Free Dublin Attractions – See Ireland’s Capital for Less

in Trip Planning

Dublin has so many attractions that you’ll never be bored. However many of them come with hefty admission fees and hidden extras. There’s no need to spend a fortune in the Irish capital though. This article offers plenty of ways to pass the time that won’t cost you a cent!

Every town has a City Hall, but don’t think Dublin’s is just another building. This architectural marvel was built between 1769 and 1779, so it’s steeped in history. A free tour will tell you all its tales, but you can also explore independently. Make sure you bring your camera (or your Smartphone if you’re traveling light!) and scale the half-spiral staircase to the uppermost level. The paintings and tile mosaics you’ll find here are worth the walk!

After City Hall make sure you visit its neighbor, Dublin Castle. This beautiful building was originally constructed for England’s King John in 1204. A fire in 1673 destroyed all but the Record Tower, but the building was rebuilt slowly over the following centuries. Today it’s used for state receptions, although it’s also enjoyed some time as a film star. You might have seen it in Barry Lyndon, Michael Collins, or the television series The Tudors. While guided tours of the castle cost a few euros you can look around many areas for free.

St. Stephen’s Green is a winner for the entire family. The Guinness family built the public park for their beloved Dublin back in the 19th century. It’s like a little oasis in the middle of the city, with grassy spots for picnicking and a pond full of hungry ducks. Spending a few hours here will cost you far less than shopping on nearby Grafton Street!

If you’ve enjoyed the open space of St. Stephen’s Green, a visit to Howth Harbor should be next on your itinerary. Wander around the cliffs and soak up the vistas and smog-free fresh air. Keep your eyes peeled for the seals that relax by the harbor waiting for fishing boat scraps. Just don’t visit on Sundays if you’re bothered by big crowds.

Museums and art galleries are always a great option for frugal travelers. Dublin has its fair share of these buildings housing some of Europe’s greatest treasures. The National Museum celebrates local history with its displays of Irish silver and glassware, Bronze Age artifacts, and War of Independence mementos. The focus shifts from man to beasts at the Natural History Museum. The embalmed creatures and buffalo and deer trophies are a bit creepy, but a visit will teach you plenty about Ireland’s living and extinct wildlife.

Art buffs are also well catered for in Dublin. If you only see one art museum make it the National Gallery, which features more than 2000 works. Irish landscapes make up the bulk of the pieces, but there are also works from other significant European art movements. If the work of the masters seems a bit stuffy then The Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art may be more your speed. It features pieces by modern Irish artists and other leading artisans, including those in the original collection of its late Irish art collector namesake. For extra value, visit on a Sunday between April and June to enjoy the free summer concerts.

But many of Dublin’s best artworks aren’t found inside galleries. The city’s streets have many public sculptures that make for great photo opportunities. Stop by the tall Spire on O’Connell Street,  the James Joyce statue on Earl Street, and the moving monument to victims of torture in Archbishop Ryan Park, to name but a few.

St Stephens Green Dublin

St Stephens Green, Dublin

Dublin is known for its churches, but don’t be discouraged by the entry fees that St. Patrick’s and Christ Church Cathedrals charge. Some of the lesser known parishes are just as beautiful, and admission is free. The Byzantine style University Church, Carmelite influenced Our Lady of Mount Carmel, St. Ann’s, and St. Mary’s Pro-Cathedral should be on every frugal traveler’s itinerary.

Dublin’s flat streets are made for walking, so make sure you pack a good pair of shoes to help you see as many sights as you can during your Irish stay!

Previous post:

Next post: