Are you fascinated by Irish bright green landscapes, culture and tradition?
Do you find Irish history, marked by the glorious and persistent fight for freedom and independence, interesting?
Whether it is for its prodigious natural beauty and its amusing culture or its incredible history, Dublin is not going to let you down.
We visited Dublin for the first time at the beginning of 2018 and moved to it at the end of 2019.
Disclaimer 1: at first, to be honest, I thought it was a lovely city, but it was when I moved there and had the chance to live it when I started loving it despite some flaws that many like to underline. When I hear people taking shots at it, I cannot deny that I tend to take Dublin’s side, since I am aware no city on earth is not even close to being perfect, especially for people who live in it, but that does not mean that one could not love it no matter what.
Being aware of its downside does not have to conflict with the sentimental feeling toward it. Especially, once aware of the enormous effort made by its people to set it free and independent.
That said, Dublin as a city may be as far from perfect as possible, but this does not mean that one cannot fall in love and be happy visiting and living in it.
Disclaimer 2: as I intend to write a complete piece about this two-day adventure in Dublin, I had to split it into two parts for the sake of comprehensiveness. Here you can find the second part of the article.
After these two little disclaimers, let’s start talking about how you can have a two-day adventure in Dublin, have fun, learn about its history and enjoy some of the Irish cultural milestones.
First things first, let’s answer some frequently asked questions and then dive into the must-seen places the city offers.
Is Dublin worth visiting?
I think so. I find it wonderfully decadent and powerfully steeped in history. And, even though it has lost most of its traditional Irish connotations, also due to the great number of foreigners, some of the ancient pillars of the Irish tradition and history are indeed still proudly standing.
Is Dublin dangerous for tourists?
Honestly, there are some areas where I would not recommend tourists setting foot, such as North Wall and Sheriff Street, famous for having the highest crime rate in the city. But which city does not have any troublesome neighbourhood?
What is the best month to visit Dublin?
The best time is between mid-May and August when temperatures are warm for the country but never too hot (seldom over 20 or so ℃ (68℉)).
The weather can change very quickly, so take with you a keyway for the rain and a hoodie for when the sun goes away (yes, even in summer!).
Be aware, though, that it is also the most expensive and crowded time to visit.
Is Dublin expensive to visit?
Dublin is moderately expensive, especially food, alcohol and accommodation.
What is Dublin famous for?
Dublin is famous for:
- Being home to the Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university, widely considered the most prestigious university in Ireland, and one of the most elite academic institutions in Europe;
- Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed park in any capital city in Europe (five times bigger than London’s Hyde Park);
- Its Georgian colourful doors, especially at Fitzwilliam Square, the nearby Merrion Square and St Stephen’s Green;
- Its Temple Bar, a pedestrian riverside neighbourhood, widely known for its crowded pubs hosting live folk music and DJ sets, restaurants and boutiques selling clothes and crafts by local designers;
- Its Guinness beer and the Guinness Storehouse, which explains the history of that beer through various interactive exhibitions;
- Its Jameson Whiskey, by far the best-selling Irish whiskey in the world;
- Its countless traditional pubs, before the COVID-19 pandemic it had over 1000 of them.
Fun fact: just in case you are wondering about the reason for the cute Georgian colourful doors, here the most prevalent theories.
The first theory, or legend, involves Queen Victoria of England, known between the Irish as the famine queen. The lore goes that when she died, as Ireland was still British, the Irish were told to paint their doors black in mourning. In rebellion, they decided to paint their doors in bright colours instead.
Another popular theory involves writers George Moore and Oliver St John Gogarty. According to this legend, the latter would return home drunk from the pub each night and end up knocking on his neighbour Moore’s door instead of his own. Annoyed, Moore painted his door green so that even a drunk Gogarty might be able to distinguish between the two. The trend caught on, and residents started painting their doors in different colours to give their houses a distinct identity.
And yet another tale is that the painting of colourful doors was started by women so that their drunk husbands would not mistake other homes for their own and wake up in bed with another woman.
Finally, the last one, but probably the most historically accurate, is that during the early 18th century, Dublin rose to become one of the British Empire’s most prominent and prosperous cities. Dubliners began to build elegant new Georgian homes beyond the walls of the original medieval town. At the time of construction, though, all of the exteriors, including the doors, were the same colour and standardised. Thereby, to set themselves apart, the owners started painting their front doors whatever colour struck their fancy to differentiate their homes from others.
What food is Dublin famous for?
