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What to see and do in Dublin – a guide to notable attractions and landmarks

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A buzzing capital full of historical artifacts and contemporary artwork, Dublin has something for everyone to enjoy. Whether you fancy feeding the animals at Dublin Zoo, soaking up history at Trinity College or taking a brave dip in the chilly Irish Sea, Dublin can provide all of these options and more.

Emily Cathcart

My Destination local expert on

Dublin

Trinity College

 

Founded in 1592 and ranked the sixth most beautiful building in the world by Forbes, Trinity College is the University of Dublin. It is Ireland’s oldest university as well as one of the oldest universities in Britain and Ireland. A striking architectural structure; make sure to explore its many sprawling squares, covering part of the 47 acres surrounding the college.

 

Book of Kells

 

The Book of Kells was written around the year 800AD by Irish monks. Its 680 pages of beautifully decorated detail contain the Four Gospels of the New Testament. It was buried in the ground for many years for fear of the Vikings stealing it in a raid. After being eventually rediscovered, it was deposited for safe keeping in Trinity College in 1653.

 

Dublin Zoo

 

The zoo is found right in the very heart of Dublin (Phoenix Park) with a huge selection of roaming animals. Highlights include a herd of Asian elephants, some cuddly red tree pandas (much smaller than their black and white cousins) and an ‘African Savannah’ area, full of animals never seen in the Emerald Isle before.

 

Guinness Factory

 

Found dominating the heart of Dublin South-Central, St James’s Gate Brewery - otherwise known as the Guinness Factory - is a sight not to be missed when in Dublin. The factory has been producing the famous black ‘gold’ since 1759, and for many years was the only place in the world that produced Guinness. Visit the Gravity Bar for the spectacular views across the city, and don’t forget to learn how to ‘pour a perfect pint’ and get your prized certificate.

 

National Botanic Gardens

 

Located on the south bank of the Tolka, the botanical gardens have become a peaceful refuge in a bustling city such as Dublin. Totally accessible to all, they are free to everyone to enjoy. Housed inside they have a Great Palm House, Cedar House, an Alpine House and a beautiful collection of hybrid strawberry trees.

 

St. Patrick's Cathedral

 

Built around 1191, St. Patrick’s is one of only a handful of medieval buildings left in Dublin. It is the largest church in Ireland, with its spire stretching 140 feet. Well worth a visit to explore; try to find out more about their most famous Dean – Jonathan Swift – while visiting, as he is buried here onsite.

 

The National Gallery of Ireland

 

The National Gallery of Ireland houses paintings from all around the globe, with over 2,500 paintings and around 11,500 additional works of art. There is an extensive collection of local Irish art and other highlights from artists such as Picasso, Monet, Vermeer and a ‘lost’ Caravaggio (The Taking of Christ) which was found hanging in a study house in the 1990s.

 

Croke Park & the Aviva Stadium

 

A visit to Dublin would not be complete without seeing some sporting action. Visit Croke Park (and its onsite museum) to learn about Gaelic football and hurling - the two most popular sports in Ireland. Alternatively, visit the brand new Aviva Stadium to see rugby union in an atmospheric setting.