Things to Do in Dublin - page 3
A visit to Aviva Stadium will give you a feel for Irish people’s passion for sport. Join about 50,000 other fans for a rugby match or football (soccer) game at this stadium on Lansdowne Road. If sport isn’t your thing, come for a concert; big name acts such as Rihanna and Michael Jackson have performed at Aviva Stadium.
Housed inside Temple Lane Studios, the Irish Rock 'n' Roll Museum Experience chronicles the evolution of the Dublin music scene from the 1970s to the present day. The museum features memorabilia from the likes of Thin Lizzy, Rory Gallagher, and U2, and offers a behind-the-scenes glimpse at a live music venue and working studio.
Housed in a meticulously restored Georgian townhouse, the James Joyce Centre museum is devoted to one of Ireland’s greatest literary figures. The house once hosted the dance academy of Denis Maginni, a minor character in Joyce’sUlysses, and now showcases Joycean artifacts including furniture from his Paris apartment and displays on his life and writings.
For a pastoral experience without having to venture far from the city, spend a few hours at Newbridge House and Farm. Explore the 30-acre (12-hectare) traditional farm and meet its charming residents, including pigs, Connemara ponies, chicks, and more. Then tour the house, one of Ireland’s finest examples of Georgian architecture.
The James Joyce Tower is known for being featured at the beginning of James Joyce'sUlysses. Today, it's the James Joyce Tower & Museum, and is celebrated for housing letters, photographs, and other personal possessions from Joyce. The museum also contains rare editions of his work and other interesting items such as the original key to the tower, a plaster bust of Joyce made by Milton Hebald, and two plaster death masks of Joyce made by Paul Speck.
Visitors can also visit the living quarters which still show signs of the tower's original purpose, defense against Napoleon. Though the tower never saw any action, the massive outer door, reinforced against attackers with sheet metal, bolts, and bars, still stands here. You can also see a trap door leading to the artillery storage room below. The only windows are narrow and angled to protect from cannon attacks. A narrow winding staircase leads to the roof where there is a circular gun deck. From the roof, you can enjoy panoramic views across the Dublin Bay.
The Georgian Period was a regal time, when many of Dublin’s most well to do residents resided in lavish homes. One of those stunning historical abodes is Number Twenty Nine, a Georgian townhome from the late 18th century that’s now a public museum. Tour every corner of this extravagant home—now the city's Georgian House Museum—from a basement that holds an authentic collection of Georgian era furniture, to an attic that has carpets, curtains, and artifacts that have been preserved for hundreds of years. In addition to the intriguing period pieces, informative storyboards help to educate visitors on the life of a wealthy homeowner. Similarly, there’s also info on the daily lives of residents who weren’t so well off—particularly the servants who kept the home in such a reputable and high-class state. Wandering through Number Twenty Nine takes the better part of an hour, and seeing as it’s only a short walk from Grafton Street and the city center, it’s an educational and insightful stop on a walking tour of Dublin.
Even though it’s only an hour from Dublin, Avoca is a town where visitors feel like they’ve traveled back 400 years. Much of that feeling can be attributed to the historic Mill at Avoca Village, which has been weaving rugs, throws and scarves since 1723. Today, Avoca Handweavers is renowned throughout Ireland for their woven women’s clothing, and in addition to being Ireland’s oldest mill, is also considered to be the oldest business still operating in Ireland today. The multi-generational business aside, Avoca village is so visually charming that’s it been chosen as the set for numerous movies and local Irish television. When strolling the pastel-cottage lined streets—which themselves are backed by rolling green hills that define the Irish landscape—you truly feel that you’ve left the city for an authentic Irish village. It’s little wonder, given its beauty, that Avoca is a popular weekend getaway or long day trip from Dublin, and a place where shopping for hand-woven scarves, or lingering at a cozy café, form simple, relaxing ways to spend time in the pristine countryside of Ireland.
Once part of the Guinness family estate, the 240-acre (97-hectare) St. Anne's Park in north Dublin is dotted with pretty water features and follies. Much loved and often frequented by those who live nearby, St. Anne’s also offers tennis courts, a par-3 golf course, extensive rose gardens, an arboretum, and woodland and sea-view walking paths.
This discount designer outlet center is a favorite among fashion-conscious tourists, who can join shopping day trips from Dublin or Belfast to search for cut-price clothing, accessories, and homewares. With around 90 boutiques at the outdoor village-like complex, and a range of cafés and restaurants, Kildare Village attracts bargain hunters.
