Merrion Square: Its Features and History


Merrion Square: Its Features and History

Merrion Square is a wondrous Georgian garden square located in the heart of Dublin. It’s one of the most beloved parks in the city. The square houses beautiful sculptures and various attractions. If you’re looking for a serene place to rest after wandering through Dublin city, this central square might be an ideal stop.


Merrion Square is on the south side of Dublin’s city centre. It’s a five-minute walk from St. Stephen’s Green or a short bus ride.

The west side houses the Natural Gallery of Island, Government Buildings, and the Leinster House. Georgian houses surround the square on the remaining sides.

Features of Merrion Square Park

Merrion Square is mainly a green space near the centre of Dublin. People can come during the day to enjoy the lovely flower beds and open lawns. It’s a popular place that students from Trinity College and other residents frequent to take short walks.

Merrion Square Park

There aren’t many facilities in Merrion Square Park, but it does have an excellent small playground for children. The Dublin City Council refurbished it during their conservation plan back in 2014.

This playground has a theme based on the short story of Oscar Wilde called “The Selfish Giant. ” The giant multiplay unit in the park is what symbolises the Giant. It’s suitable for younger and older kids alike as there are adequate installations for both.

The most well-known attraction in the Merrion Square public park is the colourful Oscar Wilde Memorial Sculpture. This statue sits in the northwestern corner close to the children’s playground reclining on a rock.

Another notable landmark within Merrion Square Park is the Rutland Memorial. It’s a stone monument that was once a fountain designed to provide water to the poor. Now, it’s a dedication to the Fourth Duke of Rutland, Charles Manners.

National Gallery

It’s one of the top cultural attractions of Ireland. An Act of Parliament founded it in 1854, and the institution opened its doors in 1864. This place houses a collection of European and Irish fine art from the 1400s to the 1950s. It’s a must-see for anyone visiting Merrion Square with even a speck of interest in either history or art.

National History Museum

This building is part of the National Museum of Ireland. It houses a comprehensive zoological collection comprised of animals native to the country. If you come to Merrion Square Park, seeing its famous exhibitions might interest you. These include the giraffe Spoticus and a 20-metre whale skeleton.

Other Notable Places Near Merrion Square Park

There are several localities in Merrion Square Park that are worth a visit. For instance, there are numerous cultural organisations here. Among them are the Irish Traditional Music Archive, The Arts Council, and the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. Some of these buildings occasionally host public events and lectures.

Once the home of the Duke of Leinster, Leinster House now serves as the house of parliament of Ireland. People can take guided tours, but they need to have an official ID at all times to enter. It’s on the west side of Merrion Square Park.

Trinity College offers stunning scenery the moment it comes into view. People can either walk freely through its grounds or take a tour to go and see the famous Book of Kells. It’s to the northwest of Merrion Square Park, a short distance away.

Places to Eat Near Merrion Square

  • Patrick Guilbaud. He’s a celebrated chef of Ireland. His restaurant is incredibly well regarded, not just in Merrion Square but in the entirety of Dublin. The locale serves authentic cooking rooted in traditional French cuisine and introduces modern techniques into the mixture. The restaurant is in the Merrion Hotel, in Upper Merrion Street.
  • Pearl Brasserie. It’s right next to the five-star Merrion Hotel, right in the Dublin city centre. The restaurant serves modern dishes with a classical base and Asian and Mediterranean influences.
  • Brookwood. It’s seafood, steak, and cocktail restaurant close to Shelbourne Hotel. The setting is unique. It has three dining floors that each offer a different experience. You can watch cooks work on the ground floor, talented bartenders on the first floor, and enjoy their club room on the top floor. It’s diagonal to the Pearl Brasserie, on 141 Baggot Street Lower.

History of Merrion Square Park

This grand Georgian square housed many famous citizens of Ireland in the past, including Oscar Wilde and Daniel O’Connell. People wondering how that came to be might want to read this next historical bit.

Early Development

During the 1800s and early 1900s, the Dublin architecture construction began in the city’s north. Luke Gardiner, an Irish politician and property developer, led this project with his family. The resulting townhouses became favoured residential areas for the elite during this time. Even the Church of Ireland Archbishop, Dermot Ryan, had a residence in it.

Southside Demand

Once the Duke of Leinster finished his Dublin residence in 1748 across the river Liffey on the south, there was an increased demand for homes in the surrounding undeveloped area. Due to this, the estate of Fitzwilliam laid plans for new Georgian developments. These included Merrion Square and St. Stephen’s Green.

Merrion Square took approximately 30 years to complete. Back then, its name was “Archbishop Ryan Park.” It had its ornamental garden, and its western side faced the lawns of the future ducal palace and Irish parliament.

Notable Residents

The Georgian houses of Merrion Square brought many known residents over the following century. Among these famous personalities were:

  • Oscar Wilde lived at No.1 Merrion Square. He was a poet and a novelist.
  • W.B. Yeats lived at No. 82. He was a poet.
  • Daniel O’Connell had his house at No.58. He was a beloved political leader.
  • Sybil Connolly resided at No. 71. She was a fashion and interior designer.

From the 1930s to Today

During the 1930s, the Irish Free State government made plans to demolish Merrion Square as they saw it as a sign of British rule. However, they put the plans aside during the war and never pursued them again after.

In the 1960s, the Roman Catholic Church owned the park and hoped to build a cathedral. It was during this period that the park was private. The only people who could access it were those with a key.

After some time, in 1974, the Archbishop of Dublin, Dermot Ryan, leased it as a public park. Now, most of the surrounding buildings in Merrion Square house office spaces.

The Ideal Place for a Stroll

Merrion Square Park is one of the most impressive Georgian squares in Dublin. It’s the perfect place for people to rest and enjoy some tranquillity. People often like to come after spending some time wandering around Dublin.

