Culture Night takes place this evening across Ireland. This sees hundreds historic buildings open their doors late waiving their admission fees. Below I have compiled my top 5 list of things to do in Dublin. You can find a full list of events here.
1. Medieval Undercroft Dublin Castle
This is an incredible experience little known to many Dubliners. Very little of the structure visible today is medieval, however parts of the original fortress built in the early 1200s are still preserved beneath the current Georgian facades.
These are found by entering what is subterranean world under what was the Powder tower. You travel back 700 years gaining a unique glimpse of what the castle looked like during its heyday in the 13th and 14th century.
The undercroft is accessible for free tonight and can be found just to the right of the carpark in front of the Eastern gate of the castle.
2. Christchurch Cathedral
This is one of my favourite places in Dublin. Founded in the 1020s the current building dates from the late middle ages although extensive alterations and restoration work was carried out in the 1870s. Nevertheless the place oozes with history. Among others Strongbow was buried here, although the original tomb was destroyed in the 16th century. Don’t forget to check out the mummified cat and rat in the crypt which in themselves are worth a visit.
3. St Audeon’s Church
St Audeon’s church is situated above the city walls on Cooke Street and is one of the oldest buildings in the city. Dating from the 12th century it was one of the eight medieval parish churches within the walls of Dublin. Just looking at the building today you can see the marks of the various builders over the last eight centuries. The churches history is fascinating, with everything from medieval tombs to the iconoclasm of Cromwellian troops to be seen within its walls.
Dublinia is located in the Synod Hall opposite Christchruch. This is a great, way to experience the medieval past in a more hands-on approach. The exhibitions have everything from a scaled model of Dublin in the late medieval period to a reconstructed medieval street and dock. It’s well worth a visit particularly if your bringing kids. From here you can walk over the venetian bridge to Christchurch, an experience in itself.
5. Medieval Tour of Dublin
While this is not on Culture Night, tomorrow afternoon (Saturday), I am giving a tour of medieval Dublin in aid of the Street Stories festival. Street Stories a local history and culture festival taking place in Dublin 7 next weekend (26th -28th).
This tour will tie the histories of all the buildings mentioned above together and introduce you to the world of our medieval ancestors. Its only €10 per person and all funds raised goes to what is looking like a fantastic festival! Hopefully I will see you there.