Places to visit: Historical

Dublinia

Dublinia

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

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

Viking Dublin:  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: 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.

The Past Today: Find out about Dublin’s rich past. Discover how we are influenced by the Viking and Medieval eras. See artifacts found in Dublin on permanent loan from the National Museum of Ireland, including those from the famous Wood Quay excavations. Take a flying visit over the Medieval city and immersive yourself in the audio-visual experience, a story of one man’s life growing up in Medieval Dublin.

Living History guides are on-hand to give you all the information you need to know about Viking weapons, the history of the barber surgeon, medieval medicine and herbs, and even showing you how to play Hnefatafl (Viking chess). The guides are stationed around the exhibition and are happy to answer all your Viking and Medieval queries.

Walking tours of Viking and Medieval Dublin take place at 11.00 am Thursday to Sunday. Information is available on your arrival at Dublinia. The tours do not require advance booking before your visit and your admission ticket covers the cost.

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 daily 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 €15; concessions.

EPIC

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

You won’t find leprechauns or pots of gold here, but you’ll discover that what it means to be Irish expands far beyond the borders of Ireland through the stories of Irish emigrants who became scientists, politicians, poets, artists and even outlaws all over the world.

At EPIC, which was recently awarded Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction at the World Travel Awards for the third year in a row (2019, 2020 and 2021), discover Ireland from the outside in and find out why saying “I’m Irish” is one of the biggest conversation starters, no matter where you are.

EPIC tells the moving and unforgettable stories of those who left the island of Ireland, and how they influenced and shaped the world. EPIC embraces the past and the future with 1,500 years of Irish history and culture housed in its atmospheric vaults.

Ireland’s only fully digital museum, experience this breath-taking story in state-of- the-art interactive galleries, complete with touch screens, motion sensor quizzes and a feast of powerful audio and video that bring Irish history to life. Watch characters from the past tell one-of-a-kind tales of adventure and perseverance, conflict and discovery, belief and community.

https://epicchq.com

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Unit 1, The CHQ Building, Custom House Quay, Dublin 1

Tel: 01-9060861

Adults €17.50; concessions. 

Open 7 days a week from 10.00 am to 6.45 pm (last entry 5.00 pm). Closed Dec 24-26. 

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is a self-guided visit. Audio guides are available for rent for €2, or are free to use on personal mobile devices via the EPIC App.

Adjacent to EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is the Irish Family History Centre, a way for visitors to discover their family story and explore their Irish heritage. The Centre allows visitors to sit with a genealogy expert for a 30-minute consultation and use interactive display screens to engage and uncover more about their Irish roots. Consultations start at €55.  

 

Farmleigh House

Farmleigh House

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

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-5.30 pm.

www.farmleigh.ie

www.heritageireland.ie

Phoenix Park, Dublin 15

Tel: 01 815 5914

House tour €8; concessions. Free admission on the first Wednesday of each month.

Four Courts

Four Courts

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The Four Courts is the iconic site where the country’s legal system was originally housed under one roof (built in the late 18th century). The complex was seriously damaged during the Irish civil war (1922). The Supreme Court, the High Court, the District Court and the Law Library are located here. The Round Hall and the Dome are particularly attractive.

On 14 April 1922 the courts complex was occupied by IRA forces opposed to the Anglo-Irish Treaty. On 28 June the new National Army attacked the building to dislodge the “rebels”. This attack provoked a week of fighting in Dublin. In the process of the bombardment, the historic building was pretty much destroyed. The west wing of the building was obliterated in a huge explosion, destroying the Irish Public Record Office at the rear of the building. Nearly a thousand years of archives were destroyed by this explosion, the ensuing fire, and water poured onto the fire. [Thanks to Wikipedia for this information].

There are no heritage tours available but visitors can wander around (Mon-Fri 9.00 am-6.00 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. General enquiries – 01 888 6000.

Freemasons Hall

Freemasons’ Hall

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

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).

Tours of Freemasons’ Hall are available at 3.00 p.m. each weekday from April onwards. Booking is not required and the contribution is €5 per person.

www.discoverireland.ie

www.freemason.ie

17 Molesworth Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 6761337

Government Buildings

Government Buildings

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

An imposing complex built by the former British administration in Ireland, the building now accommodates the Department of An Taoiseach, the Department of Finance and the Office of the Attorney General.

