There are many wonderful sights to see around Dublin, which is why it can be hard to fit everything in just one visit! To help you out as you try to plan your visit to Ireland’s capital, here are some of my favorite sights in the city and a little bit of information about them.
One of the many fascinating places in the city is Kilmainham Gaol. The jail was first built in 1796 to replace the old jail in the city, and was based on three golden rules: separation, silence, and surveillance. This meant that each prisoner was kept in his own cell, must remain silent at all times, and was under constant surveillance by the guards. The jail is famous for holding many well-known Irish rebels in the Easter Rising and a number of other rebellions in the Irish struggle for independence. Today, guided tours are offered throughout the year. Be sure to book in advance though, this is one of the most popular tours in Dublin, so spots fill up fast!
Just across the street from the jail is the Irish Museum of Modern Art, or the IMMA for short. This museum houses a fantastic collection of artwork dating from the beginning of the 20th century. What’s really interesting about the museum is that it’s actually the old Royal Pensioner’s Hospital, which was established for retired soldiers in 1684. Today it is a lovely spot to wander around the gardens, or you can visit The Old Man’s house and learn about the history of the hospital and how it became the museum that it is today. If you want to see beautiful works of modern art from artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh, you can take a look around the many gallery’s and see different famous paintings.
Another must-see in Dublin is the Guinness Storehouse. This is another one of Dublin’s most popular attractions, and for good reason! The storehouse is a self-guided tour which takes you through the building to learn about how beer is made. On the first floor, you can learn about the brewing process and how each of the different ingredients add to the flavour of the beer. Next, head upstairs to learn about how the beer was transported around the world. On the third floor you can discover all the many different advertising campaigns that Guinness has used to establish the well-known brand today, including a chance to play the iconic Guinness Harp. Be sure to stop by the fourth floor, where you can enter the Tasting Rooms and learn how to properly enjoy a glass of Guinness. Finally, head up to the Gravity Bar for your free pint and a 360 degree view of the city. If you like, you can pour your own beer and learn how to craft the perfect pint of Guinness yourself!
If it’s something stronger that you’re after, try heading across the river and over to Smithfield, where you can visit the old Jameson whiskey distillery. While no longer in use, the distillery was used up until the 1900s when the company moved its operations to Cork. The building fell into disrepair, but in the 1970s the Jameson whiskey distillery was restored as a visitor centre with information about the making of whiskey and the history of the Jameson family and their distillery. The tour is very interactive, with a hands-on tasting workshop at the end to compare Scottish, American and finally Jameson whiskey. At the end of your tour you can relax downstairs in JJ’s bar with either a straight shot of whiskey or else Jameson’s signature cocktail—ginger, lime, and Jameson.
Finally, another great activity for your visit to Dublin is participating in Pat Liddy’s walking tour of the city. This is a wonderful two hour tour which takes you all around some of Dublin’s most iconic sights. Stop by Trinity College and hear about how it was founded, take a stroll through Dublin Castle’s courtyard, cross the Ha’Penny Bridge to walk through temple bar, and visit the city council building to learn about Ireland’s history. The tour is a wonderful way to learn about the history of the city and to get out in the fresh air at the same time.
Next week I’ll be writing about what to do if you want to get out of the city for a day and explore Dublin’s coast. See you next week, and don’t forget to stop by and say ‘hello’!