Temple Bar is one of the top attractions of Dublin

25 Top Tourist Attractions In Dublin Ireland

Learn the top tourist attractions in Dublin, the best things to see and do in the spirited, warm-hearted capital of the Republic of Ireland. This medieval city is the birthplace of Guinness, where over 10 million pints of it are drunk per day. It’s also home to over 700 pubs to try it in. There are also many varieties of triple-distilled, smooth Irish Whiskey, with excellent distilleries and tasting rooms to try it in.

Of course there’s more to Dublin than drinking, there’s it’s lovely Georgian architecture, a remnant of its British rule and Trinity College with its Old Library, the long room, which holds 200,000 ancient tomes including the Book of Kells, a masterpiece of artistic style from 9th century Celtic monks. There’s also tons of turbulent, but fascinating history, which you can learn about in its many museums, great food, and very friendly people.

Let’s dive into the top tourist attractions in Dublin, Ireland.

25 Top Tourist Attractions In Dublin, Ireland

Tour the Guinness Storehouse

Guinness, the alcoholic beverage of choice in Ireland, is more than iconic here, it’s part of the fabric of society. And it’s first on the list of one the top tourist attractions in Dublin. The brewery of the famous ‘black stuff’ (which is actually a deep ruby red) at St. Jame’s Gate, became the largest in Ireland by 1838, and the largest in the world by 1886, with an annual output of 1.2 million barrels.

The Guinness Storehouse is one of the top attractions in Dublin
Guinness Storehouse

About The Guinness Tour

The self-guided tour of the 7-story facility, provides an overview of the history of Guinness and how it’s made. There’s also a tasting room and restaurants that serve food that pairs perfectly with, or is made with Guinness, and more. The 7th floor is the highlight, the Gravity Bar, where you get a complimentary Guinness with an incredible panoramic view of Dublin. Non-alcoholic and other options are available.

Use your phone to scan QR codes for audio information throughout the tour. Unfortunately, I was not able to connect to the free wifi, so could not listen. There are, however, plenty of signs and information to follow along without it.

The tour is full of interesting information. For example, did you know there are 30 million tiny gas bubbles in a pint of Guinness? Or that the name Porter comes from the porters in London that this beer was historically popular with? Or that the word beer is thought to originate from the Anglo Saxon word Baere meaning barley?

The pro of the self-guided tour is the ability to go at your own pace. The downside is that it sometimes feels a bit impersonal and chaotic.

Most people rave about the tour, but others say it feels like a giant Guinness advertisement. Honestly, I can see both sides. But being a huge Guinness lover, I enjoyed it, mainly because I found my pint of Guinness here to be the best I’ve ever tasted. And many claim the same. They say it actually is better here, because the Guinness is always flowing, so it’s amazingly fresh, through taps that are kept impeccably clean. It’s also served at the optimal temperature, and poured with the best technique. It really is the ultimate pour!

How To Get To The Guinness Storehouse

To get here, take the Dublin Bus 13, 40, or 123 bus from O’Connell Street. Exit at Jame’s and Watling Street (stop number 1940). You need to walk a few minutes around the corner to the entrance. Use your GPS if you need to as it’s not obvious. Although I didn’t time the bus ride exactly, it’s about 30-minutes, depending on traffic. Add on about 5 – 10 more for waiting for the bus and walking.

The Hop On Hop Off Bus also stops at the Guinness Storehouse entrance, taking approximately 80 minutes from O’Connell Street (due to all the other tourist stops).

If your flight arrives before your room is ready (which often happens on overseas flights), you can store your luggage here while you take the tour. A great way to start your first day in Dublin!

For more details, see the FAQ page on the Guinness Storehouse website.

Tip: Buy your ticket online in advance as they charge an extra 2 euro to buy your ticket at the door. However, they will let you book on your phone in their lobby if you don’t.

Visit The Famous Temple Bar

Dublin’s most famous bar (and all of Ireland), Temple bar, in the bohemian quarter of Dublin, is second on the list of the top tourist attractions in Dublin. It’s just a few minutes walk south of Ha’ Penny Bridge (below).

