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Dalkey Castle

Dalkey Castle and Heritage Centre

Dalkey Castle is one of the seven fortified town houses/castles of Dalkey. The castles  were built to store goods off-loaded in Dalkey during the Middle Ages, when Dalkey acted as the port for Dublin. From the mid-1300s to the late 1500s, large Anglo-Norman ships could not access Dublin, as the river Liffey was silted up. But they could anchor safely in the deep waters of Dalkey Sound. The castles all had defensive features to protect goods from being plundered. These are all still visible on the site.

On site you will find a medieval castle/fortified townhouse, an early Christian Church, a state of the art Heritage Centre, and a Writers’ Gallery with portraits and interactive screens featuring the work of 45 writers and creative artists. Climb to the battlements for panoramic views of sea and mountains. Enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the early Christian Church and Graveyard, dedicated to Saint Begnet. Browse the interactive time line from early Christian through Viking, Medieval, Victorian and modern times.

Guided living history tours – Professional actors bring history to life with a fun theatre performance as part of the guided tour. Travel back in time and be enthralled by the work of the Archer, the Cook and the travelling Barber-Surgeon. Actors from Deilg Inis Living History Theatre Company involve you in their lives, their work and their stories. It is wise to book the tour in advance online (Adults €9.50; concessions). Entry to the Heritage Centre is included in the guided tour price.

Opening hours:
Mon-Fri 10.00 am-5.00 pm
Sat-Sun 11.00 am-5.00 pm
Closing time variable: open till 6.00 pm in the high season
Closed Tuesdays

See the Centre’s website for details of other events such as guided literary walks and low season offerings.

www.dalkeycastle.com

Tel: 01 285 8366.

Castle Street, Dalkey, Co. Dublin.

Adults €9; concessions.

Drimnagh Castle

Drimnagh Castle

This feudal stronghold is the only remaining castle in Ireland surrounded by a flooded moat. You can visit the restored great hall, the battlement tower, the stable, the coach house, and the formal 17th Century  gardens.

Open Mon-Thur 9.00 am-4.00 pm; Fri 9.00 am-1.00 pm. Weekends by appointment.

www.drimnaghcastle.org

Long Mile Road, Drimnagh, Dublin 12.

Tel: 01 450 2530.

Adults €5; concessions.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle *****

Dublin Castle operated in the past (for 700 years) as a military fortress, a prison, a treasury, the courts of law and the seat of English administration in Ireland.

The State Apartments dominate the south range of the Great Courtyard. They were built as the residential and public quarters of the Viceregal Court and were the seat of the executive and focus of fashionable and extravagant social life. Today the Apartments are the venue for Ireland’s Presidencies of the European Union, for Presidential inaugurations and for prestigious functions.

The Undercroft is sited at lower ground floor level in the Lower Castle Yard, opposite the Chapel Royal. The city walls join the Castle at this point. Here, the archway allowed small feeder boats to land provisions at the postern gate, from larger boats moored on the Liffey. The double archway and postern gate are still visible. Also on view here is the Viking defence bank, within the butt of the Norman Powder Tower. The original Tower was five stories high – the top storey being occupied by the Lord Deputy during the 16th century.

The Chapel Royal is a gothic revival building designed by Francis Johnston. It is famous for its vaulting, its particularly fine plaster decoration and carved oaks and galleries. Admission to the Chapel Royal is free.

A guided tour of the State Apartments, the medieval undercroft and the Chapel Royal is available (Adults €10 for a  guided tour or €7 for a self-guided visit; concessions). Free admission on the first Wednesday of every month. The tour is about 70 minutes long.

The State Apartments, the Undercroft and the Chapel Royal are open seven days a week from 9.45 am to 5.45 pm (last admission 5.15 pm).

Also on this site, in the Revenue Museum one can experience a unique window on the many and varied activities of the Revenue Commissioners, from tax collection to customs controls, over several centuries. In addition to exhibits old and new, the Museum (located in the Crypt of the Chapel Royal) contains audio-visual displays and instructive video games. See if you can find hidden contraband or guess the parts of a house that were subject to tax in days gone by.

Among the many exhibits are the first set of Exchequer Returns for Saorstát Éireann, a poitín still, a stamp duty machine, examples of counterfeit goods and endangered species seized at ports and airports, early computer technology, and a wide range of beautiful measuring instruments. All of these are housed in the atmospheric crypt of the Chapel Royal. Open on weekdays from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm. Admission free. For more information about the Revenue Museum, phone: (01) 8635 601.

The Garda Museum and Archives are located at the Treasury Building, Dublin Castle. Here visitors will find an interesting exhibition about the history of An Garda Síochána and information on policing in Ireland before 1922.   The museum exhibits include photographs and documents outlining the history and development of policing in Ireland in the 19th/20th centuries.  The Museum is open to the public Monday to Friday from 10.00 am to 2.00 pm. Admission is free (phone 01-6669998).

All attractions on this site are closed Good Friday,  25-27 December & 1 January.

www.dublincastle.ie

www.revenue.ie

www.garda.ie

Dame Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01-645 8813

Dublin City Hall

Dublin City Hall

Dublin City Hall was built between 1769 and 1779 (designed by Thomas Cooley). It is the headquarters of Dublin City Council and is the place where the Lord Mayor and City Councillors hold meetings to discuss present and future plans for Dublin.

