7 Free Things To Do and See In Dublin
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Dublin, Ireland is a city in which there is much to do, much of which doesn’t require you to even open your wallet. Mindful of its past as the home to famous artists and brave story-tellers, Dublin makes its rich history apparent on every corner and in every street. These opportunities to enjoy the city, from captivating museums to lush gardens, are what draws us back to Dublin time and again.
National Museum of Ireland
Opened to the public in 1890 after its founding in 1877, the National Museum of Ireland houses a plethora of Irish historical facts as well as artifacts within an array of striking buildings. From collections detailing the 1916 Rising to Ireland’s rich military history dating back to 1550, and an exhibition regaling the clothing styles and textiles of the country from 1760 to 1960, there’s something interesting for everyone. Make sure to check out The Treasury exhibition as well, with internationally renowned artifacts covering 15 centuries of artistic history within the gallery.
In 1908, what was then-called the Dublin Museum of Science changed to the National Museum of Science and Art to reflect a growing collection of varied pieces that were discovered during several developments made as Dublin industrialized. The name of the institution was changed once more in 1921 to its current title, to match with the comprehensiveness of the broad range of historic artifacts inside that encapsulated not only Dublin, but all of Irish history. Today, the National Museum of Ireland houses all of the original artifacts of the former establishments under its current name.
Hugh Lane Municipal Gallery of Modern Art
Hugh Lane initially held the Irish Art exhibition in London in 1904, the first open to the public in both Britain and Ireland. In 1908, the collection was brought to Dublin. The Gallery has since kept its pieces modern and focused on Irish art.
A unique and historically significant exhibition displays the studio and physical archives of Francis Bacon himself, which the Gallery acquired in 1998. Featuring over 7,000 catalogued items, it includes not only the artist’s materials but personal items as well – from written correspondences to vinyl records. For the kids, the Gallery offers artistic workshops, just make sure to book ahead of time to get a spot!
Science Gallery Trinity College
The Science Gallery is a fun and interactive space where art intermingles with the science itself. With a rotating schedule of exhibitions ranging from physical science to living art experiments, the Gallery aims to inspire and engage visitors of all ages. Though this Gallery is somewhat unique in that it doesn’t keep a permanent collection, this non-profit organization has show-cased over 38 spectacular exhibitions. In addition to their exhibitions, they aim to inspire young adults between 15 and 25 through educational programs which help individuals with their future university subjects and career choices.
St. Stephen’s Green
Dublin is a city with many beautiful parks, the most notable among them being St. Stephen’s Green. St. Stephen’s, a sprawling complex created on the grounds of what was once a marshy common area on the edge of Dublin, has welcomed the public since 1880.
The area in what eventually became the park began development in 1670 with the planting of two rows of lime trees around the perimeter, and since has progressively expanded. Fusiliers’ Arch, at the entryway from Grafton Street, has been an idea location for picture-taking since being erected in 1907. Among other notable features, the part includes a bust of the famous author James Joyce, a bronze statue commemorating the Irish Rebellion of 1798 against British rule, and a memorial garden in honor of the great Irish poet, W.B. Yeats.
Today, St. Stephen’s Green is a diverse attraction that calls visitors of all walks. Those looking for a relaxing place to picnic or lay in the grass have ample space to do so in an ideal setting, then perhaps peruse the nearby St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, the most fashionable cultural quarter in the city. Also, St. Stephen’s Green is the meeting point of the Viking Splash Tour, one of the most popular sight-seeing attraction in the city that revisits Dublin’s history as a Viking stronghold in the middle ages.
St. Stephen’s Green is very much a microcosm of Dublin itself – both beautiful and historic.
Merrion Square Park
If you want the park experience in a smaller and less-crowded setting (as St. Stephen’s Green can sometimes be), you will want to visit Merrion Square Park, located in the heart of Dublin. Merrion features thriving gardens focused around a framework of Georgian architecture. Child-friendly, Merrion Square Park also includes a playground area for children and hosts numerous weekly open-air exhibitions for the kids!
Merrion hosts a consistent and diverse schedule of open-air art exhibits, featuring both local and regional artists seeking to sell hand-crafted works ranging from paintings and sculptures to jewelry and handbags. You’ll want to keep your eyes peeled, as there is a famous statue of Oscar Wilde that makes for a great photographic opportunity!
Temple Bar Markets
The Temple Bar area is perhaps more widely-known as a tourist location that can become raucous as the days grow long, but the markets in the district offer a distinct and enjoyable experience for travelers on a budget.
Home to three markets, the Temple Bar area comes alive on early weekend mornings with stalls of cured meats, cheeses, wine, seafood, and baked goods as well as food for the mind – complete with vinyl records, vintage books and artwork.
Listen to Free Music on Grafton Street
Perhaps one of the most enjoyable experiences that separates Dublin from any city is the quality of the street musicians throughout. However, not all are working paid gigs.
Called buskers, musicians who set up and play in public squares are prevalent throughout Dublin. These aren’t just any musicians, however, as the quality of musicianship and songwriting displayed in many of the busking performances make one wonder why these artists aren’t performing in front of massive crowds. Some eventually do!
Throughout Grafton Street and the Temple Bar Square, many current popular music acts such as Damien Rice and Hudson Taylor were actually found by record label executives while busking on the streets of Dublin.
There is so much things to do in Dublin, especially for travelers on a budget. The history and culture of the city can be had without any cost, in fact, in the ways discussed – and many more. On virtually every corner, behind every fence and beyond every street there are free things to explore.
Also Read: 10 Things to do for FREE in Dublin