Our day started off with a tour of Kilmainham Gaol. Extremely popular with tourists this year, since it’s the centenary of the Easter Rising, it is wise to book ahead to make sure there’s space. Today this building is symbolic of the fight for Irish independence, and leaders of many rebellions were detained or executed there.
Once inside, you can wander through the exhibits. The guided tour starts from the holding cells and takes you through the preserved buildings. You can get a taste of what life was like for ordinary inmates, as well as hearing the stories of many famous rebellion leaders, including Joseph Plunkett and Grace Gifford, who married seven hours before his execution.
Many sightseeing buses stop outside the Gaol, and so we bought another ticket and hopped on board. The bus carried us around to Phoenix Park, one of the largest parks in Europe and home to Dublin Zoo. Tickets to the zoo came as part of our holiday package deal, including the flights and hotel stay, but they can also be purchased on the day or online at 17€ for adults.
Dublin Zoo is the largest zoo in Ireland and a great place to spend the day out. The Phoenix Park Tea Rooms are located by the entrance, if you’re in need of a snack or drink. The maps provided by the zoo staff are accurate and easy to follow to ensure you don’t miss out any animals. Their largest exhibit is the African Plains, which houses a variety animals from gorillas to giraffes.
After spending a few hours there, we took the bus back into town and then a taxi ride to the airport. Our stay in Dublin may have been short, but it was definitely enjoyable. It’s a shame there wasn’t chance to explore the rest of Ireland – another day, perhaps.