Of course I am bound to be biased with Dublin being where I was born! However the likes of Lonely Planet, TripAdvisor and so many more can't be wrong. Dublin was voted the world's friendliest city by Lonely Planet for a few years in a row.
The Dublin vibe is a beautiful blend of art, literary license, Dublin wit, Irish craic, shaken and possibly not stirred with great architecture, green spaces and life changing experiences...with heaps of history and culture.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed about where to start? Then read on to check out the top 33 top things to do in Dublin, as voted by TripAdvisor reviewers. Also when in Dublin it would be a shame not to see some live music, check out the best Dublin pubs for live music.
33 best things to do in Dublin
1. Irish Whiskey Museum
The Irish Whiskey Museum located in the heart of Dublin City first opened its doors in November 2014 and, since opening, the growth of the whiskey industry in Ireland continues apace.
The origins of the Irish Whiskey Museum lies in the desire of owner Keith McDonnell to tell the great untold stories of Irish whiskey in a market that was beginning to grow rapidly, where there was clearly a resurgence of interest in a product that has so many great stories attached to it and is always synonymous with the Irish.
The guided tour through five rooms, 4 of which are themed to represent a particular period in Irish history, tells visitors the intriguing tales of Irish whiskey; from how the monks first produced this famous spirit in the 12th century,to the golden era of Irish whiskey, when the big whiskey players like John Jameson and George Roe played a vital role in the development of the whiskey industry in Ireland.
Visitors also get an insight into the massive downturn in production and sales of Irish whiskey, going from 120-200 distilleries in the 1800s to only having four by the 1950s/60s and Irish whiskey sales plummeted, to back to where we are now, enjoying a new golden age. The 5th and final room of the tour, the Tasting Room, is where visitors get to taste and compare 3 or 4 very different Irish whiskies under the excellent guidance of a tasting expert.
Located at the main entrance of Trinity College, the Irish Whiskey Museum is the most centrally located visitor attraction in Dublin. Relax in our contemporary bar and taste some fine Irish whiskeys, Irish Coffee or whiskey cocktails, while taking in the beautiful grounds of Trinity College from above.
2. Jameson Distillery Bow St.
In 1780 John Jameson threw open the doors of the Jameson Distillery Bow St. Over 200 years later, the doors are still open to friends old and new. Come for a distillery tour, a premium whiskey tasting experience, learn how to blend your own take-home whiskey, master the craft of whiskey cocktail making here in our home or draw whiskey straight from a Jameson cask in Dublin's only live maturation warehouse. All right here in the beating heart of Dublin, Smithfield.
Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 as the new County Gaol for Dublin. It closed its doors in 1924. Today the building symbolises the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922-23. Leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848,1867 and 1916 were detained and in some cases executed here.
Many members of the Irish Republican movement during the Anglo-Irish War (1919-21) were also detained in Kilmainham Gaol, guarded by British troops. Names such as Henry Joy McCracken, Robert Emmet, Anne Devlin, Charles Stewart Parnell and the leaders of 1916 will always be associated with the building.
Photo credit: http://kilmainhamgaolmuseum.ie/
It should not be forgotten however that, as a county gaol, Kilmainham held thousands of ordinary men, women and children. Their crimes ranged from petty offences such as stealing food to more serious crimes such as murder or rape. Convicts from many parts of Ireland were held here for long periods waiting to be transported to Australia. Kilmainham Gaol Museum is operated and managed by the Office of Public Works.
Guided Tours: Entrance to Kilmainham Gaol is by guided tour only and is managed through timed tickets. Advance booking online is essential to guarantee entry. Tickets can be booked online 60 days in advance. Cancellation tickets for the day will be released online every morning between 9:15am-9:30am.
4. EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
You won’t find leprechauns or pots of gold here, but you’ll discover that what it means to be Irish expands far beyond the borders of Ireland through the stories of Irish emigrants who became scientists, politicians, poets, artists and even outlaws all over the world. Discover Ireland from the outside in and find out why saying “I’m Irish” is one of the biggest conversation starters, no matter where you are.
History: Discover how the Irish influenced and shaped the world.
