Weekend in Dublin
For decades poorly regarded, the Irish capital is a city that, almost immediately, it manages to conquer. Today it has deservedly carved out a place among the most interesting capitals on the European scene. Not so much for the splendid neighborhoods, monuments, and museums, of which it is rich in any case, but rather for its atmosphere.
Dublin is a city to live, even just for a weekend, walking along the Liffey; chatting with people; sipping a divine Guinness in one of the numerous pubs in the city. Spend even a single weekend in Dublin, it can give you many emotions. After all, a certain James Joyce argued that “it would be really unusual if someone coming to Dublin didn’t end up in a pub sooner or later“!
WEEKEND IN DUBLIN: DAY 1
Did you manage to arrive in the morning? Well, in this case you will have most of the day at your disposal to explore the city, starting with Dublin Castle, a 13th century Norman fortress, built at the behest of King John of England.
Initially, it was a medieval structure consisting of a moat, a drawbridge and four towers. Of these, only one remained intact after the terrible fire of 1684; the Record Tower, while what is visible today, is a set of buildings modified over the years, starting from 1700.
The interior of the structure consists of about fifteen rooms, furnished in sumptuous style, including the beautiful Saint Patrick’s Hall; today, it is a place of ceremonies, with its marvelous decorated ceiling. In the Throne Room, the investiture ceremony of the new President of the Republic is held; always here, in the event that he dies before his mandate, his body is exposed for three consecutive days. In the Throne Room there is the throne of William of Orange and a splendid clover-shaped chandelier; it is the symbol of the union between Ireland, England and Scotland.
Outside the castle is the splendid Royal Chapel, a neo-Gothic building designed by architect Francis Johnston. Built in the early nineteenth century, it is decorated, on the outside, with over 100 heads carved in the limestone rock of Tullamore; they represent illustrious Irish characters, including English rulers, Swift and Saint Patrick.
The Castle is open every day, from Monday to Sunday, including holidays, from 09:45 to 17:45.
The cost of the ticket, to visit the apartments and the Royal Chapel, is €8.00 for adults and €6.00 for over 65s and students (they must have a valid university card with their data); children aged 12 to 17 pay €4.00, while up to 12 years admission is FREE.
More info on the official website.
Photo ©, J.-H. Janßen
Before reaching the splendid Cheaster Betty Library, we recommend that you take a break at the splendid Dubhlinn Garden, which is the gardens located right in front of the Castle. Incredible geometric precision and well-kept spaces characterize these splendid gardens in the center; have a circular shape with beautiful benches surrounding it. Lying to one side, there is this authentic Dublin gem, housed in the building of the Clock Tower of Dublin Castle: Cheaster Betty Library.
Founded in 1950, to house the collections of the magnate Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (hence the name), it was officially opened to the public on February 07, 2000. Divided into two sections, Sacred Traditions and Artistic Traditions, it contains over 20,000 manuscripts, books, miniatures, rare copies of the Bible and the Koran, as well as a precious Manichean Gospel, written in Persian and dated 3rd century…. a true paradise for bibliologists and philologists. Often, it hosts interesting temporary exhibitions. Cheaster Betty, was the first foreigner to be awarded the honorary citizen in Dublin!
The structure is open every day, observing the following times: from Monday to Friday, from 10:00 to 17:00; Saturday from 11:00 to 17:00; Sunday from 1pm to 5pm. Closed on 1st January, from 24th to 26th December, public holidays, and every Monday in November, December, January and February. Admission is FREE.
For more info, we invite you to consult the official website from this link.
Without delay, reach James Street and from there, a few hundred meters away you will be in front of the legendary Guinness factory, one of the most visited places in all of Dublin, if not the number 1. After a tour with tasting, a worthy closure is the Temple Bar. It is one of the most popular meeting places in the city, where many young people gather. We, however, prefer to recommend for the first evening, the Brazen Head, the oldest pub in the city dating back to the seventeenth century. Here is the history of Dublin …. Excellent hospitality, excellent sandwiches and lots of beers, some of which are almost impossible to find. The Pub is located at 20 Lower Bridge St, near the river and not far from the Castle. It is open every day until late at night. More info on the official website. A nice walk along the banks of the river is what you need to work off the drink.
WEEKEND IN DUBLIN: DAY 2
Did you raise your elbow too much last night? Try to soak up your hangover quickly: the city awaits you! Don’t get up late! The second day of your weekend in Dublin awaits you. The city has many museums and monuments that are worth a visit, but almost all of them close at 17:00.
Photo ©, Jim Nix
For the second day of the weekend in Dublin, it is a must to leave with Trinity College. To get to the historic building, we recommend reaching the opposite bank of the Liffey, to cross the legendary Ha’penny Bridge, also known as the Liffey Bridge; it is the best known and most photographed pedestrian bridge in Dublin, so called (Ha’penny means half a penny) due to the toll required in ancient times to cross the two banks of the river. The bridge, reserved for pedestrians, dates back to 1816, and has an arched structure.
