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Discover the heritage of Dublin

09/03/2017

There’s a wealth of literary and cultural heritage to explore in Dublin’s fair city

The Long Room in the Trinity College Library

The Long Room in Trinity College is home to the Book of Kells

It is said that kissing the famous Irish Blarney Stone endows the kisser with great eloquence, the ‘gift of the gab’. That the Irish have a way with words is no secret. Whether in the unique phrases you may hear on a trip there (‘What's the craic’ meaning ‘How are you?’, for example), the mythic folklore tales or the wealth of literary giants born and bred on Irish soil, the Emerald Isle is as poetic as its popular name suggests.

 

Nowhere is this more evident than Ireland’s capital city. Of course, a cruise to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without sampling a pint of Guinness in one of the city’s famous and historic pubs in Temple Bar. But it’s the city’s heritage that can really entice and captivate visitors, with cobbled streets that speak thousands of years of history and whisper the words of the literary giants who walked there before.

 

Literary heritage

In July 2010, Dublin became the fourth ever UNESCO City of Literature – well-deserved for a city that has produced some of the world’s most famous writers. In fact, four Nobel Peace prizes for Literature have been awarded to writers associated with Ireland’s capital city.

 

Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Samuel Beckett and Jonathan Swift are just some of the inspirational and influential writers, poets and playwrights hailing from Dublin whose work has made a lasting impression across the world. And the influence of literature in the city hasn’t stopped today. Contemporary award-winning Dublin-based writers include Maeve Binchy, Roddy Doyle, Marian Keyes, Anne Enright and Conor McPherson, among many others.

 

Literature is at the core of this city. From statues and plaques, to the city’s buildings and bridges – three of the city’s newest river bridges are named after the literary figures of James Joyce, Sean O’Casey and Samuel Beckett ­– literature is everywhere. Take a stroll around and you are guaranteed to feel this influence through the city’s many cultural institutions. The Abbey Theatre is the national theatre of Ireland and has staged works by Ireland’s great playwrights since 1904. Then on to the Dublin Writer’s Museum, which pays homage to Irish literature, while the James Joyce Cultural Centre will please any Joyce fan. And no one should miss a visit to Trinity College, Dublin. Founded in 1592 and located in the city centre, Trinity is Ireland’s top-ranked university and also has the country’s largest library. The Long Room Library is renowned for its beautiful, barrel-vaulted roof, and is also home to the Book of Kells, an ornately decorated religious manuscript that dates back to 800 AD. Guests can visit Trinity College and the Book of Kells on the Dublin Highlights and Book of Kells shore excursion.

The colourful Doors of Dublin

The colourful Doors of Dublin’ are one of the most famous sights of the city

A place of history

It’s not just the literary influence that makes this city’s heritage so rich. A stroll around the city brings its history to life, too. Although Dublin dates back to the 9th century, it’s the Georgian period that has characterised most of the city’s architecture, with its wide streets, grand squares, handsome houses and, perhaps most well-known of all, colourful doors. The Doors of Dublin are one of the most famous sights of the city, and can be seen on the Leisurely Dublin shore excursion. The tourist attraction of the Doors of Dublin can be traced back to a poster created by New York advertising executive Bob Fearon in 1970. He had been so captivated by the symmetry and colours of the Georgian doors found all over the city that he photographed them and turned the pictures into a poster, making them an iconic sight of the city.

 

A visit to Dublin Castle, Christ Church Cathedral and St Patrick’s Cathedral will reveal other aspects of the city’s rich history. For more than 800 years, Dublin Castle has been at the heart of Irish history. Originally built in the 13th century, it has held many functions, including being a military fortress, prison, treasury, courts of law and the seat of British power in Ireland until 1921. Dublin Castle is now used for important State Receptions and Presidential Inaugurations. The city’s two medieval cathedrals, Christ Church Cathedral, founded in 1030 AD and Dublin’s oldest building, and St Patrick’s Cathedral, founded in 1191 AD and the largest church in Ireland, are testament to the city’s rich history. All three historic buildings can be visited on the Leisurely Dublin shore excursion.

 

Not to be missed is a wander over the iconic Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin’s best-known bridge. Built in 1816, it was the first iron bridge in Ireland and although originally named the Liffey Bridge, it is now called the Ha’penny Bridge due to the half-penny crossing charge that was in force until 1919. On the River Cruise and Dublin Sights shore excursion, sail under Ha’penny Bridge and see the city from its waterways, hearing all about its rich history, from the first arrival of the Vikings 1,000 years ago to the rapid development of the city today.

 

My Dublin

Guest Jenny Sandys on her favourite things to do on a cruise to the Irish capital.

‘I love everything about Dublin. Often the focus of a visit to the city is the famous Temple Bar area. Of course, a pint of Guinness in one of the historic pubs there is certainly an experience not to miss, but the city has so much history, and can easily be discovered on foot. When I visit I love to walk around Stephen’s Green, which is especially gorgeous if you are lucky enough to catch a sunny day, and Grafton Street, popping in for a coffee and cake at Bewley’s – a real Dublin institution. But the absolute must for me is a visit to Dún Laoghaire, a seaside town just south of Dublin’s city centre. It’s so pretty, surrounded by the rolling green hills Ireland is so famous for. I love taking the DART train there and walking along the pier to get an ice cream, come rain or shine. The train ride offers spectacular views and only takes around 20 minutes. It’s a great way to see the coast near to Dublin after a morning wandering around the beautiful city.’

 

Find out more about cruises to Dublin >

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