Top Things to Do in Dublin

Dublin has been riding one heck of a roller coaster in recent decades. In the 1990s, Ireland’s capital regained a European presence that it had last experienced in the 18th century, metamorphosing from struggling provincial backwater to the city that never slept. But when the money dried up, the Celtic Tiger lost its roar and looked as though it was going to limp away with its tail between its legs.

And yet, a few years on from the financial crash, Dublin’s appeal for visitors remains undimmed. Plane loads still arrive in the city looking for hedonism, history and the perfect pint. They come for the city’s rich literary heritage and its earthy good humour, for its Georgian architecture and high-tech arts centres, its wood-panelled Edwardian pubs and designer bars.

They find a city whose secrets are still waiting to be explored. There's history on show at Dublin Castle and a world-class collection of treasures at Chester Beatty Library. You can see European contemporary art at Irish Museum of Modern Art and Francis Bacon's studio at the Hugh Lane Gallery. You'll see Ireland's religious heritage at Christ Church Cathedral and the resting place of national heroes at Glasnevin Cemetery

And after your sightseeing, there's plenty of special ways to wind down. You can't beat a pint at McDaid's or a live music session at The Cobblestone, and of course seeing Irish theatre at its best at the Abbey or Gaiety theatres.

Chester Beatty Library

Housed in a beautifully converted clocktower within Dublin Castle's walls is a world-class, priceless collection of cultural and religious treasures – the personal collection of Irish-American mining magnate, Chester Beatty a

Dublin Castle

It's hard to tell, from the hand-tufted carpets and 18th-century plasterwork, that this was once Dublin’s biggest stronghold, built in 1204 to defend the city against the native Irish. It seen very little action, except the night during the Black and Tan War, when Michael Collins infiltrated the records office.

Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane

Housing one of Ireland’s foremost collections of modern and contemporary art, a collection originally donated by Sir Hugh Lane in 1908. Its 2,000 artworks include Impressionist masterpieces from Manet and Degas, plus Dublin-born Sean Scully and Harry Clarke’s stained-glass windows.

Glasnevin Cemetery

Guided tours of this fascinating historic site take you to the gravestones of luminaries of Irish history, including writer Brendan Behan, revolutionary Roger Casement, republican leader Michael Collins and past president Eamon de Valera.

Guinness Storehouse

A temple to the famous Irish drink and brand, this behemoth is at the heart of the Guinness brewing plant at St James’s Gate, which has been churning out the ‘black stuff’ since 1759.

Irish Museum of Modern Art

The home of Ireland’s modern and contemporary art collection is housed in the former Royal Hospital Kilmainham, a splendid 17th-century building with grounds and courtyard.

The Casino, Marino

Located in Dublin’s Northern suburbs, this 18th-century neo-classical building was designed by Sir William Chambers as a ‘pleasure house’ for James Caulfield, the 1st Earl of Charlemont. Its 16 finely decorated rooms are charming—even the beautiful wooden flooring. Mid Mar-Oct open daily 10am-5pm. Adult €3; child €1

Christ Church Cathedral

Dublin’s oldest building pre-dates Dublin Castle by around a century. The original wooden construction is long gone and, although the crypt, north wall and south transept date from the 12th century, most of what you see is 19th-century stone cladding.

The Cobblestone

It looks a little worn and shabby, but this is a good place to hang out with locals listening to good Irish music, with traditional music sessions take place every evening, with scheduled gigs in the back room. It’s great fun, friendly, and earthy.

Gaiety Theatre

Known as ‘the Grand Old Lady of South King Street’, Dublin’s long-established theatre hosts mega-musicals and sell-out shows such as Riverdance. There are also occasional London West End musicals and opera.