St. Patrick's Cathedral, Ireland’s largest church, is also one of the biggest tourist attractions in Dublin.
In a well close to the cathedral, St Patrick was believed to have baptized converts from paganism to Christianity. To commemorate his visit, a small wooden church was built on the site. Later, in 1191, the present building was constructed, and St. Patrick's was raised to the status of a cathedral.
St Patrick's is also notable for being the first place where Handel's “Messiah” was performed, in 1742. Another interesting fact: Jonathan Swift, the author of “Gulliver’s Travels,” who was the dean of the cathedral from 1713-45, is buried here.
While this cathedral is replete with history, St. Patrick's is not, however, a museum. It's still very much a living building with services held every day of the year. There are also sung services six days a week. The choir sings two services every day during school terms - the only cathedral in Ireland or Britain to do so.
Croke Park is the stadium where Ireland's two national sports, hurling and Gaelic football, are played. It is also the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), the sporting body responsible for these national games.
It is hard to belive that Croke Park is primarily designed for amateur sports - with a capacity of aroound 80,000, it is the fouth largest stadium in Europe.
But it's much more than merely a stadium: it has been described as the spiritual home of Irish cultural nationalism. Hurlers and Gaelic footballers - and indeed their fans - speak of Croke Park as if it were sacred ground.
"Croker" is something of a hidden secret for tourists. If you can get a tickets, the chances are that you will be one of the few tourists there. The best time to get tickets is usually around May at the start of the season. To go and see a game of either hurling or football at Croke Park is to sample a unique slice of Irish life.
While you're there, visit the GAA museum and go on a tour of the grand stadium.
*Originally published in 2014