10 Must-See Dublin Sights
by Katie McCabe | @awelltraveledpair | May 5th, 2019
When I think of Dublin, I think of a small capital with a big heart. The cobbled streets, tasty cuisine, and beautiful sights always seem to amaze me, but it's the friendly locals that really touch my soul. After every visit, I see why the Irish are labeled as some of the nicest people in the world. If the "luck of the Irish" is on your side, you'll one day end up in the fascinating city of Dublin. And when you do, don't miss these 10 incredible attractions.
Temple Bar is the cultural heart of Dublin. Jam-packed with restaurants, live music, art galleries, and loads of people, this neighborhood is where you want to be when looking for a craic (a good time in Ireland.) Traditional pubs line the streets, live Irish music plays on every corner, and tourists and locals alike partake in the abundance of fun Dublin has to offer. For those of you planning on staying in the Temple Bar area, be aware that this neighborhood does not quiet down until the late hours of the night.
If you're a fan of beer, then head straight over to the Guinness Storehouse. Originated by Arthur Guinness in the late 1700's, Guinness has become one of the world's most popular brews. Visitors pile into the storehouse daily for guided tours, and for the complimentary pint, of course. At the end of each tour, the creamy, dry stout is served at the Gravity Bar. Enjoy 360° views of Dublin with a tasty Guinness in hand!
Established in 1780 by John Jameson, the Bow Street Distillery grew to be one of Ireland's most productive whiskey distilleries. Renamed to Jameson & Son's Bow Street Distillery in 1810, it grew massively to what locals coined as a "city within a city." Filled with saw mills, engineers, carpenters, painters, and aging whiskey, the distillery was booming. That was until it fell onto hard times after the American Prohibition and Ireland and Britain's trade wars. In 1971, the whiskey operation ceased in Dublin and moved to Cork, where Jameson Whiskey is now produced. The old distillery in Dublin was renamed to the Jameson Distillery and now serves as a visitor center that offers guided tours and whiskey tastings.
What began as a home for the first Lord of Ireland, King John, Dublin Castle now serves as a government complex, conference center, and tourist attraction. Its beautiful design, intricate gardens, and fascinating history make Dublin Castle a sight you don't want to miss!
St Patrick's Cathedral
Founded in 1191, St. Patrick's Cathedral is Ireland's largest church, and with its 141 foot spire, it's also the tallest. So much rich history occurred in this church. For example, St. Patrick baptized numerous Celtic chieftains here, and Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels) was dean in the 1700's and was buried on site. Even though the church is located outside of Dublin's main tourist area, it is definitely worth a visit. Guided tours are offered regularly throughout the day, or visitors can download an app for self-guide usage.
The Book of Kells Exhibition
If you only have time to see one thing in Dublin, make sure you see the Book of Kells. Located inside Trinity College, the exhibition includes not only the Book of Kells, a 9th century manuscript that contains the four Gospels of the New Testament, but also one of the world's most beautiful libraries and over 200,000 of the college's oldest books. I highly recommend purchasing tickets ahead of time on the official website. Lines can be very long during peak hours / peak season.
Molly Malone Statue
Standing tall in the middle of Dublin's historic Georgian Quarter is the bronze statue of Molly Malone. As legend has it, Ms. Malone was a beautiful fishmonger who died from a fever and went on to haunt the streets of Dublin. To this day, no one knows if Molly Malone truly did exist. Her story, however, became so popular that a song was created in the late 1800's and became the unofficial anthem of Dublin and June 13th was named Molly Malone Day.
Built in 1816, the Ha'penny Bridge was constructed when local ferries could no longer transport passengers across the River Liffey due to poor maintenance. In order to pay for the bridge's construction, toll operators were allowed to collect a ha'penny, or half penny, from anyone who crossed it. Today, the bridge's distinctive design is admired by tourists and locals.
Dublin's Colorful Doors
Numerous stories have been told on how Dublin's colorful doors came about. Some say Queen Victoria demanded all doors to be painted a mournful black color after her beloved husband, Albert, passed away. This, of course, sent the rebellious Irish straight to the paint store to buy a variety of bright colors. Others say the doors were painted so locals could find their way home after too many pints at the local pub. Whatever the actual reason was, the unique splashes of color add beautiful flair to Dublin's uniform neighborhoods.
Eat Fish & Chips in a Traditional Irish Pub
You can't travel to Dublin and leave without having fish and chips. This famous dish can be found throughout the city in pretty much every pub. Deep fried cod, crispy chips (aka french fries), mashed peas, and creamy tartar sauce are what locals prefer to fill their plates. And don't forget to wash it all down with a hearty Guinness.