On a budget? Here are our top 10 free and cheap things to do in Dublin.
Ireland may be one of the best holiday destinations in the world. Nature, history, the people, and the craic all make it popular among tourists year-round.
Unfortunately, however, a trip to Ireland is by no means a low-budget jaunt, with Dublin being one of the most expensive cities in the world.
At Ireland Before You Die, we pride ourselves in researching only the best for our readers, so we have compiled a list of things to do in the capital that won’t break the bank.
Here are our top 10 free and cheap things to do in Dublin city and the surrounding areas.
10. Street art and performers – for original talent
Irish people are renowned for their creative spark and musical flair with many showcasing their talent on the streets of Dublin. Grafton Street is awash with buskers of all ages.
Simply saunter down the cobbled street and you will be treated to mix of musical genius as you go. To admire some fantastic street art, head to Crown Alley in Temple Bar. Here you will find some superbly intricate wall murals and graffiti art.
9. St. Stephen’s Green – to feed the ducks
St. Stephen’s Green is a lovely park at the top of Grafton Street with an old-world feel and a pretty duck pond.
The bandstand often offers lunchtime concerts during the summer with lots of space to enjoy a picnic as one of the best cheap things to do in Dublin when the sun shines.
In one corner of the park, there is a flower garden for the blind with sweet-scented plants labelled in braille for visitors. The children’s playground is well maintained and has something for all younger and older kids.
8. National Botanic Gardens – to stop and smell the roses
Just a short bus ride from the city centre to Glasnevin you will find a haven of beauty at the National Botanic Gardens. It is famous for its stunning glasshouses awash with a sea of colourful plants and flowers.
Among some of the cheap things to do in Dublin, tickets for guided tours are available to buy online or you can simply admire the gardens at your leisure for free.
Address: National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin 9, D09 VY63
7. Vintage shopping – to bag a bargain
Everyone loves a bargain and Dublin has some great vintage shops to chose from. Temple Bar is awash with vintage greatness with some classic stores dating back as long as I can remember.
An all-time favourite is Lucy’s Lounge, previously known as SeSi. This is an Aladdin cave of gorgeous vintage clothes, shoes and bags where you are sure to find that one-off piece at a bargain price. Just bear in mind it is open Thursday to Sunday only.
Address: Lucy’s Lounge, 11 Fownes Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
6. Hike in Howth – for stunning views
Ireland is perfect for scenic walks or longer hikes and Howth is a gorgeous spot to explore on foot. Head to the summit and take the cliff walk for stunning views.
The fresh sea air and rich aroma of heather only enhance the invigorating experience. Pop into the Summit Inn for a well-earned pint on the way back or continue down the hill towards the harbour to eat in one of the many restaurants.
Address: Howth head, Co. Dublin
5. Swim in the Irish Sea – to awaken your senses
Swimming in the sea is an invigorating experience and there are lots of spots around Dublin to take a dip. Either Dollymount beach or Portmarnock beach are probably the safest places to swim in the northside.
For the thrill-seekers, the Forty Foot in Sandycove is a famous spot of Dublin Bay where people are known to leap from into the Irish sea all year round. Suitable attire varies from swimwear to birthday suits although a wet suit is advisable during winter months.
Address: Sandycove, Co. Dublin
4. Phoenix Park – to spot wild deer
Even in the city, the wonders of nature are never far away and Phoenix Park is the perfect example. More than 1,700 acres of land and stately homes including Áras an Uachtaráin, the official home of Ireland’s President.
Since the 17th Century, the park has also been residence to a herd of fallow deer and they can often be spotted in their natural habitat. Normally gathered at the Fifteen Acres area of the park, it is advisable not to feed the wild deer or get too close.
Address: Phoenix Park, Dublin 8
3. National Gallery of Ireland – to peruse the National Collection
There are many galleries to visit in Dublin but the National Gallery is one of our favourites. It has so much to offer with a huge range of exhibitions, themed tours, quiet nooks and activities for children.
It is located in a gorgeous part of the city and is open 7 days a week with late night Thursday. Best of all, it is absolutely free to enter.
Address: Merrion Square West, Dublin 2
2. Trinity College – to step back in time
Trinity College is a landmark in Dublin and has so much to offer visitors. Stroll the cobbles and stunning grounds, admire the architecture and soak up the atmosphere of the campus – all for free!
The science gallery is also free to enjoy and offers a great educational experience for any budding scientists. Visit the famous library and see the Book of Kells Exhibition and the Old Library for a small fee of 14 euro per adult with kids under 12 admitted free.
This is by far one of the best cheap things to do in Dublin.
Address: Trinity College Dublin, College Green, Dublin 2
1. Free gig at Whelan’s – for the ultimate night out
Mingle with true Dubs at Whelan’s on Wexford Street for a fantastic night of live music in the heart of the city. Keep an eye on the website in advance to spot a free event and plan your trip around it.
Whelan’s has been showcasing some of Dublin’s finest musicians for 25 years and it really knows how to host an evening. If music is your thing, bagging a free gig here is definitely worth it. All you’ll need is your beer money!
Address: Whelan’s, Wexford Street, Dublin 2
Dive in and explore the city like a local.
Read our tips on where to go, what to do and what not to miss…
In compact Dublin, you can easily cover a lot of ground on your own
From nocturnal pub crawling (for educational purposes) to high-adrenaline outdoor activities to fun family-friendly pursuits, choices abound.
You might start with the capital’s supremo tourist attraction, the Guinness Storehouse. Most people do.
Prefer being under the watchful eye of a knowledgeable guide?
There are tons of tours – walking, traveling by bicycle or bus, amphibious vehicle or horse-drawn cart…or even by boat or kayak.
However you choose to get about, you can also experience the true spirit of traditional Irish culture and history through architecture, dance, storytelling, music, theatre, museums and galleries.
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