10 of the Best Things to Do in Dublin
Are you planning a trip to Dublin? The Irish capital can be a lot of fun, perfect for weekends and longer adventures, especially when combined with day trips to other parts of Ireland. From time spent exploring nature in one of Dublin’s many gardens to historic buildings like Dublin Castle, hopefully you’ll find something you love.
In this article, I’ll be sharing ten of the best things to do in Dublin. If you have any recommendations you would like to share, I would love to hear about them in the comments below.
Learn More: 7 of the Best Hotels in Dublin
The Best Things to Do in Dublin
From the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Historic City of Dublin to a plethora of lively bars and restaurants, there’s a lot to do in Dublin. I would love to recommend:
1. Step into nature at Phoenix Park.
Perhaps one of the most popular parks in Dublin, Phoenix Park was originally a royal hunting park. For almost a century, it wasn’t available for public enjoyment, finally opening to the public in 1747.
The fallow deer at Phoenix Park are a beautiful sight, but they can be dangerous and it’s strongly advised that you view them from a good distance. In the park itself, you can find everything from a prehistoric burial chamber dating back thousands of years to an idyllic Victorian flower garden.
Phoenix Park is always open. It’s best accessed via the main gates on Parkgate Street or Castleknock Gate, but there are also side gates. The side gates themselves aren’t always open, opening between 07:00 – 22:45. Bike hire is available here, just inside of the main gate on Parkgate Street.
Learn More: Phoenix Park (Official Website)
2. Trace Irish history back through time at the National Museum of Ireland.
One of the best places to learn about the history of this idyllic country, the National Museum of Ireland is home to a number of cultural and archeological treasures. Here, you can find a mixture of both permanent and temporary exhibitions, taking you through centuries of history.
At the Archaeology site, one of the most important permanent exhibitions is Viking Ireland. While here, you can learn about excavated sites, see many ornate pieces of metalwork and find a number of beautiful artefacts, including silver brooches. The Treasury, a series of separate galleries at the same site, contains ten important artefacts. One of my personal favourites would have to be the Broighter Collar, dated back to 1st century BC. This torc is believed to be one of the finest examples of Irish La Tène goldworking.
At the time of writing, you do need to book a free timed entry ticket to visit the National Museum of Ireland. These are required for all of the separate sites, including the Archaeology site on Kildare Street and the Decorative Arts & History site at Collins Barracks. Both are open between 10:00 – 17:00 Tuesday – Sunday and 13:00 – 17:00 Sunday – Monday.
Learn More: National Museum of Ireland (Official Website)
3. Enjoy the nightlife in this charismatic city.
Whether you prefer traditional pubs or modern clubs bursting with music, Dublin has a little bit of something for every type of nightlife enthusiast. The atmosphere of the city changes as soon as the sun sets, where planning a night on the town is an incredibly easy task.
The Temple Bar is one of the most popular pubs in Dublin and well worth a visit, especially if you like live traditional music. But, there are plenty of other options too. Whelan’s is a great option for live music, depending on what you like. The Cobblestone is a quaint traditional Irish music venue.
In Dublin, it’s definitely worth looking around to see what really suits your taste. You can find whiskey bars, pubs full of beer and delicious cocktails. Peruke & Periwig and Café en Seine are two of my favourite stops for cocktails with friends. The former’s cocktail names include options like “Smells Like Teen Spirits”, “Hit the Road Jack” and “Born to Rum”.
4. Go for a stroll through St. Stephen’s Green and Iveagh Gardens.
Are you looking for natural inspiration in Dublin? St. Stephen’s Green is a beautiful park, perfect for relaxing on a day when the weather is nice. Iveagh Park is one of my favourite places to escape to while in Dublin, it feels like a hidden oasis.
When all you want to do is go for a peaceful stroll, they’re both wonderful options. It comes as no surprise that the latter is often referred to as Dublin’s Secret Garden, where the cascade and rosarium are beautiful during the warmer months of the year.
Both St. Stephen’s Green and Iveagh Gardens are open throughout the year. Daily closing times do vary for each so I would highly recommend checking their individual websites for those. St. Stephen’s Green opens at 07:30 Monday – Saturday and 09:30 on Sundays. Iveagh Gardens opens at 08:00 Monday – Saturday and 10:00 on Sundays.
5. Take your tastebuds for a whirl in the Guinness Storehouse. Or, venture to Teeling Distillery if you prefer whiskey like me.
Looking to infuse a little bit of alcohol into your adventure? The Guinness Storehouse is a frequent stop for many travellers visiting Dublin, all ready to learn about the history of Ireland’s most iconic beer. There are seven floors to the building itself and the view from the Gravity Bar is one of the best in the city.
