Ireland is one of those magical places that people are inexplicably drawn to. Ireland should be on every traveler’s bucket list, from the gorgeous greenery and dramatic coastlines to the culture and friendly people. There are beautiful cities and unique towns across the country, but nothing can quite beat all the fantastic things to do in Dublin Ireland, the country’s capital city.
10 Things to Do in Dublin Ireland
“Unique and memorable experiences lie at the heart of great tourism destinations, ” said Ireland’s Minister for Tourism, Catherine Martin TD. And this destination’s unique mix of coastal and city experiences leads to a wide variety of things to do in Dublin for travelers.
1. Tour the Guinness Factory and Jameson Distillery
Drinking is a big part of the culture in Ireland, with a large majority of social activities based around the pubs. Guinness played a massive role in shaping how the city of Dublin developed over the past century. Taking a tour of the Guinness Factory is one of the top tourist attractions. You’ll get an overview of Dublin’s history and a better appreciation of the Irish drinking culture.
The building that houses the Guinness Storehouse dates to 1904 and is a piece of Dublin’s history itself. The tour is probably my favorite in Ireland; I took every person who visited me while living in Dublin, and they all greatly enjoyed it!
In addition to learning some of Dublin’s history, the Guinness tour teaches you how the beer is brewed and showcases some fun Guinness artifacts and advertisements. At the end of the tour, enjoy a complimentary pint of Guinness in the Gravity Bar while looking over the 360° views of the city.
The Jameson Distillery tour (right across the river from the Guinness Storehouse) is also a must, especially for those who prefer the taste of and learning about whiskey.
The 40-minute guided tour of the making of Jameson whiskey and its history includes a comparative whiskey tasting and a complimentary Jameson drink.
Tickets for the Guinness Factory tour = €22 (add-ons available)
Tickets for the Jameson Distillery tour = €25 for adults and €19 for students and seniors 65+
2. Go On a Pub Crawl
To finish your Ireland drinking culture experience, take a Dublin pub crawl to experience just a handful of Dublin’s over 700 pubs!
Pub crawls can be done as part of a tour (there are literary pub crawl tours, historic pub crawls, traditional Irish music pub crawls, etc.), or pick your own pubs and route.
The most well-known (also the most touristy) pub in Dublin is The Temple Bar. Located in the heart of the city center, this should be a pub you either start or stop at. There are a few other pubs around it worth checking out, and many of them regularly have live Irish music and dancing.
A few other popular pubs in Dublin are:
- Doyle’s Pub – A lesser-known but still popular pub in the city center, great for food and a drink during the day and has some dancing at night.
- Brazen Head – The oldest pub in Dublin, this one is great to check off your bucket list!
- O’Donoghues – Known for having the most authentic traditional Irish music.
- The Stag’s Head – An off-the-beaten-path literary pub that is rumored to be a spot where James Joyce frequented.
Or simply wander down Camden Street and stop at any interesting pubs along the way. Make sure to try a pint of Guinness, perhaps an Irish coffee or Baileys, or a Rock Shandy (a popular non-alcoholic Irish drink) if you don’t drink.
3. View the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin
Arguably one of the most popular things to do in Dublin Ireland is to see the Book of Kells, located on Trinity College Dublin’s campus.
The Book of Kells is an ancient manuscript with words and illustrations of the four Gospels hand-drawn with painstakingly beautiful details. It is believed to be created around the year 800AD by the monks in a monastery off the coast of Scotland.
The Book of Kells viewing includes a tour of the Old Library, a stunning library built in 1732. The 65m long library is one of the most beautiful in the world.
Tickets to the Book of Kells start at €18 for adults.
After the tour, take a quick stroll around the Trinity College Dublin campus. It is Ireland’s highest-ranking college and is a gorgeous campus with beautiful arched doorways, Doric columns, and the iconic bell tower (but don’t walk under it – legend has it that’s bad luck!)
4. Tour the Dublin Castle
Built in the early 13th century, the castle was the headquarters of the English administration in Ireland until 1922, when Ireland gained independence.
Beyond the unique exterior and design, there are interesting permanent and rotating exhibitions in the castle that walk you through some of Dublin’s turbulent political history. Plus, there are the gardens and a tower to discover as well.
