The Ultimate List of Things to Do in Dublin

Heather at Dublin Castle

Dublin is a beautiful city to visit for a weekend or even longer. To help you in planning your trip to Dublin, I have put together the Ultimate List of Things to Do in Dublin. These are in no particular order so, you can pick and choose whichever one fits your interest or time spent exploring Dublin. For the record, I did not do these all on a single trip. I have visited Dublin a few times and each time I find something new to add to this list.

Free Walking TourSandeman's Tour guide on Free Walking Tour of Dublin

A free walking tour is an absolute must-do when visiting a new city. I try to get this done the first full day after I arrive. This is a great way to see all the important sites and figure out your game plan for the following days. You might even find something new to try that you didn’t even know was there. The walking tours last anywhere from 2-3 hours and are very comprehensive and filled with jokes and inside stories from locals. Note: Even though the walking tour is free, the tour guides are not paid and they are working solely on tips so, you can bet that they will give a fantastic tour. Any donation that you think is the value for that tour at the end is always appreciated. There are lots of other free things to do in Dublin if you look for them.

Dublin CastleDublin Castle

Surprisingly, Dublin Castle is right in the heart of Dublin, and most tourists don’t even know that it is there. I found out about it on the walking tour. Both times that I have been there, it has been under reconstruction. There is a lot to see here, including the chapel, courtyard, and gardens. Make sure you walk around the back to see what the locals call the Lego portion of the castle. For some reason, they thought it would look nice to have a few buildings painted a bunch of different colors. I’ll let you decide if it looks nice. Also, try to walk around the gardens. The flowers are beautiful in the spring and summer, and there are a few spots where you can get your Instagram shot.

Christ Church CathedralChrist Church Cathedral

This is an impressive cathedral that makes its presence known on the hour. The bells can be heard quite a ways. Besides a popular spot to relax and catch your breath while traversing around the Dublin streets, this is also the spot where apparently all the pigeons and birds hang out. The last time I was in town, I purchased a ticket to see inside the cathedral and the crypt downstairs. One of the stories that I heard over and over on the tours is of Tom and Jerry. While working on the reconstruction of the organ, a mummified cat and mouse were found stuck in one of the pipes. They are both displayed in the museum now after becoming famous. This, alone was worth the entrance price. An adult ticket costs €7 and combined with the Dublina museum is €15.00. Christ Church Cathedral opening hours April-September is Monday-Saturday 9:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sunday 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m.Inside Christ Church Cathedral

DublinaDublina Museum

Dublina is a great museum to visit while planning your things to do in Dublin. Especially if you have interest in Viking history or like me have a little in your DNA and want to learn more. This museum is right next to Christ Church Cathedral. You can purchase a ticket for both the cathedral and Dublina museum at the church. I spent quite a bit of time wandering through the museum which put together a fabulous history of the Vikings in Ireland and what life was like for them. The highlight of this museum has to be climbing up the stairs of the medieval St. Michael’s Tower. The views from the top give you some amazing photographs of Dublin in every direction. An adult ticket costs €10.00. Dublina daily opening hours March-September are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m, last entry is at 5:30 p.m.Inside Dublina Museum

St. Patrick’s CathedralSt. Patrick's Cathedral

This is one church that I wanted to make sure I visited. Besides being the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, it is the largest Cathedral in Ireland. I would recommend purchasing your ticket online. That line moves a lot faster and isn’t as long as the queue for the rest of us not smart enough to plan ahead. I happened to get there early and was toward the front of the standby line so, was able to get in pretty quick. The line was more than a block long and kept growing as it got closer to the opening time. The other advantage of getting in earlier than the rest of the crowd is the ability to get your photographs and experience the church without being jostled by the crowds. An adult ticket costs €8.00. St. Patrick’s Cathedral opening hours are Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat 9a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m.-2:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m.-6 p.m.Inside St. Patrick's Cathedral

Trinity CollegeTrinity College Long Room Library

Trinity College is right in the heart of the city and definitely should be on your must-do list for things to do in Dublin. Why? There are two excellent reasons, and they are the Book of Kells and the Long Room Library. The Book of Kells is the world’s most famous 9th-century medieval manuscript and definitely should be seen by everyone at least once in their life. The book documents the four Gospels of the life of Jesus Christ and is a beautiful piece of art. The library is one of the most beautiful libraries that I have seen. It houses 200,000 of Trinity College’s oldest books. This room can get crowded so, the trick is to get your shot as best as you can above everyone’s head. An adult ticket costs €11-14. The Book of Kells exhibit opening hours May-September is Monday-Saturday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Guinness StorehouseGuinness and a Cider in a Dublin Pub

I haven’t taken this tour personally. Although it seems to be quite the popular ticket item for things to do in Dublin. As I’m not a big beer drinker, I haven’t had any desire to visit here. But, when in Rome…I did try my first Guinness while in Dublin. I was pleasantly surprised that it tasted better than I thought. It wasn’t as heavy as I believed it to be. As I was told that Guinness doesn’t travel well and to experience the best Guinness, it has to be done in Dublin. I can’t say that I have tried it elsewhere, but for my friends that have, they agree it is better in Dublin! An adult ticket purchased in advance costs €18.50 while at the door it will cost €25. The Guinness Storehouse daily opening hours are 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Temple Bar AreaTemple Bar Area

This area is where you can find good food also all the nightlife you could ever ask for. The area consists of several streets and can get quite crowded, especially in the evening. If you are staying in a hostel, there are usually pub crawls every night for you to join. The funny thing is that one of the bar owners grabbed onto the name of the area and named their bar Temple Bar. It is the most photographed bar in the Temple Bar area and has actually nothing of significance to the area. Just very smart marketing.Temple Bar

Grafton StreetGrafton Street

This street has all your favorite stores if you need to pick up anything while in Dublin. It also is where you can find up and coming artists performing along every block. Sometimes it can be quite crowded along with noisy so, this is not the area if you are looking for peace and quiet. It is very lively in the evening and is in close proximity to the Temple Bar area.

