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20 Free Things to do in Dublin

20 Free Things to do in Dublin

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​Dublin, the capital city of Ireland located on the east shore of the gorgeous Emerald Isle.  I would venture to guess that if you are planning a trip to Ireland then Dublin is on your list. 

I know that Ireland has been on our couples bucket list for quite some time.  This extremely lively city offers a great getaway for people from far and wide.  While a top European travel destination, Dublin is definitely not the cheapest place to visit in Europe. 

Actually, it is the opposite, one of the most expensive.  Don’t worry though, there are plenty of free things to do in Dublin to help absorb the cost and ensure you have a great vacation that does not leave you broke.

We planned our visit to Dublin as part of our trip to Scotland and Ireland and boy, were we glad we did.  Dublin is such a vibrant city that is full of life and great people. 

After finding exactly where to stay in Dublin, we enjoyed strolling the streets, visiting the pubs, and getting to know this fabulous city. 

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    Free Things to do in Dublin

    The Temple Bar Area Has Several Free Things to do in Dublin

    temple bar-free things to do in Dublin

    Now, I know that the Temple Bar area is very touristy and drinks are expensive but hear me out.  There are some hidden gems in the area that will not break the bank.

    Every Saturday from 10 am-4:30 pm, you can head to Meeting House Square and experience the fabulous Temple Bar Food Market.  You can buy items such as baked goods, oysters, cheese, or you can just hang out and people watch. 

    This is an interesting way to get to interact with locals and experience a piece of Dublin culture.

    Another free experience in the Temple Bar area is the Gallery of Photography.  The gallery is free and open daily.  Visitors can view the photo exhibitions and darkroom facilities by arranging a free tour with the education officer.

    Explore the Grounds of Trinity College

    Located right in the middle of the city, Trinity College is easy to get to and one of the many free things to do in Dublin.

    While there is a charge for the famous Long Room and book of Kells, you can explore the grounds of Trinity College free of charge. 

    Take time to walk around the cobbled grounds of Ireland’s famous university.

    I mean, you are exploring the area that Bram Stoker and Jonathan Swift once roamed!

    Science Gallery at Trinity College

    While you are visiting Trinity College, be sure to drop into the Science Gallery.  Here you will find exhibitions that change on a daily basis!

    Phoenix Park

    phoenix park is one of the free things to do in dublin

    Phoenix Park is the perfect escape from the noise and action of the city and one of my favorite free things to do in Dublin. 

    Known to be one of the biggest parks in not only Dublin, but in the world, covering 710 hectares, Phoenix Park is the place to go to get some tranquility in the middle of the city.

    Containing large green spaces, beautiful flower beds, and abundant seating, Phoenix Parke is a great place to take a picnic, go for a walk, or just lie in the grass in the sun.  Although it is not one of the free things to do in Dublin, it is also home to the Dublin Zoo!

    Merrion Square Park

    Located a short walk from St. Stephen’s Green, visitors will come across a small park that is surrounded by Georgian red brick buildings. 

    One of Dublin’s five Georgian Squares, Merrion Park is known as one of the most exclusive addresses in Dublin. Until the 1960s, the park was private and belonged to the owners of Merrion Square. 

    Today visitors can enjoy the small park to get a welcome break from the city.  The unique statue of Oscar Wilde reclining on a rock in the northwest corner of the park is a large draw for visitors. 

    Visit the park on a Sunday to see local artists display their work along the outer perimeter of the park.

    National Gallery of Ireland

    The National Gallery of Ireland houses a wide selection of art from the fourteenth to twentieth centuries.  Renowned artists such as Monet and Jack B. Years have pieces here in the National Gallery. 

    The collection inside the National Gallery is over 14,000 pieces that include paintings, drawings, prints, and sculptures.  You can enter the gallery off Merrion Square making it an easy stop after visiting the park.

    Irish Museum om Modern Art

    The Irish Museum of Modern Art houses the Irish National Collection of modern and contemporary art.  Here you will find over 3500 pieces of art from both Irish and international artists. 

    Located on nearly 48 acres of land in the historical site of the Royal Hospital, the site alone makes you want to visit.  Visitors can enjoy the museum, formal gardens, and meadows Tuesday-Sunday.

    Dublin Castle

    Dublin Castle-free things to do in Dublin

    Dublin Castle welcomes visitors 7 days a week and while the entire castle is not available to visit for free, key parts are!  Visitors can enjoy Chapel Royal, the Garda Museum, and the Revenue Museum for free.  All you have to do is call ahead and book a tour.

    After spending time in the castle, head over to the gardens and visit the Chester Beatty Library. 

    +You will find artwork, artifacts, and lots of varying manuscripts at the Chester Beatty.  Before leaving make sure you head up to their rooftop garden!

