There are countless reasons why people love to travel, but many of those reasons revolve around the idea of experiencing new things and exchanging ideas with other people. Travel brings us closer to different places and communities, and the fun never ends if you choose to stop in a hostel. Hostels provide friendly communal environments, allowing travelers from different countries to share thoughts and ideas with each other in a relaxed, comfortable setting. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.
2.Abbey Court Hostel
4.Generator Hostels Dublin
5.Oliver St. John Gogarty's Hostel
4 Best Hostels in Dublin
- Overview, Photo: Laurentiu Iordache/stock.adobe.com
- Abbey Court Hostel, Photo: Abbey Court Hostel
- Avalon House, Photo: oneinchpunch/stock.adobe.com
- Generator Hostels Dublin, Photo: Generator Hostels Dublin
- Oliver St. John Gogarty's Hostel, Photo: DavidPrado/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: Courtesy of spectrumblue - Fotolia.com
Attraction Spotlight: Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle in Ireland is the perfect place for guests wanting to know more about both the past and current history of the Irish government. Complete with a full museum and guided tours, the castle offers visitors the ability to step back into to the past while learning about the future as well.
The Dublin Castle, located in Dublin Ireland, dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries and has previously been home to King John (the first Lord in Ireland). First built as a defensive building in 1204 on the order of King John, Dublin Castle has a long and storied history. It was the location of the UK’s government’s Irish administration until 1922.
The castle currently functions not only as a museum and historical relic but also as a conferencing destination. The castle is frequently used for State Dinners (even welcoming Queen Elizabeth the second in 2011). It also has been used to inaugurate Irish presidents. Dublin Castle continues to be one of the most visited tourist destinations in Ireland, welcoming thousands of guests through their front gate on an annual basis.
Permanent Attractions and Exhibits
The Dublin Castle features a frequently rotating selection of touring exhibitions that are hosted on-site. However, they also maintain a permanent collection. Below are some of the do not miss the highlights.
- Decorative Art - Make sure to view the three enormous canvas paintings on display at the castle. Located on the ceiling of Saint Patrick’s Hall, they were painted by Vincenzo Waldre, a well-known Italian artist. In fact, these three paintings together are considered to be the most important 18th century painted ceiling surviving in Ireland. There is also a series of seven Gaetano Gandolfi mythological paintings that are well known for being some of the foremost cycles of paintings on display anywhere in the country of Ireland.
- Wine cooler - Created by James Hicks in 1890, this mahogany sarcophagus shaped wine cooler features Saint Patrick’s emblems (from the Order).
- Viceregal throne - Although it is not known who made this throne, it can be dated back to between 1864 and 1866 and was one of two royal thrones that had been installed in the Chapel Royal Viceregal pew during John Wodehouse’s time in office.
- Crystal chandelier - Made by the world-famous Waterford Crystal in 1966, it is one of only five cut glass chandeliers that have been installed as part of the restoration of the State Drawing Room.
- Louis XVI clock - Depicted a famous scene between Endymion, Diana, and Cupid, this clock was created between 1778 and 1793 by Maniere (of Paris). It was crafted out of ormolu and bronze and was gifted to the castle by the Granard Bequest in 1973.
- Italian Urn - Created by an unknown artist in the 18th century, the urn was made out of Italian marble and was purchased by the castle in 1962. It features Apollonian muses.
Also, part of the Dublin Castle tour is a visit to the State Apartments, located on the southern side of the Upper Courtyard area. The apartments were originally built as both the public and residential quarters for the Viceregal Court and were well known for their fashionable residents and extravagant events. There are many rooms to explore and, for guests who cannot see them all, there is also an online tour with more detail.
Before leaving, guests should also be sure to check out the Castle Gardens. These gardens have been located at the castle since the 17th century. Located just to the south of both the State Apartments and the Chapel Royal and enclosed behind a stone wall for privacy and security, the castle gardens are actually three separate gardens. They can be extremely popular for guests, especially in the springtime when all the trees and flowers are in bloom.
For guests who prefer to tour the castle on a self-guided tour, brochures are available (located in the State Apartments) which give additional information and resources to make the most of the visit. However, guests who choose not to do a guided tour will not have access to the Viking Excavation and Chapel Royal areas. The brochures are provided free of charge and are available in 17 different languages. Guests can also download the Dublin Castle free app, which provides them with a complimentary audio tour guide that will lead them through the State Apartments.