Self-guided tickets are €8 for adults, €6 for seniors and students, and €4 for children 12-17.
5. Visit One of Dublin’s Famous Churches
One of the best things to do in Dublin Ireland is to learn more about the religious history of Ireland by visiting either Christ Church Cathedral or St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the biggest and one of the oldest churches in Ireland. Built in Dublin in 1191 in the gothic architecture style, it has an interior with high arches and delicate stained glass windows and beautiful gardens surrounding the outside.
Dublin’s other famous church is Christ Church Cathedral. It has a fascinating crypt with tombs of important religious figures, historical Irish religious artifacts, and a treasury. Visitors can take a walk through the labyrinth to meditate, pray, reflect, and take a peaceful moment to themselves.
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral self-guided tours = €8 for adults or €7 for students and children
- Christ Church Cathedral self-guided tour + audio guide = €10 for adults, €8.50 for seniors and students, €3.50 for children under 12
6. Have a Picnic at One of Dublin’s Parks
Dublin’s most famous park is Phoenix Park, one of the largest enclosed public parks in any European capital city. The park is a great place to stop for a picnic and a stroll where you might see the pack of deer that still wander through.
Phoenix Park is home to a few other popular things to do in Dublin:
- The Dublin Zoo – one of the best zoos in the world.
- The Magazine Fort – used in the 1600-1800s
- The Wellington Testimonial – tallest obelisk in Europe, measuring over 62m tall
- The Ashtown Castle and Gardens
St. Stephen’s Green, located in the city center near Trinity, is another popular park to visit in Dublin. It has a beautiful pond and gorgeous scenery and nature to see throughout. Many locals working in Dublin take their lunch break here to eat and stroll around the grounds on a sunny day.
7. Go Shopping on Grafton Street
Grafton Street is known as Ireland’s “premier shopping street” and is one of Europe’s busiest shopping streets. The stores are mid-range up to more expensive shops where you can buy clothes, accessories, high-end jewelry, souvenirs, and more.
Keep in mind that because it’s an island, the cost in Ireland tends to be higher than most people would expect due to items being imported. However, it’s fun to window shop, watch the live musicians and street performances, and explore one of the busiest shopping streets.
8. Stroll Down the River Liffey
The River Liffey runs straight through Dublin, cutting the city into two halves (the Northside and the Southside). So the best place to start is at the Dublin Docklands and follow the river until you hit Phoenix Park.
You will pass many popular areas of the city and beautiful bridges. Make sure to stop at the picturesque and famous Ha’Penny Bridge for a photo opportunity! You can make stops along the way for a pint or a scoop of ice cream too.
9. See a Rugby Game
One of the many fun things to do in Dublin, especially if you’re not from the UK, is to watch a rugby game! The island of Ireland has four rugby teams – Leinster, Munster, Ulster, and Connacht that compete amongst themselves and teams in the UK.
Leinster is the home team for Dublin and plays in the Aviva Stadium. Rugby is an intense sport with a fun crowd, and the Aviva Stadium always has an exciting energy to it.
10. Visit Howth – Dublin’s Scenic Coastal Village
There are so many things to do in Dublin on the outskirts or just outside of it that it is worth getting out of the city for some unique things to do. A must-see is the adorable coastal town and fishing village right outside of Dublin called Howth.
You can view the medieval Howth Castle and Grounds, stop at the market to shop handmade Irish local goods, or go for a walk by the harbor. Or take one of many hiking trails with scenic views of the cliffs and the Baily Lighthouse.
Don’t miss the delicious seafood in Howth! The Abbey Tavern, The Pier House, or The Bloody Stream have great food and pints and frequent live Irish music and dancing. Howth is easily accessible from Dublin by a short ride (about 25-30 minutes) on the DART.
Are You Now Thinking of Booking a Trip?
It’s hard to pick just ten things to do in Dublin Ireland, but these are a few of the best! Dublin is a vibrant city full of people enjoying the simple things in life. Dublin offers a taste of everything for your trip to Ireland – Irish culture, history and religion, entertainment, great food and drink, and so much more.
After traveling to over 25 countries and living in Dublin, Janelle created Make the Trip Matter – a travel blog dedicated to helping budget travelers and remote professionals travel more, live abroad, and discover a more meaningful experience from their travels.