    National Museum of Ireland

    History lovers will get their fill of Irish history by visiting the National Museum of Ireland

    This museum, which was founded in 1877, is a great place to explore the culture and history of Ireland.  The buildings alone are worth visiting.

    National Botanic Gardens

    greenhouse in Dublin

    The National Botanic Gardens are beautiful and should definitely be added to your list of free things to do in Dublin.

    The gardens are famous for their historic glasshouses that have been beautifully restored.  Dublin’s National Botanic Gardens houses numerous plant species from all over the world. 

    Tours are given daily if you would like to learn more specifics about the gardens.

    Check Out Some Free Music

    One of the highlights of a trip to Ireland is to attend your first (of many) live music performances.  Head to O’Donoghue’s on Merrion Row or to any bar in the Temple Bar area to hear some traditional Irish tunes for free. 

    Grab a beer or a whiskey and join in the fun!

    Dollymount Strand Beach

    Despite the fact that Dublin is freezing cold in the winter, it does have a beach.  If you happen to be visiting on a nice day, then head for Dollymount Strand Beach.  Walk along the beach and enjoy the sea air to get a little break from the city.

    Garden of Remembrance

    Located in Parnell Square, the Garden of Remembrance is a nice way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a few minutes. 

    Dedicated to the people who lost their lives for Irish freedom, the Garden of Remembrance houses a beautiful reflection pool and fresh blossom for visitors to enjoy.

    St. Patrick’s Cathedral

    St Patrick's Cathedral is one of the free things to do in Dublin

    Founded in 1191, St. Patrick’s Cathedral should definitely be on your list of free things to do in Dublin, I mean, it is one of the top Dublin Bucket list attractions! 

    The church offers visitors a cultural experience by allowing them to visit buildings from the medieval period in Dublin.  In addition to this, the cathedral is the burial place for Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels.

    We had the opportunity to hear the world-famous choir perform while we were visiting, and I would highly recommend you doing this as well. 

    There are guided tours offered of the Cathedral throughout the day if you would like to participate in that as well.

    Ha’Penny Bridge

    Erected in 1816 to help people cross over the River Liffey, the Ha’Penny Bridge was a money saver.  For you see, in this time, it replaces the ferry that people had to pay to use to get across the bridge. 

    Our Airbnb was right by the Ha’Penny so we crossed it often during our visit to Dublin.  Lucky for us it didn’t cost a ha’penny any longer.

    Window Shop on Grafton Street

    While you can’t purchase items for free, you can definitely window shop for free and one of the best places to do that in Dublin is along Grafton Street. 

    Grafton Street is known for the many museums, galleries, restaurants, and bars that are in this area. 

    There is also great shopping along Grafton Street.  Here you will find everything from vintage shops to fun boutiques.

    Go Hunting for Street Art

    Take yourself on a walking tour to explore the street art in Dublin. 

    Like most major cities in the world, street art is becoming more and more common throughout Dublin.  Look for the colorful city walls throughout the city. 

    Capture them in a photo when you find them because chances are they won’t be there for long as Dublin city officials are quick to cover up these short-lived masterpieces.

    Glasnevin Cemetery

    Glasnevin Cemetery-one of the free things to do in Dublin

    You know that we like to visit cemeteries.  I mean, we have visited cemeteries in New Orleans and Paris and the catacombs in Rome just to name a couple.  Well, Dublin is no exception.  Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin was the first Catholic cemetery in Ireland.

    You can visit Glasnevin on your own or elect to take one of the daily tours that are offered of the museum and cemetery. 

    Consider adding this to your list of free things to do in Dublin.

    Free Bikes with DublinBikes

    Now, you probably know of my biking failure while biking the mission trail in San Antonio, but that didn’t stop me from trying again in Dublin. 

    The cool thing about this is that bike-sharing in Dublin is really quite common.  You can actually “rent” the bike for the first 30 minutes for free using DublinBikes. 

    Download their app and keep track of your time.  Just be sure to turn the bike in within the 30-minute time limit. 

    If you need more time, then just grab another bike for free.

    Tour the President of Ireland’s House

    That’s right, you can tour the President of Ireland’s House for free. 

    The tours, organized by the Office of Public Works, take place almost every Saturday all year.  The tour takes about an hour and tickets are available on a first-come-first-serve basis from the Phoenix Park Visitor Center. 

    There are multiple time slots available, but you have to have a picture ID in order to obtain your pass. 

    Touring the President’s house is one of the top free things to do in Dublin.

    Final Thoughts on Free Things to do in Dublin

    I hope we have inspired you to check out all that Dublin has to offer.  I loved finding so many free things to do in Dublin. 

    This allowed us to spend our money on other things like a Dublin food tour and a day trip to Kilkenny and the Glendalough

    Please feel free to comment below and tell us what you are most looking forward to in Dublin, or to add to our list!

