Are you looking for the best things to do in Dublin, Ireland? Then you have found it! Dublin is Ireland’s capital city and it is a town filled with culture, beauty, and Irish history.
I know whenever we step foot on Irish soil, we feel a sense of excitement. This is the land of leprechauns and shamrocks (albeit we’ve never seen either) Guinness and whiskey. Here are our recommendations for the top things to do in Dublin taken from four different visits to one of our favorite cities on earth.
Things to do in Dublin Ireland
1. Guinness Storehouse
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The Guinness Storehouse is number one when it comes to places to visit in Dublin. Literally. Twenty million visitors have toured the brewery and enjoyed more than a pint or two. And it lives up to the hype! Guinness really does taste better in Ireland!
Covering 50 acres, the Guinness factory is a major part of the city’s history. The tour is very interesting to learn of how Guinness is made, but more importantly, it ends with a full pint of beer at the rooftop Gravity Bar bar that offers one of the best views of Dublin City. See our step by step guide to visiting the Guinness Storehouse
2. Learn to Pour a Perfect Pint
While you are at the Guinness Storehouse, upgrade your tour to the Guinness Experience where you will learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness in the Guinness bar and tasting room. Once you have poured the perfect cascade you’ll get a certificate to prove you are Guinness certified and you get a delicious glass of Guinness to boot! It really is a must-do in Dublin. It will make you a Guinness snob at pubs around the world for the rest of your life!
3. Book of Kells – Old Library
Trinity College Library is most famous for is its library housing the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells was written in 800 AD by a group of monks and was buried in the ground for safekeeping against the Vikings. In the 1600s it was rediscovered and sent to the Trinity College Library where it has been ever since.
The Old Library itself is amazing. The long room houses 200,000 books. It is said that the books act as the foundation to the library and it would collapse should the books be taken away. Take a Heritage Walking Tour to learn about Trinity College and other historical sights in town.
4. Gaelic Games Museum
One of the best ways to immerse in Irish culture is to get involved with their national sports! At Croke Park, the Gaelic Games museum is a walk through the history of Gaelic games. It’s also one of those Dublin attractions that make you feel like a kid again. The immersive museum is a lot of fun too as you try your hand at skills and learn to play the game of hurling. The museum is located at Croke Park where you can catch a game of Hurling too!
5. Croke Park Skywalk
If you are wondering what to do in Dublin, Ireland that offers a bit of adrenaline and excitement, the Croke Park Skywalk is the perfect tour for you,. Croke Park is the third-largest stadium in all of Europe and you will climb way up 44 meters high (144 feet) for a bird’s eye view of the hurling field and great panoramic city views. Plus, you get a behind the scenes peek at the athlete’s lounges, private boxes and you even get to go onto the field.
6. Ha’Penny Bridge
The Ha’Penny Bridge is a pedestrian bridge connecting the two sides of the River Liffey. You really can’t miss this top Dublin attraction when walking along the river. The River Liffey cuts through the city, and the Ha’Penny Bridge has long been considered a Dublin must-see.
When it was originally built, it only cost half a pence to cross, hence the name Ha’ Penny Bridge. Before this bridge was built, people used to cross the river using ferries.
7. Christ Church Cathedral
The Christ Church Cathedral was founded in 1028 and is one of Dublin’s top attractions and one of Ireland’s oldest buildings. If you go inside, be sure to visit the Crypt which is the largest in Ireland and has a mummified cat and rat! Guided tours are offered to take you to the belfry to see how the bells have been ringing for centuries with a chance to ring them themselves
8. Painted Doors of Dublin
The painted doors are one of those interesting points of interest in Dublin that you wouldn’t even notice if you didn’t know the story. In the 1700s, a building boom started and the Georgian period was born. . It is said that back in the day, many a drunk Irishman walked into the wrong house after a night at the pub. This led to people painting their doors in different bright colors to distinguish them from each other.
- Best places to view the painted doors – Merrion Square, Baggot Street, Leeson Street, Fitzwilliam Square
9. Temple Bar
One of the things you have to do when you are in Dublin is to visit the Temple Bar district. Temple Bar isn’t just a bar, it is a lively area on the South Bank of the River Liffey. It’s party time here with several pubs and clubs waiting to serve you a good time with live music and fresh pints.
But there is more to the area than just a party, many of Dublin’s cultural institutions have set up shop here including the Irish Film Institute, The Irish Photography Centre, and Even the Irish Stock Exchange.
- Get around Dublin with the Hop on Hop Off Card Delivered before you arrive!
10. Tour the Jameson Distillery
You cannot miss touring a distillery in Ireland and the old Jameson Distillery in Dublin takes you back in time to see the traditional methods of distilling Whisky. The Jameson Distillery is the birthplace of Irish Whisky in that dates back to 1780.
You can choose from some different tours like learning to blend your own Irish whiskey, doing a premium whiskey tasting experience, and blending your own cocktails. Take a guided tour of the distillery to learn all about the history here.
