You can get special NYF discounts for the attractions along the recently launched Dublin Discovery Trails. You can choose between self guided walking tours, such as ‘The Story of Dublin’ and ‘Rebellion’, which is about the 1916 Easter Uprising (the General Post Office building pictured below was the HQ for the leaders of the Uprising).
On 1 January 2015, you can join in Resolution Day activities. There’s a Fun Run starting from Dublin Castle at 12 noon and exercise classes in parks around the city.
There are plenty of great things to do in Dublin, and they don’t all involve drinking Guinness! Like many Australians, I’ve got a decent chunk of Irish blood in me (my grandmother was a Murphy) and I’m sure that’s why places like Dublin are so attractive to me. I’ve compiled some of the best tips we’ve had on Europe a la Carte to help you plan your trip to Dublin. The Irish capital is featured in our best European cities to visit post.
Dublinia houses an interactive history of Dublin during the age of the Vikings and Medieval times. Marcus visited and suggested it would be an especially good outing for families with children.
Next to Dublinia is the beautiful Christ Church Cathedral. It’s the oldest building in Dublin (dating back to the 11th century) and you can get a combined ticket with Dublinia if you want to save some money.
I’m always a fan of libraries and was pleased to hear that Karen particularly liked the Chester Beatty Library on her trip to Dublin. It is situated inside the gardens of Dublin Castle (another great place to visit!) and it’s one of Dublin’s free attractions.
My personal tip for something to do in Dublin is to head to the Dublin Writers Museum – obviously Ireland is home to many famous authors and this museum showcases the lives and literature of writers such as George Bernard Shaw and W. B. Yeats.
Tours in Dublin
For many travellers, visiting Dublin is synonymous with drinking Guinness, and Marcus decided to tour the home of Guinness in Dublin. The tour goes through the Guinness Storehouse and basically covers the history of Guinness (but unfortunately doesn’t show the brewing in progress) – but the highlight comes at the end when all tour participants receive a freshly brewed pint of Guinness.
There are numerous different walking tours to take around Dublin. Marcus took a free walking tour (tips appreciated of course) with a New Europe Tour guide and was impressed that they really ran the tours no matter what the weather, and he considered it a good basic introduction to the city’s sights if you hadn’t been to Dublin before.
Trinity College Dublin
Karen went on the “Original Tour” with a Historic Walking Tours of Dublin guide which cost 12 Euros at the time, but seemed to be well worth it. It takes in sightseeing spots like Old Parliament House, Trinity College, Temple Bar, City Hall and so on and lasts about two hours.
For a tour of a rather different kind, you might try the Dublin Ghost Bus Tour. Lindsay took the tour and found it a little more on the silly side than the scary side, but said it was actually a fun way to learn about some of Dublin’s history in a completely different way.
Shopping and Eating in Dublin
Karen has some excellent tips on where to shop in Dublin in her unique shopping venues in Dublin post from her last trip there. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre sounds lovely, as does the Powerscourt Centre, built around an 18th century mansion.
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre
If you’re looking for a good meal, Karen also wrote up reviews of a couple of good restaurants, including Bewley’s Cafe and Restaurant in Grafton Street and the Church Cafe and Bar near the Jervis Shopping Centre. This photo of the Church’s Irish stew is making me hungry!
Irish stew and soda bread
Find the Best Deals on Hotels in Dublin
Click hereto check out the best deals on Dublin hotels using the HotelsCombined price comparison site.
On her last trip to Dublin, Karen stayed at the Arlington Hotel near O’Connell Bridge, which has a very central location and friendly staff.
Dublin is a Viking town.Â Or was a Viking town at least.Â Itâ€™s an impressive history that dates back over a thousand years and involves Viking settlers (or marauders depending on whom you ask) and Irish heroes (or villains, depending on whom you ask).
Dublinia, the Viking and Medieval museum in Dublin explains this very history.Â Despite my love of nearly all things Scandinavian, I did not set out to visit Dublinia.Â In fact, I set out to visit Christ Church Cathedral and a mummified cat and rat.Â Lucky for me, the two are connected by a foot bridge and a combined ticket price.Â Just 11 EUR for adults and 8.50 EUR for students.
