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Trinity College was founded in 1592 modelled after the collegiate universities of Oxford and Cambridge, but with one difference: only one college was ever established. It is Ireland's oldest surviving university.
The Trinity College was built outside the city walls in the buildings of the former Catholic Augustinian Priory of All Hallows. And it was founded as a Protestant University. Catholics were admitted from 1793 with restrictions, lifted by Act of Parliament in 1873. However, from 1871 to 1970, the Catholic Church in Ireland forbade Catholics to enroll at Trinity College. Women were first admitted to the College in 1904 with restrictions. And as full members in 1922.
Academically, it is divided into three faculties comprising 25 schools, offering degree and diploma courses at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
The most exciting part of the University as a visitor is the Old Library which is a legal deposit library for Ireland and the United Kingdom and hosts an exhibition about medieval books, starring the Book of Kells.
The Irish Houses of Parliament is one of the main 18th Century buildings in Dublin. It was home to the two Houses of Parliament, serving as the seat of both chambers: the Lords and Commons. Since the abolition of the Parliament in Ireland in 1800 with the Act of Union, the building has hosted the headquarters of the Bank of Ireland.
The original building was designed by Sir Edward Lovett Pearce as semi-circular with a principal entrance of a colonnade of columns extending around three sides of the entrance quadrangle. The tympanum has three statues: Hibernia (the Latin name for Ireland), Fidelity and Commerce; and the royal coat of arms. Later on, the Houses of Parliament underwent extensions designed by James Grandon. The most important one was the addition of a new entrance facing East with Fortitude, Justice and Liberty. And a curved wall that joined the new and the old areas of the building. The building was finished when the Bank of Ireland took over it and decided to add a second curved wall to it, giving the Irish Houses of Parliament its current look.
Nowadays, you can wander inside the building and take a look at the ceilings and the former House of Lords. There is a guided tour on Tuesdays only at 10.30 am.
Admission is free.
The Honorable Society of King's Inns is the institution which controls the entry of barristers-at-law into the justice system of Ireland. The society was created in 1541, making it one of Ireland's oldest professional and educational institutions. The foundation stone at the present building at the top of Henrietta Street was laid in August 1800, with James Gandon being commissioned as the architect. The construction was completed by his pupil Henry Aaron Baker.
Nowadays, even if the general public cannot access the building, it is a beautiful place to stroll around and take some nice pictures. In its back garden, you'll be able to find the bench-eating-tree.
Marsh's Library opened in 1707 as the first public library in Ireland. Today, the library is one of the last 18th-century buildings in Ireland still used for its original purpose.
It was built to the order of Archbishop Narcissus Marsh, former Provost of Trinity College, with his private book collection (which included the former library of Bishop Edward Stillingfleet, of over 10,000 volumes). During the following years the Library kept receiving book donations, and today it holds a collection of 25,000 books from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries; around 300 manuscripts; and about 80 books (incunabula) from before 1501. Subjects covered include medicine, law, science, travel, navigation, mathematics, music, surveying and classical literature, and especially theology. The collection also includes works in oriental languages, and in Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish and Russian, as well as an important collection of Latin Judaica.
The library still features its original fittings, including seating and shelving. In some of the bookcases, there are bullet holes from the Easter Rising when the hotel next door was occupied. There are three wire alcoves, known as 'cages', which came into use in the 1770s in response to thefts in the library.
The Library holds exhibitions and occasional conferences.
It is open to visitors for a fee of €3 (€2 with reduction).
Opening hours are:
- 9:30 - 5 pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and - 10 am - 5 pm on Saturdays.
Guided tours take place at 3 pm daily on request.
The General Post Office (GPO) is one of the most famous buildings in the city. It was built as a post office at the beginning of the 19th Century, and at the beginning of the 20th Century, it was the central location of the 1916 Easter Rising.
The building was designed by Francis Johnston and built in about three years as the last of the Georgian public buildings erected in the capital. The tympanum used to be decorated with the royal arms until removed following restoration in the 1920s. The three statues on top of it are Mercury on the left, Fidelity on the right, and Hibernia (the representation of Ireland) in the centre.
During the Easter Rising of 1916, the GPO served as the headquarters of the leaders. On the 24th of April 1916, Patrick Pearse read out the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. The Rising lasted less than a week and, by the end, the GPO was destroyed, save for the facade. It was rebuilt in 1929 by the Irish Free State government.
In 2016 a visitor centre commemorating the Easter Rising was created.
Since the Irish Independence, the GPO has remained a symbol of Irish nationalism.
The most photogenic of Dublin's cathedrals, The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity (known as Christ Church Cathedral) is the cathedral of the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough.
Christ Church Cathedral was founded in 1030 in the centre of medieval/Viking Dublin. It was largely restored during Victorian times (19th Century), so the outside of the building has little from the original structure.
When you wander inside Christ Church, you'll find the nave with a duplicate of the tomb of Strongbow. But the most interesting part of the visit is the crypt, the largest cathedral crypt (63.4m long) in Britain and Ireland, built between 1172-1173. In the crypt, there are several historical features:
- The oldest known secular carvings in Ireland.
