Dublin City is a must-visit for couples this Valentine's Day. Most anyone will feel at home here, thanks to the friendly, welcoming attitude of the city's residents, but those who enjoy the theatre, art, and music will appreciate it all the more.
Tour its landmarks rich in history, visit its beautifully-kept greens, go for a toddle around store-lined Grafton Street, and pop in for a pint at some of its quaint taverns. Even save yourself some cash by purchasing a "Dublin Pass," which will see you admitted to more than thirty of the city's most popular tourist attractions and sites.
1. Guinness Brewery
The Guinness Brewery is one of Ireland's most popular tourist attractions, and has stood in the same place since 1670.
The St. James' gate was erected in the year 1759 and marks the official entry to the plant. Over the years, the grounds have expanded to cover a total area of sixty four acres.
The Guinness Brewery today is composed of a Roasthouse, a Brewhouse, a Fermentation Plant, a Beer Processing Plant, and the Market Street Storehouse. The first four of these buildings are where the production of Guinness beer takes place, and the Storehouse is the official visitor centre.
The Storehouse is a restored and remodel structure from 1904 and was redesigned to resemble a huge pint glass. It is seven stories high, making it one of the tallest buildings in Dublin, and inside, visitors can see how beer is made and are offered a sample in the tasting laboratory. It also contains three bars, a gift shop, and two restaurants.
Dublin's Guinness Brewery
2. National Gallery of Ireland
Dublin's National Gallery of Ireland houses the country's collection of art, both Irish and European, dating from the fourteenth to the twentieth century. Surprisingly enough, admission to the Gallery is completely free of charge.
George Bernard Shaw left one third of his royalties to the Gallery, and in 2006 they celebrated the 150th anniversary birthday of the playwright. He spent a great deal of his younger years immersed in the great collections, and his generosity enabled the National Gallery of Ireland to purchase awe-inspiring sculptures and paintings from the past two hundred years, including a life-sized statue of Shaw himself.
If you enjoy modern art, there is an extensive selection for you to view in the Irish Museum of Modern Art. Quite ironically, this collection is found inside a seventeenth century building.
The National Gallery of Ireland
3. Trinity College
Trinity College was founded way back in 1592, which makes it the oldest college in Ireland, and one of the oldest in Europe. It is the home of the Book of Kells, an ancient and stunningly hand-illustrated manuscript of the gospels created by Celtic monks, around the year 800 AD. It is displayed twenty-four-seven in the college's old library, and a small fee is asked of tourists if they wish to view it.
Visitors may feel free to tour the Trinity campus at any time of day, even during lecture hours. They will find the surrounding grounds bustling with students, but despite this, it is a very relaxing place to take a stroll. It spans an area of forty acres, over which are spread lush lawns, vibrant gardens, historic buildings, and cobbled walkways.
4. Horseshoe Bar
You'll find the Horseshoe Bar in the Shelburne Hotel. As you may have already guessed, it was named for its curved shape. This is one of Ireland's best-known pubs, and was even mentioned in Ulysses, by James Joyce.
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Even Teetotalers should stop for a Coke or Sprite here, as the historic atmosphere is unrivalled by any other.
5. St. Stephen's Green
The St. Stephen's Green is a beautiful park where couples can take the time to picnic, people-watch, amble, or just take a breather and a break from the hustle and bustle of Dublin's busy streets.
Venture into lush and shady St. Stephen's Green, and you'll find benches, sculptures, monuments, and an ornamental lake. A garden bursting with colour will catch your eye, too - this is a patch dedicated to Irish poet W.B.Yeats, and flowers of all shapes, sizes, and colours bloom here all throughout the Spring and Summertime - perfect if you choose to retreat to Dublin city with your special someone for February 14th.
The trendy Shelburne hotel can be found on the north side of St. Stephen's Green. Sitting in its No. 27 Bar and Lounge, you will have a perfect view of the park itself.
The ever-popular Stephen's Green Shopping Centre is situated opposite Fusilier's Arch, the stately, ornate west side entrance of the park. The shopping centre boasts of approximately one hundred stores and a food court.
St. Stephen's Green (& Shelbourne Hotel)
6. Christ Church Cathedral
The oldest building in Dublin is the Christ Church Cathedral, and it is a place of great historic value. It is visited by thousands of tourists each day, and it is especially popular with Christians. As well as being a tourist attraction, it is also the home of the archbishop of Dublin.
It was constructed in 1038 originally, and was renovated in the Victorian era. It's gorgeous stained glass windows and fully functioning bells are just some of its magnificent architectural details.
Christ Church Cathedral
7. Dublin Writer's Museum
If you're interested in discovering, exploring, or even just enjoying Dublin's rich literary heritage, then you need to add the Dublin Writer's Museum to your list of places to visit. The city is famous for the many successful novelists, poets and general scribes it has produced, and nowhere documents their lives quite so well as this museum.
The city's literary geniuses of the past three centuries are animated through their books, portraits, letters, poems, and other personal documents. No matter how much you know about Irish literature, you will always find some new piece of information here.
Even if you are not particularly interested in literature, it is worth making a trip to the museum in order to behold and admire the structure itself. The dwelling is an expertly restored Georgian mansion situated in the world-famous Parnell Square, and is perhaps best known for its Gallery of Writers, where tour groups can appreciate the luxurious, expertly-installed plasterwork.
While you're there, don't forget about the bookshop, cafe, and lunchtime theatre, all of which will help you to get the most out of your experience.
Dublin Writer's Museum
8. Dublin Zoo
You'll find Dublin Zoo in the Phoenix Park. It is one of Dublin's most popular tourist attractions, and they admit approximately one million visitors yearly.
The zoo is a sprawling park covering twenty eight hectares, and one of the world's oldest, but modern zoos. It is home to around six hundred species of animals from all over the world, including many endangered ones.
The staff do their best to ensure everyone has an enjoyable time while visiting Dublin Zoo, and often put on shows with the animals, and visitors may watch as the animals are fed.
9. Temple Bar
Temple Bar is not a pub, as the name suggests - rather, it is a district. You'll find plenty of art galleries, stores, restaurants, accommodation, and of course, bars. However, if you do visit Temple Bar, be sure to stay until nighttime, which is when the area truly comes to life.
It is the perfect location for anyone with an interest in Irish music, too, as there is no shortage of buskers playing in the streets and traditional Irish bands performing in the area's various establishments.
10. Ha'penny Bridge
The Ha'penny Bridge is the perfect place for an evening stroll, as it is open to pedestrians only.
It has been referred to by different names since its construction in 1816, such as Wellington Bridge, Penny Ha'penny Bridge, and Liffey Bridge, though it's most popular name is Ha'penny Bridge. It's said that it was given this title due to the fact that it once cost a ha'penny to cross it.
It is one of several bridges that cross the River Liffey and join the north and south sides of Dublin, and can be accessed via Temple Bar. It is beautifully lit after dark, and the lack of traffic combines with the soft glow of the streetlights to create the perfect setting for a good-night kiss.
So Ends our Tour of Dublin's Fair City
I hope you enjoyed your virtual tour of Dublin, and hopefully you came away with some ideas for a future holiday.
For your convenience, the map below displays all of the locations covered in this hub, so that you can have an idea of their positions in relation to one another.