Self-guided admission to the castle does require a fee (which is less than required for the guided tours, due to the fact that the self-guided tours do not include the entirety of the castle). The fee is standard for adults, discounted slightly for seniors and students, and further discounted for children between 12 and 17 years of age. Family admission is also provided at a discount (for two adults and up to five children).
Guided tours of the castle are available, as well. These tours generally take about an hour and ten minutes and include a tour of the Chapel Royal, the Viking Excavation, and the State Apartments. There is a cost associated with admission and the guided tours at a flat fee for adults, a discounted fee for seniors and students, and a further discounted fee for children between 12 and 17 years of age. Family tickets are also available (for two adults and up to five children).
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The castle offers a wide multitude of educational opportunities, including field trips, guided tours, and interactive workshops. Primary and secondary students are welcome to come take a free guided tour of the grounds and the exhibitions that are currently offered at the museum. The education department can be contacted directly by both phone as well as email.
? Primary school field trips - Focusing on the history of Dublin Castle in small, manageable lessons meant for the youngest visitors to the castle, the field trips and classes offered for primary school students explore different castle elements like the history of Vikings, life inside the apartment complex, revolutionaries, and the history of the city of Dublin. Additional activities can also be added on to engage students.
? Secondary school field trips - Designed to complement the Leaving Certificate required for graduation, field trips for secondary school students delve even more in depth into the history of the castle and the surrounding area. Learn about the Medieval and Georgian periods, the 1916 Rising, and art history. Specialized tours are also available for students who have a particular subject they need to focus on. The educational staff at the castle also offers an art portfolio prep course on an annual basis. All education is offered free of charge.
Activity sheets are also available on the castle website. These worksheets offer families of all sizes and their children who visit the castle with free resources to help them better interact and understand with the history found inside. Check out the animal trails or even the architectural self-guided tours and head to the castle with a printed out, handy guide to seeing the most important and historical elements of the castle without needing a tour guide. These worksheets are also offered in a variety of languages, so everyone who visits will be able to join in the fun.
For additional information about the many workshops, classes, and tours available for students of all ages, contact the educational staff at the castle. They are always more than happy to work with individual teachers and students to craft a program that perfectly fits with any educational needs and goals. It is a fantastic way to truly help bring history to life for many students, and an interactive way to get them interested in local government and politics.
Dining and Shopping
The Terrace Cafe, located inside the Dublin Castle, is a wonderful place for guests to stop and grab a bite to eat or a quick beverage either before or after exploring the grounds. The menu offers a wide selection of different dishes for all guests, including gluten free and vegan options, and all the ingredients are locally sourced. There is also a gift shop located at the castle, which sells a selection of Waterford Crystal, castle themed merchandise, and a variety of Celtic crafts (many from local vendors). Stop by a pick up a little something before the visit is over.
Dublin Castle, Dame St, Dublin 2, Phone: +353-16-45-88-13
Attraction Spotlight: Chester Beatty Library
The Chester Beatty Library, located in Dublin Castle in Ireland, is one of the most interesting and important collections of written manuscripts in the world. Guests should plan to spend at least two hours in the library museum to see all the works of art that are offered there. Chester Beatty Library was opened in Dublin, Ireland in 1950. The current iteration of the library opened in 2000, which was the 125th anniversary of the year of Beatty’s birth.
The library has been ranked 21st out of the 568 “things to do” listed on TripAdvisor and it maintains a solid 4.5-star rating from them as well (which is based on traveller reviews). It has been called a “do not miss” attraction and an “amazing collection.” In 2002, the museum was named European Museum of the Year. The permanent collection at the library has been called the finest collection of manuscripts and books that has been amassed by a private collector during the 20th century. It has samples of representative pieces of work starting from around 2700 BC and going all the way through present times and includes one of only a few surviving volumes of the Gospel of Mani and Life of the Prophet (believed to be one of the last remaining Manicheism artifacts).
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The library is home to a variety of temporary and touring exhibitions that rotate frequently through the museum. However, it is also home to a significant permanent collection. It is divided into three geographic regions.
- East Asian Collection - Representing cultures from all across the region considered the “Far East,” including parts of South, South-East, Central, and East (stretching from Japan in the North-East, non-Islamic India in the South-West, Sumatra in the South-East, and Mongolia in the North-West), the East Asian Collection is the smallest of the three. The collection offers Chinese manuscripts and other works of art previously purchased as decorative pieces by Chester Beatty when he was still considered a novice collector visiting Japan and China in 1917 and 1918. The collection features Japanese picture books from Nara e-hon that are the focus of significant scholarly exchange on an international level.
