Dublin, Ireland

The Republic of Ireland’s capital city was established by the Vikings, seized by the Normans and controlled by the United Kingdom until a bloody uprising lead to their independence in the early 20th century. Learn about their fascinating history while viewing their major landmarks.

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1 Record Tower at Dublin Castle in Dublin, Ireland

In 1204, King John of England commissioned a stronghold to defend the city against potential Norman attacks. The Record Tower on the left, finished in 1228, is the oldest surviving building of the original Dublin Castle. It was used as a prison and is now the Garda or Police Museum. On the right is the Chapel Royal. The Gothic Revival structure by architect Francis Johnston was finished in 1814. In 1943, it became the Church of the Most Holy Trinity. Since 1922, the 11 acre castle property houses government offices. However, sections such as the State Apartments and two museums are available for public tours.

Dublin Castle, Dame St, Dublin 2, Ireland
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2 Bedford Tower at Dublin Castle in Dublin, Ireland

The Bedford Tower was built in the Upper Courtyard of Dublin Castle in 1761 where the original Norman gate once stood. It is the location of an intriguing, unsolved crime. In 1907, the Irish Crown Jewels – formally called the Chains of Office of the Knights of St. Patrick – where stolen from here. It was suspected that Sir Arthur Vicars, the Ulster King of Arms, was culpable for his drunken carelessness. The precious jewels were never recovered. Today, the Bedford Hall is part of a conference center.

Dublin Castle, Dame St, Dublin 2, Ireland
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3 Riverside View of Custom House in Dublin, Ireland

A previous custom house was built in 1707 along Essex Quay. It was replaced in 1791 with this neoclassical building constructed with Portland stone and designed by James Gandon. The Custom House served as a dock and warehouse for vessels plus conducted custom and excise taxation services. Now it offices the Department of Environment and Community plus other local government functions. The landmark has a commanding view of the River Liffey from its position on the north bank.

16 George's Quay, Dublin, Ireland
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4 Custom House Dome Close Up in Dublin, Ireland

The Custom House dome deserves a close up. Above the pediment are statues of Neptune, Mercury, Industry and Plenty. Between the Corinthian columns are arched and rounded windows and above them are four clocks. Standing on the top of the green copper dome is a 16 foot sculpture of Commerce. In 1921, the dome melted during an intense fire set by the IRA that engulfed the Custom House. Ardbraccan limestone was used for the reconstruction. This gives it a brownish hue in contrast to the rest of the white façade.

Memorial Rd, North Dock, Dublin 1, Ireland
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5 Royal Coat of Arms on Custom House in Dublin, Ireland

After the United Kingdom was formed in 1800, Ireland adopted the lion and unicorn as part of their escutcheon. This royal coat of arms was soon displayed on most government buildings until they became a frequent target of attacks during the early 20th century. One of the few remaining in Dublin is this version by Edward Smyth on the Custom House. When the Republic of Ireland was established in 1943, they adopted a gold Gaelic harp on a blue shield as the heraldic symbol. The Clàrsach dates back to the 10th century.

Memorial Rd, North Dock, Dublin 1, Ireland
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6 Famine Sculptures in Dublin, Ireland

In the mid-19th century, a large percent of the Irish population were impoverished and over 60% were reliant on agriculture for their merger incomes. The primary crop was potatoes. So when late or potato blight occurred in 1845, the disease had devastating effects. Over one million people died through 1845 during the Great Famine. Another million emigrated. Many stumbled towards ships docked along Custom House Quay. These bronze sculptures, created by Rowan Gillespie in 1997, memorializes this horrendous period.

1, Hawthorn Terrace, East Wall, Dublin 3, Ireland
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7 Tall Ship and Harp Bridge in Dublin, Ireland

The Jeanie Johnston was a three-masted sailing vessel launched in 1848. The barque ship initially transported Irish immigrants to America during the Great Famine and returned with cargo such as wood. It sunk in 1855. This recreation was launched in 2000. When docked along the quay, the tall ship serves as a history museum and event center. Behind it is the Samuel Beckett Bridge, one of River Liffey’s newest landmarks. It was cleverly designed by Santiago Calatrava to resemble a harp, Ireland’s national symbol. The 394 foot steel bridged opened for traffic in 2009. The waterfront buildings in the background are on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay.

