Visiting Dublin can be rich in experience yet free of charge. Delve into our list of the 10 best free things to do in Dublin to unlock a treasure trove of activities that won’t cost you anything. From lush parks to vibrant streets, immerse yourself in the eclectic charm of the city’s top attractions, free and accessible to all.
- Phoenix Park is a free, multifaceted attraction offering a glimpse of Ireland’s history and wildlife, including the opportunity to spot wild deer and explore the educational Phoenix Park Visitor Centre.
- Art aficionados can enjoy the National Gallery of Ireland’s vast collection of Irish and international art, including permanent exhibits from renowned artists, all at no cost.
- Dublin caters to a variety of interests with free activities that range from the Chester Beatty Library’s extensive collection of cultural artifacts to the vibrant live street performances on Grafton Street.
Exploring Phoenix Park: A Green Oasis
Nestled near the city centre, Phoenix Park stands as one of Dublin’s most frequented free attractions, serving as a verdant oasis. A short drive from the National Museum, this park is an urban sanctuary that offers diverse attractions. From wild deer sightings to visits to the President’s house, Phoenix Park is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.
Beyond its natural beauty, the park offers visitors a window into Ireland’s historical past. The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre, a hidden gem in the park, has educational exhibits that take you on a journey through time, from 3500 BC to the present day.
Spotting Wild Deer
An unmissable, cost-free activity in Phoenix Park is to spot the wild deer that freely roam their natural habitat. With a population of about 500 deer, the park offers a unique wildlife observation experience that is rare in city centres.
Finding these fallow deer, which have been residents of Phoenix Park since the 17th century, could take a few hours of exploring Dublin’s green oasis. The effort is worth it, though, as the sight of these graceful creatures in their natural habitat is a priceless experience.
Educational Fun at the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre
The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre is a treasure trove of information, ideal for those with an appetite for learning about Dublin’s history. The centre is open from 9.30 am until one hour before sunset every day, and the best part is that it’s completely free.
The centre features exhibits that cover the park’s history, from its early beginnings to the present day, including the evolution of the national botanic gardens. Visitors can learn about the Promenade Grounds, now known as the People’s Garden, and the wildlife that calls the park home. Guided tours are also available, providing a deeper insight into the historic spots in and around the park.
Artistic Haven: The National Gallery of Ireland
Leaving the realm of natural beauty, we step into an artistic universe. Housing a vast collection of Irish and international art, the National Gallery of Ireland is a destination no art enthusiast should miss.
Located in a grand building adorned with painted walls, wainscoting, and magnificent arches, the museum is an artistic haven. It features works that are deeply connected to Irish history and Irish freedom, offering a blend of art and history. What’s more, the gallery’s permanent exhibits are free to visit, making it one of the most popular free attractions in Dublin.
Permanent Exhibits Showcase
The National Gallery’s permanent exhibits showcase works from renowned artists. One of the highlights of the collection is the works of Jack Butler Yeats, a famous Irish artist.
The gallery’s collection includes works by:
A visit to this gallery is akin to embarking on a journey through the global art scene, right in the heart of Dublin City Centre.
Chester Beatty Library: A World of Wonders
We continue our tour of free attractions with the Chester Beatty Library. This museum, situated near the Dublin Castle grounds, offers free tours and houses a diverse collection of manuscripts, rare books, and artifacts from around the world.
The library extends beyond its extensive collection. Visitors are also treated to a fantastic view of Dublin from the library’s rooftop, adding another dimension to the experience. The library’s unique offerings make it a must-visit destination when exploring Dublin on a budget.
Decorative Arts and Manuscripts
The Chester Beatty Library’s collection of decorative arts and manuscripts is a treasure trove of cultural artifacts. The collection includes:
- Sacred texts
- Illuminated manuscripts
- Miniature paintings
- Single folios
- Decorative objects from different cultures and regions.
The manuscripts represent various cultures from Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe, dating back to around 2,700 BC. The Decorative Arts collection features unique items like the first illustrated Life of the Prophet volume and the Gospel of Mani, offering a fascinating glimpse into various cultures and time periods.
The Dead Zoo: Natural History Museum
For those intrigued by natural history, a visit to the Natural History Museum, colloquially known as the ‘Dead Zoo’, is a must. The museum features a vast collection of taxidermy and replica skeletons, earning its nickname.
Here, you can explore exhibits of stuffed animals from across the globe and intricate replica skeletons of extinct animals. One of the museum’s highlights is the ‘Wonder Cabinet,’ where visitors can examine real and replica specimens up close. A visit to the Dead Zoo is sure to be a memorable part of your exploration of Dublin’s free attractions.
