Cross the Ha'Penny bridge on a free walking tour (Steve-h)
List Words : Lauren Williams | 17 March

10 things to do for free in Dublin

To ease the pain of expensive pints this St Patrick's Day, here are ten free things to do and see between each crowded bar playing Whiskey in the Jar

1. Hunt for art

Dublin’s streets are jam-packed with creativity, and from sculptures by Henry Moore to political scrawls, your eyes will be rewarded as they round every bend. If street art is your thing, head to the Cathedral District’s back streets for vibrant murals, splashes of colour and original talent.

You’ll find statues dotted around the city, all with one common theme – freedom from the English – grab your guidebook and create your own historic tour through the rocky roads of Dublin.

2. Laugh your way through the night

If you find yourself at a loss on a Sunday night in Dublin, or you’ve had your fill of pushing your way to the bar, go to Great George's Street to Shebeen Chic for a free dose of comedy.

From 9pm the bar hosts Comedy Crunch – a night of constant stand-up, with comedians guaranteed to tickle your fancy. Along with a free serving of laughter, you’ll be treated to a free bowl of ice-cream to keep you sweet, throughout the night.

3. Wander around Chester Beatty Library

Located in the gardens of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Library is free to enter and hosts one of the best museum collections in Europe. You’ll find artefacts from all over the world housed in the compact library, providing a quiet and tranquil space to escape to.

Although the exhibition here is outstanding, few people tend to visit so you’ll be able to marvel at ancient scrolls in peace.

4. Feel the city's history

Dublin’s General Post Office on O’Connell Street is an Irish national symbol and the scene of fierce fighting during the 1922 civil war. In 1916, Patrick Pearce read his independence proclamation from the steps and the original document can now been seen on display inside the building.

Run your hands over the walls of this stunning building, to feel the bullet holes that stand as a reminder of the Easter Uprising.

5. Spot seals

At the northern tip of Dublin Bay, you’ll find beautiful Howth Head – here you can start a stunning coastal walk of rugged cliffs, castles and lighthouses with the Wicklow Mountains creating the perfect backdrop.

At Howth Harbour stop for a picnic and feed the seals before taking off again. Don’t forget your camera!

6. See the streets come to life

Busking and street performing is very popular in Dublin and can be found in most busy and sunny spots in and around the city. However, to find Ireland’s top-notch street entertainers head to Grafton Street – the stage of Dublin’s finest musicians, tricksters and crowd-pleasers.

7. Find a quiet spot

Dublin is filled with green spaces that offer quiet get-aways from city life – find a shady tree and perch for the day, watching Irish life pass you by. Phoenix Park covers 710 hectares of Dublin and is home to relaxing spots, imposing monuments and colourful flower beds.

The Memorial Park at Kilmainham is also worth a visit, as is St Stephen’s Green at the top of Grafton Street.

8. Listen to some free music

No visit to Ireland is complete without taking in the raucous atmosphere of a rowdy pub, singing sloppily and grinning giddily at a local, whose craic you don’t quite understand.

Luckily, Dublin has plenty of pubs to satisfy this rite of passage, but nowhere does it as well as Whelan’s on Wexford Street. Free acoustic sessions, DJ sets and Irish bands are the norm at this popular local spot, guaranteeing a great atmosphere every night of the week.

9. Head to a museum... or three

Dublin has enough museums to keep you busy for weeks on end, and luckily for the culture vultures, most of these are free. Learn about the history of coffee, tea and chocolate in Bewleys Museum, or marvel at Mother Nature in the Natural History Museum.

For art lovers, there's the Gallery of Modern Art and for those with a flare for photography, the National Photographic Archives in Temple Bar is the ideal, creative space.

Be prepared to part with €10, however, if you plan to visit the Leprechaun Museum.

10. Take a free walking tour

Turn up at City Hall for 10:45am, look out for the red Sandemans t-shirt and enjoy two hours of historical tours, fun facts and gory details of Dublin’s bloody history.

The Sandeman tour guides are said to be the most charismatic in Europe and will take you through Dublin’s most famous, as well as its best-kept secrets. Walk across Ha’Penny Bridge, stand in the shadows of the city’s most beautiful churches and discover the ins and outs of the Easter Uprising – all for free.

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