Dynamic, vibrant, rich Dublin City
Dublin needs no introduction. A dynamic, vibrant city with a rich cultural and literary scene, its origins date back to the 841AD century when Vikings spotted the strategic potential of Dublin Bay, forming a trading post here that took its name, Dubh Linn – Black Pool – from the union of two rivers – the Poddle and the Liffey – which mingled underground to create a deep tidal pool.
Dublin may have been named by the Norsemen, but visitors to Ireland’s vibrant capital will have to look extra hard to find traces of the eponymous black pool: the River Liffey is the central river that bisects the city from east to west but the smaller River Poddle runs underground for the majority of its course. A stroll to Dublin Castle, a proud fortress erected in the thirteenth century on the site of the Viking settlement, is the closest landmark to the original pool, and much like the waters beneath it, this historic building is deeply woven into the very tapestry of Dublin’s DNA.
For centuries, the castle stood as a symbol of power, serving first as the headquarters of the English, and later the British administration in Ireland. In 1922, following Ireland’s independence, Dublin Castle was handed back to the new Irish government in a poignant ceremony. Visitors today can enjoy a tour of the State Apartments, exotic collections of the Chester Beatty Library, subterranean remains of some of Viking Dublin’s original defences and a stroll in the Castle’s Dubh Linn Garden, which lies near the site of the original black pool.
And it’s not just Dublin Castle that impresses. Stroll about and expect to be delighted by layers of architectural riches spreading out in all directions. From the gates of Trinity College, founded in 1592, to the Georgian squares lined with handsome townhouses and ornate doorways; past the impressive cathedrals of Christchurch and St. Patrick's; onto the rows of red brick workers’ cottages around The Liberties and down to the Guinness brewery and Guinness Storehouse, the city’s story is laid bare.
Behind the facades lies a collection of world class museums, galleries and attractions that reveal the heart and soul of Dublin. Trinity College houses one of the oldest books in the world, the Book of Kells, a beautiful illuminated manuscript decorated by monks in the 9th century. This prized artefact sits in The Long Room, a dazzling double-storey chamber 65 metres long room with a dramatic arched roof. You don’t need to be a book lover to be wowed by its beauty.
But not all treasures in this city are old. Located in a historic Georgian building minutes from Grafton Street, MoLi, or the Museum of Literature, is Ireland's newest museum. A striking rococo building that hosts modern exhibitions showcasing Ireland's rich literary heritage, visitors will find celebrations of James Joyce, Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde amongst top contemporary writers, interactive displays and guided tours. There’s also a popular historic house tour on Sunday mornings, should you be seduced by the building’s colourful past.
Across St Stephen’s Green, stylish Georgian streets fan out, housing handsome townhouses and cultural treasures of the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland. On the west side of Trinity College sits historic Temple Bar. Once a suburb of mediaeval Dublin, this cobblestoned riverside maze is best known today for its colourful nightlife and traditional music sessions today.
Just across the river, runs the wide avenue of O’Connell Street, where the GPO, site of the important 1916 Easter Rising, stands before the soaring, gleaming Spire, a stainless steel spike reaching 120 metres into the sky. At the top of the street, Parnell Square you’ll find the beautiful Hugh Lane Gallery, with its impressive international and Irish art collections, while to the west lies the Old Jameson Distillery, in the historic Smithfield area, and Collins Barracks, home to the National Museum of Ireland’s collection of decorative arts.
The world's most captivating city is yours to discover during your stay at Dylan.
No trip to Dublin is complete without a visit to the home of the Black Stuff. Located in the heart of the St James’s Gate Brewery, the former Guinness fermentation plant has been remodelled into the shape of a giant pint of Guinness. Learn everything there is to know about Guinness from barley seed to glass.
Located at 86 St. Stephens Green in the historic UCD Newman House, where James Joyce once studied MoLI – The Museum of Literature Ireland – is an interactive celebration of Irish poets, playwrights and novelists. Designed to entertain newcomers to Irish literature as well as experts, visitors can also enjoy tours of the beautiful house.
