Public Walking Tours Spring and early-Summer 2022.
As previously, most of our public tours feature our fantastic audio-receiver sets. With a range of well over 60 meters, these audio sets allow each guest to walk at your own pace; screen out background street noise and, crucially allow enhanced social distancing. The cost of this audio headset technology is included in your ticket price.
This list is for late April and early May only. Tours are constantly added and updated. New set of tours, for late May and through June 2022, will be announced later in April/early May. But as things stand here are all the fantastic new Public tour dates we currently have coming up…
THURS 05 MAY – MERRION SQ R WALKING TOUR Square, (start time: 2PM ) (ALMOST SOLD OUT)
including interior visits to within the Pepper Canister Church; plus inside Number 45 / the Irish Architectural Archives.
an exploration of Merrion Square, both its gardens, and its superb Georgian townhouses. On this tour we’ll discuss the planning and evolution of Merrion Square, its landlord and wealthy tenants, its architects and craftsman, and the houses they helped create. We will discuss a evolving 18th and 19th century world of MPs and artisans, of famous doctors, legendary writers, scientists and statesmen.
Then we’ll pay a visit to nearby Mount St and its superb Greek revival St Stephens Church, better known to Dubliners as the Pepper Canister Church.
Here we will learn about the clever use of ancient Greek forms and designs in the church architecture, as well as getting a rare chance to visit inside, to experience “a tour within a tour” inside this famous space, often considered the most beautiful of all Dublin’s Georgian churches.
We are also very grateful to the Architectural Archives on Merrion Square East, for permission to visit their stunning building, and their exhibition spaces. Number 45- built in the mid-1790s for famed developer Gustavus Hume, is the largest terraced house on Merrion Square and forms the centrepiece of its East Side, looking across the park to Leinster House.
It’s superbly-proportioned rooms on the piano nobile now make a wonderful backdrop for rotating exhibitions. This is a terrific opportunity to visit the biggest houses on the square, boasting some of the most intact, authentic interiors.
Tickets for this Merrion Square and Pepper Canister tour, taking place 2PM, Thursday 5th May, are STILL AVAILABLE and can be found here.
Image beneath: Merrion Square in an old engraving from the 1840s. For more tours, including THURSDAY 12 MAY, please see below
THURSDAY 12 MAY 11.30AM: BOOKS, MUSIC, POLITICS AND THEATRE in DUBLIN, 1100 to 1880.
Learn about the first play ever staged in Dublin, and then the capital’s first two theatres, founded in the mid-1600s, amid the intense, often fatal politics of the era.
Find out about the old booksellers, the former guild halls; gain tantalizing glimpses of the medieval and early modern Dublin of narrow alleyways and vanished “courts”.
We’ll also touch on the legacy of Swift and Sheridan; on the theatre riots of the 1700s, on bitter rivalries and an accidental, yet fatal on-stage stabbing!
One of our very favourite tours, full of the exotic flavours of old Dublin. Come with us and explore the history, the politics and the literature of old Dublin with us, and learn how all three often intersected!
Tickets for this Books, Music, Politics and Theatre tour, taking place 11.30AM, on THURS 12th May, are STILL AVAILABLE and can be found here.
Image beneath: the area of our Books, Music, Politics and Theatre Tour, in an old map, based on John Rocque’s famous survey from the 1700s.
image above: the extraordinary, richly layered historic district around Dublin Castle, Werburgh and Fishamble Street.
SUNDAY 15 MAY. ALL AROUND SAINT STEPHEN’S GREEN AND INTO THE SECRET SPACES OF NEWMAN HOUSE (in association with MoLI). Start time: 10.30AM. (SOLD OUT!)
A Dublin Decoded special luxury tour, the first hour of our tour will bring us on a complete walking tour circuit around all four sides of Saint Stephen’s Green, Dublin’s first and greatest residential square, laid out all the way back in the 1600s.
We’ll look at 400 years of spectacular architecture, change and evolution, talking about everything from schools, hospitals, former, now-forgotten museums, to collages, churches, chapels and huge aristocratic 18th century mansions.