- If you want to learn more about Irish Whiskey, you can also visit the Irish Whiskey Museum where you’ll take a guided tour to learn all about the history of Whiskey in Ireland. Check out tours here
11. Tour the Kilmainham Gaol
Tour the infamous jail known as Kilmainham Gaol is well worth a visit in Dublin. This creepy tour takes you inside the horrific conditions that prison inmates faced. The jail can only be toured by a guided tour and it moves fast. It’s worth seeing and gives insight into Dublin and Irish history as prisoners from the rebellion of 1798 to the 1922 Irish Civil War were housed here.
Also, members of the Irish Republican Army were detained here during the Anglo-Irish War and the prisoners of the 1916 Irish rebellion were rounded up and executed here.
12. Stroll Through Trinity College
If you are looking for things to do on your own in Dublin, this is a lovely way to spend the afternoon. It dates back to 1592, it is Ireland’s oldest university located in the city center.
It is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful university campuses and taking a stroll through the grounds is a must. We find ourselves always going back to the college grounds and finding something new. The historic buildings, gardens, and monuments are worth a visit.
13. Say Hello to Oscar Wilde
The Oscar Wild Memorial Statue is located across the street from Wilde’s childhood home. Located in Merrion Square, the memorial actually consists of three statues. There is also a sculpture representing Dionysus and his wife Constance Lloyd.
14. Oscar Wilde’s House
At the address of No. 1 Merrion Square, you’ll see the childhood home of Oscar Wilde. Be sure to look in the park across the street to see the statue of the famous writer and poet, Oscar Wilde. He’s relaxing while looking back at his home. It’s quite serene.
- Buy: The Complete Works of Oscar Wilde
- See where Oscar Wilde is Buried at our post – Famous Cimitiere Pere La Chaise
15. Botanical Gardens
For serenity, a visit to the Botanical Gardens. It is located just 3 km outside the city center is another pleasant afternoon idea. Entrance is free and the gardens are famous for the wrought iron glasshouses.
16. National Gallery
Make sure to include museums and galleries in your Dublin itinerary. Admission to the National Gallery is free. If if you like art, you will enjoy this. It houses an extensive collection of Irish and European art, and it’s located right in the heart of the city. For more information visit the website
17. The Little Museum of Dublin
When you visit Dublin, be sure to stop at The Little Museum of Dublin is a great introduction to the city. We usually aren’t big on museums, but we loved this little one. I’d put it on my list of must-see Dublin museums. It houses a crowd-sourced collection of all things Dublin donated by local residents.
Take a walk through its four floors of Irish history that are quirky and unique. It has everything from old news articles from the original Irish independent office (that’s there too!) to portraits of famous Irish celebrities. There’s even a floor dedicated to U2. And guess what? U2 once visited the museum.
18. St. Stephen’s Green
Located across from the Little Museum of Dublin in the Dublin city centre, St. Stephen’s Green is a 22-acre park was designed as a Victorian Garden dating back to 1880. It is a lovely sanctuary with walking paths weaving through 750 trees, gardens, a waterfall, and a lake,
19. Newman University Church
Take a walking tour to find hidden gems like Newman’s University Church of Dublin. Our guide took us to a hidden gem that even many locals don’t even don’t know about but it really is something you must see in Dublin. The Newman University Church is a small yet beautiful and tranquil church. It’s filled with colorful motifs, latticework, and paintings.
20. Sweny’s Apothecary
Sweny’s apothecary is a really cool store with medicines, photographs, and prescriptions from the turn of the 19th century. This pharmacy is the actual pharmacy featured in James Joyce’s Ulysses. They have daily readings of James Joyce and they sell the famous lemon soap that made the shop famous. If you are looking for more of the more nontouristy unique things to see in Dublin, this is it. I felt like a cool hipster going into the store to talk about all things, Joyce.
21. National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland traces 7000 years of Irish history. Walk through the different displays of Celtic and Medieval art, Prehistoric Ireland and the Viking age of Ireland. The National Museum of Ireland is free with your Dublin Pass.
- Other museums to check out include the Irish Whiskey Museum, Irish Emigration Museum and the Irish Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum.
22. Go to the Pub
If you really want to get a feel for Dublin, you must visit one of the many historic pubs. Pubs are the heartbeat of the city located throughout the city center. Life unfolds in the pubs and no trip to Dublin would be complete if you didn’t sit back, enjoy a pint of beer, listen to live music, and have a chat with the locals. You’ll feel that you have stepped back in time and it will leave you with a warm a fuzzy feeling all over.
23. Live Music
If you are looking for the best things to do in Dublin, look no further than listening to live music. Live music is so popular in the pubs you’ll have the chance to listen to talented musicians play traditional Irish music. Really, all you have to do is go into any bar after dark and chances are a group of musicians will be sitting around playing amazing songs! Suggested places to watch Trad Music in Dublin are The Cobblestone, and Hughes Pub.
