Dublin Castle is built on a site first settled by the Vikings. Although original building was begun in 1204 by King John of England most of the castle dates from the 18th century. The fortress was the seat of British rule until 1922 but is now a government complex used for important State receptions and Presidential Inaugurations. The State Apartments, Chapel Royal, Craft Shop and Heritage Centre are open to visitors.
Many Dublin hotels are close to the city’s historical sites include the Royal Hospital Kilmainham which houses the Irish Museum of Modern Art. There is a permanent collection with 1,650 works and the Madden Arnholz Collection with 2,000 prints by the Old Masters. Admission is free apart from special exhibitions. St Mary’s Abbey was once a wealthy Cistercian Abbey founded in 1139 but dissolved by Henry VIII in 1539. Only two rooms remain- the Chapter House and the Slype. Admission is free.
Phoenix Park at 1,752 acres is one of the largest walled city parks in Europe. With its own herd of wild fallow deer it’s also home to Dublin Zoo. The National Botanic Gardens has a collection of 15,000 plant species from around the world and restored glasshouses.