There are lot of places to visit in Dublin and many things to do in Dublin.
Dublin, famous for its cultural legacy and wonderful hospitality, is situated on a wide bay between Howth in the north and Dalkey in the south. The city is divided in two by the River Liffey, which flows into the port. The north-south division is crossed by several bridges, the most known of which is the O’Connell Bridge. Any are beautiful places to stroll and take in the city’s charm.
Pre-independence The magnificent Georgian architecture and picturesque gardens of Dublin, formerly the second metropolis of the British Empire, bear witness to a troubled history. Yeats, Beckett, Joyce, Shaw, and Wilde are just a few of the famous literary figures who have come from Ireland’s capital. Dublin’s written legacy dates back to 800 CE, when The Book of Kells, now on public exhibition at Trinity College, was designated as a UNESCO City of Literature.
Despite the fact that Dublin sprawls rather than soars, the city center is readily explored on foot, and a well-developed public transportation system gets you where you want to go.
With this list of the top attractions and things to do in Dublin, Ireland, you can find the greatest locations to visit.
Also see: Where to Stay in Dublin: The Best Areas & Hotels
1. Trinity College and Collage Green
The best place to start your Dublin trip is definitely Trinity College. It is the oldest university in Ireland, having been founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. It is located in the heart of the capital and is rich in great history.
Trinity Collage, which sits on a beautiful 40-acre location, has kept part of its historic seclusion of cobbled squares, gardens, and parks, and is known the world over for its collection of outstanding treasures. The Book of Kells, a 9th-century illuminated manuscript, the Books of Durrow and Armagh, and an ancient Irish harp are all on permanent exhibition.
The precious items are on display in the Treasury and the Long Room, which houses over 200,000 of Trinity Collage’s oldest books and hosts regular literary exhibitions. To skip the long lines, book the Early Access Book of Kells Tour. It also includes a visit to Dublin Castle’s exterior.
Trinity Collage is a refuge in the midst of a hectic area. Jonathan Swift (well known as the author of Gulliver’s Travels), Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker (author of Dracula), and playwright Samuel Beckett are just a few of the prominent alumni. You are immediately transported back in time as you enter under a timber-tiled archway. The pristine green lawns, 18th and 19th-century buildings, and cobbled pathway evoke a bygone era and exude a sense of hushed academia.
It’s advisable to plan your visit ahead of time, as public buildings might get busy during peak season. Make time to relax and simply enjoy the ambience in addition to seeing the must-see sights. The former Irish Parliament building, now a Bank of Ireland branch, stands across College Green from the college.
Address: Trinity College, College Green, Dublin 2
Official website: https://www.tcd.ie/visitors/
2. Visit the shops in Grafton street
A short walk south from Trinity College leads to Grafton Street, Dublin’s premier shopping destination. It’s impossible to miss the Molly Malone statue at the bottom of the street.
Morning, noon, and night, this varied stretch buzzes with buskers ranging from classical quartets to traditional fiddle musicians and singer-songwriters. Many well-known bands and musicians have performed here on the heat of the moment, including U2’s Bono.
Apart from buskers, there are a variety of boutiques, jewelers, and department stores, including the upmarket Brown Thomas. Many consider Bewley’s Oriental Café, which has been a Dublin institution since 1927, to be the crown jewel.
If you’re on a shopping spree, the arty Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, with its designer shops and stylish restaurants to eat is well worth a visit.
Official website: http://graftonstreet.ie/
3. Go for a walk around St. Stephens Green.
After filling up at Bewley’s Oriental Café, take a short walk to Fusilier’s Arch, the primary entrance to St. Stephen’s Green, at the top of Grafton Street (Faiche Stiabhna). Around “the Green” (as it’s known locally), Georgian buildings abound, although several were regrettably lost due redevelopment in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s.
The 22-acre park is a Dublin treasure and an oasis of calm away from the city’s hustle and bustle. When the weather allows, lay out on the grass for some rest, or pack a picnic lunch and join the locals.
