Dublin Days: Beyond the Guinness storehouse

Author: Meg Morrison '13

Meg Morrison

For those of you lucky enough to score tickets to the Dublin game, I hope you left plenty of time for exploring the city and surrounding area. Here are my must-sees:

Kilmainham Gaol: Perhaps the most chilling site in Dublin, this former prison housed the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising before they were executed in the yard, marking a turning point in public sentiment regarding Irish republicanism. Get a taste of Irish history and pre-reform prison life on the guided tour. It’s often cold inside, so bring a jacket. Adults, €6; students with ID, €2.

Trinity College: The Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript produced by Celtic monks around 800, might be a little overrated, but you might as well see it while you’re there—the stunning Long Room of the Old Library, filled with 200,000 books, is probably worth the price of admission. If you can convince a Trinity student to get you in for free with his or her ID, even better. Feel free to wander the campus grounds and grab a cup of tea or coffee from the cafe inside the Arts Block by the Nassau St. entrance. €8 admission to the Book of Kells.

O’Connell Street: Dublin’s main thoroughfare, historic O’Connell Street is home to the General Post Office, which served as the headquarters for the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising and now contains one of the original copies of the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. Keep walking and you’ll see the Spire, the world’s tallest sculpture, as well as statues of esteemed figures such as Daniel O’Connell and Charles Stewart Parnell. Free.

Merrion Square Park and St. Stephen’s Green: Grab a picnic lunch from Tesco and enjoy it in either of these lush city centre parks. Lounge with the statue of Oscar Wilde for a fun photo op in Merrion Square Park or check out the busts and memorials commemorating various historical figures and events in St. Stephen’s Green. The flower gardens in Merrion Square Park are especially lovely this time of year. Free.

National Museum of Ireland- Archaeology: Two words: bog bodies. Discovered in 2003 after more than 2,000 years hidden in Irish bogs, Clonycavan Man and Old Croghan Man are so well preserved that Clonycavan Man’s hair still holds traces of gel. Other treasures include medieval Celtic metalwork such as the famed Tara Brooch and Ardagh Chalice. Free.

Howth: On a rare sunny day, there’s nothing more refreshing than a trip to nearby Howth and a hike on Howth Head. Surrounded by the blue-gray Irish Sea and fields of green grass and gold and lavender flowers, this is one place you’ll definitely need your camera. Take your pick of the trails and stop for a bite to eat in one of the cafes in town when you’re done. DART return ticket, €4.70.

Dun Laoghaire: Escape the city crowds in this nearby seaside town. Stroll down the east pier, at the end of which a plaque marks where playwright Samuel Beckett had an artistic epiphany alluded to in Krapp’s Last Tape. Walk to nearby Sandycove to see the James Joyce Tower and Museum, housed in the Martello tower immortalized in the opening scene of Ulysses. DART return ticket, €4.70. Museum admission, €6 for adults and €5 for students with ID.

Meg Morrison ‘13 spent her junior year at Trinity College Dublin through Notre Dame’s Office of International Studies Dublin program. She is the magazine’s summer and fall intern. Contact her at mmorri12@nd.edu