24. Grafton Street
Speaking of pubs, a popular spot for locals and visitors alike is Grafton Street. It has been the heart of the city for more than a century. This is a lovely walking street for shopping, lunch, cafes and pub life. If you are looking for areas to see day or night, this is the place to head to.
25. Street Musicians
Music is at the heart of Dublin life and buskers and street musicians line Grafton Street. You’ll find professional performers throughout the city including along the River Liffey and Temple Bar.
Not far from St. Stephen’s Green, O’Donoghues has been a staple in Dublin since 1934. It became popular in the 1960s when the famous Irish Folk group The Dubliners began performing. Anyone who’s anyone in Irish music played this pub and it continues to operate today!
27. Take a Lazy Bike Tour
One of the most fun things we did was to take a Lazy Bike Tours. You can book a tour with them on an e-bike through Get Your Guide. For a tour on a regular bicycle, check out this one.
28. Le Cool Dublin Experience
The Le Cool Dublin experience gives visitors a guided tour and a glimpse into local life. It changes regularly depending on what is going on. Lead by locals, it follows the happenings of the day taking you to local businesses, pop-ups, and markets. This is an excellent introduction to help you decide what to see and where to go next!
29. Dublin Castle
Chances are if you take a walking tour or lazy bike tour you’ll stop at the Dublin Castle. The Dublin Castle is one of the most famous medieval castles in the world that dates back to the 13th century. It is now a government building, but that doesn’t stop the tourists from coming.
There are two museums and cafes but most people come to hang out in the gardens and on the huge lawn. Be sure to visit the Record Tower and Chapel Royal. Plus the Chester Beatty Library (located inside) is one of the best museums in town.
30. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is another of the popular things to see in Dublin. It was St. Patrick himself who baptized Christians 1500 years ago right near this site. It has been a place of Christian spirituality ever since. Dating back to 1191 St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland at it is the
It is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. So it is still working today!
31. Dine with Bono and The Edge
Well, you may not actually be dining with Bono, but you can dine in the restaurant that he and fellow U2 bandmate The Edge bought in 1992. The Clarence Hotel is one of the original hotels in the Temple Bar district and Bono and The Edge helped revive the area when they reopened the Clarence in 1996. We had cocktails at The Octagon Bar before heading to the Cleaver East Restaurant for dinner.
32. Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed park in any capital city in all of Europe. We went for a lovely drive here and had no problem spotting deer. It was a first for us in Europe! Phoenix Park was originally set up as a royal hunting ground in 1662. The deer were stocked for hunting, but today it houses about 600 deer and makes for a quiet escape and to spy on the wild deer that inhabit the park today. The Dublin Zoo is also located here if you are into zoos.
33. Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum
If you love walking through famous cememteries, the Glasnevin Cemetery is where 1.6 million people have been laid to rest. It has become a popular stop to trace your genealogy and ancestry in search for your family history as so many of our roots began in Ireland.
Notable people buried in the Glasnevin Cemetery are Luke Kelly the founding member of the Dubliners, The Irish poet Brendan Francis Behan, Revolutionary Leader, Michael Collins, and Christy Brown – the Irish writer and painter who was depicted in the movie, My Left Foot
How to Save Money in Dublin
- The best way that you can save money and see all of the sites is to get yourself a Dublin Pass.
- You can get it for 1,2,3 or 5 consecutive days and it includes all of these and more: Free entry to over 30 of the most popular attractions
- Free Hop on Hop off Bus Tour with a 24hr ticket Discounts and exclusive offers at 20 extra venues Fast Track Entry at selected top Dublin attractions to skip the queues Mobile Pass:
- Download the Dublin Pass App and access your Mobile Pass immediately.
- Free guidebook to help guide you around the city
- Book your Dublin Pass Now!
Suggested Dublin Hotels
When planning your trip to Dublin, chooseing where to stay can make a huge different on the experience. We’ve stayed in all of these hotels in Dublin and each one was very good. Each was central and easy to get around from one destination to another.
- Morrison Hotel – 5-minute walk to Temple Bar, close to everything but still quiet enough to relax
- The Westbury Hotel – Superb Location near Grafton Street. Contemporary rooms in a grand hotel
- Fitzwilliam Hotel – Superb Location in the city center near Grafton Street and St. Stephen’s Green. Contemporary rooms in a grand hotel
- Marker Hotel – Located in the business district on Grand Central Square. Rooftop lounge.
So there you have it, those are our suggestions for the best things to do in Dublin. We never tire of the energy and culture of the city and are always looking for new and unique things to do.
Dublin is a lovely city that we found to be best enjoyed on foot. Walk along the River Liffey, get lost in the maze of streets and enjoy the atmosphere and energy.
Did we miss anything? Do you have a suggestion? Leave them in the comments below.
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To help you with your visit to Dublin, read our Packing Tips for Europe
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