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Things to see in Dublin

Attractions

Dublin Castle

Dating from Norman times, Dublin Castle has had a coloured history since its construction in 1204. Memorable tales here bring back British rule, the kings of old and stolen state treasures. Admission to the main building is by guided tour only, running every 20 to 30 minutes. The courtyard and impressive Chester Beatty Library (beside the gardens) are worthy explorations too.

Address: South Central Dublin, Dame Street, Dublin, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 1 645 8813.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0945-1645, Sun 1200-1645.

Website: http://www.dublincastle.ie
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Trinity College Dublin

Visitors can drift among the ghosts of artists past in one of the world's most famous centres of learning. Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and many other seminal thinkers and writers studied at Ireland's oldest university, which was founded in 1592. Its main attraction is the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript dating from around AD800, which is displayed in the magnificent Old Library.

Address: South Central Dublin, College Green, Dublin, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 1 896 2320.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0930-1700, Sun 0930-1630 (May-Sep) and 1200-1630 (Oct-Apr).

Website: http://www.tcd.ie
Admission Fees:

Yes (for The Book of Kells and tours); free access to campus.

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Kilmainham Gaol

A former prison that housed the leaders of failed uprisings against the British from the 1780s to the 1920s, this museum gives a detailed insight into Ireland's political history, and includes the site of the execution of 14 members of the Easter Rising in 1916. The history of the prison itself is also explored. Access is by guided tour only.

Address: Central West Dublin, Inchicore Road, Dublin, Dublin 8
Telephone: +353 1 453 5984.
Opening times:

Daily 0930-1730.

Website: http://kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Croke Park

Gaelic football and hurling at Croke Park are an unusual and essential experience for those with even a modest interest in sport. On match days, make noise on the Hill 16 terrace cheering on the sky blues of Dublin. Otherwise, check out the GAA Museum, featuring the history, rules and the chance to have a go at Gaelic sports. The views from the Etihad Skyline, a 0.6km-long (0.37 mile) walkway around the roof, aren't bad either.

Address: , Jones Road, Dublin, Dublin 3
Telephone: +353 1 819 2323.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0930-1700, Sun 1030-1700 (Jan-May and Sep-Dec); Mon-Sat 0930-1800, Sun 1030-1700 (Jun-Aug).

Website: http://www.crokepark.ie
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Christchurch Cathedral

Richard de Clare, who helped lead the Norman invasion of Ireland, founded Christchurch Cathedral on the site of a Viking church in 1172. Highlights include the Leaning Wall of Dublin, the north nave wall that has leant 46cm (18 inches) since 1562 when the roof collapsed. There's also a mummified cat and mouse found in an organ pipe, the heart of the patron saint of Dublin, and a large crypt full of other unusual relics.

Address: South Central Dublin, Christchurch Place, Dublin, Dublin 8
Telephone: +353 1 677 8099.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-1900 (Apr-Sep); Mon-Sat 0945-1700 or 1800 (Sep-Mar).

Website: http://www.christchurchcathedral.ie
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The largest cathedral in Ireland, this magnificent building was constructed on the site of an ancient well allegedly used by St Patrick to baptise believers in the 5th century. The saint's life is depicted in 39 different episodes on the window at the west end of the Cathedral. Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver's Travels, was dean of the cathedral from 1713 until his death in 1745 and is buried here.

Address: Central Dublin, St. Patrick's Close, Dublin, Dublin 8
Telephone: +353 1 453 9472
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0930-1700, see website for details on Sun.

Website: http://www.stpatrickscathedral.ie
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

National Museum of Ireland (Archaeology)

Among this rich collection of Irish antiquities, dating back to 7000BC, are the 8th-century Ardagh Chalice and the 12th-century Cross of Cong. Most visitors are taken with the petrified bog bodies (Iron Age mummies of sorts) as well as the Egyptian room and the detailed Viking exhibits. This is just one of three nationalised museum venues, with further collections on view at Collins Barracks (Decorative Art and History) and at Merrion Square West (Natural History).

Address: , Kildare Street, Dublin, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 1 677 7444.
Opening times:

Tue-Sat 1000-1700, Sun 1400-1700.

Website: http://www.museum.ie
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Guinness Storehouse

The world's largest single-beer company began in 1759, when Arthur Guinness brewed the first pint of Dublin's champagne. The brewery itself is closed to visitors, but a trip to this state-of-the-art museum shaped like an oversized pint glass tells visitors everything they ever wanted to know about the famous stout. The tour culminates with a free pint of the legendary black stuff in a bar with a view.

Address: Central West Dublin, St James's Gate, Dublin, Dublin 8
Telephone: + 353 1 408 4800.
Opening times:

Daily 0930-1700 (Sep-Jun); daily 0930-1900 (Jul-Aug).