The second part of our tour then brings us into Newman House; not (not initially at least) to see the Museum of literature, but instead for a privileged, private tour with museum staff of the interior architecture of Newman House.
This is actually a complex of two great aristocratic 18th century townhouses (Number 85 by Richard Cassels for Captain Hugh Montgomery and Number 86 for the notorious Whalley family).
We will see the famous Apollo room and Montgomery Great Salon, both with superb stucco work by the famous Lafranchini brothers, as well as later, Victorian additions to the old complex, from its time as a 19th century University, like the Bishops’ Room, Anatomy Theatre and the Aula Maxima.
Please note that numbers on this tour are extremely prescribed, limited to just 14 guests maximum.
Please note that, as our group is so small, and as the second half of the tour takes place indoors, we will not be using our usual audio headsets on this tour.
Your ticket includes a tour around Saint Stephen’s Green with Arran Henderson of Dublin Decoded; plus admission to Newman House, and specialist architectural tour by the museum staff (around 11.30 am approx) of Newman House selected interiors.
After our architectural tour, all guests are also free to enjoy free admission to the rest of Newman House and the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) at your own leisure, including the temporary and permanent exhibitions of Irish literature, as well of course as the café, restrooms, bookshop, gardens, and so on.
Numbers for this tour very limited. Early booking is recommended. Tickets will be €24.50 plus a small additional booking fee (of 5%-8%). Tickets were available here. (Sorry, this tour is now SOLD OUT)
Further Notes: As tours sell out, we sometimes add new tours and new tour dates. So, if you are seeing lots of sold-out tours, please check back a few days before your visit, to see any if any new events are taking place? New set of tours are scheduled on a rolling basis and tours for June (and then for July) will be announced on this page soon.
For people who would like alerts on these popular public tours, we highly recommend subscribing to our free monthly newsletter here.. then don’t forget to acknowledge the confirmation email, which you will receive straight away. Our system can not send you the previous newsletter. But it will send you the next one. You need never miss another tour again.
And finally, remember, Private tours, meaning a tour exclusively for your own group, on a date of your choosing, are always possible too. If you want to get a group together and book a Private tour, on any available date, of your own choosing- hit the green “Book Now” button onscreen on the home page of our website; choose Private Tours from the pop-up menu, then select your preferred tour, date and start time from the available options, pay and confirm.
For everyone else, we look forward to seeing on one or more of our scheduled Public tours in Spring 2022!
It is high time to get touring again!
Other tours, either recently completed, or coming soon in the near future.
SATURDAY 23RD APRIL, our famous WEST OF CAPEL STREET tour. (Start time: 11.30M ) (SOLD OUT)
We have had this tour for three or four years now. If you have never done it, you’re in for a treat.
We start at the corner of Cow Lane, outside the Gutter Book Store.
Then we make for the river quays, to briefly discuss their astonishing transformation from the 1600s onwards. From there it’s across the “Essex Bridge” then up Capel Street, one of the first, great, planned Dublin Streets, which in the 17th century, formed the first real extension of the historic city over to the North side of the Liffey.
From here on it’s a long, wonderful meander through the small lanes, squares and backstreets that honeycomb this whole remarkable district just west of Capel Street. You will discover many rich, historic layers, of vanished market places, forgotten medieval monasteries, old prisons and courthouses.
WALKING TOUR OF PORTOBELLO . Featuring secret Beatles and Hollywood history, vanished waterways, social, artistic and literary history, and of course, discussion of Dublin’s rich Jewish experience. Most recent date: 2PM Friday 08TH April.
SATURDAY 09TH of APRIL, MEDIEVAL CITY WALLS this tour is the very best way to learn about medieval Dublin, by walking a full circuit of the old MEDIEVAL CITY WALLS , whether they are still visible above ground or not! We use it as a fun, accessible method to explore and discuss the churches, monasteries, taverns and guild halls, the invasions, rebellions, plagues, and catastrophic fires, that all made up Dublin’s colourful, often brutal medieval life. Most recent date Saturday 09TH April.
