Friday, March 1, 2013

Where to go in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin was founded over 1,000 years ago by Viking conquerors, it is a city with a long and vibrant past. Remnants of this past can be seen all over the city, and visitors will find a wide variety of fascinating places to explore. Dublin is a very compact city and you can walk to almost everything. So here are a few places that you should see.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

Ireland's largest church and the National Cathedral - this special status was conferred on a church where no bishop actually has his seat! Founded in 1191 by Archbishop Comyn the building was substantially renovated between 1844 and 1869 by Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness. Visitors will find a neon-gothic cathedral with some older parts. You will also find the graves of Dean Swift ("Gulliver's Travels") and his beloved Stella.

Dublin Castle

Well, not a traditional castle in English style, Dublin Castle is the "Irish Stew" of castles, a little of this and a little of that. The original Viking fortress was expanded, renovated, torn down and rebuilt over the centuries. Today a massive tower and the Royal Chapel look medieval while all administrative buildings are in more modern styles. The defensive character is gone but the beautiful gardens and impressive state rooms make more than up for it.

Phoenix Park

The world's largest enclosed municipal park can keep you busy for days - from the magnificent residences of the Irish President and the Ambassador of the United States to the quaint cricket and polo fields, from Ashton Castle to the Garda Headquarters and from the herds of deer roaming free to the animals in Dublin Zoo. Do not miss the Phoenix Statue and the Papal Cross nearby. Martial history is emphasized by the massive Wellington Monument and the much-raided Magazine Fort on Thomas Hill.

National Gallery

Ireland's National Gallery is a "must see" for anyone interested in Irish and European art. Opened in 1864 it has around 500 major works of art on display - among them Hogarth, Gainsborough, Poussin, Monet, Degas, El Greco, Velasquez, Goya, Picasso, Titian, Caravaggio, Brueghel, Vermeer and Rubens. Especially strong on Irish artists and Irish portraits the National Gallery has recently been expanded by the "Millennium Wing". You will find it at Merrion Square West and right in the center of Dublin.

Trinity College and Library

Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I on the grounds of an Augustinian priory that was a victim of the dissolution. Trinity College dominates the city landscape and the oldest buildings (the brick-built "Rubrics") date from 1700. Most of the impressive buildings were built during the renovation phase of 1759. Trinity College Library is home to more than an million books and priceless manuscripts, the most famous being the "Book of Kells" - expect long lines in summer.

Dublin Writers Museum


Many famous Irish writers came from Dublin. This museum is dedicated to Irish literature and lives of James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and many other famous Irish names. The museum is located in an 18th century house which also raises the feeling of the history.

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