Its well-kept gardens and its children’s play park make it attractive enough for both kids and adults. However, the surrounding buildings and other nearby places also make it incredibly alluring.

Why Do The Irish Talk Blarney?

Why Do the Irish Talk Blarney?

How an eloquent Irishman and an impatient queen coined a phrase

Blarney Castle home of the Blarney Stone

Blarney, it’s all Blarney. Or, as many an Irishman and other English speakers might say: “He’s talking a load of Blarney!” But have you ever wondered where this saying comes from – and why it is called Blarney?

Essentially, when the Irish (and several other nations) talk about Blarney, they are referring to a myth which started at a castle tucked away in County Cork. And to talk, Blarney, you need to go all the way there just to kiss a stone. 

However, as famous as the phrase is now, initially, the saying was not about talking Blarney, but about Blarney talking – which meant speaking too much in a very mysterious way. This kind of behaviour drove good old Queen Elizabeth I crazy. The Queen may not have been a fan, but Blarney did give us a concise and descriptive addition to the English language. So how do you define “Blarney”, and what does “Blarney” mean now?

The Meaning of Blarney

If we are stating that something is “a lot of Blarney”, we probably are not referring to an actual place in Ireland. Instead, saying that something is Blarney is the same as stating you believe that the message is untrue. Or maybe it contains a morsel of truth somewhere, but calling it Blarney means that the story has been blown out of all proportions, taken from its context, added to and embroidered upon, told in a very biased way, changed beyond recognition, embellished to suit the speaker’s needs, or simply twisted to evoke our sympathy. 

In most Blarney situations, every one of these exaggerations might be present. 

Blarney, you should know, is not a simple, blatant lie or “fake news.” Blarney is the full-frontal assault on your emotions, intended to bypass your capacity for rational thought. Blarney is the ultimate weapon for charming and convincing you of something that might not be true. Wielded in the hands of a Blarney professional, it can achieve anything by giving away nothing. The message loses its importance. The gut reaction of empathy is the new desired outcome. 

Yet “talking Blarney” is not necessarily bad, and these exaggerations are not meant in a mean or tricky way. “That’s a load of Blarney” is like saying “No way!” for some older generations, with an Irish twist. If it is stated that someone is talking Blarney or that a story is a load of Blarney, nobody has been hurt (yet). It is softer than “lying cheater!” and more like “I think you might be pulling my leg a bit here,” thus making it all a bit understandable, even forgivable.

The Origin of Blarney

In this context, the word “Blarney” has a royal pedigree and its ultimate roots in Blarney, County Cork. During the Reformation, Queen Elizabeth I tried to come to grips with her Irish subjects. While not averse to wielding her full royal and military power when needed, Elizabeth also employed diplomacy and frequently met her Irish topics face to face. Well, at least she met with the Irish Lords – she was still not a woman to associate with peasants, after all.

Even she, however, might have had second thoughts about the wisdom of doing so after she met Cormac MacCarthy and, with him, her match in the art of non-committal diplomacy. As the current lord of Blarney Castle, Cormac tried everything legal (or at least not strictly illegal) to keep his independence and not submit to the British throne. At the same time, he tried to avoid giving away too much of anything to the crown. His goal was to be left alone to lord over his small corner of Ireland.

Thus Queen Elizabeth’s demands to the lord of Blarney were ignored and rarely acted upon. The Irish lord explained why something could not be done or may be done in an unknown future. Cormac tried to bluff his way out of it, hoping to forget. He was the original Irish chancer.

But forget the Virgin Queen did not. And Cormac became a right pain in the royal posterior. So much so that one day Elizabeth cracked and screamed, “This is all Blarney, what he says he never means.” And with this, the most powerful woman on Earth had given birth to a new phrase in the English language.

The Blarney Stone

Whosoever wishes to be as eloquent as the best of the best might want to make their way to Blarney Castle. The famous Blarney Stone waits, though some say it is one of Ireland’s genuine tourist traps. It has been known for ages to give the “gift of the gab,” Even Father Prout was lyrical about the stone in 1825.

If you need better skills in influencing people and winning friends, you might be better off with a self-help book because talking will likely annoy people. However, Blarney Castle is one of the most visited sites in Ireland, and kissing the stone can be a part of your Emerald Isle bucket list! 

The Irish Smoking Ban Explained

The Irish Smoking Ban Explained – Is Lighting Up Still Legal in Ireland?

They might be licensed to sell it, but you can't smoke the tobacco in there

Ireland’s smoking ban was revolutionary, and after a brief period of confusion and adjustment, it seems to work just fine. 

​​History was made in March 2004 when Ireland became the first country in the world to introduce comprehensive legislation banning smoking in workplaces.

Months beforehand, fuming publicans claimed the ban would sound the death knell for the Irish pub, and threatened legal challenge to the impending legislation being spearheaded by Health and Children Minister Micheal Martin

But on March 29, the ban went ahead, and overnight, ashtrays vanished from over 10,000 pubs and clubs and restaurants. Those caught smoking faced a hefty €3,000 fine.

Exempt locations included garda station detention areas, St Patrick’s Institution for young offenders, nursing homes, hospices and psychiatric hospitals.

Since May 2007, a blanket ban on smoking in workplaces and enclosed public spaces has been in effect all over Ireland. The Republic created the first smoking ban in Europe, and Northern Ireland followed suit. What does this mean to the visitor? You will be more comfortable in most places if you are a non-smoker. And you will have to step outside and enjoy more of the Irish weather than you might like if you are still puffing away.

In 2015, Ireland took this ban a step further by introducing legislation that ford cigarette manufacturers to have plain packaging and then in 2018, further legislation forced shops to have to cover cigarettes from viewing at the counter. This is why most shops nowadays have ample cupboards behind the counters.

In February 2022 a further ban on smoking in cars, private and business, while carrying children in the car was rolled out.

