First Time in Dublin: Where to Go and What to Do

Dublin, UNESCO City of Literature, and its prominent literary history was home to Shaw, Yeats, and Joyce. But Dublin has much more to offer than literary history: excellent shopping (Grafton Street), eating and drinking facilities aplenty and a lively night-life too. Dublin is jam packed with great things to see and do, so put this fantastic city top of your must-see list, you won’t regret it. 

Don’t for a minute think that Ireland’s capital is all about better tasting Guinness tastes and adult orientated fun, Dublin is great for the whole family.

First time in Dublin? Check out these recommendations below, ticketed or free admission, whatever takes your fancy.

Facets of Irish History

Preserved in working order is Kilmainham Gaol, one of the most notorious prisons in Europe. Its bare, cold cells are testament to harsh prison life for the incarcerated, and was the place of the execution for the leaders of the 1916 Irish uprising.

Sixteenth century Trinity College dominates Dublin’s cityscape. Its oldest buildings date from the 18th century and its library houses priceless manuscripts and over a million books. Perhaps one of the most well-known being the beautiful book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript book. You’ll have to queue to see this but well worth the wait.

trinity-college-dublin
Classical and Street art

If your interest lies in art, Dublin certainly has some great public works to see. Historical, contemporary, political and irreverent, whatever your tastes, from amazing street art murals, through Henry Moore masterpieces, to the poignant Famine Sculpture. If you prefer your art indoors, the National Gallery of Ireland at Merrion Square West is free to visit, and has a focus on Irish and European art, including works by the masters and also lesser-known artists.

Temple Bar Area

Fancy a drink or two? Why not try Dublin’s famous Temple Bar area, which has been reinvented as a “bohemian quarter”. You could meet street artists, visit the bustling pubs and enjoy the restaurants or equally you could be caught up amongst stag and hen night revellers!

Temple Bar, Dublin

Architecture and Religion

Dublin has a wide range of architectural gems to see, including Christ Church Cathedral, the neo-gothic St Patrick’s Cathedral Ireland’s largest church, and the rebuilt General Post Office, scene of the 1916 rebellion on O’Connell Street. Dublin Castle is splendid with its massive tower, Royal Chapel, beautiful gardens and impressive state rooms. 

Dublin-Castle

Freebies

If your budget is tight, there’s still lots to see and do in Dublin for free. Walk your way through the myriad of footpaths that criss-cross the city. Visit Phoenix park, the world’s largest urban park, where you can see Ashtown Castle, stately houses, the Papal Cross, the Magazine Fort and wild deer.

At the three National Museums in Dublin, you can explore Prehistoric, Celtic, Viking and Medieval exhibits, arts and crafts or the unique Natural History museum and yes admission is free.

For more tips in exploring Dublin read this blog on Where to Stay in Dublin: Best Tourist Areas Guide.

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