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If you are searching for free things to do in Dublin, Ireland, you’re in luck! We’ve rounded up the top attractions in Dublin that are free of charge. Whether you are on a budget or just want to give your wallet a rest, with our list of free Dublin activities you don’t need a pot of gold!
Free Things To Do in Dublin, Ireland FAQs
Before we get to our list of what to do in Dublin, Ireland for free, we want to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions.
Is there a Dublin Free Museum?
Yes! In fact, there are many free museums in Dublin – and we highlight the best ones to visit.
Are there Free Things To Do in Dublin for Kids?
Of course! While our list is not specifically geared toward free things to do with kids in Dublin, we include several free family activities.
Are there Top Things To Do in Dublin that are Free?
Definitely! When we started planning our trip, I was surprised by the number of top Dublin, Ireland things to do that are totally free. While many experiences are ticketed, it is very feasible to visit Dublin and see the sights without spending a dime.
Planning a Trip to Dublin, Ireland
There is a lot that goes into planning a Dublin trip. In addition to finding the best things to do in Dublin for free, you also need an affordable place to stay and to find cheap airfare. Therefore, in addition to our list of Dublin freebies, we share budget tips about how to get there, how to get around, where to stay and what to pack.
Additionally, if you are traveling to Ireland from abroad, we share helpful advice in our article, How To Plan a Europe Vacation.
As you make your plans, organization is key – and a printed planner is the best way to stay on top of the details! Our Travel Planner is inclusive of 25+ pages of travel planning fun!
Save, Pin or Bookmark this Dublin travel blog post so that you can use it while planning your trip to Ireland!
50 Fun, Free Things To Do in Dublin
Dublin, Ireland can be an expensive destination…but with our tips of free things in Dublin you can plan a fun trip while keeping your budget in check!
DUBLIN MUST-SEE SIGHTS
When planning what to see in Dublin for free, we think the best place to start is with the Must-See Dublin Sights!
#1 Discover Dublin on a Free Walking Tour
Topping our list of Free Things To Do Dublin is to take a walking tour. If your budget is tight, skip the guided tours and set off on your own with our Self Guided Free Walking Tour of Dublin.
In the tour that we outline, we feature top Dublin sights that will help get you acquainted with the area quickly.
Pro Tip: There are many advertised guided free tours in Dublin. While there is no upfront cost for the tour, keep in mind that the guide expects (and hopefully deserves) fair tips.
#2 Stand in the Dublin Castle Courtyard
One of the fun things to do in Dublin for free is to wander around the Dublin Castle grounds. The castle dates to the 13th century and ranks as one of the city’s oldest structures.
We think the grandiose courtyard is the most impressive part of the castle exterior, but don’t miss the chapel and tower!
Pro Tip: Entering parts of the castle used to be free, but as of 2022, any entry into the castle requires a ticket.
#3 Spend some Time at St. Stephen’s Green
When it comes to Things To Do Free in Dublin, St. Stephen’s Green is a must! The 22-acre park sits in the middle of Dublin City Center. Highlights of the park are the weaving footpaths, colorful gardens, fountains, bandstand, pond and many statues and memorials.
The most prominent monument is Fusilier’s Arch at the northern entrance to the park, which is dedicated to Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died in war.
Pro Tip: While the peaceful park is the perfect spot for a picnic today, it was taken by the rebels in the 1916 Easter Rising. Look for evidence of bullet holes in Fusilier’s Arch.
#4 Explore Trinity College Campus
Trinity College is famous for housing the ancient Book of Kells in the Long Room inside the Trinity Old Library. A ticket to see the 9th century manuscript and impressive library costs upwards of 20 euros.
However, there are a few free Dublin attractions at Trinity College that you will want to visit.
First, the campus itself is gorgeous – and it’s absolutely free to wander through the main Parliament Square and around the Campanile (bell tower).
Furthermore, the Douglas Hyde Gallery of contemporary art is free to visit and there are often free public events at the college, as well.
Pro Tip: The Science Gallery was long one of the best things to do at Trinity College for free, but they sadly closed their doors in 2022.
#5 See the Murals at Dublin City Hall
An excellent example of fine Georgian architecture and the perfect place to delve into the history of Dublin, City Hall is one of the best free places to visit in Dublin.
Visitors are welcome to step inside the rotunda to see the 12 soaring columns that support the domed roof. Along the walls are murals that detail the early history of the city – as well as statues of four of Dublin’s most influential citizens.
Pro Tip: Dublin City Hall is closed on Sundays. It is also often closed for private events (especially weddings during the summertime!), so it’s best to go in the morning if you want a peek inside.
FREE MUSEUMS IN DUBLIN
Dublin is home to numerous museums – many of which are free to visit. In fact, visiting these museums is one of the best free things to do in Dublin in the rain.
#6 Enjoy the Fine Art at the National Gallery of Ireland
One of the best free museums Dublin, the National Gallery of Ireland is a massive space with an astounding collection of European art. A series of connecting rooms cover three floors (and there are maps that will help you find your way).
Artworks include paintings by known masters, but don’t miss the Grand Gallery and Jack B Yeats rooms.
