Ireland’s capital knows how to treat its visitors, and not just by spoiling them with litres of Guinness, which it also does. Dublin is a fun city with a very interesting cultural offer. If you’re planning a trip there, here are the best things to do in Dublin, the best of the best… so you don’t miss a thing!
Things to do in Dublin
We recommend spending at least two days in Dublin, but if you’re the kind of person who likes a bit of fun, even in one day you can see most of the must-see sights. But make sure you wear comfortable tennis shoes because there are many kilometres to cover! On your route you can’t miss St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Temple Bar, O’Connel Street, Trinity College and…
Wait, are you ready to discover the best things to see in Dublin? Let’s go!!
If your idea is to visit several paid attractions in Dublin, the best thing to do is to get a Dublin Pass, you will save a lot of money. More info on prices and attractions included ⮩ here.
1. Free tour in Dublin
First things first: the one of the best things to do in Dublin is to sign up for a free tour. there’s nothing better than joining a free tour. This one in English is the perfect way to break the ice with the Irish capital. It also lasts a couple of hours, which is a great way to get to know the main sights of the city centre. Come on, it’s a great way to do it.
2. National Gallery of Ireland
If you like art, visiting the National Gallery of Ireland is one of the things to do in Dublin. You can see works by great painters such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet, Turner and Picasso (amongst others).
Admission is free!!
3. O’Connell Street
Walk along one of Dublin’s most atmospheric streets: O’Connell Street. There are several iconic buildings and statues here, including one of Daniel O’Connell, a politician who fought for Irish independence, and James Joyce, one of the most influential Irish writers of all time.
And speaking of Joyce, “The Dubliners” is a great book to read before travelling to Dublin.
4. Trinity College, a must-see in Dublin
Do you want to visit the oldest university in Ireland (and one of the most famous in the world)? Then you have to go to Trinity College. It was founded in 1592 and its classrooms have had such illustrious students as Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett, among others (Courtney Love for example).
5. Trinity College Library
At Trinity College you have to visit its beautiful Library, where you can find the Book of Kells, a manuscript containing the 4 gospels and an infinite number of perfectly preserved illustrations and miniatures. It is one of the best examples of religious art from the Middle Ages. It’s amazing!
6. Kilmainham Jail
One of the most curious places to see in Dublin is Kilmainham Jail, where many of those who fought for Ireland’s independence ended up. As a curiosity, the last prisoner to leave the jail was Éamon de Valera, who later became President of the country for 14 years.
If you are interested in learning more about the history of Ireland, we recommend you visit this prison. Admission: €8 (one hour guided tour). Book a few weeks in advance.
7. Hop on hop off bus in Dublin
Dublin is a “fairly” small city and can be easily toured, however if you have very little time and want to see the main sights, it is best to take a hop on hop off bus. More information and prices here.
8. Parks to see in Dublin
If it’s a nice day and you want to clear your head, the best places to relax are St Stephen’s Green Park, with its lakes and swans, or Phoenix Park, where you’ll be surrounded by deer. Both are perfect for those looking for a haven of peace in the middle of the city.
9. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a must-see in Dublin
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the jewel in the city’s crown. It is dedicated to the patron saint of Dublin (celebrated on 17 March) and is said to have been built next to the well where the saint baptised all those who wanted to convert to Christianity.
At first Ireland’s largest cathedral was nothing more than a humble wooden church. It was only in 1191 that it began to be enlarged and built in stone, although it underwent numerous changes over the centuries. Fun fact: one of the major restorations was financed by Benjamin Guinness, the grandson of the founder of Ireland’s best-loved beer.
How much does it cost to enter St Patrick’s Cathedral?
Admission to St Patrick’s Cathedral costs €8.
10. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
By the way, St. Patrick’s Day, 17 March, is an ideal date to visit Dublin, but remember to book your accommodation in advance (last visit we stayed at Jackson Court Hotel in in Dublin city centre) Among the various traditions of the day is the parade, which spreads joy (and green) through the streets of the city. Two things are never missing: shamrocks and beer, of course.
11. Holy Trinity Cathedral
Another cathedral worth visiting in Dublin is the Holy Trinity Cathedral (Christ Church Cathedral), the oldest cathedral in Dublin, which has a surprising architecture to say the least (especially thanks to the small bridge that connects the Cathedral with Synod Hall).
The most curious thing is that underneath the Cathedral, there is a gigantic crypt from the 12th century where, nowadays, there is a cafeteria.
12. Tour of mysteries and legends
Dublin is a city surrounded by mysteries, and to get to know them (and try to unravel some of them) there is nothing better than taking a tour of legends (free tour in Spanish).
13. St. Michan’s Church
If you’re into that sort of thing, head to St Michan’s Church, whose underground crypts contain the mummified remains of some of Dublin’s most important figures from the 1600s to the 1800s. Admission to the church is free, €3.5 if you want to enter the crypts.
14. Dublin City Hall
Another interesting building to see in Dublin is the City Hall. Here we recommend you visit the Round Room, a circular room surrounded by columns and with a majestic dome. It is also free of charge.
15. Guinness Storehouse, one of the best things to see and do in Dublin.
If you travel to Dublin you can’t miss a tour of the Guinness Storehouse, where you can learn how the most famous dark beer in the world is produced (and where, of course, you can taste it). Prices from €26 on their website, free with the Dublin Pass.
