The Dublinia Museum: Where You’ll Get A Window Into Medieval Dublin (Guide)

dublinia tour
Photo left by Lukas Fendek (Shutterstock). Photo right via Dublinia on Facebook

If you’re looking for things to do in Dublin in the rain, get yourself on the Dublinia tour.

From creating the first Irish trade routes to building arguably the country’s most famous cathedral, the Vikings had quite the impact in Ireland.

Especially when you consider the relatively short space of time they were in power. It’s within the walls of Dublinia that you’ll discover what they achieved during this time.

In the guide below, you’ll find everything you need to know about the Dublinia Museum, from opening hours and the tours to what to expect from a visit.

Some quick need-to-knows before visiting the Dublinia Museum

Dublinia museum dublin
Photo via Google Maps

Although a visit to the Dublinia Museum is fairly straightforward, there are a few need-to-knows that’ll make your visit that bit more enjoyable.

1. Location

Dublinia can be found on Christchurch Place, just south of the Liffey in central Dublin. The handsome St Michael’s Tower (part of the Dublinia complex) is easy to spot and lies next door to another famous Dublin landmark, Christ Church Cathedral.

2. Opening hours

The Dublinia opening hours are: 10:00 until the last admission at 16.30 between Thursday and Sunday. It’s closed from Saturday to Wednesday (hours may change).

3. Admission

Adult entry costs €12.00 while seniors (65+) and students (with valid ID) both cost €11.00. Children aged between 4 and 12 can get in for €7.00 and a family (2 adults and 2 children aged 4-12) is €30.00. Book online to avoid disappointment (prices may change).

4. Parking

Found just behind the Jurys Inn, Q-Park Christ Church on Werburgh Street is the nearest car park. Dublinia provides a special discount for parking at Q-Park. ‘Q-Park Discount Tickets’ are available for visitors to collect from the Dublinia Shop before returning to the car park.

About the Dublinia Museum

Dublinia tour
Photos via Dublinia on Facebook

At first glance, you could be forgiven for thinking you were staring at a slightly unsized clone of Christ Church Cathedral.

And you wouldn’t be too far off! Connected to the cathedral by a fully integrated stone bridge, the Dublinia exhibition is actually housed in a former synod hall that was previously used for hosting general synods and diocesan synods for Dublin, Glendalough and Kildare.

The recognisable spire of St Michael’s Tower is the last remnant of what was St Michael’s Church, a church destroyed by George Edward Street during his restoration of Christ Church Cathedral

Before it was turned into Dublinia in 1993, the synod hall had a brief but much more extravagant life as a nightclub in the 1980s! The switch to Ireland’s Viking story has proved a good decision however, with Failte Ireland recording visitor numbers of over 200,000 admissions to Dublinia during 2018.

What you’ll experience on the Dublinia tour

medieval dublin
Photos via Dublinia on Facebook

The Dublinia tour is arguably one of the best things to do in Dublin. And the reviews on both Google and Tripadvisor are outstanding.

Here’s a bit of what you can expect on the Dublinia tour, from the ‘Living History’ and the window into medieval Dublin to the very unusual artefacts and more.

1. Living history

dublinia tour
Photo left by Lukas Fendek (Shutterstock). Photo right via Dublinia on Facebook

Dublinia isn’t just any old museum with corridors and corridors of endless silent paintings and artefacts (never a great idea with restless kids). Keeping things informative for adults and exciting for children, Dublinia is a legitimate living museum and does a cracking job of bringing history to life for those who visit. 

Dressed in Viking and Medieval costume and armed with some unusual items, Dublinia’s Living History guides are always on-hand to explain all sorts of interesting facts about Viking weapons, the history of the barber surgeon, medieval medicine and herbs and even showing you how to play a game called Hnefatafl (or Viking chess!)

2. Viking life

what did the celts look like
Photo by Gorodenkoff (Shutterstock)

Want to know how much room you would have had on a Viking warship? Or what trying on their iconic clothes might have been like? All will be revealed at a museum that gives an extraordinary interactive insight into their ancient lifestyle and is brought to life by Dublinia’s awesome living historians. 

In fact, you can sit around a crackling fire and listen to fascinating Viking sagas retold by a (highly convincing!) elder. Also, new to Dublinia, find out what really happened during the Battle for Clontarf and the eventual decline of Viking power in Dublin.

3. Medieval Dublin

Dublinia
Photo by WayneDuguay (Shutterstock)

The end of the Vikings, however, gave way to a new era in Ireland and Dublinia offers a well-executed (no pun intended!) window into the turbulent life of medieval Dublin. At Dublinia’s Medieval Dublin exhibition, you’ll be able to take in all the sights, sounds and smells of Dublin when it really was a dirty old town!