Pro Tip: In addition to there being no admission fee to enter the National Gallery, there is also free WiFi throughout the museum.
#7 Browse the Exhibits at the Dublin Archaeology Museum
The National Museum of Ireland Archaeology is one of the most interesting places to visit in Dublin for free. The museum is packed with ancient archaeological treasures – from the Bronze Age to the time of the Vikings to Medieval times.
Some of the most interesting exhibits are the Viking artifacts, the Egyptian mummies and the Bog Bodies – which are human remains dating to 400 BC that were naturally preserved in bogs in Ireland’s County Meath.
Pro Tip: The museum is huge and interested visitors could easily spend the better part of a day inside. If you just want to see the highlights, however, there are plenty of staff around who can point you in the right direction.
#8 Immerse Yourself in Ireland’s Past at the History Museum
Another one of the Dublin free museums is the National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts and History. Housed in a former army barracks, the building itself is a sight to see, but the exhibits inside are fascinating.
An entire wing of the museum is dedicated to the military history of Ireland, which is provided through a detailed timeline. Other exhibits that are well worth seeing are the silver collection, vintage furniture and the wooden Asgard Yacht.
Pro Tip: The museum is a bit of a walk from the city center, but easy to reach using the Luas Red Line tram. We share more tips on Dublin public transport at the end of the post.
#9 Get Inspired at the Irish Museum of Modern Art
A top-rated free museum in Dublin, the Irish Museum of Modern Art is an interesting and intriguing place to visit. The artwork covers numerous mediums – from photographs to video art.
Additionally, because the museum is housed in a former military hospital, The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, there is a small presentation on the history of the building.
However, our favorite part of the IMMA museum is the manicured, walled garden. It’s especially beautiful in the spring and summer when flowers are in bloom.
Pro Tip: General admission to the IMMA is free, but there are some exhibits that require a ticket. That said, all of the exhibits are free on Tuesdays! Just be sure to book a timeslot online in advance.
#10 Marvel at the Beautiful Manuscripts at Chester Beatty Museum
One of the best Dublin museums (free of charge or not) is the Sir Alfred Chester Beatty Library. The museum hosts Chester Beatty’s personal collection of manuscripts and religious texts from around the world.
Exhibits are displayed by religion, with additional information to help visitors understand the religious conviction and culture.
Pro Tip: The Dubh Linn Garden (#16 on our list) is a good place to relax at the end of your visit!
#11 Be Impressed by the Impressionist Art at Hugh Lane Gallery
The Hugh Lane Gallery – another free museum Dublin – is small yet powerful. In fact, it ranks as one of our favorite museums in Dublin!
The collection of artwork contains pieces by French masters, such as Monet, Rodin and Edgar Degas – but features works by Irish artists, as well. In addition to art, one of the highlights of the museum is the recreated art studio of Francis Bacon (along with a few of his works).
Pro Tip: The Dublin City Gallery Hugh Lane Museum is closed on Mondays, so be sure to plan accordingly.
#12 Delve into the History of Dublin at The Little Museum of Dublin
The Little Museum in Dublin might be small in size, but it is absolutely packed with memorabilia that tells the story of the city and Irish culture.
Situated in a historic Georgian-style residence, each room of The Little Museum features a different topic – from a replica newsroom to an entire room dedicated to Ireland’s most famous rock band, U2.
Although a ticket is normally required for The Little Museum of Dublin, there is a way to visit for free. On Wednesday mornings, the museum offers one free tour, called The Freedom of Dublin. The guides are humorous (if not a little corny) and wrap up the history of Dublin into a 30-minute tour. Afterwards, guests are free to roam the rest of the museum at their leisure.
Pro Tip: In order to get the free admission to The Little Dublin Museum, visitors need to reserve their spot online.
#13 Learn about the Life of WB Yeats
The William Butler Yeats exhibit at the National Library of Ireland is one of the best places to visit in Dublin, Ireland for free. The excellent exhibit details the life of the famous Irish poet, from his childhood to his last years.
The extensive collection features private letters, typed playscripts and personal affects. Visitors can use the pamphlets and signage to tour the displays or download the audio guide for free.
Pro Tip: While the Yeats Exhibit is free of charge, a ticket is required to tour the rest of the library.
#14 Dare to Go to the Dead Zoo
The National Museum of Natural History – nicknamed the Dead Zoo – is one of the highly-rated free museums in Dublin City Center. The museum is stuffed (pun intended) with taxidermized animals from around the world.
While it might not be a museum for everyone (and some people think it’s downright creepy), kids seem to get a kick out of it – and we, personally, thought it was quite an interesting collection.
Pro Tip: The museum is housed in a beautiful Victorian building – and seeing it is worth the visit alone!
PARKS AND GARDENS: FREE OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES DUBLIN
Visiting the city’s green parks and colorful gardens is one of the fun free things to do in Dublin for families, friends, couples…or anyone!
#15 Stroll through Merrion Square Park
Today, strolling through Merrion Square Park is one of the things to do in Dublin that is free…but it wasn’t always that way.
