21 unique things to do in Dublin for free
21 things to do in Dublin for free if you’re visiting Dublin on a budget aka how to enjoy the city without worrying too much about money.
In fact, if you are heading to Dublin and you want to save your money for a pint of Guinness or simply you’re on a tight budget, do not worry: the city has plenty of free things to do and you certainly won’t be disappointed. Here are 21 of the best things to in Dublin for free. Some of those things are not very well known so I hope this article will be useful and if so share it with your contacts.
Before digging into the advice, let me explain why we know these things: we’re living in Dublin for a long time and we help people in discovering Ireland and Dublin from a different perspective. Are you heading to Ireland and do you want more information on customized tours but also on things to do, where to eat and drink and more? Write me an email or follow me on Instagram and Facebook and do not be afraid to ask for more information or a customized consultation! If you want to have photographic tips on what and where to go to take good pictures get in contact with Giuseppe, based in Dublin as well.
Ready, steady, go: these are 21 of the best things to in Dublin for free
Take a walk into the Trinity College
Ireland’s most famous university can be visited for free. You can walk around the cobbled grounds and stop on the cricket grounds outside the Pavillion Bar for some rest and eventually a beer. Here, you can also visit the Science Gallery, free of charge.
Hunt for Street Art
Dublin is well known for its street art and murals. The most famous ones were located in Windmill Lane, but they don’t exist anymore. Instead, you can take a walk into the Grand Canal area and spot some of best graffiti in town (click here for a preview) or just walk around with your eyes open and you’ll certainly have the opportunity to see some of the best street art in Dublin, also in unexpected places like the Trinity College.
Find love in… Love Lane, the heart of Dublin
While walking around, do not forget to have a look at the many laneways in Temple Bar. Focus your attention on Love Lane, an open-air art gallery opening in Crampton Court.
Visit the Garden of Remembrance
Designed by Daithi Hanly, the Garden of Remembrance is a free space in the heart of the city, and it’s been dedicated to all the people who lost their life to defend Ireland and its freedom. You can take a walk, stop to meditate, or just enjoy the peaceful atmosphere despite the closeness to the city center.
Spend some time at National Botanic Gardens
The National Botanic Gardens are one of the most popular places in Dublin, where people spend time wandering around and also organizing picnics. Being a little bit far from the center means you won’t find many tourists and you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy this green space and the National Herbarium.
Spend the day in Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is one of the largest parks in Europe and one of the largest city center parks in the world. For free, you can see a large number of deers enjoining the park and they are easy to get in contact with. Inside the park, you’ll also have the opportunity to see the Wellington Testimonial and a few other monuments while relaxing in one of the many green spots.
Chester Beatty Library
The very often forgotten Chester Beatty Library, is one of the finest museums in Ireland where you can have a look at the collections of books from every part of the World. The Library also organizes free events, so have a look at the official website for more information. After or before a visit to the Chester Beatty Library, if the weather is nice, make sure you spend some time in the Dubh Linn Gardens.
Check out the Irish Museum of Modern Art
Previously home to the Royal Hospital, the building of the Irish Museum of Modern Art is a piece of art itself. Both for art lovers and not, IMMA is a must-see for any visitor in Dublin: it’s free, the building and the park are amazing and the gardens ona sunny day, are absolutely lovely.
Bull Island at sunrise
If you like to take pictures, do not miss a stroll on Bull Island – a sandy island very close to the city center which has been formed over the course of the last 200 years. Today it is a Unesco Biosphere reserve and gives you the opportunity not only to relax and have a look at seals and birds but also to take stunning pictures of Dublin from another perspective.
Take a walk towards Poolbeg Lighthouse
Located in the South Wall area, Poolbeg Lighthouse is reachable from Ringsend and Sandymount by foot, or by reaching the car park in South Wall. It’s a 4km walk, and the closer you get to the Lighthouse, the more the view is amazing. Once you’re at the top, you can see Dun Laoghaire, Killiney head, and if the weather is good, all the mountains in the background. Make sure you don’t go there if the weather is not good because the water can easily rise up over the promenade.
