Dublin Decoded offer the best public guided walks of our capital for the culturally-curious.
For Private tours, exclusively for your own private group- which are bookable on any available date, of your own choosing- please hit the green “Book Now” button onscreen; then choose Private Tours from the pop up menu. Then choose your tour, preferred date and start time from the available options. For everyone else, you may prefer to join one of our scheduled Public tours, running on selected dates as listed below Visitors and local people alike find these tours a revelation; they are the subject of hundreds of 5-Star reviews on TripAdvisor and elsewhere, and routinely described as the best tours of the Irish capital. Available tours listed just below, and Here is what we offer…
- Public Tours, limited to 20 guests maximum (often far less)
- Focused for the time being purely on outdoor sights.
- fantastic audio-receiver sets, on all public tours.
- These audio sets are sterilized and quarantined prior to every use, with a single-use disposable earpiece.
- They offer superior sound for our live commentary, screen out background street noise and, crucially…
- allow enhanced social distancing.
- With a range of over 60 meters, they also allow each guest to have their own space, and to walk at 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, for Public Tours – running on selected dates only, as below: valid from 25th September 2021, until further notice...
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.
A walk definitely not to be missed. This public tour runs 4 times:
- on Sat 25 Sept at 11AM;
- on Sat 02 Oct (at two times, 11AM
- and again
- later on Saturday 02 October at 3PM
- and finally, Sat the 23rd Oct, at 11AM.
- Tickets for all these 4 dates/ times, can be accessed and purchased here.
We will update the website and add further tours over the next week to 10 days. Otrher tours coming back soon, scheduled for later this autumn, and again next Spring 2022, include:
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.)
Merrion Square and its area:
Mount St and the Pepper Canister Church, Merrion Square, (its planning and evolution, its houses, architecture and park) the great institutions of the western side, plus Fenian St, Westland Row and more. A brand new tour, showcasing and exploring in real detail Merrion Square: one of the stars of Dublin’s South Georgian Core.
Our Merrion Square tour last ran on Wednesday 11th August 2pm. It will return soon. *
* Don’t forget, if you have the budget, and a group of 2, 3 or more people, you can book a private tour on any available date. Just hit the Green Button and then choose the Private tour option.
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.
Last edition was FRIDAY, the 27th of AUGUST, at 5.30PM. We generally run this tour on Fridays, either late afternoon or early evening. We hope to add a date for our Portobello tour some time in October or November, over the coming weeks.
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.
Last run Saturday 21 AUGUST at 11am. We will either do one more in November, or wait until next Spring. Don’t forget, if you have the budget, and a group of 2, 3 or more people, you can book a private tour on any available date. Just hit the Green Button and then choose the Private tour option.
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 SATURDAY 28th AUGUST at 11.30AM. Tickets here.
To book any of these excursions, which still have availability, you can go either of two methods: you can either hit the ticket link after the relevant description above, or click on the Green Book Now button, at any time, then go to Public Tours.
Hit Green Button
follow the menus to select Public Tour
then the individual tour route you want >
>then finally, the date that suits you best.
For people who would like alerts on these popular public tours, we highly recommend subscribing to our free monthly newsletter, here.
Please help spread the word about Dublin Decoded tours, via social media and share buttons? Or consider emailing this web page onto a friend! 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.
Keep an eye out for these other exciting walks in the autumn and next Spring…
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.
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.
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!
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.
See you on tour!