Overview: Following the sweep of the river Liffey through the heart of Dublin, this photographer's tour covers the oldest settlements in Dublin,... more »
Following the sweep of the river Liffey through the heart of Dublin, this photographer's tour covers the oldest settlements in Dublin,... more » takes in the turbulent history of the state, and ends where all Irish people end, with a good celebration of ceol agus craic.
Along the way, it visits both the well-recorded, and lesser known treasures of this part of Dublin with ample opportunity for originality, and lessons from the masters.
There's plenty to distract along the way, if that's what you'd like, with some of the best food and drink the capital has to offer. less «
Bring a camera, and something to protect your equipment from the probable rain.
A rain jacket for yourself is usually a good idea... more » too, but be prepared to carry it should the sun come blazing out!
While there's plenty of choice for getting food and drink, this walk covers some of Dublin's best, and best kept secret picnic sites too, so no harm bringing some food along with you. less «
Founded in 1028, Christchurch Cathedral is the oldest structure in Dublin, and makes for an eminent start to the photography tour.
The cathedral is full of treasure, some historical, some fiscal, and some greatly unexpected. Near the entrance is the tomb of Strongbow, the Norman leader who captured Dublin in 1170. William of Orange, following... More his win at the Battle of Boyne, shared some of the spoils of victory with the cathedral. In one of the chapels, an iron box is mounted on the wall, and up until very recently, it held the preserved heart of St Laurence O’Toole, patron saint of Dublin. There’s no sign of it being returned yet, but it is thought it was stolen by a gang suspected of involvement in the highly lucrative theft of rhinoceros horn, which is sold in powdered form as a traditional medicine.
It’s worth looking down as well as up. The cathedral is paved with the original 13th century ornate floor tiles, and if you look through the glass in the floor, you can see its 11th century foundations. Beloved of generations of schoolchildren, make sure you see the famed cat and mouse...
There are regular choral and spoken services held here. The acclaimed choir is worth hearing, as are the bells, thought to be the world’s largest full-circle peal. Some of the bells ringing out today were cast in 1670. In fact, the cathedral probably had at least one ringing bell from its foundations, so has been calling out to its parishioners for nearly 1,000 years.
Admission to Cathedral (additional fees for performances)
Tel: +353 (0)1 6778099
The cathedral’s choir took part in the first performance of Handel’s Messiah, the location of which can be seen if you continue down St Michael’s hill, and under the arch, continuing to Fishamble Street, the oldest in the city.
The Chorus Cafe is a great place to stop for refreshment, and time to appreciate the new Dublin City Council building,... More controversially built on the first landing site of the Vikings. If you keep an eye out on the pavement, bronze slabs indicate the locations of artifacts found. And look up for a fine view of the sweep of the River Liffey.Less
Entering Temple Bar at Cow’s Lane, you pass the Smock Alley Theatre with a burst of stars in the outside display of the constellations. The Smock Alley was the first Theatre Royal built in Dublin. It was opened in 1662 as part of the Restoration of the British monarchy, and its original walls remain, along with ornate stained glass windows and... More the original ceiling plasterwork. It was the first custom-built theatre in the city and still remains in substantially the same form, making it one of the most important sites in European theatre history.
Directly opposite is the aptly named Gutter Bookshop, taken from Oscar Wilde’s quote: "We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."
In the environ of Cows Lane are signs of the re-invigoration of Dublin’s lively arts scene; Exchange Dublin, Cow’s Lane Designer Studio, and if you wish to seek it out, a continually evolving installation documenting the recent appalling history of child abuse in Ireland.
Every Saturday, the Cow’s Lane Market takes place out in the fresh air, showcasing some of the best of Ireland’s modern fashion and design.Less
At the top of Cow’s Lane, we join Dame Street, and look out onto City Hall. A notable example of 18th century architecture, it is now a civic building, housing Dublin City Council meetings. There are few opportunities to get involved in the Hall, but there is an exhibition on the history of Dublin City in the vaults called “Dublin City Hall, the ... MoreStory of the Capital”.