5 Custom House Quay, North Dock, Dublin, Ireland
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8 IFSC House in Dublin, Ireland

The Finance Act of 1986 created incentives for urban renewal. Another tax break was established the following year for financial companies. These events gave birth to the International Financial Services Centre. Starting in 1988, the IFSC constructed several buildings with over three million square feet of office space to accommodate international banks, insurance companies and related businesses. They also offer shared services. The concept was successful but was diminished during the financial crisis. The IFSC accommodates about 500 firms with more than 35,000 employees. The IFSC House is a one of the buildings in the complex occupying the former Dublin docks.

1 Custom House Quay, North Dock, Dublin, DUBLIN 1, Ireland
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9 Ha’penny Bridge in Dublin, Ireland

The River Liffey flows for over 80 miles before bisecting Dublin on its course to the Irish Sea. Prior to the 19th century, a ferry was required to cross it. When the fleet operated by William Walsh became derelict, he was told to repair them or build a pedestrian bridge. He chose the latter on condition he could charge a toll for the next 100 years. The cost to walk across the 141 feet was a ha’penny. This is how the bridge got its nickname, despite its correct name of the Wellington Bridge when it opened in 1816 and the renaming to the Liffey Bridge 20 years later. Two weeks before this photo was taken, a procession of dignitaries crossed Ha’penny Bridge to celebrate its bicentennial.

48 Wellington Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland
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10 Merchants Arch in Dublin, Ireland

These front steps of Merchants Arch lead into a bar and restaurant housed in the former Merchants Guild Hall. Guild meetings were conducted here for 20 years starting in 1821. Only one other hall remains standing in Dublin. The building designed by Frederick Darley is located on the River Liffey’s south bank in the Temple Bar neighborhood. During medieval times, it was named St. Andrews Parish. After decades of neglect, the area is now popular for its nightlife and cultural institutions.

48 Wellington Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, D02 EY65, Ireland
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11 Old City Wall at Back Lane in Dublin, Ireland

During the Middle Ages, Dublin was surrounded by a wall enclosing less than a square mile. The first fortifications made of wood were erected by Ostmen, people of Norse-Gaels descent, during the 9th century. The defenses were extended, attacked and fortified with stone for hundreds of years until they outlived their purpose during the 18th century. There were seven gates into the city. This section of an Anglo-Saxon wall on Lamb Alley, probably built during the 12th century, was part of New Gate. Only a few wall remnants remain in Dublin.

1 Lamb Alley, Merchants Quay, Dublin, Ireland
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12 St Audoen’s Church Tower in Dublin, Ireland

St Audoen’s Church was established by an Anglo-Norman archbishop named John Comyn in the late 12th century. Saint Audoen is the namesake. This 7th century Bishop of Rouen in France was the founder of an abbey, monastery and nunnery. This was a Catholic church until it was seized in 1547 during the English Reformation. Now its denomination is Anglican, part of the Church of Ireland. This medieval structure, the oldest parish church in Dublin, is not to be confused with the adjacent catholic church of the same name. Inside of this 17th century tower are three bells, the earliest cast in 1423.

15 High St, Merchants Quay, Dublin 8, Ireland
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13 St Audoen’s Catholic Church in Dublin, Ireland

After the 16th century English Reformation, Catholics were cast from their neighboring church of the same name and forced to practice their faith in hiding. When tensions eased, this new St Audoen’s Church was built in 1847. The architect for its Greek Revival design was Patrick Bryne. The portico was added about 50 years later. The three statues above the pediment are, left to right, the Virgin Mary, St. Audoen and St. Patrick.

15 High St, Merchants Quay, Dublin 8, Ireland
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14 Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland

The St. James Gate area of Dublin has a tradition for crafting beer dating back to the late 17th century. Its most famous brewmaster was Arthur Guinness. In 1759, he signed a 9,000 year lease for a vacant brewery. Now that is visionary! Since then, his recipe propelled the company into the world’s leader of dry stout. Although it is brewed in more than 60 countries, its largest location has dominated the same neighborhood for over 250 years. It is fun to tour the seven levels of their plant open to tourists called the Guinness Storehouse. Then finish with a pint of stout in the Gravity Bar.

