Fantastic and fun things do in Dublin include pubs, museums, churches, and parks, along with a few of our recommended restaurants and Dublin hotels. Before the TBEX Killarney travel conference, Julie and I spent six nights in Dublin and visited many of the attractions in Ireland’s capital. While there are thousands of things to do in Dublin Ireland, with our limited time we focused on the following Dublin attractions.
Fantastic and Fun Things To Do in Dublin Ireland
Learn about Irish heritage around the world, why people left the green isle but still long for their homeland. The twenty rooms of EPIC cover literarature, arts, sports, science, history, religion, and much more about Irish people and culture. Family History Centre is separate admission and located in the back of the EPIC gift shop. The on-site genealogist helps determine visitor’s Irish ancestry. McCool Travel tip: the EPIC Dublin basic goal is to find a visitor’s ancestry back to 1840s.
Did your McCool family come from Southern Ireland? Not bloody likely.Irish Family History CentreEPIC The Irish Emigration MuseumVisit DublinTourism Ireland
The Custom House Quay houses EPIC and also some restaurants and shops. Visit the poignant Famine Memorial near the EPIC entrance.
2. Dublin Museums
Locals call the National Museum of Ireland the “dead zoo” because it has hundreds of stuffed animals. Take advantage of free admission to the National Museum of Ireland and nearby National Gallery of Ireland. The Chester Beatty Library is simply magnificent—also with free admission—with an impressive collection of world and religious manuscripts and objects. It has been awarded with “European Museum of the Year” awards and is an amazingly fantastic free museum.
Checking out Irish stuffies. Natural History MuseumVisit DublinTourism IrelandFailte Ireland
3. Manhole Covers in Dublin
US manhole ground covers are round. Why are Dublin manhole covers this shape? Really, why?
So, I notice the manhole covers are shaped like this in Dublin. Why?
4. Guinness Storehouse at St. James
At Guinness Academy, learn the six step process for pouring a perfect pint of Guinness and receive a certificate. At Gravity Bar, take in panoramic views of Dublin from seven floors above the St. James storehouse. Take in the self-guided tour through five floors of interactive and visual displays on your way to either experience. McCool Travel tip: the Beef and Guinness pie costs less and tastes better here than other places we went in Dublin.
Experience Viking and Medieval Dublin history at Dublinia. Dublinia is a cool museum for kids of all ages—1 to 101.
Dublinia is a fun and interesting look at Viking and Medieval history in Dublin.
6. Jameson Distillery
After a six year refurbishment, the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street opened in March 2017. During your tour, learn the history of the distillery and whiskey in Ireland, taste a few Jameson products, and receive your daily grog.
7. Trinity College
The walk up price to view the Book of Kells and the Old Library is 13 Euros and there will likely be a line. Order online to skip the queue and receive a timed entry pass. McCool Travel tip: the student led tour costs only 1 Euro more than regular admission so check it out especially when there are long lines.
8. St Patrick’s Cathedral
On the site where St. Patrick converted the first Christian in Ireland, St. Patrick’s Cathedral sits. Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, is buried here.
9. Christ Church
The copy of the Magna Carta in the basement of Christ Church really impressed me. A collection of gold chalices, plates, and ornaments are also displayed down there along with a mummified cat and rat—you will have to visit to learn the story. Oh, plus check out the actual church for amazing history and architecture.
Just hanging with the Magna Carta. Unlike Ross Perot's MC at National archives, I could photo this one. Unexpected treasure.Christ Church Cathedral DublinVisit DublinTourism IrelandFailte Ireland
10. Dublin Restaurants
Most Dublin pubs serve standard Irish entrees like fish & chips, steak & Guinness pie, and soup with bread. Pubs in Dublin we visited for meals and pints included Doheny & Nesbitt, Bull & Castle, The Hairy Lemon, and The Cobblestone (no food).
Several cafes in Dublin offer a quick bite, baked goods, or cup of tea. Queen of Tarts offered an amazing daily soup and this scrumptious dessert.
Several people recommended Leo Burdock for fish & chips. We went. We ate. It was OK.
11. Walk Dublin
Dublin is a very walkable city and is ideal for exploring on foot. On a sunny day, residents and visitors flock to parks like St. Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square.
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Sunset tonight on River Liffey in Dublin. I wonder how Sammy and Gavin are doing. . . . #tbexireland #dublinireland #liffeyriver #sunsetlover #lovedublin #traveltheworld #seetheworld #travelpicsdaily #travelwriter #travelstyle #funness #mccooltravel #travel #ireland #dublin
12. Trad Music
Every pub, it seems, has someone playing traditional music every evening. It is not unusual to find several pubs in the same area with different musical acts. We enjoyed visiting The Cobblestone in Smithfield area of Dublin, near Jameson’s, for some great trad music.
13. Where to Stay in Dublin
Holiday Inn Express City Centre is in a nice location on O’Connell Street. From there it is a short walk to Trinity College across the River Liffey.
We spent three nights in an Airbnb apartment in Smithfield area. Having more space, residential conveniences (like a kitchen and washer/dryer), and being in a community is a fun alternate experience to downtown hotels.
Compliments of Failte Ireland, we stayed at The Shelbourne for one night. It is one of Dublin’s most historic and luxurious properties.
For more information about Ireland, please see:
- Ireland Luxury Lodging: Where to Stay in Ireland
- Cool Things to Do in Donegal Ireland
- 8 Great Places to Visit in Northern Ireland
- Northern Ireland: In the Footsteps of Finn McCool
- Genealogy Travel: McCool homestead in Northern Ireland