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Dublin, Ireland.

Museums, Art and Genealogy

Bronze Age Gold, Picasso, Monet and Carravaggio, The Dead Animal Zoo, and your Family History, all for free.

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Length: 1.0 miles / 1.6 km
Family Friendly
Overview: This trail covers an area of about 1 mile in circumference, and you can mostly stay on the same footpath. This tour won't cost you a penny, because all the museums and art galleries mentioned along this route are free to enter.

You will see two great museums: one for Archaeology and one for Zoology and Geology, with lots of stuffed animals, bog bodies, and creepy crawlies. The kids will love it.

There is an Art Gallery with a workshop to keep the children occupied, a shop made famous in James Joyce's Ulysses and a few pubs along the way where you can stop and have a lunch or a refreshment. The pubs mentioned also have traditional Irish music sessions in the evening.

Tips: You could spend all day in the Archaeology museum on Kildare Street, so it's up to you how long you spend here. Remember that most museums are closed on Mondays. Most pubs will allow children in until 7 p.m. The Art displayed around Merrion Square is usually only on show on weekends. If you want to tour Government Buildings, be sure to book well in advance, as these can be cancelled on short notice.

Points of Interest


National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology

This is the starting point of your trail. Here you will find a fantastic collection of artefacts from the Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age, to the Middle Ages and beyond. You will see Bog Bodies, Gold Hoards, Viking swords, spears, shields and personal possessions. You will also see the Ardagh Chalice, Tara Brooch, the Derrynaflan Hoard, and other beautiful crafted ancient metalwork.

Admission is free. Note that the museum is closed on Mondays. Coffee shop on site.

When you exit the museum, turn left and walk to the end of the street. You should be standing beside the entrance to the Shelbourne Hotel as you make a left turn at the corner.

The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel

Maybe a bit early in the tour to stop for a Tea, but maybe when the walk is complete, come back here or try an Irish Coffee. Continue walking along this street and after about 50 yards, you will see the next point of interest on your left, The Huguenot Cemetery.

Huguenot Cemetery

Have a look through the railings here. This is probably the smallest cemetery in Ireland. Here you will see the gravestones of Huguenot French Protestants that were expelled from France in the 17th century and encouraged to relocate to Ireland. They were skilled in watchmaking, textiles and Finance.

Continue walking along this street called Merrion Row. About halfway down this road on the opposite side of the street, you will see the next stop: O'Donoghues Pub.

O'Donoghues Pub

One of the best-known traditional music pubs in Dublin. The bar is adorned with pictures and drawings of some of Ireland's finest musicians. Stop here for a pint or drop back in the evening for some good music. Exit the bar and cross back to the other side of the road. On the corner of this street you will see Foley's Pub.

Foley's Bar

Good music pub. Good food. Take a left turn here. You are now on Merrion Street. As you stroll along you will see the 5 star Merrion Hotel on the right hand side. Almost opposite the hotel and through the large metal gates, you will see our Governmant Buildings.
Other Resources
Foleys Bar.

Government Buildings

This building houses the Department of The Taoiseach, the Department of Finance and The Attorney General. Tours take place every Saturday at 10.30, 11.30, 12.30 and 1.30. Collect your free tickets at The National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square. As they only allow 20 people per tour, get your tickets early. Continue past these buildings, and after approximately 50 yards, you'll see The Museum of Natural History.
Other Resources
Government Buildings.

Natural History Museum

Known as The Dead Zoo, this beautiful museum was opened here by Dr. David Livingstone in 1857. There are approximately 2 million specimens housed here. There are insects, stuffed animals, fish, rocks and much more.

Bring the kids. Free admission. Closed on Mondays.

When you exit the museum, take a left turn. Across the road is a lovely park called Merrion Square. It's worth a look. Some weekends you will see the railings surrounding the park covered in Art works. Continue walking for about 50 yds and on your left you will see the entrance to the National Gallery of Ireland. New entrance on Clare Street.

The National Gallery of Ireland

This Gallery holds the national collection of European and Irish fine art. Due to the refurbishment of this building, the main entrance has been moved around the corner to Clare Street's Millenium Wing.

Open 7 days a week. Restaurant on site. Gallery Shop. See main website for schedule of events.

Continue to pedestrian traffic lights at the end of the road. Cross here and continue on left footpath for your next stop, Swenys Chemist shop on Lincoln Place.

Sweny's Chemist

As featured in James Joyce's Ulysses. This is a small shop containing some second-hand books for sale, as well as other bits and pieces, including the lemon scented soap that made this shop famous. If you are a Joyce fan, you can also listen to readings from Joyce's works.

Exit shop. Keeping on the left footpath, you will see Kennedy's pub across the road. Thirsty? Further along on the same side as Kennedys pub, you will see the side entrance to Trinity College. Don't be put off here. Just walk on in through the gates and head toward the cricket pitch.
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Side Entrance to Trinity College

At this point, you can cross the road and enter the grounds of Trinity College through one of it's side entrances. If you've brought a picnic or purchased something en route, you can sit on a bench overlooking the cricket pitch. If you are lucky, a game will be taking place.

Back track here to where you entered on Lincoln Place. Straight in front of you at the top of the road is a very modern building. This is the side entrance to the National Gallery of Ireland, mentioned earlier.

Millenium Wing Entrance to National Gallery of Ireland

See Stop #8 for more details.

This is the temporary entrance to the National Gallery of Ireland while the main entrance undergoes refurbishment. Entrance Free.

When you exit here, you will be turning left and heading in the direction of Nassau Street, a great street for shopping. See Kilkenny Shop. After about 100 yds you will be turning back up Kildare Street. This is the street where you started your trail.
Other Resources
Kilkenny Shop.

National Library of Ireland

Last stop on your walk. On your left is the National Library of Ireland. The National Library is open, free of charge, to all those who wish to consult the collections for material not otherwise available through the public library service. A Reader’s Ticket is necessary in order to consult most categories of material. If you are interested in researching your family history, there is a Genealogy Advisory Service available on the first floor (Monday to Friday).

Your trail is complete! Across the road is Molesworth Street, leading to Dawson Street, where you will find bars, coffee shops, and restaurants. Have a look in Cafe en Seine on Dawson Street.
Pictures in this guide taken by: BOXtheFOX
Nice work on this guide, well done!

by Joe_King on May 07, 2012

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About the Author

2 guides
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I am retired and I live in South County Dublin.

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