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Best things to do in Dublin

The city of beer has a lot to offer, in addition to its music and its culture. Do not forget to discover its surroundings for a complete experience

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

Jul 6, 2021 • 7 min read

Best things to do in Dublin

Dublin streets | ©Diogo Palhais

The emerald green dotting the streets of the city, the Irish music coming from the pubs, the omnipresence of Guinness beer, the welcoming smile of its inhabitants... the Irish culture is breathed in every corner of Dublin. These are the main recommendations to live the city to the fullest.

1. Take a guided tour of the mysteries of the city.

The statue of Molly Mallone | ©Manuel Martín
The statue of Molly Mallone | ©Manuel Martín

Few cities have as many legends and mysteries as Ireland. Therefore, although there are many types of guided tours of Dublin, I recommend you to take the dark Dublin tour, which was the one that I personally found most original.

As you stroll through the downtown streets a expert local guide tells you stories of murders, beheadings and ghosts so elaborate that you'll even feel respect to continue strolling through the city.

This type of tour takes place at dusk and is not usually suitable for younger children, but there are many other options that follow the same pattern: a group walking tour lasting 2 to 3 hours where a guide shows you the major monuments and points of interest in Dublin while talking about the history, culture and customs of the city.

Itinerary

  • Dublin Castle
  • The Temple bar
  • Smithfield Square
  • The Olympia Theater
  • The statue of Molly Mallone
  • Christ Church Cathedral
  • St. Patrick's Cathedral
  • The Jameson Distillery
  • Trinity College

2. Discover the surrounding landscapes

Malahide Castle and Gardens | ©William Murphy
Malahide Castle and Gardens | ©William Murphy

If walking around the city is already a privilege for nature lovers due to the many green spaces in Dublin, taking one of the excursions around Dublin is an experience not to be missed during a visit to Ireland.

You have many places to choose from and most of them are accessible with an organized day trip. The most popular are: the route through the natural scenery where the Game of Thrones series was filmed, the visit to the Cliffs of Moher or the visit to the castle and gardens of Malahide. The natural landscapes are the main attraction of Ireland and these excursions are a good proof of that.

All of them can be booked online and include, in addition to transportation, the services of a specialized guide that highlights the historical and cultural importance of the destination. Do not hesitate and ask him for all the information and recommendations you need.

3. Visit the Guinness Brewery

Boilers of beer at the Guinness brewery | ©Ryan Schreiber
Boilers of beer at the Guinness brewery | ©Ryan Schreiber

Considering that Guinness beer is part of the Irish national heritage, it is not surprising that a visit to this brewery is one of the most popular activities among visitors to the capital. It is an experience for all audiences that both beer lovers and museum lovers will enjoy. Explore this article on how to visit the Guinness Brewery for all the details.

The Guinness brewery consists of seven floors, it is set up as a museum and the visit is designed in a very entertaining way. Not only will you learn facts about the history of beer, the reason for its importance in Ireland or the types that exist; you will also learn how to pour a beer and you can taste a Guinness (or a soft drink for those younger than you) in the Gravity bar on the top floor, from where you can see the best views of the city.

The opening hours are from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (until 8 p.m. in winter) and I recommend that you buy your ticket online to avoid queues on arrival.

4. Tour the city on the tour bus

Tour bus through the streets of Dublin | ©D464-Darren Hall
Tour bus through the streets of Dublin | ©D464-Darren Hall

Using the tourist bus in any European city is a quick and comfortable way to visit all the monuments and points of interest of the city without having to spend several days and without having to walk. The dublin tourist bus has, in addition, another advantage and that is that you can take shelter from the rain without having to give up panoramic views of the city.

The service works the same as anywhere else: you buy a pass for 24 or 48 hours and during that time you have unlimited access to the city's tourist buses whether you want to take the full route or use them as a means of transport to move between monuments and museums.

All tour buses have audio commentary in several languages that will allow you to learn interesting facts about the city during your visit. In addition, by purchasing a Dublin sightseeing bus pass with free stops you will also get a number of discounts and benefits at selected places in the city.