Places Where Smoking is Banned in Ireland

Smoking is banned in all workplaces and enclosed public spaces – from the cab of a truck (even if smoking there would not affect anyone but the smoker) to massive shopping malls like the Blanchardstown Shopping Centre. This includes restaurants and even the traditional Irish pub. Most pubs are easily identifiable these days by a throng of smokers crowding the entrance.

As a rule of thumb: Don’t even think about lighting up if you are not at home or out in the open.

The smoking ban includes all modes of transportation, from planes to taxis, with open-topped horse carts. The days you could smoke on the upper deck of double-decker buses are long gone. The Irish public is very much in favour of the smoking ban.

Exceptions to the Irish Smoking Ban

There are certain exceptions to the smoking ban, including building sites, prisons, and mental hospitals – though none of these is places that most tourists in Ireland will be visiting.

There is also the curious problem that Irish law bans specifically “tobacco smoking”, so a particular Moorish café in Dublin  can legally offer you a hookah pipe inside. This indoor smoking gets a pass because it does not contain any tobacco.

The use of electronic cigarettes, or “Vaping”, is generally not affected by the smoking ban, but whether you may or may not vape inside a specific pub or restaurant is very much down to the owner. Snuff or chewing tobacco are also not affected by the smoking ban since you are not smoking that form of tobacco.

Can I Smoke in my Irish Hotel Room or Rental Car?

Some hotels were able to provide rooms where you could smoke. This is rarer and rarer, mainly because the rooms are enclosed places of work for the housekeeping staff and thus technically under the smoking ban. Expect almost all hotel rooms to be “nonsmoking” these days. Smoking in dining areas and bars is generally prohibited.

Rental cars these days are more than likely to be sporting a “No Smoking” sign on the dashboard. Be sure to ask the rental car company about their smoking rules before you drive off if you want to know if you can have a ciggy inside the vehicle. The smoking ban should not extend to rental cars per se; again, cleaning staff may object, and you could get hit with additional fees.

Rules for Outdoor Smoking

Outdoor smoking has become popular – flirting while sharing a smoke. This works in good weather. Otherwise, all you will manage is a few deep drags before you’re soaked to the skin. The clusters of smokers around pub entrances can be annoying at times.

If you are looking for an outdoor smoking area, make sure you do not block any entrances or pathways while enjoying your cigarettes al fresco. Also, never flip a cigarette casually into the gutter, even though everybody seems to do it. If caught doing this (by a very bored or over-zealous police officer), you might have to face an instant charge of more than € 100 for littering. 

The Cost of Smoking

Going on a holiday in Ireland is a perfect moment to stop smoking because the price of cigarettes is rising and many visitors will pay at least double the price they are used to. If you plan to bring your cigarettes with you, then abide within limits set by Ireland’s customs regulations.

A Guide to Dublin’s Graveyards

Glasnevin Cemetery Tour

The cemeteries of Dublin – why should they be a place to visit? Basically, they (a) reflect the culture and attitudes of Dubliners and (b) because they also provide an oasis of tranquillity in which to muse and reflect. While some people have a mortal fear of cemeteries, others confess to a morbid fascination with them. Either way, they are part of the cultural heritage and history.

And most cemeteries provide a place to walk and reflect upon life, death and everything else. Just the right antidote to a hectic schedule, be it for locals or visitors.

Dublin has dozens of cemeteries – but only some are worth a visit. Here are some that stand out from the usual … in alphabetical order.

Arbour Hill: A Republican Place of Pilgrimage

Dead heroes of the rebellion – in a mass grave – define this small cemetery.

This was a military cemetery before Irish independence, with access tightly monitored and controlled by Crown forces. For precisely this reason, the executed leaders of the Easter Rising were buried here in 1916 – in a simple pit covered with quicklime.

Today the cemetery has been partly converted into a park, and a massive memorial has been erected near the communal grave of the 14 rebels. Overlooked by the modern guard tower of Arbour Hill Prison.​​

The important graves belong to the fourteen leaders of the Easter Rising, including Patrick Pearse and James Connolly. Other gravestones have been literally sidelined.

Chaloner’s Corner: Dublin’s Smallest Cemetery

Dublin’s smallest graveyard is a resting place for notable academics.

Size isn’t everything – Chaloner’s Corner, Dublin’s smallest cemetery, is tucked away into a corner of Trinity College, hemmed in by buildings and a footpath. 

Only a handful of persons found their eternal rest in this busy place (but more are interred under the chapel or in a nearby college cemetery). Worth a look for its curiosity value when you visit Trinity College.

The most notable grave is Dr Luke Chaloner’s; he was the first provost of Trinity College (and gave his name to the cemetery in a corner).

The Croppy Acre: Mass Grave of 1798

Nobody knows how many people are buried here or how they died in battle, facing the executioner or slaughtered in revenge killings.

This cemetery is for those interested in history only – there is not a lot to see, in all fairness. The large open area between the National Museum of Ireland in Collins Barracks and the Liffey was used as a mass grave after the 1798 rebellion. Scores of “croppies” (a nickname for the Irish rebels) were dumped and buried here, the number varying from source to source.

Traditionally it is believed that Matthew Wolfe Tone (brother to the rebellion leader Theobald) and Bartholomew Teeling are among the “cartloads” of (suspected) rebels buried here.

Glasnevin: Ireland’s Largest Cemetery

Glasnevin, officially the “Mount Prospect Cemetery,” is Dublin’s and Ireland’s largest cemetery – it was also the first cemetery to allow burials to any (or no) rite, thus solving a pressing problem for 19th century Catholics. Its sheer size and numerous graves will keep visitors occupied for hours.