Emigrant Letters: See the world through the eyes of the Irish men and women who left through their letters to home.
Interactive Touch Screens: Don’t just learn about history, reach out, touch and engage with it.
Music and Dance: Ireland is as much bodhrans and tin whistles as it is Bruce Springsteen and Rihanna. Find out how Irish music has influenced everything from pop to rock, while putting your feet to work following the steps of the world famous Riverdance.
Photo credit: https://epicchq.com/
Rogues’ Gallery: The good, the bad and the infamous. It’s not all rainbows and green hills, practice your quick-draw with our motion detector Irish outlaws quiz.
Whispering Library: Some of the world’s most famous authors throughout history are Irish. Don’t take our word for it, take theirs, with our whispering library.
Irish Family History Centre: Discover some of your own history with a consultant from our professional genealogy service partners located within EPIC.
5. The Little Museum of Dublin
The Little Museum of Dublin tells the story of the Irish capital. This award-winning museum is located in a Georgian townhouse in the very centre of the city.
Described as “Dublin’s best museum experience” by the Irish Times, we are also the number one museum in Ireland on TripAdvisor.
Photo credit: Little Museum of Dublin
All visitors to the museum join one of our famous guided tours, which are included in the price of your ticket. Please note that the museum has limited capacity, and our guided tours often sell out.
6. Teeling Whiskey Distillery
This 1-hour tour of Teeling Whiskey Distillery in Dublin offers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the only operational distilleries in the city. Learn about the whiskey-making process as your guide takes you through the barrel rooms and distillery areas to learn more about the single-malt, small-batch, and single-grain whiskeys made here. Plus, at the end of your tour, sample Teeling Whiskey before grabbing a marker and signing the walls of the hip hangout area near the gift shop.
Experience the sights, sounds smells and tastes of a fully operational distillery on a guided tour followed by a tasting of Teeling's award-winning whiskeys.
7. Glasnevin Cemetery Museum
Exhibitions at Glasnevin Cemetery Museum include:
- *New* Ireland and the Great Flu 1918-19
- City of the Dead
- Interactive Timeline
Now Open: Ireland and the Great Flu 1918-1919. This year marks, 2019, the centenary of the influenza pandemic that killed millions worldwide and ten of thousands in Ireland. As the largest burial place in Ireland the outbreak of influenza had a significant impact on Glasnevin Cemetery. Office staff, gravediggers, attendants, chaplains, and other cemetery employees struggled under immense pressure as they dealt with the consequences of the outbreak.
This exhibition will explore the story of the great flu from an international, national and regional perspective through the unique prism of Glasnevin Cemetery. This exhibition was created in conjunction with the School of History and Humanities at Trinity College Dublin.
'City of the Dead' is a history of the cemetery, Glasnevin Trust and even a reconstructed exhibition of how a grave robber conducted his grim business. The Interactive Timeline allows visitors to get a glimpse of Glasnevin past and present.
8. Trinity College Dublin
Founded in 1592, Trinity College Dublin is Ireland's oldest university. It is where I studied Pure History. If you haven't seen the film that was released in 1983, Educating Rita, this classic is a real treat to see when you have visited Trinity College!! Check out a young Julie Walters teetering on her heels as she walks across Trinity's cobblestones.
Trinity was set up in part to consolidate the rule of the Tudor monarchy in Ireland, and it was the university of the Protestant Ascendancy for much of its history. Roman Catholics had been permitted to enter as early as 1753,although certain restrictions on their membership of the college remained until 1873. However the Catholic Church in Ireland forbade its adherents from attending until the late 20th century. It wasn't until 1904 that women were first admitted to the college as full members.
Trinity College is a legal deposit library for Ireland and the United Kingdom, and therefore legally entitled to a copy of every book published in Great Britain and Ireland and consequently receives over 100,000 new items every year. The Library contains circa five million books, including 30,000 current serials and significant collections of manuscripts, maps, and printed music.
The Book of Kells is by far the Library's most famous book and is located in the Old Library, along with the Book of Durrow, the Book of Howth and other ancient texts. Also incorporating the Long Room, the Old Library is one of Ireland's biggest tourist attractions, and holds thousands of rare, very early, volumes.
