In this guide, I’ll share my picks for the 29 best things to do in Dublin, Ireland. Be warned though, once you’ve visited Dublin, you may not want to leave!
There’s something undeniably charming about Ireland. Old stone castles and churches stand amidst rolling green hills. Spirited music makes you tap your toes involuntarily. Friendly, down-to-earth locals abound. Everything that makes the Emerald Isle so enchanting converges in Ireland’s capital city–Dublin.
Dublin is one of my favorite cities on the planet, so I will be more than happy to share my picks for the best attractions, activities, and hidden gems in Dublin.
Table of Contents
- 29 Best Things to Do in Dublin
- Temple Bar
- O’ Donoghues
- The Irish Music Scene
- The Guinness Storehouse
- The Jameson Distillery
- Irish Whiskey Museum
- Trinity College
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- The National Museum of Ireland
- Christ Church Cathedral
- The Irish Museum of Modern Art
- Phoenix Park
- The Dublin Zoo
- Grafton Street
- St. Stephen’s Green
- Abbey Theatre
- Irish Food
- O’Connell Street
- Dublin Castle
- The Chester Beatty Library
- Glasnevin Cemetery
- The National Botanic Gardens
- The Wicklow Mountains
- The River Liffey
- The Docklands
- Dublin Bay
- Georgian Doors
- The Little Museum of Dublin
- Croke Park
- FAQ About What to Do in Dublin, Ireland
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29 Best Things to Do in Dublin
Get to know the locals in Dublin’s most famous neighborhood.
Few attractions in Dublin are as iconic as Temple Bar. Don’t let the name confuse you, it’s a neighborhood in the Dublin city center that is famous as the capital of the capital city’s nightlife. One of the most recognizable landmarks is the Temple Bar Pub with its red exterior. Besides bars, Temple Bar features many other attractions.
One of the local landmarks, the Molly Malone statue, depicts the tragic heroine of one of Ireland’s famous folk songs. Another famous tune traces its origins to Temple Bar – Handel’s Messiah. Handel’s masterpiece had its first performance at a music hall on Fishamble Street. Today, a plaque marks the spot of the performance.
Tap your toes and wet your whistle in one of Dublin’s best pubs.
Visiting this pub is one of my personal favorite things to do in Dublin! Fans of Irish music know that The Dubliners started out playing O’Donoghues. Their portraits (along with those of other notable Irish musicians) adorn the walls of the pub.
The pub sits a stone’s throw east of St. Stephen’s Green (more on that below). Despite its massive popularity, O’Donoghues retains that cozy feeling that makes Irish pubs famous.
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The Irish Music Scene
Dive deeper into the rich world of traditional Irish song and dance.
📍 Google Maps | Hours: Varies by location
Other establishments throughout central Dublin are also worth visiting for their brews and ballads. The iconic Templer Bar Pub features regular performances. O’Neil’s Pub & Kitchen combines good eats, cold drinks, and nightly live music.
Another personal favorite of mine is Pipers Corner, north of Temple Bar. This fine establishment often features the uilleann pipes, the smaller (and quieter!) Irish variant of the bagpipes. You can also learn more about Irish dances, and even learn a few moves from some popular tours dedicated to Irish dance.
The Guinness Storehouse
Top off a tour here with a pint and the best views of town.
But, what’s a session without a pint or two of “the black stuff?” The Guinness Storehouse tells visitors about the long history of this famous stout. Note that the brewery itself does not open its doors to the public.
One of the most interesting artifacts on display is the 9000-year lease to the brewery site! Tours here conclude with a visit to the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor of the building. Here you can pair panoramic views of Dublin and a frothy pint of Guinness.
The Jameson Distillery
Ireland’s other famous libation also offers tours and tastings.
This famous Irish whiskey company began operations in the late 1700s. Though whiskey production later moved to County Cork, the old Jameson Distillery in Dublin preserves the story of this distinctive dram. Tour activities include blending your own whiskey, whiskey cocktail-making classes, and more.
Irish Whiskey Museum
Learn all about the “water of life” at this museum.
While Jameson made the spirit famous, whiskey’s history goes much further back than the 1700s. The Irish Whiskey Museum tells the story of the “water of life” (as its name means in Irish Gaelic )and offers tasting tours as well. Other tour options include whiskey blending and food pairings.