Next door, between the old civic building, and the garish new council building, above the door of the Guard Room at Dublin castle, there is a discrete commemorative plaque in memory of three volunteers of the IRA. Peadar Clancy was a member of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) who served in the Four Courts garrison during the 1916 Easter Rising and was second-in-command of the Dublin Brigade, IRA during the War of Independence. Along with Dick McKee and Conor Clune, he was murdered by his captors in Dublin Castle on Sunday, 21 November 1920, a day known as Bloody Sunday that also saw the killing of a network of British spies by the "Squad" unit of the Irish Republican Army and the killing of 14 people in Croke Park by British forces.
Across the road is the glass canopy, ornamental pillar and wrought iron scrollwork of the Olympia Theatre. Known as The Star of Erin when it was opened in 1878, it recalls the glory days of Victorian Music Hall. Over its formative years, many world famous names have appeared on its stage, Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, Tyrone Power, Noel Coward, Alec Guinness, Dame Edith Evans, Marcel Marceau. A relatively small theatre, its capacity 1300 visitors have more recently enjoyed performances as diverse as Loudain Wainright III, REM, Jedward, Snow Patrol, The Frames and many more. The elegant stage door at the side of the building can be an excellent place to spot the young fashions of eager music fans. If you’re in need of refreshments, Brogan’s Bar, Eddie Rockets, Crackbird, and Skinflint are all great choices, and only a stone’s throw away.
Opening hours for The Story of the Capital Exhibition:
Monday to Saturday 10am – 5.15pm
Last admission is 4pm
Admission Fees for the Story of the Capital exhibition
Adults: €4 (€3.60 if booked online)
Senior Citizens: €2 (On production of travel pass etc.)
Students: €2 (On production of student card)
Family Rate: €10 (for two adults and up to four children)
Group Rate: €3 (For groups of ten or more with advance booking)
For more information
Dublin City Hall
T. 222 2204
F. 222 2620
The shortest street in the city, Palace Street, houses the original location of The Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers Society, Dublin’s oldest surviving charity. At that time, there was no general policy of alleviating poverty in the city, and it fell to parishes, individuals and institutions to serve the poor with voluntary work. The founders of the... More Society included a draper, grocer, carpenter, stone-cutter, fruit man, pawnbroker, and schoolmaster. Its full title: the Charitable Society for the Relief of Sick and Indigent Roomkeepers of all Religious Persuasions in the City of Dublin.
Members paid a subscription of at least 2 pence per week, allowing them to recommend persons deserving of relief. “Those who had never begged abroad, industrious mechanics, and indigent roomkeepers who, above all others are the most pitiable objects of distress”.
At the heart of the city, Dublin Castle has played a role in every, often bloody, major Irish event. In 1204, it was built within the grounds of Dyflinn, an existing Viking settlement. Deceptively, this isn’t where the city gets its name, but the answer does lie within the grounds. The Dubhlinn gardens are built on Dubh Linn, a “black pool.”
... More Upon establishment of the Irish Free State in 1922, the complex was ceremoniously handed over to the provisional government led by Michael Collins. Previously, it was the seat of British rule in Ireland. Subsequently, it is used to celebrate the inauguration of Irish president’s, and hosting state visits.
Within the grounds is the Record Tower, the sole surviving tower of the medieval castle dating from 1228. To its left is the Chapel Royal, ripe for photography with its carvings of saints over the entrance doors. Across the car park sits rather disingenuously the site of the Ireland’s recent, expensive, tribunals, examining corruption in public life. Their juxtaposition make for a startling, striking view. The Couch House, Bedford Tower, State Apartments, Dubhlinn gardens, and Garda Memorial Garden are well worth investigating, and include some of Dublin’s hidden treasures. Not however, the Irish Crown Jewels, which were stolen from this site in 1907. This crime has never been solved, other than in fiction by Sherlock Holmes in “The Adventure of the Bruce-Partington Plans.”
Access to The State Apartments and Medieval Undercroft is by guided tour only. The State Apartments are wheelchair accessible, however, the Medieval Undercroft is only accessible by stairs.
Groups of 10 or more must be booked in advance.
Foreign language tours may be available on request.
Information leaflets are available in the following languages: English, Irish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Polish, Greek, Chinese and Japanese.
