Did you know Dublin has been ranked the most Wheelchair Accessible City in Europe? Which is one of the reasons why I always love visiting Dublin. Even on the briefest of visits it is always something to look forward to. It is a vibrant, fun city, that is comfortable in it‘s own skin and it’s people are so friendly and welcoming. Like many cities there is so much to see and do but here are my five favourite accessible things to see and do in Dublin.
City Sightseeing Tour
The first thing that I do when I visit Dublin is to take a City Sightseeing bus tour. The tour takes in 31 stops, at all the main attractions, including Kilmainham Jail, Phoenix Park, O’Connell Street, Trinity College and much more. If you are lucky enough to have a live tour guide you will also be treated to the Craic and some wonderful stories. The City Sightseeing Bus is a great way to get your bearings. My advice is do a full circuit first and decide what you want to see then, hop on and hop off at the places you want to visit or explore.
The City Sightseeing Buses have wheelchair ramps and a Wheelchair space on the lower deck. The Tour costs approximately £25pp for Adults and if you are taking children the first 2 under 12 years old are free.
There are similar bus tours operated by other companies but I have found that City Sightseeing are the most accessible and the most comprehensive tour. An added advantage is that your tour ticket gets you some pretty good discounts.
The Guinness Storehouse
For me, no visit to Dublin is complete without a visit to St James’ Gate and The Guinness Storehouse. This is not a factory tour, but is an exciting exhibition about everything Guinness. You will learn about the founder and his remarkable family, the brewery, the brewing process, the marketing and so much more. The attraction is beautifully designed and laid out over several floors with accessible panoramic lifts and wheelchair ramps throughout making it easy to get around. There is plenty of space to manoeuvre and with lots of audio visual presentations the story of the most famous pint in the world is told in an exciting way. One thing you will not want to miss on a visit to the Storehouse is the Academy, where you can learn how to pull the perfect pint of Guinness and enjoy the fruits of your labour. They have a Guinness Tap at wheelchair height so even in a wheelchair you can hone your skills.
The culmination of any tour of the Guinness Storehouse has got to be a visit to the Gravity Bar on the top floor. Here you will be able to enjoy your free pint if you did not pull your own in the Academy. Whilst enjoying your pint of Guinness you will be able to enjoy some amazing views across the city and to the mountains beyond.
The entrance for groups, wheelchairs and pushchairs to Guinness Storehouse is located on Market Street. Visitors will need to push the call button to gain access and should follow internal signs to the lift/elevator and ticket desks. Where you will be able to buy your tickets or exchange your booking reference for a ticket.
Accessible bathrooms are available throughout the building on lower ground, ground, ground mezzanine,3rd, 4th and 5th floor. If you have a sensory disability a handheld text, audio and international sign language guide devices are available at the Audio Guides Desk on the ground floor.
I am pleased to say Guinness Storehouse welcomes Guide Dogs and Registered Assistance Dogs. If you have photo sensitive epilepsy you need to be aware that there are flashing and flickering lights throughout the attraction which may trigger a fit. The Guinness Storehouse can be busy at peak times. So the best times to visit are Tuesday to Thursday between 10.00 and 12.00. At these times it will be quieter and easier to get around.
Merrion Square and Park
This beautiful park is in Georgian Dublin, it is home to the Oscar Wilde Memorial. Oscar was born in Merrion Square in a house close to his memorial. The Memorial is easily accessible and is worth a visit. You will find a rather colourful sculpture of the great man, created by Danny Osborne from colourful stones from around the world and is surrounded by pillars that contain some of pithy and witty sayings. For example ”I may be in the gutter, but I am looking up at the stars.”
Once you have visited the memorial it is worth spending a little time exploring this charming park, which was originally a private garden for the wealthy residents of Merrion Square, but was then bought by the Arch Diocese of Dublin as a site for a cathedral that was never built. In the 1970s the park was eventually opened to the public and is a place that is enjoyed by the citizens of all ages of Dublin. There are some interesting sculptures and memorials to see including The Jokers Chair, which is a memorial to Dermot Morgan who is best remembered for playing Father Ted.
After exploring the park it is worth exploring Merrion Square that surrounds the park on 3 sides. The neighbourhood is famous not just for its colourful doors and Georgian architecture but was the home to a whole host of famous artists, writers and influential historical figures including, Oscar Wilde, the physicist J L Synge, W B Yeats, and the politician Daniel O’Connell.
The National Leprechaun Museum
Among the bars and buskers on the busy Jarvis Street there is a little bit of pure magic that is a museum that the young and the young at heart will simply love. It celebrates the little people and the storytellers bring these little folk to life through their tales on a guided tour that will simply charm and beguile kids of whatever age. You can leave your serious self outside and enter a sillier, more light hearted world where laughter is the order of the day. The tour takes around 1 hour. I promise that you will leave this little museum with your frown turned upside down and a giggle in your heart.
The museum has a step free entrance and is level throughout enabling easy access. There are also accessible toilets.
Trinity College Library and the Book of Kells
Trinity College Dublin is the most prestigious University in Ireland and is a world class university. The main quadrangle of the college is probably most people’s idea of the archetypal university and was used in the film Educating Rita. The college is also home to one of the World’s great libraries and it houses some very rare books including the beautiful Book of Kells. It is well worth buying your ticket to see the Book of Kells exhibition ahead of your visit as there are often long queues to see it.
Once inside the exhibition area at peak times it can be very crowded, but the museum staff are usually more than happy to guide you to the lifts to take you to the upper level of the exhibition and to the famous Long Hall, that I am sure will make you think of the Harry Potter films. However the real star of the show is the ancient illuminated manuscript of the Book of Kells created by Medieval Irish Monks. Its sheer beauty will take your breath away.
I hope you have enjoyed this article. There is so much more to see and do in Dublin and these are just a few suggestion. Each time I visit Dublin I discover something new.