The 30 Best Things to Do in Dublin (2023)
Dublin is a lively city with plenty of things to see and do, from distilleries to stunning parks to interesting museums. As you’d expect from the capital of Ireland, you’ll find lots of ways to experience Irish culture and history, as well as lots of exciting days out that you want from a city break. So read on for our list of the top 30 things to do in Dublin.
1. Listen to live music in Temple Bar
The Temple Bar area of Dublin is one of the best places to see live music. Dubbed as the city’s Cultural Quarter, you’ll find no end of entertainment. Plenty of the bars here have live music, including the eponymous the Temple Bar Pub, which is one of the most iconic pubs in the city. You’ll also find busking and street performances, and there are plenty of venues for to see plays as well.
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2. Visit the Guinness Storehouse
If you’re a fan of this iconic drink, then the Guinness Storehouse is a great place to visit. From learning the history of Guinness to getting a masterclass in pouring pints, or even having a VIP experience in their exclusive bar, you’ll find plenty of options. Tours start at €26.00 and include a drink in the Gravity Bar, with stunning views out across the city. You’ll find the Guinness Storehouse at St. James’s Gate, Dublin 8, Ireland.
Image courtesy: Theculturetrip.com
3. Experience Irish History at Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol has over 100 years of history as a prison. Opened in 1796, it held minor criminals as well as political prisoners involved in Ireland’s fight for freedom. Today, you can take a tour of the gaol (“jail”) to learn a lot about Irish history and the tumultuous events that led to the independence of Ireland. Tours start from €8.00 and there is also a museum with more fascinating information. The goal is on Inchicore Road, a bit outside the central city.
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4. Feel like Harry Potter at Trinity College
While Trinity College is primarily a working college, visitors can enjoy the Old Library, with its famous Long Hall with rows upon rows of bookshelves. You can also take a tour to see the Book of Kells, an ornate illuminated manuscript of the four New Testament Gospels, dating back to the 9th Century. Tickets for tours or to see the Book of Kells start at €15 and the college is situated in the heart of Dublin at College Green, Dublin 2.
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5. (Re)discover the city at the Little Museum of Dublin
While it might be small, The Little Museum of Dublin manages to pack a bit of everything into its many exhibitions. From music to politics to sports and culture, you’ll be able to find out loads of interesting things about the city. Every item in the museum has an interesting story to tell. Tours start from €8, but the charming gift shop might encourage you to spend more. The Little Museum of Dublin is at 15 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.
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6. Order fish n’ chips at Leo Burdock
The much-loved Leo Burdock fish shops have been frying fish for over 100 years, and it’s the only Irish shop in the Guardian’s Ten Best Fish and Chip Shops in Ireland and Britain. There’s even a wall of photos showing the numerous celebrities who have eaten the delicious fish at their locations. There’s no room to eat inside, but you’ll find plenty of nearby parks and benches.
Image courtesy: Guide-ireland.com
7. Have a stroll in the National Botanic Gardens
Whether you love plants or just want a nice walk, The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland are a great place to visit. Entry is free and you’ll find plenty to see, from the restored Victorian glasshouse, the herbarium, the library, and the main visitor centre. There’s also a tea room for refreshments. You’ll find the National Botanic Garden at Glasnevin, Dublin 9, Ireland, D09 VY63.
Image courtesy: Heritageireland.ie
8. Dance all night in a church
The Church was formerly St Mary’s Church until 1964. Now it serves as a popular bar and nightclub in the heart of the city. With slick leather stools, private booths and a great selection of booze, this is a must-visit night spot. Plus, there are free live music sessions on Thursdays from 7 pm. On Friday and Saturday nights, the place turns into a nightclub with a resident DJ. Find The Church at the junction of Mary St & Jervis St, Dublin 1.
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9. Visit the Jameson’s Distillery
Like this iconic Irish whiskey? Then visit the Jameson Distillery to learn all about the history of the drink, see where it’s made and, of course, have a tasting. You can even take a blending class, a cocktail-making class, or bottle your own black cask whiskey. Tours start at €25. You’ll find the distillery on Bow Street in Dublin.
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10. Take selfies at the Wax Museum
Looking to meet historical figures, pop stars and actors? Look no further than The National Wax Museum. While this site opened in 2017, the museum has been operating since 1983. and is a great attraction right in the middle of the city. from the Chamber of Horror to Father Ted’s room, there are plenty of unique exhibits to see. Tickets are around €15. Find the museum at 22-25 Westmoreland Street.
National Wax Museum, Dublin
11. Visit EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum
EPIC is the museum where you can get an insight into the lives of Irish emigrants, including people, scientists, politicians, artists and even famous criminals all over the world. Plus, get a look at Irish culture and what it means to be Irish. If you want to find out more about your Irish heritage, there’s also the Irish Family History Centre. Tickets are €17.50 and the museum is at Custom House Quay.
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12. Watch a rugby game at Croke Park
Croke Park is one of the most famous sports stadiums in Ireland, for good reason. Not only can you see some great games here, but you can also enjoy the Gaelic Athletic Association Museum. If you’re feeling brave, you can even take a tour over the top of the stadium to get stunning views over the city. The museum costs around €8, while the skyline tour is €21.
