I live in Dublin, and I love this city so I will try and restrain myself to keep it to the top things to see!
The earliest known settlement was AD 140, then called Eblana polis by the cartographer Ptolemy.
Dublin is named after the dark coloured tidal pool which was found where the Castle Grounds are – named after the Irish word Dubhlinn. In the 9th century, there were 2 settlements in Dublin: the Viking settlement of Dyflin, and Celtic settlement Áth Cliath (“ford of hurdles”).
Considering all the history, the Irish government officially says the city was settled in a millennium ago, becoming the Dublin we know today.
1. St Stephen’s Green
The public park of St Stephen’s green in the city center is a historic Victorian style garden. It is one of Dublin’s largest garden squares at 22 acres of space. It’s a great place to get some peace and quite from Dublin’s busy streets. Historically it wasn’t always accessible to the public, but only to residents in the area. It was all thanks to Author Guinness (the father of the beverage) that it was opened to the public in 1877.
The iron fence around the perimeter was installed in 1815, along with the winding paths which we can still see today.
2. Temple Bar
In the Medieval times -14th century, the temple bar area was a suburb outside of the Dublin city gates, which fell to ruin after repeated raids by the Celtic. In the 17th century it was considered a desirable place to live by the wealthy English who established their homes in this area. Temple Bar was a marshy area along the Liffey River which was walled up and reclaimed.
It was in 1599 that an English Statesman, Sir William Temple moved to Dublin and built his property on the corner of Temple Lane and Temple Bar on the newly reclaimed land. Another half century later, his son, Sir John Temple got additional land and furthered the development of the area. Bar refers to a raised estuary sandbank, of which occurred on the banks of the Liffey. Temple Bar thus took on it’s name.
Today it’s full of lively bars and restaurants where you can have a pint and watch some traditional Irish music.
3. Molly Malone Statue
(tart with the cart… sorry Molly… that one stuck…)
The Molly Malone statue has been around since 1998 in the center of Dublin. The song Molly Malone is a popular song, associated with the city of Dublin. According to legend, Molly Malone was a fish monger by day and a lady of the night, who died of the fever at a young age in the 17th century.
4. St Patrick Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, built in 1191. Legend has it that Saint Patrick himself did baptisms here. Tours and services are available at the cathedral.
5. Christ Church Cathedral
Another one of Dublin’s great cathedrals, Christ Church Cathedral founded in 1028 is the oldest surviving structure in the city. The cathedral features an extensive interior and the largest crypt in Ireland. The Cathedral was once a major site for pilgrimage. Today visitors can enjoy a tour or any of the numerous services available each day.
6. Trinity College
Trinity College was established in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I and is the oldest surviving university in Ireland. It’s also one of 7 ancient universities in the UK and Ireland. The statue is of George Salmon the former provost, who was of the firm belief that women should not study at the university. Eventually just after his death in 1901 the first women undergraduates started their studies at the university. Today women look up victoriously upon the statue of George Salmon as they go about their student lives at the university.
7. Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle was founded in 1204 by order of King John of England and construction completed 26 years later. The Poddle River which discharges into the Liffey, was diverted to fill the Castle’s moat. The Castle had tall and thick defensive walls around it, with a circular tower at each corner with large grounds in the center. Visitors can see where Blackpool was, located within the Castle Grounds.
In 1864 the Castle suffered severe damage and the only remaining structure still standing is the Record Tower. In the 17th and 18th centuries the Castle was rebuilt.
It was only in January 1922 that the British who occupied the Castle handed it over to the newly independent Irish state and to Michael Collins – a leader in the Irish Independence struggle.
8. Guinness Storehouse
Guinness has been around since 1759 when Arthur Guinness started brewing in St James’ Gate Brewery. It was then that Arthur signed a 9000 year lease for the brewery at £45 per annum. Safe to say, there will be a pint of Guinness available for a long time still. The brewery gets it’s pure water from the Wicklow Mountains. The rich flavour is derived from the roasted barley.
Visitors to the Guinness Storehouse can learn how to pour their own pint of Guinness, and take a look around the surrounding city from the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor.
9. Celtic Nights
If it’s a night of Irish music and cuisine you are looking for, book a Celtic Night at the Arlington Hotel. You will be treated to lively Irish dancing, traditional music and a 3 course meal.
10. Kilmainham Goal
Kilmainham Goal is a historic building famous for it’s incarceration of Irish freedom fighters in the struggle. It was built in 1796 and holds some horrible history of the people who were incarcerated. I won’t go into that part. Famous Irish revolutionaries of the cause were James Connolly, Charles Stewart Parnell, Patrick and Willie Pearse (brothers) of who’s names you will recognise around the city.
It’s a sobering reminder of the struggles for Irish Independence, as well as the Famine where many where incarcerated for petty theft to survive.
Note that if you want to go for a tour book ahead of time! There is no guarantee you will get a ticket unless you get there very early.
11. Liffey River
Overall, besides for living here, just being a visitor there is so much to keep you busy and enjoy here. I have a lot more to share about Dublin, but will do that in another blog!