Glasnevin Cemetery in a Nutshell

This sprawling graveyard west of the city centre is a hidden gem and deservedly part of Dublin’s most interesting lesser-known sights, not only because more Dubliners are buried here than are currently living in the city. Some of those who found their final resting place in Glasnevin are amongst the most important historical figures of Ireland – “The Liberator” Daniel O’Connell (who incidentally founded the cemetery), Parnell, de Valera and Michael Collins.

The graveyard was established in 1832 on nine acres – today, around 1,200,000 burial sites cover roughly 120 acres (and it still is growing). Glasnevin was the first cemetery specifically planned to allow funeral rites other than those of the Church of Ireland. Its central point (so to say, it is not really the centre) is a massive but fake, round tower commemorating Daniel O’Connell. The tower is nearly 170 feet high and stands on a vault (open for tours only).

Due to its high number of national(istic) icons interred here, Glasnevin Cemetery is often regarded as Ireland’s “National Cemetery.”

The relatively new Glasnevin Museum gives insights into the history of the place and the history of burials in general. Guided tours are also available.

Caveat Emptor

The sheer size of Glasnevin and the vast number of graves, plus often unclear markings, make navigation complicated. Take a tour if you are pressed for time. Also, the remote parts can be dusty or muddy in hot (or wet) weather. Some memorials are well past their sell-by-date and threaten to topple at the slightest breeze. Fortunately, large sections of the most historic areas have undergone significant renovation in recent years.

Glasnevin Cemetery Highlights for the Visitor

While visiting graveyards may be seen as a very morbid way to spend a vacation, Glasnevin is a special place – not only was the foundation of this non-Anglican cemetery an essential part of the fight for Catholic Emancipation, “The Liberator” himself is even buried here. A massive (though fake) round tower marks Daniel O’Connell’s grave. Nearby a simple (but huge) boulder highlights Charles Stewart Parnell’s last resting place. Originally this was a mass grave for paupers … the poor are all but forgotten today.

Other important “residents” are:

  • Sir Alfred Chester Beatty
  • Brendan Behan (a stone with a hole and a history)
  • Christy Brown
  • Roger Casement
  • Michael Collins (nearly always adorned in fresh flowers)
  • Eamon de Valera (refreshingly low-key)
  • James Fitzharris (a.k.a. Skin-the-Goat)
  • John Stanislaus Joyce
  • Luke Kelly (folk singer of “The Dubliners” fame)
  • Kitty Kiernan (sometimes visitors ask for “Julia Robert’s grave,” but the effects of the film “Michael Collins” seem to wear off)
  • James Larkin
  • James Clarence Mangan
  • Frank Ryan
  • Dora Sigerson
  • Francis and Hanna Sheehy Skeffington
  • Zozimus

But a general walk around Glasnevin will have you discovering other treasures – like the modern headstones adorned with the emblems of English soccer clubs. Or the eerie rows of graves for stillborn children or those dying shortly after birth (with mounds of toys and wind chimes).

And also, have a look at the high walls surrounding Glasnevin Cemetery. These are not for show; they were built to deter body snatchers (also called “resurrectionists”). With armed guards being stationed in the pseudo-medieval watchtowers.

The Huguenot Cemetery in Merrion Row: An Island of Tranquility

This is Dublin’s most colourful cemetery—when the bluebells come out in bloom.

Often missed by the huddled masses walking between Merrion Square and Saint Stephen’s Green, this small cemetery commands attention mainly in spring – when it is covered in an abundance of bluebells! In 1693 this area was designated the “French Burial Ground” for Dublin’s small community of Huguenot refugees. It closed in 1901 but is relatively well preserved.

The most notable grave is the Du Bedat family plot – which might have inspired James Joyce to a passage in “Ulysses” (though there are Du Bedat tombs in Mount Jerome as well).

Mount Jerome Cemetery: Victorian Splendor

Though some tombs are tumbling, this Victorian cemetery is among the best in the world, and like Glasnevin, this, too, is a cemetery for all religious denominations. But although Mount Jerome was founded in 1836, the first Catholic burials only took place in the 1920s – when gravediggers at Glasnevin went on strike. Today the cemetery is owned by the funeral parlour Massey, all 47 acres of it, with maybe the finest collection of Victorian funerary monuments in Ireland.

Comparisons to Paris’ Père-Lachaise and London’s Highgate have been drawn.

Mount Jerome in a Nutshell

If you like cemeteries, you will love Mount Jerome Cemetery, often called Harold’s Cross Cemetery – here, wealthy Victorians set monuments to themselves, built to last. They couldn’t take their wealth with them. So they made sure they could still flaunt it for decades and centuries. Not consistently too successful … some monuments are in a state of gentle decay, and others (especially those made of sandstone) are rotting away at an alarming rate. But this only adds to the attractiveness of Mount Jerome (see the image gallery for proof). Definitely recommended for anybody in search of Victorian Dublin.

A Short History of Mount Jerome Cemetery

The “General Cemetery Company of Dublin” purchased the land in 1834, opening a non-denominational cemetery in 1836. Catholic burials were, however, not conducted here – the faithful flocked to Glasnevin instead. The imposing Gothic funeral chapel was designed by William Atkins in 1847. And in 1984, the entire cemetery was bought by the Dublin undertaker Massey. Mount Jerome also has the first Muslim graveyard in Ireland, near the entrance, to the right.

What to Expect at Mount Jerome Cemetery

In all fairness, right from the start, the cemetery’s picturesque (and inevitable) decay requires extra care from the visitor. I would not recommend leaning against any monuments; judging from some spectacular collapses, you might raise some dust by doing so. And watch your step – monuments, enclosures, and sinkholes conspire to provide a twisted ankle as a lasting memento of your visit.

Apart from this, the cemetery is safe; there are no dark corners to avoid. Only make sure to mind the time. The cemetery gates are closed and locked at 4 pm sharp. Escaping over the walls looks next to impossible.