The Irish Parliament Building that you will see in College Green was the first building in the world built specifically to house a bicameral Parliament; here, in fact, both chambers of the parliament of the Kingdom of Ireland were located before it was joined to that of Great Britain with the Act of Union of 1800. Today it houses a branch of the Bank of Ireland.
So here you are at one of the symbolic places of the whole city, Trinity College. It is one of the most prestigious and noble universities in the world, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth of England. The whole complex covers an area of 220,000 square meters, and consists of buildings from the eighteenth century and Twentieth century, several courtyards and gardens, and paved squares; peace and relaxation are the prerogative of the whole campus.
To get an idea of the charm and importance of this university, just browse the list of its most famous students: Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift !! Here, you can admire, first of all, the Bell Tower, a true symbol of the Campus. 30 meters high, it was built where a monastery once stood; according to a superstition, the students who pass by while the bells ring, do not pass the exams!
The library is, however, the real flagship and pride of the entire University, with its nearly 5 million books !! Many are real rarities, among which the Book of Kells stands out; it is the treasure of all Dublin. A wonderful illuminated manuscript, dating back to 800 AD. which contains precious miniatures with episodes taken from the four Gospels. The Book of Kells enchants with the preciousness of its colors and geometric, vegetable and animal motifs, while all around, an exhibition itinerary illustrates the secrets of this ancient technique. Keep in mind that a limited number of people is allowed to enter, which is why the queue is often quite long.
Open every day, Monday to Saturday from 09:30 to 17:00, and Sunday from 12:30 to 16:30. In summer the closing is always at 18:00.
The entrance ticket costs €18. Children up to 12 years of age enter for free. With the Family ticket enter 2 adults and 2 children up to 16 years at a total cost of €34. More information on the official website from this link.
Not far from here, not to be missed, the Examination Hall, a beautiful Palladian-style room, and the Long Room, in the Old Library. Over 200,000 precious books are kept in this 64-meter-long room, with two very long rows of oak bookcases; here, you can admire the oldest Irish harp, called by Brian Boru, which has become one of the national symbols and the Proclamation of the Republic of Ireland, read by Pàdraig Pearse during the Easter uprising of 1916.
Before leaving the College, you can stroll through the College Garden, perhaps attending some rugby or cricket training, mingling among the university students. Science Gallery, housed in this structure, is an interesting exhibition space dedicated to science where it is possible to interact with the objects on display, stimulating curiosity and creativity. The latter, like the adjacent Zoological Museum, is recommended only if you have more time available: being a weekend it is impossible to see everything.
From the southwest side, continuing on Suffolk Street, near the beautiful Saint Andrew Church, don’t miss the statue of Molly Malone. The Irish heroine is super photographed and is one of the most represented subjects on a postcard in the city. The most famous fishwife in town, sculpted with her generous décolleté, complete with a cart and shellfish rest, certainly stands out. Character of legend, to whom even the Dubliners anthem is dedicated (In the beautiful city of Dublin / where the girls are so pretty / I first saw sweet Molly Malone / carrying her cart / on narrow and wide streets / shouting “live clams and mussels!” …), and whose ghost wanders the city street; fishwife during the day and prostitute at night: touch her prosperous breasts, it is said to bring good luck!
St. Patrick Cathedral, is a fascinating and evocative Gothic-style cathedral, not far from Christ Church. It is considered the national cathedral of Protestant Ireland, built in one of the oldest Christian sites in the whole city, where it seems that St. Patrick baptized the pagans in a well in 450 AD. Gorgeous exteriors with a beautiful and peaceful garden and, don’t miss the interiors; above all, the splendid all inlaid choir and its nave which, with 100 meters of extension, is the longest in all of Ireland. Here was buried Jonathan Swift, author of “Gulliver’s Travels”, whose tomb is kept together with that of his beloved Esther. The only drawback, the many souvenirs sold inside. The Cathedral, as mentioned, is located in the center, reachable by numerous buses (27, 49, 54A, 56A, 77A, 77X, 150, 151, St Patrick’s Close stop), and is open every day, observing the following times :
- summer, from Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 16:30. Saturday, 09:00 to 17:30. Sunday, 09: 00-10: 30, 13: 00-14: 30 and 16: 30-17: 30.
- Winter, Monday to Friday from 09:30 to 16:30. Saturday, from 09:00 to 16:30. Sunday, 09: 00-10: 30, 13: 00-14: 30.
Unfortunately, admission is not free: €8.00 for adults and €7.00 for students! For all the info, we recommend consulting the official website from this link, from which, moreover, it is possible to have a 360 degree view of the entire complex interior.
Christ Church is the splendid Cathedral that rises within the primitive medieval walls of the city. From the banks of the Liffey, you can have a spectacular view of the entire building. It was the Viking king Sitric Silkenbeard, in 1073, who laid the first stone after converting to Christianity, building what would be the oldest cathedral in the city.