There is also an ornate fountain in the park’s center, as well as a bridge over a duck pond and a children’s playground. During the 1916 Uprising, the park was the site of fierce fighting, but both sides agreed that hostilities should stop while the park-keeper fed the ducks.
4. The Little Museum of Dublin
A famous museum in Dublin, The Little Museum of Dublin is a hidden gem nestled among the city’s historical sites in a beautiful location. It is a must-see for those interested in how Dublin and its people lived and evolved over the previous century, and is located just a few minutes’ walks from Fusilier’s Arch which is at the top of Dawson Street.
“In the particular is contained the universal,” as James Joyce famously observed, which beautifully sums up the attitude of this treasure trove. History is inscribed large in the detail of people’s possessions.
The museum, which opened in 2011 after an appeal for mementos and artifacts, has grown in popularity and currently organizes a variety of temporary exhibitions and events, as well as permanent installations, such as a U2 retrospective with exhibits donated by band members. The lectern used by John F. Kennedy when he addressed both houses of the Irish Parliament (Oireachtas) in June 1963 is one of the other highlights.
Address: 15 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2
Official website: http://www.littlemuseum.ie/
5. Visit the Kildare Street Museums and the Houses of Parliament
A stroll past the iconic hotel The Shelbourne Dublin from the Little Museum of Dublin will lead you to the top of Kildare Street, where the Irish Parliament (Dáil Éireann) is located on the left hand side.
Kildare House was the name of the parliament building before it was renamed after James Fitzgerald, Earl of Kildare, who commissioned it in 1745 and set out to build a stately Georgian palace to match his high social status. The house was renamed Leinster House after he became Duke of Leinster in 1766.
If you’re interested in literature, the National Library, which is nearby, features a permanent W.B. Yeats exhibit.
Address: Kildare Street, Dublin 2
6. Archaeology at the National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology , located on Kildare Street near the National Library, is well worth a visit. The permanent exhibitions of the museum are excellent. Ireland’s Gold, Prehistoric Ireland, and the magnificent Viking Collection are among the highlights.
The Treasury collection, which includes the beautiful Ardagh Chalice, is well worth seeing. This world-class museum, which is widely regarded as one of the best free things to do in Dublin, also offers tours and a diverse program of workshops and educational programs.
Address: Kildare St, Dublin 2
Official website: https://www.museum.ie/en-IE/Museums/Archaeology
7. Visit the National Gallery of Ireland to learn about Irish art
The National Gallery of Ireland, with entrances on Clare Street and Merrion Square West, is a right turn at the end of Kildare Street. This museum, which houses the world’s best collection of Irish art as well as an extraordinary collection of European art from the Middle Ages to the present day, is a must-see while in Dublin.
The gallery was opened in 1864, with additions in 1903, 1968, and most recently, 2002. The Yeats Museum, seven rooms devoted to Irish art, Italian Painters, the Shaw Room, and the Baroque Room are among the collections.
The gallery, which is spread out across four levels, offers stunning temporary exhibitions on a regular basis, and there’s a great café that’s popular with both.
Address: Clare Street & Merrion Square, Dublin 2
8. Take a stroll through Merrion Square
You’ll be on Merrion Square after exiting the National Gallery’s main portal. This is undoubtedly Dublin’s biggest Georgian square, made mainly of elegant private houses and offices, and it appears in innumerable images and postcards of the city. At its heart is a wonderful park with a brilliant statue of Oscar Wilde, the most colorful writer and renowned Dublin wit.
A pleasant stroll around the square takes you to the Georgian era. Many buildings’ top windows are smaller than those further down, as you may have noticed. This was done to give the impression that the houses are taller than they actually are. Local artists line the park’s perimeter on weekends and exhibit their paintings from the railings.
9. EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
Ireland has always been a people exporter. If you scratch the surface of America’s East Coast, you’ll notice the Irish influence. EPIC in Dublin is a fantastic venue. The Irish Emigration Museum is located in the city’s docklands district, which has seen many painful departures.
