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Top 10 Tourist Sites to Visit in Dublin
A guest post by Jenny Snook
The wide variety of sites you can visit in Dublin range from Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells to Glasnevin Cemetery, home to the first cemetery museum in the world. You might like to look around the jail where the leaders of the Easter Rebellion were held before they were executed in 1916 or the brewery founded in 1759 where Guinness was first fermented. The top sites mentioned here, prove that Dublin is a must-see destination.
This church is one of two medieval cathedrals in Dublin. At almost 1000 years old, the Cathedral Crypt is one of the largest throughout Ireland and the UK. The exhibition inside the 12th century crypt is home to a variety of manuscripts and artefacts representing almost 1000 years of worship. If you’d like to see something really unusual, there’s even the remains of a mummified cat down here. Looking down at the beautifully tiled floor as you enter, the architecture of the church is breath-taking. Visitors can choose between a self-guided and fully guided tour of the church. The cathedral choir dates back to 1493 and still put on plenty of events here.
Trinity College Dublin:
Trinity College is not only the oldest university in Ireland but also home to the largest library in Ireland. Mot importantly, the Book of Kells can be found in the library, seen by many as the most famous manuscript in the world. In 2019, over 1 million people went to see it. The detailed calligraphy and intricate drawings shed light on why it took over a year to complete. Other impressive pieces include a copy of the 1916 proclamation of the Irish republic and the oldest harp in the country. The Zoological Museum and Science Gallery are also found on this college site and are also well worth visiting. Tours are available, covering the four major squares of the college and looking at the history of the college from the time it was founded in 1592.
Rather than just a museum of artefacts, EPIC, or the Irish Emigration Museum is an interactive museum, featuring video galleries, motion sensor quizzes and the chance to listen to remastered audio that dates from 100 years ago. It focuses on the 10 million men and women who have left Ireland over the centuries, looking at the reasons they moved and their impact on the rest of the world. This includes the areas of sport, art, science and music; from the invention of submarines to the international popularity of Riverdance. IT specializes in family fun, offering free entry for children of 16 and under, once they’re with a paying adult. The interactive museum makes it an exciting place for children of all ages to visit.
This popular attraction tells the story of Guinness and how it’s become a national icon, giving you the chance to enjoy a free pint at the Gravity Bar upstairs. Founded in 1759, this building was previously the brewery where Guinness was first fermented. It’s made up of seven floors, where you can learn more about the ingredients involved and the founder Arthur Guinness. Other floors focus on Guinness Advertising and there’s even an interactive exhibition on drinking responsibly. There are two restaurants that guests can check out: ‘1837 Bar and Brasserie’ and the more casual ‘Arthur’s Bar.’ Don’t’ forget to visit the Gravity Bar; a great place to take impressive views of the city.
Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum:
Glasnevin Cemetery is not only the largest cemetery in Ireland but when the Glasnevin Cemetery Museum opened in 2010, it became the first cemetery museum in the world. The cemetery is home to the graves of Irish figures such as Eamon de Valera, as well O’Connell Tower, the largest round tower in Ireland. Visitors can climb to the top with an amazing view of the city. One of the exhibitions featured in the museum is the City of the Dead, set in the basement. This immersive exhibition allows you to walk around the graveyard and watch the work of people performing burials on the site. Regular tours of both the museum and graveyard are available.
The 1916 Rising was a rebellion against British rule in Ireland and is one of the most significant and celebrated events in Irish history. Even though it wasn’t a success and the rebels quickly surrendered, the Irish public still recognize the people involved as heroes. The seven leaders of this rebellion were held in Kilmainham Jail and six of them were executed here. This was the event that turned the Irish public against the British Empire and if these people hadn’t sacrificed themselves for their country, there’s a good chance that Ireland wouldn’t even be a republic today. The jail has been completely restored and guided tours are available. A building has also been attached to the jail which holds museum artefacts related to the rising.
National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology:
This museum is the storehouse for all archaeological objects found in Ireland, with a collection of over two million objects. The collections date back as far as 7000 BC and feature not just Irish, but also Egyptian and Roman collections, with glass and ceramics from Ancient Cyprus. Some of the world-famous Irish artefacts on permanent exhibition here include the Ardagh Chalice, Tara Brooch and even the remains of Iron Age bog bodies. The collections of Irish artefacts range from Viking weapons to Bronze Age jewellery. Inside, there’s a café and restaurant, with regular tours of the museum.
The Little Museum:
This museum is dedicated to the history of Dublin throughout the 20th century. The artefacts on display here are on loan or have been donated by members of the Irish public. While the museum is quite small, the rooms on each of the three floors are filled with furniture, artwork, photographs, postcards and written documents from this time. There’s even one room that’s totally dedicated to the band U2. Some other impressive artefacts include a first edition of the death mask of James Joyce and a first edition of his book ‘Ulysses’. If you’d like to find out more about this man ‘The James Joyce Cultural Centre’ is a museum that’s dedicated to the life and works of one of the most famous authors in Irish history.
Dublin Writer’s Museum:
This museum is set in an 18th century mansion, dedicated to the lives and works of the most renowned Irish writers over the last 300 years. The exhibition includes books, letters, and portraits from Irish writers such as James Joyce, W. B. Yeats and Samuel Beckett. Works that are known around the world include an 1804 edition of Gulliver’s Travels, written by the Irish author Johnathan Swift. Also, a first edition of ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker and a signatured letter from this Irish writer. A few more obscure items on display, include Irish writer Mary Lavin’s Teddy Bear, Irish poet Austin Clarke’s desk and even Samuel Beckett’s phone.
The 1916 Rebellion began at this site, home to the British government up until 1922. It’s still used by the Government today to hold state events, such as the appointment of a new president. Most of the castle dates back to the 18th century but you can still see the remains of the original 13th century building as part of a guided tour. The most impressive interior rooms of the castle were created in the 18th century and include a throne room, ladies drawing room, the state corridor and Saint Patricks Hall, featuring a vibrant blue carpet, golden columns and an intricately painted ceiling.
About the Author
Jenny Snook is a freelance writer, specializing in Irish history and travel with an MA in Archaeology and Heritage. Her website can be found at jennysnook.net
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