Anne’s StreetUmbrellas on St. Anne's Street

Anne’s Street is an Instagram hotspot. In any weather, you will find people taking selfies looking up and posing with the umbrellas. This street is a little hard to find as it runs parallel to Grafton street. Look for a side street with a beautiful church framed at the end (St. Ann’s Church). Anne’s Street is halfway down toward the church on the right. The umbrellas can be found directly in front of Zozimus Bar. Which incidentally is a great place for a quick snack during the day. Have fun with the umbrellas. pose like you are holding one of them, and I love taking reflections of them in the puddles after it has rained. Be creative on Dublin’s most instagrammable street!Reflection of Umbrellas on St. Anne's Street

St. Stephens Green & Shopping CenterSt Stephens Shopping Center

At the end of Grafton Street, you can find St. Stephens Green and Shopping Center. Now you are probably thinking, why would you go to a mall when you are on a vacation? I thought the same thing until I stepped inside this fantastic building. If you are looking for some great photographs for Instagram or just want to do a little more shopping step inside the St. Stephens Shopping Center. St. Stephens Green is where you can find some peace and quiet if you aren’t by all the people feeding the ducks and birds.Inside St. Stephens Shopping CenterFeeding the ducks at St. Stephens Green

Georgian AreaSitting in front of a light green door in the Georgian area of Dublin

The Georgian area is one that I never heard of before I did my research on Pinterest. If you are like me and love to get an idea of what sites to see, definitely check out my Pinterest site. I can absolutely help you out in planning your travels either by you browsing my site or requesting direct help from me. The Georgian area is a wonderfully beautiful street lined with houses with different color doors. My friend, Rebecca, and I had so much fun hamming it up for the camera in front of the colored doors we liked the most. There are so many colors to choose from you could actually spend a bit of time on this street.Posing in front of a pink door in the Georgian area of Dublin

Old City WallsDublin Old City Walls

I love old buildings and even more so old city walls. Dublin has some really good ones. Just a short walk from the Dublina museum you can see some original city walls. Stop and take a picture of Dublin medieval history well-preserved.

Chester Beatty LibraryChester Beatty Library

This is one of the best free museums you can go to in Dublin. The Chester Beatty Library is also listed as one of the best museums in Europe by Lonely Planet so, why not take a look. The library is on the grounds of Dublin Castle right next to the garden. The library exhibits all kinds of manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, and rare books including Egyptian Books of the Dead to contemporary Chinese woodblock prints. The Chester Beatty Library opening hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 11 a.m.-5 p.m.; and Sunday 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

Kilmainham GaolKilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol is located past the Guinness Storehouse. The prison was built in 1796 to hold criminals after their arrest until sentencing. The jail held woman suffragettes, children arrested for petty theft, Irish revolutionaries, and leaders for the movement for Ireland’s democracy. The tour takes you through one of the largest unoccupied prisons in Europe, past the empty rundown cells, gloomy corridors where the prisoners walked to their death, and courtyards with walls riddled with bullet holes from the executions of the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising. You will see how cramped the quarters were for the prisoners before they were either shipped off to Australia or killed by hanging or shot. Kilmainham Gaol is a very moving place. An adult ticket costs €4-8, and they have timed tickets for the tour. The Kilmainham Gaol daily opening hours are 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m.

Irish FoodGuinness Beef Stew at Quays

What list of Ireland would be complete without Irish food? There are some great Irish dishes to be had in Dublin but, none (in my opinion) can beat the traditional Guinness Beef Stew. I had a delicious meal at Quays in the Temple Bar area. I tend to gravitate to the Temple Bar area when I’m visiting, as there are many choices to choose from when you get hungry.

River LiffeyHa'penny Bridge

Last but not least is the River Liffey. The river flows right through the middle of Dublin and is an amazing place to get photographs at sunset, people watch, or just take a break from the hustle and bustle. Some of the bridges that you should see are the Ha’penny (a.k.a Liffey Bridge) and the Samuel Beckett Bridges. The Ha’penny Bridge was named for how much it cost to go across it when it was built in 1816. Sunset with Samuel Beckett Bridge

Summary

As you can see, there are tons of things to do in Dublin when you visit. And from my experience, you have to come multiple times to try and do everything. But, that is what traveling means…going from one place to another or returning to your favorites over and over again. Whatever way you choose, I hope you have a fabulous time in Dublin and let me know if you find any new place or adventure that I need to add to this list.

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Further Reading

If you would like to see more of my nomad travels, check out my post on my first month of traveling full-time: One Month of Nomad Travel. If you are coming to Ireland for a visit, check out these posts:

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