Dublin has experienced a remarkable upswing in recent decades. The Irish capital is now one of the most important business locations in Europe, where many large, well-known companies have set up their headquarters. Does this mean that Dublin’s sights consist mainly of steel and glass office towers? No, not at all. Dublin has an incredibly varied history, including the Celts, Vikings and several famous brewers. All of this has left its mark on a city that today is home to more than half a million people, and even more than a million in the metropolitan area. Brewers, kings, Vikings and a few others have contributed to the fact that you will discover many traces of history while sightseeing in Dublin and that you can get to know a lot of culture in many different variations among Dublin’s sights. Or, to put it another way, Dublin is definitely worth a visit.
Tip 1: Guinness Storehouse
Just 15 minutes from the City Center is the Guinness Storehouse, it is the most visited attraction in Dublin. In over 250 years, Guinness beer has become world famous and is seen as a sign of Irish conviviality and conviviality. It all started when Arthur Guinness signed a lease for a piece of land in Dublin for 9000 years. That was in 1759, and beer has been brewed at St. James Gate ever since. The drink has become so successful that today it is hard to imagine an Irish pub without Guinness.
The Storehouse is a multimedia museum designed with great attention to beer detail. On seven floors the way of the ingredients, the production and the brewing, the history of Guinness, the distribution channels and the advertising are shown. For example, the dark color comes from the roasted barley (malt). At the very top, on the roof of the Storehouse, so to speak, is an all-around glass skybar, the Gravity Bar. It is the highest bar in Dublin (46 m), from here you have a magnificent view over the rooftops of the city. By the way, a pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar is already included in the entrance fee.
Tip 2: Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle really doesn’t look like a castle, more like a manor house. The castle in the old town of the Irish capital is also used as such.
Although parts of it are open to the public, it is still used today for official occasions such as state receptions or the inauguration of the Irish president. The English King John had the castle, which has been repeatedly added to and rebuilt over the centuries, built between 1208 and 1220 as protection against attacks by the Irish.
Of the original four Norman towers, only the Record Tower from 1226 still exists today. For centuries, the fort was the residence of the representatives of the English crown and administration.
The foundations of the Norman powder tower can still be seen in the vault. This was placed on the walls with which the Vikings had surrounded their fortress three centuries earlier. St. Patrick’s Hall, from whose paneled ceiling hang the banners of the defunct Order of St. Patrick, has been the place where Irish presidents have been inaugurated since 1938. The State Apartments still accommodate foreign guests on state visits.
Bermingham Tower, dating from 1411, served as a prison until the independence of the Republic of Ireland. Through the Picture Gallery, whose walls are adorned with portraits of twelve English viceroys, you can enter the gilded throne room from 1740, where you can see, among other things, the throne of William of Orange. The Castle complex also includes the renowned Chester Beatty Library.
Tip 3: Kilmainhaim Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol (or Kilmainham Jail) opened in 1796 and was continually expanded in the years that followed. Along with the GPO (General Post Office), it is the most important site of the Irish struggle for independence.
During a guided tour through the prison, the visitor gets a great insight into Irish history. This is because, with a few exceptions, all the leaders of the Irish independence struggle and the 1916 Easter Rising were imprisoned here in Kilmainham Gaol.
Conditions for prisoners at Kilmainham Gaol were poor, with up to five prisoners sharing the barren partly dark cells. The only source of light and heat was a candle, which had to last for two weeks. Sometimes even children were imprisoned here for petty theft.
Most of the leaders of uprisings against British rule and of the struggle for independence were imprisoned behind these walls. This is what links the place so closely to the history of the Irish struggle for independence.
In 1924 Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin was closed, and in the years that followed it fell increasingly into disrepair. It was supposed to be demolished, but 60 republican veterans voluntarily restored it on their own initiative, turned it into a museum and reopened it in 1960. The then Irish President Éamon de Valera gave his blessing to reopen the house as a museum. He himself, by the way, had been imprisoned twice within these walls and was the last prisoner to be released from Kilmainham Gaol in 1924.
Tip 4: St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St Patrick’s is the largest cathedral in Dublin and the largest church in Ireland. Not only is the church very old (construction began in 1191), it is also located in a particularly important place for the Irish: it is said that the spring where St. Patrick baptized converted Christians was located approximately here.
The original wooden chapel eventually grew into a cathedral. The 91-meter-long building was built by 1270. Over the years, the building fabric deteriorated and the most important church of the Irish had to be extensively renovated in the 1860s.
The famous writer Jonathan Swift, best known for his novel Gulliver’s Travels, was the dean of Dublin Cathedral for many years and is buried in it. Another important event took place in 1742, when the choirs of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church premiered Handel’s Messiah.
A visit to St Patrick’s Cathedral is anything but boring: the colorful mixture of sometimes curious exhibits, monuments and statues tell an unbelievable number of stories that will make you smile. By the way, the free guided tours are highly recommended!
Tip 5: National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery of Ireland was opened to visitors in 1864. Like some other museums and galleries in Dublin, the museum has free admission, which makes it possible for everyone to visit the gallery. Within the gallery, visitors can see an extensive, representative collection of Irish painting, Italian Baroque, and Dutch painting.
The collection includes 14,000 works of art, 2,500 paintings, 5,000 drawings, 5,000 prints and some furniture, and sculptures. The most famous painters exhibited are probably Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Titian, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens and William Hogarth.