Top 10 Things to Do in Dublin on a First Visit, Ireland inner banner

Top 10 Things to Do in Dublin on a First Visit, Ireland

There are few cities more engaging than fabulous Dublin. Hit the ground running on a first visit with this checklist of must-dos.
Ten top things to do in Dublin
Ten top things to do in Dublin

Dublin glows with warm smiles, passionate prose, boisterous banter, and creamy dark stout.

Victorian-era Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde once said he could resist everything except temptation; visitors to the Emerald Isle’s capital will quickly appreciate his dilemma. This is a destination of endless possibilities and opportunities, not to mention culinary and liquid indulgences.

For centuries, Dublin challenged the stuffiest of British edicts with national sentiments first banned, then fought for, eventually accepted, and now much admired. Dubliners lead from the heart and you’ll love every moment of your time to this intriguing city.

Here are ten top things to do in Dublin on a first visit.

Ireland tours

Ireland Tours, Activities & Attractions

1. Pound the pavement on a walking tour

Dublin’s city streets are a fascinating historical attraction in themselves, and simply absorbing the layers of history on display around you is a must-do. To learn more about Ireland’s struggle for independence, much of which was played out on these thoroughfares, book a guided walking tour with Historical Walking Tours of Dublin. It’s an absorbing two hours that touches on many chapters of the Irish story.

2. Explore Dublin Castle

One of the city’s most recognisable landmarks is Dublin Castle, which dates back to the 13th century (the Record Tower is the oldest surviving section) and was the seat of British power until 1922. The castle is open to the public daily and will take you three or four hours to cover in modest detail.

Ten top things to do in Dublin
Ten top things to do in Dublin: Dublin Castle. Image: Bigstock

3. Visit the National Museum of Ireland

In contrast to the castle’s grand proportions, you’ll need to duck to enter the Little Museum — a quaint Georgian home brimming with heirlooms from Dublin’s past century. To head further back in time, set aside at least half a day to check out the National Museum of Ireland. With two million artefacts in its collection, there’s plenty to see!

Ten top things to do in Dublin
Ten top things to do in Dublin: Ardagh Chalice, National Museum of Ireland

4. Admire the Book of Kells

Even if you’re not a person of faith, seeing the Book of Kells at Trinity College shouldn’t be missed during your stay in Dublin. Created in the 9th century, the illuminated manuscript is an incredible example of medieval Christian art and is recognised as one of the world’s most important religious documents.

Ten top things to do in Dublin
Dublin’s Trinity College Library is home to the Book of Kells.

5. Marvel at the proportions of Casino Marino

The luck of the Irish may be world-renowned, but relax; you’re not at odds of losing your shirt at Casino Marino. This is actually a pleasure (or summer) house, and one of the finest examples of 18th century neo-classical architecture in Europe. The TARDIS-esque building cleverly conceals 16 rooms on three floors, masked as a single space from outside. It’s open from May to October and can only be visited on a guided tour.

Ten top things to do in Dublin
Ten top things to do in Dublin: Casino Marino

6. Do a food tour

Dodge the overpriced tourist food traps around town by palling up with award-winning Fab Food Trails. Their Dublin Tasting Tour will see you sampling cheeses, smallgoods, and pastries loved by locals and often overlooked by visitors.

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7. Sample the local distilled drop

Estimates vary, but there’s thought to be anywhere from 50 to 100 venues in Dublin’s lively Temple Bar entertainment precinct. Each one will offer a selection of Irish whiskeys — one of the oldest distilled beverages in Europe. The famous Jameson Distillery on the northern side of the River Liffey is well worth a visit. While production ceased here in 1971, a guided tour will give you the lowdown on this renowned drop.

Ten top things to do in Dublin
Ten top things to do in Dublin: Visit the Old Jameson Distillery.

8. Learn how to pour a great Guinness

If you prefer a brewed beverage, head for the popular Guinness Storehouse and master the art of pouring a pint of the world’s most famous stout. Should hunger strike while you’re there, Arthur’s Bar has a relaxed vibe and serves Guinness-flavoured hot dogs!

Ten top things to do in Dublin
Ten top things to do in Dublin: Try the world famous local brew.

9. Tackle the Irish classics

Dublin-born William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was one of the great writers of the 20th century, and many of his manuscripts and personal effects are on display at the National Library of Ireland. Look for his quill and inkwell, accompanied by that timeless adage: ‘There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met’.

The heritage of other great Irish writers like Joyce and Wilde will loom large over your visit to Dublin and may inspire you to turn a few pages of Irish literature. Lean on the learned staff at Books Upstairs for their recommendations, and hear emerging writers read from a recently published text or perform poetry.

Ten top things to do in Dublin
Ten top things to do in Dublin. Image: Books Upstairs

10. Tee off at the Royal

Whatever your handicap, the Royal Dublin Golf Club offers globetrotting golfers plenty of picturesque challenges. The course sits within a UNESCO World Heritage-recognised biosphere teeming with wildlife, including egrets, hedgehogs, hares, and even seals. Golfing greats have been tackling the 65-hectare links since 1885.

Browse our range of Dublin tours and experiences here.

Do you have any tips for top things to do in Dublin on a first visit? We would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

Additional images: Depositphotos, Bigstock, and Envato

Barry Johnson

About the writer

Barry Johnson is a freelance travel writer living in Sydney, but with previous homes in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East. His love of adventure led to getting lost in a Californian forest a week after The Blair Witch Project went viral, building a giant Buddha on a Cambodian mountain, camel racing in an Egyptian desert, and teaching English to Peruvian children as they taught him Quechuan — the language of the Incas.



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