St James's Gate, Ushers, Dublin 8, Ireland
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15 Former Irish Parliament House in Dublin, Ireland

This is the entrance to the former House of Commons, one of two chambers of the Irish Parliament House. Above the coat of arms in the pediment featuring a lion and unicorn are three statues created by Edward Smyth. They are Hibernia (Ireland’s Latin name), Fidelity and Commerce. In 1800, the Parliament was stripped of power by the Act of Union when Ireland was absorbed by the United Kingdom. In 1803, the elegant, neoclassical buildings by architects Edward Lovett Pearce and James Gandon were purchased by the Bank of Ireland. The commercial bank was established in 1783, making it Ireland’s oldest. After the bank moved its headquarters in the 1970s, this location in the College Green plaza became their flagship branch.

2 College Green, Temple Bar, Dublin, Ireland
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16 Bank Bar Ceiling in Dublin, Ireland

The Royal Bank of Ireland was established in 1836. In 1892, they commissioned William Henry Lynn to design an elaborate facility on College Green. The financial institution merged and became part of the Allied Irish Banks formed in 1996. What they left behind is this phenomenal banking hall. In 2003, it became the Bank Bar and Restaurant. You must walk in, at least order a drink and then savor every elaborate detail of the stain glass dome surrounded by ornate cornicing.

20 College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
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17 St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland

On St. Patrick’s Day in 1192, Archbishop John Comyn designated a parish church to become a collegiate one dedicated to learning. Early in the 13th century it became a cathedral. During the mid-16th century, King Edward VI confiscated its possessions, gave them to Christ Church Cathedral a few blocks away, and converted the Roman Catholic cathedral into an Anglican one. To rectify having two cathedrals in the same city, St. Patrick’s is considered to be the National Cathedral of Ireland. The tower peaks at 140 feet.

St Patrick's Close, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, DZ08 H6X3, Ireland
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18 Benjamin Guinness Statue in Dublin, Ireland

Benjamin Lee Guinness was the grandson of the founder of Guinness stout. As a result of running St. James Gate Brewery from 1839 until his death in 1868, he became Ireland’s richest person. Fortunately, he was also a philanthropist. In appreciation for his role as the major benefactor of St Patrick’s Cathedral’s restoration in the mid-19th century, this bronze statue by John Henry Foley was erected on the church’s grounds in 1875.

St Patrick's Close, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, DZ08 H6X3, Ireland
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19 Central Bank of Ireland in Dublin, Ireland

The Central Bank Act of 1942 gave birth to the Central Bank of Ireland the following year. Among other responsibilities, they printed the country’s currency, the Irish Pound, before it was replaced by the Euro in 2002. Their regulatory role of the country’s financial firms was severely tested during the banking crisis beginning in 2008. This layered concrete building by architect Sam Stephenson on Dame Street had been their headquarters since 1978. The central bank moved to a new, eight-level glass façade structure on North Wall Quay in 2016.

73 N Wall Quay, North Dock, Dublin, Ireland
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20 Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin’s oldest building was founded in 1028 by Sigtrygg Silkbeard who was then the Norse King of Dublin. The Gothic structure was expanded several times, most notably in the 12th through 14th centuries and again in the late 1800s. The Cathedral of the Holy Trinity is claimed to be the rightful cathedral of both the Church of Ireland and the Catholics yet in practice it is dominated by the Anglicans. This medieval Celtic church is positioned near Wood Quay.

Christchurch Pl, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, Ireland
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21 Irish Struggle for Independence in Dublin, Ireland

The Acts of the Union 1800 made Ireland part of the United Kingdom, thus abolishing their parliament and reducing their freedoms. That uneasy marriage began to unravel on April 24, 1916, when a band of Irish rebels clashed with the British. Before the six-day Irish Rising was over, 500 people had been killed and much of Dublin lay in ruins from British artillery. This intersection of Parliament and Lord Edward Streets was the scene of some of the heaviest fighting. Although the British suppressed the insurrection, the event led to the War of Independence from 1919 – 1921. On December 6, 1921, the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty created the Irish Free State. The faces staring down from this building are some of the heroes who led the struggle for Ireland’s independence.

