Ireland’s lively capital has a fierce reputation for being the beating heart of the country’s culture, music and of course drinking.
There are so many fun things you have to do in Dublin that it can be hard to know where to begin?
Dublin does a smashing job of balancing history and heritage with revelry and incredible live music.
The city has lots of fun activities and sights to offer visitors and will not disappoint.
Fun things you must do in Dublin
A trip to Dublin will require a little travel planning, I personally would make a list of the Dublin attractions you want to visit and the places you want to see in the city.
We talk more about travel planning on my weekly travel podcast – Travel Goals. Subscribe now and catch up on all episodes.
If you are planning a trip to Dublin, make sure to read my guide on 13 fun things you have to do in Dublin and start planning your dream Dublin city break today!
Experience Dublin’s history on a walking tour
I’ll be the first to admit that Irish history is not my area of expertise in a pub quiz. I don’t know about you, but Irish history was never taught in my school, [our teachers were weirdly obsessed with WW2].
Most people are only learning about Irish history in recent years when trying to understand the complexities of Northern Ireland and indeed Brexit.
Dublin is actually rich in history, and you’d be amazed at what you can learn in a day.
Dublin walking tour
The best way to learn about the city’s history is by booking a Dublin city walking tour.
Walk the streets of the Irish capital with an experienced guide who will cover the historic highlights of the Viking, medieval, and revolutionary eras, during a 3-hour city walk.
Learn more about some of Dublin’s most iconic locations including St. Stephen’s Green, Merrion Square, Trinity College, the Irish Houses of Parliament, Templebar, Smock Alley Theatre, and O’Connell Street.
Take photos of Trinity College Library
The Long Room at Trinity College is one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
Bring your camera and wander around to see the beautiful columns, the graceful soaring of the rounded ceiling and the old books.
If you are looking to save money on your city break, then visiting Trinity College Library definitely one of the best free things to do in Dublin.
This means that all publishers in Ireland must deposit a copy of all their publications there, free of charge.
You’ll feel as if you have stepped right inside Hogwarts at this historic library. It is a must-visit place in Dublin for book lovers and photographers.
Book of Kells tour
Why not book a Book of Kells Early Access Tour at Trinity College Dublin?
You can learn more about the Discover the “most precious object in the western world,” according to the 1007 Annals of Ulster.
This tour will allow you to get up close and admire one of the finest examples of medieval illumination.
Listen to traditional Irish music in Temple Bar
Temple Bar is the quintessential place in Dublin to go and experience Irish culture and music.
In this picturesque part of the city, you’ll find some of Dublin’s most famous pubs, folk music, restaurants, quirky graffiti and walking tours.
The very best of Dublin is squeezed into a small and charming area that has the most delightful cobbled streets and lively drinking holes.
Temple Bar tour
It’s definitely a tourist hotspot in the city but with good reason. the vibrancy and atmosphere are infectious. Especially if you have had a few cheeky pints of Guinness.
To experience the best of Temple Bar, I recommend going on a Temple Bar traditional Irish musical pub crawl. It’s one of the most fun late-night activities in Dublin.
Learn the romantic history and stories behind traditional Irish music in a fun and informative way with a few drinks along the way.
This fun tour is led by two professional musicians who will ensure that you have a lively and interactive evening, full of traditional Irish music and dancing. It’s definitely one of the most fun things to do in Dublin!
Visit Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol is a notorious former prison in Dublin that is now a museum run by the Office of Public Works.
Gaol is Irish for jail, and this infamous jail, west of the city, is one of the best sites to visit to learn all about the Irish rebellion and how Ireland became an independent country.
Much of Kilmainham Gaol remains untouched, so you get a real sense of what being a prisoner their hundreds of years ago was like.
Get the most out of your visit with a Kilmainham Gaol – War & Revolution Tour.
You can visit the historic prison with a professional and learn more about Ireland’s past revolutionaries.
Take a tour of Dublin Castle
Dublin castle is housed on impressive 11 acres. You can wander around the ruins, or explore the Medieval Undercroft, museums, State Apartments and Chester Beatty Library.
The best way to learn more about the history of the castle is to take a guided tour of Dublin Castle to find out its rich history
An expert local guide will show and explain all of the history and stories connected to Dublin’s famous Castle.
Learn Irish history at EPIC
If you want to learn more about the Irish immigration and how the Irish have influenced the world you need to visit the EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin.
EPIC is a relatively new museum by the River Liffey. This modern and interactive museum is where you can explore the history of why millions of Irish people left during the potato famine.
You can also check if you really have Irish relatives in your family tree. You can buy a Skip-the-line admission ticket to the EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum online for just £14.50.
Take of Game of Thrones tour from Dublin
If you are a big Thrones fan then you’ll be thrilled to discover that there are loads of Game of Thrones filming locations in Ireland.
Superfans will know that Many of the iconic Game of Thrones scenes were actually shot in Ireland.
