Iconic buildings and places in Dublin include legendary whiskey distilleries and taverns filled with the ghosts of famous writers, 1,000-year-old castles, and enchanting libraries with thousands of reading materials. The Irish capital is a city of cosy pubs and roaring rugby stadiums set between the Irish Sea and the Wicklow Mountains.

    Folk come here to jig to Gaelic music and sip Guinness stouts until the early hours, to shop down buzzy Grafton Street, and to get an intro to the culture of the Emerald Isle. If you're joining them this year, make sure to stop by the most famous landmarks of Dublin.


    Dublin Castle

    Ireland's most prestigious fortification

    Dublin Castle is a must-see for every first-time visitor to the Irish capital. It's right in the beating heart of the city, with the rollicking Temple Bar area on one side and the vintage rowhouse shops of Dame Street on the other. It's very easy to reach by public transport, taxi, and foot from most parts of the downtown.

    What awaits is a formidable medley of structures that first started getting built sometime in the 1200s on the site of an earlier Viking settlement. The most striking include the Bermingham Tower, with its copper-blue tinge, and Saint Patrick's Hall, a grand interior where Ireland's presidents are now inaugurated. Guided tours are available, except when there's an official state event taking place at the castle.

    Location: Dame St, Dublin 2, Ireland

    Open: Daily from 9.45 am to 5.15 pm

    Phone: +353 (0)1 645 8800


    St Patrick's Cathedral

    Nearly a millennium of history at this revered church

    St Patrick's Cathedral is 1 of the 2 most important churches in the Irish capital. A symphony of eye-catching Gothic architecture, it rises high above St Patrick's Park a little to the east of the city’s core.

    Built in 1191 AD, St Patrick's Cathedral is hailed for its dazzling interior of vaulted ceilings and filigreed choir spots. It's now a major place of pilgrimage, having been raised on the very spot where Saint Patrick himself is thought to have baptised people way back in the 4th century. The church is only a 10-minute walk from the banks of the River Liffey.

    Location: St Patrick's Close, Dublin 8, A96 P599, Ireland

    Open: Monday–Friday from 9.30 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 9.30 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 8.45 am to 10.15 am and from 1 pm to 5 pm

    Phone: +353 (0)1 453 9472


    The Guinness Storehouse

    Get a taste of Ireland's legendary beer

    The Guinness Storehouse is the home of Ireland's most iconic tipple, the frothy dark stouts of Guinness itself. This pub-goer's mecca can be found on the west side of the downtown, about 20 minutes by foot from bouncing Temple Bar.

    The building that hosts the current Guinness experience is a real beauty from the early 1900s. It rises a whopping 7 floors above the city streets and was the first steel-framed skyscraper to adorn the skyline of the capital. Inside, an exhibit explains the history of beer in Ireland and the intricate process of making Guinness, all of which finishes off with a taste of the good stuff.

    Location: St. James's Gate, Dublin 8, D08 VF8H, Ireland

    Open: Monday–Thursday from noon to 5 pm, Friday–Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm, Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +353 (0)1 408 4800


    Library of Trinity College Dublin

    Read your way through history

    The Library of Trinity College Dublin is a bookworm's dream come true. It sits on the campus of the capital's biggest university, which wedges its way close to the downtown on the eastern side of Temple Bar. The upshot? You can easily walk here from Liffey and central Henry Street.

    The spot looks like something plucked from a Harry Potter film (or book). In the Old Library section, huge shelves tower overhead with rows and rows of venerable tomes glaring down. The library actually hosts some of the Emerald Isle's most prestigious artefacts, including the Brian Boru harp from the 15th century and the gospels of the Book of Kells.

    Location: Old Library, College Green, South-East Inner City, Dublin 2, D02 VR66, Ireland

    Open: Daily from 9.30 am to 5 pm

    Phone: +353 (0)1 896 1000


    Leinster House

    The home of Ireland's government

    Leinster House is the prestigious home of the Irish parliament. It stands proud on Kildare Street next to the National Gallery of Ireland, right by the official offices of the Taoiseach, Ireland's prime minister and head of government.

