Low-cost and free things to do in Dublin
Dublin can be cheap! Despite its reputation as being one of the most expensive capitals of Europe, you can enjoy a load of low-cost activities and sights. This is a brief list of some of the best that Dublin has to offer without it costing a fortune.
There are many words you could use to describe Dublin – “historic”, “charming” “vibrant” … but “cheap” and “affordable” wouldn’t be the first to pop into most people’s minds.
For everything from ticket prices at top tourist attractions, to hotels and restaurants, to even enjoying a pint or a coffee in a mid-range pub or café – Dublin has become a very tough city indeed for the budget-conscious traveller.
Happily, some of the best that the Irish capital has to offer is free – and usually easy to reach. Dublin offers a great variety of fun activities for free, from museums and galleries, to splendid parks and outdoor markets.
Museums for free in Dublin
Whether you’re a lover of archaeology, art, natural sciences or history, many of the Irish capital’s world-class museums are free. You can explore the National Gallery, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, The National Museum of Ireland, Archaology or Dublin City Gallery, Hugh Lane without spending a penny.
On the grounds of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Library has a vast collection of both ancient and modern paintings, tomes and scrolls from around the world. It’s not only free, but is widely considered one Europe’s best museums.
And while entrance to the Castle building itself isn’t free, other parts in the Castle grounds like the Chapel Royal, the Garda Museum and the Revenue Museum are, although you may need to book ahead to ensure space on their guided tours.
Dublin outdoors for free
The largest urban park in Europe, a visitor could ramble for days in Phoenix Park with its herds of wild deer, zoological gardens, stately homes, and historic forts and towers. The park also hosts free, family-friendly events all year round.
Just north of the city centre, the National Botanic Gardens provides nearly 50 acres of green oasis, with a vast variety of botany housed in stunning Victorian-era curvilinear greenhouses.
Only slightly further afield in Dublin Bay, the North Bull Island Nature Reserve is a birdwatcher’s paradise.
Of course this relies on it not raining – though an umbrella goes a long way to help you enjoy the city!
Free spooky Dublin!
And you can take in some history while enjoying a peaceful wander in the city’s fascinating cemeteries, such as the Grangegorman Military Cemetery next to Phoenix park. Some cemeteries such as Arbour Hill, the final resting place for fourteen of the executed leaders of the 1916 Easter Rebellion, offer free guided tours.
If that’s all too macabre for your tastes, Dublin is a pleasure for perambulators. Stroll Henrietta Street, with its stunning red-brick mansions, built for the cream of 18th century Dublin society.
Dublin street life
The tourist hub Temple Bar area has long been notorious for eye-popping food and drink prices. But on weekends, it’s home to three different street markets, including local handmade designer goods, as well as the Meeting House Square Food Market, and Temple Bar Square’s Book Market, offering bargains galore for lovers of literature and music.
Less than a mile away on Meath Street, the Liberty Market offers bargain clothes, jewellery and much more, Thursdays through Saturdays.