Dublin is Ireland’s capital city and it is a town filled with culture, beauty, and Irish history. If you are looking for the best things to do in Dublin, you have come to the right place. We’ve visited Dublin several times and are heading back to our favourite European city this summer in 2022. So, before we hit the road to visit the Emerald Isle, we thought we’d celebrate all the amazing things we’ve already done.
Top Things to do in Dublin
Ireland is the land of leprechauns and shamrocks (albeit we’ve never seen either) Guinness and whiskey, and Dublin is the heartbeat of the country. It was founded by the Vikings in 841 on the banks of the River Liffey and was called Dubh Linn, meaning Black Pool. After a couple of years sitting at home catching up on The Last Kingdom and Vikings, I am excited to go back to Ireland to trace its Viking history but for now, let’s look into all the awesome places to visit in Dublin today.
If you are planning a trip to Dublin, make sure to check out our post: Where to Stay in Dublin, Ireland: Best Areas and Hotels for Every Budget
1. Temple Bar
One of the things you have to do when you are in Dublin is to visit the Temple Bar district. Temple Bar isn’t just a bar, it is a lively area on the South Bank of the River Liffey. It’s party time here with several pubs and clubs waiting to serve you a good time with live music and fresh pints.
But there is more to the area than just a party, many of Dublin’s cultural institutions have set up shop here including the Irish Film Institute, The Irish Photography Centre, and Even the Irish Stock Exchange. Get entrance to many of Dublin’s top tourist attractions with the Dublin Pass.
2. Tour the Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Storehouse is number one when it comes to places to visit in Dublin. Literally. Twenty million visitors have toured the brewery and enjoyed more than a pint or two. And it lives up to the hype! Started by Arthur Guinness in 1759, Guinness has been a staple of Ireland ever since. Located in the heart of Dublin at St. James’s Gate Brewery, Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease to operate his brewery on the premises.
Covering 50 acres, the Guinness factory is a major part of the city’s history. The tour is very interesting to learn how Guinness is made, but more importantly, it ends with a full pint of beer at the rooftop Gravity Bar bar that offers one of the best views of Dublin City. See our step by step guide to visiting the Guinness Storehouse
Guinness really does taste better in Ireland! This Guinness Jameson Tour is an excellent combination to visit two of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions. Skip the lines at both the Guinness Storehouse & Jameson’s Dublin Whiskey Distillery on a guided tour where you’ll enjoy whiskey tastings and a pint of Guinness as you learn about the distilling and brewing process of these famous drinks.
3. Guinness Academy
While you are at the Guinness Storehouse, upgrade your tour to the Guinness Academy, the ultimate Guinness Experience where you will learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness in the Guinness bar and tasting room. Once you have poured the perfect cascade you’ll get a certificate to prove you are Guinness certified and you get a delicious glass of Guinness to boot! It really is a must-do in Dublin. It will make you a Guinness snob at pubs around the world for the rest of your life! You can book this Guinness Skip the line and Signature Experience with Tasting Tour at Viator
4. Tour the Jameson Whiskey Distillery
I know, I know, we’re talking an awful lot about drinking and pub culture, but that truly is a lot of what Dublin is all about. Even if you are not a drinker you’ll love visiting the places in Dublin like the Temple Bar, Guinness Storehouse, and its distilleries. There are quite a few whiskey distilleries around the country, and the Jameson Distillery is the birthplace of Irish Whisky that dates back to 1780. Taking this tour in Dublin takes you back in time to see the traditional methods of distilling Whisky.
You can choose from some different tours like learning to blend your own Irish whiskey, doing a premium whiskey tasting experience, and blending your own cocktails. If you want to learn more about Irish Whiskey, you can also visit the Irish Whiskey Museum where you’ll take a guided tour to learn all about the history of Whiskey in Ireland. Check out tours here
5. Take A Whiskey Tour
This two hour premium whiskey tour is a perfect complement to the Jameson Distillery where you’ll visit some of Dublin’s most famous Whiskey bars with an expert guide. If there is one place to taste Irish whiskey it’s in Dublin and this guided tour takes you to some the best tasting rooms in the city of Dublin. You’ll taste 5 premium Irish whiskeys accompanied by fresh cheese and Irish soda bread. Places you’ll visit include the Dingle Whiskey Bar, Bowes Lounge, and the Palace Bar in Temple Bar.
