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Áras an Uachtaráin

Áras an Uachtaráin

Now the Residence of the President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin, started as a modest brick house for the Phoenix Park Chief Ranger in 1751. It was subsequently acquired as an “occasional residence” for the Lords Lieutenants and gradually evolved to a large mansion. After Ireland gained independence, it was occupied by three Governors General between 1922 and 1937, prior to the first president Dr Douglas Hyde taking up residence there.

19th century architects Francis Johnston, Jacob Owen and Decimus Burton, and more recently, Raymond McGrath, as well as stuccodores Michael Stapleton and Bartholomew Cramillion, contributed to its gradual expansion, gardens and interiors.

Open Saturdays only. Guided tour provided.
Summer: 10.15 am-4.30 pm
Winter: 10.30 am-3.30 pm
Usually closed for 2-3 Saturdays over the Christmas/New Year period.

Tickets are issued at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre on Saturdays on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance bookings are not permitted.

Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.

Tel: 01 6770095

Admission free.


Arbour Hill Cemetery

Arbour Hill Military Cemetery **

The military cemetery at Arbour Hill is the last resting place of 14 of the executed leaders of the insurrection of 1916. Among those buried there are Patrick Pearse, James Connolly and Major John Mc Bride. The leaders were executed in Kilmainham and then their bodies were transported to Arbour Hill, where they were buried.

The graves are located under a low mound on a terrace of Wicklow granite in what was once the old prison yard. The gravesite is surrounded by a limestone wall on which their names are inscribed in Irish and English. On the prison wall opposite the gravesite is a plaque with the names of other people who gave their lives in 1916.

The adjoining Church of the Sacred Heart, which is the prison chapel for Arbour Hill prison, is maintained by the Department of Defence. At the rear of the church lies the old cemetery, where lie the remains of British military personnel who died in the Dublin area in the 19th and early 20th century.

A doorway beside the 1916 memorial gives access to the Irish United Nations Veterans Association house and memorial garden.

Arbour Hill is located at the rear of the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, which currently houses an exhibition of 1916 related material.

Open all year
Mon-Fri 8.00 am-4.00 pm
Sat 11.00 am-4.00 pm
Sun 9.30 am-4.00 pm

(Post-Covid) Free tours of the Cemetery on Fridays at 11.00 am (from April 3 to October 30). The meeting point is the cemetery gates. Phone in advance to confirm (01-6770095) or email to book your place.

Rear of National Museum, Collins Barracks, Dublin 7.

Tel: 01 821 3021.

Admission free.

Ardgillan Castle

Ardgillan Castle ***

Ardgillan is a large 18th Century country manor house (1738) built in extensive grounds overlooking the Irish Sea. The demesne features a walled garden and a rose garden. Within the house, the ground floor rooms and the kitchens are open to visitors (guided tour only).

Ardgillan Park is unique among Dublin’s regional parks for the magnificent views it enjoys of the coastline. A panorama, taking in Rockabill Lighthouse, Colt Church, Shenick and Lambay Islands may be seen, including Sliabh Foy, the highest of the Cooley Mountains, and the Mourne Mountains can be seen sweeping down to the sea.

Ardgillan Castle is open all year round. Access to the castle is by guided tour only. Tours are available on demand. The team of tour guides is experienced, with a great knowledge and understanding of the castle and its family occupants, The Taylors.

The Ardgillan Castle tour is approximately one hour long. Many periods of social history are brought to life with the focus firmly on the family who once lived in the castle. Visitors get the chance to explore the castle and enjoy the same atmosphere that the Taylors experienced from 1738, when the castle was built right up to 1962, when it was eventually sold.

The park area is the property of Fingal County Council and was opened to the public as a regional park in 1985. What was an arable farm was transformed  into a public park. Five miles of footpaths were provided throughout the demesne, some by opening old avenues, while others were newly constructed. They now provide a system of varied and interesting woodland, walks and vantage points from which to enjoy breath-taking views of the sea, the coastline and surrounding countryside. A sign-posted cycle route through the park means that cyclists can share the miles of walking paths with pedestrians.