This fascinating museum, which opened in 2016, provides an in-depth — and often moving — history of Irish emigration across the centuries. There are more than 20 themed galleries to explore in total, covering not only the history of Irish migration but also the influence these vibrant people have made in the places where they settled.
If you have the time, visit the Irish Family History Centre for tips and guidance – along with resources -to track your family history,
The Jeanie Johnston: An Irish Famine Story is a nearby connected attraction. The mythical Jeanie Johnston, a sailing vessel from Canada that was built in 1847 and transported incalculable numbers of Irish across the Atlantic, is the highlight of this superb museum.
Address: The Chq Building, Custom House Quay, North Dock, Dublin 1
Official website: https://epicchq.com/
10. GPO Witness History Museum
The iconic GPO (General Post Office) was established in 1814 on O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare. Bullet holes still adorn the Neoclassical portico where the doomed 1916 Uprising began. The GPO Witness History Museum, the city’s latest attraction, is a must-see for anybody interested in learning more about this key event in Irish history.
While the exhibit focuses mostly on the events leading up to the uprising and the revolt itself, there is plenty of information about other significant events, such as the Irish War of Independence and the Northern Ireland peace process, available through interactive displays. There are guided tours available, and they are highly recommended.
Address: O’Connell Street Lower, North City, Dublin 1
Official site: www.gpowitnesshistory.ie
11. The James Joyce Centre – learn about Ireland’s greatest writer.
The James Joyce Centre, created by Irish Senator, one-time Presidential Candidate, and famous Joycean scholar David Norris, is located about an eight-minute walk from the GPO, in a lovely Georgian house.
Although Joyce never lived on the property, he was connected to it through a real-life character in Ulysses, Prof. Denis J. Maginni, who managed a dancing academy here. The building was condemned in the 1980s, but thanks to a campaign led by David Norris, it was eventually rescued and restored.
The Dublin Writers Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in learning more about Dublin’s literary history. This remarkable museum, housed in a lovely 1700s home in Parnell Square, offers a fascinating look into the lives of a number of renowned Irish authors, as well as their most important works. The museum displays a collection of paintings and portraits in addition to other artifacts and memorabilia.
Address: 35 North Great George’s Street, Dublin 1
Official website: http://jamesjoyce.ie/
12. National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History (Collins Barracks)
The National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History, which was originally an army barracks, opened in 1997. Silver, ceramics, jewelry, furniture, Irish haute couture fashion, and exhibitions exploring Irish military history are among the collections.
A retrospective of modernist designer Eileen Gray, Irish Silver from the 17th to the 20th centuries, Asian Art, Irish Country Furniture, and Soldiers and Chiefs, which showcases historic military objects and uniforms, are among the other permanent exhibitions.
The Natural History Museum, another section of the National Museum of Ireland worth seeing, was founded in 1856 and has remained mostly unchanged since then, giving it the name “museum of a museum” (or, less flatteringly, the “Dead Zoo”). Exploring the museum’s huge collections of specimens from various species, fossils, and dioramas — all for free — is one of the highlights.
Address: Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, Dublin 7
Official website: www.museum.ie/en-IE/Museums/Decorative-Arts-History
13.Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park is an 18-minute walk from Collins Barracks. With a total area of 1,750 acres, this is Europe’s largest enclosed urban park, which is remarkable given Dublin’s small size. Hundreds of deer roam the area, and the President of Ireland’s official residence (ras an Uachtaráin) is located here, as is Deerfield, a lovely 18th-century home that serves as the residence of the American Ambassador to Ireland.
For anyone interested in learning more about the park and its surroundings, there is a visitor center near Ashtown Castle, a 17th-century tower house. Farmleigh House, which dates from the 1800s and was purchased by the Irish state from the Guinness family in 1999, is located at the far Castleknock Gate end and sits on 78 acres.
The main draw for generations of Dubliners and visitors from overseas is Dublin Zoo, which attracts over one million visitors annually and dates back to 1830, making it Europe’s second oldest zoo. A visit to the zoo is a great way to spend the day.
