Insider Tips

Eight excellent spots to explore in Dublin 8

By Visit Dublin

31st October 2019

Resplendent with good coffee shops, trendy wine bars, great venues and Dublin’s largest park, Dublin 8 is quickly becoming one of the most vibrant areas in the city.

Just minutes from bustling city centre streets, a trail through Dublin 8 will have you strolling across the wide streets, through the twisting alleys and quayside, and along the Liffey. Wherever you find yourself, there is a variety of excellent activities nearby — so grab your walking shoes and check out these top 8 activities that D08 has to offer.

The Vaults

The Vaults

Located in one of Dublin 8’s oldest neighbourhoods, The Liberties, The Vaults is a mere 10 minute walk from St. Stephen’s Green. The tourist attraction is a live walk-through experience that invites visitors to learn about the complex and often-gory history of Ireland. Participants meet and interact with six infamous characters from the country’s past, from Vikings to Molly Malone. Written by award winning playwright Peter Sheridan, the script for Vaults Live is designed to "make every guest laugh and scream and send them away with an unforgettable insight into why we, the Irish, are the way we are".
 

Marsh’s Library

Dublin 8 has a lot of aces up its sleeve, but Marsh’s Library is perhaps one of the most charming. On the doorstep of the impressive St Patrick’s cathedral, Marsh’s library opened as Ireland’s first public library in 1707, and remains beautifully preserved to this day. Visitors can browse the original oak bookcases which house more than 25,000 ancient and rare books while keeping an eye out for the ghost of the Archbishop. Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker and James Joyce are just some of the famous writers to have read there. The library is normally open to the public every day except Tuesday and Sunday.

First Draft Coffee and Wine

A new addition to Dublin 8 is First Draft Coffee and Wine, a café and wine bar on Lennox Street. Open from Thursday to Saturday, they have seats inside and out; during the day visitors can enjoy delicious coffee by Roasted Brown, and come evening choose from a large selection of wines (often low intervention, natural options) by the glass and bottle, along with small nibbles. First Draft is Ger O'Donohue’s creation, who previously worked at another Dublin 8 gem, The Fumbally.

IMMA

IMMA

Nestled in the heart of Dublin 8, The Irish Museum of Modern Art’s (IMMA) home is in historical site of the 17th century Royal Hospital building in Kilmainham. It is the centre of modern and contemporary art in Ireland and is the home of the National Collection. The large gallery space encompasses a dynamic and changing programme of exhibitions from Irish and International Artists as well as complimentary education and family programmes.  There is a café and shop both located in the original crypts, as well as beautiful grounds and gardens. Most exhibitions at IMMA are free of charge, unless otherwise indicated. And the gallery is open 6 days a week, only closed on Mondays.Rascals Brewery

Rascals Brewery

While you’re in Kilmainham, pay a visit to Rascals HQ — an authentic and immersive food and drink experience, in historic Inchicore. As well as an award-winning independent craft brewery (Rascals Brewing Company), there is also a pizza restaurant and event spaces. Visitors can take part in guided experiential tours with an opportunity to taste the beer in the brewery’s taproom, sampling experimental products such as Mint Choc Stouts and Strawberry Vanilla Milkshake IPAs. 
 
Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park

Dublin 8 houses Phoenix Park, the largest enclosed public park in Europe, encompassing 1,750 acres. As well as renting bikes, exploring the luscious parkland and deer-spotting, visitors can also see the Wellington Testimonial (the largest obelisk in Europe), visit Dublin Zoo and have a peek at the Irish President’s house (Áras an Uachtaráin). The park also has a visitor centre where you can learn about its rich history dating all the way back to 3500BC. Temporary exhibitions are also regularly on display at the centre.
 
Richmond Barracks

Richmond Barracks

Discover the legend of the 1916 Rising at this new exhibition centre in Dublin 8. Richmond Barracks was a British military barracks since the Napoleonic Wars, and played a significant role  in the Easter Rising — over 3,000 Irish rebels were held within while they awaited their fate. Developed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, it’s an interactive multimedia attraction that traces the story of the site from military barracks to housing estate and from school, to exhibition centre. If you need a break from all that history, you can also grab a coffee and snacks at The Mess, a café run by The Green Kitchen.
 

Kilmainham Jail

Opened in 1796 as the County Gaol for Dublin, the fortress held and executed some of the most famous political and military leaders in Irish history such as the 1916 Rising leaders and Eamon de Valera — as well as thousands of ordinary men, women and children. Convicts were often held here for long periods before being transported to Australia. Having only closed its doors in 1924, Kilmainham Gaol is a dramatic insight into what it was like to have been confined in one of these strongholds of correction. The visit includes a guided tour and exhibition but advance booking online is essential to guarantee entry.

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