Castle tours are now self guided and on demand due to social distancing restrictions. Please call 01 849 2212 to check availability. Castle Tour Times: Mon–Fri 11.00 am, 1.00 pm & 3.00 pm; Sat-Sun 11.00 am, 1.00 pm, 3.00 pm & 4.00 pm (no 4.00 pm tour Nov-Feb)

Ardgillan is tricky to find: it is 20 miles from the city centre near Balbriggan.

To see opening times of the park, gardens and house, please click here.

Admission to all the gardens is free. Guided tours of the Gardens (post-Covid) are available for groups on a pre-booked basis.

Tel: 01 8492212

House tour:  Adults €6.50; concessions

Aviva Stadium

Aviva Stadium

Aviva Stadium is the home of Irish Rugby.

Did you know that Aviva Stadium is built on one of the oldest sports grounds in the world; or that the first ever international athletic meeting took place here in 1876? To learn more about 150 years of Irish sporting history, take a tour of the stadium and visit the press conference room, the home team dressing rooms, the players’ tunnel, the dugouts and more. Tours run 7 days a week but not when the stadium is in use for sporting fixtures.

Open 7 days Feb-Oct 10.00 am–3.30 pm; Nov-Jan 10.00 am-3.00 pm

There are tours on the hour every hour (go to the stadium tour office on Lansdowne Road). The stadium is closed on match days (check near the bottom of this page –

Closed  25-26 Dec.

Lansdowne Road, Dublin 4

Tel: 01-232 0878 or 01 238 2300

Adults €12; Concessions.

Bank of Ireland / House of Lords

Bank of Ireland (House of Lords)

Visit the former Irish Houses of Parliament. This was the world’s first purpose-built two-chamber parliament house. Built in 1729, the building was purchased in 1803 by the Bank of Ireland (in the wake of the Irish Parliament’s abolition in 1801).

Access may not be allowed to the House of Lords Chamber if the area is closed for a private function.

There is a guided tour on Tuesdays only at 10.30 am.

College Green, Dublin 2.

Tel: 07 662 39350

Admission free.

Casino Marino Wiki

Casino Marino ***

The Casino (meaning “small house”) was designed by Sir William Chambers in the late eighteenth-century as a pleasure house for James Caulfeild, 1st Earl of Charlemont. It is widely acknowledged as the most important example of neoclassical architecture in Ireland.

One of only a handful of buildings in Ireland designed by Chambers, the most celebrated architect of his time, the Casino is full of architectural tricks, devices, and secrets. Although it looks like a one-room Greek temple from the outside, there are actually three floors and sixteen finely decorated rooms hidden inside.

The Casino is the last remaining building of Lord Charlemont’s once-spectacular demesne at Marino in Dublin which, until the late nineteenth century, extended from modern-day Collins Avenue south to Marino Mart in Fairview. The story of the demesne and the Casino itself is told through maps, models, images, and letters on display throughout the building.

The House is accessed via guided tours only. Tours are on the hour every hour. [Private tours can also be booked; these run every hour on the half-hour].

The Casino is usually open seven days a week from March to October.
Open 10.00 am-5.00 pm (March, April, May, October)
Open 10.00 am–6.00 pm (June, July, August, September)

Casino Marino, Cherrymount Crescent, Malahide Road, Marino, Dublin 3.

Tel: 01 833 1618.

Admission free.

“Tunnel Vision” is an exhibition which tells the story of a series of secret tunnels constructed by James Caulfeild, the purpose of which is not clearly understood. It is now known that the tunnels were used by 1921 revolutionaries (including Michael Collins) for shooting practice. Visitors can access the tunnels as part of the regular House tour on Thur-Sat only.