Amongst the graduates are included notable people in the fields of arts and sciences like Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett (Nobel Laureate in Literature), Ernest Walton (Nobel Laureate in Physics), three holders of the office of President of Ireland, and one Premier of New Zealand (Edward Stafford).
9. Guinness Storehouse
At one stage I lived very close to the Guinness Storehouse. It didn't matter what time of the day or night it was, I could poke my nose out the door and smell the hops wafting around in the air.
Located in the heart of the St. James's Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse® is Ireland's most popular tourist attraction. It's the home of the Black Stuff, the heart of Dublin and an unforgettable start to your Irish adventure.
Photo credit: Guinness Storehouse
The journey begins at the bottom of the world's largest pint glass and continues up through seven floors filled with interactive experiences that fuse our long brewing heritage with Ireland's rich history. At the top, you'll be rewarded with a pint of perfection in our world-famous rooftop Gravity Bar. Now that's our kind of higher education.
10. Phoenix Park
The Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe. It was originally formed as a royal hunting Park in the 1660's and opened to the public in 1747. A large herd of fallow deer still remain to this day. The Park is also home to the Zoological Gardens, Áras an Uachtaráin, and Victorian flower gardens. The Phoenix Park is only a mile and a half from O’Connell Street.
Both passive and active recreational pursuits may be viewed or pursued such as walking, running, polo, cricket, hurling, and many more. The Glen Pond is set in very scenic surrounds in the Furry Glen. There are many walks and cycle trails available to the public.
The Phoenix Park is open 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, all year round. The main gates of the Park at Parkgate Street and Castleknock Gate are open 24 hours. The side gates to the Park are open from approximately 7 am until approximately 10.45 pm.
11. National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology
At the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, Kildare Street, you'll find artefacts dating from 7000BC to the 20th Century exhibited in seven galleries. The Treasury exhibition space has been reopened after a major refurbishment where you can see iconic artefacts such as the Ardagh Chalice, the Tara Brooch and the Derrynaflan Hoard, plus the Faddan More Psalter exhibition.
Photo credit: Merrion Square
Make sure to visit the Kingship and Sacrifice exhibition which includes recently found bog bodies. Ór – Ireland’s Gold exhibition is one of the largest and most important gold collections in Europe.
Featured in the fascinating Ancient Egypt exhibition are the gilt and painted cartonnage case of the mummy Tentdinebu, as well as a number of important stelae, tomb furniture, offering tables, jewellery and household objects.
Not to be missed is the Viking Ireland exhibition. At the centre of this exhibition is a display of finds from the Museum’s Dublin excavations, carried out between 1962 and 1981.
12. St Stephens Green
If it is a sunny day in Dublin, there's almost nothing nicer than hanging out in Dublin's version of Central Park: St. Stephen's Green.
St. Stephen's Green was re-opened by Lord Ardilaun in 1880 for the citizens of Dublin. This nine hectare / 22 acre park, in Dublin City Centre, has been maintained in the original Victorian layout with extensive perimeter tree and shrub planting and spring and summer Victorian bedding.
Photo credit: YogaHub
The herbaceous border also provides colour from early spring to late autumn. Sanctuary from inclement weather can be obtained in the Victorian lakeside shelter or in the Victorian Swiss shelters in the center of the park.
Over 3.5 km of pathways are accessible for all users. The park features a waterfall and Pulham rock work on the western side of the green and an ornamental lake which provides a home for waterfowl. A number of sculptures are located throughout the green. A children's playground is also available in the park. Lunchtime concerts are performed during the summer months.
Facilities include, public toilets, playground, garden for the visually impaired. Please note St. Stephen's Green closes according to daylight hours.
13. Dublin Zoo
Dublin Zoo is much more than a fun-filled, stimulating day out for all the family... it’s a place to learn about wild animals, especially endangered species. Dublin Zoo is a registered charity – your visit will help maintain Dublin Zoo to a high standard, develop new habitats and experiences and contribute to conservation programmes.
Located in the Phoenix Park in the heart of Dublin city, Dublin Zoo is Ireland’s most popular family attraction, and welcomes over one million a year.
