Heading to Ireland, and wondering if Dublin is worth a visit while you’re there? You’re in the right place. Ireland is one of my favourite countries, and I’ve travelled to all the other major cities and spent quite a bit of time in the countryside. Dublin the capital of Ireland, and one of the first places to come to mind when you think of a trip to Ireland.
But is Dublin worth a visit? I would say yes. Nine of the top 20 Irish tourist attractions are in Dublin, which is almost half of them. So Dublin has quite a few things to see that are considered to be the top in the country. There are historic buildings over 1000 years old, a picturesque old town, a varied cuisine, interesting museums. Dublin is also one of the most walkable cities in Europe, and has a pleasant atmosphere with the ability to walk to all the main attractions.
However, Ireland is full of very picturesque gems, and depending on how much time you have, it might be hard to decide how to divide that time.
So, is Dublin worth a visit? I believe Dublin is worth a visit, but I also think how much time you spend in Dublin depends how much time you have in Ireland and what your personal preferences are.
Fun Fact: Dublin was originally founded and settled by the Vikings in 841 AD
Is Dublin Worth a Visit? Highlights of Ireland’s Capital
Dublin has a lot of great qualities. Here is a snapshot of what Dublin has to offer
- Dublin is great for any kind of travel group: groups of friends, families, or couples on a romantic getaway. Its quite popular for stag and does from all over the British Isles
- Dublin has a lot of notable historic sights, such as the 1,000 year old buildings: Christ Church Cathedral and St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- The downtown core of Dublin is very walkable and you can get to most attractions by foot
- St. Stephen’s Greens, a large Victorian park is a great way to spend a relaxing afternoon, and its right next to Grafton Street, a famous pedestrian-only street with shopping, buskers and places to eat
- A variety of food and great cuisine! Aside from traditional Irish pubs with Irish cuisine (such as the Temple Bar) you can find a great variety of food in Dublin, such as international cuisine, vegan restaurants, bars and great cafés
- Dublin has a few really interesting museums that you can’t find anywhere else in Ireland, such as EPIC (Irish Emigration Museum), and Dublina
Pro Tip: One option is to stay in Dublin, but book day trips to some of the most stunning sights around Ireland, such as this one.
My personal opinion is that Dublin is still worth a visit. If you are not a city person at all, then you might prefer Galway, which is is a smaller city, and spending time seeing the natural beauty around Galway. But downtown Dublin is very quaint, walkable, with a fun atmosphere, and even with the other spectacular things you can see around Ireland – there are a few gems in Dublin that are worth being on your itinerary.
Things to Do in Dublin
Depending on your preferences, you might want to consider whether you want to spend the time in Dublin, or if you’re more keen on seeing other things to see in Ireland.
1. Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral was founded in the 1000s by a Viking named Sitric Silkenbeard, and had to rebuilt in the 1100s by Strongbow, a Norman. Legend is that Strongbow was buried in the Christ Church Cathedral. The cathedral has an impressive crypt, one of the largest in Europe.
I highly recommend checking out the Christchurch Cathedral while you’re in Dublin. We spent a good 2 hours here; you should budget to spend around that amount of time too, because of what there is to see outside, inside the cathedral, as well as the crypt.
2. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral was founded in 1191 as a Catholic Church is the national Cathedral of Ireland and is famous for its choir, which still performs.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral has beautifully landscaped grounds with gardens in the summertime, and you should bring your camera to get some beautiful photos of both in and outside St. Patrick’s.
3. Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle, which is a must-see, at least from the outside – was built in the 1200s on a Viking settlement. It has been used as an Irish government building and conference centre. The castle is located in the downtown core, within walking distance of other attractions, like Temple Bar and Christ Church Cathedral.
You can do guided or self-guided tours of the inside of the castle.
4. Guiness Brewery
Dublin is famous for its Guinness Brewery. Guiness was born in Dublin in 1759, so its a traditional Irish drink.
