Locals and tourists are aware that Dublin isn’t a cheap destination to visit. It is, in fact, one of the most expensive cities in Europe. Transport, admission fees, hotel accommodation, food, and drinks at the famous Temple Bar — all these expenses may put a dent on your wallets.
However, don’t let this put you off from exploring the vibrant Irish capital. There are tons of ways to travel around, see the best of Dublin, and get a slice of the amazing Irish culture without spending a dime.
Aside from making sure you’re staying at cheap hotel accommodation, these fun, free activities can help you make the most out of your budget.
1. Sign up for free walking tours
Going on a self-guided stroll is nice, but don’t you want to learn more about the city from an enthusiastic local guide? If you’re in Grafton Street, you can find Sandeman’s New Dublin Tour, a free enjoyable three-hour walking tour.
2. Count as much street art as you can
The city has a wide array of amazing street art. Step up your scenic stroll around the city by taking photos of all of the murals and quirky shops you see along the way. You can find a goldmine around Temple Bar and the Italian Quarter.
3. Take photos of the “Doors of Dublin”
Aside from vivid murals, tourists may also notice the bright and colorful doors of the Georgian houses. Whether you’re on the southside or you’re strolling around Merrion Square, Fitzwilliam Square, and surrounding areas, you’ll be amused by how the vibrant Georgian doors stand out from their building’s muted facade.
4. Explore Trinity College
Walking on the cobbled grounds of Trinity College, Ireland’s premier university, won’t cost you anything. You can admire the picturesque courtyards and neoclassical architecture. You can also step inside Trinity College library and see the Book of Kells, a valuable 9th-century illuminated manuscript Gospel book in Latin.
5. Tour the city on two wheels
Want to explore the city on a bicycle? Dublinbike has over 100 locations throughout the city, so you can rent out one without a cost. The catch is only the first 30 minutes are free. You must return it to a station within 30 minutes. If you need a bike for longer, you can release another and go.
6. Go to a free music gig
Dublin is home to a bunch of talented and authentic musicians. The good thing is you don’t always have to pay to hear them. Skip the tourist trap bars in the Temple Bar and head to some of the spots locals go.
O’Donoghue’s on Merrion row, Sweeny’s on Dame street, and Whelan’s on Camden street are just some of the best places for free, quality live music. While it’s ideal to have a pint of stout on hand while listening to great music, a glass of water will suffice if you’re on a budget.
7. Relax at the Stephen Green park
Need to escape from the hustle and bustle of city life? Stephen Green park is a tranquil and picturesque landscape in Dublin city center. Visit Dublin during the spring and summer months and you’ll see the green park covered with various types of vibrant blooms.
8. Meet a herd of wild deer at the Phoenix Park
Looking for a relaxing yet free way to spend an entire day? Try exploring Phoenix park, Europe’s largest inner-city park. Aside from an overwhelming sight of grasslands, you can also see lots of animals. No need to go to Dublin Zoo down the road – you can see an enormous herd of wild fallow deer in the wonderful parkland.
9. See contemporary art at Irish Museum of Modern Art
If you’re into contemporary art, you shouldn’t miss the Irish Museum of Modern Art, dubbed as the country’s foremost modern art gallery. The gallery is home to an extensive collection of artworks from contemporary Irish artists and world-famous ones like Picasso and Miro.
10. Step inside the National Gallery for your art and history fix
If you’re an art and history enthusiast who happens to pass by Trinity college, you can check out the National Gallery. It costs nothing to discover an extensive collection of fine artworks from Ireland and around the world across seven centuries.
11. Discover ancient treasures at the National Museum of Ireland (Archeology)
If you’re a history buff who loves archeological artifacts, this place deserves a spot on your itinerary. The National Museum of Ireland on Kildare street features a massive collection of Celtic and medieval treasures.
12. Learn more about Irish fauna at the Museum of Natural History
Want to see wild animals up close without the fear of being mauled? This branch of the National Museum allows you to envision what animals are like in their natural habitat, including the ones from the Ice Age. The Museum of Natural History has a massive collection of skeletons and taxidermies of Irish mammals, birdlife, sea and river life, predators, and insect life.
13. Walk along the Great South Wall
That red tower visible in the middle of Dublin bay is the Poolbeg Lighthouse. If you want to see it up close and personal, you may experience a scenic 800-meter walk along the Great South Wall. It’s best enjoyed on a clear day, around sunset, so you can have an amazing view of the bay and the city.
Author Bio: Carmina Natividad is one of the daytime writers for PREMIER SUITES Leeson, a luxury hotel alternative located in the centre of Georgian Dublin which houses lavish suites and refined penthouse apartments. Since this free-spirited damsel loves to discover new experiences, she’s got a lot to say about travel, dining, cultural enjoyment, and lifestyle.