Cruise visitors to Ireland’s capital city will find a friendly welcome. Situated off the east coast of Ireland, near the Irish Sea, Dublin is a small and compact city that offers cruise visitors a wealth of opportunities to explore. Designated as a UNESCO City of Literature, the city takes great pride in honoring its authors.
The River Liffey flows through the city. The river originates in the mountains nearby in Wicklow and flows through the city before running into the Irish Sea at the mouth of the Dublin Bay delta.
Cruise guests can use the river and the many bridges crossing the water as a landmark to help navigate the city. The streets are a maze of changing names that could prove confusing. A word to the wise is to have a map, know the names of popular historic sites, and be aware of which side of the river you are on.
The old city, located south of the river, offers the bulk of historic sites: Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Trinity College are located in the Southside. Located north of the River Liffey is the popular destination of O’Connell Street, one of the widest streets in Europe and a popular tourist destination.
Cruise visitors will encounter wonderful parks offering a break from the hustle and bustle of the busy city. There are many historic Georgian style buildings as well as numerous sites to learn about the heritage, culture and history of the Irish people. And no visit to Ireland would be complete without a stop into a neighborhood pub. Pub culture is famous for celebrating life through food, drink, story and music.
The port is managed by The Dublin Port Company. Cruise passengers arriving by small ship will arrive in the heart of Dublin City at the quayside of the River Liffey, close to the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Larger vessels call nearby at Dublin Port’s Alexandra Quay, only minutes from the city center, approximately 1.2 miles from downtown.
Cruise visitors wanting to start off their tour of the city should make their way to City Hall. This Georgian style building, which dates back to 1769, has a great multimedia presentation called “The Story of the Capital Exhibition.” This show chronicles the 1000-year history of the capital city and will serve as a good primer for the rest of the day.
- Close to City Hall is Dublin Castle. Built by the Anglo-Normans as a fortress in the 13th century. The Irish Crown Jewels were stolen from this site in 1907. Dublin Castle was the seat of British rule until 1922.
- Art lovers will enjoy the National Gallery of Ireland, National Museum of Archaeology and History, which houses a collection of Irish artifacts dating from 7000 BC to the present, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
- Fans of architecture will enjoy strolling the streets and looking at the Georgian style buildings. Join a guided tour of Newman House, check out the Custom House, or take a stroll around historic Merrion Square, one of Dublin’s largest Georgian Squares.
- Learn how to pull a perfect pint at the Guinness Brewery and Storehouse. Founded by Arthur Guinness in 1759, this is a favorite destination for cruise visitors who want to learn about the brewing process.
- One of the areas oldest buildings is Christ Church Cathedral – an impressive structure with a big history. Another popular religious attraction is St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which was founded beside a well where St. Patrick is said to have baptized converts around 450 AD. Don’t miss Whitefriar Street Church, where St. Valentine’s Shrine is located.
At the heart of the city center is O’Connell Street, the city’s most famous thoroughfare . This area has restaurants, trendy bars, and great shopping. Close to O’Connell Street over the bridge is the area of Temple Bar, another popular tourist attraction.
Only five minutes’ walk form O’Connell Street is The Writers Museum, a great place to learn about the accomplishments of famed Irish authors.
Trinity College, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, is home to The Book of Kells, an illustrated copy of the Gospels done by monks, and a national treasure. Be sure to visit the main library’s Long Room, which contains approximately 200,000 of the 3 million volumes in Trinity’s collection.
Besides guided tours visiting many of the sites in the Do Not Miss section, cruise guests will have additional tours to select from.
- Motor coach tours of the surrounding countryside offer a nice contrast to the busy city streets. Wide open spaces and plenty of green await. Popular destinations are: Malahide Castle, Powerscourt House & Gardens and Enniskerry in Wicklow County.
- Discover Viking Dublin by land and sea in a special World War II amphibious military vehicle that cruises around sites in the city center. Following a land tour, tour guests will then continue the tour on the water in the special vehicle.
- Howth is a favorite seaside getaway close to Dublin. Only 9.5 miles northeast of the city center, this resort offers great views of Dublin Bay, a bird sanctuary and plenty of walking paths.
- Travel south of the county for a visit to the seaside town of Dalkey. Dublin’s chief port in medieval times, this town offers historical walks and heritage trails.
- County Wicklow offers great sites: The Wicklow Mountains are the largest upland area in Ireland. Popular sites include Russborough House, Wicklow Mountains National Park.
- Venture to County Meath and discover the Boyne Valley area, a UN World Heritage Site. Popular visitor attractions include: the Hill of Tara, Trim Castle, Kells Heritage Town, Newgrange and the Battle of the Boyne Site.
Travel agents! – there are more great port of call reviews and cruise news over on Avid Cruiser. Ralph has spent a lifetime aboard cruiseships and shares his intimate knowledge with you on Avid Cruiser and its sister site River Cruiser Adviser.