I don’t drink too often, but I usually drink spirits when I do. Teeling Distillery is a little bit more up my alley, as amazing as the Guinness Storehouse is. The tour of the distillery, including a tasting, lasts around an hour.
A self-guided tour of the Guinness Storehouse, including a visit to the Gravity Bar, starts at €22.00. Teeling’s distillery tours start at €17.00, depending on what you would like to drink while you’re there. Available times do vary so I would highly recommend booking either in advance.
6. Unleash your inner bookworm in The Old Library.
Full of historic books and beautiful bindings, The Old Library of Trinity College Dublin is a haven for bookworms. Here, books are found on floor-to-ceiling wooden shelves, many of which you get to climb a sliding ladder to reach.
One of the most important books here would have to be the 9th century Book of Kells. This storied book contains the four Gospels of the New Testament and is believed to have been produced in a monastery on Iona, just off of the Scottish coast. Exhibitions in The Old Library change with the seasons, all highlighting different aspects of Irish literary traditions.
Entry to the Book of Kells costs €18.00 for a standard ticket and online booking is currently required. Free audio tours are available and can be accessed with many mobile devices using the Visit Trinity mobile application. Opening hours are 9:30 – 17:00 Monday – Saturday, but can vary on Sundays depending on the time of year.
Learn More: The Old Library (Official Website)
7. Learn about whiskey in the Irish Whiskey Museum.
Ready to learn a little bit about the history of whiskey? The Irish Whiskey Museum is a great place to learn, taste and have fun. This museum is completely independent of any specific brands, meaning that there are plenty of options available.
One of my favourite things about this museum is the sheer number of varieties of Irish whiskey. You’re not confined to one type as you are with some distillery tours. The tour is theatrical, with some serious points and some hilarious ones, as well as a lot of information about the distillation process itself.
The Classic Tour lasts for an hour and costs €20 per adult. But, there are lots of different tours available, all of which should be booked in advance. There’s a Whiskey Blending Experience for €30 per adult, a Whiskey and Brunch Experience for €28 per adult and the option of a private tour available.
Learn More: Irish Whiskey Museum (Official Website)
8. If you like religious architecture, try St. Stephen’s Cathedral.
If you’re interested in religious architecture, you might want to stop by St. Stephen’s Cathedral during your time in Dublin. It’s a beautiful building, complete with charming stained glass windows and colourful tiled floors.
One unique thing about St. Stephen’s Cathedral is the concerts that take place in the grounds. At the time of writing, we’re approaching John Williams 90th Birthday Concert on the 9th February 2022, complete with music from many famous films.
St. Stephen’s Cathedral is open throughout the year, with a few special closures. I would highly recommend checking the website in advance for exact times. Free guided tours take place regularly throughout the day, but entry itself costs €8.00 per adult.
Learn More: St. Stephen’s Cathedral (Official Website)
9. Journey through seven centuries of history at Dublin Castle.
While exploring Dublin, I would highly recommend stopping by Dublin Castle to learn more about the history of the city and the wider country. This 13th-century castle was erected on the site of a Viking settlement. Today, it stands as both a government complex and a major tourist attraction.
The collection at Dublin Castle consists primarily of fine and decorative arts, many of which were gathered before 1922. You can find paintings, sculptures, glassware and more, with many ranging from the 17th century to the present day.
Dublin Castle is open daily. Self-guided tickets cost €8.00 per adult and guided tours are available, but availability is currently limited with the pandemic. It’s worth checking the website when you plan on travelling to see if guided tours are readily available.
Learn More: Dublin Castle (Official Website)
10. Discover some of the greatest storytellers in the Museum of Literature.
A perfect hideaway for people who love literature and storytelling, the Museum of Literature traces the roots of Ireland’s illustrious literary heritage. This museum is just a short walk away from St. Stephen’s Green.
Exhibitions here change relatively frequently, with many featuring prominent Irish literary figures, their journeys and their inspirations. A permanent exhibit featuring James Joyce’s copy of Ulysses is the museum’s gem. I would highly recommend visiting the gardens behind the building if you do venture here, they’re rather lovely.
Tickets to visit the Museum of Literature cost €10.00 for adults and €8.00 for children. The museum is open 10:30 – 18:00 Tuesday – Sunday and on bank holiday Mondays, but I would recommend checking the time for those. Last entry to the museum is at 17:00.
Learn More: Museum of Literature (Official Website)
Enjoy Finding the Best Things to Do in Dublin
Hopefully my choices for the best things to do in Dublin have helped to fill you with ideas and inspiration. It’s a quintessentially charming city, where adventures are just waiting to be had. You can spend the afternoon in a storied distillery, learn a little about Ireland’s history and find a slice of inspiration.
Do you have any favourite things to do in Dublin? I would love to hear about them in the comments below.