Every city has unique draws, things to do and places to see, and the Irish capital is certainly not short on lures - there's plenty of great reasons to get your ass to dear ol' Dublin; here's just ten of the best!

People


Irish people have become world famous for our hospitality, and Dublin is no exception. One of the best things to do in Dublin is to join a local Dublin tour guide and experience the city by their side. Dublin is home to a huge variety of walking tours, and what better way to see the sights of Dublin than with the locals themselves. Best of all, many of these are free walking tours. So not only is this a good way to hear about the life of the city but also a way to find out many of the things you won’t find in the guide books.

Dublin Pubs


Many people come to Dublin simply to enjoy a night out, see none of the sights and instead spend their time sight-seeing in a pint glass. James Joyce once said A “Good puzzle would be to cross Dublin without passing a pub”, so you are never far away from a tasty sup. Ask any Dubliner about the city’s most famous export, Guinness, and they’ll tell you that the true flavour of Guinness is at its home in Dublin. The Temple Bar area of the city is widely known for its night life and Irish music, but many locals don’t quite see it as one of the best things to do in Dublin. Again, this is where your walking tour of Dublin will come in handy so, always best to ask you tour guide where it is that the locals drink. A perfect way to experience a fun cross-section of authentic Dublin nightlife is to join our pub crawl and savour the city with fellow drinkin’-buddies and lovely local guides. We meet every night at the Mercantile Bar on Dame St from 8pm -8.25pm and take you to some of the best pubs in the city, enjoy a free welcome Guinness and free shots, exclusive drink specials and discounts, and you’ll even get free VIP nightclub entry too!

 

trad session for traditional Irish music in Dublin in cobblestone pub


Food


An absolute must while in Dublin is to check out our ever-expanding food culture. From places to visit such as, the temple bar food market every Saturday to the Eatyard market at the Bernard Shaw pub, The Irish capital is quickly putting itself on the map for its food. For vegans and vegetarians its never been a better time to visit Dublin, some of the best places to visit are The Vegan Butcher (SOVA), The Fumbally Lane café and Meet me in the morning. Meat lovers are well catered for too with a debate emerging in the city as to which burgers are better, Bunsen Burger or WOW Burger, its something you’ll have to decide for yourself. Traditional Irish food is obviously something to try while here; for this, Pubs are generally the best places to eat. Try a hearty beef and Guinness stew, or a traditional Dublin Coddle.

 

Irish beef stew from a Dublin pub

History


Founded by Viking raiders in the 9th century, Dublin is a city steeped in History. One of our free Dublin Walking Tours should probably be your first port of call on your first day in the city, it’s a quick and easy way to meet local tour guides, see the main attractions and figure out all the places you need to see, or go back to. The medieval city has some of the must-see places to visit. From the 13th century Dublin castle, the famous Christchurch and St. Patrick Cathedrals or even delve underground into the crypts of the 11th century St. Michan’s church and see the mummified remains of “the crusader”. The national museums will take you back over 5,000 years into Irelands ancient past and right up to the Irish War for Independence, the best part of all, all the national museums are completely free.

Nature/Coast


If you’re the kind of person who can feel the need to escape the city centre and need get back to nature, Dublin is the perfect place to do so. Dublin is a coastal city with some beautiful hill and cliff walks surrounding it. To the north, the most popular place to visit is the coastal walk around the Howth peninsula. Getting there is easy, all you need to do is hop on the DART train and in forty mins you’ll be in Howth village. To the south lies the Dublin/Wicklow mountains, easily accessible by bus or train. Catch the number 15 bus to its final stop and take a walk to the “Hell Fire Club” to get breath-taking views of Dublin. Or take the train to Bray and walk to Greystones along the coastal walk and have a healthy veggie meal at the Happy Pear.

 

coastal cliff scene in Howth, Dublin, with lighthouse

Art


Dublin’s art scene is currently in full swing. A simple walk around the city and you’re bound to see some work from some of Dublin’s major influencers. From Maser’s “Repeal” painting at the Project Art Centre to some of the various works by the group SUBSET in Smithfield. Speaking of free art, The National Gallery has plenty to offer for the more classical fans, paintings from Picasso, Monet and even the long lost Caravaggio The Taking of Christ, rediscovered in the capuchin monks dining hall in 1987. The Hugh Lane Gallery is a top place to visit for Irish art lovers, stain glass by Harry Clarke, Paintings by Jack Yeats and Francis Bacon’s studio, preserved exactly as he left it after his death in 1992. And why not take some art home with you, there are plenty of souvenir shops that sell exclusively Irish artist and design. Some names to look out for, Fuchsia MacAree, The Dirtbird and Ruan Van Vliet can be found in places like The Jam Art Factory, Irish Design Shop & Designist.

Music


I don’t think anybody would ever question that Dublin is a city of musicians. Traditional music can be found in almost all pubs in Temple Bar, but to get the real deal and hear some authentic Irish trad its best to consult 1. Get out of temple Bar and 2. Ask your free Dublin Tour Guide and find out the secret spots that only you and the locals can enjoy. If you’re looking for a place to see more contemporary music then Whelans is the spot,  an institution in Dublin to catch some of the best bands the nation has to offer – and it’s one of the venues on our Backpacker Pub Crawl. Many of the city’s most famous bands made their first appearances here and often come back to catch the next big thing. Definite names to look out for are The Eskies, Wyvern Lingo, Ae Mak, Brain Donation and The Hot Sprockets.

 

live music in Whelans venue in Dublin


LGBTQ Dublin


Since the marriage equality referendum in 2015, Dublin has been placed firmly on the LGBT map of the world. The obvious places to visit for the LGBTQ community are the George Pub on Geroges St and Panti Bar on Capel St. But there’s also plenty of great LGBTQ nights that happen sporadically throughout the year; Spicebag  is a variety show with Queens, Kings, comedians musicians and even a modern twist on traditional Irish dance and song. It’s a must-see LGBTQ guide to Dublin. Dublin Pride, which takes place in July has been growing exponentially over the past few years as well as has the Annual Dublin Gay Theatre Festival, which takes place in May, for the culture vultures out there.

City of Literature


The Island of Saints and Scholars. Dublin is no stranger to literary greats, from James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and Samuel Beckett to name just a few. Dublin’s literary history is celebrated throughout the city in various museums, festivals and sights in Dublin. Again, the National Library of Ireland is a great first stop for Things to do as it is free. Or take a literary walking tour of Dublin or indeed a Literary Pub Crawl. For any Joyce fan, you can follow the day of Leopold Bloom of Ulysses fame through the streets of Dublin marked throughout the city. If you’re in Dublin in June, Bloomsday is celebrated on the 16th and will give you an opportunity to mix with Joyce fans from all over the world as they trace his steps throughout the city, eat like Leopold in Davy Byrnes and you can even still buy his Lemon soap in Swenys Pharmacy, unchanged since the days of Joyce. Oscar Wilde was born here in Dublin and his statue, facing his childhood home at Merrion Square, is one of the most colourful statues in Dublin. There’s even something for the kids here as the playground of Merrion Sqaure park has been fitted out with sculpture from Wildes short story, The Selfish Giant. Looking for theatre? There are too many to choose from but the best known are the Abbey Theatre, established by William Butler Yeats and Lady Gregory, and Smock Alley theatre, one of the oldest theatres in the city.

 

James Joyce statue in Dublin city

Irish Mythology


Ireland’s is a rich mythological tapestry, and that’s no more evident than in the capital, Dublin, where the legacy of incredible legends, characters, stories, and story-tellers still add fascinating colour to the atmosphere of this cosmopolitan city today. We highly recommend starting your time here with one of our Dublin walking Tour to see all the essential sights in Dublin in one easy go, everyday at 11am and 2.30pm from outside the Woolen Mills, beside the Ha’Penny Bridge; but a great alternative thing to do is our Fables and Folklore free tour every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 2:30pm. It’s a brilliant way to delve deeper into old Irish tale, Irish mythology and just some good stories and characters from around our city. You won’t hear the tales of Bang Bang, the Hairy Lemon, a murderous black pig that terrorised the city, or the importance of our superstitions anywhere else!

 

Free walking tour guide and group in Dublin