Dublin has been on my bucket list for years, and I finally got the chance to spend two weeks exploring this vibrant capital city. From world-famous attractions to hidden local gems, Dublin seriously impressed me with its rich history, lively culture, and friendly locals.
As a first-time visitor, I wanted to see all the iconic sights but also uncover some of the coolest off-the-beaten-path spots. After lots of research and advice from Dubliners, I put together the ultimate Dublin bucket list to make the most of my trip. I'll be sharing all my top tips and personal highlights from my epic adventures in Dublin!
Whether you're a fellow first-timer or returning for more craic, get ready for the time of your life with this can't-miss guide. Here are the 51 best things to do in Dublin, Ireland in 2023 that will give you a true taste of this captivating city.
- Get Ready for an Epic Adventure in The City Of a Thousand Welcomes
- Visit the Guinness Storehouse
- See the Book of Kells at Trinity College
- Explore the Medieval Splendor of Dublin Castle
- Marvel at Christ Church Cathedral
- Stroll Along the Charming River Liffey
- Feel the Energy of Grafton Street
- Marsh's Library
- Find Peace in St Stephen's Green
- Experience A Show at The Abbey Theatre
- Tour The Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery
- Take In The Views From The Dublin Spire
- Relax in Stunning Phoenix Park
- Sip Delicious Brews at The Guinness Open Gate Brewery
- Experience Irish History at EPIC Ireland
- Step Back in Time at Dublinia
- Browse For Books at Hodges Figgis
- Sample Comfort Food at The Brazen Head
- Take a Literary Pub Crawl
- Tour Croke Park Stadium
- Seek Serenity at Chester Beatty Museum and Gardens
- Laugh at a Comedy Show at The Laughter Lounge
- Step Into History at Number Twenty-Nine Georgian House
- Number Twenty-Nine Georgian House Museum
- Browse For Treasure at The Dublin Flea Market
- Tour the Whiskey Realm at the Irish Whiskey Museum
- Seek Inspiration at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
- Experience An Irish Music Session at The Cobblestone
- Relish The Views at Howth Cliff Path
- Enjoy Urban Tranquility at Iveagh Gardens
- Take In The Sights on Walking Tours
- Tour the Little Museum of Dublin
- Indulge in Retail Therapy at Dundrum Town Centre
- Ride the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
- See Quirky Street Performances along Grafton Street
- Take a Day Trip to Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains
- Have an Elegant Afternoon Tea at The Shelbourne Hotel
- Explore the Botanic Gardens
- See Prehistoric Treasures at The National Museum of Ireland
- See a Show at the Abbey Theatre
- Tour the Grandeur of Powerscourt Estate
- Visit the Iconic Dublin Zoo
- Tour Malahide Castle and Gardens
- Listen to Trad Sessions at Sullivan's Pub
- Tour Kilmainham to Learn about Irish History
- Hike to Spectacular Dalkey Island
- Experience Dublin After Dark on a Pub Crawl
- Seek Serenity at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios
- Try Your Hand at Gaelic Games
- Hike the Trails on Ticknock Mountain
- See Dublin From Below at Dublin Crypts
- Celebrate Dublin Literary Culture at Dublin Writers Museum
Get Ready for an Epic Adventure in The City Of a Thousand Welcomes
Visit the Guinness Storehouse
You simply can't come to Dublin without sampling its world-famous stout at the home of Guinness itself. The massive Guinness Storehouse covers seven floors telling the story of Ireland's national brew. I loved learning about the history and brewing process in the interactive exhibits.
The real highlight was grabbing a pint in the Gravity Bar at the very top. This glass-enclosed circular bar offers 360-degree panoramic views across Dublin – the perfect place to taste the creamy and malty Guinness straight from the source!
Insider tip: Book fast-track entry tickets online to skip the often long lines.
- Name: Guinness Storehouse
- Website: guinness.com
- Seven floors surrounding a glass atrium shaped in the form of a pint of Guinness.
- Gravity Bar offering 360-degree views over Dublin.
- Interactive exhibits explaining the history and brewing process of Guinness.
- An Excellent Choice For: Beer enthusiasts, history buffs, and those looking to enjoy panoramic views of Dublin.
See the Book of Kells at Trinity College
One of Dublin's top attractions is the stunning Old Library building at Trinity College, home to Ireland's greatest treasure – the Book of Kells. This illuminated manuscript from around 800 AD contains the four Gospels of the New Testament with unbelievably intricate designs and Celtic motifs.
Seeing the ornate calligraphy and decorative illustrations up close was a real pinch-me moment. The Exhibitions and th Long Room Library were also impressive, making Trinity College one of my favourite spots.
Fun fact: Over 200 calves were slaughtered to provide the vellum for the Book of Kells!
- Name: The Book of Kells Exhibition at Trinity College
- Website: visittrinity.ie/book-of-kells/
- Viewing the Book of Kells, a 9th-century illuminated manuscript.
- The Old Library building housing the manuscript.
- Online viewing and courses about the Book of Kells.
- An Excellent Choice For: History enthusiasts, bibliophiles, and those interested in medieval art and culture.
Explore the Medieval Splendor of Dublin Castle
Dating back to the 13th century, Dublin Castle is one of the city's most significant landmarks. Walking through the cobblestone grounds, it was incredible peering into Ireland's historic past. I loved touring the opulent State Apartments and seeing the dazzling Throne Room where Queen Elizabeth II was inaugurated in 2011.
The best part was wandering down to the Dubh Linn Gardens and taking in the castle's imposing battlements from below. Don't miss the picturesque Chester Beatty Library on the grounds.
Top tip: Join a guided tour to fully appreciate the castle's design and symbolic meaning.
- Name: Dublin Castle
- Website: dublincastle.ie
- Historic site dating back to the 13th century.
- Magnificent State Apartments, Chapel Royal, and Medieval structures.
- The Castle Gardens features four smaller gardens and commissioned works of sculpture.
- An Excellent Choice For: History enthusiasts, architecture aficionados, and those interested in Ireland's political history.
Marvel at Christ Church Cathedral
With over 850 years of history, Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin's medieval masterpiece. As one of the city's most recognizable sights, the cathedral's stony grey spires have an imposing presence.
The exterior hints at the splendour inside – intricately carved wood beams, stunning stained glass windows, and a serene choral hall with ceiling mosaics. I'd recommend joining a tour to access more areas like the atmospheric crypt. Don't forget to look for the heartwarming cathedral cat!
Insider tip: Catch choral concerts on certain evenings for a magical experience.
- Name: Christ Church Cathedral
- Website: christchurchcathedral.ie
- Nearly 1,000-year-old heritage site located at the heart of Dublin.
- Originally a Viking church, now a key ecclesiastical site with beautiful architecture.
- Offers a variety of tours, worship services, and historic information.
- An Excellent Choice For: History enthusiasts, architecture admirers, and those interested in religious or spiritual experiences.
Stroll Along the Charming River Liffey
One of my favorite things was walking along the River Liffey taking in the delightful sights and sounds of Dublin. The river curves through the city's heart, lined with captivating bridges and landmarks.
I started in the Docklands area with its modern buildings before crossing the iconic Ha'penny Bridge into Temple Bar's cobblestone streets. Seeing locals busking and relaxing by the riverside gave me a true taste of Dublin's lively spirit.
Top tip: Stop for a pint at one of the riverside pubs like The Temple Bar or O'Neill's.
- Name: Stroll Along The River Liffey
- The River Liffey is central to Dublin's layout, dividing the city into the Northside and Southside, similar to how the Thames functions in London.
- Walking along the river allows visitors to experience some of Dublin's most well-known attractions including the Custom House, the Famine Memorial, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, Smock Alley Theatre, Christ Church Cathedral, and others.
- There are pedestrian walkways along both sides of the river, providing an excellent opportunity for exercise, photography, and appreciating the city's architecture.
- An alternative to strolling is taking a River Liffey Sightseeing Cruise which lasts about 45 minutes to an hour, allowing visitors to enjoy breathtaking views of Dublin’s skyline including the iconic Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin Castle, and other architectural marvels. These cruises also offer informative commentary by knowledgeable tour guides about Dublin’s rich history and its iconic landmarks such as the Guinness Storehouse and the Custom House.
- An Excellent Choice For:
- Individuals who enjoy leisurely walks, photography, and exploring urban landscapes.
- Those interested in Dublin's history, architecture, and key landmarks.
- Individuals looking for a relaxing, scenic, and educational activity in Dublin.
Feel the Energy of Grafton Street
Fashionistas and shopaholics flock to the bustling pedestrianized Grafton Street in downtown Dublin. This always-buzzing shopping mecca is packed with big names like Brown Thomas and quirky buskers keeping you entertained.
I enjoyed browsing the myriad of stores and soaking up the infectious energy and street performances. Don't forget to look out for the famous Molly Malone statue! Pop into Bewley's Cafe for afternoon tea Dublin-style.
Fun fact: Grafton Street lights up magically each Christmas with twinkling lights strung overhead.
- Name: Grafton Street (Irish: Sráid Grafton)
- Website: graftonstreet.ie
- One of the two principal shopping streets in Dublin city centre, the other being Henry Street.
- Runs from St Stephen's Green in the south to College Green in the north.
- Known for its high-end retail shops, boutiques containing the creations of Ireland's trendy designers, and well-known musicians performing on the street.
- Nearby attractions include St. Stephen's Green, Trinity College, Molly Malone Statue, and buskers performing live music.
- There are several eateries and charming streets nearby, making it a bustling area in the heart of Dublin.
- An Excellent Choice For: Shoppers looking for high-end and trendy products, music enthusiasts who enjoy live street performances, and those interested in exploring Dublin's city centre and nearby attractions.
- Name: Marsh's Library
- Website: marshlibrary.ie
- Founded in the early 18th century by Archbishop Narcissus Marsh as the first public library in Ireland.
- Located adjacent to St. Patrick's Cathedral, this well-preserved library of the late Renaissance and early Enlightenment era has a collection of over 25,000 books and 300 ancient manuscripts available for consultation by the general public.
- The library also welcomes students of all ages to learn about its books and donates to support research and conservation.
- An Excellent Choice For: Scholars, students, and individuals interested in historical books, manuscripts, and the history of Ireland.
Find Peace in St Stephen's Green
After busy sightseeing, I found the perfect oasis right in central Dublin – the lush parklands of St Stephen's Green. Dating back to 1664, these 9 hectares are a gorgeous spot to unwind and enjoy a picnic.
Walking over the creaky wooden footbridges with ducks paddling below was simply delightful. Grab a bench or spread out on the grass overlooking the colourful flower displays and fountains. Pure bliss!
Insider tip: Look inside the 19th century Fusiliers' Arch at the northwest entrance.
- Name: St. Stephen's Green
- Website: ststephensgreenpark.ie
- St. Stephen's Green is a historic park and garden situated in the heart of Dublin city, offering a peaceful green retreat amid the urban hustle.
- The park's current landscape was crafted by William Sheppard and is cared for by the Office of Public Works, making it an important public resource in the area.
- It's located in a bustling shopping district, making it a convenient spot for relaxation after a day of shopping.
- Known for its Victorian layout, the park provides a serene environment with beautiful landscapes, a lake, a playground, and several monuments and statues.
- An Excellent Choice For: Individuals looking to escape the urban rush, families, history enthusiasts, and those interested in exploring Dublin's natural and historical landmarks.
Experience A Show at The Abbey Theatre
As a devoted theatre lover, catching a show at Dublin's iconic Abbey Theatre was an unforgettable experience. Opened in 1904, this legendary venue has presented stellar works from Ireland's greatest writers like Yeats, O'Casey and Beckett.
I managed to get last-minute tickets to a captivating performance filled with drama, wit and emotion. The intimate Victorian-era theatre provided the perfect setting. A must for theatre fans visiting Dublin!
Fun fact: The Abbey is considered the first national theatre of any English-speaking country.
- Name: The Abbey Theatre (also known as the National Theatre of Ireland)
- Website: abbeytheatre.ie
- The Abbey Theatre, located in Dublin, Ireland, is one of the country's leading cultural institutions, with its origins tied to the Irish Literary Revival.
- First opened to the public on 27 December 1904, the theatre has a rich history and has been actively contributing to Irish and global theatre till present.
- The Abbey Theatre was the first state-subsidized theatre in the English-speaking world, receiving an annual subsidy from the Irish Free State from 1925 onwards.
- Over the years, the theatre has been closely associated with notable Irish playwrights including William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, Seán O'Casey, and John Millington Synge, making it a nurturing ground for Irish playwrights and actors.
- The Abbey Theatre was initially located in a different building but moved to its current location at 26 Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1, in July 1966, following a fire in 1951.
- The theatre has an extensive program of touring abroad and enjoys high visibility to foreign audiences, particularly American, making it an integral part of the Irish cultural brand.
- An Excellent Choice For: Theatre enthusiasts, students of Irish literature, history buffs, and individuals interested in exploring the rich cultural and literary heritage of Ireland.
- The Abbey Theatre offers walking tours that last approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes, commencing from the Abbey foyer. These tours provide an opportunity to discover Dublin’s dramatic side.
- They also have a booking guarantee to ensure the affordability of their tickets and provide options for ticket holders in case a performance is cancelled or postponed.
Tour The Old Jameson Whiskey Distillery
Ireland is synonymous with whiskey, so a tour of the historic Old Jameson Distillery was high on my Dublin bucket list. At this massive former distillery, I got to see recreations of the original facilities and immerse myself in the craft of whiskey-making.
The highlight was sampling Jameson whiskies and feeling the heat from pure alcohol lighting on fire! A great peek inside Ireland's most famous whiskey brand.
Insider tip: Upgrade your ticket to enjoy an Irish whiskey cocktail lesson too.
- Name: The Old Jameson Distillery (also known as Jameson Distillery Bow St.)
- Website: jamesonwhiskey.com
- Founded by John Jameson in 1780, this former factory stands as a monument to Irish Whiskey.
- The distillery offers world-leading distillery tours, cocktail-making classes, premium whiskey-tasting sessions, and opportunities to learn how to blend your own whiskey.
- Located in Smithfield, Dublin, it was the original site of Jameson Irish Whiskey production until 1971.
- An Excellent Choice For: Whiskey enthusiasts, those interested in the history of Irish whiskey, and individuals looking to engage in whiskey-tasting and blending experiences.
Take In The Views From The Dublin Spire
One of Dublin's most eye-catching contemporary landmarks is the 120-metre stainless steel pin known as the Spire of Dublin. Visible around the city, this giant monument is especially stunning when lit up at night.
I headed over at sunset to see it shimmering over O'Connell Street. The views from the base looking up are amazing with the Spire seeming to disappear into the heavens. An iconic Dublin photo opportunity!
Top tip: For a different perspective, view the Spire from O'Connell Bridge nearby.
Relax in Stunning Phoenix Park
Spanning 707 hectares just west of downtown Dublin, Phoenix Park is a gorgeous oasis and one of Europe's largest city parks. I spent a blissful afternoon exploring the vast grassy expanses and tree-lined walkways.
Seeing wild deer roaming freely was a highlight along with the lively Victorian People's Flower Gardens. The view atop Wellington Monument is worth the climb!
Fun fact: Phoenix Park has been a public park since 1662!
- Name: Phoenix Park
- Website: phoenixpark.ie
- One of the largest enclosed public parks in any capital city in Europe, spanning over 1,750 acres of recreational space.
- Established as a royal hunting park in the 1660s and opened to the public in 1747.
- The park houses various attractions including the People’s Gardens, Ashtown Castle and Demesne, the Victorian Walled Kitchen Garden, and offers regular guided tours of key historic sites within and near the park.
- Home to a large herd of wild fallow deer that have been present since its creation.
- Also houses Dublin Zoo and Áras an Uachtaráin – the residence of the President of Ireland.
- An Excellent Choice For: Nature enthusiasts, history buffs, families, individuals interested in wildlife, and those looking to enjoy recreational activities in a vast, beautiful urban park.
- Additional Information: The park is open every day throughout the year and there is no admission fee to explore its many sights, although fees may be required for some tours, bicycle rental, etc.
Sip Delicious Brews at The Guinness Open Gate Brewery
As a devoted Guinness fan, I had to visit the Open Gate Brewery located right beside the main Storehouse. This experimental brewhouse offers an up-close look at innovation in action and samples of their latest brews.
I loved tasting unique small-batch ales and stouts expertly crafted by the brewers themselves. With cool industrial decor, it's the perfect hang-out for beer lovers. Don't leave without trying Guinness Golden Ale!
Insider tip: Time your visit for a Brewery Tour to see behind the scenes.
Experience Irish History at EPIC Ireland
One of Dublin's best interactive museums is EPIC Ireland highlighting Irish emigration and diaspora. Using cutting-edge technology, this museum transports you on an immersive voyage across the world.
I went from walking New York streets hearing immigrant stories to dancing Irish style in Australia! The storytelling really brought the themes to life. An engaging experience suitable for all ages.
Top tip: Allow 2-3 hours to fully experience everything EPIC has to offer.
- Name: EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
- Website: epicchq.com
- Located in Dublin's Docklands, covering the history of the Irish diaspora and emigration to other countries.
- The museum explores the lives of these emigrants, examining why they left and what they achieved in the wider world after their departure.
- Multiple interactive galleries help visitors engage and connect with Irish history and culture.
- An Excellent Choice For: Individuals interested in Irish history and emigration, families, and those looking to explore interactive and educational exhibits.
Step Back in Time at Dublinia
At the fascinating living history museum Dublinia, I got to experience Dublin's Viking and medieval past up close. Wandering the recreated Viking settlement and the medieval street was like time-travelling to experience how Dubliners lived and worked centuries ago.
Trying archery, exploring the shipwreck exhibition, and watching craftspeople at work gave me a true flavour of the past. A fun and interactive way to learn about Dublin's origin story!
Fun fact: Dublin was founded by Vikings in the 10th century as a trading settlement.
- Name: Dublinia
- Website: dublinia.ie
- A living history attraction showcasing Viking and Medieval Dublin.
- Visitors can walk where Vikings walked before, step into Medieval Viking Dublin, and learn about Dublin’s rich past.
- Provides a glimpse into what life was like on board a Viking warship, along with exploring Viking and Medieval houses, streets, and history.
- An Excellent Choice For: History enthusiasts, families, and individuals interested in exploring Dublin's Viking and Medieval past.
Browse For Books at Hodges Figgis
As an avid bibliophile, I had to visit Hodges Figgis, Dublin's most iconic and largest bookstore. This multi-level shop on Dawson Street has been selling books since 1768!
I loved exploring room after room lined with shelves packed with new releases, Irish interest titles, and special editions. The friendly staff offered great recommendations for books by local authors. An absolute heaven for book lovers!
Insider tip: Sign up for their loyalty cards to get discounts.
- Name: Hodges Figgis
- Website: hodgesfiggis.ie
- Established in 1768, Hodges Figgis is Ireland's oldest bookstore and is likely the third-oldest functioning bookstore in the world, following Livraria Bertrand of Lisbon (1732) and Pennsylvania's Moravian Book Shop (1745).
- The bookstore is located at 56-58 Dawson Street, Dublin, and has been an essential part of Dublin's cultural tradition, serving ten generations of loyal customers with expert bookselling and tailored service.
- Hodges Figgis is notably mentioned in James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, reflecting its significant place in Irish literary culture.
- The store spans multiple floors with dedicated areas for Irish interest across the fiction, non-fiction, and children's departments, showcasing a large stock of books relating to Ireland among other genres.
- Over the years, Hodges Figgis has seen a legal transfer of ownership, such as in 1995 when it briefly closed for four hours to transition ownership from UK company Pentos to new owners Thorn EMI.
- An Excellent Choice For: Book enthusiasts, students, individuals interested in Irish literary culture, and those looking to explore a historic bookstore with a rich legacy in Dublin.
Sample Comfort Food at The Brazen Head
No trip to Dublin is complete without visiting one of its oldest and most atmospheric pubs – the iconic Brazen Head. Dating from 1198 AD, this stone hideaway ticks all the boxes with traditional music, cosy snugs, local ales and delicious grub.
I warmed up with comforting Irish stew and soda bread by the toasty fireplace and soaked up the lively ambience and storytelling. A true Dublin institution!
Top tip: Book ahead for the famous Irish music and storytelling nights.
- Name: The Brazen Head
- Website: brazenhead.com
- Recognized as Dublin's Oldest Pub, with a history dating back to 1198, although the present building was constructed in 1754 as a coaching inn.
- Known for its historic relevance, it stands on the site of a merchant's dwelling dating back to at least 1613, and received a license to sell ale in 1661.
- The Brazen Head has been a historic hub for iconic figures and events; in the 17th century, it was part of a residential area for the nobility and wealthy merchants.
- It offers Irish storytelling nights, although now at a new venue, and has a reputation as one of Dublin's best Irish music venues with live music nightly from 9.30pm, and on Sundays from 3.30pm-6.30pm.
- The pub features a mix of traditional and contemporary dishes, serving food seven days a week.
- An Excellent Choice For: History enthusiasts, individuals interested in Irish culture and music, and those looking to enjoy traditional Irish food and ambience in a historical setting.
Take a Literary Pub Crawl
As a bookworm, I couldn't miss taking a literary pub crawl to follow in the footsteps of Dublin's iconic authors and see their old haunts. Over 2 hours, our brilliant guide brought famous writers and texts to life with passion and humour.
Between pubs like Davy Byrne's, we learned how Dublin inspired the likes of James Joyce, Brendan Behan, and Oscar Wilde. A perfect combination for book and pub lovers!
Fun fact: Ulysses by James Joyce is set entirely in Dublin on 16 June 1904.
Tour Croke Park Stadium
Sports mad? Then a trip to Dublin's incredible Croke Park Stadium is a must! Home to Ireland's national games of Gaelic football and hurling, the arena buzzes with devoted fans during the season. I loved touring the stadium and museum to learn about the games' origins and long-standing traditions.
Seeing the passionate crowd and electrifying atmosphere during a match was a true Irish experience!
Insider tip: Book a behind-the-scenes Premium tour for pitch access.
- Name: Croke Park Stadium
- Website: crokepark.ie
- Croke Park is the third-largest stadium in Europe, with a capacity of 82,300.
- It serves as both the principal stadium and headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA), which focuses on promoting Irish games such as hurling and Gaelic football.
- The stadium has a rich history and has been at the heart of Irish sporting life for over 100 years.
- Croke Park also houses the GAA Museum, which celebrates the history of Gaelic games; and offers stadium tours, including a skyline tour providing panoramic city views.
- An Excellent Choice For: Sports enthusiasts, history buffs, and those interested in experiencing Irish culture and traditional games.
Seek Serenity at Chester Beatty Museum and Gardens
For a cultural escape, the Chester Beatty Museum and Gardens is just the place. The gorgeous library of mining tycoon Alfred Chester Beatty contains over 20,000 manuscripts, rare books, and other treasures from Islam, Asia, and Europe.
I was wowed by the conserved papyri, illuminated gospels, and intricate Turkish and Persian artworks. The landscaped gardens provided a tranquil spot afterwards to soak it all in. An underrated Dublin gem!
- Name: Chester Beatty
- Website: chesterbeatty.ie
- Renowned for its rich and diverse exhibitions of miniature paintings, decorative arts, manuscripts, prints, and drawings from Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe.
- The collection was donated to the Irish nation by American mining magnate and philanthropist Sir Alfred Chester Beatty.
- The museum is described by Lonely Planet as not just the best museum in Dublin, but one of the best in Europe, and it won the European Museum of the Year award in 2002.
- Features various collections including Sacred Traditions, Arts of the Book, and a digital collection available online for those who can't visit in person.
- The museum offers a “Chester Beatty at Home” experience for those who can't make it to the museum.
- An Excellent Choice For: Art enthusiasts, history buffs, students, and individuals interested in exploring a vast collection of global art spanning centuries, continents, and cultures.
Laugh at a Comedy Show at The Laughter Lounge
After all the sightseeing, I was ready for a fun night out and what better than a comedy show! At The Laughter Lounge Dublin, I got to experience the best of Irish wit and humour at this well-known comedy club's lively stand-up show.
My cheeks were sore from laughing at the hilarious observational comedy and quick-fire gags from both headline and up-and-coming acts. A fabulously fun night out in Dublin!
Insider tip: Thursday's mixed line-up is great value to catch different comedians.