16. Molly Malone Statue
Take a selfie with the statue of Molly Malone, a mussel and cockle seller who has become a legend over the years thanks to this popular song. It is located at 2 Suffolk Street, near Trinity College. A visit here is another of the best things to see and do in Dublin.
17. Dubh Linn
Surprise your fellow travellers with a historical curiosity: Dublin was founded by Vikings in 998, when they called it “Dubh Linn” which literally means “dark pond”.
Visit Dublinia, an interactive exhibition that will give you an insight into the history of the city in the Viking era and the Middle Ages. Entry costs €12 but is included in the Dublin Pass (See? We told you it’s worth it!).
It is located in the Synod Hall.
19. Game of Thrones Tour
Are you a Game of Thrones fan? Then don’t miss out this themed tour.
20. Temple Bar
A trip to Dublin is not the same without having a pint (or two, or three, or as many as it takes) in Temple Bar, an area in the centre of Dublin where there are lots of legendary pubs, including the eponymous Temple Bar, with more than 160 years of history! It doesn’t have the cheapest beers in Dublin, but with its great atmosphere it seems that the pints taste better than anywhere else.
21. Old Jameson Distillery
Do you prefer whisky to beer? Then stop by the Old Jameson Distillery, a historic distillery where you can learn more about the whisky production process, its types and where you can try some samples of this popular drink in Ireland. More info on their website.
22. Ha’Penny Bridge
Cross the Ha’Penny Bridge for free… in the past, until 1919, you had to pay half/ha'(half) penny to cross it. Yes, that’s where the name of the bridge comes from.
23. Famine Memorial
And while you’re on the banks of the River Liffey, why not take a nice walk and maybe even get to the sculptures of the Famine Memorial? Do you also think that cities with rivers are the most photogenic?
24. Custom House
Also on the banks of the river and next door stands the imposing Custom House, a neoclassical building built in the 18th century as the headquarters of the Dublin Port Customs House. Its striking bronze dome is a real eye-catcher. You’ll find quite a few of these buildings scattered around the city, another quite impressive one is Four Courts.
25. Celtic music concert
Attend a Celtic music concert (even if it’s impromptu). It’s not hard to come across buskers in the Temple Bar area (or in one of its many pubs).
26. Try Irish food, one of the best things to do in Dublin
Be sure to try one of the most delicious Irish dishes: Irish stew, a meat stew with potatoes, onions, carots and herbs that is as simple as it is tasty. It’s said to be the best at O’Neill’s Pub.
27. Dublin Castle
Did you know that Dublin has a castle? Today it is simply the site of state receptions, but it was once the site of Viking settlements, later the Royal Palace and even the Court of Justice. Entrance (with guided tour) costs €12, included in the Dublin Pass, although you can walk around the grounds and see it from the outside.
28. Chester Beatty Library
In the castle gardens is the Chester Beatty Library, a library with exquisite art exhibitions. It was awarded “Best European Museum of the Year” a few years ago, and good news for backpackers in Dublin: it’s free to enter! Find out more about its exhibitions here.
29. Grafton Street
If you’re in the mood for shopping (or just window shopping), wander down Grafton Street, a pedestrianised street with lots of shops, sales and street shows.
30. Dublin’s Georgian Quarter
Get lost in Dublin’s Georgian Quarter and take as many pictures as you can with the coloured doors of the houses – they’re beautiful! And if you really want to travel back to Dublin in the late 1700s, head to Number 29 House, a building that looks like it’s stuck in the past: it’s decorated like an authentic Dublin house from the Georgian era. L
Why are the houses in Dublin’s Georgian Quarter so colourful?
Legend has it that a drunken man once returned home to find his wife having sex with her lover. The unhappy man did nothing but finish them off, even though they were in fact his neighbours: the drunkard simply had the wrong house! Since then, the neighbourhood has decided to paint each door a different colour… Truth or legend? Nobody knows for sure!
31. Leprechaun Museum
The Leprechaun Museum is the perfect place to surround yourself with Irish mythology and get up close and personal with its immense world. Entry costs €16 and we only recommend it if you’re a big fan of leprechauns and legends or if you want to see something original in Dublin. To be honest, we wouldn’t go. But let the record show that it exists 😉.
32. Museum of Archaeology
On the other hand, the Museum of Archaeology (and not just because it’s free) is a must-see museum for everyone. Here, you can explore the history of Ireland by looking at archaeological artefacts from the Mesolithic to the Middle Ages. The area about the Vikings is particularly interesting.
Be careful: it is closed on Mondays.
33. Science Gallery
Another free gallery, perfect if the weather outside is not so good, is the Science Gallery. Its innovative and creative scientific exhibitions are constantly changing, but they are always a hit with the locals (and tourists). It’s also a good museum to visit with children in Dublin.
34. Dublin’s best fish & chips
Try what many say is Dublin’s best fish & chips at Leo Burdock’s. Here are a few places to eat well and cheaply in Dublin.
These are our recommendations for the best things to do in Dublin. Do you know more things to see and do in Dublin? Leave us a comment 🙂
▶ Have you ever visited Corck City? Let us invite you to know more about it: What to do in Cork City