Dublin for History Lovers

The Vikings made Dublin their home on their arrival, and there's many medieval reminders of the city's old history. But it's the past century which has made its mark the most, both on the physical appearance and the character of how Dublin has developed.

You can see recent Republican history at the GPO's new museum—after you've past the bullet holes in the pillars from the 1916 Uprising. Kilmainham Gaol is where most of the big names in Republican history spent time, and some of them died. And at Glasnevin Cemetery, you'll see the resting place of revolutionary Roger Casement, republican leader Michael Collins and past president Eamon de Valera.

Dublin's history is steeped with famous scribes, and Dublin Writer's Museum showcases their life and works, from Brendan Behan to Oscar Wilde. You'll also see Wilde's former home, and a statue, in the elegant Merrion Square, a fabulous example of the city's Georgian architecture.

Merrion Square

This noble square marks the Georgian heartland of Dublin, once home to Daniel O’Connell at No 58, W B Yeats at 82 and Oscar Wilde at No 1 (now the American College). On the square’s western side is the country house façade of Leinster House, and the entrance to the National Gallery.

Dublin Writers’ Museum

Three centuries of literary excellence by Irish writers are brought to life in this quaint museum in a restored Georgian mansion. It houses a huge collection of books, letters, portraits and personal items of the likes of Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and W. B. Yeats.

Old Library & Book of Kells

Located inside Trinity College’s 18th-century Old Library, the exhibition ‘Turning Darkness Into Light’ shows off the 9th-century gospel manuscripts, the Book of Kells. Beautifully decorated, the manuscripts contain the four gospels in Latin, written on calfskin.

Kilmainham Gaol

The former jail of many of Ireland’s revolutionaries, in use between the 1780s and 1920s, saw hundreds of men suffer and die for their belief in independence in the uprisings of 1798, 1803, 1848, 1867, 1916 and 1922. A museum covers the early 20th-century political history of Ireland, prison memorabilia and a guided tour.

St. Patrick's Cathedral

The national cathedral of the Church of Ireland is the nation’s largest church, and was built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint.

Trinity College

Ireland’s oldest university is a time capsule of smooth lawns, cobblestones, statuary and formal buildings, reminiscent of Oxford’s dreaming spires. In Library Square is the Campanile, beside which is a Henry Moore statue, "Reclining Connected Form".

General Post Office

This landmark colonnaded building, in addition to being the headquarters of An Post, the Irish postal service, also has a place in history; during the 1916 Uprising on Easter Monday, it was a key venue for the rebels – which you can see from the bullet holes in the pillars outside from that dramatic day.

Jim Larkin Statue

This huge bronze statue of Jim Larkin (1874–1947) stands outside the GPO. Born in Liverpool, UK, he was the first leader of the Irish Labour Party and founded the Irish Transport & General Workers' Union, and was a strong campaigner for many of Ireland's poorest workers.

Croke Park

For more than a century, this historic ground has been home to traditional Gaelic games, and is headquarters of the Gaelic Games Association. There are regular Gaelic Football and hurling matches here, with the two biggest games in September.

James Joyce Museum

This cliff-top Martello tower south of Dublin houses literary memorabilia associated with the great writer, and features in his epic novel "Ulysses". You can access the roof via a narrow winding staircase for views of Dublin Bay. Apr-Aug Tue-Sat 10am-5pm (closed 1pm-2pm), Sun 2pm-6pm. Admission free.