10 Free Things to do in Dublin | The Geocaching Junkie

Dublin may be ranked 18th in the Top 20 Most Expensive Cities in Europe, but there are plenty of attractions that will give you a real flavour of the city without costing a thing.

1. Natural History Museum

Location: Merrion Street, Dublin 2

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm; Sunday, 2pm – 5pm. Closed Mondays, Christmas Day & Good Friday

Affectionately known as the ‘Dead Zoo’, the Natural History Museum located on Merrion Street is a great day out for kids and adults alike. The museum features cabinet-style exhibitions of animals native to Ireland, as well as more exotic mammals.

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Don’t miss: The statue of Oscar Wilde in nearby Merrion Square. The playwright lived at 1, Merrion Square as a child.

2. National Gallery

Location: Merrion Square West, Dublin 2 

Opening Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:15am – 5:30pm; Thursday, 9:15am – 8:30pm; Sunday, 11am – 5:30pm

Just around the corner on Merrion Square West, is the National Gallery of Ireland, which houses paintings by some of the greats including Van Gogh, Monet, Carvaggio and Rembrandt.

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The Gallery also has many excellent temporary exhibitions – check out theirwebsite to see what’s on when you visit.

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Don’t miss: The Yeats Collection, comprising of works from Jack B. Yeats as well as various material related to his family most notably his father, John Butler Yeats.

3. Collins Barracks Museum

Location: Benburb Street, Dublin 7 

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm; Sunday, 2pm – 5pm. Closed Mondays, Christmas Day & Good Friday

Collins Barracks, located on Arbour Hill, has been home to the National Museum of Decorative Arts & History since 1997. The barracks housed both the British and Irish Armies over three centuries, making it the oldest continuously used example in the world.

Collins Barracks

Ireland has a rich and complex history and there is no better place to learn about it than at Collins Barracks.

Don’t miss: Croppy Acres near the River Liffey – the site of a mass grave where many rebels who fought in the Rebellion of 1798 were buried.

croppy acres dublin

4. War Memorial Gardens

Location: Islandbridge, Dublin 8

Opening Hours: The gardens open at 8am Monday – Friday and 10am Saturday and Sunday. Closing times are according to daylight hours.

The Gardens are dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers killed during World War I. The names of the soldiers are transcribed in manuscripts kept in the impressive granite bookrooms  (access to the bookrooms is by appointment only).

memorial gardens

A great alternative to the nearby Phoenix Park, you can often see rowers practicing on the River Liffey, which runs adjacent to the Gardens.

Don’t miss: The sunken rose gardens when they are in full bloom from spring to autumn.

5. Chester Beatty Library

Location: Dublin Castle, Dublin 2

Opening Hours: 1st May – 30th September: Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm; 1 October – 30 April: Tuesday – Friday, 10am – 5pm; Saturday (year round): 11 am – 5pm; Sunday (year round):  1pm – 5pm Closed: Good Friday, 24th – 26th December, 1st January and Monday public holidays.

The library houses the vast collections of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, bequeathed to the State upon his death in 1968. Chester Beatty accumulated a stunning treasury of manuscripts, miniature paintings, drawings, rare books, prints and decorative arts from all over the world.

Chester Beatty Library Dublin

Particularly impressive is the selection of illustrated copies of religious texts, including the Qur’an and the Bible.

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Don’t miss: The Record Tower nearby in the Castle grounds, which functioned as a prison in the 16th Century.

6. Diving Bell Museum

Location: Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, Dublin 2

Opening Hours: Access to the museum is available 24/7

Dublin’s newest (and smallest) museum, the 140-year-old Dublin Port Diving Bell was in use for almost 90 years as part of the construction of the city’s quay walls.

diving bell museum dublin ireland

In late 2015, it was restored and elevated on a metal structure, where you can pass underneath and read about its historical significance while walking over a water feature.

Don’t miss: The view of the iconic Convention Centre and the Samuel Beckett Bridge from here.

7. Archaeology Museum 

Location: Kildare Street, Dublin 2 

Opening Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm; Sunday, 2pm – 5pm. Closed Mondays, Christmas Day & Good Friday

Located beside government buildings on Kildare Street, the National Museum of Archaeology is home to a fascinating collection of artefacts from Ireland and all over the world.

archaeology museum dublin ireland

Don’t miss: The gilt and painted cartonnage case of the mummy Tentdinebu in the Ancient Egypt room.

archaeology museum dublin ireland

8. Famine Memorial

Location: Custom House Quay, Dublin 1  

Opening Hours: The memorial is available for viewing 24/7

The haunting sculptures are the work of Dublin sculptor Rowan Gillespie and are a commemorative work dedicated to those forced to emigrate during the Great Famine (1845-1852).

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The memorial is located at a historically important place on Custom House Quay, where one of the first Famine Ship voyages departed in 1846.

Don’t miss: The nearby Jeanie Johnston tall ship: a replica of the original ship, which carried emigrants to America during the Famine.

Jeanie Johnston

9. National Botanic Gardens

Location: Glasnevin, Dublin 9

Opening Hours: Winter (last Sunday of October to first Sunday in March): Monday – Friday 9am – 4:30pm; Summer (first Sunday of March to last Sunday of October): Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm; Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 10am – 6pm

While entry to the gardens is free, parking is not but you can get there by Dublin Bus (numbers 4 and 9 depart from O’Connell Street and stop near the Gardens).


The Gardens are home to over 15,000 different plant species, as well as several beautiful glasshouses, the most famous of which is the Palm House (pictured), built in 1862.

Don’t miss: The Geology of Ireland rockery, displaying rock samples from all over the island of Ireland.

 10. James Joyce Ulysses Walk

Location: Various points around Dublin City Centre (see details below)

Opening Hours: All plaques are located on public footpaths and are therefore available 24/7

Ulysses, Joyce’s most famous work, tells the story of one day in the life of Leopold Bloom and his walk around Dublin. In 1988, 14 plaques were unveiled in Dublin’s city centre, marking points along Bloom’s walk.


At present, 12 of the original 14 plaques are in place (two having been removed due to ongoing construction work). Follow Bloom’s footsteps and see Dublin through his eyes; it’s a great way to walk around the city.

James Joyce Ulysses Walk

Here are the locations of the plaques:

Plaque 1: N 53° 20.902 W 006° 15.627 (Middle Abbey Street)

Plaque 2: N 53° 20.880 W 006° 15.587 (Lower O’Connell Street)

Plaque 3: N 53° 20.845 W 006° 15.571 (O’Connell Bridge)

Plaque 4: N 53° 20.805 W 006° 15.560 (Aston Quay)

Plaque 5 & 6: Missing

Plaque 7: N 53° 20.586 W 006° 15.560 (Grafton Street) 

Plaque 8: N 53° 20.569 W 006° 15.566 (Grafton Street)

Plaque 9: N 53° 20.539 W 006° 15.578 (Grafton Street)

Plaque 10: N 53° 20.513 W 006° 15.559 (Duke Street)

Plaque 11: N 53° 20.511 W 006° 15.539 (Duke Street)

Plaque 12: N 53° 20.505 W 006° 15.492 (Duke Street)

Plaque 13: N 53° 20.471 W 006° 15.408 (Molesworth Street)

Plaque 14: N 53° 20.435 W 006° 15.317 (Kildare Street) 

Don’t miss: The statue of Joyce on North Earl Street, before you start the walk and his bust in St. Stephen’s Green when you’re finished.

Happy travels!


© 2016 | Sarah Murphy | All Rights Reserved

Note: All opening times are correct at time of publishing (January 2016). 

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