Things To Do In Dublin
At the mouth of the River Liffey on the eastern coast of Ireland, lies the historically significant and contemporarily charismatic city Dublin. It is home to gorgeous Georgian architecture, splendid parks and gardens, and interesting museums and art galleries to entertain even the most amateur travellers. In a city as versatile as this, there’s a little something for everyone. The food outlets of Dublin are where you can indulge in the exquisite delicacies of the region and get to know the city through your taste buds. Learn more about Dublin and its many secrets through our recommendations of the top things to do when in Dublin.
Walk Across Ha’Penny Bridge
Walking through the Ha’Penny Bridge when you are in Dublin is something like a rite of passage. Built in 1816, this historic bridge was constructed as a replacement to the numerous ferries that were required to shuttle people back and forth across the river. The toll for crossing the bridge was half a penny, which gave the bridge its name. The beautiful white-picketed pedestrian crossing has since become one of the most identifiable structures in Dublin and even appears on the city’s postcards, memorabilia, tourism brochures and books. Watching the sunset from this bridge is sure to be a memorable moment, but for a more exciting experience, travellers can embark on a kayaking tour on the river under the bridge that is offered by tourism companies in the city.
Listen to the Buskers On Grafton Street
Grafton Street is one of the most happening streets in Dublin. While it is constantly buzzing with activity and is one the city’s premier shopping spots packed with jewellers, boutiques and department stores, what makes it one of the highlights of Dublin are the buskers that line up here every day. These street-performing musicians entertain onlookers with all kinds of performances that include everything from traditional Irish music to trendy rock and pop. The street appears to rarely sleep and buskers line up along the stretch whether its morning, noon or night. Grafton Street has grown such a reputation that well-known names like Bono from U2, Damien Rice, Hozier etc. have also given impromptu performances here.
Enjoy an Irish Trad Session
Visiting Dublin is incomplete without experiencing at least one traditional Irish music session – or trad as it is known here – in any of the numerous pubs of the city. This genre of traditional music is the heart of Irish culture, and one of the best places to witness it is at the O’Donoghue’s. This one is most beloved for being home to The Dubliners, who brought Irish music to the world scene and performed here on several occasions. Music sessions by various artists are still held here every night. The Cobblestone has music session all seven days of the week, with performances starting as early as 1.30 pm on the weekends. If you are looking for a musical afternoon instead of an evening, this is the place to be. The Hairy Lemon is also known as one of the best pubs here, especially for their unconventional music scene. Don’t expect to be sitting too long with your drinks; Irish dancing on the tables isn’t too uncommon here.
Do a Dublin Bus Tour
The DoDublin Bus Tour offers tourists the chance to discover the city’s best cultural and historical attractions in a fun and convenient manner. The guides on the bus entertain the passengers with stories, comedy skits and even karaoke sing-alongs while enthralling them with details about each attraction they pass. Ireland has been home to some of the world’s greatest writers and storytellers like Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce and many others; a lot of the city’s highlights reference the contributions made by these famed writers and the guides on the DoDublin Bus take great pride in presenting these references to their passengers.
The Howth Cliff Walk
For all adventure lovers who want more out of their trip to Dublin, the coastal town of Howth just outside the Dublin city centre makes for a great day hike. The Howth Cliff Walk can be embarked on by people of all fitness levels, and this 2-hour trail crosses through stunning views of the Dublin Bay and the Howth Harbour. Howth is easily reachable by bus or car and has amazing seafood restaurants and weekend markets worth visiting when you are done with your hike. However, it is better to avoid this walk on rough weather days; travellers can choose to enjoy the pubs and restaurants of the region on such days instead.
Take A Whisky Tour
While Guinness is the liquor Ireland is mostly known for, there are numerous whiskey distilleries here that deserve a mention as well. The most famous one here is the Jameson Distillery, which is no longer used as a distillery anymore but functions as a museum where visitors can take a tour and learn about the history and process of how Jameson whiskey was created. To see an actual distillery in action, visit Teeling Distillery that opened up in 2015 or the Dublin Liberties Distillery that opened in 2019. It will be several years before visitors can taste the whiskey being distilled in either of these distilleries, but in Dublin Liberties, visitors get to try the Dubliner, Dead Rabbit and the Dublin Liberties – all of which have been distilled at other places.
The Pearse Lyons Distillery opened in 2017 in a building that was once the St. James’ Church and distils small batches of craft Irish whiskey. Visitors can choose between three different tours; the Trilogy Tour with a three-whiskey tasting along with a visit of the distillery and the St. James Graveyard, the Signature Tour with four tastings, and the Legacy Tour with five tastings.
Shop at the Markets
Flea markets are aplenty in every corner and street of the city. These are the places where tourists and locals alike shop for artisanal items and organic produce at ridiculously cheap prices. Head to Temple Bar Food Market and browse through stalls of cheeses, olives and other types of fresh local produce. The Howth Market is open all days of the week and this is where visitors can shop for beautiful antique jewellery and wonderful pieces of woodwork, while Blackrock Market is known for its handmade craft items, antique furnishings and fine art pieces. Out of all these markets, Dublin Flea Market is truly one of its kind. This indoor market is held on each Sunday of every month, and with more than 60 stalls that sell all kinds of goods ranging from household items to furniture to used clothing, there is something for everyone here.
Watch a Game at Croke Park
Hurling is an ancient sport with Gaelic and Irish origins, which has been played in the country for more than 3000 years. Believed to be the ‘fastest game on grass’, hurling is played with a wooden stick and a hard ball. It is a high impact and high adrenaline game not just for the players but also the ones watching the game. The best place to watch one of these matches is in Croke Park, which is the headquarters and home of the Gaelic Athletic Association. The hurling and football All-Ireland Final is one of the greatest occasions in the country and should definitely be on your list of things to do if you are in the city during the games.
Family Outing in Phoenix Park
Spanning an area that covers almost 7 square kilometres, Phoenix Park is one of the largest parks in not just Europe, but probably the entire world. The park was opened more than 3 centuries ago and its main highlight is the wild deer that roam around freely all around its forests. The deer were brought to the park in the year 1662 and were originally meant for the hunting purposes for the royalty. Currently, there are about 450 deer here that call this park home; don’t be surprised if a deer decides to join you on your afternoon picnic. Locals can often be seen here jogging, walking their dogs or simply enjoying the ambience of the gardens. Visitors will get to see a polo and cricket ground, along with a car-racing track and some exquisite 18th century houses.
Visit the Art Galleries
Dublin is an art lover’s dream. The city is packed with numerous museums and art galleries that draw historians and art aficionados alike. Start your artistic tour with the National Gallery, which is home to exquisite collections of Irish and European art. This can be followed up with the Hugh Lane Gallery that packs even more world-class art pieces, most of which belong to a contemporary Irish background and some Impressionist classics. The Royal Hibernian Academy Gallagher Gallery is where you will find prestigious and high-quality exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. The country’s most significant modern art collection can be viewed at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which is housed in a 17th century building that was originally meant to be a retirement house for soldiers.
Watch a Movie at the Local Theatres
Movie-going isn’t usually the most interesting thing to do when you are on vacation to a foreign country. But watching one in the Stella Theatre of Dublin should definitely be on your list. The experience is going to be an unforgettable one where visitors get to watch films from the comfort of leather seats that have been paired with tables and footstools as well. The décor of the theatre itself appears like that of an art gallery. Movie-goers can order food as well that is delivered to them during the movie. The Light House Cinema is another impressive spot in the city, which has several releases ranging from mainstream movies to art-house and documentaries playing each day in its four-screen stylish building.