your perfect introduction and general orientation tour of Dublin, South of the river. Walking from East to West through the historic city centre and featuring Stephen’s Green; Merrion Square; Trinity College; Temple Bar; Christ Church Cathedral; City Hall and finishing up at Dublin Castle or time allowing, Saint Patrick’s cathedral. 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 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 then explore Kildare, Molesworth and Dawson Street.
- Grafton Street
- 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 atmospheric area, visiting a number of fascinating sites including two former Central Bank buildings, an old medical school, several places of worship, some small, almost hidden public spaces, arts centres
- 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 neo-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.
- We 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 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 via Saint Patrick’s Cathedral through the historic Liberties right to the doors of the Guinness Store House.
Or you can add Trinity College as an extra, earlier in the tour, including the old Library, the fabulous Long Room and famed Book of Kells.