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Best things to do in Dublin

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Ireland  /  Province of Leinster  /  County Dublin  /  Dublin
If you're looking for history-inspired things to do in Dublin, consider a walk through St. Stephen's Green, where visitors can see statues of Ireland's greatest heroes scattered around the park's original Victorian layout. For those interested in the country's famous brew, the flagship Guinness Storehouse offers guided factory tours, with a chance to enjoy a cold pint on the rooftop bar, which comes with a great view of the city.

Dublin is best known for its Specialty Museums, Nightlife, and History Museums.

Top 15 things to do in Dublin

1. Kilmainham Gaol Museum

Kilmainham Gaol Museum turns the clock back a few decades, offering you a look inside one of history's most notorious prisons. The imposing gray building played a key role in Irish history for over a century, finally closing its doors in 1924. Before then it provided a grim setting for the imprisonment of notable participants in the many uprisings for Irish independence, culminating in the execution of 14 men who led a rebellion that took place during Easter week in 1916. You can take a guided walk through the history of this eerie site, now one of Europe's largest unoccupied structures of its kind. Before you leave, look in on the yard where the infamous 1916 executions took place.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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2. Guinness Storehouse

Have a pint of Ireland's favorite beer at Guinness Storehouse, which narrates the history of one of the country's major exports. The old storehouse is the only part of a massive brewery open to the public--its signature attraction is a glass atrium designed to resemble a pint of Guinness. Discover the history of both the historical brewery and the popular brand on the ground floor, and then proceed up through seven more floors that demonstrate everything from the selection of barley and hops to the transportation and advertising of the finished product. Once you reach the top, claim your complimentary pint of the black brew at the storehouse's glass-enclosed bar, which offers panoramic views of the city.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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3. Temple Bar

Capture Dublin's street culture at Temple Bar, a former slum now recognized for its vibrant nightlife. In the 1980s this neighborhood on the south bank of the Liffey River offered cheap rent to artists and young entrepreneurs, and quickly became the city's foremost cultural quarter. The neighborhood's cobbled streets offer family-friendly attractions during the day, including shops, restaurants, and galleries. After dark this riverside neighborhood transforms into a magnet for rowdy partygoers, attracted by the quarter's many pubs and bars. If daylight activities seem a bit more appealing, visit one of the area's four markets, offering everything from rare books and vintage clothes to organic foods and decorative arts.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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4. St Stephens Green

Made famous by writer James Joyce, St Stephens Green has been Dublin's favorite picnic spot for over a century. Opened in 1880, the park is adjacent to one of the city's major shopping streets, drawing equal numbers of nature lovers and shoppers in need of a place to rest. The largest of Dublin's Georgian gardens, this 9 hectare (22 acre) urban park once provided a marshy setting for public whippings and executions. Today, the elegantly landscaped garden features Georgian buildings and statues of some of Ireland's most celebrated figures, including Arthur Guinness, Robert Emmet, and W.B. Yeats. Located in the heart of Dublin, the park is accessible by tram from almost anywhere in the city.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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5. Phoenix Park

Wilderness in the middle of a big city, Phoenix Park features tree-lined avenues and vast grasslands and is home to a herd of wild deer. Encompassing over 700 hectares (1,700 acres), the park serves as one of the largest walled urban parks in Europe. The site includes a zoo, cricket and polo grounds, and several 18th century mansions, including one serving as the official residence of the country's president. To see the best of this big park quickly, rent a bike and ride all or part of a 14 km (8 mi) long network of traffic-free lanes. You can also hop on the tourist train that stops at the park's Victorian garden, noted for its ornamental lake, playgrounds, and picnic areas.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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7. Trinity College Dublin

To soak up the academic atmosphere of a historical university, take a student-guided tour of Trinity College Dublin. Established by Queen Elizabeth I over four centuries ago, this college is one of the country's major architectural landmarks, its campus boasting numerous well-maintained Georgian and Victorian buildings. The college library holds 250,000 rare volumes, most notably the "Book of Kells," a lavishly decorated sacred text created around the year 800. End your day with a visit to the science gallery, featuring engaging exhibits about the relationship between art and science. Check online for available tour dates and times, and remember to pick up your library tickets at the university's front gate.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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8. Jameson Distillery Bow St.