It’s hard to miss the bright red exterior, with strings of sparkling lights above, and live Irish folk music streaming out the doors. It looks warm and inviting on gloomy rainy days, which Dublin gets a lot of, and sure to put a smile on your face rain or shine.

Temple Bar is one of the top attractions of Dublin
Temple Bar

Some say not to come here for a beer, as it’s more expensive than other pubs and visited mostly by tourists. Both are true, but it really is a fun place to meet others out to enjoy Dublin and listen to some great music. It’s also home to Ireland’s largest collection of rare whiskies, 450 of them.

There’s a live Temple Bar webcam facing the front door, so you can text your friends and family to see you waving in front of Temple bar. Look for the camera perched above the Temple Bar Pharmacy out front so you know which direction to wave. There’s also a cam inside so you can check out what’s going on.

Other Top Bars In The Temple Bar Area

This area is full of other lively pubs and restaurants as well, so a good spot to visit day and night. Palace Bar and Bowe’s Bar, also noted as top historic bars, are nearby, so make sure to check them out as well.

I heard that the best bar to go to for an authentic Irish experience is O’Donoghues on Baggot street (although didn’t make it). Also nearby. Also with live music.

Cross Ha’ Penny Bridge

Ha’Penny bridge is another of the top tourist attractions in Dublin, Ireland. This bridge, built in 1816, got its name from the toll to cross it, Ha’penny (half a penny). This was the first pedestrian bridge to span the Liffey River. It replaced the cumbersome ferries that charged the same fee.

Ha’Penny Bridge is one of the top attractions of Dublin
Ha’ Penny Bridge

The Liffey River here acts as a cultural divide between the Northside and Southside of the city. Historically, the Northside was where the working class lived, while the Southside was more affluent.

Today, these same stereotypes hold true. For tourists, however, most of the tourist sites are on the Southside, so although you’ll probably spend most of your time there, there are things to see and do on both sides.

At the very least, check out some of the restaurants near Ha’Penny bridge on the northside.

See Dublin Castle

Built in the 13th century by King John of England, this castle was the seat of English, and later, British government administration for 700 years. It also served as a military fortress, a prison, treasury, and a court of law. In 1922, after the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the castle was handed over to the new Irish government.

Dublin Castle is one of the top attractions of Dublin
Dublin Castle

It’s eclectic architectural style is the result of sections added, or rebuilt, over time. The Record Tower (the round tower below right) is the only remnant of the original 13th century building.

Dublin Castle is one of the top attractions of Dublin
Dublin Castle From The Gardens

Located on Dame street, this is the heart of Dublin. This is also where the name Dublin originates. It comes from the name “Dubh Linn” or dark pool, a pool of water here stained dark by peat. This pool existed where the current coach house and gardens of Dublin Castle are located.

You can enter the castle and take a guided tour, which takes around an hour, or a self-guided tour, which has more limited access and takes about 30-minutes. Or just wander outside for free. See the Dublin Castle website for more details.

The Dublin Castle is about an 8-minute walk southeast of Ha’Penny Bridge.

Visit Trinity College

Not far from Dublin Castle is Trinity College, Ireland’s highest ranked university. Some memorable graduates include Oscar Wilde, Jonathon Swift, author of Gulligans Travels, and Bram Stoker, creator of Dracula. It’s also the setting of several books, movies, and urban legends.

To learn its history, book a walking tour around the grounds. A more popular tour is to see the Book of Kells and the long room in the Old Library.

The Book of Kells is a 9th century devotional text containing four gospels of the New Testament, handwritten by monks in a masterful, artistic script. It’s considered a masterpiece of medieval art. The tour consists of a room showcasing images and information on the book. The actual book is protected behind glass, so you can only see the page it is open to.

The Old Library itself is beautiful and steeped in heritage, containing over 200,000 of Trinity’s oldest books. The ambiance and history here is amazing, making it one of the top tourist attractions in Dublin, Ireland.

The Long Room at Trinity College is one of the top attractions of Dublin
The Long Room at Trinity College

You must book in advance online. Also download the audio tour for this self-guided tour in advance. If you don’t, there is a space by the library entrance with free wifi where you can book on your phone, but it’s much easier to book in advance. Book on the Trinity College website.

Shop on Grafton Street

Grafton street is the main shopping street in Dublin, a mix of name brand stores and restaurants. Even if you’re not a shopper, a walk down this street is recommended as there are usually several really good street musicians playing for donations here.

This notorious street is located just west of Trinity College and the Whiskey Museum.

Kilamainham Gaol

Built in the 18th century, this jail housed many leaders that fought for independence from Britain in the 18th, 19th, and 20th century. It’s now a museum for the fight for nationalism with many fascinating stories. Definitely another spot that’s high on the list of top tourist attractions in Dublin, Ireland.

Kilamainham Gaol closed as a jail in 1924 and opened as a museum in 1974. It is a available only as a guided tour (for obvious reasons) and best booked in advance.

Located over 2 miles (3.5 km) outside of Dublin, take the Dublin Bus 69 or 79 from Aston Quay, or Dublin Bus 13 or 40 from O’Connell St.

Admire The Spire

The 390’ (120 m) Spire on O’Connell Street is a landmark, built to replace Nelson’s Pillar which was bombed in 1966 by former IRA members.

The Spire has several interesting nicknames, like the stiletto in the ghetto, the stiffey by the Liffey, the spire in the mire, the pin in the Pale, or simply the spike. I’m sure you can make up a few of your own.

Many free walking tours, like Sandeman, use this as a starting point (which I also recommend).

The Spire

Top Cathedrals In Dublin

The top two cathedrals in Dublin are located about a 5-minute walk apart. These cathedrals are not only one of the top tourist attractions in Dublin, they’re also one of the top tourist attractions in Ireland.

Christ Church Cathedral

Originally a wooden church built in the 11th century by Vikings, Christ Church was rebuilt in stone in the 12th century, enlarged in the 13th, and extensively renovated in the 19th.

For a fee, there is a self-guided tour to see the Nave, manuscripts and artifacts in the 12th century crypt, a copy of the 14th century Magna Carta in the Treasury, and the 800-year-old entombed heart of Saint Lawrence O’Toole, which was stolen and later recovered in Phoenix Park. This church even has its own Tom and Jerry story which you’ll learn in the crypt.

Even if you just decide to walk around the outside of this gorgeous church, it’s one of the top attractions in Dublin and shouldn’t be missed.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland and largest church in Ireland. It hosts many public ceremonies, like Remembrance Day, and there are often great concerts in the evening. See the schedule of events on the St. Patrick’s Cathedral website for details.

Writer Jonathon Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, was dean of the cathedral in the 18th century and gave sermons here. His epitaph and grave are within the church.

St. Patrick’s is located a few minutes south of Christ Church and east of the Teeling Distillery, so a nice stop when visiting either or both. There is a small fee to enter the cathedral.

Top Museums In Dublin

There is so much interesting history in Dublin, a museum is definitely one of the top attractions here. Especially on a rainy day.

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum

Noted as one of the top museums in Dublin, EPIC provides an overview of the diaspora (the ethnic Irish and their descendants living outside Ireland) and emigration to other countries around the world. It’s an acknowledgment and celebration of the ‘epic’ journeys Irish emigrants have made. Some notable emigrants include John F Kennedy and Grace Kelly, but you need to visit to learn them all.

To get the best price, purchase tickets online in advance. The price at the door is higher. This museum is located just north of the Liffey River, about a 10-minute walk east of O’Connell Street.

National Gallery Of Ireland

This free museum showcases Western European art from the 14th century to today. In addition to work by Irish artists, you can also see work by Picasso, Degas, Rembrandt, and many more.

National Gallery

This grand museum is located near Merrion Square Park, just east of St Stephen’s Green.