6. Cross the Ha’Penny Bridge
The Ha’Penny Bridge is a pedestrian bridge connecting the two sides of the River Liffey. The River Liffey cuts through the city, and the Ha’Penny Bridge has long been considered one of the top things to see in Dublin.
This was the first bridge to cross the River Liffey connecting the two sides of the city. When it was originally built, it only cost half a pence to cross, hence the name Ha’Penny Bridge. Before this bridge was built, people used to cross the river using ferries so this was a real game-changer to life in Dublin.
7. Kellogg’s Skyline Tour at Croke Park
If you are looking for activities in Dublin that give you a bit of an adrenaline rush, Kellogg’s Skyline Croke Park Tour is the perfect tour for you. Croke Park is the third-largest stadium in all of Europe and you will climb way up 44 meters high (144 feet) for a bird’s eye view of the hurling field and great panoramic city views. It is actually the highest open-air viewing platform in Dublin! Plus, you get a behind-the-scenes peek at the athlete’s lounges, and private boxes and you even get to go onto the field.
8. Gaelic Games Museum
One of the best ways to immerse in Irish culture is to get involved with their national sports! At Croke Park, the Gaelic Games museum is a walk through the history of Gaelic games. It’s also one of those Dublin attractions that make you feel like a kid again. The immersive museum is a lot of fun too as you try your hand at skills and learn to play the game of hurling. The museum is located at Croke Park where you can catch a game of Hurling too!
9. Stroll Through Trinity College
If you are looking for things to do on your own in Dublin, this is a lovely way to spend the afternoon. It dates back to 1592, it is Ireland’s oldest university located in the city center. Walk in the footsteps of famous Trinity College alumni such as Bram Stoker, WB Yeats, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett and Johnathan Swift.
It is considered to be one of the world’s most beautiful university campuses and taking a stroll through the grounds is a must. We find ourselves always going back to the college grounds and finding something new. The historic buildings, gardens, and monuments are worth a visit.
10. Trinity College Library
Trinity College Library is most famous for its library housing the Book of Kells but it is also Europe’s largest vaulted library. My niece said, I’m not waiting in line to look at an old book, but we found it to be one of the most fascinating places to visit in Dublin.
The Old Library itself is amazing. The long room houses 200,000 books. It is said that the books act as the foundation of the library and it would collapse should the books be taken away. Take this Heritage Walking Tour to learn about Trinity College and other historical sights in town. It really helps to have a guide tell you about the history to really enjoy and understand the things you are looking at in Dublin.
11. Book of Kells
According to the chronicles of Ulster, the Book of Kells is the most precious object in the western world. It is a handwritten manuscript that contains the four gospels of the bible with beautiful imagery.
The Book of Kells was written in 800 AD by a group of monks and was buried in the ground for safekeeping against the Vikings. After learning so much about the Vikings, we know that they were not fans of Christianity, so this would have been destroyed immediately.
Dublin saw many a war between the Irish and the Vikings and the historic book remained hidden throughout the centuries. In the 1600s The Book of Kells was rediscovered and sent to the Trinity College Library where it has been ever since. This Book of Kells Tour lets you fast track directly to see the manuscript as you learn of its symbolism from a local guide. You’ll walk through the library and the grounds and gardens of Dublin Castle.
12. The Little Museum of Dublin
When you visit Dublin, be sure to stop at The Little Museum of Dublin is a great introduction to the city. We usually aren’t big on museums, but we loved this little one. I’d put it on my list of must-see Dublin museums. It houses a crowd-sourced collection of all things Dublin donated by local residents.
