Long Room and Book of Kells
I wanted to start our trip to Dublin in here. I love the smell of old books and knowing that I was in the same room where there were very books made my geeky side of me a very happy person. The famous book of Kells can be found the the main chamber of the Old Library, called the Long Room.
Book of Kells
The book of Kells is said to have been written by Christian monks around AD 800. This book is so famous and important that is considered to be one of the Ireland’s national treasure.
This room with nearly 65 meter high filled with 200000 of the Library’s oldest books is considered one of the most stunning libraries of the all world. The Long Room was built between 1712 and 1732 with a lower level only. However by 1860 it was added a upper level since the library was at full capacity. While you stride along you can find marble busts representing great philosophers, writers and men connected with the Trinity College in Dublin. You will find for example the bust of William Shakespeare and Aristotle.
Some curiosities of this library:
- Missing letters
In each column there is an alphabetic sequence. However not all the letters are there. For example the letter “J” is missing. The reason why it is because the Latin alphabet does not have that letter.
- White Cotton Ribbon
Some books in this library have a white cotton ribbon around. Its function is to hold together loose covers and sheets.
- Secret passages
The upper level of the library is separated in small galleries. To move from one section to other you have to use the hidden passages between shelves.
Address: Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin – College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
There is no way when you look for things to do in Dublin that this place doesn’t come up as the top 5 places to visit. When I was preparing our trip I have read there are always big queues and the tickets should be bought online to avoid disappointment. So please if you are completely sure when and what time you can go, please do. Plus if you buy the tickets online you will have 25% discount.
Fortunately we were really lucky, we arrived at 10 to 5pm (the last tour starts at 5pm) and without any tickets we only had to wait 10 minutes and we were in. We were actually impressed. The tour (a “do-it-youself” kind of tour) started by explained the components needed to make this famous Irish beer and where they come from. As you go along into the different levels of the building you will learn how Guiness has become so important to the city economically and how it was exported to different parts of the world since the its early days until now. A lot goes on during our visit which includes a beer-tasting demonstration. In the end, with your ticket you can get a Guiness and we got it in the roof top bar which gives you a 360 degrees view of Dublin.
Address: The Liberties, Dublin 8
Molly Malone Statue
There are not many statues that are a landmark of the city. This is not the case. The bronze statue of Molly Malone can be found in Grafton Street and it has been there since 1988 when the Dublin Millennium celebrations happened .
But who was Molly Malone? The name and the statue itself are connected to a traditional Irish music called “Cockles and Mussels”. According to the lyrics Molly Malone was a young and beautiful fishmonger who used to sell her yield from a cart on the streets of Dublin but who died young due to an incurable fever. According to the legend, her spirit still walks along the streets of the city shouting “Cockles and Mussels, alive, alive-o!. In reality anyone knows if Molly Malone has ever been a real person or what it is the origin of the song. However the statue is real and it has been said that touching her breasts gives you luck, which is the reason why the statue is lighter around her bosom.
Address: Suffolk St, Dublin 2
O’ Connell Street
This street is one of the most important streets in Dublin. There are lots of restaurants and hotels, as ours for example (see Dublin – Accommodation), but it has also a lot to see. Let’s take a look of some of the things you can visit here:
Spire of Dublin – a 120-meter-high stainless steel sculpture of a needle-shape. This is the tallest sculpture in the all world.
James Joyce Statue: James Joyce was an Irish writer, poet, teacher, novelist and literary critic. It is considered one of the biggest influential and important authors of the 20th century. His most known work is called “Ulysses”
Charles S. Parnell Monument: Charles S. Parnell was one of most important spokesman for nationalism and home rule during the 1880s.
Sir John Gray Statue: Sir John Gray was an Irish journalist, politician and also physician and surgeon. Among his many qualities this statue was built to honor his efforts in bringing water supply to Dublin 1868. For those who don’t know there are still today many problems connected to the water supply in Dublin.
William Smith O’Brien Statue: William Smith O’Brien was an Irish nationalist MP and leader of the Young Ireland movement.
This is the main commercial street of the city. This streets gets you from the Trinity College area to St. Stephen’s Green. You can find lots of different stores but be aware most of them belongs to “the expensive kind of stores”. Close to the end in St. Stephen’s Green there is a shopping mall with the same name as the area, St. Stephen’s Green.
St. Stephen’s Green
This public park is a great idea to walk around and maybe have a picnic in a sunny day. Not that we had that experience, when we got here the rain started pouring. Although if you are not as unlucky as we were you can spend a nice couple of hours in here.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. According to the legend, Saint Patrick used to baptized whoever was converted to Christianity in this site and for that reason a small church was built in here. The building that now stands was built in 1220 and over the centuries it has survived to wars and revolutions. The stunning stained glass windows date from the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. The reason why each window shows a different style was because different artists participated in their creation. As the name indicates, this church is dedicated to the most famous saint of Ireland.
Entrance fee: 8 euros per person
There is a free guided tour that starts every half an hour
Address: St Patrick’s Close, Wood Quay, Dublin 8
Christ Church Cathedral
When you step into the Cathedral you will be amazed by its beautiful interior, including a majestic nave, a medieval crypt ad many other treasures. The price of the ticket is 8 euros per person.
It is impossible to deny that this church is an interesting place to visit visit especially by the magnificence of the nave and the Treasures of Christ Church exhibition that features manuscripts and artefacts of nearly one thousand years of worship not only in this cathedral but also in nearby churches. However the bigger curiosity lays on two mummies in display. The mummies belong to a cat and a rat. Their corpses were found in 1860 when the pipes of the organ were going through a maintenance process. It is accepted these animals got trapped during a chase and due to the unique conditions inside the pipes the corpses were preserved in a way that made them mummies. Even today you are able to see the cat’s whiskers.
Address: Christchurch Pl, Wood Quay, Dublin 8
This picturesque bridge, very close to the Temple Bar district, was built in order to connect both sides of the city. Before 1816, the year when this bridge was constructed, the only way to cross the river Liffey was taking the ferry. Obviously, for this reason, this bridge had a very important role in the city and nowadays you can have a lovely view of Dublin when crossing it.
Address: Bachelors Walk, Temple Bar, Dublin
Temple Bar District
I was not sure if the Temple Bar District should be mentioned in “Places to Visit” or “Places to Eat and Drink”. Even though the main attraction is the Temple Bar Pub where you must drink a pint or two, and for that IT HAS be mentioned on “Places to Eat and Drink” it is also a fantastic place to visit. You have to step inside to see how fantastic and vibrant is the atmosphere here. You have live music, you have statues, you have flowers and if you are going during the winter months you have thousands of Christmas decorations. It is amazing, I have never been in a pub like this one. Apart from the pub, the Temple Bar District is where the nightlife is centralized and a lot of street food available all night.