The Little Museum of Dublin

The Little Museum of a Dublin is a small, but interesting museum set in one of Dublin’s historic Georgian homes. It’s loaded with memorabilia and photos highlighting unique facts and points in Dublin’s history.

The artfully guided tour leaves you fascinated by interesting facts and stories about Dublin. Visit the Little Museum of Dublin website for start times and details.

If you only have time for one museum, this one is my suggestion as the tour guides are very engaging. It’s located across from St. Stephen’s Green, so it’s perfect to pair together.

Irish Whiskey Museum

If you want an overview of the history of Irish Whiskey, the Irish Whisky Museum is a good place to start. The tour starts with the basics, like uisce beatha, or whiskey, translates to “the water of life”. It also covers how Irish Whiskey is made, why it’s triple distilled, how the barrel it’s aged in imparts flavor and color, how the Irish distilled their own whiskey at home, and other interesting and fun facts.

Irish Whiskey Museum

At the end of the tour, there are tasting options for different fees (based on your ticket option). The tour is fun, and done in a entertaining way, but if you’re doing the distillery tours (below), and short in time, I would skip this as you learn similar information. Plus, the tastings at the distilleries are far superior.

The Whiskey Museum is located across from Trinity College and a few minutes walk south of Temple Bar.

Top Parks In Dublin

For a little green space, and a walk in the park, visit the two most popular park tourist attractions in Dublin, Ireland.

St. Stephen’s Green

Formerly a marshy area at the edge of Dublin, this park was established in the mid-17th century when a developer sold property around it to raise revenue. By the mid-18th century, it was surrounded by affluent Georgian houses. The inhabitants of these houses had exclusive access to the park via a key.

One of its highlights of St. Stephen’s is its large lake, with many ducks and swans, which are fed regularly by locals. There is also a garden and sculpture memorializing poet Yeats and a sculpture memorializing the famine of 1845-1850.

St Stephen’s Green is one of the top attractions on Dublin
Lake at St Stephen’s Green

An interesting part of history on this park is the time rebels took it over in the 1916 Rising. Unfortunately, they found themselves cornered when the British army started shooting at them from upper stories of the nearby Shelbourne Hotel.

St. Stephen’s Park sits on the southern end of Grafton street, the main shopping street of Dublin. The Little Museum of Dublin sits on the northeast side of the park, making all three ideal to pair together.

There’s also a lovely cafe, called Tang, between Grafton Street and The Little Museum of Dublin (on Dawson Street) that I highly recommend for brunch. It’s very (very) small, but quite charming with a healthy Mediterranean and Middle Eastern breakfast and lunch menu. The aromas from this cafe literally got me to walk in.

Merrion Square Park

About a 5-minute walk northeast of St. Stephen’s Green is Merrion Square Park, also surrounded by gorgeous Georgian architecture. This small park contains the memorial to writer Oscar Wilde who once lived nearby.

Near the northwest end of the park is the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland, Natural history, which both have free entry.

Top Whiskey Distilleries and Tastings In Dublin

Dublin, which formerly dominated Irish Whiskey production for the world is now seeing a vibrant revival of Irish Whiskey distilling, in the same area as it’s historical roots, the Liberties area. Also called the Golden Triangle.

Being the former powerhouse, and knowing the quality of these great whiskeys, doing a tour or tasting at one, or several, of the facilities is defiantly one of the top things to do. I recommend it even if you’re not a whiskey drinker. The top tourist attractions for Irish whisky tours in the Liberties area of Dublin, Ireland include the following.

The Jameson Whiskey Old Distillery Tour

Jameson has the distinguished honor of being the best selling Irish Whiskey in the world, so definitely one of the top whiskey tasting choices. Especially if you’re a Jameson lover.

The original distillery, located on Bowe Street, is no longer a working distillery after moving to Cork in 1975, but still makes an engaging and tasty tour in their old facility. They use state of the art electronics to showcase the company’s history and the processes to make their world-renowned whiskies.

