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24 Best Things To Do In Dublin (A Dubliners Guide)

24 Best Things To Do In Dublin (A Dubliners Guide)

I’ve lived in Ireland’s capital for 35 years. Below, you’ll find what think are the best things to do in Dublin, with a mix of hikes, museums and hidden gems.

This Dublin guide focuses on two areas:

  • Dublin City: Boasting a ‘Viking past’, the city is steeped in history with the likes Kilmainham Gaol a ‘must do’
  • County Dublin: Which is home to the Dublin Mountains, a glorious coastline and countless walking trails.

Read on to discover what to do in Dublin at any time of year. Cheers!

The best things to do in Dublin

Deciding on what to do in Dublin can be tricky. If you’re only visiting for a day, see our 24 hours in Dublin itinerary or our 2-day Dublin itinerary if you’re here for the weekend.

It’s worth taking 30 seconds to look at the map above as it’ll give you the lay-of-the-land quickly. It has the various places to visit in Dublin below plotted!


1. Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol

Photos via Shutterstock

Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 as the County Gaol (prison) for Dublin City and the wider county. It was within its walls that leaders of the 1798, 1803, 1848,1867 and 1916 rebellions were detained.

Many members of the Irish Republican movement during the Anglo-Irish War (1919-21) were also held in Kilmainham Gaol.

The tour is immersive, enlightening and, at times, harrowing and the guides are knowledgable and entertaining in their delivery.

Handy tip: Book ahead! A visit to Kilmainham Gaol is one of the top things to do in Dublin – it’s often booked out days in advance.


2. St Patrick’s and Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral are both well worth a visit (it helps that it’s a 7 minute walk between the two!).

St Patrick’s was founded in 1191 but construction on the current cathedral didn’t kick-off until around 1220 and took a good 40 years to finish!

Founded by the first bishop of Dublin and Sitriuc, Norse king of Dublin, Christ Church Cathedral dates back to around 1030.

Both structures are packed with history and they’re a handy option if you’re wondering what to do in Dublin when it rains!


3. The Dublin Mountains

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Dublin this weekend that’ll take you away from the hustle and bustle, point your nose in the direction of the Dublin Mountains.

It’s here that you’ll find some of the best walks in Dublin! Located to the south of the city, the Dublin Mountains are actually an extension of the Wicklow Mountains.

They’re around a 30-minute spin from the city and there’s heaps of walks to tackle here. Our favourites are:


4. Marsh’s Library

Marsh's Library

Photos by James Fennell via Failte Ireland

You’ll find one of the most unique places to go in Dublin just behind St Patrick’s Cathedral.

Founded in 1707, Marsh’s Library holds roughly 25,000 books and over 300 manuscripts and it is the oldest library in Ireland.

As you wander around Marsh’s, keep an eye out for holes in the bookcases, which were made during the Easter Rising when the hotel next door was being occupied.

Handy tip: Make sure to check out the visitor ledger. You’ll see the signatures of Bram Stoker, James Joyce and more


5. The Howth Cliff Walk

Howth Cliff Walk

Photos via Shutterstock

The Howth Cliff Walk is hard to beat when the weather’s good. You can get a DART directly from Dublin City Centre to Howth and the 5 trails kick-off from the village.

The trails range from 1.5 to 3.5 hours and vary massively in difficulty level. Each treats you to glorious coastal views throughout.

When you’ve finished your stroll, there’s plenty more things to do in Howth, or you can just take it handy with a post-walk-feed.

There are plenty of hikes near Dublin, but this one tends to be the most popular, so try and get here early if you can to avoid the crowds.


6. Trinity College

Trinity College

Photos via Shutterstock

Arguably one of the best things to do in Dublin if you like to go off review scores online, Trinity College is well worth nipping into.

Trinity College was created by royal charter from Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 with the goal of ‘bringing prestige’ to Ireland at a time when many other European countries were also founding important centres of education.

Take a saunter around the grounds (free) and then head in to see the incredible Long Room Library and the ancient Book of Kells.

Related read: Check out our guide on where to stay in Dublin (a guide to the different areas)


7. The Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Dublin bus tour

Photos via GetYourGuide

The Hop-on Hop-off Tour of the city (affiliate link) is widely regarded as one of the best things to do in Dublin by visiting tourists.

It’s a handy way to get around without a car and it takes in many of the most popular attractions in Dublin, like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Ha’penny Bridge, Temple Bar and the Guinness Storehouse.

You can grab a 24 or a 48-hour ticket and it’ll set you back around €30. The reviews speak for themselves.