So why should you visit? Mount Jerome is favourably compared to Pere-Lachaise in Paris and Highgate in London (obviously minus both Jim Morrison and Karl Marx) as one of Europe’s most splendid 19th-century cemeteries. Some prominent persons are interred, but the funerary architecture and sculpture are the main attractions. Conservative family vaults, some serviced by sunken roads, compete with Egyptian-style tombs. And amongst dozens of angels clutching all sorts of paraphernalia, you will find a dog pining for its dead master. A dog carved from stone, but you might encounter the odd live fox loping leisurely through the rows of gravestones.

Important graves to seek out include those of

  • Sir William Wilde (father of Oscar)
  • Thomas Davis
  • Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
  • John Millington Synge
  • Æ (George Russell)
  • Jack B. Yeats (brother to W.B. Yeats)
  • Sir William Rowan Hamilton
  • George Petrie

But there are more modern graves, some blandly uninteresting, others quite intriguing. It pays off to wander about and wonder what happened to this person; sometimes, a newspaper archives scan will help elicit a story. And several unmarked graves, the last resting place of the children of “fallen women” from (by now infamous) church-run homes, might have interesting (if haunting) stories to tell, too.

The disadvantage: Mount Jerome is off the beaten track and not on the main tourist route. But it is easy to get to Dublin’s city centre by bus. And a café on the cemetery grounds even provides some refreshments.

If you like spooky, try for an overcast (but dry) day for your Mount Jerome visit.

St Mary’s Howth: Grave of the Unknown Tram Builder

A graveyard with many identified burials – yet the unknown dead command the most attention.

The “Stranger’s Bank” at old Saint Mary’s Abbey was used for unidentified victims of disasters at sea. But when the Dollymount to Howth tram line was built in the last years of the 19th century, an unknown “ganger” (presumed to be English) died during work and was also buried here. Colleagues set up two tram rails to memorialise him here – one of the strangest grave markers in Dublin.

Another notable grave is the carved tomb of Christopher St. Lawrence and Anna Plunkett (c. 1470).

Michan’s Graveyard and Vaults:

The graveyard, though historical, is just a sideshow to the eerie vaults.

What lies beneath is why most visitors come to Saint Michan’s – namely, the vaults and several well-preserved, mummified bodies. Here you cannot only visit the dead. You may even shake hands with them. While the churchyard is undoubtedly worth a visit (despite being architecturally bullied by new developments), the vaults underneath the old church are the main attraction. And the tour is worth every cent.

Notable graves include Henry and John Sheares, William Sydney (the despised 3rd Earl of Leitrim), the Emmet Family tomb, Charles Lucas and Alderman Richard Tighe.

A Day in Dublin


Dublin has a vast array of attractions and things to see for such a relatively small city. The city is over a thousand years old, and there is something to marvel at on almost every street. The unfortunate truth is that a day is simply not enough time to see everything in Dublin but if you’re willing to start the day early and stick to a tight schedule you will be able to make the most of your day in Ireland’s capital.


Have a morning walk around stunning Stephen’s Green

Nothing can start the day as well as an early walk through Ireland’s best-known Victorian public park and Europe’s biggest square, Stephen’s Green. One of the most popular sights to see in Dublin, there are not much better ways to start the day than a stroll through the park with its elegant landscapes and large lake.

Get a Full Irish Breakfast at the iconic Bewley’s café

As you walk down Dublin’s main shopping street, take a chance to stop by and enjoy breakfast and a coffee in the flagship Bewley’s Cafe, built in the 1840s and a tourist attraction in itself, where you can get to taste the very best of a full Irish breakfast and some of the best tea and coffee in the city.

The Long Room Interior Trinity College Dublin Ireland

Learn a short lesson at Trinity College

Trinity College is internationally known as Ireland’s leading college and a must-see for any visitors to Dublin. The grounds are fully open to the public, with regular guided tours with no need for prior booking. The 35-minute tour will take visitors through the active college showing the four historic squares of the university and providing an insight into the historical routes and the buildings. The tour also gives an exhibition on the Old Library as well as to one of Ireland’s most treasured possessions and must-see attractions, namely the 9th century ‘Book of Kells’, which has been entrusted to the university.



Grab a pint at the Guinness Storehouse

Located in the heart of Ireland, St James’s Gate Brewery, Guinness Storehouse is Ireland’s number one tourist attraction. Housed in an old fermentation plant constructed in 1902 and recently restored, now the seven-storey visitor experience tells the story of this world-famous drink. No trip to Dublin would be complete without learning about the 250-year-old history of the world-famous drink in a tour that ends with a breathtaking 360 view of Dublin atop the Gravity Bar with a free pint of the black stuff.


Have a picnic in Phoenix Park before heading to Dublin Zoo

After a busy morning, one of the most pleasant things you can do in Dublin is enjoy a picnic in Phoenix Park, the largest urban park in Europe. On a sunny day, the park is the epitome or relaxation and recreation. Covering over 700 hectares, you could spend hours exploring the park before heading to Dublin Zoo. Located in the Phoenix Park in the heart of Dublin city, Dublin Zoo is Ireland’s most popular family attraction and welcomed over one million visitors last year. As one of the world’s oldest yet most popular zoos, the 28-hectare park in the heart of Dublin is home to some 400 animals in a natural environment where education and conservation are rolled into one. Dublin Zoo offers people the chance to learn and see the animals of the arctic tundra and African plains all in one afternoon!


Relax with a drink and a tour of the famous Jameson Distillery

After so much walking, slow down by taking a short and engaging tour of the Old Jameson Distillery as you drink in the history, the atmosphere and the odd sip of whiskey.

The tour experience occupies a section of the old distillery, which kept Dublin flowing with the ‘water of life from 1780 to 1971 until the remaining distillers moved to a new modern distillery in Midelton Co. Cork. This attraction offers a personal touch through guided tours and whiskey masterclasses, which run every 35 minutes.