Founded by John Jameson in 1780, the original Jameson whiskey distillery was recently voted the world’s leading distillery tours. The building is no longer a working distillery but has been thoughtfully restored to reveal the seven stages of whiskey making to visitors.
Before its closure in 1924, Dublin's Kilmainham Gaol housed some of the most famous political and military leaders in Irish history. Kilmainham Gaol is steeped in history from the famine to rebellion in 1916. Pre-booking is essential at this top Dublin attraction.
14 Henrietta Street
Capturing over 300 years of family and city life within the walls of one address, 14 Henrietta Street shares its journey from grand Georgian townhouse to one wealthy family to tenement slum housing over 100 people under its roof. Explore the house, hear its stories and discover the layers of Dublin history within its walls.
The first new distillery in Dublin in over 125 years, the Teeling Whiskey Company’s brand new distillery and visitor centre is in the historic Liberties in Dublin 8. Producing up to 500,000 litres of spirit each year, the whiskey tasting tour is fun for Irish whiskey fans.
Little Museum of Dublin
Eclectic and family-friendly The Little Museum of Dublin on St Stephen’s Green tells the fascinating story of Dublin through unusual artefacts, memorabilia and quirky treasures. Intimate and engaging, the hourly guided tour has been voted best tour in Dublin.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art, housed in the city’s former 17th century Royal Hospital, is home to Ireland’s leading collection of contemporary art. Beautiful grounds are also a major highlight,
Chester Beatty Library
Located within Dublin Castle, the Library holds an international collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, rare books, drawings and decorative arts, all collected by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, an American-British mining magnate and philanthropist who was made an honorary citizen of Ireland in 1957.
Trinity College Dublin Library
Dating back to 1592, Trinity College Library is not only historic but is also the largest library in Ireland. Set on the university campus in Dublin city centre, the library and its astonishing Long Room, is home to 5 million printed volumes as well as the Book of Kells, a mediaeval manuscript created by monks over 1,000 years ago and one of Ireland's greatest cultural treasures.
A historic and symbolic hub, Dublin Castle houses the impressive State Apartments, the Chapel Royal, a 13th century Tower and some of its medieval structures as well as beautiful enclosed gardens. It is also home to the Chester Beatty Library.
Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square
One of Ireland’s most famous writers, Oscar Wilde was born on nearby Westland Row and a statue to his memory sits one corner of Merrion Square, one of the finest examples of a Georgian park in Dublin.
Irish novelist and poet, Ulysses is his most famous work set in the streets and alleys of Dublin and there are plaques throughout the city celebrating his work. 16th of June, Bloomsday celebrates the life and work of James Joyce all over the world. The Martello Tower in Sandycove – the setting of the opening chapter of Ulysses – is now a museum dedicated to his memory.
The largest enclosed city park in Europe, The Phoenix Park offers up 1,750 acres to explore all year round, The Park is home to the official residence of the President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin (the "Irish White House" open on Saturdays), Farmleigh House (open for tours daily), the US Ambassador's residence, Dublin Zoo (est. 1831) and the Victorian People's Flower Gardens. A beautiful place to go running, cycling or have a picnic.
The Hugh Lane Gallery
Housing one of Ireland's best collections of modern and contemporary Irish and international art, it is thought to be among the first galleries of modern art in the world. Established in 1908, Hugh Lane became the home of artist Francis Bacon’s perfectly preserved studio in 1998.
Number Twenty Nine is Dublin's Georgian House Museum. Take a guided tour from the basement to the attic, through rooms which have been furnished with original artefacts as they would have been in the years 1790 to 1820.
National Museum of Ireland - Natural History
Affectionately referred to by locals as Dublin’s Dead Zoo, The Natural History Museum on Merrion Street has just reopened after a significant refurbishment. Explore galleries of animals from Ireland, including their iconic Giant Irish Deer, and thousands of animal and insect species.