- Islamic Collection - The Islamic Collection at the library has been regarded as some of the finest artifacts in existence and have been regularly renowned on an international scale for their high quality as well as the large scope of material offered for viewing. The manuscripts in this collection span as far back as the 8th century and reach all the way through the early years of the 20th century. The majority of the works in this collection come from the Arab world (India, Turkey, and Iran) and the library counts among its manuscripts some of the greatest and most important documents of art and culture in Islam. There are works of calligraphy, miniature painting, bookbinding, and illumination and the collection is divided up into 5 sub collections (Arabic, Qur’an, Persian, Turkish, and Mughal-Era Indian).
- Western Collection - Considered the most diverse of the three collections at the library, the Western Collection includes works that have been copied and printed onto a wide variety of types of material (like wood, papyrus, clay, paper, and parchment). The Western Collection focuses on works from Africa (Egypt and Ethiopia), the Middle East, and Europe and have been dated as far back as the third millennium BC all the way up to the 20th century. This collection is probably most representative of the way that American book collectors choose their manuscripts and feature only works of the highest quality. In fact, this collection is famous for some of the rare manuscripts as well as the biblical papyri, and Chester Beatty collected more than 3000 rare books and more than 2600 drawings and paintings.
The Creative Corner, located on the first floor in the lobby, is another area for families with children to check out before leaving. This area was designed for children after the visit the museum and allows them to be able to express their feelings about what they have seen at the library through use of several types of artistic mediums. They will also be able to take these works home or choose to leave them on display in the library.
The library is meant to be seen as a self-guided tour, however, guests who prefer a more guided experience can take one of the free guided tours that are offered to the general public. Guided tours are offered only first come, first serve basis and can accommodate no more than 15 people at a time. These tours will last approximately one hour and will leave from the reception desk at the scheduled times.
Guests who have reduced mobility or other physical disabilities should plan to enter through the Ship Street gate in Dublin Castle. There are also specific parking spots reserved for those with a parking permit. The library itself is both wheelchair and stroller friendly and the majority of the collections have been placed as low as possible to better help guests with disabilities.
Guests with children can check out the specially designed library-based activities that are meant for three different age ranges - 3+, 5+, and 8+. The worksheets (which include coloring books, crosswords, and puzzles) are available on the second-floor lobby or can be downloaded ahead of time on the library’s website.
There are also many different educational programs that have been designed for children and meant to help them better understand some of the works of art found in the Asian, Middle Eastern, European, and East Asian collections. Below are just a few.
- Tiny Fingers, Little Toes - This workshop was designed for preschoolers with their parents. It is offered free of charge and can fit up to 20 people at a time.
- Silk Worm Club - These series of workshops were created for children between 6 and 11 years old. It is offered free of charge and can fit up to 20 people at a time.
- Creative Lab - Meant for slightly older children, from 12 to 14 or from 15 to 17 years old. Each lab can fit up to 15 people at a time.
The library also hosts a variety of intercultural learning experiences meant to address the challenges created do to the massive influx of immigrants to Ireland. Exploring Judaism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, and Buddhism, there are two distinct levels of “Ways of Seeing” programs. One is designed for post-primary students and the other is designed for both primary as well as post-primary students. The complete programs are available for download for teachers as well, and it is highly recommended that they be incorporated into general classroom learning. The programs include icebreakers and projects, as well as educational resources and lesson plans.
Field trips of the library are also available for both primary and secondary school classes. They must be requested at least three weeks in advance of any planned visit. Each tour can accommodate up to fifteen students at a time. If a class has more than that, they will be split into multiple tours. Field trips are offered to students free of charge and last approximately one hour. Teachers must check in at the reception desk. Late arrivals may mean a cancellation of the field trip. The students must be chaperoned at all times, and one adult chaperone is required for each 15 students.
Dining and Shopping
Before leaving the library, guests should take the opportunity to dine at the Silk Road Cafe. The cafe was specifically designed to represent some of the cultures found in the library’s collection through culinary options (mainly from the Middle East). The cafe also offers a variety of vegetarian and gluten free options. 12 original dishes are served every day, all served with vegetables and rice. The library also has a museum gift shop on the ground floor, which has a fairly diverse collection of books and other gifts for every price range.
Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, Phone: +353-14-07-07-50
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