Things to do in Dublin
The modern home of Irish politics, much of Dublin Castle dates back to the 18th century when it was used as an outpost of the UK Government. Interestingly, the site has been home to a castle of one kind or another since the reign of King John in the 1100s. The Record Tower is the sole surviving part of this original structure.
Record Tower at Dublin Castle
Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College is one of Britain and Ireland's seven ‘ancient' universities. Modelled on its cousins Cambridge and Oxford, Trinity College was founded in 1592, making it Ireland's oldest university. First-time travellers to Ireland should note that locals may refer to Trinity College as the University of Dublin but, rest assured, they are talking about the same place!
The Campanile at Trinity College, Dublin
If you appreciate a good beer, chances are you're already planning to make a beeline for the Guinness Storehouse as soon as you arrive in Dublin. We can't blame you! Home to a sprawling tourist facility as well as the Guinness factory proper, the Storehouse is a shrine to Ireland's most popular beer and presents a meticulously curated history of the art of brewing.
Selfie in front of the Guiness Storehouse. Credit: Brian Morrison & Tourism Ireland
St Patrick's Cathedral
Founded in 1191 and remaining to this day both the largest and tallest church in Ireland, St Patrick's Cathedral is unusual in that it's not the seat of a bishop (the Archbishop of Dublin's seat is in the Christ Church Cathedral Dublin just down the road). Now considered Ireland's national cathedral, this historic building is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the entire city.
Saint Patricks Cathedral at dusk
A former Irish prison turned public museum, Kilmainham Gaol was, from its construction in 1796 until its decommission in 1924, home to many of Ireland's most infamous criminals. Australia has a unique genealogical connection to Kilmainham – during our colonial period, a great many of its prisoners were exported to our shores as a result of overcrowding.
The empty cells of Kilmainham Gaol
For those who yearn to get out of the city and experience the natural wonder of the Emerald Isle, Wicklow Way is for you. A sprawling network of marked walking trails south of Dublin, Wicklow Way is a fantastic spot for those who love a good hike or a stress-free walk through tranquil surrounds. This is a perfect way to spend a day outdoors.
Gateway to the Monastic City of Glendalough
Old Jameson Distillery
If you went straight to the Guinness Storehouse earlier, you'll likely have the Old Jameson Distillery as the second stop on the itinerary. Decommissioned when the company moved to a new distillery in 1971, this was the original site of what is now known as Jameson whiskey for almost two centuries. Constructed in 1780, the centre now provides a history of the brand and tutored whiskey tastings daily.
Front entrance to the Old Jameson Distillery. Credit: David Norton, Ronnie Norton and Tourism Ireland
Did you know that a significant part of Dublin's history is that it was, at one point, a Viking settlement? If that piques your interest, make sure a visit to Dublinia is on your itinerary. The foremost home to artefacts and information on Dublin's Viking period, this historical recreation museum is a must for ancient history buffs.
Dublinia Museum and Christ Church Cathedral
When thinking about theatres to visit in Dublin, there are two that leap readily to mind: the Gaiety Theatre on South King Street and the Abbey Theatre in North City. Historic theatres and home to some of the most important stage works of the last two centuries, these grand old buildings continue to mesmerise audiences with plays, musicals and other shows.
Exterior of the Olympia Theatre, Dublin
National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland comprises several different disciplines: natural history, archaeology, decorative arts and history, and country life (which serves as a reflection on traditional Irish life) are spread across its three separate branches. The home of history in Ireland, this is one stop for culture vultures that shouldn't be missed.
Exterior of the National Museum of Ireland. Credit: Rob Durston and Tourism Ireland
Little Museum of Dublin
A living chronicle of the city's history during the 20th century, the Little Museum of Dublin boasts three floors with over 5,000 artefacts donated by the public. This museum is a monument to how Dublin has repositioned itself as a true global city in the last hundred years. Try Hatch and Sons Irish Kitchen in the basement for breakfast or lunch – you won't be disappointed.
Sign at the entrance of the Little Museum of Dublin. Credit: Tourism Ireland
Irish Museum of Modern Art
The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) is the most popular gallery of modern art in Ireland. Home to an extensive permanent collection, IMMA works hard to include a regular roster of exhibitions dedicated to works by local artists. The collection features more than 3,500 artworks with an emphasis on the recent past and the present.
Entrance to the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Credit:Tony Pleavin and Tourism Ireland
Dublin City Gallery
The Dublin City Gallery, also known as the Hugh Lane Gallery, is home to an extensive permanent collection of Irish and international works. It also regularly features new exhibits by local contemporaries. Opened in 1908, this is one of the oldest modern art galleries in the world. It's a historic spot and the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon.
Interior of the Dublin City Gallery on Hugh Lane. Credit: Gareth Byrne and Tourism Ireland