Dublin is one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations and with good reason. The Irish capital is home to one-third of the country’s population – experience Dublin and you’ll understand what it means to live and breathe Irish. But Dublin also offers great shopping, museums, theatres, parks, historical sites, trendy restaurants and cafes, and some of the best pubs and bars in Europe, which have helped the city earn the reputation of being the party capital of Europe.
Most of Dublin’s major attractions are found in the compact areas on either sides of the River Liffey, which divides the city into the north and south. The north is seen as the blue-collar district while the south is seen as the wealthier part of town. The important sites of Dublin are mainly museums, churches, and castles. The National Museum of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland are both worthwhile. The former is a display of Ireland’s art, natural history, and material culture. It is a national repository of archaeological objects including artifacts and objects from the Bronze Age to the medieval era. The latter is a collection of European art, including some of the best Irish paintings and artwork. The works of many famous artists are on display, including Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, Augustus Burke, Sara Purser, Yeats, Picasso, Degas, Whistler, and Monet. The Dublin Castle is another must – it was the royal residence of the officials and representatives of the British government who ruled over Ireland until 1922. The Christ Church Cathedral, built in 1038, is also worth checking out and has the largest cathedral crypt in Britain or Ireland – one that predates the church itself.
Beer lovers should tour the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin’s most popular attraction. It is an exhibition dedicated to the famous Guinness drink. There is a bar at the top of the Storehouse that has panoramic views of the city. Dublin is also home to some of the best bars, pubs, and clubs anywhere. The city is littered with them. The largest concentration is in Temple Bar, where you’ll also find lively places to eat, shop, and groove to the vibrations of music (even traditional folk music) at bars and clubs. The shopping in Dublin is also first-rate, but expensive like most European cities. Grafton Street is the city’s most luxurious shopping area and also where you’ll find the famous department store, Brown Thomas. The Powerscourt Center is located near here and is a shopping center set in an 18th century town house. There are other shopping areas like Henry Street in the city center, the Dundrum Town Center, and the Market Arcade. Tourist shops can also be found along Nassau Street around Trinity College.