From Patrick’s Park to Blackpitts, Newmarket, Coombe, and Cork Street
Starting at the fountain in the park beside ancient Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, then featuring Blackpitts, Newmarket, Mill Street, the former St Luke’s Church and its old Almshouse, Cork Street and the Coombe. Explore neglect and regeneration, beautiful housing from the late 1800s, historic hospitals, industry from the medieval period though the 1600s and beyond, underground rivers, revolution and more. Weavers, tanners, brewers and distillers; trade and riches; fire, poverty and rebellion; all packed into this extraordinary quarter of Dublin’s famous Liberties.
A walk around Portobello: vanished infrastructure, artists and writers, and the Dublin Jewish experience
A relaxing yet fascinating early-evening walk around Portobello. We will mine the hidden, now forgotten history of this enigmatic Dublin district, including its former 18th century walled estates, its vanished reservoir basin, former canal harbours, long-gone ornamental lakes and pleasure gardens and much more. Historic features discussed include links to everything from L.A’s Chinatown to the Beatles’ John Lennon, WWII Spies and Modernist legend James Joyce. Along our route we will consider the many other artists, writers and states people who have called the area home, and ponder history, infrastructure, and philanthropic housing, as well as its architectural, Jewish, political and architectural histories, all discussed by local resident and local historian Arran Henderson.
Heuston to the Four Courts, via Blackhall and Smithfield: an Historical & Architectural Walking Tour.
Dublin’s finest railway station; the world’s largest barracks; vanished buildings and the fascinating history of the quays, riverside and nearby buildings, including superb architectural works by Thomas Ivory, master church builder Patrick Byrne, the legendary James Gandon and others.
Planners & Professors: from Adelaide Rd to Hatch St.
Starting outside the Unitarian Church on Saint Stephen’s Green, this is an architectural and historical walking tour for real connoisseurs of Dublin.
It travels the South side of the Green; takes in sections of Leeson St Lower and Hatch Street; Adelaide Road and two very famous Dublin terraces: Harcourt and Earlsfort. Along this route we’ll view an extraordinary diversity of building types, including several fascinating churches; a handsome Edwardian hospital; a synagogue with Byzantine flourishes; a number of superb private houses; several highly significant university, school and college buildings, and of course, Dublin’s only great Regency terrace.
We’ll also discuss some of the actors, playwrights, painters and great writers who lived in the area; touch briefly on the epic planning and conservation battles of the late-20th century; and most importantly, see how the legacy of healthcare provision, worship, the law, commerce and higher education all helped shape this remarkable part of Dublin.
Around Dublin’s Medieval Walls and History
For centuries – since the time of the Vikings in the 9th and 10th century, through the years of the Anglo-Normans, the Early Modern period and up to their destruction in the late 1600s – the Medieval Walls of Dublin defended, delineated and defined the former ancient city. On this tour we trace their entire line around the ancient city core. This is one of our very favourite walks. We usually hand out maps too, so you can track the line of the walls in the modern street-scape, helping you locate the former city gates and watch towers. This is our type of treasure hunt! We also reckon it’s the best way to think about, discuss and to visualize Medieval Dublin.
We’ll use both maps and tell-tale signs in the modern street-scape, to locate the former walls, towers and gates that defended the city, as well as other long-lost medieval fabric, including vanished churches, monasteries and prisons. We’ll also treat the half-hidden, half visible walls as a kind of “story-line” to discuss the often traumatic events that marked the medieval history of Dublin including wars, rebellion, plague, a foreign invasion, a huge explosion and at least one vast, catastrophic fire that destroyed the entire western city.
If you haven’t done this walk with us before, join us! Please note this wonderful urban loop walk can take up to 2 hours given the distance covered. We believe it will be easy-going however, given that our new audio receiver sets allow guests to set their own pace.
The Capel Street Quarter: Markets and Monasteries: Prisons and Courthouses.
One of the most fascinating, richly-layered historic parts of Dublin city centre, featuring once powerful medieval monasteries now vanished. We’ll use maps from the mid-1700s to see how their presence influences the street plan, street names and even the culture of Dublin right up to to the present day.