Go listen to some music
Music is part of Ireland, and Dublin is no exception. You will find live music pretty much in every pub; but in fairness, if you want to listen to music in a pub, you should always drink something. If you want to listen to some music for free, move onto Grafton Street where you’ll find a lot of amazing buskers ready to amuse and entertain people: also in this case, if you like the music they’re offering, you should donate something to support their art.
Sign up for a meetup
If you want to know locals or want to do something different, then sign up for a meetup and choose the one(s) you’d like to attend: you can decide to meet people interested in showing you the city, others interested in hiking just outside Dublin, and so on. Have a look at the official website for some ideas.
Swim at the Forty Foot
Irish people used to swim at the Forty Foot on Christmas time, despite the cold weather. You can do the same and experience one of the unique free things to do in Dublin… surely better on a sunny day!
Take a free tour of Dublin every day
Every day a free tour of Dublin starts at the Barnardo Square next to City Hall, and in 3 hours, it covers all the main attractions of the city and also the hidden sites. The tours usually end at the Trinity Coffee, and they are free for up to 9 people. You can book your free tour of Dublin from here choosing your date and slot. Remember: the guide makes money on tips from customers, but you’re not obliged to pay if you don’t want or can’t.
Ride a bike
Subscribe to the Dublin Bikes for 3 days and you’ll get the first half hour of each journey for free. It isn’t a lot of time, but Dublin is quite a small city and you can move from one side to another in just a few minutes, taking advantage of the free half hour ride and the many stations where the bike are parked.
Take a walk in one of the many parks
If Phoenix park is too far for you, just take some time for a walk, for laying in the sun or just to relax in one of the many parks closest to the city center: the famous St Stephens Green, also the Iveagh Garden, Merrion Square Park or Herbert Park. Stephen’s Green can be very crowded, but neither the Iveagh Garden nor Herbert Park will be and you’ll have the opportunity to do something many people don’t do.
Take a walk through the Georgian Dublin
Dublin City is proud of its Georgian architecture, and visitors usually get impressed by this architecture as well. VisitDublin has an entire section on its site all about the Georgian Dublin: make sure you read it and create your map so you’ll enjoy the best of the Georgian Dublin.
Experience Temple Bar
Visiting Temple Bar is free of charge and you’ll enjoy walking on the cobbled stones, listening to the buskers and exploring the many pubs, shops, and restaurants. Despite the fact a walk is free, you will probably be persuaded to buy a pint or two: if you’re brave enough to resist and even braver visiting Temple Bar early in the morning, you’ll have an exceptional experience and you’ll save money to buy your pint somewhere else, cheaper.
Explore The Grand Canal
Explore the Grand Canal: start your walk from Portobello Road and, by walking along the Canal, you’ll explore one of the less touristic spots ever. Enjoy the calm and sit down just to relax.
Visit the National Photographic Archive
Located in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, the National Photographic Archive regularly hosts events and exhibitions and it’s one of the places where you can enjoy culture for free in Dublin.
Have a taste of the old Dublin by walking around The Liberties. You’ll find many local places such as the Liberty Market on Meath Street, but also antique shops and old streets. This is the area where the Guinness Storehouse is located, together with the Teeling Distillery and many other local businesses you can eventually decide to visit.
ARE YOU READY TO TRAVEL TO IRELAND AND EXPLORE ITS CAPITAL CITY, DUBLIN?
Are you heading to Ireland and do you want more information on customized tours but also on things to do, where to eat and drink and more? Write me an email or follow me on Instagram and Facebook and do not be afraid to ask for more information or a customized consultation! If you want to have photographic tips on what and where to go to take good pictures get in contact with Giuseppe, based in Ireland as well.
[All pics are copyright Giuseppe Milo]