Choose from 68 Fun Things to Do in Dublin
- Dublin Zoo is a must for families, with lots of kid-friendly activities available.
- Cafés, snack kiosks, and a restaurant can be found within the zoo’s grounds. Alternatively, pack a picnic to enjoy on the lawns or at picnic tables.
- Bring rain gear as much of the zoo is unsheltered and Dublin’s weather can be unpredictable.
- The majority of the zoo is wheelchair-accessible.
Rail and bus tours that showcase the best of the Irish western and southern coasts—including the Ring of Kerry scenic drive, the Cliffs of Moher, Galway Bay, and the Burren—often includes a stop at Blarney Castle. Find an itinerary to suit your interests, and choose one with a tour guide to learn about the history of the castle and the stone. Make the most of your time with combination tours to other sites such as the Rock of Cashel, the Celtic Cathedral, the Hall of Vicars, the Galtee Mountains, and County Kildare.
- Come prepared with layers for Ireland's famously unpredictable weather.
- Prepare to wait in line if you’d like to kiss the stone.
- Stone kissing is best suited for those who are able-bodied, as the line winds up steep staircases to the castle’s top.
How to Get to Blarney Castle
Located only 6 miles (10 km) northwest of the city of Cork, the Blarney Castle and Gardens are easy to reach on a simple afternoon trip from the city. The castle is also often experienced as a stop on a trip from Dublin to Cork, or vice versa. Blarney is 385 miles (620 km) from Dublin.
When to Get There
The castle is open daily from 9am to sunset; as with most popular attractions, it’s best to get there early to beat the crowds. Although chilly, Christmas time is lovely at the castle, which is sumptuously decorated for the season.
Exploring Cork City
A Cork day trip often includes time in the city as well as a visit to Blarney Castle. Stroll down St. Patrick Street and stop for lunch at the English Market, which hosted a visit from Queen Elizabeth II of England in 2011, or do some tax-free souvenir shopping at Blarney Woollen Mill. The Irish countryside throughout County Cork is picturesque and makes for a lovely drive.
- The GPO Witness History Visitor Centre is a must for anyone who wants to understand Irish history.
- Leave bulky bags at home as there are no storage facilities for visitors to the GPO.
- The facility is wheelchair-friendly, with lifts and accessible toilet facilities on-site.
- Custom House is a must-see for history buffs and architecture enthusiasts.
- Bring a camera to take photos of one of Dublin’s most prominent landmarks.
- Wheelchair users can make advance arrangements to access the visitor center through the main reception on Beresford Place.
While the legend surrounding Giant’s Causeway makes for an interesting story, geologists have a different explanation for the creation of the Giant's Causeway: volcanic activity. It’s said that millions of years ago, a volcanic eruption produced a lava flow that cooled quickly from both the top and sides, shaping the lava into hexagonal columns. Over time, the elements have continued to sculpt these columns into various shapes, and some are known to resemble objects. Notable formations include the Chimney Stacks, Giant's Harp, and Honeycomb, all of which are favorites of visiting photographers. Spot these formations and other stunning views framed by the windswept cliffs on your walk over the columns to the edge of the sea.
Although it’s possible to self-drive, many visitors choose to take a round-trip tour from Dublin with transportation and entrance fees to the Visitor’s Center included. Guided Causeway tours, with upgrades such as private tours or luxury coaches, often include stops at other nearby attractions such as the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, the Bushmills Distillery, and Dunluce Castle.
- Wear sensible clothing and footwear, as the stones can be slippery.
- An outdoor audio guide is available, in addition to another guide for visually impaired visitors.
- The site includes three parking lots and a park-and-ride area.
- Paths down to the causeway are partially accessible, as are the grounds.
- The Visitor’s Centre features a number of interactive exhibition; admission fee required.
How to Get to Giant’s Causeway
The Causeway Coastal Route, a popular scenic drive between Belfast City and Londonderry, is a self-drive option through County Antrim that includes a stops at Rathlin Island, Ballintoy, and the Giant’s Causeway. The causeway is about three hours drive north of Dublin and 1.5 hours north of Belfast by car; a variety day trips are available from both departure locations.
When to Get There
Opening times vary seasonally; check the Giant’s Causeway website for opening hours, including the Visitor’s Center opening hours. Expect wind and rain during winter.
