You walk through the brick gate built in the 13th century, and the first sight you see is the hulking circular tower. Once prisoners' quarters, the tower now includes huge chandeliers, brass work and elaborate carpeting. State Apartments are contained at the site of the medieval fortress, and state functions are frequently held here. The opulent interior is in striking opposition to the medieval-style exterior. You can take guided tours of the State Apartments as well as the gothic revival Chapel Royal and the lower-ground-floor Undercroft, where boats once brought provisions through an archway.
The magnificent Four Courts were built between 1786 and 1802, but they were tragically damaged in the Irish Civil War in 1922. Now restored, the courts have elaborate Corinthian columns and a beautiful massive dome. Four statues stand outside representing Moses, Justice, Mercy, Authority and Wisdom. The original courts of Common Pleas, Chancery, Exchequer, and King's Bench have now been replaced by the High Court, Supreme Court, and the district courts. The exterior is the most interesting part of the building. BUS: 25, 68, 78, 79, 151, 172. LUAS: Four Courts.
One of Ireland's top attractions is the \"Book of Kells\", which is housed at Trinity College Old Library. The book, dating from around 800 AD, is considered by many to be the most beautifully illustrated book ever created. Elaborate portraits and calligraphy decorate the four Gospels. The display allows visitors to learn about the creation of the book before seeing several pages of it displayed under glass. The Long Room, which houses 200,000 early books, is also a must see. The Long Room also contains marble busts of some of the world's greatest thinkers that overlook early work by Copernicus, Martin Luther and more.
In this cemetery are the graves of many men and women who have paved the way through Irish history. The cemetery was founded in 1832 and covers 124 acres of land. Before it was built, there were no cemeteries for Irish Catholics due to the penal laws. Former Irish presidents rest here, as well as writers Gerard Manley Hopkins and Christy Brown. All have made an impact in some way on Irish life, including those who were simply ordinary citizens. There are tours on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 2.30pm. BUS: 19, 19A, 40, 40A, 40B, 40C
Situated right between Trinity College and verdant St. Stephen's Green is the Mansion House, the home of the Lord Mayor of Dublin. The house, built in 1705, exemplifies the neoclassic style that was popular at the time right before the Georgian architecture style began to dominate. Though tours aren't regularly available, the exterior and surrounding parks are the most impressive aspects of the home. On a historical note, the signings of the Irish Declaration of Independence (in 1919) and the Anglo-Irish truce (in 1921) took place inside these walls.
Originally the Parliament House, the Bank of Ireland adopted its present identity in 1808. The original House of Lords is still exquisitely decorated with tapestries, woodwork, and elaborate ceilings. The chandelier that adorns the House of Lords contains 1,233 pieces of Waterford crystal from 1785. BUS: 15A, B, C; 46, 55, 68, 86, 83
This remarkable building designed by renowned architect James Gandon sports a classical architectural style and was completed in 1791. With columns, pavilions, and a central dome, it has an elegant beauty that never fades. You can only admire the building from the exterior.
History buffs will be thrilled to get a firsthand look at the GPO, the headquarters of the Irish Volunteers in 1916 during the fight for independence known as the Easter Rising. Today, the huge landmark with its mammoth, bullet-riddled columns is a working post office. However, a plaque and statues, including the moving "Death of Cuchulainn," commemorate the building's important history.
This active theater, which frequently puts on elaborate productions of the plays that catapulted writers such as O'Casey and Behan to prominence, had its creative heyday under the direction of W.B. Yeats after it was founded in 1903 by Yeats and Lady Augusta Gregory. Its first productions began in 1904; the controversial works presented here incited riots in some theatergoers. The historic building has a remarkably plain exterior, but the ornate foyer and stairwell includes portraits of former actors and playwrights, as well as historic information.
This 12th century castle was home to the Talbot family for nearly eight centuries. The interior decor is reflective of Ireland's past, containing authentic period furniture, Irish portraits, and other works of art depicting Irish life through the ages. The table still stands where 14 members of the family dined together on the morning of the beginning of the Battle of Boyne; every one of them died in the battle that day.