There is something for everyone in Dublin from museums, parks, art galleries, breweries, castles, historic churches, and of course pubs. If you are like me and you only have two days to explore; the choices can seem overwhelming. Therefore, I have included below the top five places I think are worth your time whether you have two days or two weeks in the city.
St. Stephens Green
A botanical oasis located in the city center near the famous Grafton shopping street and beautifully designed Stephen’s Green shopping center. St. Stephens Green offers the perfect place to relax after a busy day of shopping. There are over 3 kilometers or walking paths through the park passing various sculptures and floral gardens. Located along the exterior fence of the park you will find many local artists if you are in search of something unique to decorate your walls. Are you traveling with your sweetheart? If so, make sure to stop by the waterfall or stone bridge for a truly romantic atmosphere. Entrance to the park is free.
One of the largest walled parks in Europe housing Ireland’s Presidential residence, Dublin Zoo, and multiple monuments. To say you could spend a whole day here is an understatement with over 1700 acres of park to explore you will not get bored if spending time outdoors is something you enjoy. The park was originally established in the mid 1600’s as a royal deer park for the King; and it is still home to a herd of wild Fallow Deer that you can see roaming the park grounds if you are lucky enough to spot them. Entrance to the park is free; however, some of the attractions located within the park i.e. Dublin Zoo does require an entrance free.
I am by no means a history buff and typically museums are not something that I choose to spend my time or money on. However, I was referred to this museum and decided to give it a shot. To be completely honest I was fascinated from the moment the tour started. This gaol is so intertwined in Irelands history as a place that leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848,1867 and 1916 were detained/executed. As you are led past the prison cells where inmates such as Anne Devlin, Constance Markievicz, Grace Gifford, Joseph Plunkett, and Edward Daly were held; you are informed that children as young as 5 years of age were also detained in these small cells with up to four other inmates. It is highly recommended that you pre-purchase tickets in advance on the Kilmainham Gaol’s website as spots fill up quickly. Entrance is 7 euro per adult and tours leave every 15 minutes.
Christ Church Cathedral
There are a variety of churches to see while in Dublin, so why this one you might ask. Truthfully, this one is my favorite because of their unique bell ringing tour that they currently offer on Saturday and Sundays. For an extra four euro you are taken into their Belfry (approximately 80 stair steps each way) and instructed on how to ring their bells by an expert. You will even be given the opportunity to “chime” or ring the bells yourself. With this being said the church itself is also stunning inside and out; and the crypt is a something you should visit if you are interested in historical artifacts. Entrance to the Church is 6 euro – this does not include the bell ringing tour fee.
Book of Kells – The Library of Trinity College
Of course I saved the best for last. Every book lover needs to visit the Library of Trinity College – Book of Kells. Even if you just love to look at beautiful things you should put this on your must do list. You can choose to purchase tickets on line for a 3 euro premium – this is a great option if you don’t like standing in long lines. Or you can show up early in the morning – doors open at 9:30 I would recommend being there no later than 9 am to avoid the longest of the lines. Tickets are 11 euro per adult and they will give you entrance to the Book of Kells exhibition and the “long room” library where over 200,000 of the libraries oldest books are stored in oak bookcases.
There are many more sights to see that I have not listed above such as the Guinness Storehouse, Merrion Square, Jameson Distillery, Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, St. Patricks Cathedral, National Museum of Ireland and so much more. This list just highlights of few of my favorite experiences in Dublin and I hope that it will help you decide where to spend your time while visiting this fascinating city.
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