Take a walk through its four floors of Irish history that are quirky and unique. It has everything from old news articles from the original Irish independent office (that’s there too!) to portraits of famous Irish celebrities. There’s even a floor dedicated to U2. And guess what? U2 once visited the museum.
13. Christ Church Cathedral
The Christ Church Cathedral was founded in 1028 and is one of Dublin’s top attractions. The church is also one of Ireland’s oldest buildings. If you go inside, be sure to visit the Crypt which is the largest in Ireland and has a mummified cat and rat! Guided tours are offered to take you to the belfry to see how the bells have been ringing for centuries with a chance to ring them themselves.
Entry to the Christ Chruch Cathedral is included with the Dublin Pass. The Dublin Pass is an excellent way to save money on Dublin attractions giving you entrance to 35 attractions including the Dublin Hop-on Hop-Off Big Bus Tou, Dublin Zoo, Guinness Storehouse, James Joyce Centre, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, and lesser-known Dublin attractions like EPIC The Irish Immigration Museum, Irish Rock ‘n Roll Museum Experience, the Casino Model Railway Museum and much more.
14. Tour the Kilmainham Gaol
Tour the infamous jail known as Kilmainham Gaol is well worth a visit in Dublin. This creepy tour takes you inside the horrific conditions that prison inmates faced. The jail can only be toured by a guided tour and it moves fast. It’s worth seeing and gives insight into Dublin and Irish history as prisoners from the rebellion of 1798 to the 1922 Irish Civil War were housed here.
Also, members of the Irish Republican Army were detained here during the Anglo-Irish War and the prisoners of the 1916 Irish rebellion were rounded up and executed here.
15. Say Hello to Oscar Wilde
The Oscar Wild Memorial Statue is located across the street from Wilde’s childhood home. Located in Merrion Square, the memorial actually consists of three statues. There is also a sculpture representing Dionysus and his wife Constance Lloyd.
An interesting fact is that his colorful clothing isn’t painted, it is made up of three different stones. Green jade from British Columbia, pink Thulite, and blue pearl granite from Norway.
16. Visit Oscar Wilde’s House
At the address of No. 1 Merrion Square, you’ll see the childhood home of Oscar Wilde. Be sure to look in the park across the street to see the statue of the famous writer and poet, Oscar Wilde. He’s relaxing while looking back at his home. It’s quite serene.
17. Dublin Castle
Chances are if you take a walking tour or lazy bike tour you’ll stop at the Dublin Castle. The Dublin Castle is one of the most famous medieval castles in the world that dates back to the 13th century. It is now a government building, but that doesn’t stop the tourists from coming. There are two museums and cafes but most people come to hang out in the gardens and on the huge lawn. Be sure to visit the Record Tower and Chapel Royal. Plus the Chester Beatty Library (located inside) is one of the best museums in town.
18. Go to the Pub
If you really want to get a feel for Dublin, you must visit one of the many historic pubs. Pubs are the heartbeat of the city located throughout the city center. Life unfolds in the pubs and no trip to Dublin would be complete if you didn’t sit back, enjoy a pint of beer, listen to live music, and have a chat with the locals. You’ll feel that you have stepped back in time and it will leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling all over.
19. Drink at O’Donoghues
Not far from St. Stephen’s Green, O’Donoghues has been a staple in Dublin since 1934. It became popular in the 1960s when the famous Irish Folk group The Dubliners began performing. Anyone who’s anyone in Irish music played this pub and it continues to operate today!
20. Shop on Grafton Street
Speaking of pubs, a popular spot for locals and visitors alike is Grafton Street. It has been the heart of the city for more than a century. This is a lovely walking street for shopping, lunch, cafes, and pub life. If you are looking for areas to see day or night, this is the place to head to.
21. Painted Doors of Dublin
The painted doors are one of those interesting points of interest in Dublin that you wouldn’t even notice if you didn’t know the story. In the 1700s, a building boom started and the Georgian period was born. . It is said that back in the day, many a drunk Irishman walked into the wrong house after a night at the pub. This led to people painting their doors in different bright colors to distinguish them from each other. The best places to view the painted doors are Merrion Square, Baggot Street, Leeson Street, Fitzwilliam Square
22. Take a Lazy Bike Tour
One of the most fun things we did was to take a Lazy Bike Tours. You can book a tour with them on an e-bike through Get Your Guide. For a tour on a regular bicycle, check out this one.
