Ireland is the land of leprechauns and shamrocks, Guinness, and Irish whiskey and Dublin is the heartbeat of the country. Ireland’s capital city was founded by the Vikings in 841 on the banks of the River Liffey and was called Dubh Linn, meaning Black Pool. There are so many things to do in Dublin that even after 5 visits, we always find a new activity and attraction. So, let’s take a look at some of our favorite places to visit in Dublin.
Top Things to Do in Dublin
Dublin is Ireland’s capital city and it is a town filled with culture, beauty, and Irish history. If you are looking for the best things to do in Dublin, you have come to the right place. We’ve visited Dublin several times and between our five different visits to the Emerald Isle, we have definitely experienced the best places in Dublin. (And more than once!)
Planning Your Trip To Dublin Right Now?
Below are some of the top tours in Dublin. Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting Dublin, Ireland!
Top Activities and Tours in Dublin:
- Dublin: Highlights and Hidden Gems Walking Tour (Most Popular in Dublin)
- Irish Whiskey Museum: Guided Tour and Whiskey Tasting (Our Favorite)
- Guinness Storehouse: Entrance Ticket
- Dublin: Cliffs of Moher, Kilmacduagh Abbey & Galway Day Tour (Will Sell Out)
1. Bar Hop at Temple Bar
One thing you must do when you are in Dublin is 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 the place for nightlife 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 entrance to many of Dublin’s top tourist attractions with the Dublin Pass.
2. Tour the Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Storehouse is number one when it comes to places to visit in Dublin. Twenty million visitors have toured the brewery and enjoyed more than a pint or two. And it lives up to the hype! Started by Arthur Guinness in 1759, Guinness has been a staple of Ireland ever since. Located in the heart of Dublin at St. James’s Gate Brewery, Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease to operate his brewery on the premises.
Covering 50 acres, the Guinness factory is a major part of the city’s history and its one of its top attractions. The tour is very interesting to learn 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.
While you are at the Guinness Storehouse, upgrade your tour to the Guinness Academy, the ultimate Guinness Experience where you will learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness in the Guinness bar and tasting room
This Guinness Jameson Tour is an excellent combination to visit two of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions. You can also book this Guinness Skip the line and Signature Experience with Tasting Tour at Viator
3. Cross the Ha’Penny Bridge
The Ha’Penny Bridge is a pedestrian bridge connecting the two sides of the River Liffey that cuts through the city. The Ha’Penny Bridge has long been considered one of the top attractions in Dublin. When you cross from the north it connects directly to the South Bank and entrance to Temple Bar.
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 so this was a real game-changer to life in Dublin.
4. Kellogg’s Skyline Tour at Croke Park
If you are looking for activities in Dublin that give you a bit of an adrenaline rush, Kellogg’s Skyline Croke Park Tour 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. It is actually the highest open-air viewing platform in Dublin! Plus, you get a behind-the-scenes peek at the athlete’s lounges, and private boxes and you even get to go onto the field.
5. 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 to learn about Gaelic Football and the national sport of Hurling. Make sure to 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!
6. 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 centre. Walk in the footsteps of famous Trinity College alumni such as Bram Stoker, WB Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and Johnathan Swift.
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.
7. Visit the Trinity College Library and Book of Kells
Trinity College Library is most famous for its library housing the Book of Kells but it is also Europe’s largest vaulted library. The Old Library itself is amazing. The long room houses 200,000 books.
Note: Trinity College Library is about to be up for renovations for the next 3 years. However, you can still tour the campus and see the Book of Kells.
Take this Heritage Walking Tour to learn about Trinity College and other historical sights in town. It really helps to have a guide tell you about the history to really enjoy and understand the things you are looking at in Dublin.
According to the Chronicles of Ulster, the Book of Kells is the most precious object in the Western world. It is a handwritten manuscript that contains the four gospels of the bible with beautiful imagery.
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. Dublin saw many a war between the Irish and the Vikings and the historic book remained hidden throughout the centuries. In the 1600s it was rediscovered and sent to the Trinity College Library where it has been ever since.
This Book of Kells Tour lets you fast-track directly to see the manuscript as you learn of its symbolism from a local guide. You’ll walk through the library and the grounds and gardens of Dublin Castle.