- Name: The Laughter Lounge
- Website: laughterlounge.com
- Known as Dublin's premier comedy venue with over 25 years in the business, hosting well-known acts from Ireland and beyond.
- They run new shows every Friday and Saturday with doors opening at 19:00. Guests arriving before 19:30 receive a complimentary bottle of beer or glass of wine.
- Delicious nachos and mouth-watering pizza are available for purchase, along with tickets plus finger food platters or tickets only. Seats are reserved and all tickets must be purchased in advance on the website.
- The venue is conveniently located 100 yards from O'Connell Bridge, on Eden Quay on the north side of the River Liffey.
- The Laughter Lounge has received 5-star reviews on TripAdvisor, Google, and Facebook, and is recognized as an ideal venue for group outings like office parties.
- An Excellent Choice For: Comedy enthusiasts, groups looking for a lively night out, and individuals interested in experiencing local and international comedic talent in a vibrant setting.
Step Into History at Number Twenty-Nine Georgian House
For an intimate glimpse into Dublin's Georgian past, Number Twenty-Nine Lower Fitzwilliam Street is a must. This excellent museum brings Dublin's 18th-century heyday to life within an original Georgian townhouse.
Wandering the refined rooms with costumed guides, I felt transported back in time and gained insight into how a middle-class family lived and entertained. The basement kitchen really showed the huge divide between servants and their employers. A real hidden gem!
Fun fact: Dublin has Europe's greatest concentration of original 18th-century architecture.
Number Twenty-Nine Georgian House Museum
- Name: Number Twenty-Nine Georgian House Museum
- Website: numbertwentynine.ie
- The museum is a well-preserved Georgian townhouse located on Dublin’s Lower Fitzwilliam Street, showcasing the life of Dublin's bourgeoisie from 1790 to 1820.
- Visitors can explore the rooms furnished to the style of the period, with furniture, fittings, and clothes being authentic Georgian items from the National Museum of Ireland's collection.
- The house was restored by the Electricity Supply Board in 1988 and opened to the public in 1991 to celebrate Dublin’s status as European Cultural Capital for that year.
- The museum allows visitors to take a virtual tour, watch a video tour, or explore the rooms to get an insight into life in the house.
- An Excellent Choice For: Individuals interested in Georgian architecture, historical interiors, and the social history of Dublin during the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Browse For Treasure at The Dublin Flea Market
One Saturday, I headed to Dublin's beloved flea market in the Covent Garden style Market Building near the Grand Canal. Here, over 120 vendors sell all kinds of curiosities, antiques and vintage clothing perfect for picking up unique souvenirs.
I had so much fun rummaging through dusty boxes, unearthing retro finds, chatting with sellers and snacking on fresh crepes from the food stalls. Don't forget to haggle!
Top tip: Get there early, around 11am when it opens to find the best treasures.
- Name: The Dublin Flea Market
- Website: dublinflea.ie
- Operates for six months of the year on the last Sunday of the month at The Digital Hub on Thomas Street, Dublin 8.
- Opened its doors in November 2008 and has since grown into one of Dublin’s most loved markets.
- A Non-Profit driven Social Enterprise promoting Sustainability and Opportunity in the wider community.
- The market encourages Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Collaboration while also providing a platform for Fun, Haggling, and Friendship.
- The market has a special Dublin Flea Christmas Market event.
- An Excellent Choice For: Individuals looking for unique, second-hand, and vintage items, those interested in sustainability, entrepreneurs, and anyone keen on experiencing a lively market atmosphere in Dublin.
Tour the Whiskey Realm at the Irish Whiskey Museum
No trip to Dublin is complete without learning about uisce beatha, the “water of life” – whiskey! At the Irish Whiskey Museum next to Trinity College, I embarked on a really engaging tour through the story of Ireland's beloved distilled spirit.
With fun props, guides and tasting sessions, I came away understanding the craft and culture behind whiskey-making in Ireland. The final whiskeys in the bar downstairs were sublime!
- Name: Irish Whiskey Museum
- Website: irishwhiskeymuseum.ie
- Located in a historic building on Grafton Street, opposite the main entrance of Trinity College, in the heart of Dublin City.
- Offers various guided tours where visitors can learn about the history of Irish whiskey, with each of the 4 different rooms in the museum representing a different period in Irish history.
- Tour experiences include whiskey tastings, with options for a Classic Tour, Premium Tour, Blending Experience, and an Irish Coffee Masterclass.
- The museum provides an unbiased history of Irish whiskey and its significance in Ireland’s history, being independent of all whiskey distilleries.
- The Classic Tour is a 1-hour experience inclusive of a guided tour plus tastings of 3 perfectly crafted Irish whiskeys, while the Premium Tour includes tastings of 4 whiskeys and a gift glass.
- The Blending Experience is an extended 1-hour 15-minute tour that includes an interactive tasting session of 4 varieties of Irish whiskey, and a chance to craft and blend whiskey to your own taste, with a miniature bottle to take home with a sample of your own whiskey blend.
- The Irish Coffee Masterclass lets participants learn about the invention of Irish Coffee, how to make their own, and enjoy drinking it at the end.
- An Excellent Choice For: Whiskey enthusiasts, those interested in the history of Irish whiskey, and individuals looking to engage in whiskey-tasting and blending experiences, as well as those keen on learning how to make Irish Coffee.
Seek Inspiration at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
Get your modern art fix at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) housed in the striking grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. I admired thought-provoking contemporary exhibits before heading outside to the gorgeous formal gardens with sculptures integrated along the pathways.
Don't miss visiting IMMA's additional sites – one in an 18th century distillery and another in a country estate. Perfect for art lovers!
Insider tip: Free guided tours run Wednesday-Friday offering insight on the collections.
- Name: Irish Museum Of Modern Art (IMMA)
- Website: imma.ie
- Home to the National Collection of modern and contemporary art with over 3,500 artworks by Irish and International artists, aiming to share and develop the collection for now and for the future.
- Housed in the 17th-century Royal Hospital Kilmainham, which is a historic site providing a striking location for displaying modern art. The original stables have been restored, extended, and converted into artists' studios, and the museum runs an artist-in-residence programme.
- Established on 25 May 1991, IMMA presents a wide variety of art in a changing program of exhibitions, which regularly includes bodies of work from its own collection and its education and community department. It also aims to create more widespread access to art and artists through its studio and national programmes.
- Holds the Irish National Collection of modern and contemporary art, with an emphasis on works produced post-1940, featuring many significant artists including Lucian Freud, Marina Abramović, and Roy Lichtenstein.
- The Hennessy Art Fund for IMMA Collection was launched in 2016 to acquire the work of emerging and mid-career artists, in response to funding cuts preventing the museum from having a viable acquisitions budget since 2011.
- An Excellent Choice For: Art enthusiasts, students, individuals interested in modern and contemporary art, and those keen on exploring the connection between historic architectural spaces and modern art.
Experience An Irish Music Session at The Cobblestone
One quintessential Dublin experience I couldn't miss was enjoying live traditional Irish music in a local pub. After getting recommendations, I headed to the renowned Cobblestone in trendy Smithfield. In a cosy backroom, I was mesmerized for hours listening to talented trad musicians jamming on fiddles and bodhráns.
The lively singalongs and friendly atmosphere perfectly captured Dublin's musical heart and soul. A truly unforgettable night!
Top tip: Weeknights often feature less crowded sessions. Go early to grab a good seat.
Relish The Views at Howth Cliff Path
Seeking awe-inspiring coastal scenery? Take the quick DART train north to the charming fishing village of Howth and walk along the Cliff Path. This marked trail offers jaw-dropping views of Howth Harbour, Dublin Bay, and Ireland's Eye Island from atop sea cliffs.
I hiked from Howth village to the dramatic red and white striped Baily Lighthouse, stopping often to photograph the surreal landscape. An easy escape perfect for stretching the legs!
Fun fact: Dubliners have been taking day trips to Howth since the 19th century.
- Name: Howth Cliff Path
- The Howth Cliff Path is a popular walking trail offering breathtaking views of the Dublin coastline.
- It's a relatively easy hike, suitable for all ages and fitness levels, and is particularly beautiful during the sunrise or sunset.
- The path encompasses a variety of routes, each varying in length and difficulty, allowing visitors to choose according to their preferences.
