9 Things to See and Do in Dublin in 2023
Discover Dublin - Ireland’s Mythical City By the Sea
Dublin is a city that is medieval and modern at the same time… it is a city that beguiles with its beauty, buzz, and history; being named not once – but twice and, counting… as Europe’s Friendliest City by TripAdvisor. Locals like to say that Dublin has a village-like charm and is as friendly as an Irish Pub. It is also a UNESCO City of Literature with four Irish authors winning the Nobel Prize for Literature in the last 100 years - W.B. Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Becket, and Seamus Heaney. Dublin is extremely picturesque with history and excitement at every turn. From the Guinness Storehouse to the Book of Kells and traditional markets fun is at your fingertips. Below find a few of our favorite things to do in Dublin on your next guided tour or independent trip.
1) Leprechaun Museum
Folklore is undeniably interesting and Dublin has a museum to prove it! Dublin’s Leprechaun Museum invites you to channel your childhood and helps you along with stories and more. You will find this little gem of a museum between bars and buskers in the heart of Dublin where you will be immersed in a world of myth and legends. The Irish are well known for their storytelling skills, so if you want to learn about mythical Ireland, don’t miss the Otherworld, home of the leprechauns.
2) Kilmainham Gaol
This massive grey building opened in 1796 to house political prisoners, and some were even executed here. Kilmainham witnessed many key events in Ireland’s history from the rebellion of 1708 to the Irish Rebellion from 1922 - 1923. The jail closed in 1924. This eerie prison is the largest unoccupied building of its kind in Europe today. Guides provide a fascinating tour of the dimly lit West Wing, still in its original state. This is where the political prisoners and the poorest criminals were jailed, often for stealing food during the Famine. The East Wing has metal walkways in a typical jail setup and is light-filled in comparison with the West Wing. The East Wing has been featured in many films including In the Name of the Father, Michael Collins, and Paddington 2.
3) Dublin Castle
Dating back to the 13th century this medieval structure was constructed on a Viking settlement. It served as the headquarters of the British administration in Ireland, until 1922, when it was handed over to the new Irish government following Ireland’s independence. Today, visitors can tour the State Apartments that were originally built as residential and public quarters of the viceregal court. The Apartments are currently the venue for inaugurations and important functions. The Gothic Revival, Chapel Royal, famous for its vaulted ceiling, fine plasterwork, and Coat of Arms Gallery is also open to the public. Of special interest is the Viking Excavation area in the Medieval Undercroft in the Lower Castle Yard.
4) Guinness Storehouse ®
No trip to Dublin is complete without a visit to the home of Ireland’s most famous beer…Guinness. There are five floors of Guinness fun to explore! As you walk along the hallway of the second floor get ready for a sensory experience where swirling vapors rise and make your mouth water for the key tastes you enjoy in Guinness’s iconic stout. On the third floor, you will find the history of Guinness advertising, curiosities, and more… including the chance to re-enact a famous Guinness advertisement with your own image! On the fourth floor, you will find the Guinness Academy where you will learn how to pour your own pint and take home a certificate to show your friends that you were at the Storehouse. Two restaurants, Arthur’s Bar and 1837 Bar and Brasserie, both offering fine food that pairs perfectly with your pint of Guinness are located on the fifth floor.
5) The Book of Kells @ Trinity College
The immense library at Trinity College dates to the 18th century and is a book lovers’ paradise. If you plan ahead, get advance tickets online to see the Book of Kells, Ireland’s crown jewel of cultural heritage. The Book of Kells is an exquisitely illuminated manuscript dating to 800 AD. It contains the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin. It is one of the most famous manuscripts in history and a UNESCO Memory of the World item, that has been described as “the most precious object in the Western World”, by the 11th-century Annals of Ulster. Even if books aren’t your thing, the Library space is dramatic in the way the light filters through the windows and stacks of books so make sure your phone is charged.
6) Jameson Distillery Museum
This museum is at the site of the original Jameson distillery that dates to 1780. The tour includes a fascinating history and tasting. Although Jameson no longer makes whiskey here this 40-minute tour in the original factory is entertaining and includes a tasting. One thing that you will learn is that in Irish, whiskey is called uisce beatha or “the water of life.” Ironically, the founder of the most famous Irish whiskey, John Jameson, was actually a Scotsman!
7) Irish Whiskey Museum
If you are a fan of Irish whiskey, you might want to plan a visit to this museum that is not affiliated with any whiskey brand. Housed in a historic building, the museum has an extensive whiskey bar, historic exhibits, a tasting room, and a souvenir shop of goodies that you might not find anywhere else. The difference here is that you will have an unbiased history of whiskey and its importance in Ireland’s history.
8) Grafton Street
Grafton Street is one of Dublin’s main pedestrian shopping areas that is a delight to explore. This car-free area is lined with shops, restaurants, and pubs of all kinds that sometimes have live music performances that add to this colorful and fun street.
9) George Street Arcade
This trendy area that dates back to the 19th century is located in the Creative Quarter and is Ireland’s oldest market. If you need a break from shops and boutiques, the flea market vibe of this covered market packed with vendors selling everything from jewelry to antiques will be a welcome break and is well worth exploring.
We hope this snippet of Dublin intrigues you to take our Ireland Uncovered tour that begins in Dublin, a beautiful city by the sea.