13. Go to a gig at Whelan’s
This cosy music venue has hosted some big acts, from Ed Sheeran to Jeff Buckley. Or visit for one of their smaller free live music events. There’s a bar on-site for pre-gig drinks, but Whelan’s location in the centre of the city means you’ll have plenty of options to keep your night out going strong. You’ll find Whelan’s at 25 Wexford Street, Dublin 2.
For more cool music venues, check our guide to Dublin nightlife!
14. Decipher old manuscripts at the Chester Beatty
If you are interested in history, then The Chester Beatty Library is a great place to visit. From Egyptian Books of the Dead to Asian woodblock prints, you’ll find an amazing array of texts here. Admission is free, but you can also book a guided tour to learn more about the items they have on display. The Chester Beatty Library is part of Dublin Castle.
15. Visit Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral has stood for almost 1000 years and sits at the heart of Dublin. Whether you want to pray, have a moment of quiet reflection, or learn about the religious history of the area, it’s well worth visiting. The Cathedral still holds morning and evening prayers, including sung services with organs and choirs. The Cathedral is on Christchurch Place.
16. Travel back in time at Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle dates from the 13th century, but it’s also the site of a much older Viking settlement. You can tour the 11-acre site and see the remains of the older medieval castle and the beautiful Dubh Linn gardens.
17. Watch an Irish dancing show
Irish dancing is probably one of the most well-known attractions of Ireland as a whole and there are plenty of places to watch Irish Dancing Shows in Dublin. From stage performances to dances in bars and pubs, you’ll have plenty to choose from. Make sure to catch a show of this dance, which dates back to the 1500s, while you’re in Dublin.
18. Sample remarkable spirits at the Irish Whiskey Museum
The Irish Whiskey Museum is a must-visit attraction for people who love whiskey. Book a tour to learn about the origins of Irish whiskey, or learn to blend whiskey to suit your own tastes. Of course, all tours also give you a chance to sample plenty of great drinks. Tours start from €20. You’ll find the museum at 119 Grafton Street.
19. Discover people who made History at the Glasnevin Cemetery
Covering 124 acres, Glasnevin Cemetery is one of the most significant graveyards and memorial gardens in Ireland. Glasnevin now houses most of the leading political and social figures from the last 150 years of Ireland’s history. There’s a museum on the grounds that covers the history of the people buried here. The graveyard is on Finglas Road in Dublin.
20. Discover the bog bodies at the National Museum of Ireland
Being one of the largest museums, The National Museum of Ireland has plenty to see. Exhibitions include archaeological finds, decorative arts, historical artefacts and, of course, bog bodies. Entry is free to most parts of the museum and you’ll find enough to keep you busy for a whole day. Plus, the National Gallery of Ireland is right next door.
21. Visit St Patrick’s Cathedral
St Patrick’s Cathedral is another stilling cathedral in Dublin, filled with rich history, serene worship and religious art. From the stained glass windows to the impressive grave sites, this is a wonderful religious site to visit. Plus, the choir school does regular performances that are sure to delight. The cathedral is located at the junction of Patrick Street and Upper Kevin Street.
22. Have an Irish breakfast
A visit to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without a full Irish breakfast. Toast, sausage, beans, eggs, and all the other add-ons; nothing is better for starting the day. Try some of the top Irish breakfasts at WUFF on Benburb Street or Keoghs Cafe on Trinity Street. Or, for a twist, try a boxty potato pancake for breakfast at The Boxtyhouse on Temple Bar.
23. Have a pint in the oldest Dublin pub
There are so many great pubs in Dublin, but The Brazen Head stands out as the oldest. Whether you want a freshly poured pint of Irish beer, a great whiskey, or even some flavourful food, you’ll find it here. Plus you’ll be able to enjoy live music here almost every night from 9 pm. The Brazen Head is at 20 Lower Bridge Street.
24. Discover the Teeling Whiskey Distillery
With a history in distilling that goes back to 1782, Teeling has a good heritage, which you can find out about in the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. With tours from €17, you’ll have plenty of options to see where this wonderful whiskey is made. Plus, of course, you’ll get the chance to sample some, or even fill your own bottle as a memento. The distillery is at 13-17 Newmarket.
25. Visit the Irish Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum Experience
The Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum Experience is one not to miss if you’re a music fan. This immersive experience shows you what it’s like to be a real music star, including rehearsing, seeing what dressing rooms are like, and getting up on the Apollo Studios stage. This unique experience is sure to be something you’ll remember for a long time. You’ll find this on Curved Street, right in the heart of the city.
Cheap Things to do in Dublin
Looking for money-saving ways to enjoy Dublin? Having a great time exploring the city doesn’t have to cost huge amounts. Try these cheap ways to have fun in the city of Ireland.
26. Discover new talents on Grafton street
Grafton Street is the top place to hear buskers, see live performances and all the free entertainment you could ask for. Of course, it’s polite to give a coin or two to buskers that impress you, but you can stay and listen as long as you like, making it a great spot to have lunch or rest. You’re sure to hear everything from pop to rock to traditional Irish music. Plus, plenty of great artists have started on Grafton street, so you never know who you might get to listen to before everyone else.