- Along the way, hikers can enjoy the sight of the Baily Lighthouse, Ireland's Eye, and Lambay Island, among other scenic spots.
- An Excellent Choice For: Nature enthusiasts, hikers, photographers, and individuals looking to enjoy a peaceful and scenic walk.
Enjoy Urban Tranquility at Iveagh Gardens
Nestled away in the south city centre, Dublin's Iveagh Gardens provided my new favourite green urban oasis away from the crowds. These ornate gardens feature cascades, grottos, maze hedges and a striking fountain, creating a magical atmosphere.
I whiled away a sunny afternoon admiring the perfectly manicured French- and English-style displays before grabbing a homemade lemonade from the quaint garden cafe. Sheer heaven on earth for nature lovers!
- Name: Iveagh Gardens
- Known as Dublin's ‘Secret Garden', the Iveagh Gardens are located close to St. Stephen's Green.
- The gardens boast a unique collection of landscaped features, including fountains, a maze, woodlands, a rosarium, an archery ground, rockeries, and American gardens.
- It's a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city, offering a serene environment for visitors to relax and enjoy nature.
- An Excellent Choice For: Nature enthusiasts, those looking for a peaceful retreat, and individuals interested in historical gardens.
Take In The Sights on Walking Tours
To get my bearings those first few days, I joined excellent free walking tours guided by passionate locals to experience Dublin's top attractions and hidden spots.
From history to food tours, I got to see iconic sights like Temple Bar, Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin Castle, and more with entertaining context and insider tips provided. A great way to meet fellow travellers and get oriented in Dublin!
Top tip: Remember to tip your hardworking guide at the end.
Tour the Little Museum of Dublin
For intimate insights into Dublin's history, don't miss the charming Little Museum of Dublin. Their personable guides vividly brought the city's past to life as I explored the museum's collection of over 5,000 artifacts donated by locals. A real hidden gem!
Fun fact: The museum is located in a former Georgian townhouse.
- Website: littlemuseum.ie
- The Little Museum of Dublin, situated at St Stephen's Green in an 18th-century Georgian townhouse, narrates the captivating story of the Irish capital. The museum, launched in 2011 with a public appeal for historic objects, now houses over 5,000 artefacts in its collection. It has been described as “Dublin’s best museum experience” by the Irish Times.
- The museum offers a blend of history, humor, and hospitality, showcasing the city's 20th-century story. It presents various exhibitions and collections, including “The Golden Age of Dublin,” “The Little Shop of Dublin,” “The Editor’s Room” which re-creates The Irish Times during the time of one of its most legendary editors, Robert “Bertie” Smyllie, and “U2: Made in Dublin,” an exhibition charting the story of Ireland’s greatest rock band over the last 40 years.
- Visitors can partake in the famous guided tour, the Big Little Treasure Hunt, or enjoy a walking tour of St. Stephen’s Green with expert guides. They can also discover delightful souvenirs in the Little Shop of Dublin, and explore various exhibitions detailing different aspects of Dublin's history and culture.
- An Excellent Choice For: Individuals interested in Dublin's history and culture, U2 fans, and those looking to explore a unique museum experience in a charming Georgian townhouse setting.
Indulge in Retail Therapy at Dundrum Town Centre
After all the walking, I enjoyed a day indulging in some retail therapy at Dundrum Town Centre. Ireland's largest shopping centre boasts over 130 stores from brands like Zara, Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch. I had a blast browsing the latest fashions. With restaurants, a cinema, and kids play areas, it's easy to spend a whole day here!
Insider tip: Sign up online for retailer offers and parking discounts.
- Name: Dundrum Town Centre
- Website: dundrum.ie
- Ireland's largest shopping centre located in Dundrum, Dublin, with a retail floor space of 111,484 m^2 and almost 140,000 m^2 total floor space.
- Home to over 169 tenants including more than 100 stores, 40 restaurants and cafes, 12 cinema screens, and two nightclubs.
- Offers a vast range of retail, restaurant, and entertainment tenants with many stores being flagship locations and the first of their kind in Ireland.
- Houses multiple districts including the ‘main mall', ‘Dundrum South', the ‘Pembroke District', and ‘Town centre square' with a notable acrobatic water display.
- Provides over 3,000 car parking spaces and is accessible via various public transit options including the Luas Green Line and several bus routes.
- Annual footfall in excess of 18 million, showcasing its popularity and significance as a shopping and entertainment hub in Dublin.
- An Excellent Choice For: Shoppers, food enthusiasts, moviegoers, and individuals looking for a comprehensive shopping and entertainment experience in a modern, expansive setting.
Ride the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
For a comprehensive overview of Dublin's top sights, I'd recommend the Hop-On Hop-Off bus tour. With live commentary, you can hop off at attractions like the Guinness Storehouse, Kilmainham Gaol and more. It's a great way to get oriented on your first day!
Insider tip: Buy tickets online in advance for the best rates. Book Here: Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour
- The Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour in Dublin is operated by City Sightseeing Dublin and is touted as the largest of its kind in the city, providing riders with the opportunity to explore Dublin's notable sites from the comfort of a double-decker tourist bus.
- Riders can choose from three different ticket durations: 24, 48, or 72 hours, each offering unlimited hop-on hop-off access at various stops throughout Dublin. The 24-hour ticket is ideal for those with limited time, while the 48 and 72-hour tickets allow for a more leisurely exploration of the city.
- The tour stops at all major attractions in Dublin, including but not limited to Dublin Zoo, the Little Museum of Dublin, and Kilmainham Gaol.
- Each ticket provides additional perks such as two children riding free with one adult ticket, a free walking tour, multi-language audio commentary on board, and earphones and Wi-Fi included.
- The buses operate daily, with the first tour departing at 09:00 and the last tour departing at 17:00. Tours run every 30 minutes until 10:00, every 20 minutes until 16:00, and every 30 minutes until 17:00.
- City Sightseeing Dublin also offers other guided tour experiences such as Dublin by Foot and Dublin by Boat, providing a comprehensive suite of options for exploring Dublin.
- They are a part of Dublin Bus, Dublin's public bus provider, and have been operating the No.1 Hop-on Hop-off tour of Dublin for over 35 years, boasting a team of local tour guides who are knowledgeable about the city’s history and culture.
- An Excellent Choice For: Tourists looking to explore Dublin at their own pace, families (given the offer where children ride free with an adult), and individuals interested in Dublin’s historical and cultural sites.
See Quirky Street Performances along Grafton Street
Grafton Street constantly entertains with talented buskers and street performers. I caught sensational singers, skilled dancers, and funny living statues posing for coins. Look out for Frank, Dublin's quirkiest mime artist, often painting himself silver from head to toe!
The lively atmosphere and ever-changing acts reflect Dublin's vibrant creative spirit. Don't forget to toss some coins in their bucket to show appreciation!
Fun fact: Busking originated in Ireland to help struggling performers earn a living.
Take a Day Trip to Glendalough and the Wicklow Mountains
Just an hour south of Dublin, I found unspoiled nature at beautiful Glendalough in the Wicklow Mountains. After taking the bus from the city, I hiked around the remains of this 6th century monastic settlement set in a glacial valley beside two serene lakes.
The scenery of peaks, forests and gushing waterfalls was divine. A perfect antidote to bustling Dublin! On the way back, we stopped at Avoca for lunch and handwoven gifts.
Top tip: Bring good walking shoes and rain gear for changeable weather.
- Website: glendalough.ie
- Glendalough, known as the valley of the two lakes, is a glacial valley situated in County Wicklow, Ireland, and is famed for its early Medieval monastic settlement established in the 6th century by St Kevin.
- The region has been a magnet for visitors due to its breathtaking scenery, rich historical significance, archaeological sites, and abundant wildlife. People have been drawn to this serene locale for thousands of years.
- Visitors can explore the monastic site, venture on walking trails, and engage with the archaeological and historical monuments. The area around Glendalough is also part of the Wicklow Mountains National Park, which provides additional outdoor activities.
- An Excellent Choice For: History buffs, nature enthusiasts, hikers, and those interested in archaeology and early Christian Ireland.
- Website: nationalparks.ie
- The Wicklow Mountains National Park is the largest of Ireland’s six national parks and the only one located in the eastern part of the country. It encompasses nearly 23,000 hectares south of Dublin, showcasing wide-open vistas, winding mountain roads, and fast-flowing streams descending into deep lakes, including the area around the monastic settlement at Glendalough.
