34 Great Things to do in Dublin

Where do you begin to sort out things to do in Dublin? There are a lot of must-see Dublin sights and Dublin is an incredibly vibrant city. Sightseeing in Dublin is a treat for those interested in music, literary pursuits, Vikings, architecture, pubs – oh let’s be honest virtually anything and everything can be found in Dublin.

You can spend a few days in Dublin or an entire week and for many Dublin is the top of their bucket list. If you want to know the places to go in Dublin then hang in there this list of things to do in Dublin has 30 of the top things to do in Dublin to add to your visit to Dublin list.

DUBLIN, IRELAND - SEPTEMBER 7, 2014: Nightlife at popular historical part of the city - Temple Bar quarter. The area is the location of many bars, pubs and restaurants

You may land in Dublin early in the morning but fear not as you won’t be as jet-lagged as you think and the best way to overcome that and get yourself on Irish time is to just hang in there and spend your first day in Dublin just walking and seeing the city. 

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

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If you want to know how to get from Dublin airport into the city it’s pretty easy, most of the major buses stop just outside the airport and from there you can get to either central Dublin or across the country to Belfast or the Wild Atlantic Way. 

what to do in Dublin

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Dublin is a pretty easy place to sightsee most of the interesting places to visit are within walking range and there is also lots to do along the way from great pubs to hang out in or grab some authentic Irish food in a local pub/restaurant like Gogartys. 

If you plan on staying overnight in Dublin before you carry on visiting the rest of the country you are going to want to book your accommodation ahead of time if you plan on coming in the summer high season. If you want to visit Dublin for St. Patrick’s Day you should probably book at least a year ahead as the town gets very crowded as you can imagine.

There is a vast range of accommodation in Dublin from super budget to luxury castle stays. Dublin has a host of hostels to stay at most of which have private rooms and ensuites and then there are the mid-range hotels and the top of the lot is Clontarf Castle Hotel. 

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland
©Dublin Liberties Distillery

Visit some of Dublin’s hidden secret attractions and off the beaten path Dublin must-sees

what to see in Dublin wandering the Temple Bar District

What to do in Dublin

I always recommend a Hop On Hop Off bus tour to familiarize yourself with a city. The Dublin one is great as it shows you all the places you may want to see later on in your stay and gives you a great way to see just how the city is laid out. 

Dublin Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour

Let people laugh, but get on the bus, it’s a nice easy option to tour a City for the first time.  You can get your bearings and learn how to get to where you want to go.  Travel around the City without getting lost as you can always grab a bus. The tour guides are brilliant on the Dublin buses, with a great sense of humour, they fill you in on all the little things like the statutes nicknames “the tart with the cart” and they stop at all the major sites.

BOOK YOUR HOP ON HOP OFF TOUR NOW

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Old Jameson Distillery, Bow Street Smithfield Village

A tour of Jameson’s is a must for whiskey lovers. The tour covers all the basics and a good lesson in what differentiates Irish whiskey from other types of whiskey and in particular Jameson Whiskey. There is also a tasting at the end of the tour, so get in there and volunteer and you will be treated to an extended tasting of whiskies that is most educational.

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Jameson Distillery tour in Dublin

The Famous Guinness Storehouse Tour

This seems to be the one that everyone wants to see when they hit Dublin for a day. The Guinness storehouse tour is not based on seeing how they make Guinness it is more of a history of where Guinness began and the processes involved. It is an interactive tour but you don’t see the brewery. You do get to go up to the Sky Bar and learn how to pour a pint of Guinness and you get some amazing views of Dublin it has to be said.

You can learn a lot more about the Guinness tour from Sav at Salt Water Vibes blog her post on the Guinness Storehouse Brewery Tour has all the details you need. 

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

BOOK HERE FOR AN EPIC GUINNESS STOREHOUSE TOUR – SKIP THE LINE & GET A FREE PINT

Pub Crawls in Dublin

One of the top things to do in Dublin is, of course, to check out the pubs. From the 12 Days of Christmas to literary, haunted, musical and more, pub crawls are a fantastic way to not only get to know the Irish themselves but to make new friends and visit pubs you might just never see as a tourist.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

BOOK HERE FOR YOUR CRAZY PUB CRAWL TOUR 

The Traditional Irish Musical Pub Crawl

Generally, these are led by professional musicians who perform tunes and songs while telling the story of Irish music and leading you through a series of pubs that offer a wide variety of Irish music. The crawl will show you some pubs where local boys used to perform and treat you to some authentic Irish Trad music.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

The Dublin City Pub Crawl

Learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, experience some trad music get your free pints and tour some of Dublin’s most authentic pubs. You may learn some Gaelic along the way and the crawl also includes entry to some after-hours nightclubs.