At the end of the tour, all visitors are rewarded with a complimentary dram of whiskey at the Jameson Bar and partake in a comparison whiskey-tasting session where you will learn how to tell the differences between Scotch, Irish, and American whiskey. An excellent way to finish an eventful afternoon.



Grab a bite and a boogie at Temple Bar

To make the most of a day in Dublin, you have to be on a tight schedule, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to rush everything; a night in Dublin runs a lot slower than a day. Dublin is a city full of life, culture, and great food. The city centre has something for everyone, but we recommend Temple Bar if you want to be truly spoiled for choice. At Temple Bar, you will find whatever you are in the mood for, whether Irish, Italian, French, Thai or American. It is more than just restaurants, though. After enjoying a mouth-watering meal, you can head out and hit the bars, as Temple Bar is the centre of Dublin nightlife and is busy every night of the week.

Have the craic at Copper Faced Jacks

Finish an eventful time in Dublin by heading to Ireland’s favourite nightclub, Coppers! Located on Harcourt Street, Coppers is arguably Ireland’s most famous nightclub. With usual late finishes, Copper’s acts as a universal meeting point on nights out, attracting Dublin’s revellers from far and wide. Many a night has and should end up in Coppers.

Dublin Bus Tours

There are three main Open top or Hop on hop off bus tours around Dublin.

Big Bus Tours – a 25 Stop tour route offering three ticket packages

City Sightseeing Tours – A 30 stop tour route with two ticket options

Do Dublin Tours – A 28 Stop tour with three ticket options

Dublin is a compact city with deep layers of culture and history, lined with classic pubs and cobbled streets. 

As you discover this majestic city, you will encounter numerous traces of its ancient past, as evident in the stunning cathedrals, castles and architecture seemingly around every corner.

If you are searching for possibly the most comfortable and convenient way of exploring Dublin? Then a Dublin Hop on Hop off Bus tour is definitely worth your time. You will find numerous stunning things sights to see in Dublin

Some of the most famous sights to visit throughout your Hop on Hop off Dublin tours include Kilmainham Gaol, Chester Beatty Library, Hugh Lane Gallery, Trinity College, Guinness Storehouse, Old Library & Book of Kells, and of course, 14 Henrietta Street. 

What is the Dublin Hop on and Hop off Tours? Where Do the Tours Go? 

If you didn’t know yet, hop-on hop-off tours are an excellent way to see the unique city and its signs at your own pace in Dublin. One and two-day tours along the cobbled streets visit many of the must-see locales of the city, from the Saint Patrick’s Cathedral to the Guinness Storehouse. 

The best thing about it is that the tour offers you excellent access to hidden city gems often missed by many tourists and walking tours in regions where buses cannot even go. 

Dublin City Tour Maps 

Big Bus Tours Dublin Map

city Sight Seeing Dublin Map

Dodublin bUS map

Leaving O’Connell Street every few minutes, it is considered the most popular and original route in every Dublin’s must-see destination. 

You can hop on board to visit the number one attraction in Europe, The Guinness Storehouse, immerse yourself and see Gregorian Dublin, and visit the Phoenix Park and Kilmainham Gaol. Remember that the red route calls at Smithfield, home to the Parnell Square and Jameson Distillery Bow, the Irish Writers Museum, Hugh Lane Gallery, Samuel Beckett Bridge, Stain Stephen’s Green. National Art Gallery, and many more to mention! 

With more than thirty stops to hop on and hop off and discover, you can all see and experience them all at your leisure and as many times as you like. On the other hand, the Blue and Red Line routes come every fifteen minutes and will bring you around Dublin in an unforgettable, panoramic way. 

How To Explore Dublin By Bus? 

You will find three major bus companies in Dublin that operate hop-on-hop-off tours. They are the City Sightseeing Dublin, DoDublin and Big Bus Tours. These bus companies make it simple and stress-free for travellers to explore the area by adding a free walking tour and free rides for children under fourteen years old with every paid adult ticket. 

CitySightseeing Tours

This bus company rolls out two routes throughout the city in its vibrant red double-decker buses. You will get a forty-eight-hour ticket, and you can join the City by Night tour, summer-only musical tour, and a one-hour tour of downtown.

Remember that the 48-hour ticket also offers you excellent access to the City Sightseeing Dublin Walking Tour throughout the summer season. 


DoDublin is part of Dublin Bus, the main public transport company in Dublin and is a subsidiary of Córas Iompair Éireann which is owned by the Irish Government. They offer you free entry to the Little Museum of Dublin, where you can take the tour and receive money-saving discounts as well as a map of the city. How awesome is that? It’s worth mentioning that live guides will be there to help you who are considered to be native Dubliners. 

Big Bus Tours Dublin

Big Bus Tours Dublin allow you to explore Dublin city at your own pace; With a 24- to 72-hour ticket thats allows you to hop on and hop off wherever you like at any of 25 stops. Enjoy live or audio commentary that teaches you about Dublin’s history and culture, and explore the small streets of Dublin on a guided walking tour. Hop on and off as many times as you like to explore Dublin highlights at your leisure, such as St. Stephens Green, Croke Park, EPIC the Irish Emigration Museum, and others

Travel Passes with Free Hop on Hop Tours?

Lucky for you because there are. Two separate city passes offer you seventy-two hours of unlimited travel or free admission to different attractions in the town. 

The Dublin Pass offers you seventy-two hours of free access to the twenty-five most popular destinations of the city. The best part is that it also involves a free twenty-four hop on and hop off bus tour through airport transfer to the city centre and CitySightseeing. 

Meanwhile, the DoDublin Card offers you seventy-two hours of unlimited admission to sightseeing and public buses, a complimentary Pat Liddy walking tour, free access to the Little Museum of Dublin, discount access to attractions and even exclusive meal deals. 

