Dublin, Ireland Walking Tour of 11 Christian Sights with Maps, Pictures and Podcast #27

Did you know that some of Dublin’s most visited sights are intertwined with the history of Christianity? The richly illustrated Book of Kells, containing the Gospels of the Bible, draws almost one million visitors per year to Dublin’s Trinity College. The Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle, with some of the oldest writings of the Bible, draws nearly 300,000 visitors per year. And, of course, St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral are must-see sights for every visitor to Dublin. Christian visitors especially won’t want to miss these highlights!

Dublin's-St-Patrick's-Cathedral-Words

If you want to make sure you see some of Dublin’s best Christian sights, use this walking tour with the maps below or the interactive maps on www.walkli.com to navigate around Dublin and to make sure that you have an opportunity to learn about the history of Christianity as you enjoy all aspects of this amazing city!

Click here to listen to the accompanying podcast:

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Dublin-Christian-Highlights--Overview-Map
Dublin Christian Highlights – Overview Map

St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral Dublin (1-A)

Begin this walking tour at 83 Marlborough Street on the north side of Dublin’s Liffey River at St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral, often called only “Pro-Cathedral,” or “acting cathedral.” Pro-Cathedral is deeply intertwined with the history of the Christian religion in Ireland. Before the Reformation, Ireland had two cathedrals: the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity, generally known as Christ Church, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. In the 16th century, Henry VIII decreed that the Anglican Church of Ireland would become the official church of the country, and the Church of Ireland took control of the two cathedrals of Dublin. However, the Roman Catholic Church still considers Christ Church the official cathedral of Dublin, because it was designated as such by the Pope in the 12th century, long before the Reformation.

While the Catholic religion was forced underground after the Reformation, the vast majority of Irish citizens remained Catholic. Over time, the Penal Laws put in place to prohibit practicing the Catholic faith publicly were stripped away. This led the way for the construction of the Pro-Cathedral.

The building, constructed in a mixture of Roman and Greek styles, was dedicated in 1825 and soon became a symbol of the Irish nationalist spirit in working to overcome the Penal Laws. Daniel O’Connell, the leader of Irish nationalism and the first Roman Catholic representative elected to the British House of Commons, was present at a special thanksgiving service in the Pro-Cathedral in 1829 celebrating full repeal of the Penal Laws. Many important services have been held here, including the funeral of Michael Collins, the famous leader in the Irish fight for independence from Great Britain.

Dublin-Christian-Highlights-Map-1-of-3
Dublin Christian Highlights – Map 1 of 3

Directions from Pro-Cathedral to Trinity College:

From Pro-Cathedral, walk toward the River Liffey on Marlborough Street and cross the river at Rosie Hackett Bridge. Continue on Hawkins Street. Turn right on Townsend Street and then left on College Green. Follow College Green to the entrance of Trinity College on your left where you will see the archway with the wooden double doors.

trinity-college-night-view
Trinity College – night view

Trinity College (2-B)

Trinity College, Ireland’s oldest university, was founded in 1592. Like the Pro-Cathedral, it is closely linked to the Christian religious heritage of Ireland. It was established in part to consolidate the rule of the Tudor monarchy in Ireland, and it historically served as the university of the Protestant Ascendancy.

The Ascendancy came about after the Reformation as part of the gradual confiscation of large holdings belonging to Catholic landowners who tried to revolt against English rule of Ireland. Their confiscated lands were sold to people who were loyal to the crown, most of whom were English and Protestant. These powerful loyalists assured that Trinity College would be a university in the spirit of Oxford and Cambridge in England. Catholics were permitted to enter Trinity College beginning in the late 1700’s, but they were not allowed to receive scholarships, fellowships, or to teach at Trinity College. The Catholic Church forbade Catholics from attending Trinity College without permission until 1970. Today, Trinity College is open to all who meet the university’s high admission standards, and it is considered to be Ireland’s most prestigious university.

