35 Free Things to Do in Dublin (2023)
With so many things to do in Dublin, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the choices. That’s why we’ve compiled an extensive list of free things to do in Dublin that will make your trip memorable — without breaking the bank!
Free museums and galleries in Dublin
Dublin is a creative city, with lots of opportunities to explore free museums and galleries. Whether you’re a history buff or an art lover, these are some of our top picks:
1. Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum branch of the National Museum of Ireland features exhibits on the flora and fauna of the country. The museum has a wide variety of specimens on display, including animals, birds, fish, insects and plants. It also has sections dedicated to insects and other invertebrates, fish and marine life, and a herbarium all local to Ireland.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday & Monday 1-5pm
Address: Merrion St Upper, Dublin 2
Image courtesy: Mykidstime.com
2. National Museum for Archaeology
The Archaeology branch of the National Museum of Ireland features exhibits on the prehistory and early history of Ireland. The museum has a wide variety of artefacts on display, including objects from the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Iron Age.
The National Museum for Archaeology also has sections dedicated to the artefacts of the Viking Age and the medieval periods in Ireland, including jewellery, weapons, and everyday objects.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday & Monday 1-5pm
Address: Kildare St, Dublin 2
3. Decorative Arts and History Museum
The Decorative Arts & History Museum features exhibits on the decorative arts, furniture, silverware, ceramics and costumes of Ireland. The collection mainly covers the period from the 17th century to the early 20th century. Some of the highlights of the collection include the Irish furniture made by local craftsmen and reflect the styles and materials of different regions of Ireland.
The museum also has sections dedicated to silverware, ceramics, and clothing and costumes dating from the 18th to the early 20th century.
Opening hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday & Monday 1-5pm
Address: Collins Barracks, Benburb St, Stoneybatter, D07 XKV4
Image courtesy: Museum.ie
4. The National Gallery
The National Gallery of Ireland is an Irish museum located on the north side of Merrion Square, Dublin. It is one of the largest art galleries in Ireland and has a permanent collection of over 13,000 paintings and sculptures, including major collections of works by Hugh Lane, Roderic O’Conor and Louis Le Nain.
The gallery also houses Irish and European art from the 15th century to the 19th century alongside works by later British, French, Dutch and Italian painters.
Opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday & Saturday 9:15am-5:30pm, Sunday & Monday 11am-5:30pm, Thursday 9:15am-8:30pm
Address: Merrion Square W, Dublin 2
5. The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)
The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) is a must-see for art lovers. The museum was founded in 1990 by a group of leading Irish artists and houses some of Ireland’s most important pieces from the 20th century, including works by Francis Bacon, Jack Butler Yeats, Sean Keating and Louis le Brocquy.
Admission is free every Friday between 5pm and 8pm.
Opening hours: Tuesday, Thursday to Saturday 10am-5:30pm, Wednesday 11:30am-5:30pm, Sunday 12-5:30pm (closed on Mondays)
Address: Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Military Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8
Image courtesy: Viator.com
6. The Chester Beatty Library
The Chester Beatty Library houses one of the most important collections of rare books in the world. The library was established in 1931 by American mining magnate and philanthropist Sir Alfred Chester Beatty to house his collection of manuscripts, printed books, and artwork from around the world.
Opening hours: Monday (closed), Tuesday, Thursday – Saturday 9:45am-5:30pm, Wednesday 9:45am-8pm, Sunday 12-5:30pm
Address: Dublin Castle, Dublin 2
7. The Hugh Lane Gallery
The Hugh Lane Gallery sits in Dublin’s city centre, so it’s easily accessible from anywhere in the city. It features works from one of Ireland’s most famous artists, Jack B Yeats, as well as other Irish artists like James Barry and Louis le Brocquy.
Opening hours: Monday closed, Tuesday – Thursday 9:45am-6pm, Friday 9:45am-5pm, Saturday 10am-5pm Sunday 11am-5pm
Address: Charlemont House, Parnell Square N, Rotunda, Dublin 1
The best free parks and gardens in Dublin
Dublin is a verdant city, so no trip is complete without a visit to one of these beautiful parks. From war memorials to a herd of wild deer, each of these parks is unique and free to enjoy.
8. St Stephen’s Green Park
St Stephen’s Green is one of Dublin’s most beautiful parks. It has a wide range of activities going on all the time, from concerts and festivals to relaxing walks in the fresh air. There are also many cafés around the park where you can relax with a coffee or ice cream and enjoy the scenery. Visitors can take advantage of its green spaces, ponds, flowers and fountains while being surrounded by some great examples of Georgian architecture.
Address: St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2
Image courtesy: Activeme.ie
9. Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is actually the largest walled city park in Europe and one of the most stunningly beautiful parks in the world. It’s also home to a herd of wild deer that roam around freely, giving the feel of the countryside in the heart of a city! So if you’re feeling adventurous, why not pack up a picnic lunch and go exploring?
Address: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
Image courtesy: Wanderwisdom.com
10. Dublin Castle Gardens
Dublin Castle is a major Irish government complex, conference centre, and tourist attraction. The Castle Gardens is the area surrounding the castle, and it’s home to several different gardens including the Upper Castle Yard, the Lower Castle Yard, and the Bedford Tower Gardens. The castle gardens are open to the public and are also home to several sculptures.
Opening hours: Every day 6:30am-7pm
Address: Dublin Castle, Dame St
11. National Botanic Gardens of Ireland
The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland was founded in 1795 and cover an area of approximately 19.5 hectares. It is home to over 20,000 plant species and includes a large collection of native Irish plants. Some of the highlights of the gardens include the Palm House, a large greenhouse filled with tropical plants and the Curvilinear Range, home to a collection of cacti and succulents.
Opening hours: Monday – Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday & Sunday 10am-6pm
Address: Glasnevin, Dublin 9
12. Iveagh Gardens
The Iveagh Gardens are a public park located in the heart of Dublin, Ireland. The gardens cover an area of approximately 4.5 hectares (11 acres) and were gifted to the city of Dublin by the 1st Earl of Iveagh in 1939. The gardens were designed by Ninian Niven, a Scottish landscape architect, and are considered one of the finest examples of a Victorian garden in Ireland.
Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 8am-4pm, Sunday 10am-4pm
Address: St Stephen’s Green, Park, Dublin 2
Image courtesy: Theirishroadtrip.com
13. Merrion Square Park
Dublin’s Merrion Square is filled with fountains and sculptures that have been restored by some of Ireland’s top artists over the years. One of Dublin’s most famous statues can be found here, of the world-famous writer Oscar Wilde. The park is home to a variety of events throughout the year, from plays to music performances and even yoga classes! On Sundays between May and September, you can even grab a bite to eat at Dolce Vita Café located inside the pavilion building.
Opening hours: Every day 9am-9:30pm
Address: 1 Merrion Square E
14. Garden of Remembrance
Make sure to stop by the Garden of Remembrance. It’s named for Irish novelist William Butler Yeats who penned “Easter 1916” about Ireland’s rising against British rule during Easter Week 1916 — the poem was later read aloud by Frank McCourt as part of his famous funeral speech during ceremonies marking 100 years since his birth. The garden is now dedicated to all those who have given their life for Irish freedom.
Address: Parnell Square East
15. Irish National War Memorial Gardens
These gardens were built to commemorate the Irish soldiers who fought and died in World War I. The gardens cover an area of approximately 12 hectares and were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, a prominent British architect and designer of war memorials. The gardens feature a large central mall, lined with statues of Irish soldiers and a series of gardens that feature a number of sculptures and monuments.
Image courtesy: Heritageireland.ie
16. Herbert Park
What’s the best way to spend a day in Dublin? Stroll along the tree-lined avenues of Herbert Park, one of the city’s most beautiful spots. Located in Ballsbridge, this 2-acre public garden features an ornate fountain and statues throughout its grounds. You can also see some of Ireland’s most beautiful architecture from here—many stately mansions line Park Lane South at the entrance to Herbert Park.
Address: Herbert Park, Dublin
17. Pearse Square Park
This park is located in the Ballsbridge neighbourhood and is named after Patrick Pearse, a prominent figure in the Irish Easter Rising of 1916. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike, being a great place to take a break, relax and enjoy the greenery. The park is also a popular spot for children, with a playground and other amenities. Surrounded by a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants, it’s a beautiful place to visit after a day of sightseeing or shopping.