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    Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips and Tricks

    Book Your Flight:

    We love using CheapOAir, Kayak, and Kiwi to search for the best prices on flights. We love using these search engines because they search the web for airlines all over the world to ensure you get the best deal! In addition to flights, you can also find great hotel prices on Kayak and Kiwi.

    Book Your Vacation Package:

    If you want to book an entire vacation package, then we suggest using Expedia. We love how easy Expedia is to use and we always find good deals on entire vacation packages on their site.

    Another great site for vacation packages is BookVIP. BookVIP offers super cheap vacation packages to incredible destinations. You are sure to save money using their site!

    For full guided vacations including hotels, some meals, transportation, and guides, then we book with Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a trusted tour company that will meet all of your needs while ensuring that you have a great experience.

    Trip.com allows you to book flights, hotels, train tickets, rental cars, airport transfers, tours, and more all on one site. Owned by the parent company that also owns Skyscanner, this is a trusted resource for travel booking and a great “one-stop-shop.”

    Book Your Accommodations:

    We always begin our search by checking out the honest review on hotels at TripAdvisor. This allows us to narrow our search for specific properties once we are ready to book. Of course, you can also book directly on the TripAdvisor site as well!

    There are several accommodation sites that we like to use. One of our favorites is Booking.com because it gives you a wide variety of hotels and guesthouses at a good price.

    Another “go-to” hotel booking site for us is Hotels.com. We love their loyalty program that allows you to earn free nights, and their “secret prices” for members are fabulous deals!

    HotelsCombined is another cool site. They allow you to compare all of the top travel sites with one search to ensure you are finding the best deal out there. Kayak works in this way as well.

    If you are looking for a luxurious all-inclusive vacation, then consider checking out the Sandals/Beaches properties. Sandals properties are for couples only and Beaches are for families. We have visited Sandals in the past and absolutely love the attention to detail and the service they provide.

    Tour Companies We Trust:

    We love taking guided tours when visiting new places. Our go-to tour companies are Viator.com and Get Your Guide. Both of these companies have been in business for years and provide excellent customer service. You can trust booking tours from their sites for sure!

    For a guided city tour, check out City Sightseeing and BigBus Tours. These bus tours are so much fun and easy to hop on and hop off at top attractions in cities around the world.

    CityPass is a great way to save money when visiting large cities. CityPass allows you to get free admission to major attractions once you buy their pass. The savings add up quickly with this pass, often saving 50% with combined admissions.

    Another great pass to save money in larger cities is the Sightseeing Pass. This pass allows you to save valuable time and money by combining admissions to major attractions. They also have a handy app that keeps everything you need at your fingertips.

    Looking to Save Time and Money?

    Check out our resource page for all of our favorite vendors. These companies help us to save time and money on our travels!

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    Michelle Snell founder of That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel

    About The Author

    Michelle Snell is a travel writer, history buff, wine lover, and enthusiast of different cultures. Michelle enjoys bringing places to life through her informative writing style on her blogs, That Texas Couple and Totally Texas Travel.  Her practical tips and suggestions help make travel dreams a reality while immersing her readers in the history, culture, and food of a region.  She is happiest sipping wine in Italy or chilling on a beach with her husband, Marty.

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    Karen

    Tuesday 21st of July 2020

    I wish I had this post when I visited Dublin a year ago. I would have loved to hop on one of those free bikes!

    Michelle

    Monday 20th of July 2020

    Oh, Dublin is on the growing list! I never would have guessed that it was on the pricey side of European cities. I loved reading all the free options of things to see and do. Plus with kids usually in tow, a free park or cemetery is just as fun as a paid experience.

    thattexascouple

    Tuesday 21st of July 2020

    Yes, Michelle, we were surprised that it really is a little pricey, especially accommodations (well in the summer at least). I hope you found some items that your kids will enjoy :)

    Andrea Cannon

    Sunday 19th of July 2020

    It's amazing how much [cool] free stuff there is to do! Visiting Ireland is on my list!

    thattexascouple

    Sunday 19th of July 2020

    I know! I would definitely recommend Ireland. It is a gorgeous country!

    Holidays from Hels

    Saturday 18th of July 2020

    Dublin is one of my favourite cities! So friendly and full of fun - with live music in the pubs and street art outside. Love it! Can't wait to go back. (One of my ancestors has some paintings hanging in the National Gallery apparently, which we found out as part of my son's family tree project this year, so we'll have to go back to see that if nothing else.)

    thattexascouple

    Sunday 19th of July 2020

    You are so right, Dublin is so full of life and the people are so nice there. We really enjoyed our time there!

    Miranda

    Monday 27th of January 2020

    Thanks for these great recommendations! Hunting for street art is always a great thing to do in any city!