A medieval city with strong connections to classic literature, residents delighted to involve you in their ‘craic’ and a deliciously rebellious streak, Dublin is a mecca for the Irish diaspora who have spread out to all corners of the globe.
Whilst the city of Dublin itself is home to just over half a million people, it is thought that in excess of 100m people worldwide have direct Irish heritage – no wonder Dublin is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.
With a pleasingly compact city centre that can easily be traversed on foot or by rented bicycle, the city of Dublin is alive with the joyous Celtic spirit. With music spilling out from every pub, it’s hard to resist a pint of the black stuff – the perfect preparation for soaking up the historic buildings and monuments that chart the Irish nation’s rich cultural heritage.
For those new to the city the Spire of Dublin - just off the city’s grand O’Connell Street thoroughfare – is a great place to start. The spire is visible for miles around, which makes it an ideal landmark for finding your bearings – no bad thing in Dublin’s mass of winding streets.
Cross the River Liffey to visit Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious university. The university can be explored independently, or as part of a fascinating two-hour guided tour delivered by one of the college’s history graduates. However you choose to experience Trinity, make sure to make time for the Old Library – home to a famous illustrated manuscript crafted by monks over 1,300 years ago. Continuing the artistic theme, the university is situated in close proximity to the National Gallery of Ireland where you can see some of the nation’s most precious treasures.
Whilst Ireland is now a relatively moderate Catholic country, religion has significantly shaped Dublin. To learn more about the spiritual side to the city simply wander down Dame Street past the impressive City Hall until you reach Christ Church Cathedral – a spectacular tribute to Catholicism featuring a unique medieval crypt.
The story of Irish independence is hugely important to the city of Dublin, and visitors can gain a real insight by visiting the museum at Kimmainham Gaol. A grim institution built in 1796, the gaol is now home to passionate and knowledgeable tour guides who will be more than happy to tell you the stories of the people held there.
Of course, no trip to Dublin is complete without a pint (or three) of Guinness, which can be enjoyed at the Guinness Storehouse. Featuring an interactive tour which includes the opportunity to pour your own perfect pint, the tour is famous the world over amongst Stout drinkers. Once suitably lubricated, why not head to the Temple Bar district – ostensibly the city’s arts district, but party central once the sun goes down.