North City History Tour

Biking is an excellent way to discover the historic sites of Dublin

Fergal Flannery

There are a great host of fascinating historical sights just north of Dublin’s center, and often are seldom seen by visitors to the city. Cycling is an ideal way to visit these attractions without much difficulty, as many are within only a few kilometers of each other.

This is a route where you will spend considerably more time off the bike rather than on it, so remember as with any populous city, a good lock is essential (if not two!).

From the city center it is a short direct route north along O Connell street. This is a main thoroughfare, so traffic unfortunately is always busy with little concession made for cyclists. Once past the Rotunda hospital and headed uphill however, much of the traffic should dissipate and cycling a little more relaxed. Passing Constitution Hill and entering the busy suburb of Phibsboro, a bottleneck of heavy bus traffic can be problematic for n inexperienced cyclists, but this passes quickly.

On reaching the Cemetery, it is permissible to wheel your bike, but never to cycle it within the grounds. The same applies to the Botanic Gardens, which is accessible directly from the cemetery or by returning to Botanic Ave.

Continuing onwards and upwards, Griffith avenue is reached an this wide long tree lined avenue is very pleasant to cycle. The Casino is accessed through what looks at first to be a residential area just beyond a sports ground, but it its entrance is well signposted. The Casino is currently closed for restoration but will reopen in March and it highly recommended.

The last part of the route is once more back into heavy traffic and is far from scenic, but Croke park is easily visible on the skyline for miles around, and is a uniquely Irish attraction well worth taking time to visit.

BikeTrip_100wBasic data

Map

Map: RideWithGPS.com

Map: RideWithGPS.com

Things to see and do

  • Glasnevin Cemetery. Dublin’s most historic cemetery is one of the most fascinating tourist sights in the city. The superb new museum and guided tours offer a great insight to the cemetery, from the monumental homages to famous figures from Irelands turbulent history, to the spooky labyrinthine cenotaphs of the Georgian past. More information on www.glasnevintrust.ie.
  • Botanic Gardens. Adjoining the Cemetery are the impeccable gardens and greenhouses which hark back to Victorian times. Entry is free and it is one of the most charming places in the city to while away an afternoon.
  • The Casino at Marino. An enigmatic architectural folly is a  seldom seen gem of Dublin’s Georgian history. (Currently closed for restoration).
  • The Gravediggers. (Kavanagh’s Bar) No trip to the North inner-city is complete without a visit to Dublin’s best bar. Little changed by the arrival of the 21st century, and renowned for the quality of its Guinness, the Gravediggers is as authentic an experience of the Irish Pub as it gets.
  • Croke Park. Home of the GAA or Irelands indigenous sporting body, Croke park is one of Europe’s grandest stadia. If there’s a game of football or hurling on, its always busy so getting tickets in advance is essential. Otherwise, there is an excellent museum and a popular ‘Skyline’ tour of the city from the stadiums commanding roof. (Just remember to lock your bike VERY well!).

Photos

From Glasnevin Cemetry. <br>Photo: Fergal Flannery
From Glasnevin Cemetry.Photo: Fergal Flannery
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