23. Take a Walking Tour
One of our favourite things to do in any city is to take a walking tour and we’ve taken quite a few in Dublin. You really cannot get to know a city unless you have spent some time there, or had an expert local guide tell you about the sites. This historical walking tour takes you to some of the top things to see in Dublin including the Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, and City Hall while is led by historical graduates of Trinity College Dublin and University College Dublin. You’ll learn about the history of the city including the Potato Famine, 1916 Rising, the War of Independence, and more modern history with the Northern Ireland Peace Process.
24. St. Stephen’s Green
Located across from the Little Museum of Dublin in the Dublin city center, St. Stephen’s Green is a 22-acre park was designed as a Victorian Garden dating back to 1880. It is a lovely sanctuary with walking paths weaving through 750 trees, gardens, a waterfall, and a lake,
25. Newman University Church
Take a walking tour to find hidden gems like Newman’s University Church of Dublin. Our guide took us to a hidden gem that even many locals don’t even don’t know about but it really is something you must see in Dublin. The Newman University Church is a small yet beautiful and tranquil church. It’s filled with colorful motifs, latticework, and paintings.
26. Sweny’s Apothecary
Sweny’s apothecary is a really cool store with medicines, photographs, and prescriptions from the turn of the 19th century. This pharmacy is the actual pharmacy featured in James Joyce’s Ulysses. They have daily readings of James Joyce and they sell the famous lemon soap that made the shop famous. If you are looking for more of the more nontouristy unique things to see in Dublin, this is it. I felt like a cool hipster going into the store to talk about all things, Joyce.
27. Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the most popular things to do in Dublin. It was St. Patrick himself who baptized Christians 1500 years ago right near this site. It has been a place of Christian spirituality ever since. Dating back to 1191 St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland and it is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. So it is still working today! Located in the city centre it’s easy to get to. You can walk from it to other popular Dublin city attractions such as Christ Church Cathedral, St Stephen’s Green and Dublin Castle.
Make sure to keep an eye out for the tomb of Johnathan Swift. Johnathan Swift was a famous Dublin poet and writer who was also the dean of St. Patrick’s cathedral from 1713 to 1745. If you are wondering if you might know any of his works, does Gulliver’s Travels ring a bell?
28. Dine with Bono and The Edge at the Clarence Hotel
Well, you may not actually be dining with Bono, but you can dine in the restaurant that he and fellow U2 bandmate The Edge bought in 1992. The Clarence Hotel is one of the original hotels in the Temple Bar District of Dublin and Bono and The Edge helped revive the area when they reopened the Clarence in 1996. We had cocktails at The Octagon Bar before heading to the Cleaver East Restaurant for dinner.
29. Listen to Live Irish Music
Live music is so popular in pubs all around Ireland, that you’ll have no problem finding traditional Irish music playing in a pub. Really, all you have to do is go into any bar after dark and chances are a group of musicians will be sitting around playing amazing songs! Suggested places to watch Trad Music in Dublin are The Cobblestone and Hughes Pub.
Music is at the heart of the city of Dublin life and buskers and street musicians line Grafton Street. You’ll also find professional performers throughout the city including along the River Liffey and Temple Bar.
30. National Gallery
Make sure to include museums and galleries in your Dublin itinerary. Admission to the National Gallery is free. If if you like art, you will enjoy this. It houses an extensive collection of Irish and European art, and it’s located right in the heart of the city. For more information visit the website
31. National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland traces 7000 years of Irish history. Walk through the different displays of Celtic and Medieval art, Prehistoric Ireland, and the Viking age of Ireland. The National Museum of Ireland is free with your Dublin Pass.