Asian lions, Asian elephants, , an orangutan enclosure, a Reptile House, sea lions, tigers, hippos, bats, and penguins are among the rare and exotic species on show. Restaurants, children’s play spaces, and a family farm are among the facilities.
Official website: www.dublinzoo.ie
14. Kilmainham Gaol : Visit the Jail
Kilmainham Gaol (jail), which dates from 1789, is a notorious location in the history of Irish nationalism. The leaders of the 1916 rebels were jailed here before being killed for what was considered high treason.
The exhibition, which takes place in a modern hall, provides visitors a flavor of what life was like in Ireland at the time and details the struggle for independence. The rest of the jail has excellent guided tours that cover Irish history from 1796 to 1924. The Stonebreaker’s Yard will send shivers up your spine, as this is where the uprising’s leaders met their horrific end.
Address: Inchicore Road, Dublin 8
Official website: https://kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie
15. Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral, which was restored in the 19th century and now dominates above the surrounding area, was erected on the site of Dublin’s first church, which was founded in 1028 and was made out of wood.
The 14th-century replica of the tomb of legendary Norman conqueror Strongbow, who is buried elsewhere in cathedral, can be found in the Great Nave, which boasts spectacular early Gothic arches. The nearby portion is claimed to be from the original tomb and has earned the nickname “Strongbow’s son.” Parts of the building’s massive crypt, which runs the length of it, originate from the 13th century.
Dublinia, a first-rate historical reconstruction of life and scenes from the time of the Vikings to the medieval period housed in the cathedral’s Synod Hall, is also worth a visit. Costumed characters demonstrating period traditions and activities, as well as numerous buildings and authentic street scenes, are among the highlights.
Address: Christchurch Place, Dublin 8
Official site: https://christchurchcathedral.ie
16. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland, and it’s only a seven-minute walk from Christ Church Cathedral. St. Patrick is also said to have baptized converts to Christianity here around AD 450, according to legend.
Like Christchurch’s, The original structure was made of wood. In 1192, a new church was built out of stone. A new rebuild took conducted just over a century later, and its status was raised to the cathedral.
Much embellishment has taken place over the ages, most notably in the mid-1700s, when the steeple was completed, and in the late 1800s, when major renovations took place. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), author of Gulliver’s Travels and satirist, was Dean of St. Patrick’s for 35 years and is buried near his long-time love “Stella” in a tomb to the right of the entrance (Hester Johnson 1681-1728).
Address: St. Patrick’s Close, Dublin 8
Official website: www.stpatrickscathedral.ie
17. Visit Dublin Castle and the Chester Beatty Library
During the 700 years of British rule, until 1922, Dublin Castle served as the centre of power. The castle has worn numerous hats over the years, including medieval fortress, vice-regal court, and government role. Silken Thomas, an Irish rebel known for his fine clothing, led an attack on the castle in 1534.
The castle is currently utilized mainly for ceremonial occasions, exhibitions, and even concerts. Visitors can tour the beautiful state apartments, and there are several museums to visit, including the Chester Beatty Library and Gallery.
The museum, which was founded in 1953 by Chester Beatty, an American living in Dublin, contains a fine collection of oriental art as well as manuscripts, books, and ancient texts. French Books of Hours from the 14th and 15th centuries, as well as a prayer book belonging to Philip II of Spain, Far Eastern art, Islamic prints, Sanskrit manuscripts (12th to 13th century), Indian miniatures, and Babylonian clay tablets, are among the treasures (2,500 to 2,300 BC).
There are also copies of the Qur’an and the Bible, as well as European medieval and Renaissance manuscripts, Egyptian papyrus texts, and copies of the Qur’an. Buddhist paintings, Turkish and Persian miniatures, Japanese woodblock prints, and Chinese dragon robes are also on show.
Address: Dame Street, Dublin 2
Official website: www.dublincastle.ie
18. The Irish Museum of Modern Art
The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) has established itself as one of the country’s premier galleries since its establishment in 1991. The museum, which focuses on modern and contemporary art, has often changing exhibits and displays of works from its own collections as well as from around the world.