Dublin is famous for traditional food like stew, boxty pancakes, coddle and colcannon. But let’s dive into each one of these well-known Irish dishes and find out what they comprise.
The Irish stew traditionally includes potatoes, onions, carrots, diced mutton (from older sheep) and bacon. These days, restaurants and pubs also offer a modern twist, adding lamb instead of mutton, Guinness stout and herbs such as thyme, parsley and bay leaves.
Boxty Pancakes feature grated raw potato, cooked mashed potato and flour with fresh milk to form a dough, slowly cooked like a pancake until golden brown. They eat them with just butter or sugar, but also alongside a full Irish breakfast (eggs, bacon, sausage, black pudding, toast, and tomato slices).
The traditional Irish coddle comprises leftovers like sausages, bacon, potatoes and onions, slowly cooked in broth until rich and juicy. It is commonly served with slices of soda bread to mop up the juices.
Colcannon is the Irish version of the British traditional “bubble ‘n’ squeak”, made using a mashed potato with cabbage or kale, butter or cream, and spring onions.
Black and white pudding
Black pudding is a type of sausage made from blood, meat, fat, oatmeal, and bread or potato fillers, while the white pudding has the same ingredients minus the blood. No full Irish breakfast would be complete without a slice of each.
Soda bread is made with only essential ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt and soured milk) and has a crispy textured crust and a tender centre. Every family in Ireland has its recipe for soda bread. Some like it sweet with a spoonful of honey, sugar or dried fruits. Others prefer sprinkled-in seeds, bran and oats, or treacle and Guinness.
The Irish barmbrack is a plain, yet richly fruited bread usually topped with generous lashings of butter and accompanied by a pot of tea in the afternoon.
Traditionally, they bake barmbracks with items such as a ring, coin or cloth inside. Whoever received the slice with the ring inside would marry, and whoever got the fabric would be a nun. Today, it is a quintessential Halloween treat in Ireland.
Combining a cup of hot espresso, one shot of Irish whiskey, two teaspoons of brown sugar and topping it with lightly-whipped double cream, and you will have the Irish Coffee ready to be tasted.
What are the most important things to know before visiting Ireland?
Here is a list of 5 things you should know before visiting Dublin and Ireland in general:
1. Ireland is made up of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland
The Republic of Ireland, also called just Ireland, I s a part of Europe, you’ll need euros. The United Kingdom includes Northern Ireland, a separate country that is a part of the Irish island.
2. Bring Your Rain Gear
Ireland experiences heavy rainfall, which is evident from the abundance of vegetation that blankets the entire country. Indeed, even during the summer. Don’t forget to carry your raincoat with you since you don’t want to be caught without it because the weather could be unpredictable.
3. Irish Are Exceptionally Friendly
If there is one common myth about Irish people, it is that they are warm and welcoming to guests. You will surely experience great Irish hospitality, especially if you travel to the countryside where fewer tourists and locals are.
4. Don't Forget Rural Locations
Many visitors to Ireland never venture outside of Dublin. While there is no doubt that Ireland’s capital city is a treasure trove of attractions, it in no way encompasses all that the nation has to offer. To get the most out of your trip, plan to visit a few rural towns and areas.
5. Drop By At Least One Pub With Live Music
The pub scene is growing in Ireland. Even while pubs often don’t serve food, you may still chow down on some delectable colcannon or a hearty bowl of Irish stew. The best part, though, is drinking a wonderful pint of Guinness while listening to excellent Irish folk music.
That said, let’s now dive into this new trip called “A two-day adventure in Dublin” and see what to do in Dublin for 2 days!
What can I see in Dublin in two days?
A two-day adventure in Dublin
First of all, you need to know that Dublin is split into two parts, Northern and Southern, by the river Liffey, being the first a typical working-class neighbourhood and the second a more elegant and high-class one.
Let’s start our visit with the Southern part, and then, you will spend the second day visiting the Northern area.
As always, I strongly recommend taking a hop-on-hop-off bus tour first thing in the morning. It will help you to get a better understanding of the layout of the city, the location of the sights you are planning to visit, and the distances between one and another. If you wish to save some money, you can think of buying the 2-day Dublin Pass for 89€/ 106$.
If you choose Big Bus, you can enjoy a 2-hour-15-minute hop-on-hop-off bus tour for 24€/ 29$ p.p. (included in the Dublin Pass).
1. St Patrick's Cathedral
The First unmissable stop of the Southern part is undoubtedly St Patrick’s Cathedral (Ard-Eaglais Naomh Pádraig in Irish).
