If you’re looking for unique and unusual places to visit in Dublin, you’re in the right place.
In the guide below, you’ll discover some weird and wonderful tourist attractions in Dublin that are often missed by those visiting (and by many of those that live here!).
From the remains of Saint Valentine and the oldest library in Ireland to unusual tours and more, you’ll find an endless number of unique places to see in Dublin below!
The most unique places to visit in Dublin
Now, just a quick disclaimer: if you’re looking for the more popular attractions, like Kilmainham Gaol and the Book of Kells, you won’t find them in this guide.
However, we do have a guide to the best things to do in Dublin that’s packed with tourist favourites along with a handful of hidden gems. Right – I’ll stop rambling, dive on in!
1. Visit the remains of St. Valentine
This one always blows my mind a little. St Valentine’s remains have been lying around in Dublin since 1836 when they were given to Fr John Spratt by Pope Gregory XV.
Talk about a random gift… According to legend, when Fr Spratt passed away, the remains of St. Valentine were forgotten about and locked away in storage until the 1950s.
The remains now sit within the Carmelite church on Whitefriar Street and can be visited throughout the year.
2. Descend into the vaults to see St. Michan’s mummies
Yes, you read that correctly! You can tour the vaults at St. Michan’s Church and get an up-close look at the mummified remains of prominent Irish citizens and nobility, including the Shears brothers and the Earls of Leitrim.
Interestingly enough, Bram Stoker, the author of Dracula himself is said to have toured these vaults back in the day.
When you’re finished, make your way up from the basement and have a nosey at the historic organ and the Church’s beautiful decor. If you’re looking for places to visit in Dublin when it’s raining, this is a very handy option.
3. Find even more mummies at the National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland is one of several Dublin tourist attractions that tends to attract many a visitor throughout the year, and for good reason – there are heaps of things to see here.
Including mummies (yes, more of them!). The preserved remains you’ll find as part of the Kingship and Sacrifice exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland (not the one pictured above) are a little spookier than those resting in the vaults at St. Michan’s.
These leathery-looking remains were human sacrifices who were then mummified by the Irish bogs they were buried in.
The best part? A visit to the National Museum of Ireland won’t cost you a cent, making it one of the top free things to do in Dublin.
4. Grab some mighty views from the (supposedly) haunted Hellfire Club
If you’ve nipped into our guide to the best Dublin walks, you’ll be familiar with the Hellfire Club and the very mighty Montpellier trail.
It’s on this looped walk that you’ll be treated to a spectacular panoramic view out over the City. This walk takes a little over an hour (depending on fitness levels) and brings you up Montpelier Hill to the ruins of a supposedly haunted lodge.
If you’re in search of places to visit in Dublin where you can stretch the legs while soaking up views and a bit of quirky history, make sure to carve out some time for the Hellfire Club Walk.
5. Head off on a trad session under a bridge (the most unique Dublin sightseeing tour)
If you’re in search of VERY different Dublin sightseeing tours, look no further than the lads at City Kayaking (hit play on the video above now!).
If you’ve ever fancied combining a love for kayaking and music, then this’ll be right up your street. How does listening to some of the best musicians in town from UNDER one of the most iconic bridges of Dublin sound?
Well, that’s what the lads at City Kayaking have on offer. As you can imagine, the acoustics under the bridge are unbelievable and the atmosphere on the water is magic
How it works: You hop onboard a stable (a “sit on top” kayak) and paddle towards the city center and back, stopping under a few bridges where the musicians will play. Lasts around 2.5 hours.
6. Search for bullet holes on O’Connell Street
If you live in Dublin, or if you’ve visited in the past, it’s highly likely that you’ve spent a bit of time on O’Connell Street.
It is easy to saunter along this street and see nothing but the Spire or the GPO. The former is an enormous spike jutting up in the middle of the street, after all.
O’Connell Street is arguably one of the most historic streets in the capital. It was here in 1916 during the Easter Rising where Irish republicans seized the GPO and proclaimed the Irish Republic.
This event led to O’Connell Street being bombarded for a number of days by a gunboat by the name of Helga. To this day there’s evidence of this battle hidden in plain sight.
The next time you visit this street, make your way over to the O’Connell Monument. You’ll see bullet holes here and in many places on O’Connell Street. You’ll see some more in the GPO’s pillars.
