Looking for some things to do in Dublin?
If you are planning your trip and looking for what to do while in the Emerald Isle’s main city, you are in for a treat! I visited the city during our British Isles Cruise and went for a great day of Dublin sightseeing. We went around the city to see various Dublin attractions as our cruise shore excursion.
Being the largest city in Ireland, Dublin’s city life is buzzing with different activities and tourists. There are plenty of things to do in the city whether for a solo trip, fun group getaway, a romantic trip with your partner or an energetic holiday with the kids.
History of Dublin
The colourful history of the City of Dublin can be traced back to over 1000 years ago. It has been the major city of Ireland and its educational, cultural, and industrial centre. In the early 16th century, Dublin had gone through a turbulent period, especially because of separation of Henry VII with the church.
Dublin had faced huge street fighting from 1916 to 1922. Most of the finest buildings were destroyed at that time. Today, Dublin has the marks of the Civil War, 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Irish War of Independence, and 1916 rising.
Here are our suggested attractions and things to do in Dublin:
1. Visit the Trinity College
Established in the year 1592, Trinity College is the oldest university in Ireland. The Alma Mater of some distinguished students like poet Oscar Wilde, famous author Bram Stocker, and Gulliver’s Travels author, Jonathan Swift. You should not miss the ancient Book of Kells Exhibition here which is known as the oldest book in the world completed in 800AD.
It also houses the Old Library, which has a vast collection of 200,000 of oldest books in lavish oak shelves. It is truly architectural magic and a room for most bibliophiles. The Trinity College Library is the most famous and largest library in Ireland. The Long Room is the grandest central section here, which seems to be an inspiration for Jedi Archives in Star Wars.
2. Experience the Guinness Brewery Tour
Founded by Arthur Guinness, The Guinness Brewery is one of the best Dublin attractions that you must not miss when you visit Ireland. As you go through each floor, you will learn what makes it an ideal pint of Guinness. Perched in the heart of Gate Brewery of St. James, the Guinness Storehouse is the most popular attraction in Ireland.
It houses the heart of Dublin, the Black Stuff (the Guinness) and an irresistible beginning to your Irish tour. You can start your tour at the bottom of the largest pint glass in the world and go through seven floors. You will have innovative experiences to explore the rich history of Ireland and long-back brewing heritage. You will also be rewarded in the rooftop Gravity Bar with perfection.
3. Enjoy the Irish Pub Culture
Irish Pub Culture has been the most popular and a must-experience when you visit Dublin. No Dublin sightseeing is complete without stopping by a local pub! There are many pubs where you can party like the locals. These pubs are some of the important parts of tradition in Ireland.
Join this pub tour and experience a great evening in pub hopping around the famous pub district in Dublin.
Temple Bar and John Kehoe Bar
The area around the Temple Bar is a maze of steep streets with live music and pubs. It is located at the south of River Liffey and one of the oldest regions of Dublin. It houses some of the leading bars of Ireland. If you want to experience one of the best things to do in Dublin, you must then experience the nightlfe in the city.
On the other side, John Kehoe Bar is one of the well-kept secrets on the Irish pub scene. Founded in 1803, it is a traditional and an institution in the pub scene in Dublin.
4. Visit the Kilmainham Gaol
Since 1796, Kilmainham Gaol has a long infamous history of the dark and gruesome penitentiary. It was known for the executions of many members of the Irish republican movement happened in 1916.
If you are a history lover, Kilmainham Gaol is one of the best Dublin attractions. It is an abandoned prison offering guided tours of recovered quarters. Each tour to the jail lasts 45 to 50 minutes for just €4 per visitor.
A skilled guide will give you the trip to the past of its cellars. It details extreme and worst treatments towards the prisoners at that time. It has a lot of amazing facts about the restoration and politics behind the prison. You will have much detailed and in-depth know-how of this turbulent period of Irish history.
