You don’t need the luck of the Irish to discover Dublin on a budget. We’ve found 15 cheap things to do in the Irish capital… perhaps consider it 15 reasons to book a flight ( can help with that) and you’ll be Dublin down on savings in no time.

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Admire art at the National Gallery 

The National Gallery is home to the country’s best European and Irish art collections and it’s free to view its 15,000 paintings, sculptures and other works dating from the early 13th century through the mid-20th century.

Eat traditional food

It may be the obvious tourist spot, but head to Temple Bar to tuck into traditional Irish fare at The Merchant’s Arch. The bar serves traditional Irish stew (braised Irish lamb, potato, celery, carrot, leeks and herbs), beef and Guinness casserole (braised Irish beef slow cooked in Guinness with mashed potatoes) and cottage pie (minced Irish beef with carrots and celery in gravy served with mashed potatoes).

Walk through St. Stephen’s Green

At the top of Grafton Street in Dublin’s city centre is the verdant St. Stephen’s Green. The popular 22-acre Victorian park was opened to the public in 1880 and has two miles of picturesque pathways, gardens and a playground – all accessible for free.

Listen to live music

For 25 years. Whelan’s has hosted concerts by local artists, many of which are free. Check the website for the schedule of weekly shows.

Have a pint (or two) of Guinness

Walk into any pub in Ireland and you will find Guinness on tap, but there are a few spots where the experience is even more memorable. Tucked down quiet Fade Street, you will find Market Bar, where they take Guinness seriously, ensuring that the distance between the Guinness keg and the tap line is a precise 12 feet (one of the shortest in Dublin) and the lines are maintained and cleaned every two weeks. The charming Library Bar at the Central Hotel Dublin City has won awards for its pints of Guinness and it’s the perfect spot for those seeking a quiet sanctuary from which to sip the Irish stout.

Take a walk

Dublin is a very walkable city and there’s much to see on foot. Sandeman’s New Dublin Tour is a free, three-hour walking tour that departs from City Hall at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily. The walk provides a great overview of the city’s highlights, including Dublin Castle, Dublin’s medieval walls, Viking remains, Christ Church CathedralThe National LibraryTrinity College and St. Stephen’s Green. The knowledgeable guides regale visitors with historical anecdotes and stories of the countries famous writers and musicians.

Board the Jeanie Johnson Famine Ship in Dublin, Ireland

Docked at Custom House Quay, the tall ship Jeanie Johnson is a replica of the ship that made 16 emigrant journeys to North America from 1847 to 1855, carrying more than 2,500 people escaping the potato famine across the Atlantic Ocean to the New World. There are 50-minute tours of the wooden ship, which is open daily. Nearby on Custom House Quay are the Famine Memorial Statues.

Sip Irish whiskey

No trip to Ireland is complete without a finger or two of Irish whiskey. Beverage manager Dan Mulligan serves exceptional whiskey with encyclopaedic knowledge at 37 Dawson Street in Dublin. Tucked in the back of this cosy space is a dimly lit whiskey bar, where patrons can sip a variety of whiskeys, while listening to live piano music.

Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a working Anglican church dating back to 1220. The cathedral is adjacent to the well where it is said St. Patrick performed baptisms on converts of Christianity in the fifth century. Poet and satirist Jonathan Swift, who was dean of the cathedral, is buried here.

Shop at Ha’Penny Vintage and Craft Market

Shop local at the popular Ha’Penny Vintage and Craft Market at The Grand Social on Lower Liffey Street. The weekly flea market is open on Saturday afternoons. Local shops, artists and designers are featured in a rotating roster of stalls that sell vintage clothes, crafts, jewellery, vinyl records and more.

People-watch on Grafton Street

After window-shopping along Grafton Street, stop to check out local street performers providing free entertainment to passersby.

Debate science at the Science Gallery

There isn’t a permanent exhibition at the Science Gallery, so no two visits are alike. Since opening in a former car park in 2008, more than 2.5 million people have visited this cultural venue, café and shop, which offers free admission. Be sure to call ahead or check the Science Gallery website to see what is on.

Stroll through time at Trinity College

A stroll through the picturesque Trinity College to admire the historic and modern architecture and gardens is a must. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, the campus is a popular spot for people-watching. The Trinity College Library is the largest library in Ireland with 5 million books including the “Book of Kells,” a ninth-century copy of the four gospels of the life of Jesus Christ. Trinity College boasts alums like playwrights Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett. Visiting the campus is free, although there is a charge for seeing the “Book of Kells”.

Get a taste of Dublin at Temple Bar Food Market

Stroll through the Temple Bar Food Market at Meeting House Square in the centre of Dublin to sample artisanal treats from local purveyors. The market is open on Saturdays.

See Dublin on two wheels

Like a growing number of cities around the world, Dublin has a bike-sharing program, dublinbikes. With 100 stations located mostly in the city centre, each less than 1,000 feet apart, you’re bound to find a station near wherever you are going. A three-day ticket costs just a couple of euros.

Ready for a cheap trip to Dublin? It’s easier to plan than you’d think. Head on over to and start searching for cheap flights, hotels and car hire.

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About the author

Lauren MackLauren Mack has traveled to 40 countries on five continents, including Cuba, New Zealand, Peru and Tanzania. For many years, she called China, and then Taiwan, home. Countries at the beginning of the alphabet, particularly Antarctica, Argentina and Australia are on her travel bucket list. Lauren is a multimedia travel and food journalist and explorer based in New York City.

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