A crucially important site for the history of Ireland, especially since 1204 when the castle was built. From 1204 until 1922, it was the centre of British rule in Ireland and had therefore a reputation of oppression and violence. Since the keys of the castle were metaphorically AND literally handed off to the Irish in 1922, it has experienced a complete change in the minds of the Irish people. The Irish President is inaugurated here, dignitaries are welcomed and referendum results are announced here, making it into a place where, although history is still being made, the changes are positive and are creating a better Ireland.
We will not be venturing inside, but thankfully we are free to explore the grounds – the lower and upper courtyards and the Dubh Linn gardens – which is fully satisfying.
Although a wooden church was built here in ca. 1030, and there was likely a pagan shrine before that, Christchurch as a stone structure began in the 1180s and has been restored and changed numerous times since. The neo-gothic architecture makes Christchurch, arguably, Dublin’s most beautiful complex. The vast crypt underneath the cathedral deserves particular attention for its size, interesting curious and the fact that it hosted a pub, distillery and… brothel (!) in the 18th century.
Started in 1592 as a university only for Protestants, Trinity remained an institution of resentment for Ireland’s Catholic majority up until at least 1970. Throughout the centuries, this fine university nurtured such aspiring students as Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker and Samuel Beckett, the greatest playwright of the 20th century.
A remarkable building that really gives you a sense of how wealthy Dublin was at the end of the 18th century. Often there are events taking place inside, which would preclude us from entering, but if there are not we can explore the fantastic frescoes and gold-leaf design on the rotunda.
The Ha’Penny Bridge
Built in 1816, the beautiful white cast iron bridge straddles the River Liffey. It serves as the gateway to the charming Temple Bar quarter with its narrow cobbled streets. We’ll cross over it to look up and down the river. On the north side, there’s a great opportunity for a photo.
Daniel O’Connell Statue (O’Connell St)
Daniel O’Connell was arguably the first man to prove to the masses that civil disobedience and peaceful resistance could be effective. A huge hero for Irish people, having secured Catholic Emancipation, he’s nick-named ‘The Liberator’ and the main street of our capital city is justifiably named after him.
We’ll explore the intricate notes of symbolism on this brilliant monument.
Old Parliament Building
Dublin was the 2nd city of the British Empire in the 18th century, and we have the subtle patriotism of the Irish-born politicians of the institution to thank. Today, Dublin’s architectural landscape is ornamented by an abundance of buildings from this period, making it look much older than Paris and London. What is now known as ‘The Bank of Ireland building’ was grand enough to serve as the architectural inspiration for the monumental British Museum in London.
This building is located in College Green, which could be regarded as the centre of the city. The entrance to Trinity College is adjacent as is famous Grafton Street.
Dublin’s heyday was from 1729 to 1800, which roughly coincides with the reign of Kings George I to III. In the subsequent 19th century, however, money and influence abandoned Dublin. As a result, instead of constructing new buildings, the cash-strapped populace resorted to maintaining many of the fine Georgian buildings. Thanks to these circumstances, Dublin today is architecturally older than London.
Georgian architecture is characterised by symmetry, elegance and restraint (in contrast to Baroque or Rococo). The state buildings normally have neoclassical elements such as columns whereas the residential buildings have red-brick facades with famously colourful doors to distinguish them from each other.
Find out how it came into existence and discuss the potential for it to dissolve and result in a united Ireland. We’ll be chatting about this when we’re inside siting down during one of our breaks.
The Irish Language
If the English language is a language of prose, then the Irish language is a language of poetry. An incredibly fascinating language – you’ll learn how to say ‘cheers’ in Irish. And hopefully get to properly practice it too, should we stop by a pub. Regardless, we’ll be chatting about this when we’re inside sitting down during one of our breaks.