5. Take a tour of the city's pubs

Enjoy the typical and colorful pubs of Dublin | ©Laura LaRose
Enjoy the typical and colorful pubs of Dublin | ©Laura LaRose

It is quite difficult to leave Dublin without having visited some of its pubs; there is one on every corner and the ambience in them is unbeatable. Inside, locals and locals of all ages mingle to enjoy Irish music and beer and, of all the things to do in Dublin, joining them is the most authentic experience you can have during your trip.

These pubs are so popular that there are even guided tours where a local will show you some of the most legendary ones like the Temple bar. The real value of these tours is sharing time with a local, chatting and asking questions, but don't worry because Dubliners will be just as welcoming if you visit the pubs on your own. The important thing is that you don't miss out on getting to know the root of the city's social life.

6. Visit Trinity College

Trinity College Library | ©Urko Dorronsoro
Trinity College Library | ©Urko Dorronsoro

You've probably heard about this building in movies or books. Good news: it's in Dublin and it's open to the public. It is the oldest university in Ireland and was founded by Elizabeth I in 1592. The building itself and its gardens are a marvel, but the real gem is its splendid library.

You can visit the place every day from 9:00 to 17:00 and follow the footsteps of some of his most famous students like Oscar Wilde or Samuel Becket. I insist on the need to see the Old Library with more than 200,000 books, including the "Book of Kells" containing the 4 gospels of the New Testament.

7. Travel back in time from Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle | ©Erik Cleves Kristensen
Dublin Castle | ©Erik Cleves Kristensen

In the heart of Dublin you will find a charming castle that today is used for conferences and official receptions. Although a visit to the interior is a must, seeing the building from the outside is a must on any tour of central Dublin.

If you buy the Dublin Pass, you can enter for free and if you take the tour focused on the dark legends of the city, be attentive to the bloody stories that the guide will tell you when you arrive at the gates.

8. Visit St. Patrick's Cathedral

St. Patrick's Cathedral | ©Jim Linwood
St. Patrick's Cathedral | ©Jim Linwood

The largest church in the country is dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland and its Gothic architecture and ornate interiors are well worth a visit. It is located in the center of Dublin and is one of the most important points of interest in the city.

In the place where today stands the cathedral, formerly (so the legend goes) there was a well in which St. Patrick baptized the pagans of the city to convert them to Christianity. Literature lovers will find inside the tomb of Johnatan Swift, the creator of "Gulliver's Travels".

9. Stroll through St Stephen's Green Park

St Stephen's Green Park | ©William Murphy
St Stephen's Green Park | ©William Murphy

This Dublin park is what El Retiro is to Madrid or Hyde Park is to London: a real tourist attraction in itself. You're lucky that it's not too crowded and you'll be able to stroll calmly while you delight in its wide variety of flowers.

The best time to visit is April to June. Do not miss the pond and the fairytale houses inside. The park is very large so get lost inside without fear to discover its different corners. Your photo camera is a must.

10. Culturize at the National Gallery of Ireland

National Gallery of Ireland | ©James Petts
National Gallery of Ireland | ©James Petts

With free admission, the National Gallery of Ireland houses the works of painters such as Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Monet or Picasso. It is located in the center of Dublin and contains a collection of works ranging from the Middle Ages to the twentieth century.

In addition to enjoying the permanent collection, it is worth taking a look at the temporary exhibitions held periodically, all of them perfectly organized to make the visitor's experience more than satisfactory.

11. Get your Dublin Pass for the best tours

Visit the Jameson Distillery | ©Neil Turner
Visit the Jameson Distillery | ©Neil Turner

The Tourist Cards of the cities are undoubtedly a good way to save money (as they allow you to access practically all the main attractions for a fixed price) and above all time, as they allow you to access these attractions without waiting in line at the entrance. In this guide about the Dublin Pass, you can see all the advantages and how to use it.

Things to do in Dublin