Founded in 1191 and consecrated to St Patrick, a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop known as the “Apostle of Ireland”, and primary patron saint of Ireland, this church is the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland and the whole of Ireland.
Unusually, St Patrick’s is not the seat of a bishop, as the Archbishop of Dublin has his seat in Christ Church Cathedral, the second of Dublin’s two Church of Ireland cathedrals (both Anglicans).
The sanctuary stands adjacent to the famous well where tradition has Saint Patrick baptised the local Celtic chieftains on his visit to Dublin in the 5th century. Around 500 people are buried either in it or the adjoining graveyard. Among these, Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, and dean of this temple from 1713 to 1745.
The Organ of St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the largest in Ireland with over 4,000 pipes.
Admission fee: 7.5€/ 9$ (not included in the Dublin Pass).
At an 8-minute-walking distance, you will find the next stop, the Whitefriar Street Church.
2. Relics of St. Valentine at Whitefriar Street Church
In 1835, Pope Gregory XVI gifted the remains of Saint Valentine to John Sprat, an Irish Carmelite well known in Ireland for his skills as a preacher, his work among the poor in Dublin, and for the building of the new church to Our Lady of Mount Carmel at Whitefriar Street.
Sprat brought the reliquary containing the relics to his Whitefriar Street Church in Dublin, where they still maintained inside a niche beneath the high altar. The feretory accommodates some of the remains of the saint and a small vessel tinged with his blood. In the church, there is also a statue depicting the saint in the red vestments of a martyr (red being the colour used to remind people of those who shed their blood for their Christian faith) and holding a crocus. The crocus is from early times the symbol of the saint. It is one of the earliest blossoming flowers after the winter, and so it became associated with St Valentine’s Day in the middle of February.
There you can also find the relics of St. Albert, and a life-size oak figure of Our Lady of Dublin, also known as the Black Madonna of Ireland.
At an 8-minute-walking distance, you will find the next stop, Dublin Castle.
3. Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle (“Caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath”) is one of the most important buildings in Irish history.
The Castle was built by the dark pool (“Dubh Linn”), which gave Dublin its name, under the orders of King John of England in the 11th century. Previously, on that elevated ground stood a Gaelic Ring Fort, and then an earlier Viking settlement.
It remained largely intact until April 1684, when a major fire caused severe damage to much of the building. Despite the fire, parts of the medieval and Viking structures survived and can still be explored by visitors. Following the fire, the rebuilding in the late-17th and 18th centuries saw the Castle transformed from a medieval bastion into a Georgian palace. The new building included a suite of grand reception rooms known as the State Apartments. In the early 19th century, they added the Chapel Royal in the Lower Castle Yard.
From 1204 until 1922, it was the seat of English and later British rule in Ireland. During that time, it served principally as a residence for the British monarch’s Irish representative, the Viceroy of Ireland, and a ceremonial and administrative centre.
In 1922, the last ever Viceroy of Ireland handed Dublin Castle over to Michael Collins and the government of the newly-independent Irish state. Successive Irish governments have continued to use it for important national events, such as state dinners and commemorations.
Admission fee: 8€/ 10$ (included in the Dublin Pass).
Guided tour (60 minutes): 12€/ 14$.
At a 4-minute-walking distance, you will find the next stop, Christ Church Cathedral.
4. Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral, more formally known as The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, is the elder of the two medieval temples (the other being St Patrick’s Cathedral).
The Viking king Sitric Silkenbeard, King of the Dublin Norsemen, founded the cathedral in the early 11th century. It was rebuilt in stone in the late 12th century under the Normans and considerably enlarged in the early 13th century. The building was extensively renovated and rebuilt in the late 19th century. Said renovation gave it the form it has today, including the tower, flying buttresses, and distinctive covered footbridge.
Renowned for its beauty, architecture and exquisite floor tiles, it is home to the famous 12th Century crypt, one of the oldest and largest in Britain and Ireland. It houses the important Treasures of Christ Church exhibition, which features manuscripts and artefacts that give visitors some impression of nearly one thousand years of worship in the cathedral and nearby churches. Outstanding among the rare church silver is the stunning royal plate that King William III donated in 1697 as a thanksgiving for his victory at the battle of the Boyne. Also on display are the conserved tabernacle and the candlesticks used in 1689 under James II.
