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When we think of Ireland, the city of Dublin is often the first thing that springs to mind. All for a good reason. Dublin is a fantastic capital city, absolutely bursting with awesome things to do and see. I visited Dublin many times in my lifetime so far and I swear each time I visit, I find something new to do!
You can’t get bored! So here we go, my guide to the best things to do in Dublin, Ireland!
These are in no particular order, just as they came to my head.
Ah, Trinity College Dublin. Actually this is a pretty famous university for it’s prestigious law degree, but aside from that, it’s got an amazing library. So much so that it’s a popular spot for people to visit. Imagine something like the cool libraries in Harry Potter, but real life!
Grab a coffee and browse the books, or even sit down and read for a while. One of the great things to do in Dublin when it’s raining!
The River Liffey runs through Dublin city centre and it’s probably the most well known rivers in Ireland! There is a lot of history to it and you can take river cruises as part of a sightseeing tour which is worth it.
Temple bar is without doubt the most famous bar in Dublin and everyone and anyone visits here! It’s even had superstars Pink and Ed Sheran pop in for drinks. Not only is temple bar famous for its pints of Guinness, live music and amazing atmosphere, it’s also popular for oysters!
So, fancy a pint and some oysters with a side of great music? Then head to temple bar. It’s always busy, no real way to avoid that, but that’s part of the charm and fun.
I love Grafton Street because I love live music and I love hearing the singers and entertainers perform here. It’s said that Ed Sheeran once performed on this famous busking street before it made it to the superstar he is! It’s a nice street in general too with shops and cafes.
Kilmainham Gaol is such an interesting spot and absolutely should be a priority on your list of things to do in Dublin. Ireland has a rich, interesting and sad history and this gaol will give you some insight into that history. The tours of this gaol are so popular they often sell out in advance, and for good reason!
You can book online to secure your place- do not miss this!
Ah, Guinness. Fun story, since my second name is “Magennis”, people at university often assumed I would love guinness and in freshers week I had a few people buy me a couple of pints. But, I actually HATE guinness. BUT, I know many people who love it.
So if you’re part of that team, then a trip to the Guinness Storehouse should be top on your list. Actually, I think statistically this is the most popular spot that people go to when they visit Ireland!
You get a tour of the factory and then you get to pour your very own pint of Guinness at the end.
Skip the queue with this great value tour.
Dublin Zoo is one of the great things to do in Dublin with kids. They’ve got seals, elephants, giraffes, basically all the animals to impress children! You can find out more about opening times, prices etc all here on their website.
Dublin castle is actually a government complex as well as a popular tourist attraction in Dublin. There are castle gardens, a tower, and much more to explore. This is a great place to visit in Dublin and you can buy your tickets online for convenience.
More of a Whiskey lover? I’m not surprised. Ireland is famous for its excellent Whiskey and if you want a taste you can head over to the Jameson Distillery for a tour and a taste! Combine this with the Guinness storehouse and you’ve got yourself a boozy day in Ireland.
(May as well visit Temple Bar on the same night! :P)
This is a very picturesque cathedral both inside and outside and worth a spot on a Dublin city tour. You will need to pay to enter but if you want to visit, make sure you check times of any services going on so you don’t disturb (unless you want to join in!).
Located next to Dublin zoo, this urban park is a very popular spot when the sun decides to make an appearance in Dublin. You’ll find people relaxing, having picnics to playing games! If you’re heading to the zoo, you may as well pop over. You can get a public bus to here.
This is one of my favourite places in Dublin to simply relax. Again, a popular spot in the summertime, but equally as beautiful in spring and autumn. It’s a public park with beautiful plants, scenery, walking areas and even a playpark for children (or the young at heart!).
One of the best things to do in Dublin that’s free! Pack a picnic and spend a couple of hours relaxing on the green.
This is actually the tallest and largest church in Ireland, so it’s worth a visit. Just like the other cathedral I mentioned above, it’s very beautiful both inside and out, but if you’ve only got time to visit one cathedral in Dublin, then make this your top choice.
Dublin is the capital city and a student city which means that there are lots of opportunities to party and have a great night out! Because of that, there are a variety of organised Dublin pub crawls available. This is a great way to meet other backpackers (if you’re a backpacker).
Or you can DIY your own bar crawl by visiting every bar you see...but I warn you, limit it as there is a crazy amount of bars in Dublin, you’d be there all year trying to get through them!
This is definitely one of the best (if not the best) fun things to do in Dublin at night.