City Hall was originally built as the Royal Exchange and was used by the merchants of Dublin as a financial centre until Dublin Corporation bought the building in 1851. It was renovated and re-opened in 1852. The building underwent a major refurbishment programme in 1998-2000 and has been restored to its former 18th century glory.

Situated in an historic quarter of Dublin, City Hall is neighbour to Christ Church Cathedral and Dublin Castle. The vaults of the Hall house an exhibition entitled “The Story of the Capital”, a comprehensive account of the city’s history.

Noteworthy features of the building are the magnificent Hall and Rotunda (an elegant space with a circular dome, like a small-scale version of similar buildings in Rome); statues of Daniel O’Connell, Thomas Davis, Henry Grattan, Charles Lucas and Thomas Drummond; and a set of twelve paintings representing scenes from the history and mythology of the city. There is a detailed brochure available in the lobby explaining the various art works.

Open Mon–Sat: 10.00 am-5.15 pm.
Closed Sun, Bank Holidays, St Patrick’s Day, Good Friday, 24-26 Dec & 1 Jan.

Normally a self-conducted tour. Tours for groups take place by prior arrangement.

www.dublincity.ie/dublincityhall

Dame Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 222 2204.

Admission free.

Dublin Writers Museum

Dublin Writers’ Museum

The idea of a Dublin Writers Museum was originated by the journalist and author Maurice Gorham (1902 – 1975), who proposed it to Dublin Tourism. Opened in November 1991 at 18 Parnell Square, the museum occupies an original eighteenth-century mansion. The Irish Writers’ Centre next door contains the meeting rooms and offices of the Irish Writers’ Union, the Society of Irish Playwrights, the Irish Children’s Book Trust and the Translators’ Association of Ireland. The basement beneath both houses is occupied by the Chapter One restaurant.

The Museum was established to promote interest, through its collection, displays and activities, in Irish literature as a whole and in the lives and works of individual Irish writers. Through its association with the Irish Writers’ Centre it provides a link with living writers and the international literary scene.

In the two Museum Rooms is presented a history of Irish literature from its beginnings up to recent times. The panels describe the various phases, movements and notable names, while the showcases and pictures illustrate the lives and works of individual writers. 

The Museum Collection contains many books, representing the milestones in the progress of Irish literature from Gulliver’s Travels to Dracula, The Importance of Being Earnest, Ulysses and Waiting for Godot. Most of these are first or early editions. 

Among the pens, pipes and typewriters there are some unusual personal possessions – Lady Gregory’s lorgnette, Austin Clarke’s desk, Samuel Beckett’s telephone, Mary Lavin’s teddy bear, Oliver Gogarty’s laurels and Brendan Behan’s union card. Also on view is Handel’s chair, used at the opening night of The Messiah.

The Gallery of Writers is a splendidly decorated room containing portraits and busts of Irish writers. The room is used for receptions, exhibitions and special occasions. At the top of the grand staircase, the Gorham Library is notable for its Stapleton ceiling.

Open Mon-Sat 10.00 am–5.00 pm; Sun/Bank Holidays 11.00 am – 5.00 pm. Check Christmas/New Year opening times on the website.

www.writersmuseum.com

The above website has a history of failing to load. So you might find the Lonely Planet website’s review useful – www.lonelyplanet.com

18 Parnell Square North, Dublin 1.

Tel: 01 872 2077.

Adults €7.50; concessions.

Dublin Zoo

Dublin Zoo *****

Ireland’s most popular family attraction (over one million visitors a year). Opened in 1831, Dublin Zoo is one of the world’s oldest and most popular zoos. It has been transformed in recent decades into a 28 hectare park of gardens, lakes and natural habitats for over 400 animals. Many are rare species and their survival in the wild is under threat; many of the zoo’s animals are part of international breeding programmes for endangered species. The African Plains area is spectacular, a facsimile of the grassy savanna and open plains of the natural wild. See giraffe and zebras wander while the hunting dogs prowl. Look out too for the rhino, the ostrich and the chimpanzees.

Kids rate this venue a 5-star experience.

Open Mon–Sun. Jan: 9.30 am–4.30 pm; Feb: 9.30 am–5.00 pm; Mar – Sept: 9.30 am–6.00 pm; Oct: 9.30 pm–5.30 pm; Nov & Dec: 9.30 am–4.00 pm. Closed December 25 and 26. [The African Plains close thirty minutes before the listed closing times]. 

www.dublinzoo.ie

Phoenix Park, Dublin 8.

Tel: 01 474 8900.

Adults €18; concessions. There is a slight discount for booking online.

Dublinia

Dublinia ****

Dublinia is a museum in which Viking and Medieval Dublin are re-created through life-size reconstructions.

Viking Dublin Exhibition:  See what life was like on board a Viking warship. Learn about long and challenging voyages, weaponry and the skills of being a Viking warrior. Try on Viking clothes, become a slave and stroll down a noisy street. Visit a smoky and cramped Viking house, learn the Viking runic alphabet and hear their poetry and sagas.