The Treasury also plays host to a rare 14th Century copy of the Magna Carta Hiberniae, which is the centrepiece of an exhibition launched by the British Ambassador to Ireland in Ireland – think Robin Hood, Richard the Lionheart and King John.
Fun fact: The cathedral’s deployment of 19 bells, ranging in weight from a quarter of a ton to two and a quarter tons, represents a world record of the numbers of bells available for full-circle ringing.
Admission fee: 8€/ 10$ (included in the Dublin Pass).
Exiting Christ Church Cathedral you will find our next stop, Dublinia, next door.
Dublinia is a historical reenactment museum dedicated to the Viking and Medieval history of the city.
In the Viking section, you will relive Viking-era Dublin, see what life was like aboard a Viking warship, examine weapons, and learn how to be a Viking warrior. You can dress up as a Viking, become a slave, and take a walk down a noisy lane of that time. You will learn about the myths and mysteries surrounding the Vikings and their legacy by visiting a smoky and cramped Viking home.
In Medieval Dublin, instead, you can learn about crime and punishment, death and disease, and even 700-year-old toothache remedies. You can sample spicy aromas, visit the kitchen of a wealthy merchant, and have a stroll down a bustling Medieval street.
The visit ends by climbing the old original Medieval tower of St Michael’s church, 96 steps to the top with spectacular views of the city.
Dublinia stands in the Synod Hall, a spectacular 19th-century Gothic building that once accommodated the Church of Ireland clergy convened annually in the General Synods. This building is connected to the Crist Church Cathedral by a fully integrated stone bridge.
Admission fee: 12€/ 14$ (included in the Dublin Pass).
At a 10-minute-walking distance, you will find the next stop, the Molly Malone statue.
6. Molly Malone statue
Molly Malone is the tragic protagonist of an extremely popular Irish 19th-century folk ballad set in Dublin, which has become the city’s unofficial anthem. According to the song, she was a beautiful fishmonger who sold her yield from a cart on the streets of Dublin. She died young of a fever (probably due to Cholera), and, after the death, her ghost haunts the city.
As part of the 1988 Dublin Millennium celebrations, a bronze statue representing Molly Malone as a busty young woman in 17th-century dress was unveiled on Grafton Street by the erstwhile Lord Mayor. Her traditional, but revealing dress hints at her supposed part-time prostitution and leads her to be colloquially christened “the tart with the cart” or “the trollop with the scallop”.
There is no evidence that the song is based on a real woman, of the 17th century or any other time. Nevertheless, the Dublin Millennium Commission in 1988 endorsed claims made for a Mary Malone who died on 13 June 1699. Therefore, 13 June was declared to be Molly Malone Day.
In July 2014, the statue was relocated to Suffolk Street, in front of the Tourist Information Office, its current location.
At a 2-minute-walking distance, you will find the next stop, Trinity College.
7. Trinity College and The Book of Kells
Trinity College (“Coláiste na Tríonóide”), officially the College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth, was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I.
It is the oldest living university in Ireland and one of the seven ancient universities of Great Britan. It is widely regarded as the most prestigious university in Ireland, the most elite academic institutions in Europe, a leading international research centre, and a world leader in Nanotechnology, Information Technology, Immunology, Mathematics, Engineering, Psychology, Politics, English, and Humanities.
The Tudors established the Trinity College partly to consolidate their monarchy rule in Ireland, and for most of its existence, it served as the Protestant Ascendancy university. They accepted Catholics with certain limitations from 1793 to 1873, but the Catholic Church in Ireland forbade Catholics from entering Trinity College without permission until 1970. In January 1904, they admitted women as full members of the college for the first time.
The college campus ranks among the most beautiful worldwide, primarily due to its Georgian architecture buildings.
The Old Library houses about 7 million printed books and a multitude of manuscripts, including the famous Book of Kells, which arrived at the college in 1661 for safekeeping following Cromwellian attacks on religious institutions. A rare copy of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic is housed in the Long Room, as is a 15th-century wooden harp known as the Brian Boru Harp, the oldest surviving harp in Ireland and the model for the current Irish emblem.
The Book of Kells is a rare 9th-century manuscript with ornate Latin text and elaborate illuminations. It is perhaps the most famous medieval text. Besides, it is unquestionably the most valuable Irish artefact, along with one of the most remarkable cultural jewels and the most popular tourist attractions of the Irish country.
Monks wrote it on vellum (prepared calfskin). Four different artists made its wonderfully detailed drawings and a team of three hand writers the transcriptions.
