Dublin has many landmarks and monuments dating back hundreds of years. One of the oldest is Dublin Castle, which was first founded as a major defensive work on the orders of King John of England in 1204, shortly after the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, when it was commanded that a castle be built with strong walls and good ditches for the defence of the city, the administration of justice, and the protection of the King’s treasure. Largely complete by 1230, the castle was of typical Norman courtyard design, with a central square without a keep, bounded on all sides by tall defensive walls and protected at each corner by a circular tower. Sited to the south-east of Norman Dublin, the castle formed one corner of the outer perimeter of the city, using the River Poddle as a natural means of defence.
The Molly Malone statue, Grafton Street.
One of Dublin’s newest monuments is the Spire of Dublin, or officially titled “Monument of Light”. It is a 121.2 metres (398 ft) conical spire made of stainless steel and is located on O’Connell Street. It replaces Nelson’s Pillar and is intended to mark Dublin’s place in the 21st century. The spire was designed by Ian Ritchie Architects, who sought an “Elegant and dynamic simplicity bridging art and technology”. During the day it maintains its steel look, but at dusk the monument appears to merge into the sky. The base of the monument is lit and the top is illuminated to provide a beacon in the night sky across the city.
Many people visit Trinity College, Dublin to see the Book of Kells in the library there. The Book of Kells is an illustrated manuscript created by Irish monks circa. 800 AD. The Ha’penny Bridge; an old iron footbridge over the River Liffey is one of the most photographed sights in Dublin and is considered to be one of Dublin’s most iconic landmarks.
Other popular landmarks and monuments include the Mansion House, the Anna Livia monument, the Molly Malone statue, Christ Church Cathedral, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Saint Francis Xavier Church on Upper Gardiner Street near Mountjoy Square, The Custom House, and Áras an Uachtaráin. The Poolbeg Towers are also iconic features of Dublin and are visible in many spots around the city.