Learn how Dublin dealt with crime, punishment, death and disease while grimacing at the grisly toothache remedies of 700 years ago. On the other hand, you’ll enjoy all sorts of spicy aromas and much more in the medieval fair, while learning how to play medieval games, visiting a rich merchant’s kitchen and walking along a bustling medieval street.

4. Views from the Medieval tower

Dublinia opening hours
Photos via Dublinia on Facebook

St Michael’s Tower isn’t just the handsome 17th-century centrepiece of Dublinia, it also doubles up as a deadly vantage point where you’ll be afforded some sweeping views across Dublin. You’ll need to work for it though! If you want to enjoy those vistas across the capital, you’ll have to navigate a steep snaking 96-step climb to the top (needless to say, don’t try this in high heels…)

Once you’ve made it upstairs though, the views will be well worth your travails. If it’s a clear day you’ll be able to spot plenty of Dublin’s most famous landmarks as well enjoying views across the Liffey and towards the hazy outline of the Dublin Mountains. 

5. Walking tours

Dublinia walking tours
Photos via Dublinia on Facebook

Did you know that Dublinia even offers its own walking tours? Lasting 90 minutes and accessible to all ages, the tour gives a fantastic overview of Dublin’s Viking and Medieval origins. Along the way, you’ll take in Dubhlinn, St.Audeons Church, the city walls on Cook St, and the tragic history of Wood Quay. 

While the walking tour is included in the price of admission to Dublinia, you’ll still need to confirm your place which you can do by contacting [email protected] or calling 01-6794611. Just present a copy of your ticket (printed or on your phone) to your tour guide on arrival and you’ll be grand.

Expect some very unique viking artefacts

viking dublin
Photos via Dublinia on Facebook

If you’re into your Vikings, it’s fair to say you get some serious bang for your buck at Dublinia! Featuring everything from a leper’s skull to a Viking comb, they’ve left no stone unturned here when it comes to curious artefacts. There are a couple here though that are worth the admission alone. 

First of all check out Gunnar, a Viking skeleton found on an excavation site at the offices of Dunnes Stores (of all places!) on George’s Street. Though he dates from around the 9th-century, you wouldn’t have wanted to mess with him as it’s thought that he grew up skinning animals in northern Norway before becoming part of an elite warrior force in Dublin.

Affectionately known as Maggie, you can also see the remains of a woman who had a particularly tough life in Medieval Dublin. With her bones showing signs of wear and tear and only 5 teeth remaining, she was found with a rope around her neck (likely how she came to her unfortunate end). 

Things to do near Dublinia

One of the beauties of the Dublinia tour is that, when you’re finished, you’re a stone’s throw from plenty to see and do.

Below, you’ll find a handful of things to see and do a stone’s throw from the Dublinia Museum (plus places to eat and where to grab a post-adventure pint!).

1. Cathedrals galore

what to see nearby
Photo by littlenySTOC (Shutterstock)

Quite literally a stone’s throw away, Dublinia is handily situated next door to the mighty Christ Church Cathedral. Check out its 1000-year history and spectacular crypt if you have the time. And if you still haven’t had your cathedral fill, the sublime St Patrick’s Cathedral (and nearby Marsh’s Library) is less than a 10-minute walk south down Patrick Street. 

2. Ancient pubs and fine food

oldest dublin pub
Photos via the Brazen Head on Facebook

Amazingly, it’s possible to continue your Medieval journey while sitting back with a lovely creamy pint and some fine food! Just a 5-minute walk north from Dublinia is the Brazen Head, by some distance the oldest pub in Dublin with its claims of origin dating to 1198. See our guide to the oldest pubs in Dublin for more.

3. Endless other attractions

Portobello
Photo by Lukas Fendek (Shutterstock)

Thanks to its handy central location, there’s a ton of other spots you can visit when you’re finished at Dublinia. A short walk down Castle Street and Cork Hill will find you within spitting distance of Temple Bar’s bright lights. If you fancy a slightly longer walk then the Guinness Storehouse is around 15 minutes away, while the Jameson Distillery on Bow St is also 15 minutes but you’ll need to head north over the Liffey.

FAQs about the Dublinia tour

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Where do you get the Dublinia tickets?’ to ‘What is there to see nearby?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is the Dublinia Museum worth visiting?

Yes! The Dublinia tour is an excellent insight into Medieval Dublin, and the tour is brilliantly put together.

Where do you get the Dublinia tour tickets?

You can book tickets for the Dublinia Museum online on their official website. You can also buy them there, but preference is given to online bookings.

What are the Dublinia opening hours?

The Dublinia opening hours are: 10:00 until the last admission at 16.30 between Thursday and Sunday. It’s closed from Saturday to Wednesday (hours may change).

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