The Airlink Express of DoDublin also gets you to and from the city centre and the airport. 

Remember that the clock begins on your timed ticket the first time you scan it on the machine. Do you plan to use it for transportation from the airport? Make sure you plan to take a flight that arrives in the morning.

Scanning it the first time at night means you only have two days left on your ticket. 

How Can You Maximize Your Dublin Tour Ticket? 

Are you planning on visiting the busy tourist season of the city that peaks during the warm weather months of July and August? Then you can expect crowded buses and slower traffic. Remember that those months are two of the best, with temperatures in the middle of the sixties.

Meanwhile, June and September provide somewhat lower temperatures along with fewer crowds of people. Make sure you dress comfortably and warmly throughout the off-season months when likelihoods for rain rise and temperatures creep down into the mid-forties throughout the day.

The top open-air decks of the buses are often covered during the winter seasons. Nonetheless, you would like to bring an umbrella with you for walking around the city. 

Places To Visit On A Bus Tour?

While you are in Dublin, a hop on and hop off tours provide an exclusive ticket for an extra cost, which will allow you to independently visit your choice of one of the five remarkable attractions listed below, which concentrate on Irish cultural heritage. 

Teelings Whiskey Distillery Dublin Front entrance with Teelings Van outside

Teeling Whiskey Distillery

The Teeling Whiskey Distillery is the first distillery to open in Double in more than 125 years. It was opened by Jack and Stephen in 2015 and is considered the harbinger of a renaissance in the whiskey industry of Ireland. 

It is situated in the Liberties and in the centre of the Golden Triangle, the history distilling district of the city. You can freely experience how an authentic distillery operates and explore the tastes, sounds, smells, and sights of this distinct Dublin experience, which isn’t to be missed. 

The National Gallery Of Ireland

Dublins General Post Office

One of the new museums in the city tells the story of the General Post Office of Dublin, the GPO and its role in the 1916 Easter Rising. Did you know that it was the most critical episode of Irish history, which created the Irish republic?

GPO Witness History brings those stormy days to life through an engaging, interactive, and immersive experience, which will educate you all about the events of Easter Week in 1916 and even modern Irish history. 

Dublins EPIC Irish Emmigration Museum

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum

This destination is voted as the leading tourist attraction in Europe at the World Travel Awards in 2019. In case you didn’t know, EPIC Ireland is the only fully digital museum in the world. 

In fact, the museum tells the moving chronicles of those who left and how they affected and formed the world. Situated in the CHQ Building in one of the most historical locations by the Custom House Quay and River Liffey bank, EPIC Museum has something to offer for your whole family and friends to enjoy. 

You can also read emigrant letters to see the world through the eyes of men and women who left home or visit the whispering library to understand some of the most famous Irish authors of the world. 

The Guinness Store House and Guinness Factory St James Gate Dublin

Guinness Storehouse

Situated in the core of the Saint James Gate Brewery, this destination is one of the most famous sights of Ireland. The Guinness experience starts at the bottom of the most giant pint in the world. It continues up to seven stories of engaging experiences, telling the captivating story of the iconic Irish beer from its founding by Arthur Guinness way back in 1759. 

What’s more, you can enjoy a stunning view and a great pint of Dublin city from the top floor of the Gravity Bar or understand how to pour your own at the Guinness Academy. This modern and sophisticated building is loaded with great history and will surely bring you a memorable expedition.  

How Much Are Dublin Hop on and Hop off Tours? 

Dublin Hop on Hop Off Tours cost from €23 or $25 for an adult day pass.  Do keep in mind that Dublin Hop on and Hop off Tour companies have created a wide array of ticket options. That includes a three-day pass, a two-day pass, and a one-day pass in addition to combining tours that offer access to numerous leading Dublin attractions. 

The prices of Dublin tours vary from one provider to another provider. 

Is Dublin Hop on and Hop off Tours Worth Your Money? 

The Hop on and Hop off tours in Dublin offer a broad spectrum of the overview of the city along with one ticket and unlimited hop on and hop off. That makes them the ideal choice for disabled tourists along with mobility issues to discover Dublin at your own pace. 

Remember that your customized Dublin tour experience involves onboard commentary in your language, choice of being alone or in a group, disability-friendly buses, choice of time of the tour, and of your pace of exploration of Dublin city sightseeing with Hop on and Hop off bus tours. 

Which Dublin Pass is Suitable for You? 

Take note that Dublin Pass is accessible in one, two, three, and five-day options. Free Child passes are also suitable for ages five to fifteen. 

As you research the places, you can visit with your Dublin pass, bear in mind that two of the most sought-after attractions of Dublin are noticeably absent: the Kilmainham Gaol and the Book of Kells at Trinity College. 

Those are the famous Dublin attractions, and in the high season, tour times could feel a few weeks beforehand. While not approved, our suspicion is that such sites won’t be accessible to deal with added tourists wanting to afford a Fast Track entry, and pre-booking along with the Dublin Pass is not accessible at this moment. 

The two above destinations could fill a few more hours each at minimum. Hence, if they are included in your list of “must-see in Dublin,” make sure you buy a Dublin Pass, which is approximately one day less than your time within the city.  


Dublins Christmas Tree


Christmas in Dublin is the most magical time of year. From the moment the Christmas lights are switched on Grafton Street in mid-November to the live busking by some of Ireland’s best musicians on Christmas Eve, Dublin turns into a bustling, atmospheric city full of colour, laughter, and sing-songs. One of the best ways to get into the festive spirit is to check out the best Christmas markets in Dublin, of which the best ones are listed below.

Whether you’re in Dublin for a day or a week this festive season, be sure to put some time aside to visit some of these beautiful Christmas markets and craft fairs.

Illustrated map of Dublin Christmas Markets

Festive accommodation in Dublin fills up faster than the Christmas markets! So don’t miss out — book your stay with us today!  


