Dublin, though a small county, is home to the growing capital of Ireland and thus it is perhaps richer in activities than any other county.
The city, evidently its main attraction, is at the same time a great place for shopping or nightlife and a town full of history, having already celebrated its thousandth year.
Christchurch Cathedral is the oldest building in the city - founded in 1038. The General Post Office (GPO) still bears the bulletholes from the Easter Rising in 1916, that constituted the beginning of the long journey towards the Republic. Kilmainham Jail, where the heads of this uprising were held and later executed, is now a museum.
Trinity College, the world-famous institution founded by Queen Elizabeth in 1592, has earned its prestige through graduates such as Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and Bram Stoker. The visitor interested in art, history or culture should by no means miss the opportunity to see Trinity's Library, "the long room", with an impressive 40 feet tall barrel vaulted ceiling, that houses approximately 200,000 tomes. The "long room" shelters the amazing "Book of Kells", an 8th century version of the Gospels, in four volumes, illustrated by talented monks. The Books of Durrow (7th century) and The Book of Dimma (8th century) are another two of Ireland's valuable works of art.
Culturally, the city dwellers and its visitors benefit from the presence of Abbey Theatre, founded by one of the greatest literary minds of Ireland, W.B. Yeats, who had the intention, together with Lady Gregory, of creating a theatre for the performance of Irish drama. Abbey Theatre still focuses on promoting Irish works, especially since it established a smaller theatre downstairs, used particularly for the production of works by students of the Abbey School - talented young actors, directors and playwrights. The National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, now among Europe's best, is located in Dublin as well.
Let us not forget, though, two of the most visited attractions of Dublin: James' Gate Brewery, home of the world-famous "Guinness" black beer and the largest brewery site in the world, and Jameson Distillery, previous home of Jameson Whiskey.
One of the trendiest spots in Europe to go for a night out is found here, in Dublin, too: "The Temple Bar", famous for the quality and diversity of its pubs. Known in the 80's for its small art galleries and restaurants, as well as for the pubs, also small at the time, its popularity grew and celebrities come to Temple Bar's present-day pubs and restaurants. Also in Temple Bar are the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, The Temple Bar Music Centre, The Gallery of Photography and The Irish Film Centre.
Should all these be a little too much, the beautiful surroundings of Dublin provide the perfect kind of escape. Dublin is situated on the broad valley of the River Liffey and the Wicklow Hills shelter it in the south. Both the coast and Dublin Mountains are only a short drive away. Bus tours are organized, too. The Coast and Castle Tour takes tourists to the north of the county, from the Botanic Gardens to the 12th century Malahide Castle, and, after offering great views of Dublin Bay, takes the coast road to Howth. The South Coast Tour goes through Blackrock, Dún Laoighaire and Killiney Bay to get to Wicklow.
The National Museum of Ireland, the National Gallery of Ireland both offer free admission, and if you take a look inside you’re sure to be enthralled with the displays at both!
The National Museum of Ireland specializes in Archaeology and History and you’ll find more than 2 million artifacts dating back as far as 7000BC - these include Prehistoric Ireland, Viking Ireland, Medieval Ireland and much more. For those who prefer art to history, you’ll enjoy the National Gallery of Ireland (also free) with collections from the 14th to the 20th century; you will have an opportunity to discover breathtaking altar pieces, treasures and artist collections including Monet and Picasso.
If you love a good adventure and you’re into horror, stop at the Bram Stoker Dracula Experience for an interactive tour through the life and times of Count Dracula. You’ll find this experience to be both interactive and entertaining (and guaranteed scary).
For those who love the outdoors, the National Botanical Gardens of Dublin will provide you with a wide variety of plant life including some three hundred endangered plants from around the world. There are a number of educational events to take advantage of while you’re there as well. The Dublin Zoo is a must see offering the rare white rhinoceros and many other animals that will delight children and adults alike - don’t’ miss out on the unusual plant life you’ll find while you’re visiting the zoo!
No trip to Dublin would be complete without coming home with various Irish items such as Waterford Crystal, Belleek Pottery or the famous Aran Sweaters. You’ll love visiting the House of Ireland, Blarney Woolen Mills and Kilkenny Design for famous Irish fashions!
If you’re searching for something a little different that traditional Irish fare you can find Indian restaurants and a variety of Asian restaurants. Dinner options range from Cuban, Thai, Irish (of course), and a variety of other cuisine. If you’re looking for that perfect Irish dinner don’t miss Gallagher’s Boxty House or Restaurant Patrick Gilbuad for that just perfect Irish dinner!
No trip to any destination in Ireland would be complete without sampling the beers!! With a count of about six hundred pubs, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for whether it’s just a cold one in a quiet atmosphere or a booming pub with live music, interesting decor and history. Mulligans has a great deal of history and serves great Guinness beers, or for something a little more Victorian try Bowe’s Lounge which is more than 140 years old - you’ll be fascinated with Dublin’s smallest pub, The Dawson Lounge - once 20 people enter it’s considered well packed!!
Dublin offers a night life that varies from night clubs to pubs that remain open until the wee hours of the morning. You’ll enjoy your trip to Dublin no matter what time of the day or night you’re certain to find something fun and entertaining to do!