The bar here offers a wide array of fine whiskeys. Visitors can buy a bottle of their favorite at the gift store. The coffee shop at the museum is a great place for Ireland’s most famous cocktail–Irish Coffee
Ireland’s oldest university houses cultural treasures and awe-inspiring architecture.
There’s plenty to imbibe in Ireland besides beer and whiskey. The rich, refined atmosphere of Trinity College Dublin offers a heady brew of culture to slake any intellectual thirst. The iconic Long Room of the Old Library, with its towering shelves of tomes, has all the hushed majesty of an old forest.
One of Ireland’s most priceless cultural treasures – The Book of Kells is on display in the Trinity College Library. The delicate nature of the ancient tome makes all visitor photography forbidden. Fortunately, the Trinity College Library gift store sells souvenirs featuring the designs from the tome.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
See one of the best examples of Gothic architecture in Ireland.
📍 Google Maps | Phone: +353 1 453 9472 | Website | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm Mon – Fri, 9 am — 5 pm Sat, 9 am – 10:30 am, 1 pm – 2:30 pm, 4:30 pm – 6 pm Sun | Entrance: €9 Adult, €3.50 Child (6 – 12), €8 Student & Senior (60+)
Commissioned in 1191, Ireland’s largest cathedral serves as the national cathedral of Ireland. While some of Ireland’s. In the late 12th century, The Anglo-Norman conquers of Ireland began building St. Patrick’s Cathedral in the Gothic style common in Continental Europe.
St. Patrick’ may be smaller than the grand cathedrals on the continent but still holds its own for awe-inspiring beauty. The grave of Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels lies beneath the southwest porch of the cathedral. In addition to authorship, Swift also served as the rector of the church, lending his choir to Handel’s first performance of Messiah.
The National Museum of Ireland
Many of Ireland’s cultural treasures await visitors at this museum.
The National Museum of Ireland consists of several museums dedicated to different fields. The Museum of Archaeology features artifacts from ancient and medieval Irish history. Among the most remarkable are the Ardagh Hoard, and a collection of Bronze Age jewelry.
The Museum of Decorative Arts and History focuses on items, such as currency, and household objects from recent centuries. The Museum of Natural History preserves skeletons of prehistoric creatures from Ireland and elsewhere.
👉 Need Help Itinerary Planning? Check out my complete itinerary for Dublin!
Christ Church Cathedral
Listen to live medieval music in the lofty cathedral.
📍 Google Maps | Phone: +353 1 677 8099 | Website | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Mon/Wed/Fri, 10 am – 5:30 pm Tue & Thur, 10 am – 7 pm Sat, 12:30 am – 3 pm, 4:30 – 6 pm Sun | Entrance: €10.50 Adult, €3.50 Child (12 and under), €9 Student & Senior
Along with St. Patrick’s, Christ Church Cathedral serves as an administrative center for the Anglican Church of Ireland. Christ Church Cathedral predates St. Patrick’s, with its first building commissioned around 1028. Since then, the church went through expansions including the famous covered walkway.
The choir here is famous for its Evensong services featuring classical and medieval melodies. The cathedral also serves as a concert and event hall for secular music featuring performances from The Dubliners and others.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art
Browse Ireland’s more contemporary offerings to the world of art.
Ireland’s most famous works of art may come from ages long past, but it also has a place on the contemporary art scene. The exterior of the building belies the up-to-date exhibits inside. Constructed in the 17th century, the building began as a hospital. The museum lies 15 minutes on foot away from the Guinness Storehouse, making it easy to see both in one afternoon.
Take a stroll through Dublin’s largest city park.
Phoenix Park is a great place to take a stroll amidst the verdure of the Emerald Isle. The park encompasses 2.73 square miles of territory, making it larger than New York’s Central Park! A herd of wild fallow deer lives within the territory of the park. Tempting as it may be, even if others are feeding them, Dublin city laws prohibit it.
The park’s name doesn’t come from the fabled bird of Greek mythology. Instead, it derives from an old Irish Gaelic word meaning “still or clear water.” The park began as a royal hunting park in 1662 but opened to the public in 1745.
