The Historical and Modern Pleasures of Dublin, Ireland

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What to See and Do in Dublin

Ireland’s capital city, Dublin, is a perfect melding of the ancient with the modern. Discover beautiful natural scenery, trendy bars and pubs, fascinating historical monuments, elegant architecture, and sophisticated restaurants.

No trip to Dublin is complete without visiting a castle. The city of Dublin’s history goes back over 1,000 years, creating ample opportunities to take a step back in time to tour one of the many ancient and historic fortifications in both the city and Dublin County. Choose a tour of the Dublin Castle, to witness its gothic chapel and museum exhibitions. At the Malahide Castle and Gardens, you’ll be treated to a glimpse into the 12th century. If you’re looking for more than a tour of a castle, at the Howth Castle you can take a cooking class and enjoy afternoon tea in the garden café.

what to see and do in Dublin

Dublin is also home to many impressive churches, including the medieval Christ Church Cathedral, St. Michan’s Church, with its tower and crypts with mummies, and the most famous of them all – the National Cathedral and Church of Ireland – St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The grand and gothic St. Patrick’s, features a soaring spire and is both the tallest and the largest church in Ireland.

Literary fans can tour the home where the famous playwright and poet, Oscar Wilde, known for writing The Importance of Being Ernest, was born. Visit the Writers Museum to see rare manuscripts of renowned writers from James Joyce to Yeats. Walk the cobblestone walkways of the iconic 18th century Trinity College’s magnificent Harry Potter-like library, with its floor-to-ceiling ancient bound books, to see the Book of Kells – an ornate and colorful medieval manuscript of the four Gospels.

For a taste of the local culture pull up a bar stool at a pub to sample the local brews. Grab a pint of your favorite stout beer or try something new. Listen to live music in the former meeting place of rebels in Ireland’s oldest bar, the lantern-lit Brazen Pub. Share a toast with the locals at Victorian Stag’s Head pub, with its mirrored walls and iron chandeliers hanging above old wood cask barrels or the Temple Bar, where you can enjoy both Irish and international craft beers. Don’t miss the Guinness Storehouse, where you can sip on the famous Guinness black stout in its Gravity Bar, perched high above the city with 360-degree scenic vistas of the rooftops and beyond the city, to the surrounding majestic mountains.

what to see and do in Dublin

This modern cosmopolitan city also offers an array of traditional to Michelin-starred restaurants for delicious dining, from high-quality sushi to Goan fish curries. You will find stylish wine bars in the Docklands area, while in Ballsbridge you can enjoy the fresh flavor of the local Dublin Bay oysters or a lamb-and-Guinness pie. Of course, many of the local pubs also offer good food at a reasonable price.

Dublin is also a center for art and culture, boasting many museums and galleries offering vast collections of Irish art and artifacts. From the National Gallery of Ireland, with its impressive collection of European art from the 14th to the 20th-century, to the Museum of Modern Art and the National Museum of Archeology. Don’t miss the highly acclaimed Little Museum of Dublin, housed in a 3-story grand 18th-century Georgian townhome, to see displays of unique art created by locals and gain in-depth insights into the lives of 20th century Dubliners.

The bustling city center and lively suburbs all offer superb shopping. Francis Street offers art and antique stores with fine art paintings, unique wood carved furniture and nearly endless elaborate and lovely decorative items. At Powerscourt Townhouse Centre’s Market, vintage and locally designed clothing and unique silver jewelry abound. Buy some savory local farmhouse cheese at the Temple Bar’s markets, filled with lively markets on the weekends. Make your way towards Grafton Street to visit the elegant 160-year-old Brown Thomas department store.

Offering one of Europe’s most vibrant nightlife scenes, from traditional Irish pubs to hip and trendy clubs to end your day’s adventures in. Choose from entertainment ranging from traditional fiddle and pipe music to the thriving and energetic cosmopolitan theatre scene.

You can enjoy the highlights and more in-depth Dublin experiences on over 30 CIE Tours that start or end in the city.

CIE Tours offers affordable, expert-guided vacations of Ireland, that include daily sightseeing admissions, breakfasts, most dinners, shows and entertainment. Throughout your tour, knowledgeable guides will offer you insights into the local lore and history and behind-the-scenes tours for a truly authentic Ireland journey. To experience Ireland’s rich cultural heritage, spectacular scenery, and modern pleasures on your own escorted vacation, contact one of our Ireland travel agents.