Discover must-see sightseeing attractions in Dublin, and visit others that lie just a short drive away – just perfect for adventurous honeymoon couples.
Discover a lively city more than 1,000 years old, full of fascinating historical sights and now home to a vibrant entertaining city of fashionable shops, hip bars, old pubs, trendy cafés and gourmet restaurants.
Head down High Street to the Dublin of old, to find medieval cathedrals, old city walls and Dublin Castle, wherein lies the splendid Chester Beatty Museum, which is dedicated to a breathtaking array of illustrated religious manuscripts and ancient copies of the Bible and the Koran.
Check out the picturesque cobbled squares, quadrangles and gardens of Trinity College, the oldest university in Ireland, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1, and home to the world-famous Book of Kells. For more recent history, head over to Kilmainham Gaol, where the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were executed and many more rebels against British rule were jailed.
Don’t miss Malahide Castle, a crenelated and stone castle built in the 12th century and still standing with furnishings from the 17th century; the National Museum, home to an extensive collection of early Bronze Age gold (2000-1500BC) and ornamental objects including the exquisite Tara Brooch, the Ardagh Chalice and Cross of Cong – both famous relics dating back to the Middle Ages.
For lovers of Irish literature, the Dublin Writers Museum offers a celebration of Dublin’s literary history with a collection of memorabilia from James Joyce, Brendan Behan, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Bernard Shaw among others.
Exploring Dublin can be thirsty work, so get refreshed with a drop of dark stout at the Guinness Storehouse, one of the world’s largest breweries; pint in hand enjoy the smooth tasting brew from the rooftop Gravity Bar, with panoramic views over the city. Or head to any of Dublin’s friendly pubs – try the Temple Bar – to sample one of the most popular and distinctive drinks in the world.
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Must-see attractions close to Dublin, include:
The Wicklow Mountains
Hike through purple heather and yellow gorse in this wild and at times desolate upland region close to the Irish capital. The Wicklow Way, the Republic of Ireland’s oldest designated long-distance walk, offers a six-day route that bisects the mountains from north to south, cutting through the 20,000ha of the Wicklow Mountains National Park.
From Dublin’s suburbs through picturesque valleys and mountain heathland passing Lough Tay and Lough Dan, the 130km-long route skirts Lugnaquillia (924m), Wicklow’s highest peak, and the pretty Vale of Avoca, which was immortalised in the writings of 19th century poet Thomas Moore.
Brú na Bóinne (Palace of the Boyne)
Discover Europe's largest and most important concentration of prehistoric megalithic art – a massive complex of Neolithic chamber tombs and standing stones arranged over three sites – at Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site is located on the north bank of the River Boyne, 50km north of Dublin.
Explore Newgrange, Ireland's best-known megalithic tomb, built around 5000 years ago – pre-dating Stonehenge by about 1000 years and the Pyramids by around 500 years. Stroll around the 12m-high and 78m-diameter tomb mound, which houses an arrow-straight 18m-long passage leading to a cruciform (cross-shaped) burial chamber.
Once a year, for five days in December during the winter solstice, the rising sun creates a shaft of sunlight along the passage illuminating the chamber floor. You can register for a lottery to be in the tomb for this extraordinary event; at other times you can watch a re-enactment using electric lights.
Here, in July 1690 at the Battle of the Boyne, King William III defeated the exiled King James II for the crown of England, so ensuring a continuation of Protestant supremacy in Ireland. It is one of Ireland’s best-known battles and is a key component of Ulster Protestant folklore to this day.
Hike up to the Hill of Tara, once the traditional seat of Ireland's high kings in the 4th to 5th centuries, and examine the Stone of Destiny, which stands upon an ancient earthwork enclosure where, according to legend, the ancient kings of Ireland were once crowned. Although only 90m high, the Hill of Tara offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
Don’t miss exploring the ruins of the nearby 12th century Trim Castle: set on the shores of the River Boyne, it was once the largest Norman castle in Europe and Ireland's largest castle.