Travel

5 of the best Free Things to do in Dublin

Dublin is jam-packed with things to do and see but, for most of us, our trip budget often means picking which activities we pursue wisely. Thankfully, there are plenty of things to do in Dublin for free that will absolutely enhance your visit, and help create memories that money can’t buy! 

Here are the top 5 free things to do in Dublin so you can spend your time here in the best way without spending all of your budget. 

Free Walking Tour of Dublin

Without doubt, a must-do when in the Irish capital is to join a guided Dublin free walking tour. Not because it’s budget-friendly, that’s merely a bonus, but it is the perfect way to get to grips with the city and its storied past. 

Led by accredited professional local Dublin tour guides, you simply will not find a better opportunity to explore and understand the city as you see it today. You’ll get unrivaled insight into the key events that have shaped Dublin, both literally and figuratively. 

As well as making sure you tick off the must-sees from your to-do lists, such as Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, Temple bar, and more, you’ll also get valuable local knowledge and tips for the rest of your stay. 

There’s no set fee for joining the Dublin free tour, but you are welcome to pay what you feel the tour was worth or whatever you can afford at the end of the tour. The free tour in Dublin is:

  • twice daily, at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.;
  • 3 hours duration; 
  • available in the Spanish language too;
  • starting at 3 Crown Alley, in the Temple Bar district.   

National Archaeological Museum

This beautiful national museum is free to enjoy and hosts a wealth of fascinating exhibits dating from the Stone Age to the late Middle ages from Ireland, ancient Egypt, and around the world.

With incredibly preserved collections from the Bronze Age, Viking treasures, and the somewhat eerie ‘bog bodies’, a couple of hours here will be filled with wonder and awe. 

The National Archaeological Museum is:

  • open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 pm. (Sundays & Mondays from 1 p.m.),
  • free to enter and explore,
  • regularly hosting free guided tours of collections,
  • open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays in Summer months,
  • located on Kildare street.

St. Stephen’s Green

Nestled right in the heart of Dublin’s bustling city center is Saint Stephen’s Green, a quaint and beautiful Victorian park. It’s the ideal spot to visit for some respite and reprieve from the pavements and cobblestones of the concrete jungle. 

You can stroll along the tree-lined walkways or settle into one of the many benches to enjoy a coffee and watch the world go by. And if the greenery and ponds of this delightful park aren’t enough to draw you in, there’s plenty of history to absorb here too. 

During The Easter Rising in 1916, the park became something of a no-man’s land sitting between the rebels on one side, in the Royal College of Surgeons, and the occupying British forces on the other in the Shelbourne Hotel. While warfare played out on the streets surrounding Stephen’s Green in 1916, every day the gunfire would fall silent for a brief period to allow the park groundskeeper, James Kearney, to feed the ducks who inhabited the park. 

Saint Stephen’s Green park:

  • opens from morning til ‘dusk’ – so closes at different times throughout the year. You’ll hear the ground keeper’s bell when it’s time to go; 
  • contains lots of statues, sculptures, and placards depicting key historical figures and events;
  • is 27 acres of green space adjacent to Grafton Street, Dublin’s premier pedestrian shopping high street; 
  • often hosts free shows and exhibitions;
  • contains play areas perfect for keeping kids entertained while in the city. 

Take a trip to Howth

The idea of venturing outside of Dublin city to more rural settings may not even be on your radar if you have a tight budget. After all, day tours, car rentals, or train tickets can be costly if you want to visit some of the more famous locations such as the Cliffs of Moher or the Ring of Kerry; but there’s a lesser-known and equally worthy part of this island to visit.

Just a little more than half an hour north of Dublin city center, Howth is a delightful little seaside village boasting striking scenery and cliff walks, as well as some wonderful restaurants and pubs. 

While you’ll need to take a bus or DART train from the city, this is relatively cheap at just a few euros, and you’ll be rewarded with a splendid way to spend a few hours for free! 

Some key info about Howth includes:

  • home to a 15th Century castle, 19th Century Martello Tower, and the Baily lighthouse,
  • the cliff path loop walk takes about 3 hours at an easy-going pace and is suitable for most people’s abilities, 
  • offers some of the best seafood options in Ireland,
  • costs €2.65 to get to by train.   

Hear Traditional Irish Music

Dublin is bursting with pubs of all sorts, and most of them will have some semblance of live music as a lure for thirsty tourists, but there’s just a handful that offers a really authentic traditional Irish music session.

A proper ‘trad session’ is where local musicians gather just to play and sing together, not necessarily to put on a show. It’s a jam session, in which all musicians of all levels of ability are welcome to join in. It makes for a truly remarkable and enjoyable experience for the lucky listener – and all without a cover charge!

To settle into a nice pub and hear some traditional tunes and songs, then you should visit one or more of the spots below:

  1. The Cobblestone pub. 
  2. The Piper’s Corner.
  3. O’ Donoghue’s pub.
  4. McNeil’s pub (on Fridays).
  5. The Brazen Head.
  6. Darkey Kelley’s (weekends).
  7. The Ha’Penny Inn (Sunday & Tuesday nights). 

Whether you’re visiting the Irish capital for a short break or an extended vacation, you’ll be able to make the most of your trip without blowing your budget thanks to these top 5 things to do in Dublin for free. Enjoy!

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