Despite its name, many believe the Book of Kells started in a monastery on the remote Scottish island of Iona. The monks were then forced to flee to a monastery in Kells, Co Meath, after a Viking raid in 806.
The Book of Kells admission fee: 16€/ 19$ (not included in the Dublin Pass).
At a 7-minute-walking distance, you will find the next stop, Mansion House.
9. Mansion House
The Mansion House (“Teach an Ard-Mhéara”) has been the official residence of the Lord Mayor of Dublin since 1715.
A wealthy merchant founded it in 1710 as his Queen Anne-style private residence. After 5 years, though, they purchased it to serve as the official residence of the Lord Mayor. It still has the same function today.
The establishment of the new Irish state and the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty are only a few of the memorable events that took place there. Many world leaders, sports stars, and celebrities from the stage, television, and music have visited.
They open it to the public regularly during Culture Night and Open House events, as well as on public open days.
At a 2-minute-walking distance, you will find the next stop, St. Stephen’s Green Park.
10. St. Stephen's Green Park
St Stephen’s Green Park (“Faiche Stiabhna”) is an exquisite example of the five Georgian Squares of Dublin (the others being St. Stephen’s Green, Fitzwilliam Square, Parnell Square and Mountjoy Square), and the largest of them (22 acres/ 8.9 ha). It is a garden square and public park.
Adjacently, you can find one of the main shopping streets of the city, Grafton Street, and a shopping centre named after it.
The park is rectangular, and streets that used to be the main thoroughfares across Dublin surround it. It maintains its original Victorian style, with 750 trees, extensive shrub planting, and Victorian flower bedding in the spring and summer.
All users have access to over 3.5 km/ 2 mi of pathways. On its western side, there is a waterfall, a Pulham rock job, and an ornamental lake with waterfowl. Besides, there are fifteen commemorative sculptures scattered across the green. In the summer, there are concerts at lunchtime.
It became a public park in 1880 thanks to Arthur Guinness, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, also known as the founder of the Guinness brewery.
At a 7-minute-walking distance, you will find the next stop, Merrion Square Park.
11. Merrion Square Park
Merrion Square Park (“Cearnóg Mhuirfean”) is one of the most delightful and well-preserved examples of Georgian urban architecture in the city. It is indeed the best preserved of five Georgian Squares in Dublin.
On three sides of the square, you can find Georgian red-brick townhouses: the Westside abuts the grounds of Leinster House (seat of the “Oireachtas”, the National Parliament), Government Buildings, the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery.
On the square, there are also the offices of the Irish Red Cross, the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland, and the Irish Georgian Society. On the North Terrace, you will find the National Maternity Hospital.
Many notorious Irish people had lived here over the years, including the poet, novelist, and satirist Oscar Wilde, who lived at No. 1, poet W. B. Yeats, who lived at No. 82, and Daniel O’Connell at No. 58. The latter is now known as the O’Connell House, and it is home to the Keough Naughton Centre of the University of Notre Dame. The fashion and interior designer Sybil Connolly lived at No. 71.
Furthermore, the British Embassy was at No. 39 until 1972, when a crowd of over 20,000 people converged on the site in protest of the Bloody Sunday shootings in Northern Ireland, and the building caught fire. The French and Slovakian embassies are currently located on the south side of the square, while the National Affairs Office of the Church of Scientology is on the north side since October 2016.
Until the 1960s, the park was only accessible to residents who had a private key. The park is now open to the public.
You can find a life-size statue of Oscar Wilde in the northwest corner. It depicted Oscar Wilde while reclining on a white quartz boulder sculpted from a colourful assemblage of polished granite and semi-precious stones, and gazing straight out at his boyhood home. You can also find several other sculptures, and a series of old Dublin lamp standards once used to light the city in the past one hundred years.
After a long day exploring the city centre, Merrion Square Park is the perfect place to relax and unwind.
From 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Thursdays, a lunchtime market pops up in the square, with numerous stalls selling a wide variety of street food. Are you a fan of art? Artists are known to hang their work on the outer railings of the park, particularly on Sundays.
At a 16-minute-walking distance, you will find the next stop, Iveagh Gardens.
12. Iveagh Gardens
The Iveagh Gardens, designed in 1865 to host the splendour of the Dublin Exhibition Palace, have a history dating back over three hundred years that started as an earl’s modest lawn.
They are regarded as Dublin’s “Secret Garden” as they are among the best but least well-known of Dublin’s parks and gardens.