8. 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.
9. Christ Church Cathedral
The Christ Church Cathedral was founded in 1028 and when the Viking King Sitric Silkenbeard built the first wooden church on the site. Over the centuries, the cathedral has undergone various renovations and expansions, incorporating both medieval and Gothic architectural elements. And today it is one of the top attractions in Dublin.
The cathedral’s crypt is one of its main attractions. It is the largest in Ireland and houses fascinating exhibits, including the mummified remains of a cat and a rat, the “Clontarf” organ, and various historical artifacts. The crypt also hosts the “Treasures of Christ Church ” exhibition, displaying precious objects like manuscripts, ancient vestments, and the Great Parchment Book of Christ Church.
Christ Church Cathedral is also one of Ireland’s oldest buildings. Located in the city centre, visitors can take guided tour and climb to the bell tower to see the ringing of the bells and the famous Tom of Christ Church, a bell that weights 12.5 tons and rings out on special occasions.
Entry to the Christ Chruch Cathedral is included with the Dublin Pass. The Dublin Pass is an excellent way to save money on Dublin attractions giving you entrance to 35 attractions including the Dublin Hop-on Hop-Off Big Bus Tou, Dublin Zoo, Guinness Storehouse, James Joyce Centre, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and lesser-known must-see attractions like EPIC The Irish Immigration Museum, Irish Rock ‘n Roll Museum Experience, the Casino Model Railway Museum and much more.
10. Tour the Kilmainham Gaol
A 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.
11. 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. A cool feature that has been added here is the Talking Statues. When you stop at statues around Dublin, some of them have a QR code where you can receive a phone call from the historic person that tells you a little bit about their lives.
17. Visit 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
12. Dublin Castle
Chances are if you take a walking tour or lazy bike tour you’ll stop at 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 to see Dublin Castle.
The castle grounds house 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 while perusing Dublin Castle. Plus the Chester Beatty Library (located inside) is one of the best museums in town.
13. 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 Dublin 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 fuzzy feeling all over.
14. Listen to Live Irish Music at O’Donoghues
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! If you visit Dublin make sure to stop by for a pint.
Live music is so popular in pubs all around Ireland, that you’ll have no problem finding traditional Irish music playing in a pub. 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 Traditional Music in Dublin are The Cobblestone and Hughes Pub.
15. Shop on 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.
16. 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. We love riding in cities on an e-bike, and Dublin is no exception. This 2-hour tour lets you see a lot of the top tourist attractions as you get around with ease on a battery-powered bike. Follow along on a guided tour to see several off-the-beaten-path places as well as the major highlights.
17. Take a Walking Tour of Dublin
One of our favorite things to do in any city is to take a walking tour and we’ve taken quite a few in Dublin. You really cannot get to know a city unless you have spent some time there, or had an expert local guide tell you about the sites. This historical walking tour takes you to some of the top things to see in Dublin while being led by historicy graduates. You’ll learn about the history of the city including the Potato Famine, the 1916 Easter Rising, the War of Independence, and more modern history with the Northern Ireland Peace Process.
18. Picnic at St. Stephen’s Green
Located across from the Little Museum of Dublin in the city centre, St. Stephen’s Green is a 22-acre park that 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,
Watch our full video of all the best things to do in Dublin to add to your bucket list here on YouTube.
19. Tour the Jameson Whiskey Distillery
I know, I know, we’re talking an awful lot about drinking and pub culture, but that truly is a lot of what Dublin is all about. There are quite a few Irish whiskey distilleries around the country, and the Jameson Whiskey Distillery is the birthplace of Irish Whisky that dates back to 1780. Taking this tour in Dublin takes you back in time to see the traditional methods of distilling Whisky.
Learning to blend your own Irish whiskey or book a premium whiskey tasting experience, and blending your own cocktails. 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
20. Visit the Irish Whiskey Museum
The Irish Whiskey Museum is located in the Dublin city center and is dedicated to showcasing the history, heritage, and craftsmanship of Irish whiskey, one of Ireland’s most famous and cherished exports.
Step inside to be taken on a journey of Interactive displays following the origins of whiskey in Ireland to today.