This guided tour is very professional, reflecting the high quality of the Jameson brand. At the end, there is a tasting of three different Jameson whiskeys in a very dramatically lit tasting room. After the tour, you can turn in your ticket for a free drink to sit, relax, and soak up the beautiful atmosphere of their bar, JJ’s.

The Jameson Distillery is one of the top attractions of Dublin
JJ’s Bar at Jameson

It’s best to book a tour in advance, although I walked in and was added to a tour immediately for the same price as online. Usually the afternoon tours book up the fastest.

There are also other options beyond the tour, including a barrel blending class, a cocktail mixing class, and more. See the Jameson Whiskey website for details.

The old distillery is located on the northside of the Liffey River, about a 15-minute walk northwest of Ha’Penny Bridge.

My two cents on this tour: I really like Jameson and I learned a lot in the tour, but it was not my favorite as it felt a little too commercial and impersonal.

The Teeling Whiskey Distillery Tour

The Teeling Whiskey Distillery is a functioning distillery that makes small batch whiskeys. It opened in 2015, just down the road from where an ancestral Teeling’s distillery stood in the 1700’s. The first distillery to open here in 125 years.

Not a brand I was familiar with before visiting Ireland, I was an immediate convert as their whiskeys have wonderful flavors. My favorite was the Teeling Small Batch. It’s has a vanilla sweetness from the bourbon cask married with spice and dry fruit and raisin character from the arum cask. Yum! Their Single Malt, which I also liked, won the world’s best single malt award in 2019 from World Whiskies.

In this guided tour you’ll walk the floor of the distillery and learn about the ingredients and the process to make Irish whiskey. This tour feels very authentic, since it’s a working distillery with whiskey made from their stills, and you’ll be able to smell the whisky and feel the warmth from the stills.

The Teelings Distillery is one of the top attractions of Dublin
Teeling Distillery

At the end, there is a tasting, depending on the tasting selection you made when purchasing your ticket. If you don’t have time for the tour, you can always just go to the bar, called the Bang Bang Bar, and order a drink there.

The Teeling Distillery is a 15-minute walk southwest of the Temple Bar.

My two cents on this tour: I was impressed with the whisky, and although the tour seemed more personal than the Jameson tour, and was authentic as it’s a functioning distillery, it still felt a bit rushed and impersonal. Maybe it depends on the guide you get…

Pearse Lyons Distillery

Owned by the Lyons family, the Pearse Lyons Distillery, a boutique distillery, is brewed in a converted church, formerly St. James Church. This deconsecrated church dates to the 12th century with ancestral family members of Pearse Lyons buried in the graveyard.

It’s one of Ireland’s finest small batch whiskies, with several winning awards. This distillery opened in 2017, with whiskey purchased from another distillery, but artfully aged in barrels by Pearse Lyons to impart their own flavor.

The tour starts with a 5 year old whiskey welcome tasting before watching a video of the founder, who passed in 2018, explain the history of the distillery, why they chose to convert this church, and his personal connection to it. You then tour the graveyard and learn about the renovation as well as how they overcame various obstacles turning it into a distillery.

The tasting is done in the distillery itself, which is beautiful with the stained glass windows (which you will also learn about). At the end, you are given a gin tasting as a bonus.

Pearse Lyons is one of the top attractions of Dublin
Pearse Lyons Distillery

This distillery is located on Jame’s Street across from the Guinness Storehouse. To get here, take bus 13, 40, or 123 from O’Connell Street. To book tickets and for more details, see the Pearse Lyons website.

My two cents in this tour: I loved the whiskies at Pearse Lyons. Very smooth with aromas of honey with floral notes. I found the tour here to feel the most personal, so walked away feeling more of a connection to the brand. In addition to the personal stories about the ancestral history and conversion of the church, it felt like our tour guide was talking to us rather than at us, which was nice. It was not, however, very technical, if details on distilling knowledge is what you’re after.

