19 Top Rated Tourist Attractions in Dublin
A city with a remarkable, unique, and vibrant personality, Dublin is steeped in history and culture and home to some of the world's most breathtaking ancient monuments and remarkable modern buildings.
Home to the Guinness Brewery and Dublin Castle, this world-famous city is packed with sites that are all within walking distance of each other. The Dingle Peninsula, which juts out into the Atlantic Ocean near Dublin, is rich in natural beauty and home to the Bay of Dingle, Ireland's most popular sea-water surfing spot.
But a visit to Dublin is much more than just sightseeing. The city has an authentic and relaxed lifestyle and a wonderful community spirit, one that's always eager to invite visitors into the fold. Plan your trip with our list of the best attractions in Dublin.
Dublin Castle (Dubhlin Ghuill an Oig) is a Dublin landmark on the south side of Dublin Castle Hill (O'Connell Street). It dates from around 1020 AD, and is one of the city's oldest buildings. Highlights include St Patrick's Cathedral and the Earl's Court suite, where the Earl's Court Fair is held each summer. With its rich history and ornate architecture, Dublin Castle is truly an historic landmark in the heart of Dublin. And because it's a listed structure, it is, by law, open to the public. Travel by foot or take bus number 5, number 10 or number 11 to get to the top of Dublin Castle Hill. From the top, you can easily get a good view of Dublin city.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
Built between 1193 and 1220 on a site where the remains of Patrick's Cathedral once stood, St. Patrick's Cathedral is the oldest standing building in Ireland. Although the cathedral was rebuilt and restored over the centuries and now has many beautiful stained glass windows, the largest memorial to the nation's patron saint remains a book of daily readings. The Celtic cross on top of the building represents the remains of a 1st century Celtic cross and has become a Christian symbol of Ireland.
Christ Church Cathedral
The place where a nation's destiny was founded by St. Patrick, founder of the Catholic Church, Christ Church Cathedral (Co. Dublin) dominates the southeast corner of St. Patrick's Park, Dublin's largest city park. The massive Gothic-Gothic Church, the focus of Catholic worship in Ireland, was built between 1150 and 1250. The interior, as magnificent as it is austere, is spanned by stained-glass windows portraying the life of Jesus and is capped with an elaborately carved ceiling. Because of the cathedral's great size and magnificence, as well as its history, it can seem overpowering. Come after noon or an afternoon and you'll find it more relaxed.
Dublin Writers Museum
Dublin Writers Museum is a one-room museum dedicated to the city's long tradition of world-renowned writers, with a focus on nineteenth-century authors. Set in the old Lifeboat House at Wexford's Grand Hotel Wexford, it features rotating exhibitions, featuring literary masterpieces, manuscripts and first editions, as well as manuscripts from the collected works of Ireland's best-known writers. A small gift shop on the ground floor has everything you might want to give a fellow author.
Garden of Remembrance
Garden of Remembrance is a monument to the Irish patriot and poet, William Carleton, who had a vision of the slums of Dublin and founded the Garden of Remembrance in 1875 to commemorate the children who died. With its simple design, the memorial consists of four curved, stone arches on a site at Island Bridge in Dublin where once stood a railway station, which is now part of the Luas tramway system. Each of the four arches represents a year of a century and the centre arch commemorates the year 1876. Carleton, who died in 1882, also wanted a child born on September 1st to be given a name from the Roman alphabet on the day.
The Guinness Storehouse
Built inside Dublin's famous St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Guinness Storehouse is a huge museum and tourist attraction. Visitors can tour the House of Guinness (the Brewery and Cellar), where a guided tour explains the brewing process, including how Guinness beer is made. Visitors can sample some of the brew at one of the House of Guinness bars, or have a pint of Guinness in any of several Irish pubs on the same site. Alternatively, opt for the 'pub crawl,' a tasting tour of several of Dublin's most well-known bars. The tour is a great way to enjoy an Irish pub, with lots of beers to choose from. This two-hour tour is not only a fun and easy way to enjoy your time in Dublin, it's also the only way to experience St. Patrick's Cathedral.
One of the oldest university colleges in the world, Trinity College, Dublin is in Ireland's capital city, Dublin. Trinity is an independent, state-funded, co-educational, university, founded in 1592. Although it is now part of the University of Dublin, the college gained university status in 1965. A liberal arts college, Trinity is a world-renowned center for learning in Irish history, language, literature, and philosophy, and continues to attract over 17,000 students. Trinity offers a comprehensive range of subjects including religious studies, art, music, law, medicine, and science.
General Post Office
Since 1834, the Dublin GPO has been the post office of the Irish capital and is notable for its vast size and appearance as well as its location in the heart of the city. The exterior is very plain with many Gothic Revival touches and is capped by a tower with an iron spire. Inside, the large lobby has massive stone walls, marble columns and is filled with lofty columns of dark oak and painted a rich cream color. It is also here that the postal code of the city can be found. The GPO remains the center of Dublin life and there are many sites within its walls. Most notable are the Railway Museum, the Archway, a museum to houses of the Industrial Revolution in the city's south suburbs, as well as the Guinness Storehouse.
National Gallery of Ireland
Designed by Sir Charles J. Hennessey in the years following the break-up of the British Empire, the Art Gallery of Ireland in Dublin is the world's largest public art gallery and boasts more than 2,000 paintings from the Renaissance to the present day. Highlights of a visit include the Gallery's 12th-century Jewel House, home to the famous Limerick Chalice, and Thomas Cole's The Course of Empire. As the repository of the finest collection of Western European paintings in Ireland, the Gallery regularly hosts high-profile exhibitions that draw visitors from across the globe.
