This private house and one-time fortress is located on acres of lush parkland in Malahide. The interiors are done up beautifully with plush drawing rooms and portrait paintings of the Talbot family, while the facade is flanked by beguiling Gothic Revival turrets. Standing strong for about 800 years, this old home has seen it all; wars, good times and memories of the family it sheltered. One of the country's oldest castles, the magnificent Malahide Castle not only chronicles the legacy of the Talbots, but it has also been a catalyst in framing the course of Ireland's medieval history. Now a major attraction, the main hall plays host to private celebrations and banquets, while guided tours in French, Spanish and Dutch are available for tourists. The restaurant is quite popular with the locals, who drop in for a hot traditional breakfast of baked scones, with homemade jam and cream.
One of only two Anglican cathedrals in Dublin, this venerated church stands alongside the serene meadows of the symbolic Saint Patrick's Park. Constructed in the year 1192, the cardinal cathedral of Glendalough is an architectural masterpiece whose multiple spires soar over the urban landscapes of the Coombe, Warrenmount, and Portobello. The main attractions within St Patrick's are the tombs of Jonathan Swift and his companion, which are located in the nave. The cathedral also contains the longest medieval nave in Ireland and a stone slab engraved with a Celtic cross that covers the well from which St Patrick blessed his subjects. The adjoining garden is a welcome oasis in this densely built-up district of the city.
Merrion square is a great place to enjoy a lazy afternoon on the grass. This city park features lush lawns and a variety of statues, including a monument to Oscar Wilde (who once lived at 1, Merrion Square) and a public art piece by Irish American sculptor Jerome Connor. Come on Sundays to see local artists display their works on the park railings. It is also a great place to spend quality time with your family. Nothing short of an urban oasis, head to Merrion Square to escape the stresses of city life.
Located above the peacefully flowing River Liffey, the Ha'penny Bridge, also known as the Liffey Bridge, is an important landmark of the city. During the early 18th Century, ferries operated by a private owner called William Walsh plied across the river. But these ferries were in a deteriorating condition and that forced officials to demand the erection of a bridge or termination of ferries from Walsh. Walsh expressed his desire to build the bridge but he had inadequate funds. On his earnest request, commuters were charged Halfpenny or Ha'penny as a toll for the construction of the bridge. That's how the bridge came to be known as Ha'penny Bridge. Today, it beckons visitors and locals with its angelic white color and promises pristine views of the beautiful river.
Dublin Castle symbolized English rule for 700 years, ever since the Anglo-Normans built their fortress on this site. Later, the castle was to serve as the headquarters of the English-appointed Viceroy of Ireland. It was not until 1922 that it was finally handed over to the Irish Free State. The castle's apartments boast of opulent, wonderfully-decorated rooms, while carpets of rolling, formal gardens lend it an alluring aura. Sheltered within the castle's fabric are insignia and collectibles of historical interest. The Castle is in use even today as a venue for state functions as well as home to multiple government agencies. The castle grounds are also home to the magnificent Chapel Royal and the splendid Chester Beatty Library. A window into the country's monumental, medieval past, this mighty castle is indeed one of the most priceless possessions of Dublin.
This building was previously owned by the Church of Ireland and was the Synod Hall right up until 1983. The Medieval Trust now supports the Dublinia exhibition, which aims to cover Dublin's early history, starting with the arrival of the Vikings in 1170 and ending with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII in 1539. Start the tour in the basement with an audio-tape, taking you through life-size reconstructions, depicting major events, including the Black Death, the rebellion of Silken Thomas, and the United Irishmen uprising. Upstairs features a huge model of Dublin in about 1500. Also of note, in the Great Hall, is a multi-screen presentation on medieval Dublin.
Although founded in the 9th Century by the Vikings, little remains of Dublin's early history but its cobblestoned streets which showcase layer upon layer of history with Medieval era cathedrals and castles alongside the elegant Georgian facades from its heyday in the 18th Century as the British Empire's second city. Today, the capital city of Ireland boasts a cosmopolitan vibe, with restaurants catering to the diverse tastes of its increasingly multicultural populace. Dublin's pubs remain, however, the highlight of its nightlife and social scene, with the amiable natives mingling with tourists over pints of the legendary, local Guinness. For those with a taste for more genteel epicurean delights, Dublin also harbors Michelin starred restaurants. The city's penchant for revelry is balanced by its repute as a UNESCO City of Literature, associated with literary luminaries like Yeats, Joyce and Beckett. From architectural monuments like the Saint Patrick's Cathedral and historic sites like the Kilmainham Gaol to several fine museums, art galleries and theaters, Dublin envelops a wealth of culture and history into its relatively modest embrace. Child-friendly attractions like Dublin Zoo are quite popular as well, as are the city's designer boutiques and lovely parks.
Completed in 1779, the City Hall designed by Thomas Cooley housed the Royal Exchange. It is an elegant reminder of the wealth and opulence of Dublin in the city's 18th-century heyday. Today, City Hall is managed by the Dublin Corporation, which has restored the building beautifully. The great central atrium, complete with gold-leafed dome and mosaic floor, is one of the most impressive public spaces around. The history of Dublin is told in a vivid, computer-aided series of exhibitions.
The majestic Chapel Royal is an early 19th Century Chapel, and was formerly owned by the official Church of England. Located in Dublin Castle, the Chapel is an architectural marvel, with breathtakingly beautiful Gothic revival interiors exuding an opulent charm. Three statues resembling Faith, Hope and Charity stand over the Chapel's chancel window. The Chapel was once also used as a filming location for the television series, The Tudors.
Situated in the heart of the city center, the Chester Beatty Library is an art museum and library which houses the great collection of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and some decorative arts assembled by Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968). His collection is now housed in Dublin Castle in a restored 18th century building with a modern purpose-built block attached. The Library was named Irish Museum of the Year and was recently awarded the title European Museum of the Year, a coveted international accolade in the museum world. The Library's exhibitions open a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world. The rich collection from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe offers visitors a visual feast. Egyptian papyrus texts, beautifully illuminated copies of the Qur'an, the Bible, European medieval and renaissance manuscripts are among the highlights of the collection. Turkish and Persian miniatures and striking Buddhist paintings are also on display, as are Chinese dragon robes and Japanese woodblock prints. In its diversity, the collection captures much of the richness of human creative expression from about 2700 BC to the present day. Admission is free.
Awash in splendid Gothic and Romanesque architectural styles, the imposing Christ Church Cathedral underlines both, magnificence and might. The church is one of Dublin's two Anglican cathedrals and has stood on this site since the 6th Century. The present building was founded in 1172 by Strongbow, the Anglo-Norman conqueror of Dublin. In the hundreds of years since, the building has weathered many changes of design, and periods of steady deterioration. Since 1870 however, the Cathedral has been gradually and sensitively restored. The cathedral houses some of the remains of Strongbow, a pair of monumental, carved statues, aged books, altar artifacts, a casket containing the heart of St Laurence (the patron saint of Dublin), a tabernacle and candlesticks used by James II in 1689 when the Latin Mass was briefly celebrated. Furthermore, the cathedral is complete with a string of archways, a smattering of stained glass windows, and one of Ireland's largest crypts. The cathedral choir is one of the finest in Ireland.