Insider Tips

Experience Dublin for Free this Summer

By Visit Dublin

31st May 2019

The summer break is the perfect opportunity for all the family to experience Dublin differently — best of all, there are so many cool things to do that don’t cost a cent.

Whether you’re exploring one of the coastal villages, getting acquainted with a park you’ve never visited before or hitting one of the many great museums, you can uncover something new about Dublin at every turn.

Looking for suggestions? Follow our lead.

The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, home to the Museum of Modern Art

Royal Hospital Kilmainham

Get your culture fix at the Irish Museum of Modern Art and savour the glorious surrounds of one of Dublin’s greatest 18th century buildings, the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. There’s plenty of parkland for the children to play in, including a stretch of land called Bully’s Acre that affords excellent views of Phoenix Park’s Wellington Monument.

East Pier, Dún Laoghaire

Generations have strolled the 1.3km East Pier in Dun Laoghaire since it opened in 1859, and with views taking in the entire bay, it’s easy to understand the appeal. An ice cream from Teddy’s – a Dún Laoghaire institution since 1950 — is hard to resist, and the kids will want to put the swings and slides of the People’s Park playground to the test.

Couple admire the Poolbeg Chimneys from Dollymount Strand

Dollymount Strand

Even getting to this glorious 5km stretch of sand is an adventure, during which you’ll cross the famous Wooden Bridge that connects Clontarf with Bull Island. Dollymount Strand feels like a world away from the city and it’s easy to enjoy several hours here, especially if the daredevil kite surfers are out in force.

Wild deer in the Phoenix Park with the Wellington Monument in the background

Phoenix Park

Dublin is home to Europe's largest walled city park, a place that’s long been a playground for the young, and the young at heart. There’s so much to do, whether it’s getting close to the deer, enjoying one of two playgrounds, or having a look at the permanent exhibition in the Phoenix Park Visitor Centre.

Couple checking out the art at the National Gallery

National Gallery of Ireland

Many of Dublin’s museums are child-friendly, but the National Gallery of Ireland, a jewel in the crown of Merrion Square, really makes an effort to thrill tomorrow’s generation of art lovers. There are designated areas where they can play and put their own art skills to the test. As a bonus, one of the kid zones is right next to the café, so mum and dad can enjoy a coffee and a catch up.

Taking in the sea view from Howth Hill

Howth looped walk

Like many of Dublin’s coastal villages, Howth is a short DART journey away from the city centre. Yet it can feel like a world away, especially for those who take on this beautiful 6km looped walk. Part of it is on the old Howth Tramway line and the sea views are truly spectacular. There’s no shortage of acclaimed restaurants in the village, waiting to satisfy your inevitable appetite.

Child admiring some flowers at the Botanic Gardens

National Botanic Gardens

It’s rare that first timers to this horticultural wonderland don’t immediately vow to return to the National Botanic Gardens as soon as possible. There’s a huge selection of exotic plants and flowers — and plenty of squirrels too – not to mention the stunning 19th century greenhouses, which constitute an attraction in their own right. It’s the perfect place for a picnic, but there’s also a café onsite.

The imposing exterior of Kilmainham Gaol

The Dublin Discovery Trail

Explore Dublin with the city's Dublin Discovery Trail. Take in the sights from Parnell Square and College Green to Kilmainham Gaol at your own pace, with the help of the suggested routes. Discover the important landmarks and buildings of the capital on a selection of themed trails, or forge your own journey through the city, claiming the streets as you find a whole new side to the Fair City. Download the app today and let your feet guide you through Dublin.

Group taking a tour of the Science Gallery

Science Gallery

Who says education can’t be fun? The exhibits at the Trinity College-run Science Gallery are designed to excite everyone, young and old, and to give a sense of how the world works. The current exhibition looks at a future that is fully automated, and asks what a universe dominated by robots might mean for humankind.

A lady admiring the art work at Merrion Square

Merrion Square Park

A huge amount of improvement work has taken place in Merrion Square in the heart of Georgian Dublin, and it’s a beautiful place for a stroll. The kids’ playground — featuring a partially submerged giant — is a delight, and painting enthusiasts can enjoy the artworks that ring the perimeter on Sundays.

Visit Dublin

Visit Dublin | Dublin's Official Tourism Site

Tweet us @visitdublin