When built by the British, the complex was designed for two new government departments, the Local Government Board and the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction, as well as the Royal College of Science, then housed in 51 St Stephen’s Green. By coincidence, the complex was completed in March 1922, and was available immediately to be occupied by the new Irish Free State government.

In more recent times, the building has been converted and entirely refurbished to form modern accommodation for a number of departments.

Please note that visiting arrangements are subject to cancellation on short notice (due to official State business) so visitors should phone in advance to avoid disappointment.

Tours take place every Saturday at 10.30 am, 11.30 am, 12.30 pm and 13.30 pm.

Tickets can be collected on any Saturday morning from the National Gallery, Merrion Square West, Dublin 2, from 10.00 am.

www.heritageireland.ie

Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 645 8813.

Admission free.

GPO O'Connell Street

GPO Museum – O’Connell Street

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The GPO Museum “Witness History” is a visitor attraction which puts you right inside the GPO (General Post Office) during Easter Week in 1916. History comes to life as you experience events from both sides of the conflict and through the eyes of bystanders caught in the crossfire, availing of electronic touch screens, video, audio visual booths, sound and authentic artefacts (many previously unseen). You can compose newspaper reports, examine the original copy of the Proclamation and send Morse code to declare the Irish Republic by radio.

Explore the events of the Easter Week through personal stories, eyewitness accounts and historical artefacts; use interactive maps to route military dispatches from the GPO to Stephen’s Green; compare the life of a wealthy child in Dublin at the time to the life of a child of the tenements; use touch screens to learn about the events leading up to the 1916 Easter Rising and its aftermath; examine the impact the Rising had on Ireland (both North and South) and throughout the world; and explore how Easter Week has been commemorated over the past 100 years.

After the exhibition, you can relax and reflect in the café and retail store overlooking the courtyard. The courtyard is also home to a commissioned sculpture called ‘They are of us all’, commemorating the forty children who died during the Easter Rising.

The General Post Office is the centrepiece of O’Connell Street. It was designed by Francis Johnston in 1814 in Greek revival style and completed in 1818. He wanted to build a handsome building that would add to Dublin’s architectural beauty and emphasise the important role of the Post Office in Irish life. There was a fine public office at the front, a courtyard for the mail coaches at the back and an imposing façade complete with classical columns and statues on the roof. The statues are of Hibernia (Ireland), with Fidelity to one side and Mercury to the other. During the 1916 Rising, the GPO was one of three Dublin landmarks – along with the Four Courts and the Custom House – destroyed in the fighting. It was rebuilt and re-opened in 1929.

Just after midday on Easter Monday 1916, a band of rebels stormed the GPO. They ordered staff and customers to leave and seized control of the building, making it their headquarters during the fierce fighting of Easter Week. Ireland was declared a sovereign nation on the front steps of the GPO when Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation of Independence on Easter Monday. In the face of considerable military opposition, the rebels held the GPO for almost a week. With the building on fire and crumbling, the rebels tunnelled through the walls of neighbouring buildings and retreated to nearby Moore Street. On Saturday, Pearse took the decision to surrender.

The Easter Rising, though it ended in failure, set into motion an unstoppable chain of events which would ultimately lead to the creation of the Irish Republic.

The 1916 Proclamation is one of the most important documents of modern Irish history. Drafted in large part by Padraig Pearse, it was hurriedly printed in Liberty Hall on the night before the Rising began. The copy on display here is one of the few to have survived the turmoil of Easter Week and the passage of nearly a century.

Open Monday – Saturday 9.00 am–5:30 pm (last admission 4:30 pm). Sunday and Bank Holidays 12.00 pm – 5.30 pm (last admission 4:30 pm).

Closed New Year’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter Sunday, Dec 23-26.

www.gpowitnesshistory.ie

General Post Office, O’Connell Street Lower, Dublin 1

Tel: 01 61-711222

Self-guided tour. Adults €14 (€12 when you book online); concessions. Book online in advance as this is a very busy visitor centre. Guided Tours are available every day except Sunday at 11.00 am and 2.30 pm; and on Sundays at 2.30 pm only. Pre-booking is not necessary (but an additional cost applies). Guided tours for groups (10 people and over) may be arranged by booking in advance with the reservations office (an additional cost applies).

14 Henrietta Street

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

Dating from the 1720s, Henrietta Street in Dublin’s North inner city is the most intact collection of early to mid-18th century aristocratic townhouses in Ireland. These vast houses were divided into tenements from the 1870s to the 1890s to house the city’s working poor.