32. Botanical Gardens
For serenity, a visit to the Botanical Gardens. It is located just 3 km outside the city center is another pleasant afternoon idea. Entrance is free and the gardens are famous for the wrought iron glasshouses.
33. Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed park in any capital city in all of Europe. We went for a lovely drive here and had no problem spotting deer. It was a first for us in Europe! Phoenix Park was originally set up as a royal hunting ground in 1662. The deer were stocked for hunting, but today it houses about 600 deer and makes for a quiet escape to spy on the wild deer that inhabit the park today. The Dublin Zoo is also located here if you are into zoos.
34. Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
If you love walking through famous cemeteries, the Glasnevin Cemetery is where 1.6 million people have been laid to rest. It has become a popular stop to trace your genealogy and ancestry in search of your family history as so many of our roots began in Ireland.
Notable people buried in the Glasnevin Cemetery are Luke Kelly the founding member of the Dubliners, The Irish poet Brendan Francis Behan, Revolutionary Leader, Michael Collins, and Christy Brown – the Irish writer and painter who was depicted in the movie, My Left Foot
How to Save Money in Dublin
- The best way that you can save money and see all of the sites is to get yourself a Dublin Pass.
- You can get it for 1,2,3 or 5 consecutive days and it includes all of these and more: Free entry to over 30 of the most popular attractions
- Free Hop on Hop off Bus Tour with a 24hr ticket Discounts and exclusive offers at 20 extra venues Fast Track Entry at selected top Dublin attractions to skip the queues Mobile Pass:
- Download the Dublin Pass App and access your Mobile Pass immediately.
- Free guidebook to help guide you around the city
- Book your Dublin Pass Now!
Suggested Dublin Hotels
When planning your trip to Dublin, choosing where to stay can make a huge difference in the experience. We’ve stayed in all of these hotels in Dublin and each one was very good. Each was central and easy to get around from one destination to another.
- Morrison Hotel – 5-minute walk to Temple Bar, close to everything but still quiet enough to relax
- The Westbury Hotel – Superb Location near Grafton Street. Contemporary rooms in a grand hotel
- Fitzwilliam Hotel – Superb Location in the city center near Grafton Street and St. Stephen’s Green. Contemporary rooms in a grand hotel
- Marker Hotel – Located in the business district on Grand Central Square. Rooftop lounge.
Best Day Trips from Dublin
With its central location Dublin makes for a great base to explore the rest of Ireland. You can do many day trips from Dublin to places like the Cliffs of Moher, Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway, and Cork. These are some of our favourite Dublin day trips that are easily booked from the city center.
Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are one of the most photographed sights in all of Ireland and rightfully so. Standing at 214 metres above sea level, these magnificent cliffs plunge into the sea offering spectacular views of the Irish Coast. Beware, The Cliffs of Moher the most popular of things to do in Ireland, so get there early in the morning or later in the evening. Day tours can be booked from Dublin through Get Your Guide’s Cliffs of Moher Full Day. Easily cancellation for full refund within 24 hours of tour.
Game of Thrones Tour
Many people come to Ireland thinking they will see Game of Thrones filming locations, however, most of Game of Thrones was filmed in Northern Ireland. You can do a Game of Thrones tour easily from Dublin though. And we have an entire post on the GOT filming locations at A Game of Thrones Tour of Northern Ireland
Blarney Castle and Cork
It’s something we’ve always wanted to do. Kissing the Blarney Stone gives you the gift of the gab and a visit to the Blarney Castle is a must. Even if you don’t kiss the stone, the castle grounds are a beautiful day trip visiting the fairy gardens, the witches kitchen, the poison garden and the wishing steps. The castle is something made of fairy tales.
So there you have it, those are our suggestions for the best Dublin attractions. We never tire of the energy and culture of the city and are always looking for new and unique things to do.
Dublin is a lovely city that we found to be best enjoyed on foot. Walk along the River Liffey, get lost in the maze of streets, and enjoy the atmosphere and energy. Did we miss anything? Do you have a suggestion? Leave them in the comments below.
To help you with your visit to Dublin, read our Packing Tips for Europe
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