First built in 1796, Kimainham Gaol is one of the oldest prisons in Ireland. The gaol plays an important role in Irish history, as it once held many leaders of the Irish rebellions. In 1924 the gaol was decommissioned as a prison by the Irish Free State, and in 1960 work began to restore the prison grounds. These days, visitors from around the world can tour the grounds and learn about the history behind the bars.
For the history buffs and the architecture lovers, St. Patrick’s Cathedral cannot be missed. The Cathedral has been at the center of Dublin and Ireland’s history for over 800 years. Today, it is the National Cathedral for the Church of Ireland and remains the largest Cathedral in the country. The current building dates back to 1220 and serves as a popular tourist destination in Ireland.
The Trinity College Library is the largest library in Ireland and operates as a “copyright library”, meaning that it has the rights to receive all materials published in Ireland and the United Kingdom free of charge. This legal deposit legislation, established at Trinity College Dublin in 1801, has assisted in the curation of the five million volumes now available at the library. The library has become most famous for housing the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript containing the four gospels of the New Testament. The building itself is arguably most recognizable for its “Long Room”, a 65 meter long chamber featuring a marble bust collection, a barrel ceiling, and intricate woodwork throughout.
On your way towards Trinity College Dublin, take a walk down Grafton Street, one of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin’s city center. The street, running from Saint Stephen’s Green to College Green at Trinity College, was named after Henry FitzRoy, The First Duke of Grafton and illegitimate son of Charles II of England, who owned the surrounding land. The street has now become mostly pedestrianized and is home to many shops, restaurants, bars, and cafes; what better place to spend a weekend afternoon?
Whether you’re a beer fan or not, the Guinness Storehouse is a “must-visit” in Dublin. Since opening in 2000, it has become Ireland’s number one tourist attraction, and for good reason. Located at St. James’s Gate Brewery, where they’ve been brewing Guinness since 1759, the storehouse features three bars, a coffee shop, restaurant, event facilities, and multiple interactive exhibits. At the top of the building is the infamous Gravity Bar, where visitors can enjoy a pint while they take in the 360-degree view of Dublin City.