Behind the scenes: Take a tour of Dublin and its hidden gems in 59 seconds

I recently spent some time with filmmaker Jarlath Finnegan soaking up some of the sights and sounds of Dublin’s fair city for our video “59 Seconds in Dublin”. Here you can follow in our footsteps and explore the best that our capital has to offer.

A CULTURAL MORNING

Trinity College 

Start your day in one of Dublin’s most iconic spots – Trinity College. Explore the cobbled squares of the charming campus, which dates back to 1592. Trinity’s impressive alumni list includes Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift.

Trinity College Long Room Library, Dublin

When you’re ready, make your way into the spectacular college library. Visit the Book of Kells, the library’s oldest manuscript, and then head into the Long Room. The lengthy corridor with sweeping arches overhead protects some 200,000 books. The stunning space is open for visitors seven days a week.

The National Gallery of Ireland

A short walk from Trinity College, The National Gallery of Ireland is home to more than 2,500 paintings. Exhibits include a mix of European and Irish fine art, including an acclaimed collection of works by Irish painter Jack B. Yeats, his father John Butler and other members of his family.

Molly Malone Statue, Lower Grafton Street,
Molly Malone Statue, Lower Grafton Street,

The Molly Malone statue

The folksong ‘Cockles and Mussels’ has become something of an unofficial anthem of Dublin city. The song’s tragic heroine Molly Malone and her wheelbarrow have come to stand as one of the most familiar symbols of the capital. The Molly Malone statue is located on Suffolk Street, just a short walk from Trinity College.

The National Museum of Ireland

There are three national museums in Dublin; archaeology, decorative arts and history, and natural history. Take a look at what’s on offer at each of the incredible sites and plan your visit.

The Hugh Lane Gallery

Hugh Lane houses Ireland’s best collection of Irish and international modern and contemporary art. It first opened its doors on Parnell Square in 1908 and it’s thought to be one of the first galleries of modern art in the world.

National Botanic Gardens
National Botanic Gardens

National Botanic Gardens

Located in Glasnevin, the National Botanic Gardens holds more than 15,000 plant species from a variety of habitats from around the world. The gardens are famous for their exquisitely restored and planted glasshouses, notably the Turner Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House.

The Little Museum of Dublin
The Little Museum of Dublin

The Little Museum of Dublin

Hailed as ‘Ireland’s number one museum’ by Tripadvisor, the Little Museum of Dublin offers a look into a century of Dublin’s everyday life and social history. This is a fascinating place; one of the very best of the city’s museums. It’s housed in a Georgian townhouse, complete with exquisite views over St. Stephen’s Green.

Swan family at St Stephen's Green

St. Stephen’s Green

St. Stephen’s Green is a much-loved park in central Dublin. It’s the ideal place to take a break on a shady bench between sightseeing or shopping on Grafton Street. The Victorian park has a playground for younger visitors, as well as benches and a bandstand that fill with Dubliners enjoying picnic lunches whenever the sun comes out.

The Spire

Visiting O’Connell street is a rite of passage on any trip to Dublin. As the city’s main thoroughfare, it’s flanked by some impressive architecture—including the historic General Post Office. It’s also home to the Spire, the world’s tallest sculpture. This unexpected and towering monument stands in the middle of O’Connell Street just across from the famous GPO.

Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

Guinness Storehouse

It takes a lot to become iconic, but Guinness has done it. The “black stuff” may be famous all over the world, but the story starts in St. James’s Gate in the heart of Dublin. Today it’s Ireland’s number one visitor attraction – a multimedia exhibition on everything from retro advertising to the craft of brewing, topped off with a pint with a view in the 360-degree Gravity Bar.

CITY CENTRE HIDDEN GEMS

Dublin Doors

Doors of Dublin 

One of Dublin’s most recognisable features is its coloured Georgian doors. The best selection is found in the Georgian Quarter on the south side of the city. Pop over to St. Stephen’s Green or Fitzwilliam Square to begin your hunt for Dublin’s most famous doorways.