Have some history with your Irish coffee at Jameson Distillery Bow St., which provides guided tours and tutored tastings of its best-selling whiskey. The distillery closed for business in 1971 and the building now houses a visitor center and bar, located right above the original fermentation vats, which you can still see through the glass floor of the atrium. Guided tours explain the history of Irish whiskey through a series of reconstructed scenes from the old distillery, as well as through several exhibit areas displaying all of the main stages of traditional whiskeymaking. If the tour's complimentary glass just doesn't hit the spot, drop by the second-floor restaurant, where you can take the next drink with a gourmet meal.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. Dublin Castle

A taste of medieval times in the middle of a modern downtown, Dublin Castle served as the seat of British rule in Ireland for over seven centuries. Although it remains part of a major government complex, the castle now mostly serves as a venue for ceremonial events, such as the inauguration of the country's president. Transformed over the ages from a medieval fortress to a Georgian palace, the castle complex contains an 800-year-old tower, the sole survivor of the original fortifications built on this spot in the early 13th century. Take a guided tour to see the gardens built over a site once occupied by a black pool, the "dubh inn" from which the city of Dublin got its name.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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10. Saint Patrick's Cathedral

The resting place of writer Jonathan Swift, Saint Patrick's Cathedral represents the largest church in Ireland. Over a thousand years old, this imposing Gothic structure features a 43 m (140 ft) tall spire, one of the city's major architectural landmarks. Built in honor of Ireland's patron saint, the building stands next to an old well allegedly used by Saint Patrick to baptize converts to Christianity. Pay the small fee to sightsee inside the historical cathedral, which contains fine examples of medieval stained glass and a 4,000-pipe organ, one of Ireland's largest. Check online for a downloadable audio guide and a schedule of daily services, guided tours, and special events.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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11. National Botanic Gardens

National Botanic Gardens is noted for housing several architecturally significant glasshouses and a national herbarium. This all-weather attraction contains outdoor displays, featuring walled and kitchen gardens, as well as indoor exhibit areas dedicated to both native and exotic plants. Inside the curvilinear glasshouses, designed by famed glasshouse builder Richard Turner, you can see a series of digitally controlled plant habitats replicating different natural environments from around the world. The gardens also display a historically important collection of orchids, grown as part of a renowned breeding program that dates back to 1844.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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12. National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology

Housing a trove of archeological treasures, National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology displays items unearthed in Ireland as well as items from ancient Egyptian and Roman relics. The museum building, a major tourist attraction in and of itself, features a colonnaded entrance opening into a rotunda, designed to pay homage to ancient Roman architecture. Inside you can explore an extensive collection of prehistorical gold artifacts and metal objects from the Celtic Iron Age. Be sure to visit the second-floor galleries, chronicling the four centuries of Viking rule over Dublin. To discover the exhibits at your own pace and focus on areas most suited to your interests, pick up a floor plan at the entrance, or check online for a free downloadable brochure. Only the ground floor is wheelchair accessible. Closed on Mondays ( including Bank Holidays, Good Friday, and Christmas Day).
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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13. Merrion Square

Tucked away from large crowds of tourists, Merrion Square provides a beautiful, historical retreat. Take a quiet walk down shady paths past traditional gardens. Grab a coffee, or enjoy a picnic with your family after taking a look at the park's famous Oscar Wilde statue, dedicated to the author who took up residence in the area for some time. W.B. Yeats and Daniel O'Connell also lived among the Georgian red-brick townhouses lining the sides of this square. You can visit their previous homes, along with the Natural History Museum, National Gallery, Leinster House, and several government buildings.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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14. Room Escape Games

Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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15. Chester Beatty

Chester Beatty houses a large collection of Islamic and Far Eastern artifacts, including manuscripts, prints, paintings, rare books, and decorative arts. Established in 1950 to store the vast collections of Alfred Chester Beatty, a well-known mining mogul, the library now attracts both serious scholars and amateur art lovers. The standout among the library's collection of over 20,000 objects is the "Gospel of Mani," the last remaining artifact of Manichaeism, an ancient belief system that originated in Persia. Start your self-guided tour by exploring the first-floor gallery about Beatty's life and career, and end your visit at the rooftop Japanese garden, which offers unrestricted views of the city's emblematic castle.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
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