A universally common thing to do when visiting any capital city is to visit the well-publicized tourist attractions, but have you ever thought of visiting some of the lesser-known sites? These can quite often give you more of a feel of what the city is about and no doubt will not be as busy. Have a look at our brief guide for some new suggestions…
South Wall and Poolbeg Lighthouse
Once upon a time, the South Wall at Dublin Bay was the longest sea wall in existence. The building of the 4-mile wall dates back to the 1700′s when it was decided that something had to be done about the problem of silting in Dublin Bay. Over the years various stages of the wall were under construction and finally in 1761 work commenced on a stone pier stretching from Poolbeg Lighthouse to the shore.
Poolbeg Lighthouse is certainly a sight to behold on any day of the week. Having a lighthouse on the site dates back to 1768, but this current structure actually dates from 1820. One of 3 lighthouses in the vicinity, this one sits on the end of the South Wall.
If you would like further information view the Great South Wall on Wikipedia.
Historic Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin owes its existence to Daniel O’Connell (famous politician of the 1800′s). Prospect Cemetery as it was originally called started with just 9 acres of land, today the cemetery takes in 120 acres.
Along with some splendid examples of architecture, there are some beautiful statues of weeping angels, saints and even warriors.
Walking tours are available and these take in the graves of Ireland’s famous sons and daughters, for example, Daniel O’Connell, Eamonn DeValera, Countess Markieviecz, Maud Gonne MacBride and Michael Collins.
To find out more about Glasnevin Cemetery website.
Blessington Street Basin
This park is near the Mater hospital, between Royal Canal Bank and Berkeley Street. A haven of peace and tranquillity, it is hard to believe you are amidst the hustle and bustle of our busy capital.
In the park there is a playground, a shelter, walkways, varieties of flowers and plants and you may be lucky to stumble across a band performance.
Please check Dublin City Council website for more.
St. Michan’s Church
St. Michan’s Church dates back to 1095. Handel’s “Messiah” was first performed in this church. However it would seem the main attraction with this church are its vaults. Here you will see mummified bodies, a result of limestone walls and methane gas rising from the ground.
It is thought that Bram Stoker got his inspiration for “Dracula” after a visit to the vaults.
For further information, please check the Dublin Tourist website.
This castle dates back to the 12th century and has a bit of a chequered history being the home of the Archbishop of Dublin and also its great hall being the venue for Parliament.
Remaining today is a gatehouse, a chapel, banqueting hall, apartments for the knights, 2 large towers and of course the Archbishops quarters.
Find out more about the castle at the tourism information centre on site or have a look at the Swords History website.
Howth and Ireland’s Eye
The fishing village of Howth is approximately 10 miles from Dublin city. Looking out on Dublin Bay, this is a marvellous picture postcard, with its beaches, lighthouses, walkways, piers and Martello towers.
Casting your eyes north of Howth Harbour, you will spot Ireland’s Eye in the distance. This island is uninhabited, but tourist boats make regular trips across. Once on the island, you will come across a Martello tower, and also the ruins of an 8th century church. A haven for seabirds, keep a look out for gannets, guillemots, cormorants and the odd puffin or two!
St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral
Building of this church dates back to 1815. It is the centre of the Catholic Church in Dublin. Situated on Marlborough Street, Dublin, St. Mary’s appears to be modelled on French churches of the day.
A must see and hear is to attend Mass with the Palestrina choir.
If you would like to know more about St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, please take a look at the Pro-Cathedral website
Royal Canal Way
What could be nicer than a walk along the Royal Canal Way? Not suggesting that you walk all 146km, but maybe take in a section that will bring you past Croke Park, or the Lockkeeper’s cottage, the O’Connell monument in Glasnevin Cemetery or perhaps just sit on the bench alongside the statue of Brendan Behan and watch the world go by!
If you would like further information please have a look at the Royal Canal website.
Mount Jerome Cemetery
Mount Jerome Cemetery, also known as Harold’s Cross Cemetery, Dublin, is a Victorian cemetery set on 47 acres of land. Carved headstones, statues, weeping angels, vaults, Egyptian-style tombs and even a statue of a pining dog are a brief taster of what you will find in this cemetery.
Famous people interred here include, J. M. Synge, Thomas Davis and Jack B. Yeats.
For more information, please see Mount Jerome Cemetery information on Wikipedia.
Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church
One thing is certain, this church was a very popular spot on St. Valentine’s day. Couples of all ages visit the church most especially on this day as it has a shrine dedicated to St. Valentine and is also privileged to hold the relics of the martyred saint.
A special service is held on St. Valentine’s day where rings of couples intending to wed are blessed.
If you can steal your eyes away from St. Valentine’s shrine, have a look at the splendid wooden statue of the Blessed Virgin.
For more information please see Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church on Wikipedia.
So that’s about it for a very brief look at lesser known attractions in Dublin.
If we have tempted you to have a more in-depth look, why not see what our Dublin hotels have to offer.
Have we missed anything out in our article? If you think so, why not drop us a comment in our reply box below, we would love to hear of any other ideas for lesser-known sites in the capital.