Literary Pub Crawl

Off the wall, book-themed pub tours take a walk through the famous writers’ of Dublin.  Avoiding most of the tourist clichés this crawl is a great evening of storytelling, gossip about writers and a great pint or two.

James Joyce statue in Dublin

Backpacker Pub Crawl

A great tour for the youngster or hostel stayers this pub tour goes where the locals do and the guides work hard to avoid the usual tourist traps. Great guides, free shots lots of live music and drinking games make this a great tour for the under 25’s.

BOOK HERE FOR YOUR CRAZY PUB CRAWL TOUR 

Must Do’s in Dublin

The Liffey – the heart of Dublin

 The Liffey River begins in the Wicklow Mountains about 20 miles (32 km) southwest of Dublin and it flows westward through 50 miles (80kms) across the country and then finally into Dublin and the Bay where it empties into the Irish sea.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Floods wreaked havoc on Dublin through its thousand years of its existence. Swollen by frequent and torrential rainstorms, the floods were as fearsome and deadly as they were unpredictable and uncontrollable. There was little option for citizens to cross the river and so bridges began to be built.

Ha’penny Bridge

This white, cast-iron bridge over the River Liffey has become an icon of Dublin, with its ornate design and quaint lampposts. The bridge is named for the original toll of one ha’penny to cross over.  It was the first iron bridge across the Liffey and was built in 1816. It was the only pedestrian bridge to cross the Liffey until the Millenium Bridge opened in 1999.

Here’s a fantastic list of Irish movies to see before you come to Dublin

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

National Botanic Gardens – Glasnevin

The Gardens are free green space that Dubliners flock to on a sunny day when they can put on a pair of shorts and soak up the sun.  Even on a cloudy day, the gardens are a riot of colour and fragrance in the summer months. Located just 3 km from the Dublin city centre, the National Botanic Gardens are an oasis of calm and beauty, and entry is free.

Housing over 300 endangered species, the gardens also contain the National Herbarium and several historic wrought iron glasshouses. While you are there head over to the Glasnevin Cemetery where you can see the graves of many of Ireland’s heroes and heroines. Take a look at the Museum or do some research on your Irish ancestors.

Botanic Gardens near Glasnevin Dublin

Trinity College, Trinity College Library

For a book lover, this library is an awe-inspiring place, housing thousands of rare and unusual books it is an antiquarian dream. Admission does include a visit to the Book of Kells, an ornate manuscript of the Gospels, which Celtic monks decorated by hand in the ninth century, but only 2 pages are turned over every day so you might only see text and not the glorious illuminations.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

If you get a chance you absolutely must visit Monasterboice and the Village of Kells to see some of Ireland’s largest celtic crosses and the place where the Book of Kells originated.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Dublin Writers Museum, Parnell Square

The Dublin Writers Museum covers three centuries of Irish literature, with exhibitions showcasing the life, works, materials and personal items of some of the country’s literary icons, from WB Yeats to Frank McCourt.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Chester Beatty Library, Clock Tower Building Dublin Castle

The library’s exhibitions are built on the personal collection of Alfred Chester Beatty. Mr Beatty was born in the United States and was later made an honorary Irish citizen. He was a world traveller with a voracious appetite for collecting.

With free admission and described by the Lonely Planet as not just the best museum in Dublin, but one of the best in Europe, the Chester Beatty Library is a must-see.  It is the only museum in Ireland to win the ‘European Museum of the Year’.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Walking tours of Dublin

You may have noticed that Temple Bar is missing in this list of 22 things to do in Dublin, that is because you will end up in Temple Bar at some point during your tour of Dublin. It is an overpriced and very touristy area that charges far too much for a pint of Guinness. Having said that you will find loads of interesting places to take your Instagram photos of but you don’t need to pay anything for a trip down the Temple Bar.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

There are many walking tours of Dublin they range from absolutely free to around €15 Euros each you can take the following tours:

1916 Rebellion Tour

A highly acclaimed free tour and very entertaining even if you are unfamiliar with the history.

Michael Collins memorial at Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery
Michael Collins memorial at Dublin’s Glasnevin Cemetery

Dublin Literary Pub Crawl

This brilliant tour has actors performing extracts from major works in a number of pubs with literary connections these are paid tours or you can grab a free literary walking tour as well.