- Covering an impressive 54,000 acres of County Wicklow, this national park is also the largest area of continuous high ground in Ireland, featuring rugged peaks, some of which are the highest in the country.
- Lugnaquilla is the highest peak in the Wicklow Mountains and is part of a vast area of continuous high ground, making it a popular destination for hikers and nature enthusiasts.
- The park stretches through County Wicklow and extends into small areas of South Dublin and Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown in County Dublin, offering a plethora of outdoor activities including hiking, walking, and exploring the natural and historical sites.
- An Excellent Choice For: Hikers, nature lovers, photographers, and those interested in exploring Ireland's natural beauty and historical sites.
Have an Elegant Afternoon Tea at The Shelbourne Hotel
For an indulgent afternoon, I treated myself to tea at The Shelbourne Hotel, an iconic 19th century grande dame. The elegant Tea Room provided a refined setting to enjoy delicate sandwiches, scones and sweets – all perfectly paired with fine teas.
With attentive service, I felt like royalty overlooking the bustle of St Stephen's Green. A cherished memory! Insider tip: Make reservations well in advance to secure seating.
- Website: theshelbourne.com
- The renowned Shelbourne Hotel, overlooking the magnificent St. Stephen’s Green, has a cherished tradition of offering Afternoon Tea to guests, held in the Lord Mayor's Lounge, described as a “quietly opulent space designed for delight”.
- The Afternoon Tea experience at The Shelbourne is a long-standing tradition of the hotel, with sittings available Monday through Sunday at 12pm, 2.30pm, and 5pm in the Lord Mayor's Lounge.
- Pricing for Afternoon Tea starts at €68 per person, while the Champagne Afternoon Tea starts from €88 per person.
- The Lord Mayor's Lounge, where the Afternoon Tea is hosted, is known as Ireland's most iconic drawing room, providing a grand backdrop for this traditional experience. The lounge overlooks the glorious St. Stephen's Green, adding to the charm and elegance of the occasion.
- An Excellent Choice For: Individuals and groups looking to indulge in a traditional and luxurious Afternoon Tea experience in a historical setting. This could be especially appealing for those interested in historical venues, as The Shelbourne Hotel has a rich history dating back to nearly two centuries.
Explore the Botanic Gardens
Stretching over 20 hectares in Glasnevin, the National Botanic Gardens provide a tranquil escape. I loved wandering through the palm house's mini rainforest, rockery's alpine plants and the meticulously curated herbaceous borders. The perfect nature break!
Fun fact: The Botanic Gardens contain over 15,000 plant species.
- Name: The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland
- Website: botanicgardens.ie
- Established in 1795, the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin are located in Glasnevin, just three kilometres from Dublin City Centre1. They were initially founded with the purpose of promoting a scientific approach to the study of agriculture.
- The Gardens are noted for their fine plant collections holding over 15,000 plant species and cultivars from a variety of habitats from around the world.
- The Gardens are home to historically significant glasshouses, including the restored Curvilinear Range and the Palm House. Their construction dates back to the 19th century, with the Curvilinear Range starting in 1843 and the Palm House built initially in 1862, though the latter was replaced after being damaged by gales in 1883.
- The National Botanic Gardens are a premier scientific institution in Ireland, with important collections of plant species and cultivars from all over the world. They also have a counterpart in Wicklow, known as the Kilmacurragh, which has been closely associated with the Glasnevin site since 1854.
- Various notable events in the Gardens' history include the germination of orchid seeds for the first time in cultivation in 1845, the noting of potato blight on 20th August 1845, and the hosting of the 4th Global Botanic Gardens Congress in 2010.
- The Gardens are operated and managed by the Office of Public Works, Ireland.
- An Excellent Choice For: Plant enthusiasts, historians, those interested in agriculture and horticulture, as well as individuals and families looking for a peaceful retreat in the city.
See Prehistoric Treasures at The National Museum of Ireland
As a history buff, I utterly lost myself for hours exploring the National Museum of Ireland's priceless archaeological finds. Spanning prehistoric gold, Viking artefacts, medieval church treasures and rare bog bodies – this free museum offers an epic journey through Ireland's past.
Don't miss the iconic 12th-century Ardagh Chalice either! Allow plenty of time to take it all in here.
Fun fact: Ireland's oldest building material is a 7,000-year-old Mesolithic fish trap!
- Website: museum.ie
- The National Museum of Ireland is the leading museum institution in the country, focusing on national and some international archaeology, Irish history, art, culture, and natural history.
- It is split into several branches, with three located in Dublin:
- Archaeology branch, situated on Kildare Street, specializes in Irish and other antiquities dating from the Stone Age to the Late Middle Ages.
- Decorative Arts & History branch is housed at the former Collins Barracks in the Arbour Hill area, holding historical and contemporary collections relating to Ireland's past.
- Natural History branch, although not much information is available about its contents from the sources, it is mentioned that some galleries are temporarily closed for repairs.
- Among the collections, you'll find significant archaeological artefacts, including some of Ireland's most famous such as the Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch, and the Derrynaflan Hoard.
- The museum organizes various events, exhibitions, and tours to engage the public with Ireland's rich heritage, as seen in the Highlight Tours of the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, where visitors can learn more about some of Ireland's most notable artefacts.
- The museum's opening hours vary for different branches, but for the Archaeology branch, it's open from Tuesday to Sunday with extended hours on Thursdays during certain months.
- An Excellent Choice For: History enthusiasts, archaeology fans, art lovers, and individuals interested in exploring Irish culture and heritage.
See a Show at the Abbey Theatre
Founded in 1904, the iconic Abbey Theatre is a Dublin must for theatre fans. I managed to get last-minute tickets to an incredible production, soaking in the atmosphere of Ireland's famed national theatre. Don't leave without experiencing the stage that premiered works by Yeats, O'Casey and Synge!
Top tip: Sign up on their website to get access to advance ticket sales.
- Website: abbeytheatre.ie
- The Abbey Theatre is recognized as the national theatre of Ireland, situated in Dublin. It is one of the country's leading cultural institutions, which first opened its doors to the public on 27 December 1904. The theatre continued its operations even after moving from its original building due to a fire in 1951, remaining active to the present day.
- Founded by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory in 1904, the Abbey Theatre was established with a vision to bring the “deeper emotions of Ireland” to the stage. It aimed to contribute to the cultural and political discourse in Ireland through performing arts.
- The Abbey Theatre's mission is to enrich the cultural lives of all individuals interested in Irish theatre, stories, artists, and culture. With a strong focus on inclusivity, diversity, and equality, the theatre aims to reflect Irish society's multifaceted nature through ambitious and courageous theatrical productions.
- The theatre is led by Co-Directors Caitríona McLaughlin (Artistic Director) and Mark O’Brien (Executive Director), who are dedicated to celebrating both the rich canon of Irish dramatic writing and the potential of future generations of Irish theatre artists.
- The Abbey Theatre's programming is a blend of classical and contemporary works, aiming to explore the questions of identity and societal change. Through its productions, it seeks to foster a deeper understanding of the human experience and Ireland's cultural heritage.
- An Excellent Choice For: Theatre enthusiasts, individuals interested in Irish culture and history, performing arts students, and those looking to explore contemporary and classical theatrical works in a historical setting.
Tour the Grandeur of Powerscourt Estate
Just a 45-minute drive from Dublin lies the majestic grounds of 18th-century Powerscourt Estate, one of Ireland's most magnificent historic estates. Spend an afternoon exploring the sweeping Italianate gardens, statuary, follies, lakes and delving into the estate's 1000 years of history. The views of Sugarloaf Mountain alone are worth the trip!
Top tip: Make sure to stop for lunch or coffee at the Avoca Terrace Cafe onsite after exploring the gardens.
- Name: Powerscourt Estate
- Website: powerscourt.com
- Gardens: Powerscourt Gardens have been recognized as the 3rd Best Garden in the world by National Geographic, offering 47 acres of meticulously curated and maintained gardens. These gardens encompass a variety of features including formal gardens, sweeping terraces, striking statues, ornamental lakes, and rambling walks. The estate welcomes visitors to explore these beautiful landscapes daily from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, with tickets priced at €12.50.