81 Dame St, Dublin, Ireland
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Irish Rising Leaders in Dublin, Ireland

This memorial called “Remembering the Rising” celebrates the centennial of the Irish Rising in 1916. Illustrated are seven leaders of the insurrection and the signers of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. Patrick Pearse, a member of the Military Council for the Irish Republican Brotherhood, read the inflammatory and treasonous document in front of the post office. He also called for a truce after the intense battle during the Easter Rising. James Connolly led the Irish Citizen Army. Thomas Clarke, another IRB member, was considered to be the match that sparked the fighting. These men, along with thirteen other leaders of the rebellion, were executed by the British for their crimes.

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22 Ireland’s Oldest Pub in Dublin, Ireland

The Brazen Head opened in 1198, making it Ireland’s oldest pub. I assumed the term dated back to the Bronze Age when people first consumed ale. However, the word’s origin comes from the Anglo-Saxons. They established alehouses that became known as public houses and then shortened to pub. The Norman invasion of Ireland began in 1169 and caused considerable damage across the island for the next 350 years. But their lasting legacy was raising a pint in good cheer at the local pub.

20 Lower Bridge St, Merchants Quay, Dublin 8, D08 WC64, Ireland
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23 O’Connell Monument Victory Statue in Dublin, Ireland

Daniel O’Connell, also known as The Liberator, was a staunch advocate for the reversal of the Act of Union that combined the Kingdoms of Ireland with Great Britain. He also led a movement for the emancipation of Catholics. His beliefs were so strong he accepted and won a duel with Protestant John D’Esterre in 1815. He became the first Catholic Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1841. A 41 foot monument to the Nationalist was designed by John Henry Foley was erected in 1882 to honor the historical figure. It is surrounded by four bronze statues of Victory. Notice the bullet hole in the elbow of Maid of Erin. This occurred during the Easter Rising in 1916 when Irish republicans battled the British for independence.

56 O'Connell Street Lower, Dublin, Ireland
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24 Spire of Dublin in Dublin, Ireland

Dating back to 1809, the centerpiece of a city-center boulevard now called O’Connell Street was the Nelson’s Pillar. The monument to Horatio Nelson, a vice admiral in the Royal Navy, was destroyed by the Irish republicans in 1966. In 2003, the Spire of Dublin was completed in the same location. This 398 foot, stainless steel Monument of Light is considered to be the world’s tallest sculpture.

69 O'Connell Street Upper, North City, Dublin, Ireland
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25 James Joyce Statue in Dublin, Ireland

James Joyce was born in a Dublin suburb in 1882. He began his literary career while attending the University College Dublin. For a brief period, he founded and managed Ireland’s first movie theater near this statue on Earl Street North. During a vagabond lifestyle, he wrote several works until the publication of Ulysses in 1922 cemented his role as a celebrated author. This tribute by Marjorie FitzGibbon stands eight feet and was erected in 1990.

2 Earl St N, North City, Dublin 1, D01 K5W5, Ireland
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26 Clerys Department Store in Dublin, Ireland

In 1853, The Palatial Mart opened its doors on Sackville Street. Thirty years later, it was renamed by a new owner, Michael J. Clery. Clery & Company’s flagship location on O’Connell Street was rebuilt after it was mostly destroyed during the Irish Civil War in 1922. Clerys was the luxury goods department store in Dublin until it abruptly closed in 2015.

28 O'Connell Street Lower, North City, Dublin 1, Ireland
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27 Murrays Bar and Grill in Dublin, Ireland

I admire a business with staying power despite every adversity it faces. Murrays Bar is a charming example. It was founded on Sackville Street, now O’Connell Street, in 1908. This location has been the epicenter of violent clashes during the Dublin Lockout in 1913, the Easter Rising in 1916 and the Irish Civil War in 1922. Yet the family has continued to operate their Irish pub with good food, great hospitality, lively music and a smile.