Dublin Liberties Distillery

Dublin Liberties Distilleries opened in February of 2019, so it’s one of the newer distilleries in Dublin. I did not get a chance to visit this distillery, but reviews on Trip Advisor are very positive, averaging 5 stars. Their whiskeys are also award winning and get great reviews.

The tour starts with a small tasting, then a tour of the working distillery, and finishes with the tasting options you selected with your ticket at the end.

If they are fully booked, or you are tired of touring, you can choose to just visit their bar and try their whiskies.

This distillery is located next to Teelings. To book tickets and for more details, see the Dublin Liberties Distillery website. They suggest booking in advance, especially for weekday tours, where they require a minimum 4 days advance booking.

VIP Roe & Co Irish Whiskey Distillery Experience

The Roe & Co Distillery is Dublin’s newest distillery, opening in June 2019. It’s named in honor of the once famous whiskey powerhouse, Roe & Co from the 19th century. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit this distillery either.

The whiskey here is currently sourced, as it must be aged for 3 years, but whisky from their distillery will be available soon. That said, their whiskeys are award winning.

They currently offer a Blending Experience, a Flavours Experience, and more at their facility. You can also visit the bar, which overlooks their distillery, for a tasting. See the Roe & Co website for details.

This distillery is located on Jame’s Street across from the Guinness Storehouse and just east of the Pearse Lyons Distillery. To get here, take buses 13, 40, or 123 from O’Connell Street.

Take A Whiskey Tour

If you want to learn about Irish whiskey, but don’t have time to visit all the distilleries, take a whiskey tour. You’ll get guided knowledge at some of the best whiskey bars in Dublin.

Dublin Whiskey Tours offers 3 different tours to choose from, serving premium whiskies, and whiskey tales, at some of the best historic pubs in Dublin.

Dublin Whiskey Experience offers a two hour tour that includes some of the distilleries and some of its historic pubs. The tour guide, Garett Downey, has experience working in the industry and a strong passion for whiskey.

Both are very highly rated on Trip Advisor.

Top Day Trips From Dublin

See The Wicklow Mountains, Glendalough And Kilkenny

See some Ireland’s natural beauty, only about an hour from Dublin. Take a tour via bus though the beautiful Wicklow mountains before touring the historic cities of Glendalough and Kilkenny.

Be Awed By The Cliffs Of Moher

The rugged Cliffs of Moher are one of Ireland’s most photographed locations, located on its west coast. These stunning cliffs stand almost 700’ above sea level and zigzag over 8 miles (14 km) along the wild Atlantic coast.

You can wander along the wild cliff top, possibly seeing the Aran islands, if it’s a clear day, and learn the history of the area.

As this feature is a 3-hour drive from dublin, this tour will take a full day.

See the Blarney Castle

If you want to kiss the legendary Blarney Stone, you can also take a day trip to a Cork to see Blarney Castle. Many tours also stop at the last port of the Titanic before it left on its fateful journey.

The journey here from Dublin is about 2.5 hours each way, so this is also an all day tour.

Want To Read More About Ireland?

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about the top tourist attractions in Dublin, Ireland. If you’ve been to Dublin and have any comments, please drop a note below.

Ireland truly is a magical place, full of history, great food, and very friendly people. Trying Irish whiskey here is also a must-do. For more details than I’ve noted above, see my post on 7 Irish Whiskey Tasting Experiences.

Safe Travels!


Musicians on Grafton Street

This post on the top tourist attractions in Dublin, Ireland is updated as of February 2023. It you see any details that need to be updated, please let me know.

Hello! I resigned from a corporate career in product development to explore the world. Although my goal was to travel for a year, 8 years later, I’ve been honored to have explored more than 60 gorgeous countries and met some unbelievably amazing people. Our world truly is a beautiful place! Follow me into the gorgeous unknown by subscribing below. You’ll receive details on fabulous destinations, comprehensive travel guides, travel tips and tidbits, and information on travel trends, like experiential, sustainable, and transformational travel. Where is your next gorgeous unknown? Julie

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