The Dublin Zoo
Visit creatures from all over the world at Dublin’s zoo.
Located on the eastern end of Phoenix Park, the Dublin Zoo features creatures from as far away as Antarctica! The zoo also contributes to conservation efforts, sheltering several endangered species. The Dublin Zoo is a must for family vacations in Ireland or for anyone who loves animals.
Shop for souvenirs and listen to street musicians along this historic street.
If you want to buy souvenirs as you visit Dublin, one of the best places to shop is Grafton Street. Shops of all kinds line Grafton Street. Here you can buy everything from traditional wool sweaters and caps to everyday conveniences. Many restaurants lie along or close to Grafton Street as well.
It’s also one of the best places in Dublin to hear live music. The local buskers (street musicians) play both traditional Irish music and more modern songs. If you’re a musician yourself, it may seem tempting to try your hand at busking. You’ll need to obtain a permit from the Dublin City Council first, though. Even locals need to register, so don’t let it discourage you!
St. Stephen’s Green
Meander through a park packed with memorials of some of Ireland’s best.
This park has several monuments honoring important people and events in Ireland’s rich history. Ireland’s most famous authors, such as James Joyce and W.B. Yeats have memorials at St. Stephen’s Green.
Another person remembered here in stone is Theobald Wolfe Tone, leader of an uprising against British Rule in 1798. Standing around his monument are the pillars of the Famine Memorial. These markers commemorate the infamous Great Famine of the mid-1800s. Many other memorials stand scattered across the grounds of the Green as well.
Take in a play at this famous Irish theater.
This theater served as a meeting place for many early Irish writers and playwrights. The current Abbey Theatre is the second building to bear the name. The original suffered severe fire damage in 1951 and the new theater opened its doors in 1966.
Today, it’s a great place to catch a play. Both modern plays and classics run here. The Abbey Theatre’s location in the city center puts it within walking distance of pubs (such as Pipers Corner) and other popular tourist attractions.
Dublin offers great tastes of traditional Irish food and modern dishes as well!
Walking all over Dublin builds an appetite. There’s no better way to refuel than with some hearty Irish favorites!
Many restaurants and pubs in Dublin offer such standbys as Irish stew and beef and Guinness pie. There are also chic establishments offering modern twists on traditional dishes. A great way to sample Dublin’s diverse culinary scene is by booking this highly rated food tour.
The perfect place to begin a walking tour of Dublin.
This street running through Dublin’s city center is full of historical sites and Dublin landmarks. If you go it on your own here, though, you may not be able to fully appreciate their significance. One of the best ways to avoid missing out is to book a walking tour. Local guides will unfold the rich history of the street and the events that transpired on it.
The street bears the name of Daniel O’Connell, one of the major leaders of the Irish independence movement. Some of the most important events in Ireland’s history transpired here. One of the most famous was the Easter Uprising in 1916. During the conflict, the local post office building served as headquarters for the rebels.
O’Connell Street is also a great place to catch a bus tour, with several companies starting their routes here.
Imagine yourself as royalty in the lofty, elegant halls of this castle.
A significant theme in Irish history is the nation’s tenuous relationship with Great Britain. Dublin Castle played a major role in this relationship. It served as the seat of the British administration for over 700 years.
Much of the current infrastructure dates from the 1800s. Since 1938, Dublin Castle has served as the location for the inauguration of the Presidents of Ireland. The castle is almost always open to the public, except for during important state functions.
The Chester Beatty Library
Pore over manuscripts from around the world at this museum.
One of several attractions on the Dublin Castle grounds, this museum houses a motherlode of manuscripts. Besides Trinity College Library’ Book of Kells exhibit, this is the best place in Dublin for bibliophiles.
Collections here include illuminated manuscripts from Africa, Europe, and all across Asia. The Chester Beatty also conducts research on the various texts in its collection as well as the cultures that produce them.
Witness the solemn dignity of Ireland’s national cemetery.
The Glasnevin Cemetery serves as the final resting place for many famous figures in Irish history. Some of the most famous include Daniel O’Connell and other pioneers of Irish independence. Intricate Celtic crosses mark many of the graves. The ornate interior of O’Connell’s crypt-tomb bears silent witness to the legacy of the “Liberator of Ireland”
The Glasnevin Cemetery Museum offers information on the interred for those wishing to trace their Irish roots to Dublin. Trademark Irish humor long referred to the cemetery grounds as the “dead center” of Dublin. Even if the idea of visiting a graveyard seems, at first, a little odd, this place is well worth seeing.