At the Guinness Brewery (besides trying the Guinness of course) you can also sample Irish whiskeys, order food, and enjoy a beautiful view of the Dublin from the brewery. I recommend you book a skip the line tour, as it can get very popular at peak times.
5. St. Stephen’s Greens
St. Stephen’s Greens is a large Victorian park right in Dublin’s downtown Core. It’s right across from Grafton Street, (a famous shopping street where you’ll find all kinds of shops, restaurants, pubs, cafés – more on that below.)
St. Stephen’s Green is great if you’re travelling with kids (there’s a children’s playground inside) but it makes a nice outing on your own too. The entire park covers 27 acres (11 hectares), so its a beautiful piece of green right within the city. There’s a pond, gardens, and mature trees for shade.
6. Take a walk down Grafton Street
Grafton Street is a famous street in Dublin, with a history in busking. You can find places to eat, pubs, and even the Irish Whiskey Museum on Grafton street. The street is flat, walkable and completely car-free, so it makes for a nice leisurely stroll.
Grafton Street has a history with the art of busking, which is traditional in Ireland. We enjoyed watching the buskers when we were there in the summertime. Bring some spare change for the buskers if you’re there in the summer.
7. Explore the old town
The downtown core – perfect for strolling through medieval, narrow alleyways and checking out shops, restaurants and traditional Irish pubs such as the famous Temple Bar, which has been open since the 1300s! Explore famous and mouth-watering Irish cuisine through the Dublin food tour
8. Visit a museum
Dublin has some interesting museums which are well situated right downtown.
- EPIC (Irish Emigration Museum) which explores Irish contributions to the world throughout history.
- Dublina which shows how the Vikings lived when they settled in Dublin. It has interactive displays which are informative and interesting for adults, and fun to look at for kids
9. Spend an afternoon at Malahide Castle
Malahide Castle is located just 12 km ( miles) from the Dublin city centre. You can take a guided or self-guided tour of the castle, explore their butterfly garden, or their fairy garden (for kids.) There are different packages you can reserve on their website for the type of visit you want to have.
You can get to Malahide Castle by driving (they have free parking) if you have a car. There’s also public transit to the castle from the city. Or, you can book this tour which will bring you there.
Pro Tip: Check out Dublin’s hop on-hop off tour bus to see most of the sights around the city with an audio guide
Things to Do in Ireland (Besides Dublin)
Dublin has almost half of the top tourist attractions in Ireland, but there are many places to see that are also There are a lot of other places to consider seeing in Ireland, such as:
- Cliffs of Moher, breathtaking cliffs on the ocean – one of the most visited sites in Ireland. Bonus: consider seeing them at sunset
- The Wild Atlantic Way, a road along Ireland’s west coast. It has lots of gems on it, such as The Burren, Connemara National Park
- Lots of castles. Ireland has thousands of castles, some that you can visit, some which are abandoned and lying in ruins (which you can get great photos of)
- Many quaint, historic small villages that make you feel like you’re in a fairy tale, such as Adare, Cong, Kinvarra and many others
- The Ring of Kerry, (pictured below – one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to in my life)
- Other major Irish cities: Galway, Cork and Limerick
How many days in Dublin is enough?
The length of time I’d suggest staying in Dublin depends on how long you plan to be in Ireland for.
If you’re only planning to be in Ireland for a week, then I would spend about 2 days in Dublin, and spend the rest of the time exploring the other options I mentioned above. If you have two weeks in Ireland (which is a great length of time that I’d suggest spending) then I think at least 3 days allocated to Dublin will really enhance your trip.
Two days is enough in Dublin to see all of the historical sights – the two cathedrals, the Dublin Castle and the museums and still have time to enjoy the old town atmosphere. Three days would give you enough to see some of the bonus sites, like Malahide Castle, which are just outside the city.
