Dublin is amazing with lots to offer. But it can be expensive. So here’s Rebel Dublin’s list of FREE THINGS TO DO IN DUBLIN
Dublin has some amazing parks. Strategically placed on a bench in St Stephen’s Green you can watch the world go by as the park gives way to office workers enjoying a sandwich, schoolkids bunking off class and weary shoppers resting their tired feet. Sip a coffee and feed the seagulls (they’ve displaced the ducks unfortunately).
The railings of Merrion Square host artists displaying their wares at weekends. Though quieter, the Georgian surrounds are a delight and is a perfect setting for Oscar Wilde fans to pay their respects. Situated in the heart of Dublin and featuring luscious gardens without the hustle and bustle of Stephen’s Green, Merrion Square is a lovely place to take in some of Dublin’s Georgian architecture while sitting on a quiet lawn.
The Iveagh Gardens, no longer Dublin’s best kept secret, just off Harcourt Street is an oasis for nearby office workers and those in the know.
The Dubhlinn Gardens with it’s Celtic design landscaping can be found in front of the Chester Beatty library at the back of Dublin castle.
The National Museum on Kildare Street is home to fascinating Prehistoric, Celtic, Viking and Medieval history. The buildings themselves are stunning. So you can gawk at the skeletons or just stare at the walls. Great for the kids.
The Natural History Museum also on Kildare Street, also known as the Dead Zoo, is a great place for kids young and old. As a father of a 3 year old boy, I luckily get to visit this place quite a lot.
Collins Barracks hosts the National Museum of arts, crafts and military located near the entrance to the Phoenix Park.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art is situated across Heuston Bridge on the south of the Liffey. It’s a bit out of the city, but worth the effort. Located in the stunning grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, the sumptuous surrounding form a backdrop for a mixture of both permanent and visiting artists and collections. Some of the artists whose work is on show here include Jack B. Yeats, Caravaggio, Monet and many more. Over at the IMMA, the 4,500 piece collection is focused on modern art and includes paintings, photography and sculpture.
The National Gallery of Ireland on Merrion Square displays a mixture of classical art as well as modern art. There is a strong Irish presence amongst the exhibits as well as visiting international artists. Perfect for a rainy day, you can take your time exploring the many wings of art and sculpture that it has on offer for free. Take a free audio guide from the information desk or take a free tour to properly immerse yourself in the European and Irish masterpieces, you’ll soon find that many hours have passed along with the bad weather. Best to to check the guide to what’s on for any up upcoming events.
The Hugh Lane Gallery on North Parnell Square is a collection of over 2000 works bequeathed to the State. Made up of contemporary and modern art, the main attraction is the painter Francis Bacon’s studio, which was relocated in its entirety from London and gives an incredible insight into the crazed, clutter world in which he existed and worked. A beautiful building. With beautiful pieces of art. Take your time to enjoy this special place.
St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch will charge an admission fee. But there are many others that don’t. The Pro-Cathedral on Marlborough Street – Listen to the Palestrina Choir every Sunday at 12pm. University Church on St Stephen’s Green is a beautiful place to visit. And often hosts classical music and choirs. Our Ladys Carmelite Church on Whitefriars Street is the resting place of St Valentine and St Ann’s on Dawson Street has stunning stained glass rose windows overlooking South Anne Street.
My personal favourite is Dublin’s street art scene. Some notable locations are the beatyard of the Bernard Shaw just of South Richmond Street. As well as the car park of the Tivoli Theatre on Francis Street. But really the best thing is to wander around the inner city and keep your eyes open. Dublin is heaving with cool street pieces, murals and scribbles.
I know I’ve already mentioned Dublin’s parks but the Phoenix Park deserves a section of it’s own. It’s huge! The President lives here. As does the US Ambassador. As well as wild deer. Europe’s largest urban park has acres of beautiful parkland and leafy trails to enjoy a long, meandering walk. It’s also home to Farmleigh House which is great for family days out with it’s markets, Victorian flower gardens & themed events. As if that weren’t enough there is also the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre which is a perfect spot for a picnic. You can rent bikes at the southern entrance to the park which you might need to circumnavigate it’s vast perimeter. While on your travels you might take in a game of cricket, football or even polo. Phoenix Park also doubles as a venue and space for many different events such as organized family picnics, BBQ’s, motor and cross-country races.
The most #amazing #peaceful afternoon in #phoenixpark A photo posted by Georgiana Borza (@rainbowsinajar) on
Howth is a beautiful spot for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Or any afternoon at that. Head Northbound from the city centre on the DART. Once there I suggest a walk down from the summit of Howth Hill round the cliff edge ending with fish and chips on the harbour wall. Fishing boats, yachts and seals bobbing in the water. Nice.