27. Spot the deer at Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is one of the largest enclosed parks in any European capital city. Spanning a massive 1750 acres, you can make the most of the park by walking, cycling, having an impromptu game of football, or having a picnic. Plus, of course, you can keep an eye out for the herd of fallow deer that make the park their home. There are also the Zoological Gardens, Victorian Flower Gardens and multiple places to eat. This is a great free way to enjoy a green area in the city.
28. Find treasures at George’s Street Arcade
Whether you’re looking to find a special purchase or to do some window shopping, be sure to try George’s Street Arcade. This is Ireland’s oldest purpose-built shopping centre and you’ll find plenty of independent boutiques, stores and stalls. You can browse everything from vintage items, clothing and jewellery to collectables, souvenirs and more. There are also plenty of great food options if you work up an appetite.
29. Find Love at Love Lane
Who knows where you’ll run into the person of your dreams? It might even be down Dublin’s stunning Love Lane. This small alleyway off Temple Bar has been transformed with beautiful street art, making it a must-see spot. It’s a great area for photographs with plenty of sweet quotes, like “To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance”. Truly a lovely and inspirational spot in the city.
30. Have a picnic at St Stephen’s Green
If you’re looking for a quiet green spot to enjoy, St Stephen’s Green is a great choice. This carefully tended park has lovely flower displays, a duck pond and plenty of amenities. In summer you’ll often find live music performances at the bandstand, while the park is a stunning sight in winter. There are also statues, fountains and arches that commemorate some of the city’s history and most prominent public figures.
Where to stay in Dublin
It can be expensive to find somewhere to stay in Dublin, at all times of the year. If you want to stay in the heart of the city, near all these great attractions, pubs and historic sites, you’ll likely find it even more expensive. One of the best ways to enjoy Dublin without worrying about breaking the bank is to stay in a hostel. Our Clink Dublin hostel is right at the heart of the city, near the Temple Bar area. This gives you the chance to explore the city to the fullest without having to worry about breaking the bank, which means you’ll have plenty left over for some of these famous Irish whiskeys.
Dublin Advice & Travel Tips
Here are our top tips for travelling to Dublin on holiday:
- Use a Dublin City Pass and Lead Card – The Dublin City Pass will let you access multiple attractions in the city for a set cost. You can either pick a pass with a certain number of uses or passes that last for the duration of your holiday. These can be great for saving money if you want to see a lot of different attractions. The Leap Card is a Transport For Ireland pass that lets you access buses around and outside Dublin, which can save you money if you are planning on making the most of the city.
- Visit in the summer – If you want good weather to enjoy the parks and outdoor attractions, visit in the summer months.
- Try cheaper winter months – If you’re looking to save money, try the winter months when prices will generally be lower. Just be sure to bring a coat as it can get chilly.
- Enjoy St Patrick’s Day in March – The world-famous St Patrick’s Day festival is in March each year, and it’s one of the biggest events in Dublin’s calendar.
- Enjoy film culture in February – Love films? Try the Dublin International Film Festival in February every year, where you can enjoy thought-provoking, ground-breaking and award-winning cinema.
- Don’t miss the Festival of Curiosity – Every July you can enjoy the Festival of Curiosity which encourages people of all ages to explore and discover art, technology, design and, well, everything else.
- Don’t get stuck at the airport – Before you go, figure out how you’ll get from the airport to the city centre. There are plenty of options including buses, taxis, and walking.
Frequently Asked Questions about Dublin
- What is the #1 attraction in Dublin, Ireland? – The National Museum of Ireland is one of the top attractions in Dublin.
- What are the top attractions to visit in Dublin? – For the best attractions try Dublin Castle, The Irish Whiskey Museum, The Little Museum of Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse and The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland
- What are the best day trips from Dublin? – Want to escape the city for a day and see something new? Try Howth, a picturesque fishing village where you can try fresh fish and chips and watch the boats come and go. Or visit Kilkenny if you want to see some of Ireland’s most historic sites. Or if you love hiking, take a walk through Glendalough and take in the stunning views.
- What is Dublin famous for? – Depending on who you ask, Dublin is most famous for its Georgian architecture and its place as a UNESCO City of Literature. Legendary as well as its charming pub culture and delectable Guinness.
- What is Dublin’s most famous food? – Dublin is famous for boxty potato pancakes and stew.
- How many days do you need in Dublin? – How long you need depends on how much you want to see, but there’s plenty in Dublin to fill a weekend break, a week, or even longer.
- Is Dublin expensive? – Any holiday is as expensive as you make it. There are plenty of cheap and free things to do in Dublin.
On a final note
Dublin is a wonderful historic city with a bustling nightlife and plenty of cultural sites to keep you busy. Whether you like castles and history or bars and live music, you’ll find plenty to do. Check out our Dublin Clink Hostel for cheap and friendly accommodation, perfect also as cheap group accommodation in Dublin.