Literary Trails and James Joyce
Another captivating facet of the city is Dublin’s rich literary history. The works of James Joyce, one of Dublin’s most renowned authors, offer a unique perspective of the city.
Delving deep into the city’s literary heritage, visitors can follow in the footsteps of James Joyce. From the James Joyce Tower and Museum to Sweny’s Pharmacy, featured in Joyce’s ‘Ulysses,’ literary enthusiasts can walk the same paths that inspired some of Joyce’s most celebrated works.
Merrion Square: Art and History Collide
Where art and history collide, Merrion Square stands as another must-visit destination in Dublin. This square is a testament to Dublin’s architectural history, boasting some of the most intact Georgian architecture in the city.
The square also has connections to notable figures like Oscar Wilde, Daniel O’Connell, and William Butler Yeats, adding to its historical significance. The artistic vibe of Merrion Square is further enhanced by local artists who display their work, adding a contemporary touch to the historic surroundings.
Unwind at Stephen’s Green Park
Stephen’s Green Park serves as a peaceful retreat after a bustling city exploration. This park, located in the heart of the city, features beautiful gardens, statues, and memorials.
Whether you wish to take a leisurely walk, have a picnic, or watch ducks and swans on the pond, Stephen’s Green Park is the perfect spot to unwind. The park also has a unique tradition of feeding ducks, a symbol of peace dating back to the Irish Revolution.
Immerse in Irish Music at Temple Bar
Next, we immerse ourselves in the vibrant Irish music scene, transported to the lively Temple Bar. Known for its lively pubs, Temple Bar is a popular spot for both tourists and locals to experience traditional Irish music.
In addition to the music, Temple Bar also offers:
- a bustling atmosphere
- busy streets
- small markets
- Irish souvenirs
Remember to show your appreciation for the free things, like music performances, by tipping the performers or buying a round of drinks.
Grafton Street Performances
Transitioning from the lively pubs of Temple Bar, we find ourselves on bustling Grafton Street, among Europe’s busiest shopping streets. But Grafton Street is not just about shopping; it’s also famous for its vibrant street performances.
From singers and musicians to mime artists and poets, Grafton Street is a hub of entertainment. Many famous performers, including Rodrigo y Gabriela, Glen Hansard, and Dermot Kennedy, started their careers on this very street, adding to its charm.
Discover Dublin’s Modern Art Scene
Finally, we turn our attention to Dublin’s modern art scene. The Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Dublin City Gallery: The Hugh Lane are key destinations for art enthusiasts.
Both museums, located in the heart of Dublin, showcase a variety of modern and contemporary art. The museums also offer free entry to their permanent exhibits, making them an ideal destination for budget-conscious art lovers.
Dublin is a city that offers a wealth of experiences, and you don’t have to break the bank to enjoy them. From exploring the green oasis of Phoenix Park, diving into the city’s rich art and history at Merrion Square, unwinding at Stephen’s Green Park, immersing in the lively music scene at Temple Bar, to discovering the modern art scene, Dublin is a city that caters to every interest. So, why wait? Start exploring Dublin without spending a Euro today!
Frequently Asked Questions on Free Things to do In Dublin
Which museums in Dublin are free?
Here are some of the museums in Dublin that typically offered free admission:
- National Museum of Ireland:
- National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology (Kildare Street)
- National Museum of Ireland – Natural History (Merrion Street)
- National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History (Collins Barracks)
- Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA): IMMA is generally free to enter, but some special exhibitions may have an admission fee.
- Science Gallery Dublin: This gallery often hosts interactive exhibitions related to science and technology and is typically free to enter.
- Chester Beatty Library: This museum is located in Dublin Castle and houses a diverse collection of art and artifacts from around the world. Admission is usually free.
- Dublin City Gallery The Hugh Lane: The gallery’s permanent collection is typically free to visit.
- Trinity College Dublin:
- The Book of Kells Exhibition is not free, but you can enter the grounds and visit the Long Room Library for a fee.
Is there anything fun to do in Dublin?
Dublin offers a variety of fun activities, including tours of the city, day trips to the cliffs, exploring museums, and enjoying the vibrant pub scene. Whether it’s sightseeing or sipping on pints, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
What are some free things to do in Dublin?
You can explore Phoenix Park, visit the National Gallery of Ireland, and enjoy music at Temple Bar for free in Dublin. There are also literary trails related to James Joyce and street performances on Grafton Street to check out. Hope you have a great time!
Where can I spot wild deer in Dublin?
You can spot wild deer in Phoenix Park. It’s a great place for wildlife enthusiasts in Dublin.
What can I see at the Chester Beatty Library?
You can see a diverse collection of manuscripts, rare books, and artifacts from around the world at the Chester Beatty Library. It’s a must-visit for history and culture enthusiasts!