South Dublin Bay
Head south on the DART from the city centre. The journey takes you along the picturesque coastal communities of Sandymount, Blackrock and Dun Laoghaire. From here you can walk the pier wall, eat a Teddy’s ice cream and stretch your legs with a stroll further south to Sandycove and the James Joyce Tower and museum. If you’re lucky you may even catch a glimpse of one of the locals swimmers skinny dipping in the “40 Foot”. So keep your selfie stick handy. To whack them on the willy. The DART then takes you farther south to the beautiful village of Dalkey, and farther on to Killiney. You can walk from Dalkey village to the summit of Killiney Hill for some stunning views over Dublin bay and it’s mountains. You may even see Bono’s gaf! (that’s Dublin slang for his house). Jumping back on the DART our journey continues to Bray and farther ends in the little gem of a village that is Greystones. Great for a it’s cafe’s and seascape walks.
There are too many to mention. Watch this space for a more in-depth list. So I’m just going to mention the markets around Temple Bar which plays host to three different markets at weekends. Meeting House Square hosts a wide range of stalls from seafood to cheese to baked items. The Temple Bar Book Market is located here also at weekends while on Cow’s Lane, the Designer Mart hosts the best in Irish handmade craft and design.
Dating back to the 13th Century, this medieval castle is slap bang in the heart of Dublin. While most of the areas are not free, the Chester Beatty Library is an incredible way to while a way an afternoon. The grounds of the castle itself are worth a visit themselves and are of course free.
Chester Beatty Library
The Chester Beatty Library is a collection of manuscripts, rare books and artwork from all over the world with some pieces dating as far back as 2700 BC. Featuring Renaissance scripture, Imperial Chinese prints and Egyptian manuscripts, it’s been named one the finest museums in Europe by Lonely Planet. The collection was put together by the eponymous mining magnate who left it to the state in 1968.
Science Gallery Trinity College
Not the boring “science” stuff you endured in school. This is sexy science! Think Mythbusters without the explosions. It’s a blend of art, eccentricity, innovation and curiousity brough together in talks, exhibitions and interactive themes. A great place for kids to learn that science doesn’t have to be boring with over a million visitors and counting since 2008.
Dublin is famous for it’s music. But if you use your head, or better yet, Google, you will always find a venue with live music for free. But to set you on your way you can be sure to find free music in Whelans on Camden street or Doyle’s near Trinity College.
Dublin is perfect for bikes. Dublin is flat. Dublin is is small. And even smaller when you’re on wheels. And despite what you may think it doesn’t rain all the time. Grab a Dublin bike. The first 30 minutes are free. And if it takes you longer than a half hour to get to your destination, then you probably need to cycle more often.
The Botanic Gardens
Head North out of the city and just beyond Phibsborough’s Royal canal you will find an oasis of calm. The gardens contain the National Herbarium and several stunning glasshouse structures. Perfect for green-fingered revellers and picnic lovers.
A brisk walk as the waves crash on to Clontarf beach set against the beautiful backdrop of Dublin Bay. Framed by Howth Head to the North and Dun Laoghaire to the South. At over 5 km’s long, the beach is a good workout with plenty of fresh air. St Anne’s Park in Raheny is just across the Howth Road. A perfect spot for a picnic after all that walking.
Dublin is full of festivals. With more being added to the calendar each year. With a different event on every month you might sample some Irish music and culture with the Temple Bar TradFest in January. For film buff there is the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival in February. St Patrick’s Festival which now runs for a number of days throughout March.
In April you’ll find a Literary Festival and the Dublin Bay Prawn Festival. May you’ll find a Dance Festival as well as a Writers Festival. June sees the world renowned Bloomsday Festival in the city as well as the Dublin LGBTQ Pride Festival. July plays host to the World Street Performance Championship. A Ukulely Hooley in August and Culture Night in September. And with the onset of winter you can dine indoors on a budget as Dine in Dublin Restaurant Week takes place in October. Get reading in November with the Dublin Book Festival and end the year on a high in December with the NYE Dublin Festival. Wow!
Dublin hums it’s own little tune to itself. The streets are filled with buskers of all shapes, sizes and sounds creating an eclectic soundtrack to suit every ear.
On any given day on any little street you can find musical talent to artists, sculptors, mime artists, jugglers, rapping junkies and even a scrawny spiderman.
Merrion Square is the largest Georgian Square in Dublin. Lining this square you’ll find some great examples of Georgian architecture in the form of redbrick townhouses with their colourful doors. Take a stroll around the pretty park area at the centre of the square and you’ll come across a number of statues including one of a reclining Oscar Wilde who was a resident on Merrion Square back in the late 1800s.
Dublin Walking Tours offer free walking tours around Dublin taking in some of the city’s main sights. Lasting around three hours, visitors get a good look at a large number of
Dublin’s top sights on this free tour including Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, Temple Bar and plenty more.