Fossils around Dublin

Fossil hunting need not require a wind-swept coastline and hiking boots. Urban fossil hunting can be equally fascinating! Let’s take a stroll through Dublin’s city centre, starting from the National Gallery‘s entrance on Kildare Street. Here, most of the fossils are gastropods and bivalves and the building stones are made of limestone. Why not drop in to view some of Ireland’s most treasured paintings while you’re here?






Few people passing through Dublin miss out on visiting Trinity College Dublin and the Book of Kells. Less known is Trinity’s iconic Museum Building, finished in 1857, which boasts dazzling building stones, among which fossils are lurking…


Glancing down from the majestic staircase, you will see columns made of Connemara Marble, Cork Red Marble, serpentinite and limestone.


Look closely at the columns and you’ll spot some fossils, such as this ammonite:


Here it is in close-up view:


The presence of fossils is a tell-tale sign that the rock in question is not metamorphic (it is limestone rather than marble, in this case).

Crinoids are hiding here too!


Let’s step out of the Museum Building now. Look! A squirrel just crossed the path in front of us!


As we reach Kildare Street and its beautiful buildings, such as the Alliance Français and the National Library, look closely at the building stones. As you walk along, you will see they are brimming with fossils!


Crinoids, brachiopods and corals can be seen in this limestone from Carlow. Can you see the crinoid ossicles? Hint: they are polo-mint-shaped.



Have you seen the monkeys playing billiard? A reminder that the building once housed the Kildare Street Club, a gentleman’s club.


Below, a hare is chased by greyhounds:


There are plenty more urban fossils if you care to look! Whether it’s the floor you’re walking on, the steps you rush past or the banisters you lightly touch on your way to the office, it’s always worth a closer inspection. Who knows what you might find?

This is by no means a comprehensive guide to fossils in the building stones of Dublin. To find out more, consult this excellent book:

The Building Stones of Dublin: A Walking Guide, by Patrick Wyse Jackson, 1993.

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One thought on “Fossils around Dublin

  1. Rubén says:

    Thanks for this interesting post. I am sure there are many other fossils hidden in the buildings of Dublin.

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