Built as a townhouse for the members of Dublin’s ruling elite, 14 Henrietta Street was divided into 19 tenement flats in 1877, with some 100 people living under its roof by 1911. It remained a tenement house until the last families left in the late 1970s.

14 Henrietta Street tells the story of the building’s shifting fortunes, from family home and power base to courthouse; from barracks to its final incarnation as a tenement. The stories of the house and street mirror the story of Dublin and her citizens.

14 Henrietta Street seeks to help visitors deepen their understanding of the history of urban life and housing in Ireland, through people and memory. Taking the stories, personal experiences and objects of former residents of the tenements, coupled with new ongoing social and architectural history research, the Museum gathers, interprets and preserves Dublin’s tenement history.

Why tenement living developed in Dublin – After the Acts of Union were passed in Great Britain and Ireland in 1801, all power shifted to London and most politically and socially significant residents were drawn from Georgian Dublin to Regency London. Dublin and Ireland entered a period of economic decline, exacerbated by the return of soldiers and sailors at the end of the Napoleonic Wars. The rise of the cotton mills of Lancashire had a negative impact on the Irish poplin industry.

For a time, Henrietta Street was occupied by lawyers. Dublin’s population swelled by about 36,000 in the years after the Great Famine, and taking advantage of the rising demand for cheap housing for the poor, landlords and their agents began to carve their Georgian townhouses into multiple dwellings for the city’s new residents.

Houses such as 14 Henrietta Street underwent significant change in use – from having been a single-family house with specific areas for masters, mistresses, servants, and children, they were now filled with families (often one family to a room,  the room itself divided up into two or three smaller rooms – a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom). Entire families crammed into small living spaces and shared an outside tap and lavatory with dozens of others in the same building.

For the safety of visitors, groups must be small, with no more that 15 on a tour at a time. Tour Guides accompany you through three floors of the house and its many stories, told through the walls of the house itself, recreated immersive rooms, sound and film.

As the building dates from the late 1720s with minimal intervention in the structure, some spaces are small and the steps of the original back stairs are uneven and steep. It’s advised that you wear comfortable shoes, and perhaps dress in layers, as parts of the house can be a little cold.

14 Henrietta Street recognised in European and Irish awards – The conservation of a  former tenement house at 14 Henrietta Street in Dublin’s north inner city was named Best Conservation/Restoration Project, and won the Special RIAI Jury Award at the prestigious annual RIAI Irish Architecture Awards. The museum also won the Silletto Trust Prize at the 2020 European Museum of the Year Awards.

Tour times 
Wed-Sun: 10.00 am; 11.00 am; 12.00 pm; 1.00 pm; 2.00 pm; 3.00 pm; 4.00 pm
Monday & Tuesday: Closed
Tours last approximately 75 minutes; pre-booking is essential.

14 Henrietta Street
14 Henrietta Street, Dublin D01 HH34

Tel: 01- 524 0383

www.14henriettastreet.ie

Adults  €10; concessions  – €8 (students, pensioners), €6 (child 5+)

Photo by Ros Kavanagh

Also of interest is the “Georgian Dublin Outdoor Walking Tour: Henrietta Street and Beyond”. This consists of a walk through Georgian Dublin, courtesy of the award-winning museum 14 Henrietta Street.

The tour begins on Henrietta Street, the first Georgian street in Dublin and the template from which all other Georgian streets followed. The tour charts the fortunes of the Gardiner Estate on Dublin’s Northside, stretching from Henrietta Street to Mountjoy Square, from its beginnings as the best address in town to its decline to tenement housing. It’s a story that mirrors the fortunes of Dublin City and many of its residents.

Visitors will learn about the man who built Henrietta Street, the ‘Jewel in the Georgian Crown’, the lavish lifestyles and social lives of families who lived there, including the Molesworths from number 14, and how one man’s vision and ingenuity created the world’s first maternity hospital.

2021 marked the 300 year anniversary of Henrietta Street, with the Gardiner family purchasing the land in 1721 and the development of the street starting soon after. The building of Henrietta Street marked the beginning of the golden age of Georgian Dublin when the cityscape was transformed into the one we see today. Taking visitors to some of Dublin’s most elite addresses and grand Georgian squares, the tour will explore the architectural and social history of the city and reveal the details of the lives lived behind the elegant red brick facades.

Tours take place on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays at 11.30 am and 2.00 pm. The tour sets out from 14 Henrietta Street (the house tour is not included in the ticket price) and ends at the top of O’Connell Street. Price: €10 adults | €8 concession (Over 60s, students). You can book online here.