Hidden Dublin Walks

Hidden Walks deals include medieval Celtic Christianity shown through the horrors of the bubonic plague, the characters of the 19th century. The tour winds its way up the Dublin Mountains towards the burnt-out shell of a haunted hunting lodge – The HellFire Club. Dating from 1725 it was known for its association with Satanism, the supernatural and the occult.

Le Cool Walking Tours

The tours incorporate all the staples of the new “cool”, from pop-up shops, bars and restaurants, to new collectives, graffiti art, street performance, and what they call ‘living culture” moments. This is a two-hour tour where you can find out what is new, interesting and learn about emerging economies, music and literature in Dublin’s creative streets.

BOOK HERE FOR GREAT WALKING TOURS OF DUBLIN

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Foodie Tours in Dublin

Fab Food tours do some great walking foodie tours of Dublin.  Touring street markets, speciality gourmet stores, street food vendors and small intimate venues that are bringing new international and contemporary tastes to Dublin. As you enjoy the food, you’ll also learn a little about the culture and history of each neighbourhood.

Those familiar with the city will be amazed to discover food outlets, tasty surprises they never knew existed, and visitors will leave with up-to-date insider knowledge of the best of what is happening food-wise in Ireland.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Dublin city bike tours offer an easy paced eco-friendly bike tour of the City with experienced guides to entertain and inform. A great way to tour the City, get in your daily exercise and just plain enjoy yourself.

Dublin Bikes

Dublin Bikes check out the rows of blue-lined up across the City.  These bikes can be “rented” by anyone by paying a small credit card fee or joining for €10 a year.  All you do is pick up a bike and when you are done with it drop it back off at a different Dublin bike location.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Cycle out along the canals and have a picnic on the lawn in the quad in Maynooth or in Phoenix Park where there is so much to do.” Note: Once you sign up to Dublin Bikes, the first half-hour of each journey is free, This means you can virtually get anywhere in the city for free and bikes are the best way to get around!

Dublin Ghost Tour

This is a gothic-style mobile theatre with a storyteller leading a spellbinding trip through Dublin’s haunted streets. On this eerie tour, you will learn about Bram Stoker, Dr Clossy and his bucket of entrails, The Walking Gallows the Dolocher stalker and more. These tours are also done on the Ghost Bus Tour. 

Alternatively, go for a relaxing stroll on your own

Dublin is one of the most walkable cities in Europe. There are several websites where you can pick up copies of walking tour guides or even download apps to provide you with step-by-step directions.  Tours include Dublin’s Georgian district where you can stroll by Merrion Square’s famous doors, or take the Dublin City tour from St. Stephen’s Green down to the Quays. Here are some more places to see in Dublin.

Colorful georgian doors in Dublin, Ireland. Historic doors in different colors painted as protest against English King George legal reign over the city of Dublin in Ireland.

Stephen’s Green

Gorgeous on a sunny day. Half of Dublin lunches here during the summer. Grab a sandwich and join them.

Dublin a guide to its neighbourhoods

Merrion Square

Not as large as Stephen’s Green but even more spectacular when the flowers are in bloom.

Dublin a guide to its neighbourhoods

Grand Canal

Walk along the banks from Rathmines Bridge to The Old Schoolhouse bar and restaurant.

The Spire

Take a wander over to view the “Spire” Dublin’s newest landmark and sculpture on O’Connell Street.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Molly Malone – the tart with the cart

The statue of Molly Malone on Suffolk Street is just a short walk from Trinity College and Grafton Street. Probably not a real person but a legend has grown up around a character from a song called Molly Malone who worked as a fishmonger but also as a working girl and died in one of the outbreaks of Cholera that regularly used to sweep the city of Dublin.

Molly Malone Statue

The World Famous Irish Music Party from Dublin

Located 10 minutes from the City Centre in a beautiful 18th Century townhouse,  The Irish House Party is a truly unique experience in Dublin. This new tradition began with serious Irish musicians revolting against what they considered the naff or cheesy Irish entertainment that was going around the pubs and local venues.