Students (valid ID required)/Seniors: €3.50
Children: 12 and under: €2.00, 6 and under: Free
Group rate available on request
Guided Tours of the State Apartments and Medieval Undercroft
Sunday and Public Holidays, Noon-4.45pm
Closed Good Friday, 24th-28th December, 1st January
Tel: 00 353 1 645 8813
Worthy of its own entry is the Chester Beatty Library. While cameras are off limits once you walk up the stairs, the magnificent foyer alone is worth the visit. While no food or drinks are allowed on the roof garden, your camera can return. After a long afternoon, it is a great space to clear your head, and get some fresh air. Windows break... More through the trellis in places to allow views of Dublin Castle, and the city skyline. You may be able to hear the competing bells of the nearby St Patricks and Christchurch cathedrals.
The library’s collections include manuscripts, prints, icons, miniature paintings, early printed books and objects d’art from countries across Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The Silk Road cafe also serves delicious food, in one of the more peaceful, yet opulent venues in the city.
May-September: Mon-Fri 10am-5pm
October-April: Tues-Fri 10am-5pm
Closed Good Friday, 24th-26th December, 1st January and Monday public holidays
Tel: +353 1 407 0750
Exiting Dublin Castle by the same entrance, cross Dame Street, and continue into the heart of Temple Bar. Your first port of call is Temple Bar Square. During the summer, this square hosts free open-air film screenings. At weekends, the Temple Bar Food Market is hosted here, offering the best in Irish, and more exotic fares. Mainly organic, all... More delicious.
More relevantly, the square is cornered by the Gallery of Photography, the Photographic Archive and the Irish Film Institute.
The Gallery of Photography stages exhibitions with many of the major names in contemporary photography. A purpose built space, it also houses fully fitted darkrooms and digital imaging facilities. It hosts a range of photography courses, and its bookshop stocks a wide range of photographic publications, hard to find editions and a selection of unusual postcards.
The Photography Archive, while situated in Temple Bar, is part of the National Library of Ireland, and houses a regular programme of exhibitions based on the Library’s photographic collections and a reading room. The National Library's photographic collections comprise approximately 630,000 photographs, the vast majority of which are Irish. While most of the collections are historical there are some contemporary collections. The Reading Room of the Archive is open to by appointment only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings between 10am and 1pm. You must hold a valid reader’s ticket to access this reading room. They’re available free of charge to anyone over the age of 16, with the production of photographic id from the Reading Room at the National Library of Ireland on Kildare Street.
Finally, the Irish Film Institute aims to exhibit, preserve, and educate. It showcases the best of international, and Irish films, and often hosts curated seasons. Quite often it shows films, that otherwise would not be seen in Ireland. It also acquires, preserves, and makes available amateur and professional films, ensuring their availability for future generations.
The Gallery of Photography
Admission is free, and it is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 11am – 6pm, and Sundays 1-6pm.
National Photographic Archive
Mon - Sat: 10am - 4.45pm
Sunday: 12pm - 4.45pm
NPA Reading Room
Access by prior appointment only; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for appointment.
Tues-Thurs: 10am - 1pm
Irish Film Institute
Open daily, film listings can be found on their website, www.ifi.ie
Lunch: Everyday 12.30pm-5.00pm
Dinner: Everyday 5.00pm-9.30pm
A cliché perhaps, but every photographer visiting Dublin should take the prerequisite photo of the Temple Bar itself, a bar named after its locality, rather than the other way round.
The Rock and Roll Wall of Fame at the Button Factory is worth a look, especially to test how many of these local icons you can name.
The Temple Bar Book ... MoreMarket is held on Saturdays and Sundays in Temple Bar Square, but there are many more activities, so it's worth checking in with The Culture Box. It’s worth a visit day or night, and is always a lively scene of revellers, both local and overseas. There’s usually a band busking, and there’s always a party atmosphere; albeit less fraught with tension, and more family-friendly than the height of its hen/stag party days.
A quick nip down Merchants Arch takes you to the Ha’Penny Bridge. From here, Dublin city is spread out before you; the diversity of O’Connell Bridge, the Millenium Bridge, and Sean O’Casey’s. The Four Courts, the Custom House, and the new conference centre all come into view, one of the finest in the country.Less