Dublin, or Baile Átha Cliath in Gaelic, is Ireland's Capital and largest city. It is home to over a quarter of the countries people, almost one million in all and is the gateway by which over half of all visitors enter Ireland. Dublin has a rich history having being founded by the Vikings. Dublin, a beautiful and modern city, has a literary and cultural heritage, second to none. The birthplace of many great writers and poets - Jonathan Swift, James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, W.B.Yates and George Bernard Shaw, to name just a few, it is still home to a number of prestigious modern writers, including Seamus Heaney, winner of the Nobel Literature prize. This literary legacy is reflected in the numerous attractions within the city, with a myriad of museums dedicated to its famous authors and even pub tours that take visitors around their old haunts. Rich in parks, historic sites, theatres, and music and comedy venues, there is a wealth of things to do here. Dublin is a youthful, vibrant and dynamic city with an ever increasing cosmopolitan influence. Take a city tour of Dublin retracing its chequered history and colourful past. The following attractions are some of Dublin best:
National Museum of Ireland - The National Museum of Ireland was opened in 1890 and was the result of the merging together of several Irish Collections. A beautiful and inspiring attraction, the Museum contains artefacts and masterpieces dating from 2000 B.C. to the 20th century.
National Gallery of Ireland - A huge collection of paintings and sculptures are on offer at the National Gallery of Ireland. The collection spans from the 14th to the 20th centuries and includes all the major Continental Schools. Irish painting is charted from its re-emergence in the 17th century to Jack B. Yeats, Ireland's most important 20th century artist. Admission is free and it is advisable to check the timetables in advance for any special exhibits or shows.
Phoenix Park - Completed in 1861 and standing at 205 feet tall, the memorial in the Phoenix Park is the tallest obelisk in Europe. It was built to commemorate the victories of the 'Iron Duke', Arthur Wellesley Duke of Wellington who was born in Dublin.
Trinity College and Old Library - Trinity College Dublin is the oldest University in Ireland, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. Situated in the heart of a busy European capital, Trinity is famous for graduates such as Swift, Goldsmith, Wilde and Beckett. A visit to Trinity with its majestic 18th century buildings and squares is like stepping back into another age, an opportunity to experience the peace and quiet of another era. The Old Library built between 1712-1732 was renovated to coincide with the College's 400th anniversary in 1992. Visitor facilities include The Treasury - which houses the Book of Kells and other early Christian manuscripts; The Long Room - the largest single chamber library in the world, containing 200,000 of the library's oldest books in its oak bookcases:
Book of Kells - The Book of Kells is one of history's most famous books and is the best surviving example of an early Christian illuminated manuscript. The Book is housed in a museum at Trinity College. Though its magnificent jewelled cover was removed by the Vikings, the intricate artwork depicting the four gospels continues to fascinate visitors from all over the world. The Book of Kells exhibit also includes information on The Book of Durrow, the Book of Armagh, the Book of Mulling and the Book of Dimma and how they were produced. The Book of Armagh and the Book of Durrow are located nearby in the Old Library of Trinity College.
St Patrick’s Cathedral: Saint Patrick's Cathedral has contributed much to Irish life throughout its long history (it was founded in 1191). Jonathan Swift was Dean of Saint Patrick's from 1713-1745, during which time he expressed his 'savage indignation' at appalling social conditions in Ireland. He was also Dean when Handel's 'Messiah' received its first performance in 1742 sung by the combined choirs of Saint Patrick's and Christ Church Cathedrals. 'Living Stones,' the Cathedral's permanent exhibition, celebrates the Cathedral's place in the life of the city; its history, and its role at the dawn of the third Christian Millennium. It emphasises that the Cathedral is not a museum, but a building embracing the past to herald the future.
St Mary’s Pro-Cathedral: In 1814, planning started for the construction of a Catholic Pro-Cathedral (provisional cathedral) for Dublin. The Anglican ruling class was outraged at the idea that it should be built in central O'Connell Street, so the cathedral was constructed on a back-street site, hidden away, out of view. Located on Marlborough Street, Irish Catholics flocked here to hear Mass from as early as 1825, before Catholic Emancipation was fully in effect. The facade is based on the Temple of Theseus in Athens. The interior is more austere but has a beautiful depiction of the Ascension carved above the high altar. St Mary's Pro-Cathedral is home to the famous Palestrina Choir, where tenor, John McCormack, began his career. You can hear the choir singing every Sunday during the 11.00 am Mass.
Guinness Hop Store - The Guinness Hop Store is located in a beautiful 19th century building just beside the Guinness Brewery on James Street. The Guinness Zone at the Store, takes you through the history of Guinness and how it all started, including their innovative advertising campaigns and the world famous ‘Guinness is Good for you’ posters. There is a model of the Cooperage and Transport Museum as well as a traditional pub where you can sample a complimentary glass of their finest brew.
The National Theatre (Abbey & Peacock) - The Abbey and Peacock Theatres make up The National Theatre. Founded in 1904 by poet William Butler Yeats, Lady Augusta Gregory and Edward Martyn, the Theatre presented some of the earliest works of Yeats, Synge, O'Casey and Shaw. It continues on the cutting edge of Irish theatre, including plays by Brian Friel, Frank McGuinness, Tom Murphy and Marina Carr. The company continues to attract world wide critical acclaim for its award-winning productions,
Kilmainham Gaol - This former jail is one of the largest unoccupied gaols in Europe. Its history covers some of the most heroic and tragic events in Ireland’s development as a nation from 1796 to the 1920s. Some of Ireland’s most famous historical figures, including Robert Emmet, Thomas Francis Meagher, Charles Stewart Parnell and De Valera and a host of others in Irish history are associated with the Gaol