The structure itself is stunning. Built as a hospital in the late 1600s, it now serves as an excellent backdrop for the modern art that hangs on its walls, as well as the artists’ studios that are located here. Some 3,500 works from the postwar period (others Irish, some by foreign artists) are among the museum’s permanent collections’ highlights. There are guided tours available, as well as entertaining programs for children (there is also a café).
Address: Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Military Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8
Official site: https://imma.ie
19. Experience the Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum
The Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum Experience, which focuses on the best musical performers to have come out of Ireland, is a must-see for music fans. The chance to “catch” acts like U2 and Thin Lizzy at various periods of their careers, whether in the studio or performing on stage, is one of the highlights of this immersive, one-hour tour experience.
You’ll see a wide range of artifacts and memorabilia from these and other leading Irish performers along the route, as well as hear their music and hear anecdotes about the music-writing and touring process.
The National Leprechaun Museum (honest! ), which is another strange tourist attraction, is a fun place to visit. This fun museum, which opened in 2010 in its current location on Jervis Street, features fascinating exhibits and displays relating to these mythical beings. Your tour guide will discuss the importance of this folklore in Irish culture, as well as its influence on everything from Disney to Hollywood, along the way.
Address: Curved Street, Temple Bar, Dublin, D02
Official website: https://irishrocknrollmuseum.com
20. Side Trip to Dalkey/Killiney
Dalkey is a must-see and, surprisingly, only a 25-minute southbound DART (Dublin’s light rail network) ride from the city center, as is Killiney, though both places may easily be explored from Dalkey town.
It’s preferable to disembark at the first stop, as Dalkey Castle has an excellent visitor center with knowledge about the area, historic and cultural exhibits, and, best of all, live theater performances as part of an entertaining guided tour that scales the castle ramparts.
Dalkey was previously Dublin’s primary commercial station on the east coast, and the harbor near Coliemore Road was where medieval cargo ships unloaded their wares. Dalkey Island is located directly across the harbor, and a 15-minute uphill trek will take you to Vico Road, which offers amazing views of Killiney Bay.
Climb up to the top of Killiney Hill, a public park with a variety of wildlife and birds, for further panoramic views.
Address: Castle Street, Dalkey, Co. Dublin
Official site: www.dalkeycastle.com
21. Visit the Cliffs of Moher for a Day
On a guided full-day Cliffs of Moher Day Trip, relax in a luxury coach and explore one of Ireland’s most spectacular natural wonders. This wonderful value tour takes you through the beautiful countryside of County Clare and includes a stop in the picturesque town of Doolin, which is known for its great traditional music and country inns. The Cliffs of Moher and the Burren National Park are also included.
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy a leisurely stroll and take some wonderful photographs of some of Ireland’s best views, in addition to the services of a professional tour guide who will offer insights about the region’s unique geology. A stop in Galway is also included in the itinerary.
Where to Stay for Sightseeing in Dublin
Where to Stay for Sightseeing in Dublin
If you’re traveling Dublin for the very first time, the city center is the ideal place to stay. Most of the key tourist attractions, including as Trinity College, St. Stephen’s Green, and Grafton Street, are within a short walk of each other in this small and easily walkable region. In this accessible and central location, there are a few well rated hotels:
- The Merrion Hotel, with a day spa, swimming pool, and two-star Michelin restaurant, is a short walk from Grafton Street and is housed in four magnificently restored Georgian townhouses.
- With its clean interior design and spacious guest rooms, the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, located just steps from St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Dublin Castle, strikes a sophisticated note.
- The Fitzwilliam Hotel Dublin is located in the center of the city, directly across from St. Stephens Park. The great staff brings Irish hospitality. The property’s décor is filled with understated luxury.
- The Morrison, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel overlooks the River Liffey and boasts a bright, contemporary décor in the centre of Dublin, within walking distance of all the major tourist attractions.
- The boutique Drury Court Hotel, located across the river in a hip area near Grafton Street, offers small rooms, and the apartments in an adjacent building are ideal for families.
