Dublin is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Ireland. The city is located in Leinster province at the head of Dublin Bay on the Irish Sea in the east-central part of the country.
Dublin has been an important city of the island since its foundation as a Viking settlement in medieval times. It is the financial, cultural, commercial, and administration center of the nation.
Dublin is the 4th UNESCO City of Literature in the world along with Edinburgh, Melbourne and Iowa City. Dublin is home to three of Ireland’s four Nobel Prize winners for literature including James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, and Oscar Wilde. The city is also home to world’s famous universities such as Trinity and UCD, a world-class new city library, and a book festival.
Some of the best things to do in Dublin are Grafton Street, which is am iconic street in the heart of Dublin; Phoenix Park, one of the biggest parks in Europe; Trinity College, the beating heart of Dublin’s education; Temple Bar, famous for its lively nightlife; Guinness Storehouse, a museum dedicated to the famous Irish stout; and GPO, symbol of the Irish revolution.
In Addition to the rich cultural history with many landmarks and institutions, Dublin is also famous for its vibrant nightlife, with a variety of pubs, restaurants, and live music venues.
24 Best things to do in Dublin, Ireland
1. Temple Bar
Temple Bar is one of the best things to do and see in Dublin because it is a cultural quarter of Dublin, famous for its lively nightlife. Located at the Southbank of the River Liffey, close to the Ha’penny Bridge, Temple Bar is packed with traditional Irish pubs, bars, restaurants lining the cobbled streets.
Temple Bar has history dating to 1599 when Sir William Temple built his house in this area making it a hive of activities with taverns, warehouses, and brothels was built after the construction of a customs house.
Temple Bar was a spot to look for prostitutes in the 18th century, when the customs house was removed from the area. However, in 1991, the Irish government decided to modernize the entire area, making it popular like today.
When the sun goes down, the Temple bar area has a vibrant nightlife where you can try a good pint of Guinness and traditional Irish drinks while enjoying live Irish trad. Temple Bar Pub is one of the most famous pubs in Ireland, houses a large collection of rare whiskies.
Apart from bars and pubs, the area is also home to several boutiques, art galleries, and open-air markets.
The Book Market takes place on weekends, where you can browse second-hand, new and antique books, while the Food Market is held every Saturday and is one of the oldest outdoor food markets in Dublin.
If you are interested in history and culture, you can visit Photo Museum Ireland, the National Photographic Archive, Irish Film Institute, and Smock Alley Theatre.
2. The Church
The Church is one of the best things to do in Dublin because it is a popular and unique music venue and nightclub to grab cocktails, whiskey, and classic Irish drinks. The church is located in the city center of Dulin, in the Temple Bar area.
The Church was converted into a bar, a café, a restaurant, a nightclub and a tourist destination in 2007 from the St. Mary’s Church dating back to the 17th century. Some of the original architecture are the spectacular stained glass windows and the organ.
The Church has a bar, a restaurant, main stage, a dance floor, and a beer garden. At the entry, you can find a huge baroque stained glass window and an Arthur Guinness statue who was married here in 1761.
3. Guinness Storehouse
Guinness Storehouse is one of the best things to do in Dublin because you can experience the history of one of the most famous beers in Irelands.
Located in the heart of St James’s Gate, Guinness Storehouse is also located close to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Kilmainham Gaol. It is set on the site where Arthur Guinness set up his brewery business on a 9,000-year lease in 1759.
Guinness Storehouse building is a seven-story building in the shape of a giant pint of Guinness, and it features interactive exhibits, a tasting room, and a rooftop bar with panoramic views of the city.
You can learn ingredients on the 1st floor; production on the 2nd floor; building the barrels on the 3rd floor; ways of transporting beer through the centuries on the 4th floor; Guinness advertising on the 5th floor; the history of Guinness on the 6th floor; and tasting and the 360 degree views of Dublin in the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor.
The Storehouse also has a tasting room where visitors can sample a variety of Guinness beers, including the classic Guinness Draught and specialty beers like Guinness Foreign Extra Stout and Guinness Nitro IPA. There is also a restaurant and a gift shop on site.
