The Best Sights of Dublin

  • 01 of 09

    Dublin's Best Sights for Visitors

    Dublin's Custom House - an iconic view, but just outside the Top Ten
    Tristan Reville / Flickr / CC BY-ND 2.0

    The best sights of Dublin - what are they? Trick question, as nearly always this is up to individual tastes and interests, budget, time, and mobility. But let us try to outline the more usual "must sees" of Ireland's capital, that should be on any list. So, even if you have just one day in Dublin, you better make sure not to miss any of these top sights! Most are within easy reach of the city center - or will be part of a bus tour. Which ever way of transport you decide upon - you are certain to find further attractions on the way!

    So, without further ado, let us have a look at Dublin's most recommended attractions ... in strictly alphabetical order!

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  • 02 of 09

    Dublin Castle

    The inner courtyard of Dublin Castle
    Bernd Biege

    Not a forbidding fortress at all, and definitely not a fairy-tale image, bout a hotch-potch of styles, most of them not medieval - Dublin Castle is the "Irish Stew" of castles, everything thrown in, in bits and pieces, given a dash of colour now and then. The original (and presumably quite primitive) Viking fortress was expanded, renovated, torn down and rebuilt over the centuries. Today a massive tower and the Royal Chapel look medieval while all administrative buildings are in more modern styles. The defensive character is almost totally gone (though an optical representation can still be discerned here and there), but the beautiful gardens and impressive state rooms make more than up for it.

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  • 03 of 09

    Guinness and Jameson

    Toucans in full flight - at the Guinness Storehouse
    Bernd Biege

    Dublin without Guinness is like Milwaukee without ... you get the the point (or pint)! Nowhere is Guinness more the centre of attention as in the Guinness Storehouse. Based at historic St James's Gate (Dublin 8) this is part of the original brewery. Highlight of the tour is a "free" pint in the stunning Gravity Bar, high above Dublin's rooftops. But bear in mind that Guinness isn't the only drink - just across the Liffey you'll also find the Old Jameson Distillery, another alcohol-driven place of pilgrimage offering tours. With a slightly higher percentage. Here you might even partake in the Barrelman's Feast, an evening of food, drink, song, and dance ...

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  • 04 of 09

    The National Museum of Ireland in Kildare Street

    The National Museum of Ireland
    Courtesy of National Museum of Ireland

    This is the one museum that should definitely be high on the list of priorities for any visitor. The National Museum of Archaeology and History in Kildare Street (Dublin 2) is specialising in prehistoric and medieval Ireland (with some Egyptian stuff thrown in for good measure). Do not miss the excellent exhibition "Kingship & Sacrifice", this will bring you very close to some bog bodies. Equally fascinating is the wing dedicated to the Viking Age in Dublin, where you'll see daily life in this important Norse settlement be recreated in models. If you have more time, also do take in the National Museum in Collins Barracks, dedicated to decorative arts and more recent history.

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  • 05 of 09

    O'Connell Street and the General Post Office

    The Irish tricolor, proudly waving over Dublin's General Post Office
    Bernd Biege

    O'Connell Street is Dublin's main traffic artery and the widest urban street in Europe - which you will not believe at busy times. The central pedestrian area (where once the tram track ran), is dominated by statues and monuments, the houses on the left and right are mainly large and impressive(and commercially used). Pride of place amongst these goes to the General Post Office (GPO), scene of the 1916 rebellion and faithfully rebuilt after being shelled by artillery and a warship. A bronze statue of Cuchullain remembers the fallen heroes. A whole new attraction is "GPO Witness History" in the basement - an exciting exploration of the events of 1916. US visitors might feel right at home, too ... as many North American fast food franchises have staked their claim to O'Connell Street ...

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  • 06 of 09

    The Phoenix Park

    Deer grazing near the Papal Cross in Dublin's Phoenix Park
    Bernd Biege

    The world's largest enclosed municipal park, Phoenix Park (depending on who you ask, this claim might be disputed) can keep you busy for days - from the magnificent residences of the Irish President and the Ambassador of the United States to the quaint cricket and polo fields, from Ashtown Castle to the Garda Headquarters, and from the herds of deer roaming free to the less liberated animals in Dublin Zoo. Do not miss the Phoenix Statue and the Papal Cross nearby. Martial history is emphasized by the massive Wellington Monument and the much-raided Magazine Fort on Thomas Hill.

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  • 07 of 09

    Saint Patrick's Cathedral

    Saint Patrick's Cathedral dublin
    Walter Bibikow / Getty Images

    Ireland's largest church and the National Cathedral - this special status was conferred on a church were no bishop actually has his throne! Founded in 1191 by Archbishop Comyn, Saint Patrick's Cathedral was substantially renovated between 1844 and 1869 with moneys granted and raised by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness. Visitors will thus find a neo-Gothic cathedral with some older parts. Here you will also see the graves of Dean Swift (of "Gulliver" fame) and his beloved Stella.

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  • 08 of 09

    Temple Bar

    Dublin percussionists "Hit Machine" busking in Temple Bar
    Bernd Biege

    Originally earmarked for the wrecker's ball and redevelopment as a bus and rail terminal, the area south of the Liffey called Temple Bar was saved and reinvented as a "bohemian quarter". On good days you will meet street artists and enjoy international cuisine and bustling pubs. On bad days the area will be overrun by parties on "stag" or "hen nights". Temple Bar can be very much of a mixed bag and has been commercially developed to the maximum - the "bohemian" aspect being façade to a large degree.

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  • 09 of 09

    Trinity College and Library

    The Old Library at Trinity College Dublin, home to the "Book of Kells"
    Bernd Biege

    Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I (on the grounds of an Augustinian priory that was a victim of the dissolution), Trinity College even today dominates the city landscape. But the oldest buildings (the brick-built "Rubrics") date only from 1700. Most of the other impressive buildings were built during the renovation phase of 1759. Trinity College Library is home to more than a million books and some priceless manuscripts. The most famous of these being the "Book of Kells" - long queues may form in summer, and you'll never be able to see the whole book at leisure.