Walk 5: Dublin City Centre Walk

The ‘Needs to Know’

Distance: As long as you like! The whole walk’s probably about 6 miles, but you can dip in & out over several days

Time to walk: Lots to see & do so just take your time

Difficulty: All on road & generally flat

Parking: City centre parking, but use the Park & Rides, or the DART railway.

Public toilets: Pubs, cafes etc

Map of the route: 

Map of central Dublin

Map of central Dublin

We visited Dublin for a couple of days in early December 2013 as part of a Northampton Saints v Leinster rugby weekend.

Here we are at the fantastic Aviva Stadium…

Having not been there for approximately 25 years, the city has certainly changed & is still recovering from the financial crisis it endured as part of the Celtic Tiger crash.

Dublin is a fast-paced city, but compact enough to see everything on foot, from the galleries & famous buildings to taking in the local bars, music & literary links.

When we visited we attempted to cover the city centre only & did this over two separate days, mainly because on the first we got drenched! You can see the difference in the photos throughout. Therefore such attractions as The Guinness Storehouse & Croke Park aren’t covered. Because there’s so much to see & our time restrictions, this walk only touches the surface, but it does give you a flavour of this fantastic (& very, very expensive!!) city.

We’ve also started this walk from the hotel/pub that we stayed in, but you can start from any point en route.

Right…there’s a lot to cover so let’s get moving!

1. We stayed on the south bank of the River Liffey in a great pub/hotel called The Ferryman, which is about 20 minutes walk into the city centre.

Opposite the hotel is one of Dublin’s new bridges, The Samuel Beckett Bridge

We cross the bridge & head towards the North Bank. On the right hand side is the new O2  complex which is even more impressive at night than during the day…

2. So after crossing the bridge we turn left & follow the Liffey along Custom House Quay, being careful not to bash one’s shins on a tow bar…….ouch!!

The first thing we can see down here on the river is a replica of the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship which took people across the Atlantic to North America in search of a brave new world between 1847 – 1855

…across the river is a great view of the new Dublin skyline…the Allied Irish Bank buildings

3. Dublin has a wealth of fantastic statues, one of which here is a memorial to the Dublin famine. There’s perhaps an added poignancy with these life-size bronze statues who appear to be walking past the gleaming new bank buildings

If you get time have a walk along the south bank as opposite is a statue known as the ‘Linesman’. How brilliant is this?

23302295-the-linesman-statue-at-the-bank-of-liffey-dublin-irelandartist-dony-macmanus

4. Now back to the North side & we come to the Custom House

…the property was built in 1791 by James Gandon. Never one to waste a building there’s some great ‘solidarity’ use of a building

5. We now come to the crossroads of O’Connell Street, one of the main thoroughfares of the city. We’re going to head up the right side & back down the left. At the bottom end of the street near the bridge is The O’Connell Monument

Try & spot the bullet hole in the breast of the Winged Victory.

6. What’s hard not to miss ahead is the Spire of Dublin which was built in 2003 on the old site of Nelson’s Pillar. Standing at 120m (394ft) a time capsule is planted beneath it. The photo below was taken beneath threatening skies…

What’s no longer in this area is another famous Dublin statue known fondly by the locals as ‘The floozie in the jacuzzi’

To make way for the Spire she’s now been moved to the Memorial Park..in our opinion a great shame

7. We continue further up O’Connell Street & on the right in Earl Street North where there’s a great little statue of James Joyce, an Irish novelist and poet, considered to be one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. Joyce is best known for Ulysees (1922).

8. There’s some more statues further up the street, but we’re now heading to the other side of O’Connell Street & back down towards the river & enter the wooden boardwalk that let’s us walk along the river.

On the right hand side are two great & colourful Dublin pubs…O’Connells & Batchelor Inn

9. We continue along the river & come to one of Dublin’s most famous landmarks…Ha’penny Bridge

The cast iron footbridge connects Merchants’ Arch to Liffey Street & was built in 1816. The name refers to the toll that was once charged for crossing.

There’s a number of love locks on the bridge…

10. Across the bridge we pass under the iconic Merchants’ Arch & enter the popular Temple Bar area, home to Dublin’s entertainment & cultural quarter

At night the area throbs with live music. It’s very much a tourist trap though & the prices area generally higher than in bars on the outskirts. The most popular & famous pub is The Temple Bar

11. Now we turn back & head east along Temple Bar before joining Dane Street & heading towards Trinity College. Brave the traffic & have a look at the statues in the water in the middle of the road.