Address: Grand Canal Dock, Dublin
The best free markets to visit in Dublin
Want to sample some local fare or scavenge for treasures? Here are our top picks of markets in Dublin.
18. Temple Bar Markets
If you’re looking for something to do that’s both free and exciting, head over to the Temple Bar Markets for delectable fayre and local shopping. There are great shops and food stalls everywhere, so sample mouth-watering dishes or pick up some gifts to bring home for your loved ones.
Opening hours: Saturdays 9:30am-4pm
Address: Meeting House Square, Temple Bar
19. The Liberty Market
This market features a wide range of food vendors selling a delicious variety of local and international foods including fresh produce, meat, fish, bread, cheese, and other speciality foods. The market is a great place to buy fresh, locally-sourced produce or grab a bite to eat. The Liberty Market Dublin is a great place to explore the local food scene, take a break, relax and enjoy a meal with friends. It is a perfect spot for foodies!
Opening hours: Thursday, Friday 10am-4pm, Saturday 10am-5pm
Address: Meath St, The Liberties
20. Herbert Park Food Market
Located in Herbert Park, this farmers’ market takes place every Saturday. Sample delicious, local cheeses, fruits, vegetables, breads, cakes and more. You’ll also find locally raised meats such as beef, pork and chicken here. Alongside these delicious edible wares, you’ll also find stalls selling handmade crafts, jewellery and giftable items. Grab a bite to eat, browse and shop from local artisans while enjoying the beautiful park!
Opening hours: Saturdays 10am-4pm
Address: Herbert Park, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4
21. George’s Street Arcade
The arcade, also known as the “South Great George’s Street Arcade”, was built in 1881 and is one of the oldest in Dublin. It’s a covered shopping centre with a glass roof, featuring a wide range of shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a popular spot for locals and visitors alike to find unique items and enjoy a meal or a snack.
Opening hours: Monday- Wednesday 9am-6pm, Thursday-Saturday 9am-7pm, Sunday 12-6pm
Address: South Great George’s Street
Other best free places to visit in Dublin
Dublin is a historic city with beautiful sightseeing opportunities. Visit some of its luscious parks and iconic sights, explore the local culture and take in the scenery.
22. The Great South Wall
Also known as the Pigeon House Wall, The Great South Wall was built in the 18th century as a sea wall to protect the port and provide a safe place for ships to dock. It stretches over two miles along the River Liffey and is perfect for birdwatching, fishing or just taking a stroll. The Poolbeg Lighthouse, the oldest in Dublin and an iconic landmark, sits prettily on the wall, making for a beautiful photography spot.
Address: The Great South Wall, Dublin
23. Trinity College Dublin
Explore the beautiful campus of Trinity College Dublin. The oldest university in Ireland, it was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth 1. Take in its beautiful architecture and grounds, once graced by the likes of Samuel Beckett, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and many more. In the Main Library of Trinity College Dublin, you’ll find the famous Book of Kells exhibition, which has an entry fee from €18.50. The display includes several pages from this famous manuscript and a small selection of other ancient Irish manuscripts. The library’s Long Room is an impressive sight to behold, with 180 feet (55 m) worth of bookshelves!
Opening hours: Grounds open daily, Book of Kells open Monday-Friday 9:30am-5pm, Saturday 8:30am-5pm, Sunday 12-4:30pm
Address: College Green, Dublin 2
24. Temple Bar
The streets of Temple Bar have been transformed over the years with colourful street art and it’s a great place for some people-watching. There are also several pubs where you can grab a pint and listen to some local musicians play traditional Irish songs.
There’s a lot more than just beer here though: there are plenty of restaurants serving up delicious food (and classic Dublin pub fare), including one that does vegan poutine so good you won’t believe it!
25. Dollymount Strand
There are plenty of beaches in Dublin, but Dollymount Strand is one of the most popular and easily accessible ones. You can go there by bus from central Dublin, or you can even walk there if you’re feeling energetic! It’s great for dog walking too plus, it’s one of the best places to sit back and watch the sunset.
26. Poolbeg Chimneys in Ringsend Bay
The Poolbeg Chimneys are located in Ringsend Bay and have become one of Dublin’s most popular landmarks. The chimneys were built in 1820 to burn coal, but they have since been decommissioned and are now open to the public as a tourist attraction. There are two chimneys in total to admire from ground level as they stand majestically over the water.