7. Make your mark at the oldest pub in Dublin
The Brazen Head is arguably one of the most unique places to visit in Dublin for those fond of a pint (or an Irish coffee). This ancient pub is Dublin’s oldest.
The Brazen Head has been welcoming thirsty travellers since at least 1198 (that’s a lot of pints!). Head to the back bar and check out the dollar bills taped to the walls, signed and doodled on by previous patrons.
The walls are so full now that the pub purchased a custom leather book where visitors can make their mark. If you’d like to discover other historic public houses, drop into our guide to the best pubs in Dublin.
8. Visit the oldest library in Ireland
You’ll find Marsh’s Library, the oldest library in Ireland, tucked away behind St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, where its been since 1707,
This gorgeous building is home to roughly 25,000 books and over 300 manuscripts. As you wander around Marsh’s, be on the lookout for bullet holes in the bookcases.
These little pockets of history were made during the Easter Rising when the hotel next door was being occupied.
Over the years, Marsh’s has welcomed everyone from Bram Stoker and Jonathan Swift to James Joyce through its doors (you can see their signatures in the visitor ledger).
9. Head for pints with a historian (who’s also a beer expert)
In just over a year, the Hoppy History tour has welcomed 2,200+ guests, averaging a rating of 4.95/5 from 850+ reviews on Airbnb.
Founded by historian and beer expert Nils, this unique tour now operates in both Dublin and Berlin and is perfect for tourists and locals alike.
The Dublin tour is run by Rory, a Dublin native, Trinity College history graduate, and Guinness connoisseur.
Over the course of this tour, you’ll take a journey through both Dublin’s and Ireland’s history, focussing on the most important figures of the last centuries, the history that shaped Dublin, and much more.
After 2 hours of history, Rory will take you to sample some of the best Guinness in Dublin. This is another handy one for those of you looking for things to do in Dublin when the weather’s bad!
10. The ‘Dead Zoo’ (one of the most unique places to see in Dublin)
The Dead Zoo is a fitting nickname for Ireland’s Museum of Natural History. Visitors here will find taxidermied animals and perfectly preserved skeletons from all sorts of animal species.
The museum is also home to the flies that Darwin studied on his famous voyage to the Galapagos Islands. These are, unfortunately, kept in the private collection.
Still, those who dare venture into the Dead Zoo can learn about more than 10,000 species on display. This is one of the many Dublin attractions that tends to attract a crowd, so arrive early if you can.
11. Explore the only castle in the country with an intact moat
Moats are almost exclusive to movie sets these days, but if you’re looking to see this medieval phenomenon for yourself, a visit to Drimnagh Castle is a must!
Out of the many castles in Ireland, Drimnagh is the only one with an intact moat (no drawbridge, though; that was replaced with a bridge back in the 1700s.)
The castle has also served as a set location in several films and TV shows, including The Tudors and The Old Curiosity Shop. Discover more castles in our guide to the best castles in Dublin.
12. Have an aul gawk at Napoleon’s toothbrush (one of the most unusual Dublin attractions)
This definitely falls into the ‘unusual things to do in Dublin’ category… So, the chances are that you’ve heard of Napoleon, but have you ever heard of Barry Edward O’Meara?!
O’Meara performed Napoleon’s first medical operation, extracting a troublesome wisdom tooth and subsequently became his friend.
They were so close that Napoleon gifted him with some personal effects which included a toothbrush. You can check them out in a hallway of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland on Kildare Street in Dublin. Bizarre or what.
13. Visit the very unique Pearse Lyons Distillery
Based in St James’s Street Church, opposite the Guinness Hop Store, Pearse Lyons Distillery is arguably the most beautiful whiskey distillery in Dublin.
Dr Pearse Lyons, the founder of the distillery who sadly passed away in 2018, had strong links to the site. In 1948, his grandfather was buried in the graveyard of St James’s, so to say this was a passion project would be an immense understatement.
The tours here start at €20. The best value option looks to be the one for €25 that includes a guided tour of the unique site along with 4 tastings. This is hands-down our favourite of the many whiskey distilleries in Dublin.
14. Stroll around the roof of Croke Park on the Skyline Tour
This is another solid option for those of you looking for unique places to visit in Dublin. The Croke Park Skyline tour is Dublin’s highest open-viewing platform.