The park was developed when the city’s wealthy started moving to the south side in the mid-18th century. Merrion Square – bounded by grand redbrick Georgian residences – quickly became one of the most desirable places to live in Dublin. The park in the center of the square could only be accessed by residents with a key. It wasn’t until 1974 that the park opened to the public.
While not as elaborate as St. Stephen’s Green, the park offers plenty of space to stretch out on the grass, toss a ball with friends or to have a picnic lunch.
Pro Tip: Seek out the statue of Irish poet and playwright, Oscar Wilde, on the northern corner of the park. Directly across the street, you will find the house he once lived in.
#16 Savor the Peacefulness of the Dubh Linn Gardens
Sitting next to the Dublin Castle is one of the city’s best gardens. A bit of a hidden gem, the Dubh Linn Garden is a quiet retreat from the bustling city center.
The charming garden is highlighted by vibrant flowers and whimsical sculptures. Additionally, there is a separate memorial garden for quiet reflection.
Pro Tip: The name Dubh Linn is the original spelling of the city of Dublin. The Viking word means Black Pool – and the Dubh Linn Garden sits on the site of the former dark-water pond.
#17 Stop to Smell the Roses at the Dublin Botanical Garden
Without a doubt, the National Botanic Gardens are one of the best free attractions in Dublin. Dating to the late 1700s, the vast gardens are inclusive of several greenhouses, a visitor center and an amazing variety of flora.
Visitors are free to walk along the paths and through the greenhouses, but guided tours are also provided. An audio guide – with three different routes – is also available to download for free.
Pro Tip: The Dublin Botanical Garden is north of the city center and best reached by bus 155.
#18 Visit the Glasnevin Cemetery
Perhaps one of the more offbeat things to do in Dublin for free, the Glasnevin Cemetery is actually a top historical site in Ireland. Dating to the mid-1800s, the cemetery is the final resting place of many of the country’s famous residents.
There is no entry fee to visit the cemetery and graves. However, there is a charge for the on-site museum, to enter the O’Connell Tower or to take a cemetery tour.
Pro Tip: Combine your visit to Glasnevin Cemetery with your trip to the Botanical Gardens. The two sites are adjacent to one another and connected via an internal gate.
#19 Embark on a Walk Along the Dublin Canals
The River Liffey is the main waterway in the city, but there are two major canals in Dublin, too. Grand Canal and Royal Canal played a big part in the city’s past.
Dating to that late 1700s, the canals were used for industry and transport – as well as supplying the city with drinking water.
Today, visitors can bike or walk alongside the canals for a breath of fresh air under the shade of trees – and it’s absolutely free!
Pro Tip: In addition to the natural beauty and scenic landscapes, there are other ways to enjoy the Dublin Canals. Statues and art exhibitions are found along the banks – and visitors can also take boat trips or kayak on the canals. Find out more on the Dublin Canals official website.
#20 Find the Fallow Deer Herd at Phoenix Park
Visiting Phoenix Park is one of the absolute best free outdoor things to do in Dublin. The enormous park is twice as big as Central Park in New York City and the biggest city park in all of Europe.
Established as hunting grounds in 1662, the land was transformed into a park in the 19th century and remains a beautiful green space today.
Within Phoenix Park there are spacious meadows, forested paths, gardens, monuments and the Dublin Zoo. Plus, both the President of Ireland and the US Ambassador have residences within the park.
That all said, one of the top reasons to go to Phoenix Park is to find the famous Fallow Deer. The herd is 600 strong, so even in the massive park, you can likely get a glimpse. (Keep in mind that the deer are wild; do not feed or touch them!)
Pro Tip: Being such a big park, a bicycle is best to navigate your way to the sights. There is a bike rental company at the park entrance, but it is cheaper to use a bicycle from the Dublin Bike Share program, which we detail more later.
#21 Pay Respects at the Garden of Remembrance
Visiting parks is one of the leisurely free activities in Dublin – and the Garden of Remembrance should not be missed.
A tranquil place to relax, the Garden of Remembrance is dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in the name of Irish freedom. The solemn park is brightened by flowers and a prominent statue, called Children of Lir, which represents rebirth and resurrection.
Pro Tip: The Garden of Remembrance is located directly across the entrance to the Hugh Lane Gallery.
#22 Gaze at the Georgian Architecture on Henrietta Street
Henrietta Street on Dublin’s north side is a quiet street lined with classic houses (including 14 Henrietta, a museum that requires a ticket). The street ends at the classic Georgian-style King’s Inn – a striking building that dates to the early 1800s.
Visitors can use the walkway that passes through the archway to access another lovely park. It’s one of the secret, free places to go in Dublin.
Pro Tip: While at King’s Inn Park, try to take a seat on the Hungry Tree bench – it’s one of the silly and fun things to do in Dublin for free!
Neighborhood markets offer fabulous insight into the community scene – and there are several markets in Dublin. The markets that we are highlighting are free places to go in Dublin where visitors can get a peek at local life.
#23 Peruse the Fresh Flowers at the Moore Street Market
The Moore Street Market is one of the long-running produce markets in Dublin. It’s where locals go to get fresh flowers and in-season fruits – and it’s one of the free, fun things to do in Dublin for visitors, too.