Officially the Liffey bridge on the river liffey, this bridge is a great little tourist spot in Dublin for a picture. Fun fact it was the first pedestrian bridge built to actually cross the river Liffey.
This won’t take long to visit and you’ll find information about the history of the bridge, on the bridge, but it’s worth a stop. Throw a penny for good luck.
“In Dublin's fair city, where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone”. A famous song in Ireland and the statue of Molly Malone can be seen. It’s said that if you kiss her boobs, she’ll bring you good luck. Brad kissed it, and he’s still with me, so I guess the good luck thing works! :P
One of the more unique things to do in Dublin, and it’s totally free.
Dublin city is bursting with great museums, ranging from free ones to ones that have a small fee. Museums are a great activity when it’s raining, or just plain cold outside. So below I’ve listed 4 museums you must visit in Dublin!
Dublin bay is an awesome place to visit on a trip to Dublin city howth
It was actually declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve for it’s amazing flourishing habitats and it’s biological diversity. The area is lined with castles, beaches, cliffs and coastal gems. There are lots of great restaurants and a great stop is the town of Howth, a fishing village with wonderful charm. A great place to visit in Dublin, especially if the sun is shining.
Ah Slane Castle, home to some of the best concerts in all of Ireland. Actually my parents have seen both David Bowie and Queen here, how lucky are they!! A major concert is still held once a year (typically) and it’s always a well deserved artist!
When concerts aren’t occuring, Slane Castle is still a very beautiful castle to visit. Entry is free to wander around the grounds and there is a lovely restaurant and bar inside that’s quite popular and not badly priced for a castle.
Slane also has an interesting history, but you can read all about it on the walls of Slane inside! A must-see when visiting Dublin.
Whilst you’re there you can check out the Slane Whiskey distillery. I wasn’t aware they even made whiskey until we visited!
The powerscourt house and gardens are super beautiful, and this is actually one of the most popular things to do in Dublin amongst tourists. It’s only 30 minutes from the city centre, so you can get there via bus, taxi or you can take an organised tour for convenience.
I suggest you visit when the sun is shining as it will show off the beauty of the gardens. There are lots of beautiful walks to take here, a waterfall to discover and there is an on-site restaurant if you’d like to grab a bite to eat. It’s also next to a golf resort, but I’m not sure just anyone can play!
This beautiful gardens in Dublin are worth a visit when the sun is shining, or the autumn leaves are falling. It’s a beautiful tranquil spot and a great place to take children, or even have a romantic walk as a couple. It’s actually got a history that dates back over 300 years!
Make sure you pop this on your list of things to do in Dublin!
Dublin is a quite a big city and if you’re not up for walking to all the best sights in Dublin, then why not take a Dublin bike tour! Riding a bike is a popular way to get around the city anyway, so you won’t stick out like a sore thumb.
Plus you’ll have a guide who can answer any questions you may have about the Dublin attractions you’re visiting.
This is a pretty unique thing to do in Dublin, you can learn how to make a real sterling silver ring with a jeweler! How cool is that? This would make an awesome birthday gift, or romantic gift for a loved one- crafting your own ring!
We live in a world where we want awesome pictures and a photoshoot is one way to get those. Dublin has some amazing photo spots and I actually think organising a photoshoot is a very romantic thing to do in Dublin, something you could do to celebrate an anniversary. Then you could get the photos printed for awesome memories. Definitely one of the fun things to do in Dublin on a date. (Super unique too!)
You can get out this tour here that organises photoshoots in Dublin.
Irish dancing is the heart of Ireland and as a child both my sister and I had lessons. She was far better, (I’m clumsy), but I still remember a few moves. It’s unique, it’s fun and it’s certainly one of the best things to do in Dublin.
Learning a new skill is always fun and if you do this with a group of friends, you’ll have so much fun seeing who can master the Irish dance!
I’ve sectioned these next few things to do in Dublin as day trips. Basically these are the most popular things people do when they visit Dublin, because they’re in such close proximity, so I felt they should be included on the list.
Newgrange is about 45 minutes from Dublin city centre and closer to the lovely town of Drogheda, (which I’ll discuss a little later). What’s amazing about Newgrange is the history, like crazy historic. It’s a grand, beautiful passage tomb that was built during the Neolithic period (we’re talking 3200 BC) which actually makes it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids! Wild!
As of June 2019, the visitor centre was currently under construction which meant tours were free but sold out fast at the start of the day! This may not be the case any more but you can check out the website for more information.