These rock formations get their name from an old legend stating that Irish warrior Finn McCool built the path across the sea to face his Scottish rival, Benandonner. There are several variations of the story from this point, but each one ends with Finn dressing as a baby and scaring off Benandonner, who thinks the disguised Finn is actually the child of a giant and is too afraid to face his opponent. On his way back to Scotland, Benandonner tears up the path behind him, leaving just what exists today on the Northern Irish coast and the Scottish island of Staffa, which has similar rock formations.
Guided tours take visitors through the grounds, sharing the history and ever-changing purpose of each building. Most notable is the story behind the Record Tower, the only remaining building from the original medieval structure that has miraculously survived centuries worth of fires and warfare that ravaged the other buildings. Other noteworthy areas include the Chester Beatty Library and the Dubhlinn Gardens, which now grow over the spot where there was once a black pool (‘dubh linn’) from which the city of Dublin gets its name.
The long and rich history behind this complex is enough reason to tour Dublin Castle. Even people who are not history buffs will find something of interest within the vast castle grounds. Plan to spend about two hours at the castle learning about Irish history and exploring the lavishly decorated private quarters and entertaining halls of the State Apartments, the State Bedrooms, St. Patrick’s Hall, the State Drawing Room, the Chapel Royal, the Medieval Undercroft, and the Throne Room.
- Dublin Castle is open to the public unless a special event is taking place; be sure to check the castle’s schedule ahead of time.
- Choose to travel with a tour guide for personal attention, or opt for a self-guided tour.
- Dublin Castle is a stop on most city hop-on, hop-off tours.
How to Get to Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle is located in central Dublin on Dame Street. The castle is accessed easily on foot, by taxi, or via public transportation. City Hall and Trinity College are about a five-minute walk from Dublin Castle and both are well worth a visit.
When to Get There
The castle is open from 9:45am to 4:45pm, with the exception of holidays and special events. Expect some crowds and lines in summer.
Towering 702 feet (214 meters) above the Atlantic Ocean at their highest point and stretching for five miles (eight km) along the water, the world-famous Cliffs of Moher define the rugged west coast of Ireland. They are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ireland, with tours available from cities such as Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick, Killarney, and Doolin, set only 5.6 miles (nine km) away.
What to See at the Cliffs of Moher
Once at the cliffs, visitors can wander a number of winding coastal trails and pathways, capture photos of the dramatic scenery, and walk out to peer over cliff edges at the waves below. The onsite underground Visitor Centre features educational exhibits and a number of arts and crafts gift shops, while the viewing platform atop the historical O’Brien’s Tower provides stellar views stretching west to the Aran Islands, north to Galway, and out along the Atlantic Coast.
Found in the Burren National Park region of County Clare, this natural wonder makes up only a short stretch of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Along with your stop at the iconic cliffs, see more of the Atlantic edge with a coastal drive that includes visits to Bunratty Castle, Corcomroe Abbey, Dunguaire Castle, and the quaint fishing village of Kinvara. Other notable sights include Galway Bay and Connemara.
The cliffs can become especially crowded between 11am and 4pm, and even more so throughout July and August. To dodge the masses, stop for lunch at Fitzpatrick’s Pub in Doolin village before heading to the cliffs. The local seafood is particularly good here, and what’s an Irish lunch without a Guinness?
Things to Know Before You Go
- It’s recommended that you allocate at least two hours to explore the area.
- Weather can greatly affect visibility at the Cliffs of Moher; in the case of foggy conditions, admission tickets can be reused in the next 24 hours.
- The Cliffs of Moher site is both wheelchair- and stroller-accessible, and baby changing facilities are available.
- You’ll find free WiFi at the Visitor Centre.
How to Get from Dublin to the Cliffs of Moher
The Cliffs of Moher are located about 174 miles (280 km) west of Dublin and can be reached in approximately 3.5 hours by car from the capital city. Cliffs of Moher day trips from Dublin city center often feature a tour guide and tend to be long (between 10 and 14 hours), given that they usually venture to other west coast attractions and also include hotel pickup and roundtrip transportation. Public bus connections can also be made from Galway bus station.
The monumental building was constructed on O'Connell Street between 1815 and 1818 as the headquarters of the Irish postal service. Designed by Francis Johnston, the building’s architectural prowess features a Greek-revival theme, with 55-foot (17-meter) high Greco-Roman pillars and a series of dramatic Ionic columns flanking the entrance. Statues of Hibernia (goddess of Ireland), Fidelity and Mercury (messenger of the gods) stand proud atop the roof – the handiwork of sculptor John Smyth.