- House: The Powerscourt House is a magnificent mansion that invites visitors to experience its grandeur. It is noted for its elegant facade and breathtaking views, especially from the Avoca Terrace Café. Within the house, visitors can indulge in fine dining and explore boutiques showcasing leading Irish design. The house is open to visitors from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.
- Waterfall: Boasting the highest waterfall in Ireland, the Powerscourt Waterfall is set within beautiful parkland rich in local wildlife. It's an ideal location for picnics, strolls, and enjoying the natural beauty of the area. The waterfall is open to visitors from 10:30 am to 5:30 pm, with tickets priced at €7.00.
- An Excellent Choice For: Individuals interested in nature, landscaping, historical architecture, and those looking to explore the scenic beauty of Ireland. The estate offers a tranquil experience with its stunning gardens, grand mansion, and dramatic waterfall, making it a wonderful destination for families, couples, or anyone looking to escape into nature.
Visit the Iconic Dublin Zoo
Animal lovers shouldn't miss a visit to Dublin Zoo, set on 28 hectares in Phoenix Park. Established in 1831, it's one of the world's oldest zoos housing over 400 animals across spacious enclosures.
I loved seeing the playful wild Siberian Wood Bison, impressive Asian lions, and mischievous monkeys. The friendly zookeepers also run great educational talks and feeding times. A fun day out!
Fun fact: Dublin Zoo is home to Ireland's only herd of elephants.
- Name: Dublin Zoo
- Website: dublinzoo.ie
- One of Dublin's most popular attractions, located in Phoenix Park.
- Established in 1830, focuses on conservation projects, breeding programmes, and growing awareness for animals.
- Offers a variety of exhibits featuring different species of animals, events, and educational programs.
- An Excellent Choice For: Animal lovers, families, and individuals interested in conservation and wildlife education.
Tour Malahide Castle and Gardens
On the coast just north of Dublin lies the impressive Malahide Castle and Gardens, inhabited by one family for over 800 years! I took the quick DART train to explore this 12th-century castle with ornate rooms and to wander the expansive gardens with over 5,000 plant varieties.
The onsite Avoca Cafe provided a tasty lunch. With a fairytale setting, Malahide makes the perfect day trip!
Insider tip: Look for hidden geocaches dotting the Malahide estate grounds.
- Website: malahidecastleandgardens.ie
- Malahide Castle, parts of which date back to the 12th century, is located near the village of Malahide, 14 km north of central Dublin in Ireland. It was home to the Talbot family for over 800 years and is set on a vast estate of 260 acres, forming the Malahide Demesne Regional Park.
- The castle boasts a rich and dramatic 800-year history with generations of the Talbot family residing there. The Talbots played a significant role in Irish political and social life over the centuries. The estate was eventually sold to the Irish State in 1975 by the last inheritor, Rose Talbot, after the death of her brother, Lord Milo Talbot, the final Baron de Malahide, in 1973.
- The castle's parkland features the beautiful Malahide Gardens, which include a Butterfly House and over 5,000 plant varieties from around the world. The gardens are a tranquil retreat just minutes away from Dublin city centre and airport, offering a serene atmosphere for visitors to explore.
- For families and younger visitors, an interactive Fairy Trail is set up in the wooded West Lawn, providing an enchanting experience with fun sculptures, fairy houses, and other hidden gems to discover.
- The Castle and Gardens are open to visitors daily from 9.30am, with various public transport options available for those travelling from Dublin city centre. The castle is only a ten-minute walk from Malahide village, making it easily accessible for visitors.
- An Excellent Choice For: History enthusiasts, families, garden lovers, and individuals interested in Irish heritage and natural beauty.
Listen to Trad Sessions at Sullivan's Pub
For the best pint of Guinness and live Irish music, I headed to Sullivan's Pub just across from Trinity College. Their lively traditional music sessions every night deliver soul-stirring ballads and jigs thanks to talented musicians.
Nursing a smooth Guinness, I found this 300-year-old pub the perfect place in Dublin to soak up local music and culture. The cosy snugs fill fast!
Top tip: Early weeknights are less crowded if you want a seat.
- Name: O'Sullivan's Bar
- Website: osullivansbar.ie
- Located at 10 Westmoreland Street, Dublin D02 CD45, Ireland, O'Sullivan's Bar is a notable establishment in the Temple Bar area, known for its lively atmosphere and traditional Irish ambience.
- O'Sullivan's Bar & Restaurant is a family-run business that has been operational since 1955, originally started by the late John O'Sullivan. Over the years, it has evolved from a local bar to a Gastro Bar that now serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, offering a modern dining experience while retaining a touch of traditional Irish charm.
- The bar provides both indoor and outdoor seating, with a recommendation for online booking to secure a table. Their menus span across breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, promising fresh ingredients in their offerings. They also have a take-away menu for those who prefer to enjoy their meals elsewhere.
- Patrons appreciate the friendly service, excellent atmosphere, and the quality of beer served. O'Sullivan's Bar is often commended for its welcoming staff and convivial setting, making it a favourite among locals and visitors alike.
- An Excellent Choice For: Individuals looking to experience authentic Irish hospitality, food enthusiasts interested in a modern take on traditional Irish cuisine, and anyone keen on enjoying a vibrant atmosphere in a historical setting.
Tour Kilmainham to Learn about Irish History
No trip to Dublin is complete without visiting Kilmainham Gaol for an in-depth look at Ireland's difficult path to independence. This eerie 18th century prison held famous nationalist leaders before their execution.
The excellent museum and tour provided gripping stories and insight that brought this turbulent period to life. An unforgettable experience focused on resilience!
Fun fact: Kilmainham Gaol finally closed its doors as a prison in 1924.
- Name: Kilmainham Gaol Museum
- Website: kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie
- One of the largest unoccupied gaols in Europe, dating back to 1796.
- Now a museum chronicling Irish history through the lens of its criminal justice system.
- Offers online tours and houses two chapels from different religious denominations.
- An Excellent Choice For: History enthusiasts, those interested in law and justice, and individuals looking to learn more about Ireland's past3.
Hike to Spectacular Dalkey Island
- Location: Dalkey Island is an uninhabited island situated about 16km south of Dublin, near the village of Dalkey, and 3km south of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. It lies around 300 meters off the coastline just north of Killiney Beach.
- Historical Significance:
- The island has a rich history with evidence of human occupation dating back to the Neolithic period, around 3000 B.C.
- St. Begnet’s Church on the island, thought to have originated as a timber structure in the 9th or 10th century, is among the historical structures present. Nearby, there are unusual carved stone crosses, possibly dating from the 6th century.
- Besides ecclesiastical remains, there is a Martello Tower and a gun battery from circa 1800, built as coastal defences against a possible Napoleonic invasion. The “Promontory Fort”, a far more ancient building, once stood at the northern end of the island.
- Natural Heritage:
- The island is a habitat for some of Europe's most endangered sea birds, the terns. Two species, the Common Tern and the Arctic Tern, regularly nest on the Dalkey islands. A breeding program for the rare Roseate Tern has been initiated by Birdwatch Ireland on Dalkey Island.
- Rabbits and a herd of goats also inhabit the island. The island has a rich biodiversity and is a part of the Dublin Bay Biosphere Reserve.
- Activities and Accessibility:
- Visitors can access the island by a short boat trip from Coliemore Harbour, which is situated nearby, and explore the historical and natural sites on the island.
- The island is also a popular spot for fishing and is ideal for spending a few hours picnicking, with the main sight being St Begnet's Holy Well.
- An Excellent Choice For: History enthusiasts, nature lovers, birdwatchers, and those interested in archaeological sites and enjoying a quiet escape close to Dublin city.
Experience Dublin After Dark on a Pub Crawl
What better way to experience Dublin's fun lively spirit at night than joining a pub crawl! On my last evening, we hit the city's most iconic and historic pubs around Temple Bar guided by hilarious Dubliners.
Between pints and amusing stories, I made fast friends with others in the group. We even ended with a big Irish singalong session – the perfect final memory!
Top tip: Do your pub crawl towards the start of your trip to meet fellow travellers.
Seek Serenity at Temple Bar Gallery + Studios
When I needed some time away from the crowds, I discovered the peaceful Temple Bar Gallery + Studios on the edge of the main district. Across two minimalist light-filled floors, it showcases provocative contemporary Irish visual art.