    The building has a long history. It was once the residence of the Earl of Kildare, before being elevated to the role of state government after the formation of an independent Irish state in 1921. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for the Cenotaph that honours Irish politicians who stood for independence, and the modern Leinster House 2000 complex – it’s an extension that was built at the turn of the millennium.

    Location: Kildare St, Dublin 2, Ireland

    Open: Monday–Friday from 8 am to 9.30 pm (closed on weekends)

    Phone: +353 (0)1 618 3000


    Phoenix Park

    Landmarks aplenty in this Dublin garden

    Phoenix Park is more than just an urban green space in Dublin. It's a place steeped in rich history and even a candidate for UNESCO, occupying a whopping 707 hectares of land just north of the Liffey. It’s a short walk from the Stoneybatter neighbourhood and its hipster cafes.

    There are all sorts to see at Phoenix Park. Prominent landmarks include the grand residence of the President of Ireland, a glowing white Papal Cross, and the sky-grazing Wellington Monument at 62 meters tall. There are also lush meadows where you can spot deer while enjoying a picnic.

    Location: Dublin 8, Ireland

    Phone: +353 (0)1 820 5800


    Christ Church Cathedral

    The epicentre of the Irish church

    Christ Church Cathedral is one of Ireland’s important religious sites. It rises with grey stone walls and Gothic turrets from the very middle of what was once the medieval part of the city, a single block south of the Liffey's banks.

    It serves as the home of the Church of Ireland. You can witness a magnificent interior that's part original from the Middle Ages and part Victorian reconstruction. From the outside, be sure to pause and admire the flying buttresses that jut from the sides of the church. Oh, and don't miss the mummified cat and rat down in the crypt – a curious a spooky set of relics if there ever was one.

    Location: Christchurch Pl, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, Ireland

    Open: Monday and Thursday–Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm, Sundays from 1 pm to 3 pm (closed on Tuesdays ad Wednesdays)

    Phone: +353 (0)1 677 8099


    Davy Byrne's

    Calling all James Joyce fans

    Davy Byrne's Pub ticks that compulsory Dublin sightseeing box – a spot from the writings of one James Joyce. It's located at 21 Duke Street, which means you'll probably pass it as you wander the bustling core north of St Stephen's Green.

    The reason that this one stands out from all the other watering holes in Dublin – and there are loads! – is that it plays a big part in the famous magnum opus of Joyce, Ulysses. His main character drops in here for sustenance midway through his day. These days, so do literary pilgrims, especially on so-called Bloomsday on 16 June, when the pub hosts special events.

    Location: 21 Duke St, Dublin, D02 K380, Ireland

    Open: Daily from noon to 11.30 pm

    Phone: +353 (0)87 712 1405


    photo by DanMS (CC BY-SA 3.0) modified


    Temple Bar

    Party the night away

    Temple Bar is known for 1 thing – nightlife. It's a whole cut-out of central Dublin that spans from the south bank of the River Liffey down to Dame Street, unfolding in a web of narrow alleys and cobblestone streets that are fringed at every turn by pubs and taverns and bars.

    This is the place to head for those evenings of whiskey-swilling and Gaelic dancing. Most of the venues host live music almost every night of the week. There are some legendary pubs on offer, too, like the Temple Bar Pub itself, or the Victorian-era Norseman, or body-filled Peadar Kearney's – we could go on and on.


    Jameson Distillery Bow St.

    Get a tipple of warming whiskey

    Jameson Distillery Bow St. is an iconic place for whiskey lovers in Dublin. Just as the name implies, it's located on Bow Street, around 1.1 km northwest of Temple Bar in the post-industrial area of Smithfield, now something of a creative hub.

    There have been whiskey distillers here since way back in the 1780s. The Jameson name finally took over at the start of the 20th century and the factory went from strength to strength, fast becoming one of the most recognised distilleries in the country. These days, you can drop in for tours, learn about barrelling and whiskey making, and even get a tipple to top it all off.

    Location: Bow St, Smithfield, Dublin 7, D07 N9VH, Ireland

    Open: Daily from noon to 7 pm

    Phone: +353 (0)1 807 2355


    photo by Nialljpmurphy (CC BY-SA 4.0) modified

    Joseph Francis | Contributing Writer

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