Go straight to jail
You can’t fail to be moved by a visit to the Kilmainham Gaol Historical Museum. It’s one of Europe’s largest unoccupied prisons, and here you can learn about the country’s troubled emergence as a modern nation from the 1780s-1920s. Tours are extremely popular (and currently the only way to gain access), so it’s worth booking ahead.
- Located on Inchicore Road, Kilmainham. To book call 00 353 1453 5984 or click here
Get to know your surroundings by downloading some free walking podcasts from Visit Dublin. Topics include ‘A day in Dublin’, ‘Dublin in film’, or different periods of history. Download one of 16 routes here
Culture and good cheer
If you’re a fan of the black stuff, take a tour of the Guinness Storehouse for a history of the world-famous beer. It’s an enormous, seven-storey building, modeled to look like a pint. Make sure to take in the Gravity Bar where you’ll get a free drink (no prizes for guessing what sort!) as well as incredible 360-degree views of the city.
- Find the Storehouse at the St James’ Gate Brewery. Adult tickets cost €16.50. For more information call 00 353 1 408 4800 or click here
The Irish are renowned for their ‘gift of the gab’, and there’s no better way to enjoy classic quotes from literature than hearing it spoken aloud. Enjoy snippets from Joyce, Beckett, Yeats and more – plus songs – on a lively pub tour of the city.
- Tours start at the Duke Pub, at 9 Duke Street. Tickets cost €12. To book a place or for information on times, call 00 353 16705 602 or click here
Take in the air
Take a stroll through Phoenix Park – one of Europe’s largest walled gardens, which was established in the 1600s as a deer park. There’s still a herd of fallow deer, as well as pretty woodlands, numerous monuments and flower gardens.
- The park is open every day. For more information call the visitors’ centre on 00 353 1 677 0095 or click here
Ireland drinks more tea per person than anywhere in the world (we were surprised too!) and they certainly know a few things about serving it. For decadent cakes, try the Queen of Tarts, at Cork Hill on Dame Street. Run by sisters, it specialises in scones, cupcakes and a highly recommended plum tart.
- For more information call 00 353 1670 7499 or click here
Step back in time with a visit to Dublin Castle. Despite being more than 800 years old, the building is still in use for conferences and state functions. Little ones are sure to enjoy the special Horrific and Horrible History of Mediaeval Dublin Tour (available on request), or tracking down the animal paintings and sculptures on a special sheet obtainable from reception.
- Find the Castle on Dame Street. Admission costs €4.50 adults, €2 children under 12. For more information call 00 353 1645 8800 or click here
Alternatively, try Dublinia, a heritage centre with sections based around Viking and medieval Dublin, as well as space to learn about excavations.
- Located on St Michael’s Hill. Admission costs €8.50 adults, €5.50 children. For information call 00 353 01679 4611 or click here
Let out your wild side at the Natural History Museum. Part of the National Museum of Ireland, the building dates back to 1857 and retains its old-world charm with glass cabinets and hand-written labels. One floor specialises in Irish wildlife, while another has skeletons and specimens from around the world. Creepy crawly fans are in for a treat!
- Located on Merrion Street, admission free. The Museum is closed on Mondays. Call 00 353 1 677 7444 or click here