 

Irish Famine Exhibition

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

The Irish Potato Famine was the most catastrophic event in Ireland’s turbulent history. It is also regarded as being one of the worst famines in history (in terms of deaths as a proportion of the overall population).

The famine is often referred to as The Great Hunger, a period of mass death from starvation and disease between 1845 and 1852. This temporary exhibition tells the story of what happened and why.

After centuries of British colonial rule, a large section of the Irish population lived in extreme poverty and depended on the potato as their main (and often their only) food source for survival.

Centuries of British invasions, land confiscations and anti-catholic laws had reduced the country and its people to levels of poverty not seen in other parts of Europe.

At the same time, Britain was booming and in the throes of the industrial revolution. Ireland was part of the United Kingdom at this time and might have expected to benefit accordingly. But this was not to be.

Massive and speedy humanitarian aid was required when the potato crop failed. Instead the British Government acted slowly and in a fragmented way. Their overriding concern was not to disrupt market forces, so food continued to be exported to Britain as the Irish starved.

The Great Hunger devastated Ireland. At least a million died, perhaps even 1.5 million – we will never know the true figure. Millions more were forced to flee the country. The population of the island has never recovered.

From a population of between 8 and 9 million in 1845, a steady decline ensued for the next 150 years while other European populations grew.

This exhibition tells the story of what happened during those horrific years. The exhibition uses rare 19th century photographs, witness accounts, and contemporary sketches, as well as maps and statistical information. A 15-minute film explains the background to the Famine.

The exhibition contains a number of museum artefacts such as a Famine Pot from County Donegal, a workhouse coffin carrier and a letter from a father to his son who fled the Famine. The famine pot which was used to make soup is perhaps the ultimate famine memorial. The pots were mainly manufactured in Coalbrookdale in Shropshire, England, by a Quaker iron foundry run by the Darby family. The pots were made of cast iron. 600 pots were supplied by the Government, a further 295 were provided by the Quakers themselves, and some also came from the United States. In the summer months of 1847, approximately 3 million Irish People relied on soup from these pots for their survival.

The exhibition runs this year (2022) every day from June 1st to September 10th (12pm – 6pm, last entry 5:15pm).

www.theirishpotatofamine.com

Irish Famine Exhibition
Second Floor
St Stephens Green Shopping Centre
Dublin 2

Tel: 089-227 5735

Admission €12

Irish Historic Houses Association

Ireland’s historic houses are a valuable cultural resource. These houses and their contents are part of the physical evidence that helps to define the cultural and historical relationship between Ireland and the rest of Europe. The umbrella organisation representing this resource is the Irish Historic Houses Association.

The preservation of this part of Ireland’s cultural heritage is of national importance and this has been recognised by successive governments, who have enacted legislation intended to safeguard historic houses, their parks and contents, for current and future generations and in the public interest.

Heritage properties that remain in private hands have a unique value, especially those that have been owned by the same family for several generations. Typically, they contain artefacts and archives that greatly enhance the cultural and historical significance of each country house in its locality, and indeed many historic houses encapsulate the history of their surrounding regions. Below you will find listed historic houses which are members of the IHHA within the counties of Dublin, Kildare, Louth, Meath and Wicklow. Within each of these links, the opening times for each property may be ascertained by clicking on the property’s website link (below), or by clicking on the “Opening Times & Further Details” button.

www.ihh.ie/index.cfm

COVID-19 advice: Please follow current government advice and check opening times before travel.

DUBLIN

Lissen Hall  www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Lissen%20Hall

Lambay Castle   www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Lambay%20Castle

KILDARE

Burtown House  www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Burtown%20House

Coolcarrigan   www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Coolcarrigan

Harristown   www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Harristown

Leixlip Castle   www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Leixlip%20Castle

Lodge Park     www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Lodge%20Park

Moone Abbey   www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Moone%20Abbey

LOUTH

Barmeath Castle   www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Barmeath%20Castle

Beaulieu  www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Beaulieu

Collon House  www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Collon%20House

Killineer House  www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Killineer%20House

Rokeby Hall     www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Rokeby%20Hall

MEATH

Hamwood   www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Hamwood

WICKLOW

Altidore Castle   www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Altidore%20Castle

Killruddery House  www.ihh.ie/index.cfm/houses/house/name/Killruddery%20House%20