Moore Street is located just off Henry Street – one of the top pedestrian shopping lanes. Lining the relatively short street are the blue-and-white striped vendor stalls, piled high with a colorful array of produce.
Although it is not the exuberant marketspace that it once was, it’s still a fun place to check out in Dublin for free.
Pro Tip: Local butchers and ethnic food stores also line the lane – and there are heaps of international eats in the Moore Street Mall.
#24 Taste Samples at the Temple Bar Food Market
Weekend visitors looking for free things to do in Dublin City Center should swing by the food market in Temple Bar. Located on Meeting House Square, the Saturday market features farm-fresh food and baked goods from local shops.
While the food at the market is not free, many vendors offer samples as you peruse the goods!
Pro Tip: In addition to the food market on Saturday, there is also a Temple Bar Book Market on Bernardo Square and a Temple Bar Craft Market on Cows Lane.
#25 Load Up on Deals at the Liberty Market
Open since 1974, the Liberty Market on Meath Street is one of the best places to find smashing deals. Clothes, shoes and household goods are all marked at rock-bottom prices – and the atmosphere is absolutely one-of-a-kind.
Of course, if you are not looking to spend any money at all, wandering through the market and window-shopping is one of the fun free things to do in Dublin. You can enjoy the market environment without spending a single cent.
The market is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 until 4 in the afternoon.
Pro Tip: In addition to the market, Meath Street is home to several discount stores – and Francis Street, just a stone’s throw away, is lined with antique shops, which are fun to browse, as well.
#26 Hang Out at the Hip George’s Street Arcade
Another one of the best places to visit in Dublin, Ireland for free is the George’s Street Market. The market hall was built in 1881 – and has been continuously operating as a trading center ever since.
The beautiful Victorian redbrick building is stunning from the outside – and inside, there are more than 50 traders selling an array of interesting items – from vintage vinyl to tarot card readings.
Pro Tip: George’s Street Arcade is a great place to pick up unique Dublin souvenirs.
UNIQUE THINGS TO DO IN DUBLIN FOR FREE
In addition to the most popular attractions in the city, there are quite a few unique and quirky things to do in Dublin that are free, too.
#27 Join James Joyce Fans at Sweny’s Pharmacy
Mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses, Sweny’s Pharmacy served as a working pharmacy for decades, but converted to a volunteer-run fan club, of sorts, in 2009. Now it’s one of the Free Tourist Attractions Dublin for literary fans.
Visitors can step inside to have a chat about the book and the author. Joyce novels are on sale – as is the famed lemony soap. For a true experience, however, attend the free Thursday evening reading of Ulysses.
Pro Tip: Big fans of Ulysses can also complete a self-guided tour to Dublin sights mentioned throughout the novel. The route is on wiki under Locations.
#28 Engage in the Outdoor Exhibits of the Temple Bar Icon Walk
The Icon Walk in Temple Bar District is an open-air, public art installment that shares the story of some of the most important figures in Irish history. It’s more than just free sightseeing in Dublin, it’s an outdoor museum.
Visitors can find the unique displays in the alleyways between the River Liffey and Fleet Street – the main thoroughfare through the Temple Bar District.
Pro Tip: Pop into the Icon Factory on the corner of Aston and Bedford for more information about the project.
#29 Tour the Leinster House
The magnificent Leinster House is home to the Oireachtas – the Parliament of Ireland – and it ranks as one of the best free things to see in Dublin.
The palatial structure was built in 1745 for the Duke of Leinster. It was the first mansion built on the south side of Dublin and one of the most lavish houses of the time. In fact, Leinster House was used as a model for the United States’ White House.
In 1922, however, the building was renovated to house Ireland’s Parliament – and it still is the seat of Parliament today.
Pro Tip: Visitors can get a view of Leinster House through the gates. To see the inside, book a free tour online.
#30 Seek Out Statues and Dublin Landmarks
Dublin is open about its past – as evidenced by the hundreds of statues and memorials that dot the Dublin downtown district. Visitors looking for free things to do in Dublin City Centre can create their own scavenger hunt of the best sculptures and artworks.
A few of the most famous statues are found on O’Connell Street – including the soaring Spire, the Daniel O’Connell Statue and James Larkin Statue. The statues of Molly Malone (nicknamed the Tart with the Cart), Oscar Wilde and Phil Lynott are more playful, while the Famine Memorial is quite poignant.
Pro Tip: Use the wiki List of Dublin Statues to find the artworks that are of most interest to you!
#31 Shift Your Focus to Dublin Street Art
The street art in Dublin adds a significant splash of color to the city. Vivid murals cover multistory buildings, small paintings in a series are found throughout town and tags mark narrow alleys.
Shifting your focus to analyze some of the street art is one of the fun things to do in Dublin on a budget.
The Bernard Shaw – one of our favorite bars in Dublin – is an excellent place to seek out street art, but Love Lane in Temple Bar, streets throughout The Liberties neighborhood and the walls along the Grand Canal are all great places to see street art.
