The capital of Ireland sits on the mouth of the river Liffey and is home to just under two million people. The river dissects the city into north and south sides, but visitors can criss-cross the many bridges to their hearts’ content.
A great way to get acclimatised in Dublin is to buy a ticket for its hop on, hop off bus tour. Tickets are valid for 2 days and the tour takes in 24 of the city’s most prominent tourist attractions. Make sure you get off at your chosen stop – visitors often find it difficult to tear themselves away from the entertaining and informative tour guides.
For history lovers, no visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to Trinity College, Dublin’s oldest university, which offers two-hour tours conducted by the school’s history graduates. Literature lovers can happily trail the city for days in search of landmarks and relics associated to some of Dublin’s most famous cultural exports, including Roddy Doyle, Oscar Wilde and the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker.
Get right to Dublin’s religious heart with a fascinating tour of Christ Church Cathedral. See the spine-tingling medieval crypt don’t miss the mummified cat and rat!
Dublin is home to several famous thirst-quenching institutions. Stout-lovers should not miss the Guinness Storehouse, pausing to take in panoramic views of Dublin in the Gravity Bar whilst sipping a pint of the black stuff. The Old Jameson Distillery is also well worth a visit, although maybe not on the same day!
On a more sombre note, hear the history of the quest for Irish independence brought to life by the expert tour guides at the museum at Kilmainham Gaol. The thick grey walls and stone-breakers’ yard of this former prison dating back to 1796 are a grim reminder of a nation’s former struggles.
For some light relief, head to St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin’s largest park. Today, it’s hard to believe that this tranquil spot with its nine-hectare collection of gardens, dotted with fountains and walking paths and filled with memorials of well-known Irish figures was once the site of public floggings and hangings.
As the sun sets on the city, the culture and spirit of Dublin refuses to retire. For a true party atmosphere, head to the famous Temple Bar district of the city where music and laughter spills out of the bars onto the cobbled streets outside.