Dublin, “Town of the Hurdled Ford” is the thriving capital city of the Republic of Ireland. It is noteworthy in terms of its vibrancy, its nightlife and its tourist attractions, and is the most popular entry point for international visitors to Ireland. As a city it is disproportionately large for the size of the country, well over a quarter of the Republic’s population lives in the metropolitan area. The centre is, however, relatively small and can be navigated by foot, with most of the population living in sprawling suburbs.
National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland is the national museum in Ireland. It has three centres in Dublin and one in County Mayo, with a strong emphasis on Irish art, culture and natural history.
The National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery of Ireland houses the Irish national collection of Irish and European art. The Gallery has an extensive, representative collection of Irish painting and is also notable for its Italian Baroque and Dutch masters painting. Entry to the gallery is free.
Dublin Castle is a major Irish governmental complex, formerly the fortified seat of British rule in Ireland until 1922. Most of the complex dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland.
Chester Beatty Library
The Chester Beatty Library was established in Dublin, Ireland in 1950, to house the collections of mining magnate, Sir Alfred Chester Beatty. The Library is one of the premier sources for scholarship in both the Old and New Testaments and is home to one of the most significant collections of Islamic and Far Eastern artefacts. It includes the Gospel of Mani believed to be the last remaining artefact from Manichaeism.
The Bram Stoker Museum
Opened in July 2003, this visitor centre is a must for lovers of Bram Stoker and his creation Dracula. The museum offers a spine chilling experience featuring many aspects from the lives of both Bram Stoker and Dracula. The visit starts with a trip through the “Time tunnel to Transylvania” and into “Dracula’s Castle”. Next is the “Blood Laboratory” and “Dracula’s Lair”.
Hop on and off the open top bus tour around the city. Stops at all of the major tourist spots, and you can hop off and on as often as you like. The bus drivers are very friendly too – a great way to get a feel for the layout of Dublin, and is reasonable.
A special theme tour provided by Dublin Bus. This tour takes you around Dublin’s haunted sites on a gothic style-decorated theatre bus guided by live storytellers. Dublin Bus claims this tour is the only one of its kind in the world. In any case, a must for lovers of gothic tales, but not for the timid.
Retells the story of Dublin’s most famous drink. The exhibition is interesting and is self-guided. Price of entry includes a pint at the seventh floor Gravity Bar, which has good views over Dublin and forms the head of the giant pint of Guinness formed by the atrium. If the taste is a bit too bitter for you, ask for blackcurrant in your pint – but beware, this will upset the purists!
Eat & Drink
Dublin has a wide range of good quality restaurants, most of which are, however, horribly overpriced by European standards. Main course prices range from â‚¬10 at the lower end up to around â‚¬40 at the higher end. Wine in restaurants is generally marked up from its already expensive retail price by a factor of at least two and three times retail price would not be uncommon.
No visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to one (or ten) of its many pubs (last count says there are over 600 pubs). Drink is relatively expensive: a pint of stout costs around 4.50 and up, while lager costs around 4.90 and up. Pubs are open until 11:30PM during the week (although many bars have late licenses up to 3AM), and as late as around 3AM on weekends, depending on the pub.
Dublin’s extensive bus network (usually yellow double-deckers) radiates from the city centre to the vast suburbs surrounding it. While it’s easy to travel from almost anywhere in outer Dublin into the city centre, very few buses travel east-west across town, necessitating a trip into town and then out again. Dublin Bus also runs airport, Nitelink and sightseeing tours. Costs vary and tickets can be purchased at over 350 ticket agents throughout the city or in the Dublin Tourism Centre. If you do not have a ticket, you will need exact change to buy a ticket on the bus – the driver will let you know how much you owe, depending on how far you are going.
Traffic in Dublin is a nightmare and car parking is an expensive headache. With severe congestion, scarce parking, diligent traffic wardens and even more committed car thieves, it’s hardly worth driving in central Dublin. But for excursions, a car can be a great way to get off the beaten track, particularly on Sundays when public transport is infrequent.
Taxis are expensive, and a perennial shortage (despite 6000 new permits being issued in 2001) means it can be hard to catch one, especially around the weekend after the pubs close.