Top 10 things to do in Dublin (by train or tram)

Dublin coast - article about the top 10 things to do in Dublin

Dublin is a city that’s full of fun things to do — and it’s easy to get to most of the top attractions by rail.

Below you’ll find our suggestions for the top 10 things to do in Dublin by train or tram, along with the relevant travel information. Our Dublin rail map features all the stations and stops listed below.

If you’re looking for a fun day out in the Irish capital, this post is for you.

1. Take a stroll round Trinity College

Train station: Tara Street (Commuter, DART) | Tram stop: Trinity (Luas Green Line)

Trinity College. Image Credit: Photo by Eric Jones for Wikipedia

Trinity College. Image Credit: Photo by Eric Jones for Wikipedia

Ireland’s oldest and most prestigious university is also one of the most beautiful places you can go in Dublin. Situated right in the centre of the city, its historic buildings and stunning cobbled squares never fail to impress.

Additionally, it houses one of the world’s most famous books, The Book of Kells, which you can view as part of an exhibition on this famous manuscript. You can also visit Trinity’s Long Room, one of the most impressive libraries in the world. The library features 200,000 of the university’s oldest books.

Trinity College is located just beside the Trinity tram stop (Green Line), or alternatively, you can catch a DART or Commuter train service to Tara Street (it’s a 7 minute walk away from there).

Find out more about Trinity College here.

2. Enjoy a pint at the Guinness Storehouse

Train station: Heuston (Commuter) | Tram stop: St James' (Luas Red Line)

Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

Located in St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, this production site has been home to the Guinness Brewery since 1759. The Guinness Storehouse building dates back to 1904 and is built in the style of the Chicago School of Architecture.

The storehouse was once the fermentation plant of the brewery, but is now a seven-storey visitor experience where you learn about the history of the famous Dublin beer. The whole thing is arguably as much about marketing Guinness as about explaining its history, but the end of the tour you find yourself having a pint in a circular glass bar which overlooks Dublin and provides beautiful views of the Irish capital — a pretty nice end to proceedings.

The Guinness Storehouse is a 5 minute walk from the St James tram stop, and 10 minutes from Heuston railway station.

Find out more about the Guinness Storehouse here

3. Have a day out in Dalkey

Train station: Dalkey (DART)

Dalkey Harbour

Dalkey Harbour

A pretty seaside village south of the city, Dalkey is packed full of history, featuring a 10th century church and two Norman castles on the main street. From the main street, it’s a short walk to the harbour, where you can take a boat trip to Dalkey Island.

There are lots of great restaurants and bars in the village too — and depending on your feelings on Dalkey resident Bono, you may have either the good luck or misfortune to bump into him in one of them.

Dalkey is located on the DART train line (about 25 minutes from the City Centre) and the village is a couple of minutes’ walk from the station.

Find out more about Dalkey here.

4. Take in some art at the National Gallery of Ireland

Train station: Pearse (Commuter, DART) | Tram stop: Dawson Street (Luas Green Line)

The National Gallery of Ireland. Image Credit: Wikipedia.

The National Gallery of Ireland. Image Credit: Wikipedia.

The recently-renovated National Gallery of Ireland houses 2,500 paintings and around 10,000 other works in different media including water-colours, drawings, prints and sculpture.

The gallery contains a renowned collection of Irish paintings and every major European school of painting is extensively represented too (with the gallery’s collection being particularly notable for its Italian Baroque and Dutch masters painting).

Inside the gallery you’ll also find a Yeats museum with works by Jack B Yeats (brother of W.B. Yeats), his father John Butler and other members of this artistic family. The award winning Millennium Wing includes a restaurant which serves breakfast and light lunch options, as well as tea, coffee and cakes.

Pearse Railway Station and the Dawson tram stop are both about 5 minutes walk from the gallery.

Find out more about The National Gallery of Ireland here.

5. Have a wander round Temple Bar

Train station: Tara Street (Commuter and DART lines) | Tram stop: Museum (Luas Green Line)

Temple Bar, Dublin

Temple Bar, Dublin

It’s possibly a place to avoid on a Friday or Saturday night — Temple Bar is notorious for being frequented by stag and hen dos. However, at other times it’s a nice place to hang out.

The area’s cobbled streets are home to lots of cafes, restaurants and pubs; and there’s quite a few cultural spots to enjoy too:

  • Meeting House Square often hosts free concerts, film screenings or markets.

  • The Irish Film Institute is a great arthouse cinema and bar.

  • The Button Factory is a lively gig venue.

  • Temple Bar Gallery + Studios features Irish contemporary exhibitions.

And if you’re in the mood for some live traditional music, you’ll find lots of it at The Temple Bar pub.

Temple Bar is located right beside Westmoreland tram stop (Luas Green Line) and is about a 10 minute walk from Tara Street railway station (Commuter and DART lines).

You can read more about Temple Bar here.