Street art

With art and creativity flowing through the fibres of Dublin city, it comes as no surprise that the city has been getting something of a makeover these past few years. Where once the city was all neutral tones and ageing canvases, it’s now bursting with colour and art. New pieces are popping up left, right and centre by a wave of new artists.

Anne's Lane, Dublin

Anne’s Lane

A hidden gem in Dublin’s winding lanes and bustling streets, Anne’s Lane is home to the inventive floating umbrellas. Constructed by Zozimus Bar, these colourful umbrellas form a decorative canopy for pedestrians. Zozimus Bar is known for its cocktails and is a great place to sip on a drink. A two-minute walk from Grafton Street, this spot is well worth a visit.

TAKE A STROLL

Viking Splash

Viking Splash Tours is a really fun way to see the sights of Dublin, both on land and water. You’ll step on-board an amphibious World War Two vehicle before enjoying a spellbinding tour of the city. As well as taking in all the sights, the tour guides will deliver a fun and informative experience. The climax of the tour sees the bus splash into the water at Grand Canal Docks, where the recording studios of U2 and much more are explored.

Grand Canal Docks

Grand Canal is an exciting urban space in Dublin’s Docklands. The area opened in 2007 and was designed by American architect Martha Schwartz. It’s been dubbed “Silicon Docks” due to being the location for many tech multinationals like Google and Facebook.

Enjoy a coffee and a pastry in Il Valentino,  catch a show in the Bord Gais Theatre or grab a delicious dinner in HQ.

Christ Church and St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Ancient, dramatic and intriguing, Dublin’s two cathedrals make a striking pair. Built beside a well where Ireland’s patron saint baptised converts, St Patrick’s dates back to 1220 and is filled with monuments, 19th-century stained glass and a beautiful Lady Chapel.

Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral

Just a 10-minute walk away, Christ Church has attracted pilgrims for almost 1,000 years, and today one of its biggest attractions is its medieval crypt. There are plenty of other reasons to visit, but some may be fascinated (if not a little creeped out) by the Chapel of St Laurence O’Toole – a heart-shaped shrine contains the saint’s embalmed heart.

ESCAPE TO THE SEASIDE

Howth & Clontarf

Hop on the Dart (one of Dublin’s urban light rails) from the city centre and head north to Howth. Start off from the east pier following the cliff path along the east side of Howth head.

You’ll get views of the ruins of St Mary’s Abbey, and as you head uphill the fantastic view is an excuse to stop and rest the legs, look south over Dublin Bay, and north (if you’re lucky and it’s a clear day) right up to the distant Mourne Mountains in County Down.

Howth Head with Baily Lighthouse, Dublin
Howth Head with Baily Lighthouse, Dublin

Stroll along the pier and you’ll find Ireland’s Eye Ferries, a fourth-generation family business running trips around Ireland’s Eye. The scenic tour takes in wonderful views and wildlife and lasts about 40 minutes.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you can stop off on the island and spend an hour or two exploring or simply relaxing on the quiet beaches. The island is steeped in history, from Monks to Vikings to Norsemen and Napoleon.

The Poolbeg chimneys
The Poolbeg chimneys

In the coastal suburb of Clontarf, follow the smell of sea air from the promenade across the wooden footbridge and continue down Bull Walk, enjoying an unrivalled view of Dublin Bay and the iconic Poolbeg Chimneys. At the sea edge, Dollymount Strand’s 5km stretch of sand dunes and beach awaits. The surrounding island is a nature reserve and the beach is popular with kitesurfers.

Dublin’s beautiful coastline can also be enjoyed from a different perspective. Stand up paddleboarding is becoming hugely popular and for good reason. Unlike surfing, paddleboarding is very easy to learn and within one hour of tuition, you can become very comfortable in the water.

 

fish and chips at beshoffs in dublin ireland

All the sea air and exploring will surely work up an appetite, and no trip to the seaside is complete without some fish and chips. Beshoff Bros in Howth have been serving up mouthwatering fresh fish n’ chips since 1939. They describe their food as “imperial perfection” so it would be rude not to try them!

As Dublin is our home we’ve got lots of flights from Europe and North America with direct and connecting flights. Visit www.aerlingus.com to book your Dublin adventure today.

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