Whether you’re traveling Dublin on a tight budget or blew your travel funds on one of the city’s notorious pub-crawls, there are plenty of free things to do in Dublin. Here are some ideas for exploring Dublin without spending a cent.
1. Explore Dublin’s museums
Dublin’s huge range of free museums and galleries make a great option for rainy days, with all the National Museums including the Natural History Museum, the Archeology Museum, the National Library and the National Gallery of Ireland offering free admission. That’s not all – the Irish Museum of Modern Art, the National Photographic Archive and the Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art are also free.
2. Visit Dublin Castle
While there’s an entrance charge for those wanting to explore the castle interiors, admiring the castle’s 13th century façade and wandering the idyllic Dubh Linn Gardens is absolutely free. Pay a visit to the on-site Chester Beatty Library too, a free museum housing around 22,000 rare books and literary works, including an ancient copy of the Acts of the Apostles and a series of exquisite 17th-century hand-painted Japanese scrolls.
3. Picnic in the city’s parks
Dublin abounds with public parks, the biggest of which is the 706-hectare Phoenix Park, one of Europe’s largest inner city green spaces, home to the Dublin Zoo as well as a number of walking and cycling trails. Alternatively, St. Stephen’s Green, is a popular retreat for locals, with 9 hectares of grassy picnic spots set around a duck-filled pond; the National Botanic Gardens offer free entrance and free guided tours on Sunday; or head to the northern tip of Dublin Bay, where you can spot seals while hiking along the renowned Howth Coastal Path.
4. Discover the city’s varied architecture
Marveling Dublin’s historic architecture is an easy way to soak up the city’s old-age charm without lightening your wallet. Wander the grounds of the legendary Trinity College home to the Book of Kells (you’ll need to pay the entrance fee to the book itself, though); check out the Bank of Ireland, a one-time parliament house, showcasing fine tapestries and glittering chandeliers; and visit the GPO building, now Dublin’ main post office, a key location of the 1916 Easter Rising. Fans of Georgian architecture will find plenty of interest in Merrion Square, where one-time resident Oscar Wilde is now immortalized in stone, or head to the ‘Number 29’ house museum, a stunning example of Georgian architecture, filled with artifacts from the era.
5. Enjoy some free music
The Guinness might not be free, but those looking to sample some of Ireland’s most promising musical acts will find plenty of free entertainment in the city’s Temple Bar district. Head to one of the many pubs that host free music gigs or take a stroll along Grafton Street, where the city’s legendary buskers are a cut above the rest – musicians, jugglers, singer-songwriters and a number of wacky performance artists provide an ever-changing roster of entertainment. You never know, you might discover the next U2.