Steeped in history and youthful energy, Dublin is a medieval city where the charming and cosmopolitan converge in delightful diversity. Fine museums and art galleries chronicle Dublin’s long and colourful past, while the pubs and cafes buzz with traditional and contemporary entertainment.
Throughout Dublin city and county you will find an abundance of visitor attractions to discover and explore, from the most majestic museums to more modern centres of entertainment. Whether your interest is sport, history, art or literature, whether you want to follow a heritage trail, visit a zoo, eat in a castle or follow in the footsteps of Dublin’s many musical greats, there’s something for everyone in Dublin!
Tours & Activities
Top things to do
The Guinness Storehouse
It takes a LOT to become iconic, but Guinness has done it. The “Black Stuff” may be famous the world over, but this slow-settling porter started off life in St James’s Gate at the heart of old Dublin. Back in 1759, an enterprising brewer by the name of Arthur Guinness took out a 9,000-year lease on the brewery here for an annual rent of £45. A couple of centuries later, the Storehouse was born. Built in the style of the Chicago School of Architecture 1904, it was originally used as a fermentation house. Today it’s Ireland’s number one visitor attraction – a gleaming, multimedia exhibition on everything from retro advertising to the craft of brewing, topped off with a pint in the 360-degree Gravity Bar. When you get there, don’t forget to raise your glass to Arthur’s wonderful creation!
St Patrick's and Christ Church Cathedrals
Ancient, dramatic and intriguing, Dublin’s two cathedrals make a striking pair. Built beside a well where Ireland’s patron saint baptised converts, St Patrick’s dates back to 1220 and is filled with monuments, 19th-century stained glass and a beautiful Lady Chapel.
Just a 10-minute walk away, Christ Church has attracted pilgrims for almost 1,000 years, and today one of its biggest attractions is its medieval crypt. There are plenty of other reasons to visit, but some may be fascinated by the Chapel of St Laurence O’Toole… a heart-shaped shrine contains the saint’s embalmed heart.
Dublin’s free museums
Gaze at one of the largest and most spellbinding gold collections in Europe; come “face to face” with the incredible preserved bodies of Iron Age people; and look in wonder at a 4,500-year-old log boat from County Galway. The National Museum Dublin is just one of the city’s must-visit museums, housed within a lovely Palladian building from 1890.
And it doesn’t stop there. The National Gallery of Ireland includes wonderful European and Irish fine art, with an acclaimed collection of works by Irish painter Jack B Yeats. Soak up the past and see Irish design through the ages at the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History in Collins Barracks, and head to the Hugh Lane Gallery to see the world-renowned Francis Bacon Studio. And the really good news? Admission is free!
The Trinity College
With a backstory that includes monks, Vikings and remote Scottish islands, the Book of Kells will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand on end. This glorious Early Christian illuminated manuscript is quite simply a masterpiece. Located within Trinity College’s Treasury, the tour here includes a visit to the Long Room library, one of Europe’s most magnificent libraries housing over 200,000 of Trinity’s oldest books.
Afterwards, wander around the charming campus of Trinity, which dates back to 1592 and boasts an impressive list of alumni including Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift. The Front Square and Campanile are a delight, while the college also houses the modern Science Gallery, and the Douglas Hyde Gallery, with changing contemporary art exhibitions.
Whether you want to spend the evening watching a retro film in a leafy Georgian square or potter around a lunchtime farmers' market, Dublin’s parks will fit the bill. Cherished and adored, the city’s green spaces include the hidden oasis of Iveagh Gardens (perfect for afternoon picnics) and the city centre gem of St Stephen’s Green, which was used for public executions until the 1770s.
Make like a local by spending an afternoon cycling through the Phoenix Park, one of Europe’s largest enclosed city parks – with a large herd of fallow deer for company; seek out the statue of Oscar Wilde in Merrion Square; or take time out at Dubh Linn Gardens, tucked just behind Dublin Castle. Urban bliss.