Medieval Dublin Exhibition: From Strongbow to the Reformation, experience the re-created sights, sounds and smells of this busy city. Learn of warfare, crime and punishment, death and disease. Visit a medieval fair, a rich merchant’s kitchen and a bustling medieval street.

History Hunters Exhibition: Learn how archaeology works with history and science to piece together the jigsaws of our ancestors’ lives and lifestyles. See genuine Viking and Medieval artefacts, including those of a medieval skeleton found in Dublin (courtesy of the National Museum of Ireland). Hear the languages of old Dublin and explore the city’s earliest maps. Visit the lab and learn how bugs and dirt can be the history hunter’s gold.

St Michael’s Tower: Dublinia’s late seventeenth century viewing tower belonged to the church of St Michael the Archangel, which once stood at the site now occupied by Dublinia. The medieval tower has 96 steps leading to a panoramic view of Dublin. Access to the viewing tower is weather dependent.

To generate atmosphere, the walking route through Dublinia is a little narrow so the attraction is less enjoyable at peak periods (especially when large tour groups may be in attendance). For this reason, visiting the site off peak is recommended.

Open Mar-Sept: 10.00 am- 6.30 pm; Oct-Feb: 10.00 am-5.30 pm. Closed 24-26 Dec.

www.dublinia.ie

St. Michael’s Hill, Christchurch, Dublin 8.

Tel: 01 679 4611.

Adults €9.50; concessions.

Farmleigh House

Farmleigh House ****

Farmleigh is an estate of 78 acres located in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Owned by the State, it provides accommodation for visiting dignitaries & guests of the nation, hosts high level Government meetings, and is also available to be enjoyed by the public.

Farmleigh remains a unique representation of its heyday, the Edwardian period, when wealthy industrialists had replaced landowners as the builders of large mansions in Ireland. Their tastes were eclectic, mixing a variety of architectural styles and decors.

Edward Cecil Guinness, first Earl of Iveagh, the great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, built Farmleigh around a smaller Georgian house in the 1880’s. Many of the artworks and furnishings he collected for Farmleigh remain in the house on loan from the Guinness family to the State. The Benjamin Iveagh collection of rare books, bindings and manuscripts is held  in the Library.

The extensive pleasure grounds are a wonderful collection of Victorian and Edwardian ornamental features with walled and sunken gardens, scenic lakeside walks and a range of plants that provide both visual and horticultural interest throughout the seasons. The Estate also boasts a working farm with a herd of Kerry Black cows.

House Tours
Access to Farmleigh House is by guided tour, and includes selected rooms on the ground floor. Guided tours of the House are available on a first come, first serve basis from 10.00 am to 5.30 pm (last entry at 4.30 pm). Tours run every hour (usually at a quarter past the hour) and last approximately 45 minutes. Each tour is strictly limited to twenty-five people and tickets are issued on a first-come-first-served basis.

The grounds and estate are open all year round from 10.00 am-6.00 pm.

www.farmleigh.ie

www.heritageireland.ie/en/dublin/farmleighhouseandestate/

Phoenix Park, Dublin 15.

Tel: 01 815 5900.

House tour €8; concessions.

Four Courts

Four Courts

The iconic site where the country’s legal system was originally housed under one roof (built in the late 18th century). Almost completely demolished during the Irish civil war (1922). Noted for the Round Hall and the Dome. Location of the Supreme Court, the High Court, the District Court, and the Law Library.

There are no heritage tours available but visitors can wander around (Mon-Fri 10.00 am-5.00 pm). Visitors are also welcome to go into courtrooms and observe most cases. You cannot go into courtrooms where a case is being heard in camera (i.e. in private).

Before you make a visit, look up the Legal Diary section of the Four Courts website (www.courts.ie) to find out what cases are listed for hearing.

Groups are welcome to visit the Criminal Courts of Justice on a pre-arranged guided basis. The space available in courtrooms for members of the public is limited. Courtrooms are often crowded and it may be difficult to follow the proceedings without advance information.

Group visits include an opportunity to discuss the operation of the courts with a practising barrister. In addition, second level student groups can participate in a mock criminal trial playing the parts of judge, barrister, solicitor, accused, witness and juror. The School Visit Programme is booked for months in advance and sees thousands of second level students visiting the Criminal Courts of Justice every year. A programme for third level students provides Irish and overseas students with an opportunity to meet a judge for a Q&A session.

More about the Four Courts

Inn’s Quay, Dublin 7.

Information Office – Tel: 01 888 6459 .

Freemasons Hall

Freemasons’ Hall ***

The home of the Grand Lodge of Ireland since 1866. The building houses many meeting rooms in different architectural styles, including an Egyptian room and a mock Gothic Room. There is an exhibition on Freemasonry in Ireland from the early 18th Century.  A fascinating curiosity.

Museum open Mon-Fri from 9.00 am to 5.00 pm (admission free).

In June, July, and August there is a daily conducted tour at 2.30 pm (Mon-Fri). The tour costs €2.

www.discoverireland.ie

www.freemason.ie

17 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 6761337