In fact, around 80% of the popular series was actually filmed in Ireland.
Best Game of Thrones tour from Dublin
The best way to discover the GOT locations is to book a Game of Thrones tour from Dublin.
You’ll be transported to the locations of some of the most famous scenes from the series complete with GOT costumes, props and an expert guide.
Some of the stops on your tour will include places such as Cushendun Caves, where Melisandre gives birth to the shadow baby in season 2.
Ballintoy Harbour, the Iron Islands filming location and also Pyke. This location is the best known for the scene where Theon is baptised into the religion of the Drowned God.
Fans should check out the themed ‘Thrones’ dining room with its very own Iron Throne.
Learn about whiskey making at Jameson Distillery
Learn the secrets of making Irish whiskey on a Jameson Distillery fully guided tour and enjoy comparative whiskey tasting!
Your guide will explain how whiskey-making was once one of Dublin’s main industries.
The whisky industry actually employed a range of people with differing skills from engineers and coppersmiths to saw millers and ironmongers.
Immerse yourself in the world of Jameson’s as you touch, smell, interact and taste Jameson whisky in the original Bow Street distillery buildings.
On Jameson’s distillery tour you can also visit the live maturation warehouse and taste Jameson’s straight from the barrel. After the tour, enjoy a wee dram of Whisky in the JJ bar.
Visit Malahide Castle & Gardens
Malahide Castle is one of the most important historic buildings in Dublin The Castle dates right back to the 12th century and was inhabited by an influential family, the Talbots.
The Castle and estate are set in over 260 acres of pretty parkland, close to the village of Malahide, which is around nine miles north of central Dublin.
Book a Malahide Castle tour and learn more about how this beautiful castle influenced Irish political and social life on an expertly guided tour.
Drink the best Guinness in Dublin
Oh, a pint of the black stuff. It’s pretty much a law that anyone visiting Dublin for a bit of fun has to try a pint of dark.
There are dozens of lively bars and traditional pubs to check out around the city that claim to serve the best in town.
Depending on how long you’ll be visiting Dublin, some of the best places to try a perfect Guinness:
- The Guinness Storehouse – a major tourist attraction but surprisingly fun and informative.
- Bad Bobs – where locals who have to go to Temple Bar go because it’s on the periphery and doesn’t charge rip-off prices for drinks.
- Gravediggers – Anthony Bourdain once famously claimed while having a pint there that “this is what heaven looks like”.
- McGowan’s – McGowan’s – In Dublin for a big gig at Croke Park? Avoid the overpriced bars at the venue with this local haunt just a few blocks away.
- The Barge– You can’t drink by the canals in the sunny days, but that doesn’t stop locals grabbing a Guinness here and sneaking across the road to sit by the water.
- Toners– Just off St Stephen’s Green, it is an old school Dublin pub that most tourists don’t know about.
Learn about Irish gastronomy on a Dublin Food tour
Learn more about Dublin’s growing culinary culture as you visit several foodie hotspots in the city.
On this delicious tour, you can try local cheeses and chocolates, visit food halls and artisan bakeries and food halls. You will visit venues off the tourist trail and eat where the locals go.
Eat an Irish McDonalds
If you are looking for quirky things to do in Dublin, I would head to Supermacs. You might well be wondering why I would recommend a fast-food spot in Dublin?
Supermacs is a unique chain in Ireland and with an interesting legal history.
You may have heard of them in the news after the small company won a landmark case against McDonald’s, who tried to block the company opening new restaurants in Europe.
This is because McDonald’s argued that Supermacs sounded too much like their infamous Big Mac.
Supermacs do simple fast food that can help you in a pinch but make time to try their chicken filter burger or cheesy taco chips. It’s the worst kind of food in the best kind of way.
Try a Dublin spice bag
The party-goers of Dublin, have found an ingenious way of being able to eat Chinese food while walking home on a night out.
If you need something to snack on after being out, get yourself a spice bag. It’s essentially a paper bag with salted chilli chicken and chips inside.
The ingredients are put in a bag before spices are thrown in, the bag is twirled closed and shaken vigorously.
Some of the best spice bags in Dublin include:
- The Sunflower Chinese, Templeogue
- Duck, Fade Street
- Starry Night, Pearse Street
- Foo Lok, Blanchardstown
Dublin City guide
What do you think of my guide to fun things you have to do in Dublin? Are you planning a weekend in Dublin? What activities will you be doing? Let me know in the comments below.
Planning your trip to Dublin
Ready to book your trip to Dublin? Use these awesome travel resources to get you started:
- Search for the best flight deals with Skyscanner
- Search for the best hotel deals on Booking.com
- Get the best travel tips with a travel guidebook
- Book an Airbnb and have £25 towards your first booking
- Get the best destination recommendations from TripAdvisor
Check out all the best travel resources on my bumper travel resources page!