That said, street art is actually everywhere in Dublin. We always keep our eyes peeled for the street art by Buzzy Be, which comes with a positive message (like Bee Happy, Bee Kind and Bee Free).
Pro Tip: Not certain where to start? Use this guide to street art in Dublin, Ireland.
#32 Go to the Irish President’s House
Although it seems unlikely, one of the unique places to go in Dublin for free is the President’s house.
The President of Ireland lives and works at Aras an Uachtarain, which is located right in the heart of Phoenix Park. On Saturdays, the President opens the doors to allow visitors to tour the residence with a guide.
In the summertime, tours of the gardens are also offered, free of charge.
Pro Tip: Aras an Uachtarain tours are free, but a reserved ticket is still required to enter (as is a photo ID). Find out more on the President of Ireland’s official website.
#33 Photograph Dublin Doors
Brightly painted doors are a signature trademark of the city of Dublin, Ireland. The classic Dublin Georgian architecture that was popular throughout the 18th century required uniformity. One way to stand out in a sea of red brick buildings was to paint the front door in a vivid hue.
The custom of colorful doors in Dublin is now a symbol of the city.
Visitors looking for free activities in Dublin can take it upon themselves to find and photograph the city’s most beautiful doors.
Pro Tip: The best place to start is on the Dublin Southside near St. Stephen’s Green, Merrion Park and Fitzwilliam Square.
FREE DUBLIN THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT
While most of our list of Dublin, Ireland things to do are daytime activities, we have a couple of suggestions for free things to do at night, as well.
#34 Watch the Reflections on the River Liffey
Dublin is beautiful at night – especially along the River Liffey! One of the best free things to do in Dublin at night is to stroll along the riverside and take in the scenery.
Visitors could walk the entire 3-mile stretch from the Docklands to Phoenix Park – or just stick to the city center, using the bridges to cross back and forth across the river for the best views and prettiest reflections.
Pro Tip: An easy walk along the river at night is from O’Connell Street Bridge to the Ha’Penny Bridge to Millennium Bridge.
#35 Listen to Live Music in Dublin
One of the cheap things to do in Dublin at night is to catch a live musical performance. Most bars in the Temple Bar District – as well as nearly all pubs around the city – host bands or musician jam sessions in the evenings.
While some bars and clubs will collect a cover charge at the door, most pubs don’t. Therefore, you can just saunter in and have a listen.
Grafton Street – Dublin’s most popular shopping lane – is another great place to listen to music. The street is well-known for the buskers that play and sing for the crowds.
VISITING CHURCHES IN DUBLIN FOR FREE
With a long history as a predominately Catholic nation, it’s not surprising to see many churches in the Dublin City Center. Visiting the historic churches is one of the things to do in Dublin for free. That said, the most famous Dublin landmark churches charge entry fees…but we are sharing how to get inside without buying a ticket!
#36 Behold the Beauty of John’s Lane Church
John’s Lane Church is one of the most beautiful Dublin churches – and, because there is no admission fee, it’s one of the best free things to do in Dublin! Visitors can step right inside the church to see the pale green ceiling, stained-glass windows and stunning mosaics.
Before entering the church, make sure to look up at the steeple. It rises over 200 feet and ranks as the tallest church steeple in Dublin.
Pro Tip: It’s best to plan your visit outside of mass times so that you can freely wander the church.
#37 Say a Prayer at Christ Church Cathedral
The Dublin Christ Church Cathedral is an Anglican church – and one of the most famous Dublin landmarks. With origins that date to the year 1030, Christ Church is one of the oldest structures in the city.
A ticket is required to enter the church for sightseeing (and includes a useful audio guide). However, guests who want to enter with the intent to pray can go inside for free.
Pro Tip: While we list Christ Church Cathedral as one of the things to do for free in Dublin, please adhere to their rules and only go in for free if you are there to pray.
#38 Attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the city’s best-known sights…but, unfortunately, it is not one of the free tourist attractions in Dublin, Ireland. However, anyone who wants to attend mass at St. Patrick’s can do so without paying an entry fee. Find mass times on the Cathedral website.
The church, which is the largest church in Ireland, was completed in 1191. The church stands on the site where St. Patrick baptized the first Catholic converts in the year 450 AD.
Pro Tip: St. Patrick’s Park, which sits on the north side of the church, is another free green space in the city – and one of our favorites. Not only is the park a peaceful place to relax, but the views of the cathedral from the park are absolutely superb!
FREE DUBLIN EVENTS
Need more ideas of Dublin free things to do? The city hosts parades and festivals – and museums host interesting free events, as well.
#39 Free Events in Dublin
If you are on the hunt for free things to do around Dublin, we highly recommend checking out the events that will be taking place during your visit. From community affairs to family-fun, there are heaps of on-going and one-time events that take place around Dublin every day.
Big annual events (like the St. Patrick’s Day Parade) are absolutely free, but there are small-business events (like free yoga) and nightclub events (like free stand-up comedy) that take place year round.
Pro Tip: Use EventBright to find the best free events in Dublin, Ireland during your visit.
#40 Attend Evening Events at the Best Museums
Some of the best free Dublin events take place in the city’s museums – so it’s always a good idea to check museums’ websites to see what will be going on when you travel to Dublin.