Located in the heart of the city of Dublin, Ireland, this historic neo-Gothic City Hall and adjacent Custom House date from 1766 and were designed by Henry Flood. Now listed as a National Monument, these striking buildings are made of limestone with a beautiful brick-and-stone finish, an exquisite pastel-green roof and soaring upper galleries that define a gothic influence. The building is used as a city council chamber, but at other times, it houses museums and exhibitions of local interest. Some special events take place in the building, such as concerts and literary lectures, and it is often used as the backdrop for films and television programs.
Blarney Castle has been restored to its former glory as a luxury five-star hotel, which includes fine restaurants, private galleries and secret gardens. A one-of-a-kind location and stunning architecture has put the castle, now a Unesco World Heritage Site, among the world's best hotels, and it continues to receive accolades. Blarney Castle is most famous for the legendary stone called the Blarney Stone, believed to be the reason why you need to kiss something a man at some point in your life. It was originally placed on a chastely waiting Lion of Judah, but is now on the coat-of-arms of the McMenamins Blarney Castle Irish Pub in Seattle, WA. You can see the Blarney Stone in St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin.
Kilmainham Gaol was built by the British Army in 1816 to hold convicts from England. Today, it houses the Irish Prison Service administration and has become a tourist attraction. One of the most fascinating tours is the 10-minute "Dark History Tour," where guides lead visitors around the crumbling cell blocks and through the tower where hanging and hangings were carried out. The facility is a UNESCO World Heritage site and has been the setting for a number of popular movies. Visitors can book a guided tour of the prison's museum and tour, or attend the prisoners' benefit society, the Kilmainham Gaol Club, on an organized basis. The prison's evening concerts, which vary in the season, attract large crowds.
The Temple Bar is a riverside area of Dublin that extends from the tiny Whitehall Basin to the River Liffey. At its heart, it is a district of grand 18th- and 19th-century buildings, international-style shopping, and trendy bars and restaurants. It is now one of the most exciting urban spaces in Europe, a bold new setting for alternative culture and a magnet for all kinds of people who are searching for new experiences. The area's history stretches back to the days of the Vikings, and it once grew to become one of the busiest dockyards in the world. During the 20th century the area was overtaken by warehouses, but in recent years it has been revitalized. The most interesting buildings are now occupied by cutting-edge and successful cultural venues, galleries, and art galleries, and Dublin's biggest musical venue, the Olympia Theatre, is here.
A baroque gem in the making, O'Connell Street is a must-see when in Dublin. The 'Merrion' street is just one of the numerous attractions in the city, and is a fascinating area of the Irish capital and home to the Book of Kells, the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College, St Patrick's Cathedral and the Four Courts. It is a vibrant and interesting place to browse with plenty of high street retailers, cafes and plenty of local pub and music venues.
Grafton Street is Dublin's premier shopping street and a center of high-fashion and crafty shopping. The old-world street-vendors have all but disappeared, and instead you'll find a mix of designer stores, craft shops, and independent clothing boutiques, trendy bars, and cafes. Dublin's biggest designer shopping district is around St. Stephen's Green, off Grafton Street. The best time to visit is during the afternoons, when the street is packed with people enjoying a stroll in the sun.
Georgian House, St. Stephen's Green
For over 100 years, Georgian House has been welcoming the public to its home in St. Stephen's Green in Dublin. Built in 1805 for a prominent Dublin businessman, the home is built on the corner of a well-tended public garden in the heart of Dublin's green belt. There are a few special rooms in Georgian House, but the main attraction is the home's interior decoration. Built in the neoclassical style, the house is notable for its magnificent high ceiling spaces. The collection of treasures in Georgian House, including Irish and English antiques, paintings, silver and porcelain are the result of the great wealth and success of its former owners.
Royal Hospital Kilmainham
The best known and most historically significant building in Dublin, the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, was established by Sir Edward Kingston Ludlow, the 19th Baron Howth, in 1740. Located in the heart of the city, it takes its name from the brother of King Charles I, Henry Ludlow, who was the second president of the Irish House of Commons in 1692 and 1703. The hospital was originally intended for sick and wounded soldiers returning from the Irish army and it remains the centre of hospital care in Ireland. It is still a place of healing, with various branches devoted to the treatment of mental illness and children's diseases.
Irish Museum of Modern Art
A 20-minute walk from St. Stephen's Green, IMA is housed in a former police station. It's the perfect location for the museum, which displays the finest collection of modern Irish art and architecture. Housed in a building built in 1908, IMA shows work from such artists as Francis Bacon, Damien Hirst, Louise Bourgeois, and Francis O'Connor. Changing temporary exhibitions of modern art and architectural design are exhibited here.
Another of Ireland's iconic structures, the 2,718-foot-long bridge, completed in 1829, is the world's second largest "basket" suspension bridge after the one in Pylos, Greece. The eight-lane bridge runs from D'Olier Street in the city center to Butchers' Row on the south side. It's a popular site for fishing or simply admiring the view, especially from the open-air observation deck. There are so many great things to see in Dublin, which means that you can fit them all into a single city visit. If you want to see the Guinness Storehouse and the Book of Kells, you can do that in less than a day. If you want to see Trinity College, you can do that in half a day.