As we already said in this post, our first trip together was to Dublin, so it has been a long time thinking of writing a post about this vibrant and beautiful city. We visited Dublin in Easter and there we found the cold that we were just overcoming in the Mediterranean. In our first (and short) trip to Ireland we only had time to discover its capital and the nice village of Howth, but we promised ourselves that we would go back someday to enjoy the Irish landscapes.
Anyway, in around one day and a half in Dublin we had enough time to visit some of the main hotspots of the city, and we must say that we loved all of them. Keep reading and write them down for your first trip to Dublin! 🙂
1. Guinness Storehouse
If every place has a beer, the flagship beer in Ireland is Guinness. And although we are not big fans of stout beer, we couldn’t be in Dublin without visiting the museum-brewery of this beer brand that exists since 1759. If you also want to visit Guinness Storehouse, we recommend buying the tickets in advance online to avoid queues. At least when we visited the brewery it was very crowded. There you will learn about the history and manufacturing of this world-known beer and taste a pint with good views of the city.
2. Trinity College
Trinity College is part of the University of Dublin, which is the oldest one in Ireland. It was founded in 1592 over a former monastery. The university campus (with 190,000 square metres) is placed right in the heart of Dublin. A major attraction of the Trinity College is its library. The oldest building was built between 1712 and 1732 and has more than 200,000 books. One of the library’s jewel is the Kells Book, which contains the four Gospels in Latin together with a lavish decoration.
3. Dublin Castle
Entering the Dublin Castle is not always in the lists of top things to do in Dublin. However, in our opinion, it was one of the best visits of our trip. It was a guided visit in which we could learn a lot about the history of the castle and of Ireland and its independence process as well. In fact, the castle used to be the seat of the British Government in Ireland until 1922. Nowadays it is a government complex, conference centre and tourist attraction. As a peculiar fact, under the castle runs the River Poodle.
4. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Founded in 1191, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland for the whole country. But it’s not the sole cathedral that you will find in Dublin: in fact, the seat of Dublin’s bishop is in the other Medieval cathedral, popularly known as Christ Church. Initially, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral was a small temple made of wood, but later it was decided to rebuit in stone. Its majestic architecture and rich history really deserve a visit.
5. Phoenix Park
Something we really miss in Barcelona are those large parks that one can find in other European cities. And Phoenix Park is a major example of it since it’s the largest urban park in Europe with more than 700 hectares. Taking into account that it’s a huge park located a bit far from the city centre, visiting it might take you an entire morning. But it’s worth it to spot its deer and monuments. We specially loved to see the Wellington Testimonial, Europe’s tallest obelisk, and the Papal Cross which is located in the exact place where the Pope celebrated a mass with 1 million attendants in 1979.
6. Temple Bar
Temple bar is an area located on the south bank of the River Liffey which is famous as Dublin’s nightlife quarter due to its traditional Irish bars and restaurants. But it’s not only about bars, since Temple Bar is also the seat of a good number of cultural institutions. Definitely, this area is a must-see for anyone visiting Dublin (although bars can get too crowdy sometimes).
7. Ha’penny Bridge
Officially, the Liffey Bridge, this is a beautiful pedestrian bridge built in 1816 over the River Liffey. It’s made of cast iron. The history of this bridge is quite special. William Walsh was the one operating the ferries that crossed the river, but it seems that they were in a bad condition, so he was requested to choose between fixing them or building a bridge. He opted for the second alternative and was granted the right to extract a ha’penny toll from anyone crossing it for 100 years. Nowadays, this bridge is an icon of Dublin. You will cross it several times during your trip but fortunately you won’t need to pay for that. 🙂
8. Just walking around
Dublin is a nice city to walk around. Its famous colourful doors, the shops at Grafton Street, the classical Irish pubs… Get lost among its streets and let Dublin surprise you.