Situated on the eastern coast of Ireland, a short drive or train ride from Dublin, SEA LIFE® Bray is an aquatic zoo featuring over 1,00 underwater residents, from octopuses to piranhas to sharks. Visitors to this family-friendly attraction can learn about marine life and conservation efforts and watch a variety of animal feedings.
More Things to Do in Dublin
Rising out of the green Irish countryside, the working watermill and windmills in the town of Skerries are both scenic and historic. Learning about the operation of the mills provides context on the history of the area, which has ties to stone-ground milling back to the 12th century. Visitors can walk the interior of the mills to see how they operate, and even try their hand at milling flour the old way.
Particularly scenic are the two windmills perched up on the rolling hills, where you can find views of the nearby islands off the coast—as well as the idyllic wetlands and millpond. Take a stroll through the sprawling area to get a sense of true, Irish countryside, without even being that far from Dublin.
Castletown House is a destination for architecture and history buffs. This Palladian country manor in County Kildare was built during the 1720s and is located on a 550-acre (222-hectare) estate of sprawling grounds and riverside walks, about 45 minutes west of Dublin. Today the mansion hosts art exhibitions as well as guided visitors.
One of seven fortified houses built by merchants in the Middle Ages when Dalkey served as Dublin’s main port, this 14th-century castle is the only one to survive fully intact. It now serves as a tourist attraction, with a heritage center, historical exhibits, costumed actors, and a gallery showcasing Dalkey’s literary connections.
During its 200 years of operation, Wicklow Gaol earned a reputation as one of the most brutal and barbaric institutions in Ireland. Visitors to the jail learn about the lives of prisoners, who were persecuted under anti-Catholic penal laws and were forced to endure harsh punishments and squalid conditions.
Extending for 79 miles (127 kilometers), this long-distance trail is one of Ireland’s best known walking routes. Wicklow Way starts in suburban south Dublin and cuts through scenic Wicklow Mountains National Park, leading past waterfalls, lakes, farmland, bogs, mountains, and glacial valleys, including the monastic ruins of Glendalough.
Named after the patron saint of Normandy and built by the Normans at the turn of the 12th century, St. Audoen’s Church is one of the oldest medieval churches in Dublin. An often overlooked historical gem, the church—part of which lies in ruins and part of which has been restored—offers insight into life in medieval Dublin.
Originally founded by Vikings in 1095, St. Michan’s Church is today both a Dublin tourist attraction and a place of worship for parishioners of the Church of Ireland. The main draw is the crypt in the church’s basement, where coffins hold exposed mummified remains. The conditions of the crypt have kept the mummies in a semipreserved state.
In 2010, Ireland’s most beloved potato chip brand—Tayto—opened this chip-themed amusement park, Tayto Park, which fast became one of the country’s most-visited attractions. The park features more than 100 family-friendly diversions, including roller coasters, ziplines, a climbing wall, 5D cinema, and a zoo housing everything from tigers to alpacas.
The Book of Kells, an ancient manuscript housed in Dublin’s Trinity Library, is one of the most fascinating (and popular) sights in all of Ireland. The Kells Monastic Site in County Meath is where the historic book was first written by monks. The religious settlement here dates back to 553 AD, and much of the original monastery remains in tact today. It draws in visitors with its massive stone crosses, round tower, and preserved historic streets. In fact it is the largest collection of high crosses in one area, and was home to the Book of Kells for over 800 years before its move to the current home in Dublin.
Visiting the monastic site is a special experience that feels like going back in history, for not much has changed in the 1,200 years since it was constructed. The Abbey of Kells continues to be a significant site, having been raided by Viking conquerors in the 10th century. At one point, the Book of Kells was stolen during a raid — though later returned to its original home (without the cover.) Kills continues to be one of the most important monastic sites in Ireland.
If you’re curious about your Irish background, head over to the Irish Family History Centre for an exciting way to look for your ancestors and discover new strands of your unique family story. Part of EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, the center can be an illuminating place to spend a few hours during your trip to Dublin.
Ireland’s capital city is an important stop for cruise liners on round-the-world, transatlantic, and European routes. Not only do cruisers disembarking at Dublin Cruise Port have easy access to all of the city’s top sights—from Dublin Castle to Trinity College and the Book of Kells—but they can also head to day-trip destinations outside the capital.
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