At the end of the road is Trinity College

12. Pass through the gates & into the tranquility of the University grounds

We enter Fellowes Square & head for the Book of Kells Exhibition in the Old Library. We didn’t have time to visit so have attached some links.

The 9th century Book of Kells is Trinity’s most valuable possession. The ornate text contains the four Gospels & is one of the finest medieval manuscripts in the world.

It’s also worth visiting the amazing Long Room in the Library

13. Come back out of the College grounds & turn left. Across the road is another of Dublin’s famous statues, Molly Malone or, as the locals call her….The Tart with the Cart!

14. Turn left down the left hand side of the College into Nassau Street. At the traffic lights we into Clare Street & stop outside The National Gallery of Ireland…the weather now was foul!

15. Back over the road it’s worth taking a peek inside Merrion Square Park. There’s a fantastic sculpture of Oscar Wilde here reclining on a 35 tonne quartz rock.

16. Also in the gardens is the memorial & eternal flame. Unfortunately the weather so bad it was hard to get decent photos so we’ve included a web night time picture

Night

17. Before we leave Merrion Square it’s worth having a quick walk round it as it’s the heart of Georgian Dublin. We could have taken lots of photos of the colourful doors

18. Back out of the park & over the other side are two of the most important buildings in Dublin…

Firstly Leinster House where the National Parliament of Ireland sits…

…& the Government Buildings

19. Now it’s time for us to head back into the city so at the traffic lights turn right into Merrion Row. We had difficulty standing up in the gales & rain!

O’Donohue’s Pub on the left was where one of Ireland’s most famous groups was formed…The Dubliners

Further down on the right is a tiny cemetery which dates back to 1693. Thousands of Huguenot Protestants fled from Roman Catholic France in the 17th century & settled in Dublin

20. Back over the road is St Stephen’s Green, a 22 acre park surrounded by some old buildings. Unfortunately as the weather was now so bad we kept moving & turned right down Kildare Street.

On the right is the entrance to the National Museum of Ireland

…& next door is another view of Leinster House & the National Library of Ireland

21. We’re now walking round the block & turn left down Molesworth Street & carry on turning left into Dawson Street. Have a look at St Ann’s Church which dates back to 1707

Almost next door is the Mansion House, the residence & offices of the Lord Mayor of Dublin

22. There’s a couple of other interesting places along this street…

Bellini anyone?

Bellini anyone?

…& over the road the Celtic Whiskey Shop

23. At the top of the street turn right & then right again down Dublin’s main shopping street…Grafton Street

Enjoy the sights & sounds

Enjoy the sights & sounds

24. A little further down the street on the left is a small left turn into Harry Street where there’s a fabulous statue of one of our musical heroes…Phil Lynott

Here’s a clip of the fantastic Thin Lizzy in action…click here

These days we can also recommend Limehouse Lizzy who really keep the memory of Phil Lynott alive. Click here to view them in action

25. Further down Grafton Street we come across another of Dublin’s institutions…Bewley’s Cafe

Unfortunately the queues were too long today…

26. Just past Bewley’s we turn left down Johnson’s Court & keep heading straight on & into the Powerscourt Shopping Centre

Go into the middle of the centre which was once the gardens of an 18th century mansion called Powerscourt House

27. Come back out of the centre & turn left & then left again into Wicklow Street & then left again into William Street. Now we cross over & down the alleyway into the Covered Market

28. After a coffee we come out of the back of the market & turn right, walking along to Dame Street where we turn left & arrive at City Hall

Originally the Royal Exchange, City Hall is a civic building built between 1769 and 1779 to the designs of architect Thomas Cooley and is a notable example of 18th-century architecture in the city.

29. To finish this walk we head up the side of City Hall through the archway into the Upper Courtyard of Dublin Castle

Until 1922 this was the seat of British rule in Ireland, and is now a major Irish government complex. Most of it dates from the 18th century, though a castle has stood on the site since the days of King John, the first Lord of Ireland

So that’s where our mini tour of Dublin ends. As we said we did it over two very different days & there’s lots of other places we haven’t touched.

Our overall view of the city…walkable, friendly, great pubs & music, superb food (Dublin Bay prawns & Irish Stew), but bring plenty of Euros!!!

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