Tours to Newgrange are popular and you can check them out here.
The Hill of Tara is located quite close to the above sight, so it’s a good idea to see them both in one day. A seat of the high kings of Ireland, this is an ancient ceremonia and burial site which is fascinating. Again, bursting with history!
You can take tours to the Hill of Tara from Dublin city centre and you can check out some of them here.
This is a great combined tour of the Hill of Tara and Newgrange.
Drogheda is a town that’s about 45 minutes away from Dublin. It’s actually very charming and has a very beautiful seaside. I think it’s definitely worth a visit. You can pop into the main town for a spot of lunch, then had to the town for some ice cream and sunshine!
Ireland is FULL of amazing castles, so much so that we've done a whole guide on the best castles in Ireland. But, if you’ve got a limited amount of time, you’ll only get to visit a couple of castles, so this one should make your list.
Just 30 minutes from the city centre, this beautiful castle and gardens is a great place to explore,relax and grab a bite to eat. It’s got a rich history to learn about and is actually over 800 years old!
Be sure to pop this one your list of places to visit in Dublin.
You can get a tour to the castle here.
I’m a very open PS I love you movie fan. Actually I prefer the book as Ceclia Ahern is my favourite author of all time (she’s never written a bad book!), but since part of the movie was filmed in Ireland, you can actually visit some filming locations in and around the city of Dublin.
The irish pub in the movie where Holly and Gerry reunite is actually a pub in Dublin, so you can visit for a drink. It’s called Whelans Pub, and if you head out to the Wicklow national park, you can walk around the whole area where they first meet! Plus it’s super beautiful there.
If you know anything about Ireland’s history, you’ll know that Ireland is split into the North and South, with the south being independent and the north belonging to the UK (at this time).
So therefore the North of ireland has a capital city too, Belfast. It’s where I grew up and it’s actually the home of all things Game of Thrones, so I suggest you head on a tour of the filming locations if you’re a fan. It’s super cool! You’ve also got the beautiful Antrim coast with the Giants causeway, dunluce castle and much more to explore. A great day trip from Dublin.
Just be aware the currency will change from euro to pound sterling once you cross the border.
Dublin is pretty popular all year around. I actually think it’s amazing at any season, but of course most people tend to visit in the summer months. I think winter has an amazing atmosphere in Dublin and it’s my absolute favourite time to visit Dublin (just wrap up warm), but every month has its charm!
Dublin recently got Uber, but it’s not exactly cheap. Basically the easiest way to get around Dublin is walking, taxi, the bus system (which is great by the way!) or via tour. If you’re just visiting sights within the city centre itself, you could do the hop on-hop off type bus tour for convenience.
Then rent a car if you want to venture to some of the best sights near Dublin. (a tour is also an option as there are LOTS of tour companies in Dublin).
Dublin is the perfect place for a city break. So therefore I recommend a stay of around 3-4 nights, but you could easily make it in a weekend break.
But you won’t be able to do everything on this list of the best things to do in Dublin. You could also send a week here and venture to some of the great places around Dublin.
For our trip around Ireland, we hired a vehicle from Spaceships Rentals. It was such an awesome time and you can read our in-depth review of them here. They’re actually located just 40 minutes outside Dublin, so you’re in the perfect spot to pick up your campervan.
We spent most nights wild camping or on campsites when we were travelling through Ireland. But if you need awesome hotels in Dublin, you’ll be happy to know that there are LOTS! I recommend using the following sites to find the best deals.
Indeed you can. Since Dublin is the capital city, it’s actually bursting with tours and tour companies. And if you don't want the hassle of organising your own Dublin itinerary, then a tour is the best way to go. I actually suggest you book online because you know you’re probably getting a decent price.
Whenever we book tours, we always use these 2 sites.
If you need cheap flights to Dublin, you can use Skyscanner for the best deals. Typically it’s not too expensive to fly from Europe and you can get great deals from America, particularly Boston.
Don’t travel without your travel insurance! World Nomads are usually a great, affordable choice.
If you want a taste of vanlife and to venture out further of Dublin, then check out Spaceships Rentals for excellent campervans and motorhomes.
For car rental, opt for RentalCars.com.
Below are some more guides we’ve written that you might find useful for your trip Dublin
So there you have it, my guide to the best things to do in Dublin Ireland. I hope you’ve found this post useful and helpful and I hope it’s inspired you to visit some great places in Dublin! If you’ve got anything else you’d like to add to this list of great places to visit in Dublin, then drop me a comment below.