It features traditional Irish music and Irish dancing at its very best, performed by All Ireland champion musicians, dancers and entertaining presenters.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland
©AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship

On Custom House Quay you will spot the Jeanie Johnston which is the only famine ship during those harsh times that did not have one death onboard for the seven years it transported the Irish to Canada. The tour of the ship re-creates the journey the Irish took and what they had to deal with on the journey.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Dublin Castle

I’m going to add a great one to this list that I totally forgot about, Dublin Castle. If you want to know more have a read of Anisa and Russells’s article on What you need to know about visiting Dublin Castle. It’s a fascinating building to take a tour of.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

St. Michan’s Mummies

The foundations of St. Michan’s date back to 1095, the church was originally built to serve the Vikings, who were still in Ireland. Caskets are strewn and tucked into niches in the walls but with the conditions in the crypt the coffins are disintegrating and in some of them you can see some of the remains. The main four “mummies” are the Unknown Woman, The Crusader, the Thief who is missing parts of both feet and his hand ( which was said to be his punishment) and The Nun.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol Museum is the place where the Irish rebels were incarcerated. Accused of many crimes including the 1916 Easter Rising it was at Kilmainham that many lost their lives to a British firing Squad.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Visit St. Valentine

Not many Dubliners know this but Saint Valentine’s remains are housed in a church on Whitefair Street. On November 10, 1836, the Reliquary containing the remains of St. Valentine was gifted by the Pope to Father Spratt who had preached in Rome.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

The Irish Jewish Museum, Walworth Road

This is a real hidden gem for people visiting Dublin. The Museum preserves an important, though small, part of Ireland’s cultural and historic heritage. The Museum contains a substantial collection of memorabilia relating to the Irish Jewish communities and their various associations and contributions to present-day Ireland. The Museum is an all-Ireland museum and its material is associated with the communities of Belfast, Cork, Derry, Drogheda, Dublin, Limerick & Waterford and relates mostly to the last 150 years.

cool things to do in Dublin head to the Jewish Museum

Howth Head Hike

The best walk within Dublin’s limits is Howth Head. Grab a DART from Tara Street Station to Howth on Dublin’s north side (30 mins). Walk to the end of Howth along the waterfront following the road up and to the right at the end of the harbour. Keep following the coast and you will find yourself on a wide unpaved path that runs right around Howth Head. The walk has splendid sea views and is guaranteed to clear your head.

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland

Dun Laoghaire Hike

A second, more traditional and less taxing option is to walk the pier at Dun Laoghaire, which extends more than a mile out into the Irish Sea. Again, a DART from Tara Street – this time to the south – will get you there.         

There are just so many things to do in Dublin but don’t forget this is an island full of history, relics and ruins, castles and incredible scenery that lies just outside Dublin here are a few ideas for you to check out if you want to get out of Dublin for a day.

Go and visit the Wicklow Mountains and Glendalough and have a scout around for some of the sites used in the filming of the History Channels show Vikings. Here’s a couple of 101 things to do in Ireland lists you can add to your bucket list:

101 Landmarks to see in Ireland

101 Landmarks to see in Northern Ireland

15 Dublin Don’ts – a little bit of Irish craic for you

Cool things to do in Dublin off the beaten path Ireland

53 Ultimate tips for travel to Ireland Céad Míle Fáilte

Food & drink tours you might like in Ireland

Dublin Coastal Craft Beer and Seafood Trail with a Local

Known for its bounty of seafood, bars, restaurants and, importantly, beer, the small historic fishing village of Howth is perched on the coast just a short drive from downtown Dublin. Join in a guided half-day tour, featuring a freshly-caught two-course seafood lunch and a selection of North County Dublin’s finest craft beers. With this tour, discover the rich Norman and Viking history of medieval Ireland. Discover some of Howth’s less-known eateries and bars, popular with locals Sample Ireland’s freshest seafood: Dublin bay prawns, Oysters, Gambas, and more Hear of Norman and Viking invasions and discover legends from 12th-century Howth Walk across Howth Harbour and watch fishing boats return with the latest catch

Read more about Dublin Coastal Craft Beer and Seafood Trail with a Local

 Delicious Dublin Food Tour

Discover Dublin’s burgeoning culinary culture—and visit a number of the city’s characterful eateries—on this small-group walking tour. Be sure to arrive hungry: this lunchtime tour kicks off in the late morning and includes a number of samples. Try local cheeses and chocolates, drop by bakeries and food halls, and head off the tourist trail when you visit venues that locals love. As you go, learn more about Ireland’s gastronomic history. Small-group walking food tour of Dublin Enjoy numerous samples of local dishes Get off the tourist trail and see another side of the city Learn all about Ireland’s rich food culture from your guide

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The Irish House Party Dinner and Show Dublin

Immerse yourself in a night of traditional food and entertainment at the Irish House Party in Dublin. You’ll experience one of the city’s best ways to spend an evening at this dinner-and-show event complete with authentic Irish fare, diverse music, dancing and storytelling. Enjoy some traditional Irish food like Guinness stew and Baileys-infused chocolate cake, and sing and dance the night away with a talented group of performers.