The museum offers guided tours where visitors learn about the whiskey-making process, from malting and mashing to fermentation and distillation. The guides also delve into the different styles and flavors of Irish whiskey, highlighting its unique characteristics.
One of the highlights of the Irish Whiskey Museum experience is the whiskey-tasting session where you can sample a selection of Irish whiskeys, guided by an expert who explains the distinct flavors, aromas, and nuances of each whiskey.
21. Take A Whiskey Tour
This two hour premium whiskey tour is a perfect complement to the Jameson Distillery where you’ll visit some of Dublin’s most famous Whiskey bars with an expert guide. If there is one place to taste Irish whiskey it’s in Dublin and this guided tour takes you to some of the best tasting rooms in the city of Dublin.
You’ll taste 5 premium Irish whiskeys accompanied by fresh cheese and Irish soda bread. Places you’ll visit include the Dingle Whiskey Bar, Bowes Lounge, and the Palace Bar in Temple Bar. This is a great accompaniment to the Irish Whiskey Museum.
22. Pop in to Sweny’s Apothecary
Sweny’s Apothecary is a really cool store with medicines, photographs, and prescriptions from the turn of the 19th century neatly arranged in glass cabinets.
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.
23. Go Inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral
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 and it is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. So it is still the headquarters for the Church of Ireland today!
Located in the Dublin city center St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a must-stop on your Dublin itinerary. You can walk from it to other must-see attractions such as Christ Church Cathedral, St Stephen’s Green, and Dublin Castle or go on a cycling tour like we did.
Make sure to keep an eye out for the tomb of Jonathan Swift. Johnathan Swift was a famous Dublin poet and writer who was also the dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral from 1713 to 1745. If you are wondering if you might know any of his works, does Gulliver’s Travels ring a bell?
24. Wander Through the National Gallery of Ireland
Make sure to include museums and galleries in your Dublin itinerary. Admission to the National Gallery is free. 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.
25. National Museum of Ireland – Natural History
The National Museum of Ireland traces 7000 years of Irish history. The complex consists of three separate museums The Archaeology Museum, The Decorative Arts and History Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Country Life Museum in County Mayo.
The National Museum of Archaeology houses the largest collection of Irish archaeological artifacts. The exhibits include Celtic and Viking treasures
The National Museum of Natural History is commonly known as the “Dead Zoo,” this museum focuses on natural history and zoology. It displays a diverse collection of animal specimens, including mammals, birds, fish, insects, and fossils. The Victorian-era building itself is an architectural gem, with intricate stone carvings and a grand central staircase.
The National Museum of Decorative Arts and History explores Irish history featuring a wide range of exhibits, including weaponry, furniture, clothing, ceramics, silverware, and folk art. The National Museum of Ireland is free with your Dublin Pass
26. Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
If you love walking through famous cemeteries, 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 of 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, the Revolutionary Leader, Michael Collins, and Christy Brown – the Irish writer and painter who was depicted in the movie, My Left Foot
27. National Botanic Gardens
For serenity, visit the Botanical Gardens located just 3 km outside the city center beside Glasnevin Cemetery. The gardens span an impressive 19.5 hectares (48 acres) and are renowned for their diverse collection of more than 20,000 living plants representing around 300 plant families
Established in 1795, the Dublin Botanic Gardens is one of the oldest scientific gardens in Ireland. It has wrought iron glass houses, and the elegant Palm House built in the 1840s and the Curvilinear Range, a series of interconnected glasshouses that display a diverse range of plant species.
Entry to the Dublin Botanic Gardens is free, and the facilities include a visitor center, a café, and a gift shop.
28. Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is a vast public park located in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. Covering an impressive expanse of over 1,750 acres, it stands as one of the largest enclosed urban parks in all of Europe.
The park’s origins can be traced back to the 17th century when it was established as a royal deer hunting park for King Charles II. You’ll see plenty of deer in Phoenix Park which were originally stocked for hunting and today it houses about 600 deer.
One of the park’s most notable features is Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the President of Ireland. Adding to the park’s allure is the historical Magazine Fort, whose ruins evoke a sense of the park’s military past.
Phoenix Park has an extensive network of pathways and trails and bicycles can be rented near the park entrance. Another major attraction within Phoenix Park is the renowned Dublin Zoo, one of the oldest zoos in Europe.
