Are you planning a day out in Dublin just for adults? There are many attractions, activities, and places to visit in Dublin. But there are a few that only adults can fully appreciate. We’ve picked out the best things to do and see in Dublin that are best for mature adults.
1. Dublin Castle
The castle was originally built during the 1200s, but it was rebuilt in each of the last four centuries. In the past, Dublin Castle has been used as a prison, treasury, fortress, seat of the British government in Ireland, and courthouse. Today, the castle serves as a venue for hosting several government events, including Presidential Inaugurations. You’ll also see various sections including the Undercroft, State Apartments, and the Royal Chapel. While many parts of the Castle can be viewed free of charge, much of its rich history may be lost if you don’t have the benefit of an expert. Join a tour so you can learn more about Dublin Castle’s history. After some sightseeing, you can enjoy a picnic at Dubh Linn Gardens.
2. Guinness Storehouse
Situated next to the St James’s Gate Brewery, the Guinness Storehouse is your gateway to experiencing Guinness. As you traverse up the seven floors around a glass atrium in the shape of a pint, you’ll be immersed in the history of this centuries-old stout. For the most part, this is a self-guided tour through the history, brewing process, and memorabilia of Guinness. It culminates with an opportunity for you to pour your own pint, which you can enjoy while taking in some amazing views of Dublin city.
3. The Old Jameson Distillery
The Old Jameson Distillery stands on the same ground as John Jameson’s original distillery, built in 1780. It is a site of historical and social significance for Ireland. The Old Jameson Distillery provides a detailed tour of the Irish Whiskey distilling process. During your visit, there’ll be opportunities to taste the purest Irish whisky. There’s an old and majestic feel within the walls, and more to see after the tour. So don’t worry if you feel like lingering inside for a while, you won’t be the only one.
4. Croke Park Stadium & GAA Museum
Croke Park is the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association, which runs the country’s two most popular sports – Gaelic football and hurling. The stadium, which has a capacity of 82,300 hosts the semi-finals and finals of the All-Ireland championships in both sports. The GAA museum is on-site and provides visitors with a look into the history of one of the world’s most prominent amateur sports organizations. You can join a behind-the-scenes tour and see the locker rooms, players’ lounge, and VIP section.
5. Malahide Castle and Gardens
Malahide Castle and Gardens provide an idyllic setting outside of Dublin’s city center. The Castle has a unique history that dates back nearly a millennium. Join a short tour and look into the lives of the well-respected family that lived there for centuries. You’ll see the interior design of various rooms, some lined with portraits of family members from the past. There have even been reports of haunted sightings. Don’t forget to take a stroll around the perfectly manicured lawn and explore the gardens as well.
6. Kilmainham Gaol
First constructed in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol was built to replace a nearby prison. Several prominent Irishmen served time in the gaol, including the leaders of the Easter Rising. Many of the rebellion’s leaders were also executed within the prison walls. Kilmainham Gaol is one of the largest unoccupied prisons in Europe and it has now been transformed into a tourist attraction. Take a tour of the Victorian Wing and get insight as to what life was like for those imprisoned there.
7. The James Joyce Centre
The James Joyce Centre is a museum that showcases the works of one of Ireland’s greatest writers. It features exhibits that provide a glance into the life of James Joyce as it was during his writing career. For most adults, there’s a better appreciation as you engage in various interactive exhibits. You’ll also get an idea of his lifestyle and his relationship with the National Library of Ireland. More importantly, you’ll uncover secrets from his most famous work, Ulysses. Take a guided or self-guided tour through James Joyce Centre.
8. Chester Beatty Library
Chester Beatty Library houses one of the finest collections of ancient books in all of Europe. You’ll see the arts of bookbinding and calligraphy in books that are thousands of years old. With works from Europe and Asia, the Library is a fantastic place to explore and learn about the history of the written word. For instance, you’ll see the text from Arabic calligraphers (Ibn al-Bawwab Qur’an), Japanese Picture-scrolls, and Ancient Egyptian Love Songs.
9. Dublin Zoo
Since 1831, Dublin Zoo has looked after a wide variety of animals from around the world. They’re part of the European Endangered Species Programme. While it is small enough to see in just a few hours, those hours can be filled with rich experiences. You’ll see unique animals like the Rodrigues Fruit Bats and Moluccan Cockatoos. One of the main highlights is the African Savannah section where giraffes, zebras, rhinos, oryx, and ostrich share the same field. Also, the kids will love the Family Farm as they can get up close to sheep, ducks, and cows.
10. Experience Gaelic Games
Experience Gaelic Games offers visitors the chance to try their hand at some of the oldest games in the world. Whether you’re completely new to the sports or have some experience, you’ll have a blast. The organizers arrange games that are tailored to the skills of those who go. This may include team-building exercises or instructions on the basics followed by scrimmages. You’ll also learn about the history of the games through demonstrations.