For example, the IMMA hosts a series of summer music events and the National Gallery of Ireland hosts free family tours that are aimed at engaging young visitors.
Pro Tip: Many of the free Dublin museum events still require a ticket to hold your space. Be sure to sign up online in advance.
FREE THINGS TO DO NEAR DUBLIN
While there are numerous things to do in Dublin City Center for free, there are also many nearby free attractions that only cost the price of a train ticket.
#41 Head Out on the Howth Cliff Walk
The coastal village of Howth is just a short DART train ride from the center of Dublin – and it’s one of the best places to go to see the stunning Irish shoreline. Once in Howth, the coolest thing to do – and one of the best free things to do in Ireland – is to embark on a Cliff Walk.
The Howth Cliff Walk has four routes…and all offer exceptional views. For day trip visitors, we suggest taking the Green Route, which features coastline viewpoints along a 3.5-mile looping trail.
Pro Tip: Use our guide to the Best Things To Do in Howth for tips on how to plan your day trip!
#42 Take a Bus to Johnnie Fox’s Pub
Another one of the fun, cheap things to do in Dublin is to take the public bus into the Dublin Mountains to the iconic Johnnie Fox’s Bar.
Claiming the status as ‘Highest Pub in Ireland,’ Johnnie Fox’s is one of the most unique pubs in Dublin and an absolute feast for the senses. The walls of the pub are covered with a treasure trove of memorabilia and artifacts. That said, on sunny days, it’s best to sip your Guinness outside with a view of the grazing sheep across the street.
Pro Tip: Alternatively, travelers who want to bypass the pub can still take bus 44B into the mountains and set off to hike part of the Wicklow Way trail.
#43 Hike the Glendalough Lakes in the Wicklow Mountains
South of Dublin, the Wicklow Mountains offer a sublime nature retreat. There are a number of hiking paths in Wicklow Mountains National Park – with several picturesque trails departing from Glandalough.
From flat-and-easy to challenging inclines, the hikes at Glendalough Lakes feature phenomenal landscapes. Find additional details here.
Pro Tip: For travelers without a car, there are many tours that take visitors into the Wicklow Mountains. However, one of the cheap things to do in Dublin is to simply take the shuttle bus that goes straight to Glendalough Lakes.
#44 Spend a Day in Bray
Bray is another coastal town that is well-connected to Dublin by the DART train. Developed as a seaside resort in the mid-1800s, Bray is a fantastic day trip destination.
Like Howth, the best thing to do in Bray is to hike the looping 3-mile coastline trail to Bray Head. In addition to the trail, however, there is a waterfront promenade and sandy beach where visitors can leisurely stroll along the sea.
Use our complete guide of Things To Do in Bray!
Pro Tip: During the summer months, Bray hosts the annual Bray Summerfest, which features free entertainment, markets and carnivals.
#45 Meander through Malahide Village
Malahide, a village north of Dublin, is an absolute gem! The DART train takes visitors from Dublin City Centre to the heart of the village in just a half hour.
The highlight of village is the Malahide Castle. Visiting the castle interior does require a ticket, but it is free to go to the gardens. The village itself boasts tree-lined streets and a handful of eateries – and the beach is just a short walk from the center.
Pro Tip: We highlight the top attractions in our guide of the Best Things To Do in Malahide!
#46 Ride the Bus to Belfast
So, it’s a bit of a haul to get to Belfast on a Dublin day trip – but it is possible. And, when you take the bus, it’s pretty cheap.
Belfast, Northern Ireland is a fascinating place to visit and has a distinctly different vibe, with many attractions in the city center.
Pro Tip: Use our guide of Things To Do in Belfast for our top tips for sightseeing and what to eat!
CHEAP DUBLIN THINGS TO DO FOR VISITORS
Dublin visitors have an array of options when it comes to freebies in the city. That said, some of the iconic Dublin experiences – like taking the Guinness brewery tour or walking through a grand library – that are at the top of visitors must-do Dublin list require a ticket.
Rather than paying the high-dollar ticket price for these experiences, we have a few alternate recommendations for cheap things to do in Dublin.
#47 Drink a Fresh Pint of Guinness at Open Gate Brewery
We have to admit, we were eager to taste a fresh pint of Guinness straight from the source. However, the only way to gain entry into St. James Gate Brewery – even to just have a drink at the bar – is with a tour (and a pricey one at that).
Instead, we found our way to the Guinness Open Gate Brewery that sits within the same complex as the famed Guinness Storehouse. The Guinness small-batch brewery experiments with local flavors and limited editions – as well as pouring some of the freshest Guinness in the city.
During our visit, they were also offering free samples of the latest brewery concoctions. The free tastes combined with one of the lowest priced pints of Guinness in Dublin makes Open Gate Brewery one of the best cheap things to do in Ireland!
Pro Tip: There is no entry fee for Open Gate Brewery, but they do have limited hours – so it is best to book a table in advance.
#48 Sip Irish Whiskey at Jameson’s Distillery
Jameson is far and away the most famous Irish whiskey – and they make it at a distillery that is just a short walk from the Dublin City Centre. Like Guinness Brewery, at Jameson they offer a somewhat pricey tour of their facilities.