Chester Beatty Library *****

With free admission and described by the Lonely Planet as not just the best museum in Ireland but one of the best in Europe, the Chester Beatty Library is a must-see on any Dublin visitor’s itinerary. Both an art museum and a library, it features rich collections from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe, and opens a window on the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world.  If time permits, visit the rooftop garden, a secret Dublin gem. 

Manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts complete this amazing collection, all the result of the collecting activities of one man – Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968). Egyptian papyrus texts and beautifully illuminated copies of the Qur’an, the Bible, European medieval and renaissance manuscripts are among the highlights on display. In its diversity, the collection captures much of the richness of human creative expression from about 2700 BC to the present day.

Opening Times
Mondays-Fridays: 9.45 am-5.30 pm (Wednesdays late opening to 8.00 pm)
Closed on Mondays for the months of November-February inclusive
Saturdays: 9.45 am-5.30 pm
Sundays: 12 noon-5.30 pm
Closed January 1; Good Friday; December 24-26

Free guided tours are available at 1 pm on Wednesdays, and at 2 pm and 3 pm on Sundays. Tours are on a first-come, first- served basis with no booking required. In the past, tours have been restricted to 15 visitors per tour.

Dublin Castle, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 4070750.

Admission free.

Christchurch Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral (founded c.1028) is the spiritual heart of the city, and one of the top visitor attractions in Dublin. Enjoy the cathedral’s beautiful interior and fascinating medieval crypt.

Explore the crypt – Follow the steps that bring you beneath the cathedral and explore the medieval crypt, one of the largest in Britain and Ireland, and the earliest surviving structure in the city. The crypt houses fascinating memorials, the cat and the rat, the Treasury (an exhibition of manuscripts and treasures), an audio visual presentation, the cathedral shop and the cathedral café.

Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims – Christ Church Cathedral was a major pilgrimage site in the medieval period, with an important collection of relics ranging from a miraculous speaking cross to a piece from the crib of Jesus. Today, it is still possible to see one of these relics, the heart of Laurence O’Toole, patron saint of Dublin.

Visit the ‘Cat & the Rat’ – A mummified cat and rat are the most unusual inhabitants of the crypt and are mentioned by James Joyce in “Finnegan’s Wake”.

Experience Evensong – The choir of Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin, enjoys an enviable reputation as one of Ireland’s finest choirs, and is constantly in demand to perform in concerts, on tours and on radio broadcasts nationwide. Tracing its origins to 1493 with the founding of the choir school, the cathedral choir has always been highly regarded in Dublin’s musical life and took part in the first performance of Handel’s Messiah in Dublin in 1742.

Opening Times Mon-Sat:
March, October 9.30 am-6.00 pm
April-Sept 9.30 am–7.00 pm
Nov-Feb 9.30 am-5.00 pm
Opening times Sundays:
March, October 12.30 pm-3.15 pm, 4.30 pm-6.00 pm
April -Sept 12.30 pm-3.15 pm, 4.30 pm-7.00 pm
Nov -Feb 12.30 pm-3.15 pm

Closed 26 December

Christchurch Place, Dublin 8.

Tel: 01 677 8099.

Adults €8; concessions.

Guided tours of the cathedral, which now all incorporate the belfry, take place at 11.00 am, 12.10 pm, 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm Monday – Friday; and at 2.00 pm, 3.00 pm and 4.00 pm on Saturday. All guided tours give you the opportunity to visit the belfry and ring the bells of Christ Church Cathedral yourself. The tour costs €4 (on top of the €8 normal visitor fee). There are no guided tours on Sundays.

Croke Park

Croke Park Stadium Tour and GAA Museum ****

Croke Park is an iconic stadium, steeped in history, and has been at the heart of Irish sporting and cultural life for over 100 years. Enjoy an unrivalled state-of-the-art interactive visitor experience and find out more about Ireland’s unique national games – hurling and Gaelic football.