Where to Stay in Dublin
There’s lots of great places to stay right in downtown in Dublin, that fit a variety of budgets. Regardless of which of these you choose, you’ll be close enough to walk to all of the famous sites and notable highlights
Budget – Abigail’s Hostel Whether you choose a shared dorm or a private room, you can’t go wrong being just seconds away from Dublin’s Temple Bar for an affordable price.
Mid-Range – The Hendrick Smithfield Enjoy great amenities like a terrace, bar and free breakfast, right in the centre of town
Luxury –Hard Rock Hotel Dublin Just steps away from downtown, enjoy air conditioning, 24 hour service desk, a full English/Irish breakfast (with vegetarian options) in a airy and colourful hotel
Day Trips from Dublin
You don’t necessarily need to rent a car and drive around Ireland to see some of the amazing sights that we mentioned above. You can use Dublin as a home base while you take day trips to see some of them. You can relax, and let someone else do the driving.
- See Cliffs of Moher, the city of Limerick, and the Burren on this tour which picks you up from your accomodation in Dublin and takes you by private coach and train to see the most majestic sights
- Take a day trip out to Blarney Castle, built in the 1400s and the city of Cork
- See Cliffs of Moher, Dunguaire Castle and the picturesque town of Kinvarra on this day tour from Dublin
Is Dublin Worth a Visit? FAQ
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about visiting Dublin
Is Dublin Ireland worth seeing?
Yes, Dublin in Ireland is worth a visit. There are many sites in Ireland worth seeing, but almost half of the top 20 are located in Dublin. If you enjoy history, then Dublin is worth a visit while you’re in Ireland
Why is Dublin worth visiting?
Dublin is worth visiting for two main things: the history, and the atmosphere. Dublin was founded by the Vikings and is full of buildings that were built in the middle ages. Through the architecture and museums, you can explore fascinating history in Dublin, as well as try great cuisine and enjoy the joyous, friendly atmosphere of the downtown core
Is Edinburgh or Dublin better?
Both Dublin and Edinburgh are beautiful, medieval cities with historic old towns and heritage buildings that date back to the Middle Ages. You can’t go wrong with either city. The one you prefer will likely depend on your personal preferences and the time of year you’re going. Dublin is better for museums, whereas Edinburgh has a more picturesque setting. August for example, is a bad time to visit Edinburgh because of the Fringe Festival, so you might have to take that into consideration.
Is it safe to visit Dublin?
Based on statistics, the rate of crime is lower in Dublin than it is in other capital cities around the world. The U.S. Department of State ranked Dublin as “medium” when it comes to safety in walking around due to the risk measured in pickpocketing and mugging. Inevitably, as with most major cities, there may be pickpockets that target tourists in Dublin, but you are unlikely to encounter a problem. To increase your chances of having no issues with crime, its best to exercise the same caution you would anywhere else – keep valuables secured and out of reach.
Is Dublin expensive?
Dublin is relatively expensive. It is cheaper than New York, but its more expensive than Paris, and than Canadian cities like Toronto and Vancouver. You should budget about €49 per day in food costs alone while you’re in Dublin, with the total of all your costs being around €90 to €175 per person per day. Of course, these estimates will vary from person to person and will depend on your personal preferences and spending habits.
Is Dublin a good place to live?
Dublin is a good place to live, being a walkable and safe capital city compared to others. However, like other major cities, it is also quite expensive so a good level of income is needed in order to support yourself living in Dublin.
Is Dublin Worth a Visit? Final Thoughts
Dublin is a charming city in Ireland that is well worth a visit while you’re in the area. I have spent time in all four Irish cities (Dublin, Galway, Limerick and Cork.) Of the hour, Dublin is my favourite city; a close second to Galway. I appreciate the ambiance and vibe of Dublin. In the summertime, the blooming flowers, the outdoor eaters and lots of live street music make it a cheerful, upbeat atmosphere. Its a great city to walk from attraction to attraction without having to worry about having a car. Its great for a variety of travellers, and has things of interest for everyone.
I appreciate your visit to this blog and I hope that this post was helpful to you in planning your trip to Ireland and Dublin.