If you plan to visit Dublin, odds are, you’re going to encounter at least one rainy day. Of course, that’s to be expected here in the Emerald Isle – there’s a reason it’s so green. It definitely doesn’t have to ruin the fun, however, with plenty of options for great indoor activities, including these.
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Duck Into Ireland's Oldest Pub (Nearby Hotels)
Browse the National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology (Nearby Hotels)
The National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology is worth visiting whether the sun is out or not. Here you’ll be transported back in time, gazing in wonder at the items in Ór, the finest collection of prehistoric gold artifacts in all of Europe. The Treasury features stunning examples of Celtic and Medieval art, like the famous Ardagh Chalice and the Tara Brooch. It showcases extraordinarily intricate sacred and secular metalwork that dates from the Iron Age to the Middle Ages, along with displays that range from prehistoric to Viking Ireland times, along with ancient Egyptian artifacts. Its bog bodies, bodies that were mummified and preserved in peat bogs, are remarkable, some of which are thousands of years old, naturally mummified by the acidic conditions – you can still see details like eyelashes, fingerprints and fingernails.
Explore Dublin Castle (Nearby Hotels)
A top attraction in Dublin, the Dublin Castle and has played a key role in the country’s history for centuries. It was used by the Vikings to build a fortress in the 10th-century, and while parts have been built and torn down through the ages, the oldest remaining structure, the Record Tower, dates back to the 13th century. It was a stronghold against foreign invaders and the grounds have also been used as a prison, sea of parliament, royal court and military residence among other purposes – all prior to the mid-19th-century. The grounds were also the spot where the Easter Rising of 1916 began and is the site of the Irish independence treaty signing. A guided tour will provide you with lots of interesting tidbits about its history.
Sample Beer at Guinness Storehouse (Nearby Hotels)
The Guinness Storehouse is another one of Dublin’s top attractions and perfect for a rainy day. Take a self-guided tour through the factory and you’ll get a free pint to enjoy at the end. Information is provided about the ingredients, brewing process and more, but the real highlight is the Gravity Bar located atop the factory providing a 360-degree view of the city.
Visit the Jameson Distillery (Nearby Hotels)
The Old Jameson Distillery is a must for whiskey enthusiasts and those who have an interest in Irish history. Set upon the original site of John Jameson’s distillery on Bow Street on the north side of the city, founded in 1780, it was the most famous distillery in Ireland for nearly two centuries until closing in 1971, when distilling was transferred to the Middleton Distillery. Get a glimpse of what life was like in the late 18th century and an appreciation for the Jameson story which begins with its heritage. You’ll get to walk through the production process before the tour ends with a taste test.
Browse the GPO Witness History Visitor Centre (Nearby Hotels)
The General Post Office, or GPO, allows visitors to experience the defining moment of the country’s modern history. One of the most iconic buildings in Dublin, it was the headquarters of the rebels during the Easter Rising, and you can still trace the bullet holes that riddle its façade. It also hosts the GPO Witness History Visitor Centre, a highly immersive and engaging exhibition bringing history to life by experiencing events from both sides of the conflict, along with the bystanders who were caught in the crossfire.
Tour the Malahide Castle (Nearby Hotels)
Malahide is a short drive north of Dublin and is easily accessed by public transport too. An ideal excursion for a rainy day, it’s home to impressive Malahide Castle, built as a private residence and fortress that was inhabited for nearly 800 years. A guided tour will bring you into its fascinating historic past that includes plenty of haunting stories. At least five ghosts, including Lady Maud Plunkett, who was buried in the castle graveyard, and a 16th century caretaker by the name of Puck are said to roam here.
Go Shopping (Nearby Hotels)
Bring an umbrella for popping in and out of the shops in Dublin as this is one of the hottest cities for shopping in Europe. Most of the time you’ll be inside out of the rain with so many fantastic offerings. In fact, you might want to bring an empty duffel bag with you to take those finds back home. Grafton Street, running south from College Green, is the most fashionable shopping area, while the Temple Bar area is home to some great quirky boutiques. The thoroughfares that run west from O’Connell Street, like Mary Street and Henry Street, are ideal for bargain hunters. Powerscourt Townhouse behind Grafton is lined with outlets from top Irish and international designers.
Admire St. Patrick's Cathedral (Nearby Hotels)
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is definitely worth a peek as part of Ireland’s history for more than 800 years. It was built in honor of the country’s patron saint between 1220 and 1260 and offers an especially compelling cultural experience as one of the few buildings left from Dublin’s medieval days.
Visit Kilmainham Gaol (Nearby Hotels)
While visiting a jail probably doesn’t sound fun, this one offers a very interesting look at Irish history. It once held some of Ireland’s most famous political and military leaders, like Eamon de Valera, Robert Emmet, Charles Stewart Parnell and the 1916 Rising leaders. You’ll find out what it might have been like to be confined in this bastion of punishment and correction, which was open for nearly 130 years from 1796 to 1924. It tells a gruesome part of Irish history through exhibitions and a guided tour.