5. Relax in the Phoenix Park
The largest walled urban park in Europe, Phoenix Park is a national treasure for Irish residents and visitors. The park is stretched over 7 sq. km. and is located in proximity to the city centre. Opened around 350 years ago, Phoenix Park houses Dublin Zoo and is well-known for wild herds of deer roaming around the forests. One of the perfect places to visit in Dublin with kids and the whole family.
In 1662, the deer were shifted when the park was established as a royal park for deer hunting. Nevertheless, today, around 450 members are free to go wild. Having a picnic in the afternoon at Phoenix Park is one of the best things to do in Dublin. Keep your eyes open. Who knows when deer come to join you? You can spend the whole day for a perfect Dublin sightseeing.
6. Dublin Castle
Located at a Viking settlement site and built at the beginning of 13th century, Dublin Castle has so much history to share. Several parts of the medieval castle and the ruins of original defences used by the Vikings have been revealed by excavations. The stone covered the historical curtain wall, embankment, and the steps which led down to the moat which has been preserved to explore.
It is definitely one of the best things to do in Dublin, Ireland. It was the headquarters to the British administration before the beginning of 1916. After independence, Dublin Castle was handed to the next Irish government and opened for public in 1922. Stretched over 11 acres, the castle stands tall proudly on the high ridge and offers guided and self-guided tours to the grounds.
7. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick Cathedral was founded in 1191 and is the largest church in Ireland. St. Patrick baptized Christian himself in this church around 1500 years ago. It is not the only cathedral in the nation. It shares the title of ‘two-cathedral’ city with Christ Church Cathedral in the close proximity.
You can get inside and enjoy the beautiful interior of the church from 9 am to 5 pm every day. The Gulliver’s Travels author, Jonathan Swift once served Dean of the church. He was also buried there.
You can find both locals and tourists having fun at the grounds and soaking up its rich past. Therefore, visiting here is definitely one of the best things to do in Dublin Ireland. It is really an excellent architectural landmark and you can notice its beauty both inside and out.
8. Have fun in Dublin Zoo
Located in the Phoenix Park, the Dublin Zoo is one of the best places to visit in Dublin. With lots of animals to spot and well-planned map, this excursion is must do in Dublin for groups and visitors of all ages.
The animals are well cared for in the zoo. In fact, all of the animals have spacious habitats to have fun and roam, so they can have as close encounters to the real things as possible. You need to visit Meerkat Café to spot the meerkats closely where you can also enjoy your food or drinks. The zoo is definitely one of the places to visit in Dublin!
9. Visits Museums in Dublin
If you have ever been to Emerald Isle, you may know that it rains up to 160 days in a year. Luckily, there are plenty of galleries and museums if the weather is gloomy outside.
Located on the well-known Grafton Street, Irish whiskey Museum is a very popular museum aptly named and highlights the rich history while teaching the recent brands and next days of Irish whiskey. Whether you love whiskey or the culture of Dublin, it is an ultra-modern museum and stands among the crowd. There are plenty of brewery spots and distillery tours and you can definitely witness the true magic in its well-crafted detailing and history and its long-standing love affair with spirit.
EPIC Irish Immigration Museum
The EPIC Irish Emigration Museum exhibits the movement of millions of residents who left their homes looking for the family, opportunity, and a better lifestyle. It is a completely immersive and innovative museum experience, which educates and captivates the way only few can.
Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and Famine Museum
Ranked as one of the best things to do in Dublin City Centre, Jeanie Johnson Tall Ship and Famine Museum is really very fascinating and intriguing landmark to attract tourists. It exudes the turbulent history of Ireland during the 1840s.
Freemason Grand Lodge
Built from 1866 to 1869, Freemason Grand Lodge is another popular attraction, which has been the hub for Irish Freemasonry for around 150 years.
10. The Spire
The Spire is an ancient monument stands in the heart of O’Connell Street towering over 120m above the ground level. Hence, it is easily spotted from afar. It is an absolutely stainless steel monument which is around 15cm at its apex and 3m in diameter on the base.
There you have it! I hope that inspires you to enjoy various places to visit in Dublin whether with your partner, friends, family and kids. These Dublin attractions will surely keep you busy exploring the city of the Emerald Isle.