29. Shop at the Dublin Flea Market
If you happen to be in Dublin the last Sunday of the month, The Dublin Flea Market has become one of the city’s most popular attractions. This huge indoor flea market is filled with vintage clothing, antiques, vinyl records, and second-hand books and furniture. You may find a unique item to take home with you.
30. Talking Statues
If you are following any self-guided tours in the city centre, keep an eye out for Dublins talking statues. 10 of Dublin’s most famous statues have a QR Code that you can scan and listen to its stories on your smartphone. From James Joyce to Oscar Wilde you’ll be able to listen to stories narrated by the likes of Gabriel Byrne.
31. Malahide Castle
Malahide Castle stands as one of Ireland’s most ancient and storied castles. Tracing its origins to the 12th century, it was the residence of the Talbot family for over eight centuries, right up until the 1970s.
Surrounding the castle is an expansive 260-acre parkland, where visitors can wander the meticulously maintained gardens that include the West Lawn, the Walled Botanical Garden, and even a Butterfly House. Guided tours are also available.
The castle also has a reputation for being haunted, adding a layer of mystery to its appeal. Legends speak of spirits like Sir Walter Hussey, the young Miles Corbet, and the famed White Lady, all believed to linger in the castle’s corridors and grounds.
32. Views of Dublin from the Dublin Mountains
From various vantage points in the Dublin Mountains, visitors can enjoy stunning panoramic views of Dublin city, Dublin Bay, the Irish Sea, and on clear days, distant views of the Wicklow Mountains and even Snowdonia in Wales.
There are hiking trails where visitors can can find ancient tombs, remnants of old mining activities, and historical landmarks that tell tales of the region’s past.
Suggested Dublin Hotels
When planning your trip to Dublin, choosing where to stay can make a huge difference in 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 Dublin city centre 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.
35. ake a Day Trip to the Howth Cliff Walk
The Howth Cliff Walk is a scenic hiking trail located in Howth, a picturesque peninsula and suburb of Dublin. This trail offers stunning views of the Irish Sea, the Wicklow Mountains, and the Dublin Bay, making it one of the most popular walking routes near Dublin. Here’s a brief overview:
Howth is easily accessible from Dublin by train (DART). Once in Howth, the start of the Cliff Walk is just a short distance from the train station. The walk is approximately 6-10 km (3.7-6.2 miles), depending on the specific route taken and takes around 2 to 3 hours to complete.
Dublin City Pass
The best way to save money in Dublin is to purchase the Dublin Go City Pass. The Dublin Go City All-Inclusive Pass gives you free access to 40 of Dublin’s top attractions including the Hop on Hop Off Big Bus Tour, EPIC The Irish Immigration Museum, and Guinness Storehouse, and more. Details here.
Why Should you visit Dublin, Ireland?
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.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ireland’s Capital
What is the #1 Attraction in Dublin Ireland?
The Guinness Storehouse is the number one attraction in Ireland with 22.9 million people passing through its doors.
Is 2 Days Enough to Visit Dublin
2 days is enough to see the top attractions in Dublin and to get a taste of the city. If you purchase a Dublin Pass you can take the hop on hop off bus tour to see most of its top tourist sites in 24 hours. Make sure to stay downtown so you will be within walking distance of many of the top sights and plan your itinerary wisely.
So there you have it, those are our suggestions for the best Dublin must-see attractions. We never tire of the energy and culture of the city and are always looking for new and unique things to do.
To help you with your visit to Dublin, read our Packing Tips for Europe
Read More about travel in Ireland:
- 23 of The Very Best Things to do in Ireland
- Tips for Visiting The Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
- A Tour of Skellig Michael – Visit the Beehive Monasteries of Ireland
- Mizen Head, Ireland – The Extreme Edge of Ireland
- Kylemore Abbey – The History of Ireland’s Lavish Castle
- Poulnabrone Dolmen: The Eerie Marvel of Ireland’s Biggest Portal Tomb
- Newgrange – Visit Ireland’s Ancient Passage Tomb
- 4X4 Off-Roading in Ireland
- Best Things to do in Northern Ireland