The streets of Dublin have felt the footsteps of luminaries like James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde – and yours could be next. Set off on a walking tour of the Irish capital, and you'll soon be haggling with market vendors, admiring modern art and losing yourself in the green expanse of an idyllic public park.
St. Stephen's Green
Even in a city renowned for its beautiful scenery, St. Stephen's Green stands out. Its 400-year history is filled with fascinating stories, not least the fact that the park started life as the marsh around a leper hospital. It's come a long way since then, undergoing a major landscape redesign in the 1870s to become the exquisitely manicured garden it is today. Stretch your legs with a stroll through the park's 3.5 kilometers of walking paths while you take in the Victorian flower beds, imposing statues and elegant fountains. The Green is located right at the top of Grafton, a renowned shopping street that often doubles up as a stage for talented street performers.
Tucked away between Old City and Trinity College, just a 10-minute walk from our Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin, Temple Bar provides a microcosm of traditional Dublin life. Along with several historic pubs and bars, you will find a selection of art galleries, recording studios and independent boutiques spilling out of colorful shop-fronts onto the flagstoned street. Before you leave, stop by the Chester Beatty Library, where you can explore the manuscripts, drawings, rare books and miniature paintings of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, collected on his voyages to Asia, Europe and the Middle East in the early 20th century.
Home to an open-air farmer's market every Friday between August and September, Smithfield Square also hosts a monthly Market Fair. Along with live music and street food vans, you can browse through stalls selling everything from vintage clothing and vinyl records to tie-dye shirts and statement jewelry. Previous editions have included free yoga classes, capoeira demonstrations and games of giant Jenga, making this interactive event a great choice for all ages. The next Fair will be held on August 9, with the line-up still to be confirmed.
Irish Museum of Modern Art
The country's leading contemporary art gallery, the Irish Museum of Modern Art has an emphasis on artists from Ireland, France and the United States, covering every medium from paintings and sculpture to photography and performance. The exhibition line-up for 2015/16 includes What We Call Love, examining how artists including Andy Warhol, Marina Abramović and Pablo Picasso have interpreted this theme over the past hundred years. Opening on September 12, the exhibition will run until February 7.
The ancestral seat of the Talbot family, Malahide Castle has stood firm through 900 years of Irish history. Although it's a half-hour drive from the city center, it's well worth making this the final stop on your tour. The castle passed out of Talbot hands in the 1970s and now belongs to the Irish State, but the centuries of family strife provide countless fascinating tales – one patriarch, Sir John Talbot, was even immortalised as a character in Shakespeare's Henry VI. A guided tour guarantees you'll hear all the best stories and see all the finest sights on this 260-acre plot.