Dublin, originally meaning “dark pool”, is a very old city which has progressed from its Celtic origin to a Viking settlement and the Norman invasion in the 12th century. More recent history focuses on its important role in Ireland’s independence from the British Empire in 1922. Nowadays, it is one of the 30 Global or Alpha cities in the world. This explains why Dublin is so cosmopolitan and can provide rich experiences to its youngest right up to its eldest guests. If you just have 48 hours in the Irish capital, you will want to make the most of it. Easy to do with our list of the most interesting attractions in the city!
Let start with a Guinness!
Eat a solid breakfast before heading to the Guinness Storehouse as you will be sampling a glass of the “Black Stuff”. The average alcohol level of Guinness is around 5% and sometimes it is not served chilled, which increases the effect and can make you dizzy or even drunk. During your journey around the 7-storey building, you will learn everything about Guinness: from the history of the factory to past and present production methods. You won’t learn how to make it yourself though as the recipe remains a well-kept secret.
Guinness looks and tastes very unique. Its appearance is similar to a large coffee with foamy cream on top. It also has quite a thick consistency, leading some to say that drinking a pint of Guinness is equal to having a meal.
The inside of the brewery looks like a giant pint. A ticket to enter this pint costs €17.50 but there are student and senior discounts depending on the date and time of the day. Children from 13 to 17 years pay €16 and visitors under 13 enter free of charge. Adults will receive a complimentary pint and children a soft drink at the end of the visit in the Gravity Bar located on the 7th floor. From there, you can enjoy a spectacular 360ª view over Dublin. It is better to book your ticket online otherwise you will queue up for at least half an hour. One last thing: vegans can now drink Guinness! The production process was changed to remove isinglass, a fish component.
Very old books in very old libraries
Trinity College Library
Dublin has a treasure: the Book of Kells. Written during the 9th century it contains four gospels about the life of Jesus Christ. It is a richly decorated manuscript and one of the oldest in the world. In order to preserve this masterpiece, only two volumes of the book are on display at Trinity College Library, located south of the river. You can buy family tickets for €28 online. The exhibition is open every day with a shorter schedule from October until April. The library can also be visited but not all of it is open to visitors.
About 10 minutes from Trinity College, near St. Patrick’s Cathedral, is Marsh’s Library, dating from the 18th century. Visitors to the library are amazed by its original oak bookshelves and collection of rare books. Organised tours are run during the week and are suitable for children as well as adults. Tickets cost €3 while children under 16 years of age can enter free of charge.
Dublin Castle Library
Chester Beatty Library is located inside Dublin Castle, a 10-minute walk from Marsh’s Library. Before we get to the library, Dublin Castle is itself worth a visit. It used to be the seat of the British Government before Ireland proclaimed independence. Guided and self-guided tours starting from €10 per adult and family tickets for up to 5 members for €17 are available. You can buy your tickets online to save queuing time. However, it is free to just visit the Chester Beatty Library, named after the American sponsor who donated his collection to Dublin municipality. It is considered as one of the best museums in Europe. It contains a huge collection of various works including manuscripts, papyrus texts, copies of the Qur’an and the Bible, from countries comprising Asia, the Middle East and North Africa dating from about 2700 BC.
Fan of U2?
Upon leaving Dublin Castle, walk 15 minutes south towards St. Stephen’s Green Park. There is free entry to this Victorian park. The largest in Dublin, it gets crowded with Dubliners on weekends. There are many monuments in the park, among them the statue of James Joyce and Lord Ardilaun from the Guinness family who donated the park to the city of Dublin.
After a stroll around the park, head up to the Little Museum of Dublin. This museum will enlighten you about the story of Dublin. Book a place on a guided tour online for €10 per adult, €8 for students and seniors or a family ticket for €20 (2 adults, 3 children). The tour starts with a little history of Dublin via some funny videos starring Jamie Harrington, a famous Youtuber from Dublin, who is very much involved in his community. The museum houses many objects donated by Dublin residents, each of them with its own story. The highlight of the show is the exhibition dedicated to the famous rock band U2. Be prepared to get a shock when you bump into Bono’s statue!
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Devour churchgoer or atheist, a cathedral is always a landmark that tells you something about history. Writer Jonathan Swift who wrote world-famous Gulliver’s Travels is buried at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. St. Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland and is considered the person responsible for the conversion of the Irish people to Christianity back in the 5th century.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built in the 12th century and is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. The church still operates religious services and the choir is famous all over the world. The choir programme is impressive and you can see a wonderful show nearly every day. A ticket online for a self-guided tour costs €7 per adult, €6 per student or senior citizen and €17 per family (2 adults, 2 children under 16 years old). Note that the audio-guide is not included (€5 extra per device) and is only available in English. There are some free concerts and workshops according to the season.
Art for free!
Hugh Lane Gallery is a national modern art gallery located in Charlemont House in Dublin 1. The gallery is open every day except for Mondays and admission is free. It is home to permanent exhibitions, workshops, temporary exhibitions and events. Sean Scully, an Irish contemporary painter and printmaker, is one of the permanent exhibitors. Another masterpiece that can be admired here is the famous stained glass of Harry Clarke, the Eve of St. Agnes. This Dublin artist was also the illustrator of two renowned books: Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen and the Tales of Mystery and Imagination by Edgar Allan Poe.
However, the highlight of the gallery is Francis Bacon’s studio. The Irish painter lived in Berlin, London and Paris and is referred to as a lyric artist who became famous thanks to his triptych panel, the Three Studies for Figures at the Base of a Crucifixion. His life was quite hectic and his paintings reflect his state of mind. His original studio was moved from London and recreated in this space in 2001.
This is only a shortlist of what you can do in Dublin. There are many additional activities and sights that will make for more busy days. Interested in visiting this wonderful and lively city? Book your accommodation with Wimdu today.