Opened in 1993, Dublinia brings the Irish capital’s history to life for over 125,000 visitors each year. You can try on clothes worn over a thousand years ago, learn the games, and explore the sights of the ancient city. Visitors often report having a barrel of laughs and come away with a deeper appreciation for the city’s rich and vibrant history. Make sure you capture some photos from St. Michael’s Tower, where you can get panoramic views of Dublin.
12. An Post Museum
Also known as the GPO Museum, the An Post Museum highlights the important role of the post office in Irish history. You can see the history of the Irish Free State to today and the Post Office’s central role in the 1916 Uprising. Centrally located on O’Connell Street, the An Post Museum is a must-see for anyone with an interest in Irish history. There’s also an impressive collection of stamps. You’ll see the important people in Irish history and different aspects of Irish culture.
13. National Botanic Gardens
The National Botanic Gardens is home to over 20,000 living plants along with millions of dried specimens. Dedicated to conservation, the garden gives you the opportunity to learn about plants while enjoying their aesthetics. Plant lovers and gardeners will especially appreciate the wealth of information. The Palm House and the museum are the main attractions at the Botanic Gardens. You’ll see fruits, seeds, wood, fibers, and other plant artifacts from the Garden’s 200+ year history.
14. Farmleigh House
Farmleigh House is Ireland’s guest house for foreign dignitaries, offering them the best accommodations that the city has. Built in the 1700s, the home was later purchased by members of one of Ireland’s leading families, the Guinnesses. The grounds retain a regal feel while also providing cultural events and exhibits. On arrival, you notice the towering Clock Tower standing 37 meters tall. When the skies are clear, it’s possible to see Dun Laoghaire and Dublin mountains, Maynooth, and Malahide.
15. National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology
The National Museum of Ireland is divided into four different buildings, one of which is Archaeology. The Archaeology section hosts a variety of artifacts covering the last nine thousand years. Also, look out for the Museum’s floor which has designs of classical mythology from Rome and Greece. Ranging from gold to decapitated bodies, this museum is definitely more appropriate for adults.
16. Natural History Museum
Known as the “Dead Zoo”, the Natural History Museum houses an extensive collection of life-size animals. It even has some items from other worlds, such as items brought back from the moon and other space rocks. Kids will love the Discovery Zone, where they can be more hands-on and touch bones from various animals. You’ll be even more impressed with the Giant Irish deer skeletons and Humpback whale skeletons on display.
17. National Gallery of Ireland
For a century and a half, the National Gallery of Ireland has been at the center of Ireland’s art scene. You’ll see masterpieces from Irish and European artists. For instance, Connemara Girl painted by Augustus Nicholas Burke is one that adults will appreciate. It depicts a young girl carrying a bundle, barefooted and dressed rather simply. You’ll also see Amorino, sculpted by Antonio Canova in 1789; and Jack B. Yeats collection, who is one of Ireland’s best-known painters.
18. Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral is nearly a millennium old. It is the oldest cathedral in Dublin. See the Cathedral’s crypt, which runs the entire length of the building, and is home to many of the Cathedral’s treasures. An audio-visual presentation is available if you want to walk down into the 12th-century section. It contains statues, Catholic remnants, and stocks that were used to punish those who broke the laws under Cathedral authority. There’s also a mummified cat and rat, known as ‘Tom & Jerry’ to Dubliners. Kings of England have attended services at the Christ Church Cathedral. It continues to serve as the home of several priceless relics and treasures.
19. St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, also known as The National Cathedral and Collegiate Church of Saint Patrick, Dublin, was completed in 1191. It is Ireland’s largest church. The Gothic-style cathedral reflects the unique history of Ireland. It also features the Lady Chapel, the Chair of King William III, and Jonathan Swift’s tomb.
20. Leinster House
Originally constructed as a palace for the Earl of Kildare, Leinster House today is the home of the Oireachtas Éireann, the Irish Parliament. Leinster House today is a group of buildings, but the most recognizable among them is the building in which the Dáil and Seanad meet. The other buildings serve as offices for members and their staff. If you’re lucky, you might catch a live debate in action as politicians discuss the issues of Ireland.
21. Trinity College Library
The Old Library at Trinity College is one of Dublin’s most visited attractions. While it houses around six million volumes, its two most valued attractions are the Book of Kells. This is an elaborately decorated and copied set of the four Gospels. Also don’t miss the Brian Boru harp, the oldest known version of Ireland’s national symbol. But perhaps the most jaw-dropping moment is seeing the Long Room. Measuring 65 meters, the Long Room houses 200,000 texts and was originally constructed in the early 18th century on a single level.
22. National Leprechaun Museum
The National Leprechaun Museum presents the facts and fairy tales that have turned leprechauns into a worldwide phenomenon. It combines immersive storytelling with optical illusions, multimedia, historical displays, and exciting activities. Different rooms are elaborately designed to add to the fun fantasy land theme. You can learn more about leprechauns through videos and displays. Alternatively, join a guided tour of the museum as a staff member presents each room in detail.