What you HAVE to see and do in Dublin, Ireland
Updated: Apr 13
If you’re taking a trip to Ireland, the chances that you’re going to spend some time in Dublin are pretty high. It’s the biggest city in Ireland, and its greater metropolitan area is home to over one-third of Ireland’s population. While relatively small compared to some European capital cities, Dublin is brimming with things to keep you busy on your trip. I’ve been to Dublin twice, and have explored a lot of what the city has to offer. Here are some of my suggestions for things to do to have the best time while you’re in Dublin:
Inchicore Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8, D08 RK28, Ireland
I didn’t end up visiting Kilmainham Gaol until my second trip to Ireland, and even then, I almost didn’t make it there. Boy, am I glad that I did. Kilmainham Gaol was easily one of the highlights of our time in Dublin. Tickets were about €8, which included a guided tour. Our tour guide was fantastic, and we learned so much about the history of Dublin, especially the 1916 Easter Rising and Irish War for Independence. It really gave us a new perspective on the country and its people. Plus the old jail is architecturally interesting, and there’s a small museum with more information at the end.
National Gallery of Ireland
Merrion Square W, Dublin 2, Ireland
Dublin’s leading art museum, the National Gallery of Ireland is a must-see if you are an art lover. Housing so many different styles of art, this museum is one of my favorite places in all of Dublin. As a plus, this museum is also free!
National Museum of Ireland – Archeology, Natural History, Decorative Arts, Country Life
This museum is actually split off into four different locations, each of them with a different focus. The best part is that all four of these museums are free, which is always a bonus! Check out one or all of them to learn more about Ireland’s history. There’s definitely something for everyone!
Check out Temple Bar
Yes, it is the most touristy area of Dublin, but taking a walk through Temple Bar is always entertaining, especially on your first trip to the city. It’s packed with pubs, shops, and restaurants, all quite touristy, but a great place for a night out. Plus the cobbled, narrow streets just serve to remind you that, yes, you really are in Ireland.
Guinness Storehouse and/or Old Jameson Distillery
St James’s Gate, Dublin 8, Ireland // Bow St, Smithfield Village, Dublin 7, Ireland
Yes, these are both cliche things to do in Dublin. There will be hoards of tourists. They’re also both a lot of fun, plus you get samples and a free drink afterward. These two experiences are a great way to learn more about the history and production process of two of Ireland’s best-known adult beverages. I liked the Jameson Distillery a little better – they took you on a guided tour, whereas the Guinness Storehouse is self-guided. While you can definitely do both in one trip, if you’re short on time or money, I would recommend choosing the one that sounds more interesting to you.
Proper Order Coffee Co.
7 Haymarket, Smithfield, Dublin, D07 XW86, Ireland
Close to the Jameson Distillery, Proper Order Coffee Co. is a great place to grab your morning coffee. The cappuccino was delicious, and the cafe itself is super cute. Definitely somewhere I would love to sit for a morning and read or get some work done.
7 Anglesea St, Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland
I discovered this gem on my first trip to Ireland in 2015, and have been thinking about it ever since. The food is just so darn good, and if you go during lunchtime, you’ll get a huge portion of food for about €10. You go through the line and pick your ingredients, then they saute them up for you along with your choice of meat, sauces, and spices. Mix it with the rice they bring to the table, and you won’t go hungry.
The Sunshine Cafe
Seabass at the Sunshine Cafe
107 George’s Street Lower, Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, A96 X771, Ireland
Yes, the Sunshine Cafe is technically not in Dublin, it’s in one of the suburbs called Dun Laoghaire. However, I had to include it on this list, because the food here was awesome (I had the baked seabass), and the cafe itself is so cute. Plus the seaside town of Dun Laoghaire was very quintessentially Irish and is a great place to escape the city for an afternoon.
What is your favorite thing to do in Dublin? Let me know down in the comments!