You can take the self-guided tour that starts with the basics of how Guinness is brewed. You will learn the four ingredients to make beer are water, barley, hops and yeast.
You can buy a ticket online in advance to avoid queuing on the day to buy a ticket. There are:
- Self-guided tour with Gravity Bar is the most the most popular tour
- Self-guided tour with Brewery Yard
- The Jameson + Guinness tour combo
4. Jameson Distillery for Whiskey
Jameson Distillery is one of the best things to do in Dublin if you’re interested in whiskey production and Irish history. Jameson Distillery is located in Bow Street, in the heart of Smithfield.
This monument to Irish Whiskey was a former factory, there is no longer whiskey production in Bow St distillery, the production is at the Midleton Distillery in County Cork.
Founded by John Jameson in 1780, it was extended by its son and grandson, explaining why it has a name called John Jameson & Son’s Bow Street Distillery.
The Bow Street Distillery closed its operation door because of its struggles to contribute whiskey because of the trade war with Great Britain and American Prohibition.
Jameson Distillery is easily reached from popular areas of Dublin like O’Connell Street, and Temple Bar. Attractions nearby are Dublin Zoo, Christ Church Cathedral, and National Museum.
Jameson Distillery offers variety tours including:
- Bow St. Experience: 40 minute fully guided tour, €25 for adults and €19 for students
- Whiskey Cocktail Making Class: 60 minute whiskey cocktail making
- Jameson Black Barrel Blending Class: 90 minute whiskey blending masterclass
- The Secret Whiskey Tasting: 40 minutes in total exclusive tour
5. The Spire of Dublin
The Spire of Dublin, also known as Monument of Light, is one of the prominent landmarks in Dublin. This striking tower is situated on O’Connell Street, one minute walk from the well-known GPO and three minute walk from O’Connell Monument.
The Spire was designed by London-based firm Ian Ritchie Architects and was commissioned as part of a project to redesign the city center. The Spire was erected in 2003 as a modern symbol for Dublin.
The Spire was built on the site of the former Nelson’s Pillar, whic destroyed by terrorists in 1966. The stainless steel tower is 120 m high and 3 m in diameter at the base. It is supported by a series of steel cables. The tower is illuminated at night by numerous LED lights.
6. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland and is one of the most popular tourist landmarks in Dublin. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest church in Ireland.
The church is named after the patron saint of Ireland, and was constructed from medieval Dublin, between 1220 and 1260. There are many burials onsite including burials of Jonathan Swift.
You can admire the cathedral’s choir, built in 1432, as well as the Lady Chapel, which has been restored from its original in 1270.
There are numerous cafes nearby to grab a cup of drink while admiring the architecture of this 800 years of proud Irish heritage. Cathedral Cafe and Ritz Cafe are places to take a look.
There are guided tours that take place regularly throughout the day. St. Patrick’s Cathedral is located within walking distance from the Christ Church Cathedral, Dublinia, Marsh’s Library, St Stephen’s Green, and Dublin Castle.
7. Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle is one of the best things to do in Dublin because it is the historical heart of the city. Dublin Castle was founded by King John of England in the 13th century as a defensive structure to protect the city, but over time it has served a variety of other functions, including as a royal palace and as a government building.
Dublin Castle is located on Castle Street, close to famous tourist attractions such as the Trinity College and the Temple Bar. It is a great place to learn about the history and culture of the city.
Building of the castle has different styles ranging from Medieval to Georgian period. While visiting the castle, you should take a look at the Record Tower, Chapel Royal, State Apartments, and Chester Beatty Library.
There are 4 beautiful gardens in Dublin Castle including a garen delicate to Veronica Guerin journalist and a garden commemorates the Special Olympics held in Ireland in 2003, as well as Garda Memorial Garden and Dubh Linn Gardens.
Dublin city gets its name from the Black Pool, Dubh Linn which was on Dubh Linn Gardens, which is the intersection of the River Poddle and River Liffey.
The on-site Terrace Café is situated in the State Apartments, and a gift shop.
8. Malahide Castle and Gardens
Malahide Castle and Gardens is one of the best things to do and see in Dublin because it is one of the oldest and most historic castles in Ireland.
