Dublin bridge Ireland

Free Things To Do In Dublin

This post was most recently updated on April 22nd, 2020

There are plenty of amazing and free things to do in Dublin. This city is fast becoming one of the most popular places in Europe to visit. Last year alone, they had over 11 million tourists enjoying this warm and inviting place. And it’s easy to see why people are flocking here from all over the world.

Dublin is full of historic sights like the Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, and plenty of gorgeous churches and cathedrals. But like a lot of European cities, you can easily break the bank.

Hotels are not exactly cheap in the city. Plus dining out and touring all the major sights can get really expensive. One option to help you save money is to pick up the Dublin Pass. By purchasing this, it will give you transport on the hop on hop off bus for 24 hours. And also free entry into some of the distilleries and other not to miss gems.

To offset your costs though, it’s always nice to find the free options. Who doesn’t like to save some money? Keep reading to find out some great suggestions on free things to do in Dublin.

St Stephen’s Green For Free Things To Do In Dublin

St. Stephen’s Green in Dublin, Ireland.

St Stephen’s Green is a 22 acre park right in the centre of Dublin. Our hotel was just down the street from this park. So we loved coming and sitting in this relaxing green space.

Just outside the park is Grafton Street. One of the busiest shopping streets in all of Dublin. A complete contrast to the quiet solitude of the park. Except for the occasional ducks quacking.

We saw plenty of people reading a book, lounging in the sun, strolling around the trails in the park, or just relaxing on a bench while feeding the ducks. Even though the park was packed with people the day we were there, it still felt like an escape from the city noise.

Besides a waterfall, lake, band shell for concerts, beautiful gardens, and unique statues, St Stephen’s Green also has a children’s playground. Whether the sun is shining or not, this is a great place to spend the afternoon. And that’s what makes it one of the best free things to do in Dublin.

Natural History Museum Dublin

Contributed by Catherine Jordan from Travel Around Ireland.

One of the best free things to do in Dublin, a city that can be pricey at the best of times, is to pay the Natural History Museum a visit. Sitting just off Merrion Square, its location is often on the sightseeing bus routes. So it is easy to reach via the many hop on hop off buses.

Referred locally as the “Dead Zoo”, the Natural History Museum is a branch of the National Museum of Ireland and was built in the mid 1800’s to house parts of the Royal Society of Dublin’s collection.

The Natural History Museum is set across four floors. Although there are only currently the two main floors open to the public after an ornate Portland stone staircase collapsed in 2007. This left the two upper galleries without enough emergency exits to pass Health and Safety regulations. The lower two floors however are open to the public.

In the two main floors you will see cabinets with examples of both Irish wildlife and that from across the globe. The ground floor is called the Irish Room and shows examples of animals, birds and fish found across the Irish Isles. There are several skeletons of Giant Irish Deer whose antlers are a thing of wonder. You can also see examples of things like fox, badgers, and other deer. Plus there is also a basking shark skeleton, a native of the waters around Ireland.

The first floor contains mammals from across the world including cheetah (my personal favourite), pygmy hippopotamus, Asian elephants and more. There are also drawer cases which hold examples of insects, and geology specimens. And it once hosted examples from the world of botany. But these are now resident in the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin.

You can easily spend a couple of hours viewing the collections on display. And it is one of the best things to do in Ireland.

Things To Do In Phoenix Park For Free

Contributed by Cristina Garcia from Travel For Wildlife

If you look at a map of Dublin, the first thing that stands out is a huge green space west of the city centre. This is the Phoenix Park. At 1750 acres, the Phoenix Park is one of the largest urban parks in the world. With a mix of forest, meadows, wetland, and formal gardens, as well as housing the Dublin Zoo, the park attracts Dubliners and visitors by the thousands each year. 

One of the main attractions is the herd of four hundred fallow deer that live in the park. The herd is normally found around the meadows by the Papal Cross, and they move into the forested areas at dusk. It is very easy to find and photograph the Phoenix Park deer as they are used to people. Still, visitors should keep a safe distance to not stress the fallow deer. 

During late spring it is not unusual to find deer fawns hiding in the grass as their moms forage nearby. If you see one, just let it be as its mother will come back soon. For this reason, it is advised to stay on park paths and to not walk in the meadows.

While you are in the park, stop for tea and cake at the Phoenix Park tearooms which are located right in front of the Dublin Zoo entrance.

An easy way to get to the park is to take the Luas, the light rail system in Dublin, and step out at the Museum stop on the red line. Then you are a five-minute walk from the south entrance to the park.

Botanic Gardens Dublin

Contributed by Brianna from Curious Travel Bug

The National Botanical Garden of Ireland is one of the best free things to do in Dublin. The botanical garden is set on a beautiful landscape filled with trees and multiple themed gardens. It is easy to spend a few hours here wandering the multiple gardens and greenhouses. The entire garden, including glasshouses, are free for the public.

One of the best gardens is the rockery. This rock garden looks spectacular in the fall with bright flowers and the changing colours of the trees. It will depend on which season you visit, but there is always something in bloom in the gardens. 

The highlight of the gardens are the beautiful restored Victorian style glass greenhouses. These glasshouses each have a different theme. Some of the smaller glasshouses have themes like cactuses or orchids. But the really spectacular glasshouse is the palm house. The palm house is 20 m tall and contains everything from palms, to banana plants, and tropical plants from around the globe. 

Aside from the gardens, the botanical garden also contains many permanent sculptures like sundials. If you visit in September, the National Botanical Garden hosts something called the Sculpture in Context event annually. This event tends to attract modern and quirky temporary sculptures that are installed around the grounds.

Located in the Glasnevin neighbourhood, the gardens are easily accessible by public transit. They are also just a short walk from the Drumcondra neighbourhood. Drumcondra is a great area to explore away from the general tourist area downtown. Plus you can see more of what Dublin has to offer. After a visit to the Botanical Gardens, you can also visit the Glasnevin Cemetery. This is attached to the gardens and a popular tourist sight.  

Temple Bar Dublin Live Music

Contributed by Allan Wilson from It’s Sometimes Sunny In Bangor

The Temple Bar area is easily one of the more touristy parts of Dublin. Found just a short walk from the two central bridges; the Ha’penny Bridge and the O’Connell Bridge, on the south bank of the Liffey River.

While the riverside neighbourhood is named after a rather famous bar called Temple Bar, the Temple Bar area follows a wide tourist stretch of cobbled paths. And as far as Irish bars go, they don’t really come much older or more authentic as in this area.

So it is obviously a popular area during late evenings and nights. But there is also a lot going on throughout the day including many free attractions and galleries. Some of these include the National Photographic Archive highlights Ireland’s past, the Project Arts Centre, and Temple Bar Gallery of contemporary art.

 Obviously the area is better to visit with a bit of cash for a Guinness or two. There is no entry fee to the bars and everyone is welcome making it one of the great free things to do in Dublin.

Pretty much daily you can find traditional Irish bands and music. As well as local banter aka “Craic”. It can also be ridiculously busy and lively during holiday times. And popular with both students and tourists for celebrations like Saint Paddy’s Day plus the run-up to Christmas in Dublin.

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