The first structure was made of wood, but in the years from 1173 to 1240 the Anglo-Normans rebuilt the church in stone; today, of this structure, its 70 meters long and 24.70 meters high under the vault stand out. Dublin is a city around which many legends revolve, and even this Church is not exempt; it is said, in fact, that, in the Middle Ages, a soldier while attending a solemn funeral entered the gallery, where he was closed by the sacristan, unaware that he was there. Many months later, his body was found completely gnawed, sword in hand, around which lay the carcasses of over two hundred rats that the soldier had killed!
The church is generally open from Thursday to Monday, from 10:00 to 17:00. Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Timetables are subject to change.
The adult ticket costs €9.00, while students with valid ID and over 65 pay the reduced rate of € 7.50. On the official website, you can get more information.
For whiskey lovers, the Old Jameson Distillery is a real treat. This is the impressive museum dedicated to the production of the alcoholic drink of the same name. It is located inside the old distillery, dating back to 1780; here you can appreciate, in particular, the grain warehouses and then the “Malt house” where the barley was dried in closed ovens.
At the end of the tour, we arrive at the Jameson Bar for a small tasting glass. It is also possible to take part in real tasting tours; Jameson Taste Experience is the one we recommend, allowing you to try 4 great Whiskey Reserves (cost € 30.00 per person). The Old James Distillery is located on Bow Street, near the Smithfield Luas tram stop.
It is open every day from Monday to Saturday from 09:00 to 18:00 and on Sundays from 10:00. No alcohol served before 12:15. For more info, consult the official website from this link.
WEEKEND IN DUBLIN: DAY 3
Photo ©, William Murphy
The Weekend in Dublin is coming to an end. For the last day, take it easy: have a hearty breakfast and take the bus to the IFSC Custom House Quays stop (many lines arrive here) to admire the Famine Memorial, beautiful sculptures along the banks of the Liffey, representing human beings worn out and dehydrated due to famine. The work was commissioned by Norma Smurfit, a famous Irish philanthropist, and presented to the city in 1997. The sculpture is a commemorative work dedicated to the Irish people forced to emigrate during the 19th century following the Great Famine, a wound still open and hard to digest.
Not far from here, crossing the river, and after a few minutes walk, you will reach the National Gallery of Ireland, a splendid city museum located in Merrion Square. It is one of the leading European galleries founded in 1854 and housed in a beautiful nineteenth-century building. The gallery is the result of numerous donations made over the centuries, containing the largest collection of Irish art in the world; here, moreover, about 15,000 works are housed including paintings, sculptures, prints, watercolors, drawings and art objects ranging from the thirteenth century. until the mid-twentieth century. arranged in four large wings of the structure. The museum’s masterpiece is undoubtedly the dramatic “Capture of Christ” by Caravaggio, a work owned by the Dublin Jesuits, and currently on loan to the Gallery for an indefinite period.
The Museum is open every day, from Tuesday to Saturday from 09:15 to 17:30, and on Sunday and Monday from 11:00 to 17:30. Every Tuesday, always closing at 20:30. We point out that the entrance to the structure is located in Clare Street. Admission is FREE. For more info and updates you can consult the official website from this link.
Photo ©, Anna & Michal
Merrion Square, is the wonderful square overlooked by the gallery, a real green lung, surrounded by splendid Georgian-style buildings, where Daniel O’Donnel, WB Yeats, George AE Russel lived; it was a favorite of Oscar Wilde, celebrated here by the presence of a statue and two marble columns.
Not far from here, St. Stephens Green is a wonderful public park in the city center, a small corner of greenery very popular with residents who generally like to spend their time here for lunch.
The place is now a point of reference for all couples and students; it is a clean, well-kept park, with shady avenues, the music pavilion, green meadows, flower beds, many ponds and lots of fauna: you will find ducks, gulls, squirrels and various birds. It is ideal for a breath of fresh air and some healthy relaxation in the city. The tranquility and peace that is felt here, contrasts with the history of the park itself; just think that this, once upon a time, was the space of the municipality that hosted public floggings, fires and hangings!
The park today has a rectangular shape and is surrounded by 4 streets that once formed the main arteries of the city center; St Stephen’s Green North, St Stephen’s Green South, St Stephen’s Green East and St Stephen’s Green Wes. Inside, among other things, near the entrance from Leeson Street, to see a beautiful sculpture depicting three women as an emblem of Fate.
On the north-west side, Fusiliers arch, is a monument to commemorate the hundreds of thousands of victims of the Boer war that was fought at the end of the 19th century; from here you can access the renowned Grafton Street, a rather famous shopping street.
Here we are at the end of our weekend in Dublin. Let’s imagine we have at least encouraged you to make, at least, a trip to the beautiful Irish city. So what are you waiting for to pack your bags and leave? Have a good trip and have a good weekend in Dublin