Website: http://www.guinness-storehouse.com
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: Yes
UNESCO: No

Dublinia

An exploration of Ireland's Viking heritage, Dublinia brings medieval Dublin to life through recreations, interactive media, overlay maps and the odd bit dressing up. There's plenty here for the children and even more the serious history buff, including glances at excavations and a real sense of the city's hardship when it was built on the bones of Viking conquests.

Address: South Central Dublin, St Michael's Hill, Dublin, Dublin 8
Telephone: +353 1 679 4611.
Opening times:

Daily 1000-1730 (Mar-Sep), daily 1100-1700 (Oct-Feb).

Website: http://www.dublinia.ie
Admission Fees:

Yes

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Phoenix Park

Europe's biggest walled city-centre park boasts more than 707 hectares (1,752 acres) of wilderness and landscaped gardens. It's located on the western edge of the city and originally served as a 17th century royal hunting ground, resulting in a herd of deer today. Dubliners enjoy its landscaped gardens, nature trails and grassland. The park also houses Dublin Zoo - home to 400 animals and tropical birds.

Address: Central West Dublin, Phoenix Park, Dublin, Dublin 8
Telephone: + +353 1 677 0095.
Opening times:

Daily 24 hours.

Website: http://www.phoenixpark.ie
Admission Fees:

No

Disabled Access: No
UNESCO: No

Tourist Offices

Visit Dublin

Address: Grafton Street, 25 Suffolk Street, Dublin, Dublin 2
Telephone: +353 1 8502 30330.
Opening times:

Mon-Sat 0900-1730, Sun 1030-1500.

Website: http://www.visitdublin.com

Dublin's sightseeing options are vast. While there are many shops purporting to be 'tourist information' centres, most are commercial operations. The official Suffolk Street outlet is located in a re-purposed church, and serves as a goldmine of entry tickets, hotel booking, reams of information and neutral advice. There are more brochures on offer here than you'll want to carry, but stock up on a few favourites, check for the city's regular festivals and grab a map on the way out.

Tourist passes

The Dublin Pass (www.dublinpass.ie) is a good investment if you're planning on going heavy on the sightseeing, offering 33 attractions for a single price. It comes together with a guidebook, fast-track entry and special offers only available to pass holders at a further 20 attractions. Book in advance for its free airport transfer offer. The pass is available for 1-, 2-, 3- and 6-days from tourist information outlets.

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Featured Hotels

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Central Hotel

This cheap, city centre hotel harks back almost 200 years. It is very old school Dublin and as such boasts some impressive period features in its façade and public areas. The rooms have been recently refurbished, with free Wi-Fi available in most of them, though snuggle up in the Library Bar and the years still drift away.

Number 31

Overlooking elegant Fitzwilliam Place, Number 31 is the former home of Ireland's leading architect, Sam Stephenson. It has since been converted into a highly sophisticated, award-winning guesthouse with an emphasis on detail, luxury and simplicity. This stylish property offers a variety of en-suite accommodation, as well as secure car parking, but it's the intimate beauty that wins guests over.

The Shelbourne

A veritable Dublin institution immortalised in James Joyce's epic Ulysses, and now something of a hub for the Ireland rugby team, the 5-star Shelbourne Hotel has been home to the rich and famous (and even royalty) since its opening in the 18th century. Centrally located beside St Stephen's Green, with 265 opulent rooms, celebrated bars and restaurants, and a smart health club, it remains one of Dublin's most distinguished hotels.

The Merrion Hotel

Dublin's most sumptuous 142-room hotel looks like a standard Georgian block of houses, but behind its modest façade, it has been sensitively restored to combine period elegance with 5-star modern facilities. There's a classy restaurant, sizeable pool, gym and spa, but also magnificent formal, landscaped gardens, forming a serene haven far removed from the frenetic city centre.

The Fitzwilliam Hotel

Luxurious and ultra-modern, The Fitzwilliam commands a striking central location with the calm and tranquillity of St Stephen's Green to one side and Grafton Street to the other. Theirs is a stark, minimalist interpretation of typical country house features, using chrome, frosted glass, large leather sofas and dramatic down lighting. Its large roof garden is great for summer sunshine.

The Dylan

Located in the western canal belt, this small boutique hotel is the epitome of style and sophistication. It's housed in a former 17th-century theatre, which in its heyday staged concerts conducted by Antonio Vivaldi. Today, the minimalist east-meets-west designer décor of the 40 individually designed guest rooms, combined with an intimate courtyard garden, spectacular canal views, efficient staff and an excellent restaurant, ensures a luxurious stay.