Places to visit: Historical

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.

Epic Ireland

EPIC – the Irish Emigration Museum

EPIC – the Irish Emigration Museum is an exhibition which brings to life the story of Ireland’s communities overseas – past, present and future. For overseas visitors in particular, it paints a picture of the history and people of Ireland.

By means of 20 themed galleries, using cutting-edge interactive technologies (designed by the award-winning team behind Titanic Belfast), visitors explore tales of migration, the forces that drove 10 million journeys, and the impact Irish migration has had on the world.

Visitors receive a stamped passport as they enter the exhibition and then follow a path through 20 galleries organised into four thematic groups:

  • Migration: an introduction to Ireland and the arrivals and departures that have shaped it
  • Motivation: why people left Ireland
  • Influence: what Irish people did overseas and the influence they have had in their adopted homelands
  • Connection: where the Irish are now

https://epicchq.com

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

Tel: 01-5313688

Adults €15; 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.

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 15-minute consultation and use interactive display screens to engage and uncover more about their Irish roots. Entrance costs €12.50. The Irish Family History Centre has no connection with EPIC – the Irish Emigration Museum. 

 

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

Government Buildings

Government Buildings

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/en/dublin/governmentbuildings/

Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2.

Tel: 01 645 8813.

Admission free.

GPO O'Connell Street

GPO O’Connell Street

The GPO “Witness History” is a new visitor attraction which puts you right inside the GPO 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 8721916

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 offered for individuals Mondays-Fridays  and Sundays at 3.30 pm, and Saturdays at 11.00 am. 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).

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.

http://www.ihh.ie/index.cfm

DUBLIN

Lissen Hall http://www.ihh.ie/houses/38/Lissen-Hall/index.cfm

Tibradden http://www.ihh.ie/houses/53/Tibradden/index.cfm

KILDARE

Burtown House http://www.ihh.ie/houses/42/Burtown-House/index.cfm

Celbridge Lodge http://www.ihh.ie/houses/47/Celbridge-Lodge/index.cfm

Coolcarrigan http://www.ihh.ie/houses/32/Coolcarrigan/index.cfm

Harristown http://www.ihh.ie/houses/33/Harristown/index.cfm

LOUTH

Beaulieu http://www.ihh.ie/houses/31/Beaulieu-/index.cfm

Collon House http://www.ihh.ie/houses/98/Collon-House/index.cfm

Killineer House http://www.ihh.ie/houses/41/Killineer-House/index.cfm

MEATH

Hamwood http://www.ihh.ie/houses/27/Hamwood/index.cfm

WICKLOW

Altidore Castle http://www.ihh.ie/houses/51/Altidore-Castle/index.cfm

James Joyce House Of The Dead

James Joyce House of the Dead

The James Joyce House of the Dead is one of Dublin’s most interesting literary and historic buildings and is the place where Joyce set his famous short story, “The Dead”, and where director John Huston located his film of the story.

The man behind restoring the house – Brendan Kilty – had previously saved Sweny’s, the pharmacy in Clare Street immortalised in “Ulysses” (where Leopold Bloom purchased a bar of lemon soap).  At the turn of the millennium Brendan acquired the then derelict, burnt out and roofless 15 Usher’s Island. His mission was simple – to restore the house to its condition as of 1904 and to recreate the dinner party scene as described in “The Dead”. With the aid of an army of volunteers, supporters and friends across the globe, that dream was realised.

Sadly, the “dark gaunt house on Usher’s Island” is to go on sale on the instructions of receivers, and the property is now closed. Brendan Kilty filed for bankruptcy in the UK in 2012 and a large sum of money is owed to Ulster Bank in connection with the property.

According to a current Irish Times news report (12/4/2017), 15 Usher’s Island was built around 1775 for Joshua Pim (who had a business in the adjoining house, number 16). “During the 1890s the upper floors of the building were rented by Joyce’s maternal great-aunts, who ran a music school and, most notably, held the Christmas parties that provide the scene for The Dead.”

www.discoverireland.ie

15 Usher’s Island, Dublin 8

James Joyce Tower

The James Joyce Tower on Sandycove Point is one of a series of fifteen similar Martello towers built around Dublin in 1804 to counter the threat of an invasion by Napoleon. The design was based on that of a tower on Cape Mortella in Corsica which had resisted a British attack in 1794.

The Tower is about forty feet high with walls eight feet thick. There was a single entrance ten feet above the ground which could only be approached by ladder. On top of the tower was a gun deck with a carriage on a swivel. Its eighteen pounder cannon had a range of about a mile.

In 1904 the tower was demilitarised and put up for rent at £8 a year by the War Department. The first tenant was Oliver St John Gogarty, a medical student and budding poet, who moved in in August and invited the twenty-two-year-old James Joyce to join him. Joyce was slow to take up the invitation and did not arrive at the tower until 9 September, by which time their friendship had cooled. They were joined by Samuel Chenevix Trench, an Oxford friend of Gogarty’s.

Joyce’s stay was brief. He was chased out of the tower on the night of 14 September and never returned. A month later he left Ireland for a literary career in Europe. The first chapter of his famous novel “Ulysses”, published in 1922, was set in the tower with characters based on himself and his companions. As a result, the tower became his monument, despite the fact that Gogarty had been the tenant and that it had been visited over the years by many celebrated Irish personalities.

The tower was bought in 1954 by the architect Michael Scott. With the help of a gift of money from the filmmaker John Huston, he and his friends set up the James Joyce Museum which was opened on 16 June 1962 by Sylvia Beach, the first publisher of Ulysses. Over the years the museum collection has grown, thanks to the generosity of many donors. In 1978, an exhibition hall was added to the building and a new entrance was put in at ground level.

At one stage, it seemed that the James Joyce Tower and Museum would cease to exist, as the resources necessary to keep it open were no longer available. Thankfully, the people of Sandycove and Glasthule were not prepared to let such a catastrophe occur. An organisation of volunteers, the ‘Friends of Joyce Tower Society’, was formed with the objective of keeping the tower and its museum open. With the support of Fáilte Ireland (the tower’s current custodian), the Society now operates the tower.

Open daily: Summer 10.00 am – 6.00 pm; Winter 10.00 am – 4.00 pm.

www.joycetower.ie

James Joyce Museum, Sandycove Point, Sandycove, Co. Dublin.

Tel: 01 280 9265

Admission free; donations welcomed.