Located on 250 acres of parkland in Malahide, just outside Dublin, Malahide Castle served as a fortress and a private home for around 800 years. It was home of the Talbot family 1185-1973.
The castle has undergone numerous renovations and additions over the centuries, and today it contains a mix of architectural styles ranging from Norman to Victorian.
The complex has a children’s playground, a fairy trail, walking trails, old abbey ruins, a butterfly house,Avoca Store & Café, and the Talbot Botanic Gardens.
Visitors can explore the several rooms such as an Oak Room with its furniture from the 17th century, as well as the Great Hall, which was built in 1495 containing a large painting of the Battle of the Boyne.
Malahide is located within a walking distance from the Malahide DART station, and easy access to the public transports.
9:05 9. Ha’penny Bridge
Ha’penny Bridge was named after the halfpenny toll that was once charged to cross it. The toll was abolished in 1919, but the name Ha’penny Bridge stuck.
The bridge was constructed in 1816 in iron as the first pedestrian bridge across the River Liffey, connecting Ormond Quay Lower to Wellington Quay.
The Ha’penny Bridge was originally named the Wellington Bridge after the Duke of Wellington, who was born in Dublin. However, when the independent Irish Free State was established, the bridge was changed its name to The Liffey Bridge.
Before the construction of the bridge, ferries were the main transport across the river Liffey and they were operated by William Walsh. He chose the bridge when the city officials told him to repair the ferries or build a bridge.
Ha’penny Bridge is easy to reach and it is located within walking distance to famous tourist attractions such as GPO, Molly Malone Statue, Trinity College, and Christ Church Cathedral.
10. Molly Malone Statue
The Molly Malone statue is a bronze sculpture of a woman pushing a cart, located in Georgian Quarter on Suffolk Street.
The statue pays homage to the famous Irish ballad folk song Cockles and Mussels, also known as Molly Malone, which narrates the tale of a young woman who sells seafood through the streets of Dublin city.
The statue of Molly Malone was built in 1988 in honor of the Dublin Millennium celebrations. The statue has become a symbol of Dublin’s rich cultural heritage.
The statue is conveniently located in the heart of Dublin, close to tourist attractions, and is surrounded by a number of restaurants and pubs, making it a popular spot to grab a bite to eat or a drink while enjoying the city’s lively atmosphere.
11. Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral is one of the best things to do and see in Dublin due to its long history and popularity with tourists. The cathedral has been a place of pilgrimage for nearly a thousand years and remains a beloved destination for visitors to this day.
The cathedral was established in 1030 by Sitric, by Sitric, King of the Dublin Norsemen, at the intersection of Dame Street and Christchurch Place. It was built on the site of an earlier Viking church, which itself was built on the site of an earlier Irish church.
The cathedral has a mixture of architectural styles, including Romanesque, Gothic, and Baroque because it has gone through several renovations and expansions over the centuries.
The Christ Church Cathedral is famous for its beauty, architecture and exquisite floor tiles, as well as home to the 12th-century crypt and Chester Beatty Library, which contains a collection of rare manuscripts and other artifacts from around the world.
Christ Church Cathedral is home to an on-site gift shop where you can buy souvenirs and Irish gifts to support the work of the cathedral.
12. Phoenix Park
The Phoenix Park in Dublin is the largest enclosed public park in the city, covering more than 700 hectares of land. It is even larger than Central Park in New York. The park was originally established as a royal deer hunting reserve in the 17th century.
The park is very beautiful, home to many walks and cycle paths, as well as the Dublin Zoo and the official residence of the Irish President of Ireland, Áras an Uachtaráin.
Dublin Zoo was founded in 1830, and is one of the oldest zoos in the world. Covering 69 acres of land, its first animals are from London Zoo.
The park is also home to Farmleigh Estate, which is accessible by guided tours; a 22 acres Victorian People’s Flower Gardens; Phoenix Park Bikes with its Phoenix Monument, Papal Cross,which is a large cross erected in 1979 to mark the visit of Pope John Paul II to Dublin, as well as the Wellington monument and Magazine Fort on St Thomas Hill.
The Phoenix Park hosted numerous events such as the 1929 international motor racing and the 1979 Pope John Paul II visitation, with attendance of over a million people.