We’ll also see and discuss the historic marketplaces that dominated this area, including one 19th century market building with unique, highly evocative decorative sculpture. Two former prisons feature on our tour, including a notorious “sponging house” (debtors’ prison) and we’ll conclude at a fine 18th century courthouse that witnessed some of the most dramatic, bitter, and controversial trials in Irish history.
Don’t forget to sign up to our free monthly newsletter before you leave. This is by far the best way to get notifications of new tours in good time. And also don’t forget that if you have 3, 4, 5 or more people who want to do the same tour, and you can agree a date, that you can book your own private tour, on a date of your own choosing! Just hit the green “Book Now” button anytime; choose Private Tours from the menu, then choose the tour route, the date and number of guests that you want.
Other tours, coming later in 2022…
Glorious Georgian Grandeur.
An historic and architectural city walking tour, of the historic Gardiner Estate;
From O’Connell St, to Mountjoy Square, via Parnell Sq, Black Church, Blessington Basin, the old Mater Hospital and St George’s Church, concluding at Mountjoy Square. The tour contains great detail on social and political history, as well as, of course, a host of outstanding architecture, described, interpreted and placed into context. (This brilliant tour last took takes place Saturday 14 August 2021
River and Canal: Harbours, Quays and Docks
The Port is Dublin’s heart and soul: its very raison d’etre. A walk along the quays and “campshires” gives us an opportunity to explore the rich seam of Dublin history. We’ll also take a good look at the superb architecture, sculpture, symbolism and intense politics of James Gandon’s great 18th century Customs House. We’ll tackle the deep history and geography of the area, its land reclamations, its risks and perils, explore the dredging of the river and the shipping channel with technology designed by legendary Irish engineers.
Classic Highlights Walking Tour of the South City Centre: history and architecture
Two hours of sights, spectacle and fun-filled facts. We promise to add new insight and fresh perspectives, to even the best known Dublin sights! Let us walk and talk you through a thousand years of history, as well as a fantastic selection of Georgian and Victorian gems. We’ll explain and illuminate aspects of their architecture, all made highly accessible and enjoyable. This refreshingly brisk, yet brilliant guided walking tour – assisted by the live audio commentary in your audio headsets – takes you from elegant Stephen’s Green, down fascinating South William St, then along the procession of spectacular 18th and 19th century banks on College Green, then the whole way through Temple Bar, with its unique mix of historic and contemporary architecture, to the secrets of medieval Christ Church and Dublin Castle.
Dublin Castle, Ship St, Werburgh St. and Smock Alley: Books, Politics and Theatre in Georgian & Early-Modern Dublin
Learn about the first play ever staged in Dublin and the capital’s first two theatres, founded in the mid-1600s amid the intense, often fatal politics of the era. Plus old booksellers and former guild halls, with tantalizing glimpses of the medieval and early modern Dublin of narrow alleyways and vanished “courts”. We’ll discuss the legacy of Swift and Sheridan; the theatre riots of the 1700s; bitter, savage, literary rivalries; and an accidental on-stage stabbing!
Come and explore the history, the politics and the literature of old Dublin on this remarkable tour with us, and learn how all three threads often intersected!
PLANNERS AND PROFESSORS – featuring Stephen Green South; Leeson St Lower, Hatch Street, Adelaide Road, Harcourt and Earlsfort Terraces, all with their smorgasbord of historic architecture, schools, colleges, hospital, churches, private chapel, and synagogue architecture, accompanied by a discussion on how health, education, universities and modern development have all shaped this area and its architecture.
HUESTON TO FOUR COURTS. featuring the city quays and a number of deeply historic bridges; several vanished buildings, Dublin’s most architecturally-distinguished railway terminus; the vast Collins Barracks complex, the architectural history of Blackhall Place; the historic markets and recent redevelopment of Smithfield, the glory of James Gandon’s Four Courts, and much more.
and in autumn 2022…
The Halloween Horrors of the Essex St, Fishamble and Dublin Castle Area. Our seasonal, grisly, fun tour reveals and explores some of the more chilling and deadly history of the Essex St, Fishamble, Dublin Castle Area, including executions, serial killers, decomposing cadavers, and a cold, vengeful assassination in the early 1700s.
See you on tour!