The National Botanic Gardens
“Red is the rose that in yonder garden grows.…”
One of Ireland’s most famous folk songs revolves around roses and one of the best places to see them is at the National Botanic Gardens. The gardens are right next to the Glasnevin Cemetery and make a great next stop after the graveyard.
The glasshouses here shelter a variety of plants from several different climates and this may well be the only place in Ireland with cacti! The Garden Tearoom offers refreshments along with views of the verdant grounds.
The Wicklow Mountains
These low-lying mountains make for a perfect day trip destination.
If you want to venture outside the Dublin city limits during your Ireland itinerary, the Wicklow Mountains offer the perfect place to escape for a day trip! The rolling hills here abound with hiking trails and scenic vistas. One of the highlights is Glendalough, an old monastery site on the shores of a tranquil lake.
Film buffs will appreciate the irony that scenes from Braveheart were shot in the Wicklow Mountains and a local studio near Dublin. Ireland’s favorable tax laws made it easier on the budget to film here.
The River Liffey
Take a stroll or a kayaking tour down this famous river.
The river dividing the northern and southern areas of Dublin city is an attraction in its own right. The River Liffey played an important role in Dublin’s history, connecting it to trade and other interactions with the outside world. Several of the bridges that span the river are also popular tourist attractions.
One of the more unexpected things to do in Dublin is to take a kayak tour of the River Liffey.
This popular 2 hour Liffey River kayak tour takes visitors past Dublin’s famous bridges and several other noteworthy sites.
See the industrial side of Dublin in this seaside neighborhood.
Dublin’s Docklands neighborhood houses the more industrial side of the city but is still well worth a visit. The most iconic landmark here is the Samuel Beckett Bridge, built in the shape of a harp.
The Docklands is also a great place to see ferries (pun intended)! Ferry lines here connect Dublin to other parts of Ireland. International ferries travel to France and sites throughout the United Kingdom.
Take in the views of Dublin’s scenic coastline.
Dublin Bay is a great place to see the beauty of the Irish coastline. The Dublin Coastal Trail offers hikes and stunning views and is just a short ride away from the city center. The coastal town of Dalkey has plenty of cozy pubs and restaurants to refuel at. One can also venture out into the ocean with kayak tours of Dublin Bay.
Go on an easter egg hunt for these brightly-colored doors.
Along with castles and cathedrals, Dublin’s collection of historic buildings features something a little more home-like. The bright colors of house doors throughout the city stand in dramatic contrast to the earth tones of brick, stone, and concrete. The best place to see these distinctive doors is in Merrion Square.
The Little Museum of Dublin
Learn about everyday life at this charming museum.
Castles, churches, and libraries attest to the past centuries of the city’s history. This museum offers visitors a glimpse back at the more recent decades of Dublin’s history. Started in 2011, the museum’s collection consists of over 5,000 items donated by locals.
Here you can learn about everyday life in the city in past decades. The Little Museum of Dublin also operates tours outside its walls, such as a walking tour of town dedicated to Irish football (i.e. American soccer).
Watch a match of one of Ireland’s traditional sports at this stadium.
Speaking of Irish sports, there are some uniquely Celtic sports to see when you visit Dublin. Gaelic football resembles rugby but disallows tackling (among other, subtler differences). Gaelic handball may be more familiar to some simply as handball. Hurling is hard to compare with non-Celtic sports but might be best described as an elaborate variant of field hockey.
Croke Park serves as the primary field for these games. The Gaelic Athletic Association website offers information on the games, teams, and much more.
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FAQ About What to Do in Dublin, Ireland
What is the #1 Attraction in Dublin, Ireland?
The Guinness Storehouse is the most popular attraction in Dublin. The combination of fascinating information, nostalgic atmosphere, and a pint of Guinness to top it all off is irresistible for many tourists.
I hope you’ve gotten a good idea of the best things to do in Dublin! If you’re planning on visiting Dublin, I’m sure you’ll find even more great things to do and see.
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