The GPO isn’t simply a landmark though; its walls hide an illustrious history. The building was famously used as the main stronghold of Irish Volunteers during the 1916 Easter Rising and the front steps were where Patrick Pearse made his famous pre-siege speech, declaring a free Irish Republic. While the ensuing battles all but destroyed the original building, the lovingly restored building remains a symbol of Irish freedom.
Today the building is once again a working post office, although the captivating architecture has made it a popular tourist photo spot. Take a look around as you’re stamping your postcards, as there are still a few remnants of its legendary status – bullet holes can still be seen in the roof, a statue of Cuchulainn (Irish god of war) stands in the window and the original Declaration of Independence is still proudly displayed on the walls.
The pedestrian-friendly Grafton Street stems off of the western end of Trinity College and runs down to the main entrance of St. Stephen's Green. Acting as a direct link between these famous landmarks, Grafton Street is a main thoroughfare but is also a popular destination in itself. Both locals and visitors to Dublin come to Grafton Street to peek in the high-end shops and grab a bite at one of the eateries. At the end of the street, across from the entrance to the park, there's also St. Stephen's Green Shopping Centre, which adds to the wide selection of stores down at street level.
Those meandering the broad boulevard will find entertainment along their way as well. The fact that most of Grafton Street is closed to cars makes it a prime location for street performers to set up their acts. In good weather, these buskers, as they're called, station themselves at various points along the path to perform for passersby and try to impress them with their talents. Go ahead and throw them a few coins if you like what you see and hear!
The monastery was founded by the hermit monk St Kevin around 618AD and by the 9th century was among the leading monastic cities of Ireland, up until its destruction by the English in 1398. The ruins remain impressive today, with a collection of ancient churches, burial sites and monastic buildings sprawled around the Upper and Lower lakes. Most famous is the 112-foot-tall round tower, measuring 52 feet in circumference and featuring a conical roof, rebuilt with its original stones in the late 19th century. Other key sights include a 10th-century cathedral, the largest building on the plot, home to granite ‘St Kevin’s Cross’; St Kevin’s church with its conical capped belfry and a monumental gateway, unique in Ireland with its two-storied granite arches.
A huge part of Glendalough’s appeal lies in its spectacular surroundings, with the two lakes encircled with woodlands, verdant pastures and the hilltops of the nearby Wicklow Mountains National Park. Make the most of a visit by hiking around the lakes and following the marked trails between the ruins, then head to the Glendalough Visitor center, where a video and exhibition details facts and background information on the monuments.
- Dublin City Hall is a must for history and politics buffs, as well as for architecture enthusiasts.
- Allow 30–60 minutes to fully explore the building and the basement exhibit.
- Dublin City Hall is wheelchair accessible.
- Dalkey Castle is a must for history buffs and families.
- There is no café on-site, but plenty can be found nearby within the town itself.
- The castle is partially wheelchair accessible.
- Glasnevin Cemetery Museum is a must for history buffs.
- Glasnevin Cemetery is a functioning graveyard so be respectful when burial ceremonies are taking place or people are visiting the graves of loved ones.
- The museum is fully wheelchair-accessible.
The Dublin Writers Museum features unique works and memorabilia from famous writers heralding from this city. Letters and personal items from such icons as Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett allow visitors to connect with their favorite Irish authors on a more personal level while also admiring their works, which are also on display. Over 300 years of historical memorabilia and literature are displayed in this charming Georgian house-turned-museum, complete with a library, gallery and lecture rooms. There are also an adjoining bookshop and cafe as well as a basement restaurant that all follow the literary theme.
Built as a centre to honor past Irish literary figures, the museum has also become a place for young aspiring writers to gain perspective and inspiration for their own works. The headquarters for these authors, the Irish Writers' Centre, is conveniently located next door to the museum, providing them a respite to work and share ideas. The relationship between these two institutions illustrates that while Dublin has a rich history of talented writers it also has a group of bright and promising authors destined for future literary success.
- Connemara is a must-see for sightseers, nature lovers, and outdoor enthusiasts.
- Wear comfortable shoes, as many hiking trails in the region have rocky, uneven surfaces.
- If you plan on spending much time exploring outdoors, bring a rainproof outer layer, water, and sunscreen.
- Gaeltachts (Irish-speaking regions) are scattered throughout Connemara.