This is your perfect introduction and general orientation tour of Dublin, South of the river, walking from East to West through the historic city centre and thus featuring Stephen’s Green; Merrion Square; Trinity College; Temple Bar; Christ Church Cathedral; City Hall and finishing up at Dublin Castle – your ultimate private South Dublin City Walking Tour. This route is the classic shorter, standard version and thus ends at Dublin Castle. It takes around 2 hours, approximately. Precise times will always depend on your walking pace, and preferred tempo, and on the amount of questions and discussion at each stop. (Times can vary from from 1 Hr 45 mins to 2 hrs 15 minutes) To see why we love this route, read below…
This walk is the essential trail of Dublin’s must-see sights, that runs in a line through the central spine of our capital city. We recommend walking this route on an east-west direction, and thus we usually meet our guests at Stephen’s Green, lined with great mansions and clubhouses. We then walk to nearby Merrion Square, home of the modern-day Irish parliament, of Georgian townhouses and a rich literary associations, including the childhood home of Oscar Wilde.
We’ll then sometimes visit a beautiful little local bookshop, and pause nearby the meeting-point that provided James Joyce with his date for “Bloom’s Day” in Ulysses.
We’ll then enter Trinity College, continuing our east to west direction through this large campus, while taking time to discuss and explore the splendid buildings and rich intellectual history of this famous university.
We’ll then pass through Trinity’s Front Gate into College Green, stopping to admire the spectacular neo-classical, 18th century, former Irish Parliament Building, and to understand the politics and history that lay behind it. We’ll also briefly appraise the splendid array of other, mostly 19th century bank buildings on College Green, among them several architectural gems, and bank founded by that Irish political giant, the Liberator himself, Daniel O’Connell.
We then take a turn to the right, leaving busy Dame Street to enter the highly atmospheric Temple Bar district, with its narrow cobbled streets full of culture, history, traditional bars and entertainment. We’ll take our time to walk through this area, seeing a number of fascinating sites that help illuminate Irish history including two former Central Bank buildings, an old medical school, several places of worship, some small, almost hidden public spaces, arts centres and a few medium-sized, yet superlative examples of late-twentieth century architecture, dating from the period in the early 1990s when this lovely, picturesque district was only narrowly saved from complete destruction and demolition! We’ll wrap up our walk through of Temple Bar in one of its quieter, more mellow streets, with a handful of nice hipster cafes, a perfect, relaxing place for a quick coffee and/or restroom break.
As we resume for the second half of our tour we find ourselves by Christ Church Cathedral. Commissioned by the Viking King Sitric around 1028, this was the first of two medieval cathedrals to be built in Dublin. It will soon celebrate a thousand years of worship. This area was the heart of Viking Dublin, and later of the Anglo-Norman and Medieval City too, once full of shops, trade, brothels and taverns We will discuss the history of old Dublin here, its politics, scandals, rebellions and upheavals.
We’ll then swing around to City Hall, another 18th century Georgian masterpiece. Once a guild hall, latterly the ceremonial headquarters of Dublin’s municipal government, this stunning classical building is lined with useful mural paintings of Irish history, helping us to illustrate and visualize many of the historical talking points from our tour.
Then can finish just behind City Hall by entering Dublin castle. This is now a splendid late Renaissance palace, dating from the 1600s. Formerly it was a heavily fortified medieval castle, of which many traces remain. This was also the centre of British power in Ireland for almost eight centuries and, as you might well imagine, is full of much history, some of that history very dark indeed.
On the shorter two (or to two and a half hour) versions of this tour, we wrap up here, as many of our guests now feel ready for a break, to digest and discuss the wealth of information learned!
You also have the additional option, if desired, of adding on an extra half-hour, which means we can take you to around St Werburgh’s church, and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Or even if you wish add on a full hour extension to your tour) we can bring you via Saint Patrick’s Cathedral through the historic Liberties, then even right to the doors of the Guinness Store House. For more information on this route, see our Longer version of the Classic tour, here…
How long does this tour take? For the purposes of your own planning: please bear in mind that, realistically, the standard, shorter version of the tour (finishing Dublin Castle) takes approximately two hours (from around 1 hour, 45 minutes to 2 hours 20 minutes, depending on your own walking pace, your preferred speed, and the amount of additional talk and questions covered) If you add Saint Patrick’s that will bring your tour to two hours and a half. if you add the full hour extension bringing you through the Liberties to the Guinness Store House, but without the Saint Patrick’s “detour” it will bring your total combined tour up to 3 hours. With both Saint Patrick’s and the “through the Liberties to Guinness Storehouse option”, if this is added onto our classic tour, starting all the way back at St Stephens Green, and cover the sights and buildings long the way, it will take up to 3 and half hours.
Either our two longer options discussed above (Guinness or St Patrick’s/Kilmanham) – if added to our Classic Walking Tour, starting from St Stephen’s Green, will bring your overall time on the tour to a total of around 3 hours. Doing a combination of both St Patrick’s and Guinness, if you choose them as add-ons near to your Classic Introduction to Dublin tour will (realistically) push your overall total time to around 3 hours and a half. (Exact time of course, always depends on your walking speed, and the number of questions!) These time estimates of course include a rest room and coffee break, and of course, all our stopping points for discussion.
Have a think about how long you’d like to tour with us? We’re perfect happy to fee for the smaller, two hour tour, but then for you to decide on the day or oven on the spur of the moment, if you do wish to continue on further. But it’s still worth being aware of all your options, before you meet us, so you can discuss and plan your day and/or plan your other possible activities and bookings, around your private tour with us.
To request our Classic Introduction to Dublin tour, long or short version, as a private event for your family or group, you have two options. Firstly you may use the handy, highly efficient inquiry form below, which most of our guests find quicker and more convenient (and can often help us too, as it streamlines our operations) Alternatively, for people who wish to personalize their inquiry, you are very welcome to email Dublin Decoded Website at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you choose to email however, for the sake of clarity and to help us answer your inquiry better and more swiftly, please include both your dates, and the name of the tour you are requesting in your subject header please. Example subject header: Classic Intro Tour, U.S. family group, Saturday 25th April?”
Thank you very much for your understanding in this respect.
You will find that Dublin is an extraordinary, complex city, full of story, history, anecdote and detail. We very much look forward to welcoming you on tour!
Request: Please note we will not be able to answer inquiries regarding public tours submitted via the private Tour Inquiry Forms below. We run a limited number of highly-acclaimed public tours. Everyone’s welcome to attend these, subject to ticket availability. However sales for our public tours are conducted exclusively online (usually via the EventBrite ticket sales platform) and all available information for Public Tours can be found on the public tours page of our website, here. The contact form below is exclusively for ordering your own private tour.
Guideline Costs for your private tour: Private tours for small/medium private groups and family groups cost from €190- €270 depending on the length and duration of your tour. (For your entire group, not per individual). Naturally 3 hours costs more than 2 hours. Minimum fee €190, regardless of time chosen. Larger groups and corporate tours may well cost more. Hotel meets and pick-ups may cost extra. Exact quotation given on the supply of your date, numbers, and details, please. All marked fields in the inquiry form below are required fields. Thank you for your time and interest.