What most visitors don’t know, however, is that it is completely free to visit their on-site bar. Sipping a fairly-priced drink – and skipping the tour – is one of the fun cheap things to do in Dublin, Ireland for adults.
Pro Tip: The standard tasting board is a bit expensive. Instead, we recommend ordering a Limited-Edition Whiskey that is exclusively sold at the Dublin distillery.
#49 Look at the Magnificent Books at Marsh’s Library
The Long Room, which hosts the Book of Kells at Trinity College Library, is one of the most famous things in Dublin to see. The dark wood shelves lined with ancient texts under an arched ceiling is a stunning sight. But the exorbitant fee to enter can be too much for visitors to Dublin on a budget.
Instead, we recommend going to Marsh’s Library. While not as grand as the Long Room, the Marsh Library dates to 1707 and remains relatively unchanged. There is still a fee to go inside, but it costs significantly less than the Book of Kells ticket.
Pro Tip: Marsh’s Library sits next to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and they offer a special priced 2-for-1 ticket to see both attractions.
#50 Score Free Entry with the Dublin Pass
There are many, many touristy things to do in Dublin that require a ticket. Visitors who want to see the sights, but also want to save a little money, should consider the benefits of buying the Dublin Pass.
The pass includes free entry to the top ticketed attractions – like the Guinness Storehouse, Jameson Distillery, Glasnevin Cemetery Museum, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Malahide Castle and many museums.
Plus, the card includes walking tours and a ride on the Hop On Hop Off Bus.
Pro Tip: Buy your Dublin Pass in advance so that you are ready to use it on arrival!
Free Activities Dublin Map
Our map is marked with the top free things to do in Dublin, Ireland. Use this link to Google Maps for an online, interactive version of our Map of Places To Visit in Dublin FREE!
Travel Tips: Dublin on a Budget
Now that you know all the free things to do in Dublin, we have a few more budget-friendly tips for your trip to Ireland!
CHEAP DUBLIN FOOD
Finding cheap food in Dublin is no easy task. Restaurant meals – even pub grub – will easily cost more than 20 euros for a main dish. We are sharing a few suggestions for cheap things to eat in Dublin that will save you a little cash.
Fish and Chips from a Chippy
Fish and Chips is an Ireland classic meal – and it’s a meal that is affordable if you order it from a chippy. Most corner chippies offer a big portion of fish and chips for about 10 euros. That said, at Dublin’s most famous chippies – like Leo Burdock and Beshoff Bros – expect to pay a little bit more (but still less than 20 euros).
Toasties from Melt Down
Toasties – which are simply amazing toasted sandwiches – are one of the most popular cheap meals in Dublin. Sold in pubs and bakeries across the city, our favorite place for a warm and gooey toastie is Melt Down, where each filling sandwich costs less than 10 euros. Try the Hey Presto and thank us later!
Burrito from Boojum
I won’t lie, we were hesitant to eat Mexican food in Ireland. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the fare at Boojum. A counter service-style cantina (practically identical to Chipotle), the burritos at Boojum come in under 10 euros each – which is pretty hard to beat considering the colossal size!
Burgers from Bunsen
Affordable and oh-so-satisfying, a classic burger at Bunsen fits the bill for travelers sticking to a budget. If you can swing it, however, we also recommend that you splurge for the shoe-string fries, which are absolute perfection!
Kebabs from Turkish Kebab House
Kebabs have long reigned as the king of cheap food – and the ones at Turkish Kebab House hit the spot! Incredibly affordable (especially with meal deal pricing), a delicious doner kebab offers the best bang for buck.
Sample Ice Cream at Murphy’s
Okay, hear me out. I know that Murphy’s Ice Cream is expensive…but it’s so good and the flavors are so incredibly unique. If you just ‘happen to be passing by’ see if they are offering small sample cups on the sidewalk.
Tesco Meal Deal
If you are really trying to limit your food expenses, there are plenty of grocery stores in downtown Dublin where you can pick up inexpensive food. In fact, at Tesco they offer a meal deal for less than 4 euros. You get to create your own combo of main, side and drink.
Getting Around Dublin for Cheap
Dublin is fairly flat and walkable, so getting around on your own two feet is relatively easy. However, it’s pretty simple (and cheap) to get to attractions that are further afield, too.
The DublinBikes bike share program is an excellent way to get around the city. Single-day subscriptions are inexpensive (less than 5 euros) and the first 30 minutes of each ride is free (and the fare is minimal after that).
Public Transit: Luas, DART and Dublin Buses
Dublin is a very walkable city – but the top sights on our list are spread far and wide. While using public transit in the center may not get you to your destination any faster, it will certainly save some tread on your shoes. Plus, visitors traveling further afield will certainly save a bundle by using public transit over Uber or rental car.
When using Dublin public transport, a Leap Card is the best way to pay for the ride. Fares for the Luas Tram, DART Train and Dublin Bus systems can be paid with a Leap Card, which offers discounted fares over single ride tickets. However, there is an initial cost for the card and it can only be topped up in 5 euro increments, so you will need to determine if it will be worth it for your trip.