The onsite studios allow visitors to connect with local artists at work too. An inspiring spot for art and tranquillity that felt like a hidden gem.
Fun fact: The building was designed by award-winning Irish architect Niall McCullough.
- Website: templebargallery.com
- Temple Bar Gallery + Studios (TBG+S) is a leading artist studio complex and contemporary art gallery located in the heart of Dublin's Cultural Quarter, Temple Bar.
- Established in 1983 by a group of artists, it was one of the first DIY artist-led initiatives in Ireland, aimed at creating a space “by artists for artists” to create, exhibit, and engage.
- The venue is a centre for creativity in Dublin City, fostering a vibrant environment for the creation and exhibition of contemporary art. It actively supports artists in the realization of their work and aims to provide a supportive and professional context for artists at all stages of their careers.
- TBG+S welcomes the public to engage with contemporary art through a dynamic program of exhibitions, talks, and events. The gallery space showcases a variety of contemporary art exhibitions, while the studio spaces provide working areas for artists. The venue also hosts educational programs and artist residencies, enhancing the cultural exchange and learning opportunities for both artists and the community.
- The gallery is open to visitors from Tuesday to Friday, 11 am – 6 pm, and on weekends from 12 pm – 4 pm. The office operates from Monday to Friday, 10 am – 6 pm.
- An Excellent Choice For: Art enthusiasts, emerging and established artists, individuals interested in contemporary art, and those looking to engage with Dublin's vibrant cultural community.
Try Your Hand at Gaelic Games
If you want to immerse yourself in quintessential Irish sports, join a Gaelic Games experience to master hurling and Gaelic football. At venues across Dublin, you can learn to swing a hurley stick, kick footballs through posts and join friendly matches with coaches.
I had a blast during my beginner's session, especially playing alongside longtime Gaelic athletes. A super fun way to get active!
Insider tip: Visit experiencegaelicgames.com to browse locations and packages.
- Website: experiencegaelicgames.com
- Experience Gaelic Games provides a unique opportunity for individuals and groups to immerse themselves in the cultural phenomenon of Gaelic Games, which are Ireland's traditional sports.
- The experience is curated by Gaelic Games and Irish culture enthusiasts Cormac Ó Donnchú and Georgina Caraher, who assembled a panel of expert coaches to guide participants through the games.
- The three main games introduced are Gaelic Football, Hurling, and Gaelic Handball.
- Gaelic Football is a blend of Soccer, Rugby, Basketball, and American Football played on a large pitch with 15 players on each team.
- Hurling claims to be the oldest and fastest field sport in the world, with a history dating back to 1272 BC, blending elements from Hockey, Lacrosse, and Golf, among others.
- Gaelic Handball is a simple ball game played in an indoor or outdoor alley, similar to squash or racquetball but without racquets.
- The initiative is not just about sports but is seen as a living expression of ancient Gaelic culture. It's a way to experience Ireland's rich cultural heritage in a fun and engaging manner, whether as a family, corporate group, or a party of friends.
- Located in central Dublin among other locations, it's easily accessible for visitors and has been well-reviewed by participants, ranking as the 10th among 675 attractions in Dublin on TripAdvisor.
- An Excellent Choice For: Individuals and groups interested in a hands-on experience of Irish culture and traditional sports, history enthusiasts, sports lovers, and those looking for a fun and educational activity while visiting Dublin.
Hike the Trails on Ticknock Mountain
Looking for stunning Dublin views? Go on an invigorating hike up Ticknock Mountain, just a 15-minute drive southwest of the city centre. The summit trail rewards you with panoramic vistas across Dublin Bay. No wonder it has become a hotspot on TikTok! I loved taking a break halfway up the wooden bench decorated with motivational quotes.
Insider tip: Go early in the morning or late afternoon to avoid crowds and enjoy ideal lighting for photos.
- Website: Dublin Mountains Partnership – Ticknock
- Ticknock Mountain, situated around 3 km southwest of Sandyford, is easily accessible from the centre of Dublin, making it a popular destination for both locals and tourists.
- The area is known for its scenic mountain and forest walks, which span up to 10 km and offer spectacular views of Dublin City, Dublin Bay, Bray Head, and the Wicklow Mountains.
- Ticknock Mountain hosts a variety of trails for different activities, including walking, hiking, and mountain biking. Among these are purpose-built single-track trails and forest roads designated for mountain biking, with a way-marked circular route of 13 km in length. These trails are graded from Red (Difficult to Severe) to Black (Severe Throughout) based on their level of challenge.
- A notable trail is the Ticknock Fairy Castle Loop which takes around 1.75 hours to complete, traversing forest road and path over 5.5 km through Three Rock Wood, and offering superb views from Three Rock Mountain and Two Rock Mountain – also known as Fairy Castle.
- The area has a car park with 145 spaces, and it's open from 06:00 to 22:00. There is no parking fee, but it's advisable to arrive early, especially during weekends, to secure a parking spot.
- An Excellent Choice For: Hikers, mountain bikers, nature enthusiasts, and those looking to enjoy panoramic views of Dublin and its surrounding areas.
See Dublin From Below at Dublin Crypts
For a unique perspective under Dublin, I joined a crypt tour to explore architectural treasures hidden beneath Christ Church Cathedral. I climbed down to see 9th-century Viking archaeological remains and wander through atmospheric medieval vaulted stone cellars.
It was mind-blowing peering into the city's origins over a thousand years ago! A crypt tour gives you the story often overlooked above ground.
St. Michan's Church Crypts
- Website: St. Michan's Church Website
- The vaults of St. Michan's contain many mummified remains preserved due to the limestone walls that keep the air dry. Among the preserved remains are a 400-year-old nun, a six-and-a-half-foot tall individual believed to have been a crusader, and the Sheares brothers who participated in the 1798 rebellion. The crypts also house the remains of various holders of the title Earl of Leitrim.
- These vaults were subjected to vandalism in 1996 and 2019, causing damage to the crypts and desecration of mummified remains.
- The church vaults are open for tours on Saturdays and seasonally on some weekdays, attracting around 27,000 visitors in 2018.
- An Excellent Choice For: History enthusiasts, those interested in archaeology, and individuals intrigued by medieval Irish history.
Christ Church Cathedral Crypts
- Website: Christ Church Cathedral Crypt
- The crypt at Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin City’s oldest working structure and the largest crypt in Ireland, boasting a 11th-century medieval interior.
- It serves as a popular location for corporate events and offers a unique, historically rich setting for gatherings.
- Visitors to Christ Church Cathedral can explore the cathedral and crypt with a self-guided tour, which is included in the admission fee.
- The twelfth-century crypt houses two stone effigies, one of which is dressed in full armour, offering a glimpse into the past.
- An Excellent Choice For: Individuals interested in medieval history, architectural enthusiasts, and those looking to explore a historical venue for corporate events or personal exploration.
Celebrate Dublin Literary Culture at Dublin Writers Museum
No bibliophile should miss Dublin Writers Museum which is dedicated to illuminating the city's rich literary life. Located in a beautiful 18th-century mansion, its exhibits provide insights into influential Dublin writers like Joyce, Yeats, Beckett and Swift through rare manuscripts and artefacts.
I loved the book and gift shop too! Definitely a must-see for book lovers visiting Dublin.
Fun fact: Dublin has produced a staggering 4 Nobel literature laureates thus far.
- Name: The Dublin Writers Museum
- Website: N/A (Official website has been out of action for years, as per dublinplacestovisit.com)
- Opened in November 1991, situated in an original 18th-century house at 18 Parnell Square, Dublin.
- The museum promotes interest in Irish literature and the works of individual Irish writers, acting as a link between living writers and the international literary scene.
- Exhibits include literary memorabilia such as a detailed replica of The Book of Kells, Samuel Beckett's phone, and first editions of famous works by James Joyce and Bram Stoker.
- An Excellent Choice For: Literature enthusiasts, students of Irish literature, and individuals interested in exploring the contributions of Irish writers to global literature.
Here are my recommendations for 51 of the best things to do in the captivating city of Dublin! From world-famous attractions and rollicking nightlife to hidden local spots, Dublin offers endless possibilities for an unforgettable visit. With so many layers of history and culture to unravel, I know I'll be returning again and again to continue exploring this vibrant capital.