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Traditional Irish Night Show Ticket in Dublin with optional Dinner

Enjoy an evening of traditional Irish food, music and dance with an Irish show at the Belvedere in Dublin. Get set for a night of non-stop entertainment as professional Irish folk musicians and dancers take to the stage to perform Irish dances, jigs and reels. Tuck into a delicious 3-course dinner of typical Irish cuisine, sip a pint of Guinness (own expense) and maybe even get up on stage to try your hand at Irish dancing.

Read more about Skip the Line:Traditional Irish Night Show Ticket in Dublin with optional Dinner

Dublin Secret Food Tour w/ Private Tour Option

Eat like a true Dubliner on this small-group Dublin food tour. With your guide, seek out authentic pubs, cafés, food shops, and markets, and savor Irish specialities including a traditional breakfast, artisanal cheeses, ice cream, and more. Pair your tastings with an Irish cream liqueur and another tipple, admire some of Dublin’s hidden gems and learn about its culinary heritage as you eat and explore. Tour is limited to 12 or fewer.

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Generation Pub Crawl Dublin

No one knows how to party like the Irish and what better way to join the fun than this great-value pub-crawl? Meet up with your local guide and like-minded partygoers for a fun evening including free Guinness, free shots, live Irish music and craic. You’ll enjoy skip-the-line, free entrance to all venues with your newfound drinking buddies. You’ll enjoy skip-the-line, free entrance to all venues with your newfound drinking buddies, experience the electric atmosphere of Dublin by night, and visit up to five pubs & venues including Dublin’s best nightclub. Great-value tour includes entrance fees, free shots, drinks discounts and complimentary welcome Guinness.

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Dublin Literary Pub Crawl

Discover Dublin’s rich literary heritage while absorbing the convivial ambience of traditional pubs on a literary pub crawl. Wander Dublin’s charming streets to visit sites and pubs that inspired some of the country’s most famous writers; enjoy refreshing pints of locally brewed ale and sample local specialities (own expense), and put your newfound knowledge to the test in a fun-filled literary quiz at the end of your tour. Delve into Dublin’s literary past and exciting pub culture with entertaining and informative actors during this enriching experience.

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 Whiskey Tasting Tour of Dublin

Sample the smooth taste of Irish whiskey on a tasting tour in Dublin. With a whiskey connoisseur, visit bars to try Ireland’s finest varieties. Follow in the footsteps of Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift as you visit notable Irish bars around Dublin’s city center, learning about the drink’s history along the way.

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 Dublin Pub Crawl

Dublin is where pubs are born. Some don’t survive, many leave the Irish shore, and several have mid-life crises, but few are ageing as gracefully as the stable pubs that bestow so much character on Dublin. Avoid the tourist traps and fake ‘Irish’ pubs! Escape with the locals to learn how to savour a pint of Guinness. Find out how to ensure you always get a great pint and why it’s important! Follow in the footsteps of the Irish literary giants like Patrick Kavanagh, Flann O’Brien and Brendan Behan. If Dublin has hidden gems, they’re the pubs that don’t advertise to tourists. The locals. The authentic Irish pub where a conversation is flowing faster than the beer, where the character of the pub is as fascinating as the characters in it, where literature, society and history eternally lives. The best time to start is 7 pm assuming you’ll have eaten dinner prior to the tour. Bring a pen – you never know what these aged walls will murmur to your thoughts.

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Dublin Historical Pub Tour with a Local

 Many other pub crawls in Ireland stick to just one area, but this one allows you to get the tourist experience in Temple Bar and then a more local experience in the Rathmines neighbourhood. Plus, you won’t have to walk the distance in between because a private vehicle gives you a ride. Hear Irish music, drink Irish booze, and have a fun night out while in Dublin. Come ready to drink—this pub-crawl tour includes three beverages Rest your feet as you ride by private vehicle from Temple Bar to Rathmines Hear traditional Irish music being played at some of the stops Enjoy a fun night out in Dublin with a guide who ensures your safety

Read more about Dublin Historical Pub Tour with a Local

34 Great things to do in Dublin Ireland
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