As one of the world’s oldest and most popular zoos, the 28 hectare park in the heart of Dublin is home to some 400 animals in a safe environment where education and conservation combine for an exciting and unforgettable experience!
14. National Botanic Gardens
The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland are an oasis of calm and beauty, and entry is free. A premier scientific institution, the gardens contain important collections of plant species and cultivars from all over the world. The National Botanic Gardens in Dublin are located in Glasnevin, just three kilometres from Dublin City Centre, and are famous for the exquisitely restored historic glasshouses.
The National Botanic Gardens in Wicklow are located in Kilmacurragh, where the milder climate, higher rainfall, and deeper, acidic soils of this historic Wicklow garden, provide a counterpoint to the collections at Glasnevin. The two gardens have been closely associated since 1854.
15. Saint Patrick's Cathedral
The Cathedral is a place where history is alive and tradition breathes, where lives are remembered and transformed, and where all are welcome to experience and explore the loving presence of God.
Since Saint Patrick baptised Christian converts nearby over 1500 years ago, this holy site has been a place of spiritual encounter for countless generations. Visit us and experience our history, our place in the life of the city, and our tradition of worship.
16. Croke Park Stadium Tour & GAA Museum
From as young as I can remember, I went to Croke Park at the weekend to see GAA matches with my Dad. The GAA has played a very important role in the paternal side of my family. In fact my Uncle Marcus de Burca was commissioned to write the official centenary GAA history.
Croke Park has been at the heart of Irish sporting life for over 100 years. With a capacity of 82,300, this magnificent stadium is actually the third largest in Europe.
Photo credit: Croke Park
Its size is only part of its greatness, however, as you’ll discover on this eye-opening, access-all-areas tour. From quirky insights into why Croke Park’s grass is always greener to learning about defining moments in Irish history, the passionate Tour Guides will take you on an inspiring journey around our national stadium.
Ranked as one of the best things to do in Dublin, some of the highlights include taking a seat in the VIP area, getting a birds-eye view from the media centre, sneaking a peek inside the dressing rooms, and of course, walking in the footsteps of Gaelic games legends as you go pitchside through the players’ tunnel!
17. Chester Beatty Library
Described by Lonely Planet as ‘not just the best museum in Ireland but one of the best in Europe’, the Chester Beatty is the pre-eminent Irish museum promoting the appreciation and understanding of world cultures with holdings of manuscripts, rare books, and other treasures from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and Asia.
Photo credit: Chester Beatty Library
An engaging and welcoming space, visitors from Ireland and overseas will find permanent and temporary displays, an intercultural learning programme and a broad variety of public activities for all ages and backgrounds.
18. National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery of Ireland brings back childhood memories for me as I used to do summer art workshops there. These days the website of the National Gallery sums it up so well about why you should visit. Here are the top 3 reasons to visit, but their article lists 10 reasons!
1. It's free! A visit to the National Gallery of Ireland is free. Since 1854, when it opened its doors for the first time, the National Gallery of Ireland has always believed that the National Collection is the nation’s collection and as such is available for your pleasure almost all year round. For 361 days a year the National Gallery of Ireland will inspire, delight and entertain you with tours, workshops, lectures and Thursday Lates events, all for free.
2. Family fun - Is your child a tiny Tintoretto, a mini Monet or a pint-sized Picasso? If so grab an ‘art backpack’ or a children’s audio guide and explore and create at the National Gallery! Sundays are family days at the Gallery, with free drop-in workshops in the Maples Group Creative Space from 11.30 am-1.30 pm, and a tour of the collection especially for younger visitors at 12.30 pm! Check out our What’s On calendar for information on upcoming events or follow the National Gallery of Ireland through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
3. World class exhibitions - The Gallery boasts a rich and varied programme of world class exhibitions throughout the year. Opening 13 April, Shaping Ireland: Landscapes in Irish Art spans 250 years of landscape art, and includes photography, sculpture, painting and video. Tickets cost from €5 (after 5 pm on Thursdays) to €15, and Friends of the Gallery and under 18's go free.
More coming soon.....