Iâ€™m a sucker for Vikings and thought it just as well to check out both.Â And I did.Â And quickly realized that, while an impressive museum in its own right, much of the museum was geared towards a younger audience.Â And Iâ€™m getting old.Â Had I been about 12 or a little younger, this would have been right up my alley.
The museum has quite a few different exhibitions focusing on everything from the history of the Viking Age to the archeology of it.Â There are even a few people wandering around in period clothing.Â And, to top it all off, there is a medieval game room.Â Iâ€™ll be honest; this was the part that, despite my earlier complaint about getting old, kept my attention the longest.
Mummified cat & ratat Christ Church Cathedral
As I mentioned, it sometimes seems like it is catering to children rather than adults, but all in all, Dublinia offers a really good overview of the history of the Vikings in Dublin.Â If you have kids and are planning a trip to the Irish capital, Dublinia would be a great thing to do in Dublin.Â You can admire the architecture of Christ Church Cathedral as the kids marvel at the mummified cat and rat, then head over to Dublinia and enjoy the medieval game room and the Viking past of Ireland.
Dublin is known to be a haunted city with a great history of supernatural occurrences. The Dublin Ghost Bus Tour is one of my Europe travel tips as it takes brave visitors on a tour of the darker side of Dublin. Riders on the bus will learn the legends about how Dracula came to be, they will visit the infamous haunted steps and have an opportunity to stand in the middle of Dublin’s most haunted graveyard as they learn about the art of body snatching. The tour lasts a little over two hours and costs 25 Euros per person. Tours can be booked online or up to an hour before departure.
There are many beautiful and interesting places to see in Dublin, such as the Guinness Brewery Tour and even plenty of free Dublin attractions but if you’re one for spooks then this will be one of your Dublin favourites.
In my opinion, the spooks offered on the Dublin Ghost Bus Tour are more cheesy rather than scary. My girlfriends and I took the tour and had ourselves a hoot. The hokey ghost stories and the live storyteller made us laugh which made our experience quite pleasurable. The highlight of the tour takes place in a cemetery where the storyteller shares tales of body snatching and robbery. While the tour may seem a bit silly, it was a great way to learn the history of Dublin from a different perspective. The legends shared are ones that have been shared among the Irish for centuries. And the information about Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula, is completely factual and quite interesting.
If you’re only in Dublin for a few days, I wouldn’t worry yourself with trying to get on the Ghost Bus Tour. However, if you’re in town for longer and are looking for a fun evening activity then I would suggest hitching a ride on Dublin’s only haunted tour bus.
I had seen the New Europe Tour guides playing the Pied Piper in Berlin in the spring of 2009.Â Actually, I just wandered by as the tour guide was making a final pitch for tips.Â When I saw the company was offering tours in Dublin, I was intrigued.Â Mostly because they bill the walking tours as free and historical.Â And if thereâ€™s one thing I love while traveling it is free history.
The tours start every day at 11 and 13 and meets at City Hall.Â No matter the weather the tour must go on.Â We tested this theory on the icy streets of Dublin, and while the city itself was running out of grit, the 20-25 of us in the group managed to trek through town with no broken limbs.
The walking tour of Dublin focuses on the main attractions such as Dublin Castle and Trinity College.Â It is a cursory glance at the sights themselves, but the stories and history told give a great overview of the city, everything from the Viking history of the 800s to the 1916 Easter Rising.
Our guide, Christopher, did an excellent job of mixing the history of Dublin (and Ireland) with a healthy dose of pride in the city he grew up in.Â In the end, they stay true to their word, and the tour is free.Â Of course, tips (as mentioned above) are greatly appreciated and after a nearly three hour tour of the city, I was more than happy to give a few Euros.
The tour gave a great introduction to the city and helped to focus the remainder of the trip.Â Plus, having never been to the city before, the tour was a great way to get comfortable with the streets of Dublin and which sights were worth revisiting.
