Looking for some free things to do in Dublin this weekend that won’t cost you a million Euro? On a tight budget but still want to explore as much of Dublin as you can, without breaking the bank? Here are 20 ideas on things you can do for free in Dublin:
- Visit the national botanic gardens. Right next to Glasnevin Cemetery (which, in my opinion, is well worth paying to do the tour) is the national botanic gardens in Dublin – and it is completely free to enter the gardens! The gardens are well looked after, there is often art and sculptures around the grounds, as well as a few hothouses where they keep the tropical climate plants. I would suggest bringing a packed lunch, as the restaurant is limited and with such beautiful gardens, you would be missing out if you ate in the restaurant instead of taking in the beautiful views.
- Walk along the Liffey River, You don’t need to do a walking tour, just grab a map and walk Dublin streets for free at your own pace, stop when you see something interesting or keep walking, you decide. I wrote a post about 7 walks you can do in Dublin.
- Explore one of the many parks around Dublin City – St Stephens, Phoenix, Merrion Square, there are loads of parks scattered all around the city, look on google maps and find them! St Stephens has beautiful flowers in the spring and summer, it is also big enough to walk around it in a nice loop. If you go there when the weather is warm, you will find loads of people soaking up the sun (this is true for most parks and when the weather is good – everyone comes out!). Phoenix Park is the largest walled park in Europe. So you would battle to walk the entire park in one day but there are some great spots to view deer and wildlife, as well as cycle paths to ride around the park. Merrion Square is where the statue of Oscar Wilde is, which worth a quick walk by. Not to mention that last year, they held open-air cinema in the summer at this park – for EUR5 which is almost free! Another fave park of ours is the Sean Moore Park, in Irishtown. It is next door to a nature walk, so you can walk through the park, along the beach and into the nature reserve. It is a great loop to do, and we enjoy walking it with Jack most weekends.
- Hit the beach – there are several blue flag beaches in Ireland, one of them is Dollymount. You can grab a coffee or a toasted sandwich at Happy Out and walk along the beach on Bull Island . We also have Sandymount Strand right on our doorstep, there is a great promenade which you can walk along, but when the tide is out, the beach is dead flat and stretches out for miles, so you can really walk quite easily without really being on top of people. Jack turns into a beach pug when he hits this beach – which honestly makes my heart so happy seeing him run along the beach.
- Bike or walk along the canal – The canal runs quite a distance through Dublin, and has walking paths along both sides. We love walking along the Dodder river with the view of the Aviva Stadium near Lansdowne DART station. It is in-between Ballsbridge and Ringsend. Another good section of the canal to walk is the path that leads to Bushy Park. These walks are good all year round, as they are quite nicely protected from the wind, and you can really see the changing of the seasons along the canal and river – which is different all year round.
- Cliff walks (Our two faves – Howth and Bray-Greystones) – If you have visited Ireland without doing a cliff walk – can you even say you have been? Jokes aside, cliff walks are one of my fave things to do on the weekend – because the view is magical, and it doesn’t cost a cent to do! You can catch the DART out to Howth or Bray and walk along the cliffs, both have different views and angles of Dublin so if you are visiting for a while, try do both then let me know which one is your fave – because I am still undecided, I love them both equally.
- Walk along the harbour pier – Dublin has a few harbour towns along the coast, so you can walk along the harbour piers in Howth or Dun Laoghaire. You can also do a walk out to Poolbeg Lighthouse, which has a 2km pier out to sea.
- Go searching for statues – molly malone statue; oscar wilde, even a statue for Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy are all dotted around the city, I find this handy list of statues and their stories you can read it here.
- Go hiking in the Dublin Mountains. There are several routes you can do, so it means that you can keep coming back to the Dublin Mountains and going along different paths. Hellfire Club has some ruins on top of the hill, and has a great view of Dublin City. Faerie Castle and Three Rock have great views of Wicklow. And Ticknock Hill is great for mountain biking, but also, the moss and fern life in Ticknock forest is something out of a fairy story tale – there is magic in that forest.
- Georgian door hunting – I love searching for new, brightly coloured, ornate georgian doors on our walks through the city. They make for great back-drops for instagrammable photos too!
- Check out one of the free museums – interested in learning more about the History of Ireland? There are NINE free museums to see in Dublin, I loved visiting all of these museums, I wrote a whole post explaining all of them right here.
- Listen to Grafton Street buskers – Grafton Street is a bustling high-end shopping street in Dublin, but it also has a some great buskers and musicians who play daily. It is such a vibe walking down the street, listening to songs being sung and people passing by.
- Spire on O’Connell Street – Known by the locals as the Stiffy by the Liffey, it is a 120m in height pin-like monument that was created as a replacement for Nelson’s Pillar which was blown up 1966. There isn’t too much to do at the Spire, except shopping, but it still is pretty cool to see.
- Pick a favourite Dublin bridge – it is a common debate between me and Rob on which is the best bridge in Dublin between the Ha’penny Bridge (my fave) and Samuel Beckitt Bridge (his fave). Which one is your fave?
- Dance to trad music in an Irish bar – a good place to find trad music is Temple Bar, if you are not for the tourist crowds, Brazen Head is big enough that you can find a seat and still hear the trad music.
- Trinity College – This is a university in the middle of town, you can walk around campus and enjoy the varsity vibes, there is also an art gallery on campus that is free to visit.
- Street art hunting – This is a favourite thing for me and Rob to do, because street art can be found in the most unusual places. If you are looking for some good pieces, then I recommend following Subset on Instagram, they are currently running a project called grey area project which is a great initiative treating street art like an open-air art gallery.
- Window shop at George Street Arcade – Ireland’s first purpose built shopping center, filled with all sorts of knick knacks – from artwork, to vintage clothing, to music. It is an interesting spot to wander through.
- Dublin Castle Gardens – One day we went to George Street Arcade, grabbed a coffee and a cupcake and walked over to Dublin Castle Gardens, which is also free to visit. You have to pay to do a tour of Dublin Castle, but I would suggest rather walking around the grounds yourself, without paying the entrance.
- Brave a swim at forty foot or sea point – Last summer, Rob and I braved the Irish sea and went for a swim at seapoint. It was the hottest day in Summer and still, the water was freezing! Having said that, plenty of people take a dip in the sea all year round, and it is completely free to do.
BONUS TIP: Did you know you can take a tour of the president’s house for free? Tours are available most Saturdays, all year round. You can get a ticket on a first-come-first serve basis from the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre. We have not yet done the tour, so I am not sure if it is worthwhile, but the fact that you can visit the President’s House and for free, does intrigue me. I think it might be good to get there early, and then perhaps take a walk around Phoenix Park while you are there.
BEEN TO DUBLIN? WHAT DID YOU LOVE TO SEE OR DO IN DUBLIN THAT DIDN’T COST ANYTHING?
Live Simply & Travel Slow,
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