Since 1995, many of the original landscape features have either been restored or conserved. Rustic grottos, sunken formal lawn panels with fountain centrepieces, woodlands, a labyrinth, a rosarium, the American garden, rockeries, archery grounds, and a waterfall, which is particularly beautiful in the summer, are among them.
This peaceful and beautiful oasis, only a short distance from the city centre, can rightfully claim to be the capital’s best-kept secret.
At a 10-minute-walking distance, you will find the next stop, Grafton Street.
13. Grafton Street
Grafton Street (“Sráid Grafton”) is one of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin city centre, the other being Henry Street. It runs from St Stephen’s Green in the south (at the highest point of the road) to College Green in the north (to the lowest point).
Its name comes from Charles FitzRoy, 2nd Duke of Grafton, the illegitimate grandson of King Charles II, who owned land in the area.
This street is nowadays famous also for the buskers, including musicians, poets and mime artists, commonly perform to the shopping crowds.
From there, grab a taxi and in around 10 minutes you will arrive at the next stop, Guinness Storehouse.
14. Guinness Storehouse
Guinness Storehouse is a Brewery’s visitor centre that, since opening in 2000, has received over 20 million visitors.
It covers seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness. The ground floor introduces the beer’s four ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast), and the brewery’s founder, Arthur Guinness, through various interactive exhibition areas. At the base of the atrium lies a copy of the 9,000-year lease signed by Arthur Guinness on the brewery site. Other floors feature the history of Guinness advertising and include an interactive exhibit on responsible drinking. The seventh-floor houses the Gravity Bar with views of Dublin and where visitors may drink a pint of Guinness included in the price of admission.
Guinness Storehouse is arguably one of the most iconic attractions of the city since Guinness is synonymous with Ireland, so you cannot leave Dublin without visiting it.
Admission fee: 26€/ 31$ (included in the Dublin Pass).
If you still have time after this Guinness Storehouse experience, take another taxi to Kilmainham Gaol (it closed at 6 p.m. from April to September, and 5.30 pm the rest of the year), you will get there in 5 minutes. Otherwise, just a taxi to Temple Bar.
15. Kilmainham Gaol
One of Ireland’s most infamous prisons, Dublin’s Kilmainham Gaol (“Príosún Chill Mhaighneann”) was a working and silent prison that housed men, women, and children from 1787 until 1924 (when it was closed). It held some of the most famous political and military leaders in Irish history, such as Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell, the 1916 Rising leaders and Eamon de Valera. UK Government executed many of those in an attempt intended to quell the nationalist uprising. It had the opposite effect, though. A movement that had before been the interest of only a few gained momentum and strength as word spread about these martyr-like executions, eventually leading to independence for most of Ireland just a few years later.
In the years of the harshest famines, people would intentionally break the law to enter this jail, hoping to be fed while incarcerated, which led to severe overcrowding. Women and children slept on the floor in the corridors with no blankets while men were squeezed into cells that held up to five people at a time.
Today Kilmainham has been restored and reopened to the public. It gives the visitor a dramatic and realistic insight into what it was like to find oneself confined in one of these forbidding bastions of punishment and correction. It offers a panoramic insight into some of the most profound, disturbing and inspirational themes of modern Irish history.
The museum includes a major exhibition on the political and penal history of the prison and its restoration, and another on the history of Irish Nationalism. An art gallery on the top floor exhibits paintings, sculptures and jewellery of prisoners incarcerated in prisons all over contemporary Ireland.
Admission fee: 8€/ 10$ (not included in the Dublin Pass).
From there, take an 11-minute-taxi drive to Temple Bar, our last stop for the day.
16. Temple Bar
Temple Bar (“Barra an Teampaill”) is the location of several cultural institutions and at night is the centre of Dublin’s city centre’s nightlife with various tourist-focused nightclubs, restaurants and bars.
In medieval (Anglo-Norman) times, it was a suburb that fell into disuse beginning in the 14th century because of the attacks of the native Irish.
In the 17th century, they redeveloped it to create gardens for the houses of wealthy English families. One of these was the Temple family, one of the most prominent, who likely gave the name to the street known as Temple Bar. Another story said the name came from the storied Temple Bar district in London, where the main toll-gate into London was located dating back to medieval times.
After a full day of tourism, it seems like the perfect place to have a bite and a pint in a traditional Irish Pub and enjoy a fine traditional Irish live music session.
And that is all of this first day of adventures in Dublin. Check out the second day by clicking here.
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