At the beginning of this post I would like to point out that I am not following ratings lists or guides. This is just my personal experience that I hope will serve others as a means of reference. Top 5 things to do in Dublin is just my account of how to fill your day with memories.
Your Airlink Bus or taxi has just dropped you of at your accommodations. You have freshened up and are ready to explore. If you’re lucky enough you are right in the center of it all on Dame St., and it’s a great place to be.
Back in 930 AD Vikings built a fortification at the junction of two rivers. The site was called Dubh Linn by the locals, which means Black Water. The fortifications were built up to a real castle standard by the English in 1230 AD. The only reminder of that splendor is a 13-century record tower. History tells us of many changes, both structural and political, that are associated with this castle.
Today Dublin Castle is still a government functioning building, open to the public during certain hours. The grounds around it and courtyard are free to enter and explore. To see inside the State Apartments and Royal Chapel will run you about 6 euros plus a couple more if you want a guided tour. If you are lucky like we were, there will be an open exhibition running. In our instance, it was sand sculptures in the courtyard and they were magnificent.
Christ Church Cathedral
Constructed in the mid-11th century, Christ Church Cathedral, is officially claimed as the seat of the Church of Ireland. With its rich history, the grounds and interiors have been used in TV shows such as “The Tudors” and “Reign”. I’ve been told the costumes used in “The Tudors” for Catherine of Aragon and King Henry are here on display, however, I do not recall seeing them.
In the late 12th century the underground Crypt was added. It is the largest Cathedral Crypt in both England and Ireland. The Crypt is well worth seeing. Christ Church Cathedral Crypt contains two of the oldest secular (nonreligious) carvings in Ireland. There is even a mummified cat and rat on display. Story goes that in the1850s, the cat was chasing the rat and they both got stuck in the pipe of the church organs. Again about 6-euro admission.
St Stephen’s Green
St Stephen’s Green is the biggest public park in the city of Dublin. Surrounded by busy streets like Grafton and adjacent to St Stephen’s shopping mall, it has been a local favorite for over a century. St Stephen’s Green has not always been so openly available for enjoyment. Back in 1664, this large rectangular area was surrounded by a wall and accessible only to rich aristocracy. It wasn’t until 1880 that the park was opened to all citizens for enjoyment. Entrance through Fusilier’s Arch is by the Grafton Street. Inside, there are statues of important figures that played a role in the parks history. One portraying thin shadowy figures is dedicated to the victims of famine that struck Ireland in 1845.
The park is very peaceful and beautiful. One interesting fact is that the park has a section for blind people, with plants of strong aromas and resistant to touch. There are also braille informational plaques. Entrance to the park is free, of course.
Even thou there is a Temple Bar Pub, it is the area that bears the name. There are two theories where the name of this district comes from. One being that the Temple family resided there in the 1600’s. The other is that it’s a copy of a Temple Bar area in London.
Whether you are looking for lunch or a night out, this is the place to be. In the tiny square, there are almost always street musicians or some other entertainers. The adjacent streets and buildings are teaming with small shops, galleries, cafes and pubs. Places like Temple Bar Pub and Oliver St John Gogarty’s are not to be missed. And if you walk around the area at night, you may run into a pub or restaurant performing the River Dance, like we did.
We have also had the privilege of being there during a soccer match between The Celts and Liverpool at the local stadium. As you can imagine, the dancing and celebrations spilled onto the streets. Ahhh good times, good times.
National Museum of Ireland Archeology in Dublin
It is hard to just point in one direction as there are so many wonderful museums in the area, however you can’t beat free admission last time I checked. The National Museum of Ireland covers from the Stone Age to the Middle Ages. There is a replica of a Viking Longship on display. In addition, a Viking skeleton remains with his sword and lots of artifacts associated with that period. There are also bog bodies recovered dating to 400 BC with Celtic artifacts. The museum is constantly adding new exhibits so you never know what else you will run into.
Now if you went to Christ Church Cathedral and you bought your ticket there, perhaps you got the combined ticket to Dublinia. It’s a museum covering the profound impact that Viking raiders and settlers had on Ireland and its inhabitants. With a crossover to St Michael’s Medieval Tower. Dublinia has some interactive exhibits and lots of ways for you to see ways of the past Viking or Medieval era.
In closing, I would like to point out that these were just my suggestions and in no way are to be referenced as an official guide or measure. I would also like to say that if this does not make you want to go see it all for yourself…. well then something must be wrong with you. Now on that silly note, if I were you I would refer to the Temple Bar section and go enjoy a wonderful pint of Harp or Guinness. Remember to support your local brewery, or better yet, Ireland’s.
For more pictures from our trips just click the Instagram Link.
Now pack and get out there!