13. Trinity College Library
Trinity College Library is the largest library in Ireland, located on the campus of Trinity College, which is one of the world’s highest ranked universities.
Trinity College is the oldest university in Ireland because it was built in 1592 by Queen Elisabeth I. Trinity College is close to the Liffey river and the Temple Bar. The Library has at least one copy of every book ever published in the UK and Ireland.
The library admission fee is 10. The Long Room and Book of Kells are the most popular spots to visit.
The Long Room is the world’s biggest single-chamber library. The Book of Kells is a 9th century world’s famous gospel manuscript.
14. Avoca Wool Shop & Café
Avoca is a popular Irish brand of store and cafe, located in the heart of the city, on Suffolk Street. It is a popular spot for tourists and locals with a cozy atmosphere and friendly staff.
The store offers a variety of Irish wool products, including blankets, throws, scarves, and other knitwear items. The café serves a variety of food and drinks, including sandwiches, soups, salads, and pastries.
There are stores and cafes throughout Dublin, including the Avoca Handweavers store on Wicklow Street and the Avoca Food Market on Rathcoole. These locations offer similar products and food options, and are also popular destinations for visitors to the city.
15. Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol is a museum and a former prison located in Kilmainham. It was the main prison for men in Dublin from 1796-1924.
The prison was served to hold prisoners who were involved in the Irish War of Independence and the Easter Rising, as well as common criminals. Some of the most famous prisoners held at Kilmainham Gaol include Charles Stewart Parnell, Eamon de Valera, and Robert Emmet.
The museum also displays various artifacts and exhibitions about the history of the prison and the events that took place there.
You can take a guided tour to visit the cells, the exercise yard, and the execution yard. Kilmainham Gaol is an important historical site for those interested in the history of Ireland.
16. Wicklow Mountains National Park
The Wicklow Mountains is a huge area of central County Wicklow. It is located within a short ride from Dublin, making it a popular spot for those visiting Dublin.
Wicklow Mountains National Park is the biggest national park in Ireland with 54,000 acres of land. It is a great place for outdoor activities as well as learning about history because there are ancient sites in its surrounding.
You can explore Glendalough, which is a beautiful and historic place, famous for its natural beauty, rich history, and the 6th century monastic ruins.
The monastic site at Glendalough is one of the most important and well-preserved in Ireland, and it was founded by St. Kevin, a famous Irish monk and hermit, in the 6th century. The site includes several churches, a round tower, and other buildings that were used for living and working by the monks who lived there. The site is now a popular tourist attraction and is a designated World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Other places of interest are the Sally Gap Drive, Lough Tay, Glenmacnass Waterfall, Lough Ouler the heart-shaped lake, Lugnaquilla and Sugarloaf walk for hiking, Ballinastoe Forest Walk, and Powerscourt Waterfall.
17. Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo is one of the best things to do and see in Dublin for families and children because it’s Ireland’s biggest family attraction.
Dublin Zoo is conveniently located in the heart of the Phoenix Park. Founded in 1831, it is one of the oldest zoos in the world.
It is home to more than 600 animals from around the world including gorillas, elephants, penguins, giraffes, rhinos and zebras. There are also Gorilla Rainforest, Orangutan Forest, Kaziranga Forest Trail, and Asian Forests.
The zoo has a role in conservation, study, and education. It has several educational exhibits and interactive experiences, such as animal feeding times and a children’s petting zoo.
18. River Liffey
The River Liffey is a main river that flows through the center of Dublin. It rises in the Dublin Mountains and flows into the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay.
The Liffey is a major transportation of the city. There are numerous bridges crossing it, including the famous Ha’penny Bridge and the more modern Samuel Beckett Bridge.
The river is a popular spot for walking or cycling along its banks. It is also home to a number of iconic landmarks, such as the Custom House, the Four Courts, and the Guinness Storehouse.
19. Grafton Street
Grafton Street is a pedestrian street in central Dublin, stretching from St. Stephen’s Green to College Green. Grafton Street is a popular main shopping street in the city.