Update 16 November 2009: The lucky winner is Lucy Whittington author of Lucy Loves Australia. Also found on Twitter as @LucyWhittington. Lucy was the only entrant to correctly name the location of my Twitter background photo as the Zone Pyramids, near Marone, Italy (close to my favourite Italian lake, Iseo). However here’s her answer to the tiebreaker question, What most appeals to you about visiting Dublin?, “Admiring the architecture, a proper pint of Guinness, and the chance to jump on the DART to Howth for some sea air (OK and the shops appeal too!).”
However there’s another chance to win a weekend in Dublin in the Pour Your Own Pint online game. Any player who can score 100 will be entered into the draw to take place at the end of November, to win the prize of spending St Patrick’s Weekend 2010 in Dublin.
The Europe a la Carte Blog Twitter competition (4) launches today. To win you have to correctly identify the location in the background photo of my @karenbryan Twitter page. Iâ€™ll be giving clues on Twitter during the competition to help you work out the background photo location. Youâ€™ll also need to answer the tiebreaker question.
The destination displayed on the Twitter page background has been written about in the Europe a la Carte Blog. You must leave your answer as a comment on this blog post, also answering the tiebreaker question. The tiebreaker kicks in if either no-one gets the destination correctly or if more than one person gets the correct destination. The tiebreaker enables me to choose a winner by judging the most entertaining and/or insightful answer.
The short break to Dublin comprising of three parts:
You can arrange your stay at any time up to 30 December 2010, subject to availability. The winner of the Europe a la Carte Twitter Competition (4) will also receive 30 euro credit at one of the tables with its own beer tap. You can start practising for your stay by playing the Pour Your Own Pint online game. Everyone should try their hand at the game, as any player who can score 100 will be entered into the draw to take place at the end of November, to win the prize of spending St Patrick’s Weekend 2010 in Dublin.
Pull you own pint table at Arlington Temple Bar
Part 2: Two x 2 day Dublin passes courtesy of Visit Dublin. Dublin Passes includ free entry to over 30 top attractions such as Dublin Castle, Dublin Writers Museum and the Guinness Storehouse. It also covers transfer from Dublin Airport to the city centre on Aircoach.
Dublin Castle Gardens
Part 3: A 3 course evening meal with a bottle of house wine at the Gallery Restaurant at the The Church. I had lunch at The Church when I was in Dublin in October 2009, the food’s great and it’s an amazing building. You can follow @thechurch_ie on Twitter.
2 Decide on the location of the background photo. Itâ€™s in Lombardy in Italy. Follow me on Twitter @karenbryan for some more clues during the week. To follow me you need to click on the Follow button just under the small photo of me at the top left of my Twitter page.
3 Return to this blog post and write a comment with the name of the location in the Twitter background photo and the answer to the question, â€œWhat most appeals to you about visiting Dublin?”
Members of the Europe a la Carte blogging team canâ€™t enter the competition (as they can read the comments in blog admin).
Competition entries by blog comment must be made by midnight GMT on Sunday 15 November 2009.
Good luck and look out for some more great prizes in future Europe a la Carte Twitter competitions.
There are many great free attractions in the Irish capital of Dublin. It’s easy to get to Dublin from most of Europe and there are generally plenty of flight deals.Â If you plan to visit several paid for attractions, you should investigate the Dublin Pass.
I visited three of the free attractions in October 2009 which I’ve described at the start of the post. Then I’ve listed some other free Dublin attractions with links.
Free Dublin attractions I visited
City Hall Rotunda
City Hall was constructed in the late 18th century as the Dublin Stock Exchange. It was purchased by the City Corporation in the 1850s. Entrance to the Rotunda is free of charge, downstairs in the vaults there is a multi media exhibition about History of Dublin with an admission fee.
Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane
Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane houses a collection of modern and contemporary art. The main building itself Charlemont House is a work of art with beautiful glass ceilings. My favourite paintings were “Un Matin” by Monet and “Aloe” by William Leech.
AFrancis Bacon exhibition, which will run until March 2010,was being set up during my visit, so part of the Gallery was closed.