Alternately, there is a special Visitor Leap Card that can be purchased for 1, 3 or 7 days. The card offers unlimited travel for the timeframe selected (including to and from the airport). However, the Visitor Leap Card can only be purchased at the Dublin Airport or the Dublin Bus office on O’Connell Street. You can also choose to order it in advance of your trip and have it mailed to you.
The Luas light rail system is an easy and cost-effective way to get around Dublin. Two routes – the Red Line and Green Line – navigate slowly through the city center and to major tourist attractions. Visitors without a Leap Card can buy single ride tickets or roundtrip tickets (for a nominal saving). All Day tickets are also available.
DART – the Dublin Area Rapid Transit – is a commuter train that extends beyond the city center. It is a useful and affordable way to get from Dublin to coastal cities – like Howth, Malahide and Bray.
The bus system in Dublin is robust, but not very user friendly for tourists who are buying single tickets without a Leap Card. While the bus lines can get you from Point A to Point B, single ride fares can only be paid via a Leap Card or exact change to the driver (no bills accepted and no change given).
Hop On Hop Off Bus
The Hop On Hop Off Bus can be a great way to get around for Dublin visitors. Although it is more expensive than traditional public transit, the routes include stops at top tourist attractions, making it easy for visitors to get to where they want to be.
There are a couple of different companies that run Dublin Hop On Hop Off Tours – so you will want to choose the one that best works for you.
For example, the Green Hop On Hop Off Bus includes an additional guided walking tour and entry into the Little Museum of Dublin.
The City Sightseeing Hop On Hop Off Bus, however, includes two free walking tours and additional discounts at certain Dublin sights.
Dublin Travel Tips
Time to share our top travel tips for Dublin – like how to get there, where to stay and what to pack!
Getting To Dublin
Dublin is the transportation hub for Ireland. Visitors can arrive by plane, train, bus, boat or car. That said, we think the easiest way to get to Dublin is by air. Frequent and direct flights are available year round from major European cities as well as popular US gateways (such as NYC, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia and DC).
Travelers making their way to Dublin from other destinations in Ireland can use the train or bus for affordable transportation. A ferry boat also connects the UK to Dublin via the Holyhead-Dublin and Liverpool-Dublin ferries.
Visitors who want to rent a car can do so – and might find that it is more economical than using public transit to get around Ireland as a whole. Foreign travelers should keep in mind, however, that they drive on the left in Ireland! Use our tips for finding the best car rental rates.
Cheap Places to Stay in Dublin
Finding cheap accommodations in Dublin takes some effort. In recent years Dublin has gained a reputation for being expensive – especially when it comes to hotels in the city center. Even hostels can cost a bundle in the height of the summer travel season.
For our top advice on finding affordable accommodation, read our Tips for Finding Cheap Hotels.
Dublin Hotels and Hostels
Most hotels in Dublin City Centre charge more than 200 euros a night during the summer. However, it costs significantly less in the shoulder- and off-seasons. Get the best prices for Dublin accommodations on Booking.com.
Dublin Hostels are likely a better option for budget travelers, but you can still expect to pay more than in other popular European cities…even for a dorm bed. Check the prices at the well-rated Garden Lane Backpackers.
What To Pack for Your Trip
Comfortable Travel Shoes
The free things to see in Dublin on our list are spread across the city – which means you will be spending some time walking around. Be sure to pack a pair of comfortable travel shoes. It’s best if they are lightweight and versatile – like the sneakers I wear.
The photographs we take on our trips are our best souvenirs! We think a good travel camera is essential for travelers – even budget travelers. The DSLR Canon Rebel is a fantastic value camera for travelers on a budget (and it comes with heaps of free accessories!).
Irish Weather Gear
Dublin weather changes often and in a hurry! It can be bright and sunny one minute and then windy and rainy the next. We recommend packing a lightweight raincoat and a travel umbrella for your trip to Dublin.
With long days of sightseeing, you must keep everything that you will need organized. We carry small backpacks that are one of the best travel day bags. With backpacks we can stow everything we need – like a raincoat, map, keys, phone and camera.
Regardless of location, we feel it is important to travel with a day pack that has anti-theft properties – like zippered pockets. While we have never had an issue in Dublin, we were warned more than once by locals to keep an eye on our belongings.
European Travel Insurance
We believe travel insurance is a necessity! Not only can insurance protect against lost luggage or delayed flights, but it can also cover illness or injury abroad. Check the affordable rates at World Nomads.
We Want To Know: What are your favorite FREE things to do in Dublin, Ireland? Tell us in the comments!
Travel Guides to More Top Irish and Regional Destinations
We have travel guides that will help you plan the perfect trip to the region!
- How To Spend 3 Days in London…on a Budget
- Travel the West Coast of Ireland and visit Doolin, Aran Islands and Galway
- Walking Tour of London to Best Westminster Sights
- Things To Do in Edinburgh and What To Eat in Scotland
- One Day in Glasgow and a Day Trip to Dunbar
- 7 Days in Ireland Itinerary
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