You can watch street performers while shopping and sightseeing. The area is home to Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre and the upscale Powerscourt Centre, offering plenty of shopping experience.
The street is packed with restaurants, pubs, department stores, and gift shops, as well as historical landmarks, including the Molly Malone statue, Trinity College, and the Dublin Castle.
20. The Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are undoubtedly Ireland’s top visitor attraction, towering high over West Clare’s wild Atlantic coastline. It is located around 120 km from Dublin, and can be reached by car, bus, or train.
Many tour companies offer day trips to the Cliffs of Moher from Dublin, which typically include transportation and a guided tour of the area.
The Cliffs of Mohe are known for their rugged beauty and stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean. The cliffs rise over 214 m above the sea at their highest point, and stretch for 8 km along the Clare coastline.
You can find the Cliffs of Moher Visitor Experience, as well as many café, gift shops, and restrooms.
21. Unique Doors of Dublin
Dublin is famous for its rich history and cultural heritage. One aspect of Dublin’s architecture are the unique doors that can be found throughout the city.
Dublin is home to a number of notable doors, each with its own distinct character and history.
The Ha’penny Bridge Inn is a historic pub in Dublin that is known for its distinctive blue door, in the color of the Irish flag.
The Door of Reconciliation, in Dublin’s Christ Church Cathedral, is made of oak and was carved in the 12th century. It is believed to symbolize the reconciliation between the Anglo-Normans and the Irish.
The Door of Thrones, in Temple Bar, is a replica of the door that appears in the Game of Thrones television series.
22. Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
Glasnevin Cemetery Museum is dedicated to the history of the cemetery and the people buried It is located in Glasnevin Cemetery, and was built in 2010.
The cemetery is the final resting place for many notable figures in Irish history, including Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, and Michael Collins.
Visitors to the museum can take guided tours of the cemetery, which provide a detailed history of the cemetery and the people buried there. The tours are led by experienced guides who are knowledgeable about the cemetery’s history and the people buried there.
The Glasnevin Cemetery Museum also hosts a variety of events and programs, including lectures, workshops, and educational programs for schools.
23. Experience Gaelic Games
Gaelic games are a group of traditional Irish sports, including Gaelic football, hurling, and camogie.
There are many ways to experience Gaelic games including watching a match, trying your hand at the sport, or learning more about the history and culture of these traditional Irish games..
You attend a GAA match at Croke Park, the home of the GAA in Dublin. Croke Park is a 82,300-seat stadium that hosts Gaelic football, hurling, and camogie matches, as well as concerts and other events.
You can visit a GAA club in Dublin and watch a match or participate in a training session. Many GAA clubs in Dublin welcome visitors and will be happy to show you the basics of the game and give you a chance to try your hand at it.
Take a look at the GAA Museum at Croke Park, which offers exhibits and interactive displays on the history and culture of Gaelic games.
24. St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green is a public park, covering an area of about 22 acres. The park is surrounded by historic buildings and is a popular place to relax, take a leisurely walk, or enjoy a picnic on a sunny day.
It is also home to a number of sculptures and memorials, including a statue of James Joyce, a famous Irish writer.
The park is situated close to many of main attractions, including Grafton Street, Trinity College, and the National Gallery of Ireland. It is easily accessible by public transportation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the #1 attraction in Dublin Ireland?
The Guinness Storehouse is one of the top attractions in Dublin. It is a popular tourist destination located in the heart of the city where you can learn everything about the history and production of Guinness beer and enjoy a pint on the top floor.
Is there anything fun to do in Dublin?
Some of the fun things to do in Dublin are tasting traditional Irish food and drink, enjoying the lively nightlife, and visiting historical sights such as the Trinity College and Dublin Castle.
How do I spend a perfect day in Dublin?
To spend a perfect day in Dublin, you can visit the cultural landmarks such as Trinity College, the Guinness Storehouse, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. You can also try a traditional Irish pub and local cuisine, as well as catch a live music performance and grab a pint of Guinness.
Is 2 days in Dublin enough?
Two days in Dublin may be sufficient to see the city’s main attractions, and get a taste of Irish culture if you plan carefully and prioritize your activities.
So there you have it, the best things to do in Dublin for your next trip. If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment below.