Chester Beatty Library
Chester Beatty Library is an absolutely amazing place that I’d highly recommend. It’s situated in Dublin Castle Gardens. The focus is on religion and culture with displays of paintings and manuscripts. I particularly liked the Japanese picture books.
When I visited in October 2009, the temporary exhibition, MANI: The Lost Religion of Light, was running. It was fascinating to find out about this religion which almost supplanted Christianity as it spread east and west from Persia.
Dublin is full of wonderful statues and sculptures. Here is a photo tour of my favourites from my trip to Dublin in October 2009.
Phil Lynott’s statue was unveiled in 2005 in Harry Street, just off Grafton Street. I remember Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzie performing on the TV music show “Top of the Pops”. The singer/bass player died in 1986 at the age of 36.
Phil Lynott statue, Harry St, Dublin
Just up from the entrance to St Stephen’s Green, opposite the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, is what I nicknamed the Tap Sculpture or maybe that should be Pigeon’s Bath.
Sculpture in St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
In Lower Liffey Street, close to Ha’Penny Bridge is the sculpture affectionately know as “The Hags with the Bags”. The women really do like they are engrossed in a good gossip after a shopping expedition.
The Hags with the Bags, Lower Liffey St, Dublin
At the entrance to one of Dublin’s ugliest buildings, The Central Bank, lies the Money Tree sculpture. It made me think of the phrase “money makes the world go around” and thought it appropriate that part of the globe was in the sun and the remainder dark.
The Money Tree, Central Bank, Dublin
I christened the sculpture in the pond at Dublin Castle Gardens, “The Water Prancers”.
Although I’m not your typical female shopaholic I really liked some of Dublin’s unique shopping venues.
Paul Kilduff introduced me to the The Powerscourt Centre which is constructed around an 18th century mansion. There’s a good selection of shops. The Powerscourt Gallery which opened in June 2009 is located in what was originally the ballroom of the mansion. The ceiling is one best examples of Georgian stucco in Ireland. I had lunch at the family run Al Vecchio Castello Restaurant on the first floor balcony. I had soup and pizza slices with salad which cost around 10 euro.
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre is home to more than 100 shops. It’s like a giant conservatory so has plenty of natural light. I saw several signs advertising free wifi in the Stephen’s Green shopping centre but didn’t have my netbook with me to try it out. I remembered the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre from my previous visit to Dublin when my husband and I enjoyed sitting in a cafe there.
The interior of Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, Dublin
The Kilkenny store in Nassau Street, again recommended by Paul Kilduff, prides itself in promoting Irish design, stocksingmany Irish products such as ceramics, crystal, jewellery and items of clothing. There’s also a cafe on the first floor.
So even if, like me, you’re not really into shopping you can still enjoy some unique shopping venues in Dublin. If you are a shopaholic, then you’ll be in seventh heaven.
I had lunch as a guest ofÂ Bewley’s Cafe and Restaurant in Grafton Street during my visit to Dublin in October 2009. I went to Bewley’s on a Sunday assuming it would be quieter than on a Saturday but that wasn’t the case. I was so impressed by the interior especially the lovely stained glass windows. At first I was shown to a table next to the open fire but it was so hot there that I had to ask for a cooler table.
The beautiful Harry Clarke windows at Bewley’s
I was offered a table upstairs in an alcove which felt like someone’s parlour. I reckon I had to wait around 20 minutes for my order to be taken and another 20 minutes for my food to arrive. The waitress was rushed off her feet by some rather demanding customers.
The alcove where I lunched at Bewley’s
I had the Goat’s Cheese and Pinenut Pizza which was delicious and a good size, in fact it was hanging off the sides of the plate.
The Goat’s Cheese & Pinenut Pizza at Bewley’s
Bewley’s are doing a fantastic evening set menu, served after 6.30pm with three courses and a tea or coffee for 15 euro. This is excellent value for money and I assume it’s much quieter there in the evenings.
I’d say that a visit to Bewley’s should be part of your Dublin itinerary, as it’s such a unique and beautiful interior but try to find a quiet time so won’t have to wait as long as your food as I did.