This market takes place every Saturday of the year in the Grand Social, a large and lively bar and social space just over the famous Ha’Penny bridge in the Dublin city centre. The weekly market gets a Christmas makeover towards the end of November and continues every Saturday until Christmas Eve.

This is a fun place to come if you’re looking for quirky Christmas gifts such as vinyl records, vintage clothing and handmade arts and crafts that make great stocking-fillers! It’s right across the river from Temple Bar in Dublin 1.

When: From November 26th

Where: Grand Social, 35 Liffey Street Lower

What time: Saturdays from 12 pm – 6 pm

Official Website::


If you want to escape the city for an afternoon and breathe the fresh sea air, hop on the DART (the Dublin commuter train line) and check out the Dun Laoghaire Christmas Market in South County Dublin. Dun Laoghaire is a beautiful seaside town with a well-known yacht club and a fascinating history, making it perfect for a day trip any time of the year. The market is only open on weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) for most of November and December and will be open every day of the week in the final lead-up to Christmas Day. Here you’ll find carefully selected seasonal arts and crafts and plenty of delicious food vendors to keep your belly happy.

This is one of the prettiest Christmas Markets in Dublin and is especially magical in the late afternoon when all the lights on the small huts are turned on, and it looks like a winter wonderland – minus the snow!

When: 18th November until December 23rd

Where: The Metals, Dun Laoghaire

What time: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 12.30 pm – pm

Official Website: www.


If you’re staying in Dublin City Centre and don’t want to venture too far from town, Christmas at Smithfield is a fun place to go. Smithfield is a hub of activity any time of year, being home to the Jameson Distillery, the lively Cobblestone Pub, The underground Lighthouse Cinema and just a stone’s throw from Temple Bar, Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo. It’s here on Smithfield Square that you can set your eyes on one of the giant Christmas trees in Dublin, and in the past, they’ve been known to erect ice rinks!

They often throw a free concert when the Christmas lights get turned on, with famous Irish musicians in attendance. The market here isn’t a permanent fixture, but you can expect arts and crafts stalls and some delicious local and traditional food options on the days it is open.

When: 24th November

Where: Smithfield Square

What time: 4 pm-9 pm

Official Website:


The MART Market in Rathmines, just south of Dublin city centre, is a unique market that’s a lot of fun to check out. It takes place in an old fire station. Alongside the usual festive arts and crafts, you’ll also see lots of beautiful paintings by local artists and local fashion and jewellery displayed around the gallery.

When: 8th-9th, 13th-16th, 20th-23rd December

Where: MART Market Rathmines

What time: 12pm-7pm

Official Website: www.

Festive accommodation in Dublin fills up faster than the Christmas markets! So don’t miss out — book your stay with us today!  


Christmas at the Castle – 8 – 21 December

In the cobblestone courtyard of Dublin Castle, a cornucopia of festivities is planned for Christmas at the Castle. You can get into the spirit of things as you stroll around the traditional alpine market stalls and artisan producers. There’s also a vintage carousel for the little ones. Enchanting and endearing, Christmas at the Castle is sure to warm the cockles of your heart this winter.

FYI: This market is free, but you must book tickets online.


Besides the main Dublin Christmas Markets listed above, there are also some key festive events in the city that visitors might not know about. Below we’ve tried to share all our local Dublin secrets so visitors to Dublin’s fair city in December can hopefully have as much fun as we do.


Besides organising fun party nights, The Bernard Shaw, one of Dublin’s most famous and most loved pubs, also hosts a weekly flea market on their premises on Richmond Street South (Dublin 8) for December. In addition to the Saturday market, they also sometimes have a pop-up night market on Thursdays to satisfy all those late-night shoppers or party-goers who go over to shop after a hot whiskey or two!

When: Every Sunday and Thursday from December 1st

Where: The Bernard Shaw, 11-12 Richmond St South.

What time: 1pm-6pm Saturdays, 5pm-10pm Thursdays

Official Website:


If you’re interested in getting your hand on some of Ireland’s best-made arts and crafts or just fancy a fun day out, head to the Craft & Design Fair in the RDS this December. Don’t worry; it’s not just arts and crafts you’ll find here, as the fair also attracts some of Ireland’s top jewellery makers and artisans! This year’s fair takes place from the 5th to the 9th of December, with tickets available at the door or online.

When: 5th-9th December

Where: RDS Main Hall,

What time: Thursday and Friday 10 am-10 pm, Saturday and Sunday 10 am-7 pm

Official Website:


Bringing children to Dublin for Christmas or believing you’re just a big kid? The annual Funderland Funfair takes place at the RDS each Christmas and is home to some top thrill rides, including roller coasters, Dodgems, a haunted house, and even a log splash. Wrap up warm, though, as standing in queues and hanging outside for hours on end can be very cold!

When: 14th December – 14th January

Where: RDS

What time: Daily 12pm-10pm

Official Website:


If you’re in Dublin in November, you can’t miss the much-anticipated turning on the Christmas lights. It’s one of the best days of the calendar year for kids, and the atmosphere on Grafton Street, where the biggest crowds turn up, is always electric. There are also separate events in Smithfield and Dundrum to turn the lights on, so if you miss one event, you can try to make one of the other two!

There’s no denying Dublin at Christmas is the most magical time of year. Sure, you’ll laugh at the locals walking around in their ugly Christmas jumpers, and you’ll stand in awe at the never-ending queues of groups trying to get into pubs to complete the 12 Pubs of Christmas tradition, but most of all, you’ll feel welcomed into our beautiful city and hopefully be able to head home with a suitcase full of treats from all the fabulous Dublin Christmas markets,

When: To be announced.

Where: Grafton Street

What time: 5.30 pm

Official Website:

Festive accommodation in Dublin fills up faster than the Christmas markets! So don’t miss out on your stay with us today