Fancy exploring on foot for free? Follow our self-guided walking tour of Dublin!


8. The Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

Photos © Diageo via Ireland’s Content Pool

Another attraction that’s widely considered to be one of the best things to do in Dublin by visiting tourists is the world-famous Guinness Storehouse.

You’ll find it standing proudly at St James’s Gate on the site where Arthur Guinness set up shop with a 9,000-year lease in 1759.

There are several tours that you can head off on here but, if you can, opt for the guided tour as you’ll get a better insight into the history of the factor.

The tour finishes with a pint in the Gravity Bar where you’ll be treated to a superb view over the city.


9. Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Few castles in Dublin are as impressive as the very central Dublin Castle, which is based just off buzzy Dame Street.

The tour here, which is very often overlooked by those of us living in the capital, is arguably one of the best things to do in Dublin.

On it, you’ll listen as the experienced guides tell countless tales about everything from underground chambers to Medieval towers. 

Dublin Castle was developed as a medieval fortress under the orders of King John of England and construction began in 1204 following the invasion of 1169.


10. Dublinia


Photos courtesy Dublinia via Ireland’s Content Pool

If you’re wondering what to do in Dublin to discover the city’s Viking past, look no further than the Dublinia Tour. The tour here is one that has been recommended to me time and time again.

Those that embark upon it will meet the Vikings face to face while learning about life during the Medieval period in Dublin.

Visitors will discover what life was like on a Viking battleship, learn about the long and treacherous voyages and discover the skills needed to be a Viking warrior.

If you’re looking for fun things to do in Dublin this weekend, the Dublinia tour is well worth doing. You can visit nearby Christ Church Cathedral when you’re done.


11. Dublin’s whiskey distilleries

If you’re looking for places to visit in Dublin with a group of friends, there are a handful of whiskey distilleries in Dublin who’s tours have racked up rave reviews online over the years.

While the best known is arguably the Jameson Distillery on Bow St., the Pearse Lyons Distillery, the Roe and Co Distillery and the Teeling Distillery are all worth a visit.

If you’d prefer a pint, the likes of the world-famous Guinness Storehouse and the often-missed Rascals Brewing Company in Inchicore are worth checking out, too.


12. The Phoenix Park

Wellington Monument

Photos via Shutterstock

The Phoenix Park is one of the better known of the many parks in Dublin. It’s the largest park within any European City and there’s plenty to see and do.

If you fancy a day out with a difference, you can rent bikes at the main entrance of the park and zip around all of the various attractions.

You can stop off for coffee over at the Hole in the Wall pub, see the Papal Cross and admire Áras an Uachtaráin from afar.

If you’re on the hunt for places to go in Dublin a stone’s throw from a plethora of other attractions, get yourself here. Some other parks in the county work visiting are:


13. Killiney Hill


Photos via Shutterstock

The Killiney Hill walk is another peach of a ramble that has an option to suit both fit and unfit walkers.

If you fancy a mini-hike, follow the 30-minute trail outlined here. If you want to avoid as much incline walking as possible, drive up to the main car park. The ‘summit’ is a short walk from there.

The views from Killiney Hill on a clear day are outstanding and you’ll be given a good eyeful of the surrounding city and county.


14. Historic pubs

Dublin’s nightlife is hard to bate, once you know where to look (if you’re new to the city, try our self-guided Dublin pub crawl – you’ll visit some mighty old-school pubs).

In our guide to the best pubs in Dublin, you’ll find loads of old-school pubs worth nipping into.

If you fancy something a bit different, there’s everything from nightclubs to rooftop bars on offer. Here’s some guides to hop into:


15. Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

Malahide Castle is a handy 30-minute spin from Dublin City on the DART and the area is a great spot to spend a day.

The castle here dates to the 12th Century and it’s construction was ordered by Richard Talbot after he was given the land by King Henry II.

You can take a tour of the castle, explore the beautifully maintained grounds and then head into the village – there’s plenty of things to do in Malahide and there are heaps of great pubs and restaurants dotted around its village.

Related read: These are 27 of the best things to do in Dublin with kids


16. Beautiful beaches 

beaches in dublin

Photos via Shutterstock

Some of the best places to visit in Dublin are the sandy stretches (and the ‘hidden’ swimming spots) that are dotted along its magnificent coastline, as you’ll discover in our guide to the best Dublin beaches.

From tourist favourites, like Dollymount Strand and Sandycove Beach, to lesser-know spots, like Burrow Beach, there’s something to tickle every fancy. Here are our favourites:

Don’t fancy the sand? There’s plenty of swimming pools in Dublin too!


17. Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin Cemetery and Gravedigger combo

Glasnevin Cemetery

Photos via Shutterstock

So, this is a bit of a random combo, but bear with me. Out in Glasnevin, a stone’s throw from Dublin City Centre, you’ll find a fine way of whittling away an afternoon.

Kick start your visit with a saunter around the glorious National Botanic Gardens. The story of the gardens begins at the end of the 18th century and, nearly 200 years later, they’re still delighting locals and tourists alike.

When you’ve finished up, you’re a short ramble away from Glasnevin Cemetery, where you can discover the stories of 1.5+ million people on one of several tours (you could also do the nearby Croke Park tour, if you fancied).

To round off your visit to the area in style, take the short walk from Glasnevin to the Gravediggers – it’s here you’ll get some of the best Guinness in Dublin.

Related read: Check out our guide to 32 of the best things to do in Ireland in 2024


18. The Viking Splash

Viking Splash Tour

Photos via Viking Splash on FB

The Viking Splash Tour is one of the most popular fun things to do in Dublin City Centre, and you tend to see it (or hear it!) as you walk around the city.

The Viking Splash provides a nice quirky way to explore Dublin City from the comfort of a WWII amphibious vehicle.

These vehicles can travel on land and water, which means you’ll be spending the first half of the tour driving around the city and the second, yep you guessed it, on the water.

Related read: Check out our guide to the best free things to do in Dublin today (a mix of outdoor attractions and museums)


19. Poolbeg Lighthouse walk

Poolbeg Lighthouse walk

Photos via Shutterstock

The Poolbeg Lighthouse walk is another good option if you’d like to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a bit without having to stray too far off-the-beaten-path.

You’ll find the little red Poolbeg Lighthouse on the Great South Wall where it has been since 1768. 

There are two different trails here – a long one, which kicks-off at Sandymount Strand (2.5 hours) and a short one, which starts from the car park on Pigeon House Road (1 hour).

The walks take you right out into Dublin Bay and offer some lovely coastal views (warning: dress sensibly – it gets very windy!).

Related read: Check out our guide to the best 5 star hotels in Dublin (from historic accommodation to modern and boutique hotels in Dublin)


20. Dublin’s coastal towns

Howth Dublin

Photos via Shutterstock

Dublin’s home to plenty of lovely seaside towns and villages that make a great day-trip-destination if you fancy getting away from the city.

Although the likes of Howth, Malahide and Dalkey tend to attract a lot of the footfall, there’s plenty of other scenic towns to explore.

Places like Killiney, Skerries, Dun Laoghaire and Clontarf are just some of the other areas worth nipping out to, as they’re home to plenty to do and lots of places to eat and drink.

Don’t limit yourself to the various things to do in Dublin City, hop on the DART and head off to one of the many towns and villages nearby. They might surprise you.


21. Mighty museums

Chester Beatty

Photos courtesy of Chester Beatty via Ireland’s Content Pool

Dublin City gets a bad aul rap. Sure, there’s plenty of areas to avoid in Dublin but, for the most part, the city’s a fine spot for a day out, especially when it comes to museums.

Although it’s the EPIC museum, that tends to get a lot of the attention online, there’s plenty more that’ll come in handy if you’re wondering what to do in Dublin when the weathers poor.

Here are our favourites:


22. Tourist favourites

what to do in Dublin with kids

Photos via Shutterstock

There’s endless tourist activities in Dublin, as you’ve probably guessed, and you could easily spend a week working your way around them

If you’re still struggling to decide what to do in Dublin, here are some final suggestions for you:


23. A very overlooked food scene

If you’re wondering what to do in Dublin after a day spent exploring, or if you fancy a tasty breakfast or lunch, you’re in luck.

There’s countless great restaurants in Dublin, from Michelin Star restaurants and places for bottomless brunch to dive cafes and more. Here’s some guides to nip into:

Now you know what to do in Dublin, it’s time to explore nearby

best day trips from Dublin

Now that we’ve covered what to see in Dublin, it’s time to see what there is to do close by!

There’s heaps of day trips from Dublin that you can head off on. Here are some of our favourites near the city:

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Wednesday 4th of May 2022

Thanks. This was very helpful. I’d lived here before but hadn’t been back for awhile and it’s given me new things to go see


Friday 27th of December 2019

Hi! Thank you so much! I thought I'd seen everything in Dublin and was planning day trips to other cities but this made me stay here for the rest of the holiday!

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