- A tabernacle and set of candlesticks which were used when the cathedral last operated under the "Roman rite" during the 17th Century.
- The stocks made in 1670 and used for the punishment of offenders before the Court of the Dean's Liberty.
- "The Cat & The Rat" found during the restoration of the organ.
The statue of Molly Malone is one of the most iconic sights of the city.
Molly Malone is the subject of the popular song by her name. It tells the story of a fictional fishmonger who sold her wares (cockles and mussels) on the streets of Dublin, but who died young and whose ghost is said to haunt the streets of Dublin.
The statue of Molly was erected in 1988 to celebrate Dublin's first millennium. It was designed by Jeanne Rynjart with Molly dressed in a 17th Century dress. It was unveiled by the Lord Mayor of Dublin on June 13th, 1988, a date that was declared Molly Malone Day.
The Famine Memorial commemorates the Great Famine of the mid 19th century (1845-1852). The Statues were designed and crafted by Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie and paid by the Canadian government as a thank you note to all the Irish that helped build Canada. It was presented to the City of Dublin in 1997. The memorial is part of a pair, which ends in Toronto (Canada) with most of the characters arriving at their new life in America.
During the Famine approximately 1 million people died and a million more emigrated from Ireland. The cause of the Famine is blamed on the potato blight that arrived at the coast of Ireland from continental Europe. The impact on the Isle was massive because, by that time, one-third of the population was entirely dependent on the potato for food. This was exacerbated by political, social and economic factors.
The Samuel Beckett Bridge is one of the most famous bridges in Dublin. It was named for Irish writer Samuel Beckett and designed by Santiago Calatrava, assisted by Roughan & O'Donovan consulting engineers.
The Samuel Beckett Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge, shaped (spar and its cables) to evoke a harp (the national symbol of Ireland) lying on its edge. The construction cost €60 million, and it was officially opened on December, 10th 2009. The bridge won Engineers Ireland’s 'Engineering Project of the Year' in 2010.
St. Patrick's Cathedral was built in honour of one of Ireland’s patrons in the 12th Century. It is believed that it stands near the well where the saint converted the local chiefs in the 5th Century. It is not clear when it was declared cathedral, but it is known that it lost and regained that status several times.
In 1311 the Medieval University of Dublin was founded in the Cathedral, but it never flourished and was suppressed soon. After the English Reformation, St Patrick's became an Anglican church.
In the 17th Century, it suffered the visit of Thomas Cromwell and his soldiers who neglected the building, defacing some images and using the nave as a stable for their horses.
In the 18th Century, Irish writer and satirist Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver's Travels, was Dean of the cathedral. Many of his famous sermons and "Irish tracts", as well as his tomb, can be seen in the visit to the Cathedral.
It overtook a major reconstruction in the 19th Century, paid by the Guinness family. Therefore, much of the current building and decoration date from the Victorian era. But, constant floods and problems with seepage of water ensured there would never be a crypt or basement area.
Nowadays, St. Patrick's Cathedral is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland (Anglican) and the largest Cathedral in the country.
Guided tours of the Cathedral take place on a daily basis. And regular and sung Masses are open to the public.
The Ha'penny Bridge, officially the Liffey Bridge, is one of the cutest bridges in Europe. It's one of the few pedestrian bridges in the city.
It was built in 1816 in cast iron to unite de North and the South parts of Dublin. Before the Bridge was made, there were seven ferries in lousy condition. The owner, William Walsh, was forced to either fix them or build a bridge. Walsh chose the latter option and was granted the right to extract a toll from anyone crossing it for 100 years. In the beginning, the fee was of half a penny, later it was raised to a penny-ha'penny, but was eventually dropped in 1919. While the toll was in operation, there were turnstiles at either end of the bridge.
During 2001, as a consequence of the damage caused by traffic levels, the bridge was closed for repair and renovations and was reopened in December 2001. The repair work was carried out by Harland and Wolff (the same company that built The Titanic). Today, it's a perfect location to watch the sunrise or the dusk.
Built by order of John, King of England (known as John Lackland), at the beginning of the 13th Century, Dublin Castle worked as a medieval fortress and as the headquarters of British administration in Ireland.
In 1922 it was handed over to the new Irish government.
Today, it is a government complex and a tourist attraction.
The castle today is a major tourist attraction and conferencing destination. The building is also used for State dinners (the most recent being for Queen Elizabeth II in 2011) and most significantly, the inauguration of the presidents of Ireland.
Most of it dates from the 18th century. But it has a lot to visit. The castle holds today:
- The headquarters of the Revenue's office,
- The Revenue Museum,
- The Garda (police) Museum,
- The Chapel Royal,
- The old rooms,
- A small gift shop,
- A café.
A visit to the surroundings is a must. If you want to visit it inside, you can join a guided tours. They last about 70 minutes and include the State Apartments, the Viking Excavation and the Chapel Royal.
- Everyday: 9:45 am – 5:45 pm (last admission 5:15 pm)
- Closed on the 25th, 26th & 27th of December, and on the 1st of January.