Tour

The best way to learn about Trinity College is by taking the 35-minute tour of the university with a Trinity College student through the official college touring service, Authenticity Tours, for only 6 Euros per person. Learn about the history, traditions and student life as you visit the four major squares of the College. Just show up at the large doorway in front of the main entrance of Trinity College facing College Green near where it merges with Westmoreland Street. Tours are offered on the following dates in 2017:

October:

Monday – Saturday

10:15, 10:40, 11:05, 11:30, 11:55, 12:20, 12:45, 1:10, 1:35, 12:00, 12:25, 12:50, 13:15, 13:40

Sundays and Public Holidays

11:30, 11:55, 12:20, 12:45, 1:10, 1:35, 2:00, 2:25, 2:50, 3:15

Early November:

Monday – Friday

10:15, 10:40, 11:05, 11:30, 11:55, 12:20, 12:45, 1:10, 1:35, 2:00

Saturday

10:15, 10:40, 11:05, 11:30, 11:55, 12:20, 12:45, 1:10, 1:35, 2:00, 2:25, 2:50, 3:15, 3:40

Sunday

11:30, 11:55, 12:20, 12:45, 1:10, 1:35, 2:00, 2:25, 2:50, 3:15

Late November – Early December:

Monday and Friday

10:15, 10:40, 11:05, 11:30, 11:55, 12:20, 12:45, 1:10, 1:35, 2:00*

*Fridays only

Saturday

10:15, 10:40, 11:05, 11:30, 11:55, 12:20, 12:45, 1:10, 1:35, 2:00, 2:25, 2:50, 3:15, 3:40

Sunday

11:30, 11:55, 12:20, 12:45, 1:10, 1:35, 2:00, 2:25, 2:50, 3:15

There are no public tours from December 11, 2017 through January 31, 2018.

If you purchase an online ticket for the Book of Kells and Old Library Exhibition it is possible to take the tour of Trinity College provided by Authenticity Tours at a reduced cost of 3 Euros per person. See more below under “Book of Kells.”

Trinity College official website with current tour information:

https://www.tcd.ie/visitors/tours/

Library of Trinity College – Long Room at the Old Library with Book of Kells (3-C)

The Library of Trinity College is a legal deposit library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, containing over 6 million printed volumes and manuscripts. The Long Room at Trinity College’s Old Library was built in the early 1700’s, and it holds the collection’s 200,000 oldest books. Its renowned barrel ceiling was added in 1860 to make room for more works when the existing shelves became full. Marble busts of famous philosophers and writers line the 200-foot-long central walkway.

Precious documents housed in the Long Room include a copy of the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic, the15th-century wooden harp that is the model for the emblem of Ireland, and the most celebrated “Book of Kells”. Christian monks created the intricately decorated book of the four Gospels in their monastery on the Isle of Iona in Scotland around 800 AD. The monks had to take refuge in another monastery in Kells, Ireland, when Vikings raid the Isle of Iona. Trinity College eventually acquired the book in 1661. Almost one million visitors per year now come to the Long Room at Trinity College to view the Book of Kells, making it one of Ireland’s most popular attractions. To see for yourself, and to avoid long lines, book online tickets in advance through the official Trinity College ticketing website below or arrive early in the day. Discounted tickets are available online or in person when the crowds are light, before 10:00 am and after 3:00 pm.

Trinity-College-Library-Long-Room-Home-Book-Kells
Trinity College – Library – Long Room – Home of the Book of Kells

The Book of Kells and Old Library Exhibition – Ticket Information:

9:30 am, 4 pm and 4:30 pm tours – 10 Euros instead of 12 Euros for regular adult admission ticket

May through September: Mon – Sat 8:30 am – 5 pm, Sundays 9:30 am – 5 pm

October through April: Mon – Sat 9:30 am – 5 pm, Sundays Noon – 4:30 pm

Last admission 30 minutes prior to closing

Book of Kells/Old Library Exhibition online tickets:

https://www.tcd.ie/visitors/book-of-kells/tickets-information/?panel=tickets

Directions from Trinity College to the Chester Beatty Library:

From the entrance archway of Trinity College, walk on the left side of College Green. Continue as College Green becomes Dame Street and turn left on South Great George’s Street. Take the first right on Dame Lane, and then turn left at Palace Street. Turn right at the corner at The Royal Chapel of Dublin Castle and turn left just past Dubh Linn Garden. The entrance of Chester Beatty Library will be on the right.