As you walk around the rim of the stadium, you’ll be treated to breathtaking panoramic views of Ireland’s vibrant capital.
Those that head off on this tour will get to see a good chunk of Dublin’s top landmarks from above while also getting an insight into the city’s rich history, via a charismatic tour guide.
15. Check out Sweny’s Pharmacy from James Joyce’s Ulysses
You might be wondering, ‘Why is a pharmacy considered an attraction in Dublin?’ Well, Sweny’s isn’t just any pharmacy. This vintage drugstore earned a mention in James Joyce’s Ulysses.
When it closed its doors in 2009, visitors still flocked here in search of the pharmacy’s lemon-scented soap made famous by Joyce.
Sweny’s, now run entirely by volunteers and featuring the same decor it did back in Joyce’s day, celebrates this literary legacy with its own bookshop and handmade crafts from local artists.
16. The Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum Experience
The Irish Rock ‘N’ Roll Museum is arguably the most unique museum out of the many different museums in Dublin (it has its fair share of contenders!).
You’ll find this place conveniently located smack bang in the middle of Dublin’s Temple Bar district. It’s here that all things weird and wonderful related to the vibrant Irish music industry over the past 30 years come together in one big experience.
Visitors will receive an access all areas pass that’ll provide entry to the backstage area at the renowned Button Factory venue, behind the Wall of Fame and to the recording studios where Glen Hansard’s Oscar award-winning film Once was filmed.
Interestingly enough, everyone from Christy Moore and Rihanna to your man Will.I.Am has recorded in the studios here over the years.
17. Fly between the trees at Zipit Forest Adventures
I fancy giving this a crack myself if I’m honest. If you’re looking for things to do in Dublin with kids, look no further than Zipit Forest Adventures.
You’ll find Zipit nestled on a sloping site in the Dublin Mountains, a handy 15-minute drive from Dundrum Town Centre.
Zipit is a forest adventure park where children and adults can climb high into the treetops, swing into cargo nets, and even ride a bmx across a bridge, before zipping down one of the many ziplines.
18. Try your hand at a bit of wall climbing
Home to over 2,000 square meters of dedicated climbing surface, Awesome Walls boasts over 250 climbing routes that you can attempt. Just don’t look down…
While this doesn’t fall into the ‘tourist attractions in Dublin’ category, it’s a unique activity to try if you’re looking for places to visit in Dublin when it’s lashing down.
19. Have a peek inside the Freemasons’ Grand Lodge
Some say they control everything from income taxes to the moon landing, but if the Freemasons are really after world domination, they probably wouldn’t have opened their second oldest lodge to the public (or would they…)
No matter where you stand on conspiracies, the Grand Lodge of Ireland is a unique attraction right in the heart of Dublin. Tours of the Grand Lodge are available on weekdays from June to August.
20. See the deer at the Phoenix Park
Dublin’s Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe. Now that’s pretty damn impressive.
It was originally formed as a royal hunting Park way back in the 1660s but opened to the public in 1747. A large herd of fallow deer still remain in the park to this day.
Although they can be tricky to find at times, I tend to see them any time that I park near the Papal Cross (you can’t miss it!)
21. Spend the evening in an alcohol-free bar in the heart of Dublin City
The Virgin Mary bar on Capel Street is Dublin’s first alcohol-free pub. The menu in this very unique little boozer boasts a range of drinks, with a cocktail menu that includes a Raven Nitro Coffee.
This drink is poured from a stout tap to mimic the velvety texture and appearance of a pint of Guinness.
22. Have the sh*te scared out of you on the Ghostbus Tour
Those that step inside the Ghostbus will be given a glimpse of Dublin’s underbelly. The tour is led by the Ghostbus Tour Storytellers.
These seasoned guides are professional actors who strike a perfect balance between comedy and horror.
From body-snatching and paranormal activities to a hidden city centre graveyard and the medieval vaults that lie beneath Dublin Castle, you’ll hear and see it all.
What unique places to visit in Dublin have we missed?
I’m sure that we’ve unintentionally left out some unique and unusual places to see in Dublin from the guide above.
If you have somewhere that you’d like to recommend, let me know in the comments below and I’ll check it out!