Historic Dublin: Experiences Everyone Should Have

Dublin’s rich history is known across the globe and makes the region a premier destination for international tourists. From our rolling green hills to our picturesque castles, Ireland is a fairy-tale scene come to life, with Dublin at its heart. If you’re planning a trip to Dublin, add these historic locations to your itinerary, so you can be sure to take in the very best Ireland has to offer and learn more about the country’s character-forming past. Also, if you are looking to send the perfect gift to someone after you’ve visited, you can find some beautiful arrangements here.

Dublin Castle

When people think of Ireland’s ancient architecture, Dublin Castle is surely what comes to mind. The site was originally home to a Viking fortress, as far back as the 930s. Following the Norman invasion of 1169, a wood and stone castle was constructed. In 1204, King John of England had a new stone castle constructed on the site and it has since been added onto. Used as a fortress, home to royalty, and place to carry out government affairs, the Dublin Castle has watched many changes as it looked down on Dublin over hundreds of years. It serves as a government building today and is often opened up for various galas, events, and concerts.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Founded in 1191, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest and the tallest church in all of Ireland. It was originally constructed of wood, though the structure as we know it today was completed sometime between its founding and 1270. Later worries that the church was structurally unstable resulted in much of it being rebuilt and redesigned in the 1870s as well, though no records exist to confirm which portions are original and which are part of the rebuild. The cathedral has ties to both Oliver Cromwell and Jonathan Swift. It is still used as a place of worship today and offers tours to the public.

Trinity College Library

Built in 1592, the Trinity College Library was built in part to educate clergymen and the upper class and in part as a display of wealth. During this period in time, Royal families changed their approach from creating wars and conquering lands to promoting culture and education. Its stunning architecture rivals Cambridge and the library is home to two of the four volumes of the Book of Kells. Visitors are welcomed to explore the library and view the ancient manuscripts, though hours are limited during periods in which students are preparing for exams.

Kilmainham Gaol

Although a far cry from the fairy-tale beauty seen in most of Ireland’s historic buildings, the Kilmainham Gaol is a favourite stop-off for travellers. The prison was built in 1796, as an “improvement” over the dungeon that was used before it, though conditions were deplorable. Many average citizens (men, women, and children) were detained there. It’s said the youngest was just seven; imprisoned for petty theft. However, the location is better known for holding leaders of various rebellions occurring between 1798 and 1916. Today, the gaol serves as a museum, educating the public about its political prisoners, and general history, as well as how the famine affected everyday life for the Irish.