Insider Tips

Empire Walking Trail

By Visit Dublin

Take a fascinating journey back to the 18th and 19th centuries to discover just how the streets of Dublin fared under the rule of the British Empire. As you might expect, things were very different back then, when the city represented one of the most important branches of the Empire. In fact, Dublin was referred to as the Empire’s “second city” with many of its most recognisable buildings serving as key bases of operation for British rule.

Using our free Discovery Trails app, take in castles, parks and streets that hold a sense of history today...


Empire Walking Trail

The trail begins at Dublin Castle, a striking landmark of medieval origin. Here you will see how this impressive landmark developed over the centuries and learn about the great Dublin Castle jewellery heist, a nefarious crime that remains something of a mystery to this day!

To the grounds of the oldest university in Ireland next: Trinity College. An institution of tremendous pedigree, Trinity has produced some of Ireland’s most revered politicians, writers and artists including Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. Trinity is also home to the legendary 
Book of Kells, arguably Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure, located in the magnificent Old Library building. 

At College Green outside Trinity College, you’ll spot a building bathed in Neoclassical style. While now a Bank of Ireland, this glorious sight was the very first purpose-built two-chamber parliament in the world, combining both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.
 
Take a stroll towards Kildare Street to visit Leinster House, the home of the Irish parliament since 1922. You can even enjoy a guided tour, provided it’s not an especially urgent day for government business. Kildare Street has two further places of note to check out, as you will discover via the app. 

Empire Walking Trail
Empire Walking Trail

The lush green oasis of St. Stephen’s Green is next, a hugely popular haunt at the very top of the Grafton Street shopping district. The park is lined with nods to the past in the form of several statues of famous figures including Wolfe Tone, the ‘Father of Irish Republicanism’ and Constance Markievicz, a major in the Irish Citizen Army during the 1916 Rising.

Conclude your tour with a visit to 
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a compelling link to medieval times, before stopping off at the Iveagh Buildings for another snapshot of the disparity between the rich and the poor. Finally, it’s back to City Hall on Dame Street where Daniel O’Connell, the great Irish Liberator, delivered his first public speech in 1800.
 
Once you’ve completed this trail, don’t forget to check out the other options in our Discovery Trails app, like ‘The Story of Dublin’, ‘Rebellion’ and ‘Echoes of War’.