Free things to do in Dublin

written by Steve Vickers

updated 4.04.2023

Dublin is a vibrant city filled with culture, history, and entertainment. It's a popular destination for travellers looking to explore the heart of Ireland. However, if you're not careful, visiting can be expensive. Here is our list of the best free things to do in Dubin.

This article is inspired by the Rough Guide to Ireland — your essential guide to visiting Ireland.

Watch hurling

An ancient sport resembling a pumped-up mishmash of hockey, baseball and lacrosse, Hurling is Ireland’s national obsession. Tickets for the biggest games, held at Dublin’s vast Croke Park stadium, occasionally change hands for upwards of €100. However, you can get a free taster by checking out Hill 16, which lists amateur matches taking place around the city. This is by far one of the best free things to do in Dublin.

Take a stroll through Trinity College

Established in the 16th Century, Trinity College is Ireland’s most prestigious university and most famous landmarks. It costs nothing to wander through the current campus grounds, set around neatly trimmed lawns. Here you'll find many historic buildings and fantastic architecture, including the iconic Campanile and the Old Library's Long Room.

When planning a trip to Ireland's capital city, plan a place to stay, and our list of the best places to stay in Dublin will help you do just that.


Trinity College — one of the best free things to do in Dublin © trabantos/Shutterstock

Explore Celtic history through free museums

Dublin has a rich history, and you can explore the city's Celtic past for free at the National Museum of Ireland. This Irish museum houses more than two million archaeological treasures, including Bronze Age jewellery. Don't miss the superbly preserved hand of a Celtic man who met his maker sometime between 400 and 200 BC.

Go to church

Dublin’s two big cathedrals (Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick's Cathedral) charge an admission fee to visitors, but one of the best free things to do in Dublin is to look around many of the city’s small churches. Try St Ann’s Church on Dawson Street, where Dracula author Bram Stoker was married. Or, try the Whitefriar Street Church, which is said to house the bones of St Valentine.

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Streets of Dublin, Ireland  © massimofusaro/Shutterstock

Dublin, Ireland© Shutterstock

Enjoy Dublin’s park life

With more green spaces per square mile than any other European city, Dublin is the perfect place to picnic.

St Anne’s, one of 30 public parks around the city, hosts a fragrant rose festival each July – showing off more than 10 acres of display borders. Or try one of Dublin's many other parks, including Phoenix Park, St. Stephen's Green, and Merrion Square.

English picnic basket on the picnic blanket with many delicacies and drinks © Heinz Jacobi/Shutterstock

© Shutterstock

Listen to some open-air opera

During the summer months, the Irish National Opera hosts free open-air concerts in Dublin's parks and public spaces. You can enjoy world-class opera performances under the stars.

Each August, arias fill the amphitheatre at Dublin City Council’s Civic Offices. The free Opera in the Open shows are scheduled to last an hour each, appealing to a mixed crowd of relaxed mums and office-weary business people.

Watch free concerts

On Sundays from September to June, Hugh Lane hosts free, sit-down concerts in its sculpture gallery. The acts (a mixture of Irish music and international music) start at noon, and you can then browse the venue’s art galleries until 5 pm. Enjoying a night of music in this beautiful setting is one of the best free things to do in Dublin.

Walk around Howth

Howth is a beautiful coastal town located just a short train ride from Dublin city centre. Although it’s grown from a quiet fishing community to a seaside suburb of Dublin, Howth is still best explored on foot.

The local tourist board has mapped a trail linking the area with nearby Sutton, passing a lighthouse, a castle, and cliffs that have been chewed up by the pounding waves. You can explore the stunning cliffs and coastline, visit the local market, or simply take in the breathtaking views.

Howth in Ireland © Pixabay

Browse the Loft Market

Free (as long as you can resist the temptation to buy something), the Indoor Loft Market is a popular hangout for designers and vintage enthusiasts.

This trendy indoor market is open every weekend. You can browse local artisans' wares, including handmade jewellery, vintage clothing, and unique home decorative arts. This free attraction is founded by the fashion editor of the local style mag Thread.

Spend time in one of the biggest parks in Europe — Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park is one of the largest city parks in Europe, covering 1,750 acres of land. It's home to Dublin Zoo, the Irish President's residence, and the Papal Cross.

You can enjoy a picnic, a stroll, or a bike ride while enjoying the lush greenery of the park. It's an ideal place to relax and escape from the bustling city.

Deer at Phoenix Park, Dublin © Pixabay

Deer at Phoenix Park, Dublin © Pixabay

Chester Beatty Library — one of the best free things to do in Dublin

The Chester Beatty Library is a hidden gem in Dublin, tucked away in the heart of Dublin Castle. This is by far one of the best free things to do in Dublin.

It has a vast collection of manuscripts, rare books, and miniature paintings from across the world, including Europe, Asia, and Africa. Admission is free, and it's an excellent place to spend an afternoon learning about different cultures.

Take a free tour of the National Botanic Gardens

The National Botanic Gardens is another must-visit destination in Dublin. The gardens have over 20,000 living plants and a collection of glasshouses, including the famous Palm House.

You can stroll around the gardens, take a guided tour, or attend a workshop or lecture. This is easily one of the best things to do in Dublin.

The National Gallery of Ireland is home to an impressive collection of Irish and European art and is one of the best Dublin Museums. It includes works by Jack B. Yeats, Caravaggio, Vermeer, and more. The museum has free admission, and it's an ideal place to appreciate the beauty and diversity of art.

National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square, Dublin © AdobeStock

National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square, Dublin © AdobeStock

Spend time at the Museum of Natural History

A visit to the Museum of Natural History is one of the fantastic free things to do in Dublin and a fascinating place to learn about the natural history of Ireland and the world. The museum's collections include specimens of animals, plants, and rocks from Ireland and abroad. Admission is free, making it one of the most popular free attractions in Dublin.

Don't miss St. Stephen's Green Park

St. Stephen's Green Park is a beautiful public park in the heart of Dublin. It's a popular spot for picnics, relaxing, and people-watching. The park is home to a lake, a waterfall, and a collection of sculptures. It is also a popular spot for outdoor concerts and events throughout the year.

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Walking around River Liffey

The River Liffey flows through the centre of Dublin, dividing the city into north and south. You can take a stroll along the river and enjoy the city's vibrant atmosphere. You'll see iconic landmarks like the Ha'penny Bridge and the Custom House along the way.

Docklands of Dublin City, Ireland © AdobeStock

Docklands of Dublin City, Ireland © AdobeStock

People watch at Temple Bar Food Market

The Temple Bar Food Market is an excellent place to explore Dublin's culinary scene. It's one of the best free things to do in Dublin as long for as long as you can hold off buying anything! The market is open every Saturday from 10 am to 4:30 pm. A fantastic place to people-watch.

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fruits in market with dark background including oranges and bananas in Puerto Vallarta © Shutterstock

© Shutterstock

The Hugh Lane Gallery is a public art museum located on Parnell Square in Dublin. It has a collection of modern and contemporary art, including works by Francis Bacon, Jack B. Yeats, and Sean Scully. The gallery also hosts free concerts and events throughout the year.

Or find accommodation at any budget in Dublin, Ireland.

Dublin has plenty of free activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you want to explore the city's history, culture, or natural beauty, there's something for everyone. Ready to start planning your trip? Check out the Rough Guide to Ireland.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Ireland without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

We may earn commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Steve Vickers

written by Steve Vickers

updated 4.04.2023

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