6. Learn about Irish history at the National Museum of Ireland (Decorative Arts & History)

Tram: Museum (Luas Red Line)

National Museum of Ireland. Image Credit: Wikipedia

National Museum of Ireland. Image Credit: Wikipedia

Once the world’s largest military barracks, Collins Barracks is now home to the Decorative Arts & History collection of the National Museum of Ireland. The museum focusses on the history of Ireland from 1550 to the present day; and exhibits range from a history of the Easter Rising to the work of iconic Irish designer Eileen Gray (1878–1976).

Artefacts on display range from silver, ceramic and glassware pieces to weaponry, furniture and examples of folk life and costume, and admission is free.

It’s very easy to get to the National Museum — it’s a stone’s throw away from the Museum tram stop (Luas Red Line).

You can find out more about the National Museum of Ireland here.

7. Go wining and dining in Ranelagh

Tram: Ranelagh (Luas Green Line)

Layla’s Bar in Ranelagh

Layla’s Bar in Ranelagh

Ranelagh is a great place to go for food and drink.

You’ll find everything here from tapas (La Bodega) to steak (The Butcher Grill) to fondue (Edelwise); and there are some classic Dublin pubs located here too, including well-known establishments Smyths and Humphreys.

For cocktails, great food and a fantastic view, check out Layla’s Rooftop Restaurant and Bar (you’ll find it in The Devlin hotel, which also boasts an arthouse cinema, and is a really unique place to stay).

Ranelagh is also near Dublin’s Grand Canal — where you’ll be able to enjoy a stroll along the towpath or a waterside pint in well-loved gastropub The Barge.

And on Saturday and Sundays, you can enjoy Ranelagh’s food and craft market.

You can get to Ranelagh on the Luas Green Line — it’s a 10-15 minute ride from Central Dublin.

8. Take in the sea air — and windmills — out in Skerries

Train: Skerries (Commuter)

Skerries. Image Credit: Wikipedia.

Skerries. Image Credit: Wikipedia.

Skerries is a picturesque coastal town in North Country Dublin where you can have a coastal walk, fun on the beach, a great pint and a nice meal out.

You can get to Skerries on an Irish Rail Commuter service — it’s about 30-35 minutes from Central Dublin. When you arrive at Skerries station, it’s a 10 minute walk to Skerries Mills, which are well worth checking out. Skerries Mills is a collection of two historic windmills and a watermill with associated mill pond, mill races and wetlands. You can take a tour of the complex, which also boasts a nice cafe.

The town itself has some great pubs and restaurants — personal favourites include Stoop Your Head, a great place for fish and seafood. The Goat on The Boat is a fantastic place for a coffee. (Both are located in Skerries Harbour)

The South Beach is a great place for a family day out on the beach - and in summer kids can enjoy a few little fairground rides courtesy of Bob’s Family Entertainment Centre.

Find out more about Skerries here.

9. Mix modern art and Irish history at Kilmainham

Kilmainham Gaol. Image Credit: National Monuments Service. Dept. of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Kilmainham Gaol. Image Credit: National Monuments Service. Dept. of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Train station: Heuston (Commuter) | Tram stop: Heuston (Luas Red Line)

Kilmainham is a place to visit if you are interested in modern art or Irish history.

The Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) is located in the historical site of the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. It presents a wide variety of art in a changing programme of exhibitions, which includes bodies of work from its own collection and its education and community department. You can check out the latest exhibitions here.

Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison where many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising, were imprisoned and executed — it witnessed some of the most important events in modern Irish history. Entrance to Kilmainham Gaol is by guided tour, and is managed through timed tickets (advance booking online is essential to guarantee entry). You can find out more about Kilmainham Gaol here.

While you’re in the area, you can also take a walk around the War Memorial Gardens, which are dedicated to the memory of the 49,400 Irish soldiers who died in World War I.

The Kilmainham area is near Heuston Station, which is served by both trains (Commuter services) and trams (Luas Red Line). The Irish Museum of Modern Art is about a 10 minute walk from Heuston station; Kilmainham Gaol is a 15 minute walk away; and the War Memorial Gardens 17 minutes.

10. Explore Phoenix Park

Train station: Heuston (Commuter) or Ashtown (Commuter) | Tram stop: Heuston

Deer at Phoenix Park

The Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe — there’s 1750 acres of it to enjoy. It’s home to several stately homes, Dublin Zoo, playgrounds, historic tea rooms and quite a lot of deer.

You can enjoy a wide range of activities in Phoenix Park including cycling (you can rent bikes in the park); segway tours; walking; and orienteering. For full details check out the Phoenix Park website.

Heuston station is a 7 minute walk from Phoenix Park and is served by both trains (Commuter) and trams (Luas Red Line). You can also travel by train to Ashtown station (Commuter services stop there), but if you’re planning on going to the bike hire location or the zoo, Heuston Station is a better bet as it’s nearer to both.

Hope you enjoy your time in Dublin — and if you find these tips helpful, do share! And remember that our Dublin rail map shows you where all the stations and stops listed above are located, along with other useful travel information.