5 Free things to do in Dublin

If you’re a student visiting Dublin you probably won’t have an endless supply of Euros to spend.  Finding things to do on a budget is easier that you think; take your pick from these ideas.  There should be something for everyone.

Free Music

The Irish are known for their love of music and Dublin is full to the brim with great musicians.  Many events are of course ticketed but you will also have the opportunity to hear some great free music.  These are just two of the archetypal Dublin pubs that offer free music. The Cobblestone on Smithfield Square is partly a paid venue but in the main bar the music is free. You will hear traditional Irish and folk music performed by some top Irish musicians.  If you get free entry why not sample a pint of Guinness, The Cobblestone claims to offer the finest pint in Dublin. Whelan’s had a starring role in the film ‘PS I Love You’ when Gerard Butler serenaded Hilary Swank there.  He is one of many who have performed there over the years including the Arctic Monkeys, Kate Nash and Damien Rice.   Many of the gigs are free if you arrive before 10.30 pm and you are offered a diverse choice of music.  


“Dublin is full to the brim with great musicians…”

If classical music is more to your taste Opera in the Open offers free performances in August, held in the Civic Office Amphitheatre.  Free concerts are also held from June to September in the Hugh Lane Sculpture Gallery on Sundays at 12 noon. 

Dublin Museums and Art Galleries

Dublin’s national museums all offer free entry.  For Archaeology exhibits you should visit the Kildare Street museum where you will find exhibits dating back to prehistoric Ireland, for Decorative Arts and History visit the Collins Barracks site and for Natural History visit Merrion Street.  Art lovers will also find plenty of free art to indulge themselves with.  The Irish Museum of Modern Art is located in the 18th century Royal Hospital on Military Road.  Its collection includes sculpture, painting and photography.  The National Gallery exhibits work from the 14th to the 20th century with work by Caravaggio, Monet and Goya.  It also has an extensive collection of paintings by the Irish artist Jack B Yeats.   Another must visit for art lovers is the Hugh Lane Gallery; you could combine one of their free Sunday lunchtime concerts with a stroll around their wonderful collection of Irish and international modern and contemporary art.  You will also be able to visit The Francis Bacon Studio, which was relocated from London to Dublin.

The Great Outdoors

If you love the great outdoors Dublin has over 2,000 hectares of green space to offer.  Dublin Castle is set in the beautiful Dubh Linn Gardens and although you have to pay to visit the interior of the castle wandering around the grounds is free.  The garden design was inspired by Celtic jewellery designs and is a wonderful place to find some tranquillity in this bustling city.  St Stephen’s Green is another peaceful oasis in the centre of the city and as well as being a great place to have a picnic it is the location of the building that was once the home of the Guinness family, Iveagh House.


“… inspired by Celtic jewellery designs”


There are many signposted walks around the city that offer you the do-it-yourself option however if you like to be guided around Sandeman’s Tours offer free city walks every day at 11am and 1pm from City Hall.  The walks last for three hours so make sure you’ve got your walking shoes on; they will give you a great insight into the history of Dublin.

Trinity College

No visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to Trinity College and while you have to pay to see the incredible Book of Kells there’s plenty you don’t have to pay for.  Just wandering around the grounds is a pleasure knowing that you are following in the footsteps of alumni such as Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett.  Anyone with even a passing interest in Science should go to the Science Gallery where you will find innovative exhibits of how science is applied to real life.  You could see anything from robotics to the very latest technology. 


“…wandering around the grounds is a pleasure”

Dublin is a great city and music will constantly be playing in your ears as you walk along its cobbled streets.  The hospitality of the Irish is world-renowned and whatever you do you are sure to be greeted by a smile.


“…walk along its cobbled streets.”

Written by Gill Balfour