27. Grafton Street
Grafton Street is a popular shopping street in Dublin, known for its street performers, or buskers. They include musicians, comedians, acrobats, and other performers. Grafton Street is one of the most popular locations for busking in Dublin and it’s a great place to see some of the city’s best street performers. Get acquainted with the local music scene and witness some exciting upcoming acts — all for free. Though, if you do particularly enjoy a busker’s performance, it’s always nice to leave a little tip.
28. Glasnevin Cemetery
A visit to Glasnevin Cemetery is a must for anyone interested in Irish history. This cemetery is the final resting place of some of Ireland’s most famous historical figures, including Charles Stewart Parnell and Michael Collins, among many others.
Opening hours: Every day 9am-5pm
Address: Finglas Rd, Glasnevin, D11
This is one of the most famous pubs in the city and is known for its live Irish music and history. Located on Merrion Row, O’Donoghue’s has been in operation since the early 20th century. A popular spot for locals and visitors, it’s a great place to experience the city’s vibrant and diverse cultural and artistic scene. The pub is known for its free live Irish music, which takes place every evening!
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 10am-12am, Friday & Saturday 10am-1am, Sunday 11am-12am
Address: 15 Merrion Row
30. The Molly Malone Statue
The Molly Malone statue, also known as “The Tart with the Cart” is located on Suffolk Street, near the intersection of Grafton Street. This statue is a popular tourist attraction and is considered one of the most iconic landmarks in Dublin. Legend has it that Molly Malone was a fishmongers wife who sold her wares out of a street cart and died at an early age from fever. Whether the legend is true or not, she has inspired the famous song “Cockles and Mussels”.
The statue was commissioned by the Dublin Millennium Commission in 1988 and was created by sculptor Jeanne Rynhart. It was unveiled on June 17, 1988, in honour of the city’s tricentennial.
31. Ha’Penny Bridge
The Ha’Penny Bridge, also known as the Liffey Bridge, spans the River Liffey connecting the north and south sides of the city. It was originally built in 1816 and was the first iron bridge to be constructed in Ireland.
The bridge is named for the toll that was once charged to cross it, which was half a penny, (ha’penny). The bridge is considered one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. Plus, it’s a great spot to take beautiful pictures!
32. The Stags Head
The Stags Head comedy night is a popular attraction in Dublin and it’s a great place to experience some of the city’s best comedians. The line-up of comedians changes every week for the Comedy Crunch event, so there’s always something new and exciting to see. The pub’s atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, making it a perfect spot for a night out with friends or for a date night.
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 12pm-12am, Friday & Saturday 12pm-1am, Sunday 12-11:30pm
Address: 1 Dame Ct, Dublin 2
This is a traditional Irish pub known for its live music and friendly atmosphere. Tick Tock Thursdays at O’Reilly’s is a free weekly event at this cool pub. Come together to enjoy a drink and dance to a mix of music from the 90s and 00s. It’s a great way to meet new people and have a fun night out. The event usually starts after 8pm.
Opening hours: Tuesday & Wednesday 4-11:30pm, Thursday-Saturday 4pm-2:30am
Address: Tara Street Station, Poolbeg St, Dublin 2
34. Grand Canal
The Grand Canal was built to provide a reliable and efficient transport system for the transportation of goods and people. It played a vital role in the economic development of Ireland during the 18th and 19th centuries. Today, the Grand Canal is a popular spot for a variety of activities such as boating, fishing, and walking or cycling along the towpaths. Visit this beautiful part of Dublin to have a stroll and snap some photos.
35. Love Lane
Love Lane is a small lane located just off the main street of Temple Bar. It’s known for its charming, narrow cobblestone streets and colourful buildings, as well as its lively atmosphere. Replete with murals and street art dedicated to love, this is a beautiful spot to snap some Instagram pictures. The cafes and pubs in the area offer a variety of food and drinks, including traditional Irish fare and international cuisine.
On a final note
We hope these ideas have helped you make the most of your time in Dublin. It’s a vibrant city that has so much to offer visitors. So be sure not to miss an opportunity to enjoy a pint or two and make some new friends.
One of the best ways to enjoy Dublin without spending a lot of money is to stay in a hostel, so book with us at our Clink i Lár in Dublin and make the most of your stay!