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Dublin Christian Highlights – Map 2 of 3

Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle (4-D) 

Chester-Beatty-Library-Exterior
Chester Beatty Library – Exterior

The Chester Beatty Library was Europe’s Museum of the Year in 2002 and its collections have only grown since then. The library contains some of the oldest writings of the Bible, including the earliest known book containing all four Gospels, the earliest copy of the letters of St. Paul, and the earliest individual copy of St. John’s Book of Revelation. And, it is free to visit! Learn more about the library at my post and podcast:

https://oneperfectdayin.org/2017/10/12/dublin-irelands-chester-beatty-library-overview-and-christian-highlights/

Dublin-Castle-View-from-Chester-Beatty-Library
View of Dublin Castle from Chester Beatty Library at Dublin Castle, Dublin, Ireland

Directions from the Chester Beatty Library to St. Patrick’s Cathedral:

Exit the Chester Beatty Library to the left, with Dubh Linn Garden on the right. Turn left at the corner onto Ship Street Little. Turn left on Bride Street and right onto Bull Alley Street. Turn left on Patrick Street and left on St. Patrick’s Close. The entrance to the cathedral is on St. Patrick’s Close.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin (5-E)

Dublin's-St-Patrick's-Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s was founded in 1191. It is named for the patron saint of Ireland, a missionary given credited with converting Ireland to Christianity around 400 AD. It is believed that the church is built on the site where St. Patrick baptized many Irish into Christianity.

After the Reformation, Henry VIII seized the church from the Catholics and converted it to an Anglican church of the Church of Ireland. It remains the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. It is the largest and tallest church in Ireland. Jonathan Swift, author of “Gulliver’s Travels,” was Dean of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral from 1713 until his death in 1745. He was dedicated toward fighting social injustice and unfair treatment of the Irish people. He is buried in the church. His grave is marked by a simple brass plaque on the floor at the west end of the Cathedral. Today the cathedral is described as a “place of prayer for all nations” on the official website. The church is open daily. The cost to visit is 6.50 Euro per regular adult admission.

Marsh’s Library (6-F)

Marsh's-Library-Entrance
Marsh’s Library

Continue to walk a bit farther along St. Patrick’s Close, and you will see the entrance to Marsh’s Library on the left. The library was founded in the early 1700’s by Dublin’s Archbishop Narcissus Marsh of the Church of Ireland.

Marsh's-Library-Sign
Marsh’s Library – Entry Sign

Many of the library’s valuable books are still kept on the shelves allocated to them by Marsh. One such book of note is a recently discovered book from 1489 that was not listed in the library’s catalog. It was found on the shelf by Professor Javier del Barco, who had been working for three months in Marsh’s Library cataloging Hebrew and Yiddish books. The book is a commentary on the Pentateuch (the first five books of the Old Testament of the Bible) by a Jewish scholar named Moses ben Nahman, and it had remained undiscovered in the library for over 300 years.

Marsh's-Library-Cages
Marsh’s Library – Cages

Notice the “cages” at the back of the library where scholar’s were locked in to study to prevent them from walking away with the precious books after a number of books were stolen by book thieves. The library is still searching for some of the missing valuable volumes. Marsh Library was incorporated in 1707 by an Act of Parliament called “An Act for Settling and Preserving a Public Library for Ever”.

The library is open from 10 am to 5 pm every day except Tuesday and Sunday. The cost of regular adult admission is 3 Euros.

Directions from Marsh’s Library to Christ Church Cathedral:

Walk back to Patrick Street and turn right. After Patrick Street becomes Nicholas Street, Christ Church Cathedral will be ahead of you at the intersection with Christchurch Place.

Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin (7-G)

Christ-Church-Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral

The first church on this site was a Viking church founded in 1030 by Dúnán, the first bishop of Dublin and Sitriuc, the Viking king of Dublin. It was incorporated into the Irish church in the mid-1100’s. In the 1500’s, when Henry VIII broke from Rome, the church became an Anglican Church of Ireland cathedral. Today, the church website highlights the value of “practices of Christian spirituality that have been handed on to us from generations gone by”. The church is open daily. It is 6.50 Euros to visit, except during worship services when it is free for those who wish to attend the services.

