Sites and Insights: An Expert-Led Dublin Welcome Tour

Your first taste of Dublin, side-by-side with a local guide
From US$481 privately
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Tour Details
2 hours
Product Type
Dublin Castle

"The framework for the rest of my trip"

"Wonderful tour. I learned a tremendous amount. This tour gave me the framework to hang info from the rest of my trip. Thank you!"

Lynne S.

"Exceptionally interesting"

"An exceptionally interesting guide, knowledgeable and engaging. Altogether a most enjoyable guided tour of Dublin!"

Audrey P.

"Helping us connect with the city"

"Arran is such a wonderful guide. He was great at figuring out what interested us most and giving us great background and detail--helping us connect so well with the city, it's architecture, it's culture, etc. Highly Recommend!"

Wendy B.
Photos & Highlights
  • Dublin walking tour led by a local historian or scholar
  • Learn about the major monuments in Dublin's dramatic history
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Tour Description
Let us show you Ireland’s capital city through the lens of a Dubliner, weaving through the streets of Ireland’s lively capital city. In this two-hour Dublin Walking Tour, we'll join a local historian for an overview of the city's rich history, from its early origins as a Gaelic village to the arrival of the Vikings, Normans, and the English. Along the way we'll also get our bearings, discover great pubs and restaurants, and answer questions about life in Dublin—which means "black pool" in Gaelic—today.

The Dublin Walking Tour begins outside The Gresham Hotel, a Dublin hotspot since the 19th century located on O'Connell St., a fashionable suburb built in the 1700s but now the city's best-known thoroughfare. You will pass by a statue of James Joyce (leaning on his walking stick) on North Earl St. (affectionately known to Dubliners as 'the prick with the stick') and the Spire of Light towering above the General Post Office, headquarters of 1916 Rising. Then, we'll pass by the O'Connell Monument, named after Daniel O'Connell, known as the Liberator for his role as architect of the Catholic Emancipation in 1829.

We'll then proceed to O'Connell Bridge, which is as wide as it is long and serves as the main link between the north and south sides of the city across the river Liffey. From this vantage point, you can see Christchurch Cathedral at the medieval heart of the city to the west; looking eastward, you see the newest part of the city: the 'Silicon Docks.' Fashioned from steel and glass, this area's name comes from the presence of tech companies like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter who have chosen Dublin as their European headquarters. While traversing O'Connell Bridge, we'll also be sure to scope out the iconic Ha'penny Bridge; Dublin's most famous landmark.

Having crossed over to the south side of the city, you will pass by the Palace Bar on Fleet St, a well-known haunt of Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh, two hellraisers of the 1950s literary set. We'll also make our way through the Temple Bar district, which survived being slated for destruction to make room for the central bus station due to its thriving bohemian arts community. It is now home to cultural centers like Project Theatre, the Irish Film Institute, and the National Photographic Archive, among others.

Moving on, we'll pass by the Olympia Theatre, an exquisite example of Victorian architecture that still hosts concerts, before visiting the exterior grounds of Dublin Castle, the site of Dublin's first Viking settlement in 841 and the place where the city sprang up. We'll also scope out the Chapel Royal, the neo-gothic church that was the private chapel of the lord lieutenant—the representative of English monarchs who held a surrogate court at Dublin Castle, which was built by the command of King John in 1204. We'll see how the medieval courtyard was remodeled in the late 1600s and early 1700s and hear about the daring heist of the Irish Crown Jewels from the Bedford Tower in 1907.

Nearing the end of our walk, we'll visit City Hall, a Palladian structure with frescoes illustrating the history of the city and a central mosaic depicting the city's coat of arms. From here you will walk toward Wood Quay, the site of extensive archaeological excavations during the 1970s and '80s that uncovered the largest Viking settlement outside of Scandinavia. We'll then conclude the walk at Christchurch Cathedral, originally founded as a small church in 1028 by Sitric Silkenbeard, the Viking king of Dublin, and the burial place of Strongbow, the Cambro-Norman warlord who was a key player in the Norman conquest of Ireland. The site was renovated in the 1870s by the Roe whiskey distilling family.

This walk is designed to give a basic overview of the city and is best organized within a few days of arriving. We strongly recommend pairing it with one of our other thematic Dublin walking tours to dive deeper into this fascinating city. 
  • Dublin Castle: Dublin Castle is a major Irish government complex, conference centre, and tourist attraction. It is located off Dame Street in central Dublin. It is a former motte-and-bailey castle and was chosen for its position at the highest point of central Dublin.
General Information
  • There will be a break in the tour to stop and use bathroom facilities as well as opportunities to stop and rest along the way if needed. Please communicate any mobility needs or concerns with our team at the time of booking. 
Where do we start?  
We meet near the Gresham Hotel. Your confirmation email will have the exact meeting point and our email

Do we go inside the venues?
This is an outside walking tour, so we'll see the Houses of Parliament and the Dublin General Post Office from the outside and we'll walk through the grounds of Dublin Castle and see it from the exterior.

Is this tour accessible if I have mobility concerns? While we don't cover a large distance on the tour, nor do we take a fast pace, we will be walking the entire tour which includes cobblestoned streets.  There are occasional opportunities to sit. If you have mobility concerns, please feel free to contact us before booking; we can help you decide if our group walk or a private walk, with a modified route, will be best.
Book with confidence — see Context's flexible cancellation policy here.

Where You'll Start
(4.79) 134 Reviews

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An exceptionally interesting guide, knowledgeable and engaging. Altogether a most enjoyable guided tour of Dublin!
Great guide with great historical knowledge. Answered every question we asked even related to English History. Highly recommend!
Our introductory tour of Dublin was superb. Arran is a fantastic guide, deeply knowledgeable, highly enthusiastic, and a pleasure to spend time with. Highly recommended.