One of the greatest tourist attractions for those staying in Dublin hotels in the heart of the city is Dublinia, which charts the medieval history of the city. Located on St Michael’s Hill, Dublinia is open all year round and provides a fascinating afternoon for kids and grown-ups alike. Those staying in hotels in London with easy access to The London Dungeon would surely be jealous if they were able to see the historical sights and experiences on offer to tourists here in Dublin!
The exhibition charts the history of Dublin, specifically from the period of the Vikings through to the closure of the monasteries in the 1540s. The highlight is the large-scale model of the city circa 1500, which has been painstakingly recreated with a high level of attention to detail. The exhibit is so evocative that you can imagine what it would have been like to have lived during these times as it provides such a fascinating insight.
The attraction is split into three sections. The first details the Viking period, where you can experience what life would have been like on a traditional longboat. You can also take a trip down a Viking street and enjoy the cramped claustrophobia of a Viking house as you become fully immersed in this intriguing period of European history. You will also get to discover bizarre burial customs and other fascinating facets of Viking life, such as what it took to be a Viking warrior. You will be able to try on clothes of the period, become a slave, and learn all about the myths and legends which formed such an integral part of Viking life.
The second section deals with Medieval Dublin. Here, you can experience the bustle of a contemporary market, the fervent excitement of a busy street, and the frenetic activity in a merchant’s quarters. You will also find out about death and disease during this period, particularly the fears associated with the plague, whilst former cures for toothache can also be discovered! War, crime, punishment, and begging are all part of the rich tapestry of this era, whilst you will also get to learn to play medieval games.
The final exhibition is the History Hunters project, which details how we know so much about Dublin’s past. Many artefacts are on display in this section, particularly those which were discovered during the famous Wood Quay excavation. The highlight is undoubtedly the skeleton of a medieval man, which will have children in particular staring in wonder. This interactive area is a great hit with the kids as they can experience what it is like to be an archaeologist whilst also testing their historical knowledge with the Time Detectives.
Dublinia is a fantastic way to spend a rainy afternoon in the city, particularly as it is so easy to reach. You can get there on bus numbers 49, 50, 54A and 123, whilst you can also get a Red Line Tram to Four Courts station.