A trip to Dublin's most popular tourist attraction is pretty much compulsory for any self-respecting tourist in Ireland's capital. Or, at the very least, it should be.
The Guinness Storehouse tells the story of how Guinness is made and how this famous drink came to be one of Ireland's best-known exports.
It is in an awesome building: its core is in the shape of a giant pint glass, and consists of seven floors. After walking around for about 45 minutes and being constantly told how wonderful Guinness is, pretty soon, the subliminal messages start to kick in.
Before you know it, you find yourself craving a pint of the black, delicious stuff, like your life depended on it, even if you were previously not a fan. (It is, after all, an acquired taste.)
The top floor, which has the Gravity Bar, is the most fun. There you get a complimentary pint of Guinness. You also get the most spectacular view of Dublin, which is worth the admission price alone.
7. Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College is Ireland's most prestigious college- and although its rivals at University College Dublin might dispute this, it's probably the best university in Ireland.
But one thing not up for argument is the magnificent setting of Trinity: many of its majestic buildings are hundreds of years old. (The college was founded by England's Queen Elizabeth 1 in 1592.) Architecturally at least, Trinity is way above its nearest rivals.
Although the college is best known for the Book of Kells, it's also worth going there to check out the Long Room, the room that holds the Book of Kells. (Apparently, this room was the inspiration for a room called the Jedi Archives, in the movie, “Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones.”)
It is also worth taking one of the guided tours around the college as nearly every building seems to have an interesting story. Many of the tour guides appear to be Trinity College drama school graduates: They always seem to add a little dramatic flair to their tours.
The best time of the year to visit this university is around the end of May, just after the students' exams are over. Then the whole college comes to life.
A popular activity among its students is to sit out outside the Pavilion Bar (known as "The Pav"), while watching a game of cricket. Join them and bring a few beers, if you get the chance.
8. The Burren
The Burren, which is formed by limestone karst plates that have been thrust to the earth’s surface - in other words, it's a great big rocky mass - is one of Ireland’s most famous natural attractions.
The limestone terrain holds a special fascination for geologists and botanists for its Mediterranean and alpine plants.
Described as a botanist's paradise, the Burren has one of the most diverse and beautiful floras in Ireland: 635 different plant species (including 22 of Ireland's 27 native orchids) have been recorded here.
The region also has a number of more rare and elusive species such as the carnivorous pine marten, the snake-like slow worm and the rare lesser horseshoe bat, as well as over 100 breeding birds and almost all of Ireland's native butterfly species.
The diversity of species is due to a happy coincidence of natural and cultural factors. As well as the unique growing environment provided by the thick limestone and thins soil, low impact traditional farming practices such as the ancient practice of winter grazing contribute to the presence of this rich flora. The European Union has designated most of the Burren as a Special Area of Conservation, a title reserved for the finest natural environments in Europe.
9. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
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.
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