- The Gibson Hotel is a little further out of the city center, but public transportation is close by, and it’s a wonderful choice if you’re hoping to see a concert at the nearby 3Arena.
- Dublin Citi Hotel offers great-value rooms with comfy beds amid a cluster of lively entertainment venues, just a short walk from Grafton Street and St. Stephen’s Green.
- The family-run Dergvale Hotel has modest but sparkling clean rooms around a 15-minute walk from the city center, while the Celtic Lodge Guesthouse features compact, clean rooms a short walk from all the major sites.
How to Make the Most of Your Visit to Dublin with Tips and Tours
Save Money While Seeing the Sites: The Dublin Freedom Pass: Transport and Tourist is a terrific value option if you’re flying into Dublin and planned a busy sightseeing agenda. The 72-hour pass includes airport transfers, a Dublin Green hop-on hop-off bus tour, daytime public bus transportation in Central Dublin, and discounted admission to certain attractions.
Bus Tour: The one- or two-day Dublin: Hop-On-Hop-Off Tour, which provides independent travelers more latitude in their choices, is another alternative.
The 75-minute Dublin Viking Duck Tour will delight children of all ages. In a rebuilt amphibious World War II vehicle, tour the city on both land and water.
Amphibious Tour: The 75-minute Dublin Viking Duck Tour will delight children of all ages. In a rebuilt amphibious World War II vehicle, tour the city on both land and water.
Blarney Castle and Cork Day Trip: The Blarney Castle and Cork Day Trip takes you through the gorgeous countryside in a luxury coach and includes an experienced driver and guide, as well as admission to the Blarney Stone and the Rock of Cashel.
Northern Island Day Trip: You can learn about Belfast’s turbulent past and see a World Heritage-listed geological wonder on the Northern Ireland Day Trip from Dublin: Belfast Black Taxi Tour and Giant’s Causeway. Professional guides, hotel pickup and drop-off, and entry costs to the major sights are all included.
Three-Day Tour: Consider the 3-Day Cork, Blarney Castle, Ring of Kerry, and Cliffs of Moher Rail Trip for a more in-depth tour of Dublin’s neighboring attractions. A host, entrance prices to the attractions, coach and rail transport with reserved seats, and two nights’ accommodation with a full Irish breakfast are all included in this great value package.
There’s lots more to see and do in and around Dublin, of course. On Suffolk Street (just off Grafton Street), the Discover Ireland Centre provides useful information on the city’s tourism attractions. Although it may sound cliched, the people of Ireland are the country’s true capital. Unexpected chats and snatches of Irish “banter” are likely to be among the most vivid memories you’ll have.
Dubliners are a friendly, knowledgeable, and frequently passionate bunch, so don’t be hesitant to strike up a conversation with them and ask for their recommendations on where to go and what to do. Taxi drivers, in particular, enjoy talking and will often regale anyone who will listen with their opinions on everything from politics to history and current events.
The DART (Dublin’s light rail network) is a relaxing way to visit the coastline if you’re staying in the city for a few days. The village of Howth, located on the far north side of Dublin, is definitely worth a visit. As Howth is a fishing community, albeit an upmarket one these days, visitors will find a variety of restaurants, many of which serve fresh seafood. From Howth Head, the sights are breathtaking.
Malahide, a lovely village with a gorgeous castle open to the public, is also on the north side and on the DART route. Glendalough, with its ruined medieval abbey, magnificent lakes, and forest treks, is a must-see day trip from the city. For those with a little additional time on their hands, Powerscourt House and Gardens, located in the charming village of Enniskerry, is a must-see. There’s a great restaurant here, as well as craft shops and beautiful grounds to explore.
More of Ireland
Ireland is a fantastic place for road travels, according to visitors. After seeing Dublin, go to Waterford, which is about halfway between Dublin and Cork. Check out our post on the finest day trips from Dublin to see the wonders around the city, including the stunning Cliffs of Moher, and if you want to cast a fishing line, see our list of the greatest fishing spots in Ireland.