Dublin Decoded are thrilled to announce the resumption of our tours: the best guided walks of our capital for the culturally-curious. With travel overseas still restricted for most of us, and a noticeable absence of overseas visitors, there may never be a better time to explore Dublin or to discover the pleasure of being a “tourist in your own town“.
To protect you and comply with public health guidelines, tours are limited to 15 guests maximum and focused purely on outdoor sights. We also use fantastic audio receiver sets on all public tours. These are sterilized and quarantined prior to every use, with a single-use disposable earpiece. They offer superior sound, screen out background street noise and, crucially, allow enhanced social distancing. With a range of over 60 meters, they allow each guest to have their own space and to walk at his or her own pace.
The cost of this audio headset technology is borne by us and included in your ticket price.
All this, and Dublin’s best tours! Here what we have coming up effective from 12 May to 3 July 2021.
Grafton Street: a retail, social and architectural history
This walk will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday 12 May and again on the early evening of Friday 14 May. Both tours take place just before the street reopens again for full retail. So rare and optimum viewing conditions then, to view the unique collection of buildings on one of Dublin’s most famous streets. We’ll explore and discuss everything from a hidden Dutch Billy to an Art Deco masterpiece – and learn some of the remarkable stories behind these familiar faces.
Grafton Street Tour takes place on two dates: 2pm on Wednesday 12 May and 5.30pm on Friday 14 May. Tickets for both dates here.
Classic Highlights Walking Tour of the South City Centre: history and architecture
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, through Temple Bar, with its unique mix of historic and contemporary architecture, the whole way to the secrets of medieval Christ Church and Dublin Castle. Fancy being a tourist in Dublin for a change? Try this two hours of sights, spectacle and fun-filled facts.
Our Classic Highlights Walking Tour of the South City Centre takes place on three dates: Sunday 16 May at 11am, Sunday 23 May at 11am and Wednesday 30 June at 5.30pm. Tickets for all those dates here.
Exploring around Dawson, Molesworth and Kildare Streets – and backstreets like School House Lane – this tour, as featured in the Irish Times last summer, explores the stories behind buildings. Learn about a now-forgotten woman novelist who once ruled the literary world; and about buildings full of clues we’ll show you how to detect and decode. This is one of our favourite tours, with its mix of architecture, literary, revolutionary, social and political history and its wonderful collection of buildings and the stories they tell us – from the secrets of Molesworth Street via hidden Dutch Billies, to an old French Count who once arrived in Dublin disguised as a work of Art!
Our South-East Highlights Tour of History and Architecture takes place on two dates: Saturday 22 May at 11am and Thursday 3 June at 2pm. Tickets for both those dates here.
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 with us and learn how all three threads often intersected!
Our Dublin Castle to Smock Alley: Books, Politics and Theatre Tour takes place on Wednesday 19 May at 5.30pm and Saturday 26 June at 11am. Tickets here.
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.
Portobello Tour runs on Friday 21 May at 5.30PM. Tickets here.
Rathmines: in History, Architecture, Literature and Revolution
A walk around Rathmines from Georgian to Art Deco and beyond: Rathmines township and 19th century civic architecture; plus churches, barracks, factories, cinemas, land boundaries and a smattering of famous local figures from Ireland’s architectural, literary and political history.
Our Rathmines Tour runs on Friday 28 May at 5.30pm. Tickets here.
From Patrick’s Park to 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.
Our Patrick’s Park to Cork Street Tour runs Saturday 5 June at 11AM. Tickets here.
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.
Our Medieval Walls Walk runs on Saturday 29 May at 11am. Tickets here.
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.
We’ll then cross the river and make our way to the Grand Canal Docks to discuss the remarkable, unprecedented developments of the last 25 years here, as this former industrial area has become a centre for international finance and tech, while also driving the appearance of some superlative contemporary design, including key works by acclaimed Irish and International architects.
Our River and Canal: Harbours, Quays and Docks Tour runs on Sunday 30 May at 11am. Tickets available here.
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.
Our Capel Street Quarter Tour runs on Thursday 10 June at 2pm and Saturday 3 July at 11am. Tickets here.
To book any of these excursions, either hit the ticket link after the relevant description above, or click on the Green Book Now button > then follow the menus to select Public Tours > then the individual tour route you want > then finally the date that suits you best.
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We look forward to seeing you on tour.
Below, two or three nice pictures from some recent tours, including our Medieval Walls tour late summer 2019, in those easy-going, pre-Covid days before social distancing and before we starting using our hands-free audio kits.
See you on tour!