Exploring Dublin city doesn’t have to be expensive, there are so many free options that are great for the solo traveller and families alike!
1. Hang out with wild deer in the Phoenix Park
The Phoenix Park is one of the largest urban parks in Europe, and an easy walk from the city centre! There have been a group of fallow deer here in the park since the 17th Century, so take a few hours and wander off into the depths of the park and see if you can find them! Keep in mind that the park is huge and you can be there for hours without realising it. We have a helpful guide on how to find the elusive deer HERE
2 Visit the President’s house.
If you’re in the Phoenix Park on a Saturday, make your way to the Visitor Centre and see if you can snag a ticket for a free tour of the Irish President’s house, Áras an Uachtaráin. Tickets are given out on a first come, first serve basis, so best to get there early to make sure!
3 Hidden Garden in Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle is surely on your agenda for your visit, and while there is a fee to get inside the Castle itself, take a walk out to the back of the Castle, and find the Dubh Linn Gardens, right in front of the Chester Beatty Library and enjoy the mini park! Also you can go into the Chester Beatty and go to the roof for a unique view of the city too!
4 Check out some of the more interesting museums
The Natural history museum is a way to step back into the past, not just of Ireland’s great flora and fauna, but also in the style of museum. There are no touch screens or technology here, instead old school charm is abound in what Dubliners call “The Dead Zoo” Just around the corner in Trinity College is the Science museum where you can take part in experiments and learn some fascinating science!
5 Walk around trinity college
Since you’re already in Trinity College Science Museum, it makes sense to wander through the historic campus itself! Take in the old buildings, the cobblestones and if you’re lucky, a cricket game going on outside the Pavillion bar, which happens to be one of the cheapest bars in Dublin!
6 Session in the Cobblestone
An Irish pub without Irish music isn’t much of an Irish pub really is it? If you’re looking for the traditional music (called a “Trad session” here in Dublin) then you’re not going to beat the Cobblestone. Music everyday until close. Have a look at their Instagram page for more photos and videos.
7 Hidden Graffiti in Dublin
A carpark isn’t usually high on places to visit in cities, but you’ll have to make an exception for The Tivoli Theatre Carpark. Every year they have an event where some amazing artists completely repaint the walls! Also just wander around and find art in streets and alleyways all around the city!
8 Evening on the canal
Sunny days do exist in Dublin, and when they do, there is nowhere better than the Grand Canal on the Southside of Dublin. Irish people flock here when it’s sunny, especially around the Barge Pub area.
9 Ha’Penny Fleamarket
Saturday is a great day to be in Dublin, and after checking out the iconic Ha’Penny bridge, make sure to drop in to the Grand Social bar on the Northside of the river to grab a few bargins in the Fleamarket! For updates, have a look at their website
10 Bull Island and St. Anne’s Park
A short bus ride to the north of the city will leave you on a beautiful stretch of coastline known as Bull Island. If you’re not feeling the beach, you can just take a wander into St. Anne’s Park, another huge park in Dublin City, and discover some hidden gems like the old tower and even a remote control car track!
11. Bray to Greystones cliff walk
Ok, this one isn’t technically in Dublin, but Bray is only about 30 minutes away from Dublin on the DART train. This cliff walk is a relaxing hike along the coastline along a well worn path. It’s about a two hour walk and it’ll leave you in Greystones, where you can get the train right back to Dublin City centre!
12. Botanic Gardens and Glasnevin Cemetery
The botanic Gardens just north of Dublin’s city centre are a must-see for visitors. With amazing plants growing inside and outside the large glasshouses, it’s perfect for any kind of weather and any time of year! The gardens are right beside Glasnevin Cemetery and holds the dubious honour of having a larger population of residents than Dublin City currently has. Great place to visit, just not during a zombie apocalypse.
13. Walk to the Poolbeg Lighthouse
14. Feed the ducks in Stephen’s Green Park
During the Irish Revolution in 1916 there was vicious fighting in this park between Irish republican revolutionaries and the British Army. However, both sides agreed to a ceasefire so the greenskeeper could go in and feed the prize ducks. Keep this tradition alive by feeding the ducks in this picturesque park.
15. Merrion Square and Oscar Wilde statue
16. Patrick’s day Parade
This world famous celebration of the Irish patron saint is celebrated in Dublin like no other place. The parade might surprise you as each year the organisers decide a new theme and designers do their best to impress the huge crowds. Grab a place on O’ Connell street or outside the Central Bank for a great view of the festivities! The Parade is on March 17th, and it’s a national holiday, so be ready for crowds!
17. Pride Parade
In 2015 Irish people voted to legalise gay marriage, and since then the Pride Festival has exploded in size and madness. The whole city turns rainbow and celebrates members of the LGBTQ in Ireland and around the world. A real feel good, fun parade for all ages. Usually takes place at the end of June.
18. Howth Head hike
On the north side of Dublin bay there another hike that offers amazing views of Dublin. This hike is a little more strenuous than the Bray to Greystones hike, but the views of Dublin Bay make this jaunt a worthwhile addition to your trip.
19. Trip out to Maynooth, castle and University
Maybe you’re a little tired of the city life and you want to get away from it all for a little while. How about you jump on a train for about 40 minutes and get yourself to Maynooth in Co. Kildare? This university town hosts not only the stunning Maynooth University campus, but also a 12th century castle that has been wonderfully restored and offers free tours. Check out Chill Downtown while you’re there for some pretty amazing burgers!
20.Irish National War Memorial Gardens
A really wonderful park in the Islandbridge area of Dublin, and somewhere pretty much unknown to many, even locals. The stunning park is to remember all Irish people who fought in World War One, when Ireland was still part of the British Empire. Take some time to reflect in the peaceful surroundings, and if you’re lucky, you’ll see the rowing club practicing on the river that defines the edge of the park.
21. Hiking in Wicklow, Glendalough
A little further outside Dublin, around an hour away is the wonderful Glendalough. If you’re looking for a fun hike with panoramic views, this is the place for you! Follow the Spinc trail route up to the peak and it loops the whole way around the lake and right past the huge round tower in the historic site.
Have we missed out on any? What’s your favourite free things to do in Dublin?