Americans love Ireland—that’s no secret. Between the very friendly people and the fascinating sites, it’s no wonder tourists flock to it for vacations and expats see it as one of the best places to retire. If you happen to find yourself in Dublin, you might not know exactly what to do—it is more than a thousand years old, after all, meaning it has built up a lot of important sites over time. With so many things and places to explore, these are some of the more popular choices for you to visit while visiting Dublin:
A bit of a ways from city-center, Guinness Storehouse is a mecca for beer-lovers—although really anyone should visit, because its enormous keg-shaped facility rises seven floors and peaks in a bar with a 360-degree view of Dublin and the surrounding mountains—something you really can’t see anywhere else.
Trinity College, its library, and the Book of Kells
Trinity College was established by Elizabeth I in order to form a trio with Cambridge and Oxford—but since Ireland is not part of the United Kingdom, that affiliation seems to have gone by the wayside. Either way, its campus is more than 400 years old, and features a stunning Old Library (which may or may not be the library George Lucas used for Star Wars—you be the judge) and the Book of Kells, a 1200-year-old book of the gospels that is one of the most stunning examples of illuminated manuscripts around. Also keep an eye out in the library for a copy of the Easter Proclamation—the document which declared Ireland a republic separate from the U.K. and launched them on the road to true independence.
St. Stephen’s Green
If you’re feeling weary from all your sightseeing, St. Stephen’s Green is a beautiful park for a picnic, a nap, reading the book, or just sitting on your rump in general. Its flower beds, fountains, pond, and shady trees are the perfect place to take a break, and it’s located in city-center, meaning once you’re done, tons of sites are right nearby.
National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology
In 841, Vikings made a huge settlement in Dublin in what is now known as Wood Quay. Sadly, the site was largely destroyed by the construction of government offices after it was discovered, but the National Museum of Ireland was able to spend several years excavating the site, uncovering two million artifacts. These now can be seen in the archaeology museum, along with the mummies of people found in Irish bogs, plenty of important Irish artefacts, and exhibits on ancient Egypt and Cyprus.
Ireland’s road to independence was paved with blood and sacrifice—and no location can tell this story better than Kilmainham Gaol (“jail”). Many of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were imprisoned and executed here—an action which at last stirred the Irish into their final rebellion against the British crown. It finally became a republic free of the United Kingdom in 1949, after a civil war.