Dublin’s vibrant centre is only a short hop away from the airport, making the city a top contender for a whirlwind weekend away. Kieran from TourDublin.ie shares his top tips for 24 hours in Ireland’s capital. But first, here are some incredible facts about some of Dublin's most treasured attractions:
Getting into town
For those pressed for time, Kieran says a taxi ride is the best option: "You're looking at a fare of about €30, and depending on traffic, a 30-minute journey." Taxis can be booked from the front desk of our Radisson Blu Hotel Dublin Airport, conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from the terminal. Alternatively, "another very good option would be Aircoach. It operates to and from airport Terminals 1 and 2, and drops you right outside Trinity College."
As an expert guide and historian, Kieran has selected five must-sees that give stopover visitors the best possible overview of the city and its history:
Trinity College and the Book of Kells
This ancient university, established in 1592, has some of the most striking architecture in Dublin and is Kieran’s ideal place to start a tour. "It has an elegant and historic campus that is well worth visiting," he explains, "The Old Library houses the Book of Kells exhibition, which is a national treasure of sorts – an 8th century hand-illuminated gospel that symbolises the golden age of early Celtic Christian Ireland. The Long Room upstairs in the Old Library is simply stunning – worth the entrance fee in itself."
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
"In my opinion, this is our most magnificent building." Kieran's choice of St Patrick's Cathedral is supported by the sheer grandeur of the building – as he says, "the 12th century cathedral is both elegant and historic, and you can marvel at how these cathedrals were constructed so long ago. The cathedral houses many centuries-worth of history in its nooks and crannies, and it is associated with many of the leading figures in Irish history – Jonathan Swift was the Dean for many years."
Famously used as a location for The Italian Job, the prison earned its place in history during the six-day Easter Rising of 1916. Kieran explains "the rebellion against British rule is celebrating a centenary in 2016, making a visit to Kilmainham even more poignant. You will hear the story of the Rising, the British reaction and the execution of the leaders of the rebellion in Kilmainham Gaol itself."
The Guinness Storehouse and The Jameson Distillery
As Kieran acknowledges, "It is well known that the Irish like the occasional alcoholic beverage, and Guinness and Jameson are two iconic and historic companies associated with Dublin." Their significance shouldn't be overlooked – "Whiskey comes from the Gaelic “Uisce Beatha”, meaning “Water of Life”, and Guinness stout or porter and the St. James’s Gate brewery are as much a part of the fabric of our city as the stones themselves. The Guinness family were very good to their workers and were very generous to Dublin and its people."
Finally, Kieran believes just walking around the city is enough to capture a tourist's heart. "Dublin city centre is quite compact and easy enough to navigate on foot. It is a lively and vibrant place with pubs, cafes, restaurants, shops, great music and street performers... Once people spend a day here, the city itself will do the convincing."