Dublin: A Modern City Rich in History
In recent years, Dublin has attracted numerous international companies that have established their European headquarters in the city. This influx of new businesses brought young professionals transforming Dublin into a modern, diverse city with restaurants, shops, and activities rivaling the larger cities on the continent while retaining Dublin’s history and famous Irish hospitality. While enjoying five-star restaurants and posh clubs, don’t forget to visit the great sights that have always made Dublin a must-visit destination.
Trinity College Library
By far, the most famous attraction in the city is the Trinity College Library. The library’s Long Room is the most iconic part of the building. It has a vaulted wooden ceiling and is lined by some of the oldest books in Ireland organized on equally spectacular wooden shelves. Adding to the picturesque scenery are the marble busts of famous philosophers and writers. However, the most famous book in the building is the Book of Kells, part of which is displayed right in the middle of the Long Room of the library. The book is considered Ireland’s biggest treasure, and it contains the four gospels of the New Testament. What makes it unique are the drawings, which are very elaborate, colorful, and are made in an Irish post-Roman style, which differentiates it from other works in Europe. Also housed in the Long Room are two other items that are important symbols of Ireland, the Brian Boru Harp and a copy of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic.
Two other noticeable buildings in the city are the St. Patrick Cathedral and the Christ Church Cathedral. Contrary to popular belief, both cathedrals are part of the Church of Ireland and are not specifically Catholic. In fact, the St. Patrick Cathedral is the seat church for the Church of Ireland. When walking through the cathedral, you will notice the memorials for nobility and military personnel. Further up the road is the Christ Church Cathedral, the oldest church in the city.
The church itself is eye-catching, but what really makes it stand out is the largest crypt in all of Ireland and Britain containing many priceless artifacts, as well as some interesting items like a mummified cat chasing a rat found stuck in the organ pipes centuries ago. Back upstairs, you can see the heart of Laurence O’Toole, the Patron Saint of Dublin.
Finally, the two other historic sites that are a must-visit are the Dublin Castle and the Kilmainham Gaol. The Dublin Castle has been the seat of the ruling government, be it Irish or British, for centuries. Most of the walls of the former castle are now gone. However, one tower still stands, and you can see the base for one of the other towers on the guided tour. It is also very interesting to take the guided tour because you can look around at the original Viking settlements below the castle as well as walk through the more modern parts of the palace. Speaking of guided tours, visiting the Kilmainham Gaol is the hidden treasure of the city. This large jail is a symbol of the Irish struggle for independence, and the knowledgeable tour guides are eager to answer your questions. The jail, and especially the immense Main Hall, has been featured in multiple popular films following its restoration.
After exploring these historic Dublin sites, it’s time to take a break and grab a pint at The Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest pub. The location has had some sort of a drinking establishment since the 12th century, and it was used as a meeting point for Irish revolutionaries. Today, the pub has multiple rooms surrounding a wonderful courtyard bar, great grub, and, of course, plenty of music and beer to have you sing the night away.
In Dublin, you will often find yourself singing along about the famous, but most likely mythical, Molly Malone. One of the most beloved characters and songs in Ireland has become a symbol of the city and has even earned her a statue in the center of the city near two of the most famous streets in Dublin, the pub filled Temple Bar and the shop centric Grafton Street. Immediately across from the statue you can find O’Neil’s Pub and Kitchen, which is the place to be if you like traditional food in large portions for dinner. The pub even has a great rooftop to enjoy a Guinness or a cocktail.
Last but not least, a visit to Dublin should not end before you have the chance to see Riverdance at the Gaiety Theatre. The famous show returns to its home during the summer, and even if you have had the chance to see it elsewhere, you should take the time to see it at this iconic location.
If you are visiting Dublin to enjoy the new and modern sights, don’t forget to make time for the locations and experiences that have made the city wonderfully unique long before, and long after, the recent trends come and go.
Know Before You Go