouse history can be traced to the beginning of Guinness and its creator, Arthur Guinness who established the Guinness Brewery in 1759. The Storehouse building spans 7 storeys, each floor takes you through a different aspect of the world famous Guinness Brewery from the main ingredients in a pint of Guinness to the amazing Gravity Bar which provides 360 degree views over Dublin City. And of course a pint of Guinness is in order… :)
A ticket for the tour of the storehouse starts at €12.96 per adult and €10.60 for adult.
Christ Church: Saying good bye to Guinness Storehouse and its amazing view, we made our way down Thomas Street our next port of call was Christ Church Cathedral. Not only is this amazing and one of the most beautiful church one of the oldest building in the Dublin, it also sits on the oldest part of the city, it is simply Dublin’s finest historic buildings. It dates back to 1038 when Sitric, the then Danish king of Dublin, built the first wood here.
In 1171 the original simple foundation was extended into a cruciform and rebuilt in stone by Strongbow, although the present structure dates mainly from 1871 to 1878 when a huge restoration was undertaken. Only the transepts, the crypt, and a few other portions date from the medieval times. Highlights of the interior include magnificent stonework and graceful pointed arches, with delicately chiselled supporting columns. Strongbow himself is among the historic figures buried in the church, as is Archbishop Browne, the first Protestant to occupy the church, during the reign of the English King Henry 8th. It is the mother church for the Diocese of Dublin and Glendalough of the Church of Ireland
Grafton Street/St Stephen’s Green Park: Trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without shopping for yourself and gifts and souvenirs for your loved ones. Grafton Street is the Knightsbridge of Ireland shopping. It is located on the South Side of Dublin City and is very accessible by bus, car and tram or by foot. Grafton Street runs from College Green beside Trinity College to St Stephens Green and is a pedestrian only street. Grafton Street was named after the first Duke of Grafton who was the owner of the land in the area. Grafton Street grew out of a country lane and was developed by the Dawson family in 1708. The main attraction to Grafton Street is shops. Grafton Street offers everything from Marks and Spencer’s to Brown Thomas exclusive department store.
At the top of Grafton Street is St. Stephen’s Green Park. The park was enclosed in 1664. The 9 hectare park was laid out in its present form in 1880. Landscaped with flowerbeds, trees, a fountain and a lake, The Green is dotted with memorials to eminent Dubliners. The park is good for relaxation and picnic after a long hard day’s walk round Dublin…Only if the weather permits that is.
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