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Exploring Dublin: Free gems and beyond

25 April 2024

Dublin is the capital of the Republic of Ireland, a country located on the popularly known as the Emerald Isle, which it shares with Northern Ireland.

The Irish capital is ideal for weekend getaways. However, if you have a few extra days, you can explore the city in depth and even take some very interesting excursions. For example, to the Cliffs of Moher, the Giant’s Causeway, or to Belfast.

Ready to immerse yourself in one of Europe’s liveliest cities? While Dublin might have a reputation for being a pricey capital, fret not, for it also boasts an abundance of captivating free experiences waiting to be uncovered. Intrigued? Below, we’ve compiled a list of numerous free activities to fully enjoy Dublin.

  1. Take a stroll down Dublin’s most famous and central street, O’Connell Street, where you’ll encounter the iconic statue of Daniel O’Connell, one of the most prominent politicians of the 19th century. While there, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the historic General Post Office (GPO), where the Proclamation of the Republic of Ireland was famously read on April 24, 1916. And right on O’Connell Street, you can’t overlook the world’s tallest sculpture: The Spire, soaring 120 meters into the sky, replacing the Nelson Pillar destroyed in 1966 by an IRA bomb.
  2. Walk along the picturesque banks of the River Liffey and admire the array of bridges gracefully spanning its waters. Among them stands the famous (and beautiful) Ha’Penny Bridge. Do you know why it’s called that? Because in the past, to cross it, you had to pay half a penny.
  3. Wander through the enchanting gardens of Trinity College and immerse yourself in the ambiance of student life. As one of the world’s most prestigious universities, it’s rich in history and culture. Fun fact: Did you know renowned figures like Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and Samuel Beckett were once students here? Best of all, accessing and exploring its campus is completely free.
  4. Take a stroll down Grafton Street, one of the city’s most famous pedestrian and commercial streets, where you can enjoy live music from the street musicians filling the air with free concerts. While there, be sure not to miss the statue of Molly Malone, a renowned bronze sculpture depicting a woman who, according to legend, sold fish by day and engaged in prostitution by night.
  5. Visit Glasnevin Cemetery, Ireland’s most important cemetery, where the remains of famous figures who shaped the country’s history rest.
  6. In Ireland’s capital, the pub culture is undeniable, with many pubs scattered throughout the city, most notably concentrated in Temple Bar. Exploring the streets of this vibrant area is a must-do experience. While there, don’t miss the chance to listen to live music in one of the city’s pubs, where finding a place with live music won’t be a challenge.
  7. Ireland has seen the birth of great music bands and singers, such as U2 in Dublin or The Cranberries in Limerick. This is also the case with Rory Gallagher, founder of the band Taste. Although he was born in Ballyshannon, Dublin has dedicated a corner to him: the Rory Gallagher Corner, in Temple Bar. A curiosity you can’t miss on your trip to the capital of Ireland.
  8. Explore Phoenix Park, one of Europe’s largest urban parks spanning 712 hectares. Marvel at the numerous deer roaming freely; the park was initially created as a deer reserve. Don’t forget to admire the impressive Wellington Testimonial obelisk, which took about 40 years to complete.
  9. In addition to Phoenix Park, Dublin boasts several urban parks worth exploring, including Merrion Square. Situated near fascinating tourist attractions, Merrion Square is home to a reclining statue of Oscar Wilde atop a rock. Fun fact: depending on which side you view it from, Wilde’s expression changes from a smile to a frown.
  10. A 15-minute walk from Merrion Square, you can see the famous poet Patrick Kavanagh sitting on a bench contemplating a city canal.
  11. Another pleasant park for strolling or resting is St Stephen’s Green. It’s one of Ireland’s oldest public urban parks. You’ll find it at the end of Grafton Street.
  12. If you’re a plant lover or if you fancy a break from the city’s hustle and bustle, visit the Irish National Botanic Gardens (Dublin Botanic Garden). Admission is free, and you can enjoy over 17,000 species of plants from around the world, including some endangered and some already extinct in their natural habitat.
  13. Standing at the doors of the National Gallery of Ireland, you can contemplate another famous Irish playwright: George Bernard Shaw. This museum, which you can visit for free in Dublin, offers an awe-inspiring space housing an incredible art collection, including notable works such as this famous painting by Caravaggio.
  14. And of course, there’s also a statue of the author of Ulysses, James Joyce. You’ll find it near one of the busiest avenues in the capital: O’Connell Street, at the level of The Spire.
  15. Very close to Kilmainham Gaol (a paid visit that we highly recommend), you’ll find the Irish Museum of Modern Art. The building that houses Ireland’s modern art collection used to be a hospital for soldiers. When you visit, you’ll appreciate the contrast between the classical architecture of the building and the modern sculptures surrounding it.
  16. Another relevant Irish museum you can visit for free is the National Museum of Ireland.
  17. Take a look at the doors of Dublin’s houses as you walk around, have you noticed they’re painted in different colors? There are several theories about why they’re painted this way. One of them is an urban legend that says each one is painted a different bright color so that the owner can recognize it when they arrive home late at night after drinking large amounts of alcohol in a pub. Is it true?
  18. At sunset, visit Grand Canal Square and enjoy the light show. You can get to this neighborhood by taking a walk along the River Liffey.
  19. When it’s night time, contemplate the Samuel Beckett Bridge. It’s a design by Santiago Calatrava that takes the shape of a harp, Ireland’s national symbol.
  20. Take a free tour in Dublin. It will be useful to learn details you might have missed and to discover interesting facts about the city. It’ll only cost you the tip you decide to give to the person conducting it.
  21. If you have time, we highly recommend visiting Howth, a charming fishing village just 16 km from the capital. You’ll only need to pay for the bus ticket connecting Dublin with this town. In Howth, enjoy a pleasant short excursion along its cliffs to see its lighthouse, feed seals, savor fresh seafood, explore its castle and abbey, and partake in many other interesting activities.

With these 21 free activities, Dublin invites you to embark on a journey of discovery, where every corner reveals a new facet of this dynamic city’s charm.

Find accommodation and flights to Dublin ✈️

Now that you know you can do a lot of interesting things in the capital of Ireland, all you need is to find cheap flights to Dublin. Need accommodation? In Trabber’s Hotel Finder, you’ll find everything from hostels to luxury hotels. Find the option that best suits your needs ?

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