Christ-Church-Stained-Glass
Christ-Church-Stained-Glass

Location of the First Performance of Handel’s Messiah (8-H)

Continue walking on Christchurch Place with the cathedral on the left, and turn left on Fishamble Street. On the right, on Fishamble Street, look for Handel’s Hotel. This was the original location of a music hall where the first performance of Handel’s Messiah, was performed. It was sung jointly by the choirs of Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1742.

Directions to St. Audoen’s Church of Ireland

Turn around and walk back toward Christ Church Cathedral. On your right, you will see Dublinia, a tourist attraction about Viking and medieval Dublin. Continue walking as Christchurch Place becomes High Street past the large, newer, columned church of St. Audoen’s Catholic Church, and on the right will be St. Audoen’s Church of Ireland.

St-Audeon's-Church-Ireland-Dublin
St. Audeon’s – Church of Ireland

St. Audoen’s Church of Ireland (9-I)

St. Audoen’s Church is the oldest parish church in Ireland, established to serve medieval Dublin. It is now an Anglican church, and it continues to serve the parish of Dublin. The church is open daily from 9:30 am until 4:45 pm. Admission is free.

Inside, look for the early Celtic gravestone known as the Lucky Stone which has been kept here since around 1300 AD. It is said to have strange properties, and merchants and traders used to rub it for luck.

Directions from St. Audoen’s Church to St. Michan’s Church

Follow High Street as it curves to the right. Continue onto the bridge over the River Liffey, and continue straight on Church Street. St. Michan’s Church will be two blocks on the left after you cross Hammond Street.

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Dublin Christian Highlights – Map 3 of 3

St. Michan’s Church (10-J)

St. Michan’s Church is another Anglican church in Dublin that operated as a Catholic church until the Reformation. The first church was built in 1095 on the site of an early Viking chapel. The current church dates from 1686. Notably, Handel is said to have composed his Messiah on the church’s organ. St. Michan’s is most famous for it vaults containing limestone that has help preserved the mummified remains of the 400-year-old body of a nun and a six-and-a-half foot man believed to have been a crusader. The church and vaults are open to tours on Saturdays, and seasonally on some weekdays.

Directions from St. Michan’s Church to Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum:

Continue walking on Church Street away from the River Liffey. Merge onto Finglas Road. The museum and cemetery will be ahead of you on Finglas Road. 

Note: The walk from St. Michan’s Church to Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum is a little over 1½ miles, so if you are tired you might decide to visit the cemetery and museum on another day. The Number 83 Bus also runs regularly between St. Michan’s Church and Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum.

Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum (11-K)

Dublin-glasnevin-cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery

Visit the graves of those who shaped the course of Irish History from the world of the arts, the church and politics, including Michael Collins and Daniel O’Connell. Take an excellent tour from about 10 Euros and up, depending on the tour, or visit on your own for free. The monuments on the graves are works of art, featuring carvings of saints and beautiful crosses of all types, including the Celtic cross. The cemetery and museum are open from 8 am until 6:30 pm. Check for tour tickets and updates at the official website: http://www.glasnevintrust.ie

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If you visit Dublin, I hope you have a chance to visit some or all of these Christian sights to learn more about the history of Christianity in Dublin and in the world. As you learn, I hope it helps you better understand Christianity, regardless of your personal beliefs. As a Christian, any time I can learn more about the history and traditions of Christianity, I feel that I grow more in my faith. 

If you would like a pdf version of this post/podcast, just email me at cindy@oneperfectdayin.org and put Dublin-Chrisitianity-pdf in the subject line.

To listen to my podcast with a walking tour of the highlights of Waterford, Ireland, a great day-trip from Dublin, click here:

https://oneperfectdayin.org/2017/10/13/waterford-ireland-things-to-do-with-walking-tour/

Until next time, I hope all your travel days are just perfect.

Cindy


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