34 O'Connell Street Upper, Rotunda, Dublin 1, Ireland
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28 John’s Lane Church in Dublin, Ireland

The formal name of this 19th century, French Gothic building by architects Edwin Welby Pugin and William Hague is St. Augustine & St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Most people call it John’s Lane Church. Decorating Dublin’s tallest bell tower at 223 feet are a dozen sculptures by James Pearse. John’s Lane Church stands on the site of a former hospital and monastery founded by a Norman in 1182 and run by Augustinian friars.

94-96 Thomas St, Merchants Quay, Dublin, CHY 7182, Ireland
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29 St. Werburgh’s Church in Dublin, Ireland

St. Werburgh’s Church was built in 1178. The classic Italianate design was the work of Thomas Burgh. For a while it was the parish church for the Dublin Castle. The structure originally had a tower and spire containing six bells. These were removed in in 1836. The namesake for the Anglican church is Saint Werburgh. Werburga was the daughter of Wulfhere. He was the mid-7th century King of Mercia, an Anglo-Saxon territory in present-day England. Despite born as a princess, she spent her life as a nun at the Abbey of Ely before dying in 700.

2 Werburgh St, Dublin, Ireland
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30 Three Graces Statues in Dublin, Ireland

This ensemble by Gabriel Hayes was inspired by Antonio Canova’s Three Graces sculpture of Zeus’ daughters carved from marble in 1817. This version in limestone portrays two women performing household chores – cleaning and sewing – while the middle figure holds a book. This represented some of the skills taught at the St. Mary’s College of Domestic Science. At the opening ceremony in 1941, Dublin’s archbishop declared it “women’s work … to build happy homes.” The sculptures remain on Cathal Brugha Street perhaps as a poignant reminder of the past and a reflection of how far women have come in today’s society.

Cathal Brugha St & Thomas Ln, Dublin, Ireland
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31 Regent Hall at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland

When looking at a map of Dublin’s attractions, you might overlook Trinity College as a place to visit. Don’t make that mistake. You realize this will be a visual treat when seeing Regent Hall from College Green. The neoclassical building was constructed in the early 1700s. The arched door of Regent House is the front gate of the 47 acre campus.

College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
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32 Campanile at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland

As you enter Trinity College, you are greeted by the Campanile between Parliament and Library Squares. It was designed by Charles Lanyon, a famous architect who dominated architecture in Belfast during the 19th century. The 100 foot, granite bell tower was constructed in 1853 after a generous donation by Lord John Beresford, the former Archbishop of Armagh. The landmark is accented with four statues by Thomas Kirk. They represent Law, Medicine, Divinity and Science.

College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
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33 Berkeley Library at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland

The Old Library is Trinity College’s most famous. Inside the enormous building is the Book of Kells. The Berkeley Library, built in 1967 based on a design by Paul Koralek, is part of a five library complex. Its namesake is George Berkeley, a philosopher and theologian who developed theories on subjective idealism. This is the belief that physical things do not exist except as perceived by the mind. Perhaps it is fitting an equally abstract sculpture dominates Fellows Square. The giant Sphere within a Sphere was created in 1983 by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro.

College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
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34 William Lecky Statue at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland

This distinguished gentleman is Sir William Lecky. A noted 19th century historian, his famous work was the five volume set titled, “History of England during the Eighteenth Century.” He wrote a similar chronology of Ireland’s history. This tribute was created in 1906 by William Goscombe John, a Welsh sculptor who specialized in war memorials. The bronze statue is in Library Square on the campus of Trinity College.

College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
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35 Chapel and Graduates Memorial Building at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland

On the left is the Trinity Chapel. Resembling a Greek temple, the structure by William Chambers opened in 1798. The ecumenical church offers Methodist, Anglican and Catholic services. Interestingly, Catholic students could not attend Trinity College until 1793 and the Catholic Church of Ireland forbade their attendance until 1970. On the right is the Graduates Memorial Building designed by Thomas Drew. It was constructed in 1897 to mark the 300th anniversary of Dublin University. The school educates over 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students, making it the largest university in Ireland.

College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
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