The City of Dublin is more than 1000 years old. Growing from a small Viking settlement, Dublin Port is one of the world’s most active and exciting cities. With a rich cultural heritage and a vibrant city life, visitors will find many things to see and do while they’re in Dublin Port.
Dublin Castle is the heart of the historic city. Standing on a ridge where the River Liffey meets its tributary, the Poddle, the original fort may have been an ancient Gaelic ring fort. A Viking fortress stood here a thousand years ago, and parts of it can still be seen at the Undercroft. The Norman invasion of 1169 brought an earth and wood motte and bailey on the site of Dublin Castle. England’s King John had a larger, stronger castle built there in 1204 that is recalled by today’s Great Courtyard. Henry VIII’s Lord Deputy moved into Dublin Castle in 1565, when it became the center for wars on the Irish Chieftains and Catholics. By the end of Elizabeth I’s reign, Dublin Castle was the English government’s seat and stronghold. Much of the medieval castle was destroyed in a fire in 1684, but it had been rebuilt by 1746. In 1921 when the Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed to end over seven centuries of English rule, Dublin Castle was handed to the Irish military commander, Michael Collins. While the State Apartments were built for the vice-regal court, they are still used for State events.
Visitors will want to see Dakley Castle with its living history live performance. Characters from the medieval past demonstrate what life must have been like. Visitors will meet a barber surgeon who extracts teeth and amputates limbs, an archer who takes you to the battlements, a cook who prepares dressed swan and baked hedgehog, and a cast from the Deilg Inis Theatre Company who bring Dublin Port’s medieval history to life each day.
The National Museum of Ireland on Kildare Street focuses on Ireland’s archaeology and history. The National Gallery of Ireland contains rich collections of national and European art. The Irish Museum of Modern Art features modern and contemporary art as well as formal gardens and a café. The Bram Stoker Museum offers a tour through the life of the famous author of Dracula.
The Old Library at Trinity College holds the original manuscript of the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript in Latin that contains the four New Testament Gospels. Transcribed by Celtic Monks in about 800 AD, this masterpiece of Western calligraphy is Ireland’s most treasured historic artifact. The Library’s huge Long Hall is also breathtaking.
Phoenix Park is Europe’s biggest enclosed urban park. It contains a polo field, Dublin Zoo, and the homes of Ireland’s President and the US Ambassador (the latter are not open to the public). A herd of wild fallow deer live in the park, and visitors can enjoy the park free of charge.
The Dublin Writers Museum at 18 Parnell Square is an 18th Century house dedicated to Irish literature and world-famous Irish writers like George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, and Patrick Pearse.
Dublin Port’s Leopardstown Racecourse offers not only racing but a golf course, several bars and restaurants, and a nightclub.
The Ardgillan Castle park covers 194 acres of pastureland, woodland, and gardens that overlook the Bay of Drogheda. The park is a sanctuary for both mammals and birds, and it features the 1738 Ardgillan Castle. The castle has been restored, and the ground floor and kitchens are open for tours. They also offer tea-rooms that serve light snacks. The second floor is used for classes and exhibitions, and small group meeting and workshop space is also available. Opened as a Regional Park in 1985, the park grounds contain over eight kilometers of footpaths and a picnic area.
Visitors may want to get a Dublin Pass, a special package offering admission to 27 of Dublin Port’s most popular attractions; transportation; discounts for restaurants, pubs, tours, and concert venues; and free maps and guidebooks to help you make the most of your trip to Dublin Port.
Travelers who want to visit Dublin Port by sea can find an extensive list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website.