The Croke Park Stadium Tour offers an access-all-areas trip through the home of Irish sport. Walk in the footsteps of legends as you visit the team dressing rooms before going pitchside and taking a seat in the VIP area. Enjoy panoramic views from the top tier of the stand – 30 metres above the famous pitch. The stadium tour is on hold pending a return to normal routines post-pandemic. Check the Croke Park website for updates. 

Explore the museum with its new exhibition galleries that vividly illustrate the story of Gaelic games from ancient times to the present day. Test your own hurling and football skills in the interactive games zone. (An added option is the Ericsson Skyline Tour – see more information at the end of this entry).

Opening Times
Jan-May: Monday-Sat 9.30 am to 5.00 pm (Sun/Bank Holidays 10.00 am to 5.00 pm)
June-August: Monday-Sat 9.30 am to 6.00 pm (Sun/Bank Holidays 9.30 am to 5:00 pm)
Sept-December: Monday-Sat 9.30 am to 5.00 pm (Sun/Bank Holidays 10.00 am to 5.00 pm)
Check website for match day information (when restrictions apply).

Croke Park, St Joseph’s Avenue (off Clonliffe Road), Dublin 3

Tel: 01 819 2300

Adults €15; concessions

Located in the heart of the city, the Ericsson Skyline Tour is a thrilling rooftop walkway on Dublin’s highest open-viewing platform.  This guided tour offers breathtaking panoramic views and highlights all of the capital’s main landmarks, while giving you an insight into its history. Adults €21; concessions. See

Custom House

Custom House

A masterpiece of European neo-classicism, the building of a new Custom House for Dublin was the idea of John Beresford, who became first commissioner of revenue for Ireland in 1780. In 1781 he appointed James Gandon as architect, after Thomas Cooley, the original architect on the project, had died. This was Gandon’s first large scale commission.

The new Custom House was unpopular with Dublin Corporation and some city merchants who complained that it moved the axis of the city, would leave little room for shipping, and was being built on what at the time was a swamp. Purchase of land was delayed and proved exorbitant. The project was dogged by protests. 

When it was completed and opened for business on 7 November 1791, it cost £200,000 to build.  The four facades of the building are decorated with coats-of-arms and ornamental sculptures (by Edward Smyth) representing Ireland’s rivers. Another artist, Henry Banks, was responsible for the statue on the dome. 

As the port of Dublin moved further downriver, the building’s original use for collecting custom duties became obsolete, and it was used as the headquarters of local government in Ireland. During the Irish War of Independence in 1921, the Irish Republican Army burnt down the Custom House, in an attempt to disrupt British rule in Ireland. Gandon’s original interior was completely destroyed in the fire and the central dome collapsed. A large quantity of irreplaceable historical records were also destroyed in the fire.

After the Anglo-Irish Treaty, it was restored by the Irish Free State government. Further restoration was done in the 1980s.

For quite a few years, the Custom House Visitor Centre was closed but it re-opened in March 2017. Current exhibitions are:

  • The Custom House and 1916 – the story of staff dismissed for participating in the Rising, Bureau of Military History statements regarding prisoners held in the Custom House after the Rising, and activity in the area of the Custom house during the Rising
  • The development of scientific meteorology in Ireland with a special focus on the weather of Easter Week 1916 and the weather on the 25th of May 1921, when the Custom House was attacked
  • Gandon – the story of the architect, James Gandon, and the construction of the Custom House
  • The Custom House Fire of 1921 and the subsequent restoration.

Visitor Centre usually open 7 days including Public Holidays from 10.00 am to 4.30 pm from 17 March to 31 August inclusive. However, the Centre is currently closed for operational reasons. The plan is to have the Centre redeveloped and upgraded as a Decade of Centenaries legacy project to mark 100 years since the burning of the Custom House on May 25, 1921.

Custom Quay, Dublin 1

Tel: 01-888 2000

Admission free

[Historical summary provided by Wikipedia]