8 Fun Things to Do in Dublin in Winter

In recent decades, Dublin has become a tourism powerhouse in Europe. The Irish capital welcomes about 10 million tourists every year, which is impressive when you consider only 6 million additional tourists visit Paris each year. Although you’ll enjoy warmer weather during the summer, you’ll also have to deal with Dublin’s peak tourism crowds. If you’re thinking of braving Ireland’s winter temps for some added privacy on your tour, check out this list of the best things to do in Dublin in winter.

1. Go to the Top of the Guinness Storehouse

Ever since 1759, the Guinness Brewery has been fermenting Ireland’s incredibly famous frothy drink. Nowadays, a visit to the Guinness Storehouse is on everyone’s list of things to do in Dublin in winter, spring, summer, and fall.

As you climb seven flights in this interactive storehouse, your tour guide will explain the long tradition behind the Guinness name. At the end of the tour, you’ll get to visit the famous Gravity Bar and take in panoramic views of Dublin with a complimentary pint. If you sleep in while in Dublin, don’t worry.

Although the Guinness Storehouse can get jam-packed in the summer, it’s nowhere near as busy in the wintertime. You’ll find this brewery in St. James Gate, just a short walk from Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

2. Visit During New Year’s Eve

If you don’t mind crowds, consider booking your tour of Dublin for the New Year’s Eve Festival. Festivities in Dublin begin on December 30th and last three entire days. In addition to parades, guests are treated to live concerts, dancing, and an incredible 3D light display in the days leading up to the big event.

For an authentic Irish experience, be sure to reserve a spot at Christ Church Cathedral to hear the church bells wish everyone a blessed New Year. Another great feature of visiting during New Year’s Eve is that all of Dublin’s museums that charge admission are discounted. For more specific information on Dublin’s New Year’s Festival, definitely check out the city’s official website.

Dublin During New Year's Eve

3. Enjoy Privacy with The Book Of Kells

The most treasured manuscript in all of Dublin is the official website. Christian monks completed this illustrated collection of the Four Gospels sometime around 800AD. Usually hundreds of tourists line up to see this text’s intricate artistry first-hand in the Trinity College Library.

Luckily for you, lines to visit the Book of Kells are far shorter in the wintertime. You won’t feel at all rushed as you take in this masterful manuscript for yourself. Anyone can pre-order tickets to see the Book of Kells on Trinity College’s website. Be sure to add a stop to the Trinity College Library to your things to do in Dublin in winter list.

The Book of Kells 800 AD

4. Warm Up with Local Comfort Food

Foodies will have no issues finding things to do in Dublin in winter. Whether you want pub grub or a fine dining experience, you should have no issues finding a restaurant to suit your needs in this city.

For hearty fare at a cheap price, try out cafés like Mochaland Café, Beanhive, and Gerry’s Coffee Shop.
People looking to splurge on fine dining should look into the names Dax Restaurant, Mulberry Garden, and The Pig’s Ear.

While Dublin doesn’t have as wide a selection of eateries as in London, you’ll find many great Far Eastern and Indian restaurants around, especially on South William Street. Whatever you decide to eat, you’ll feel all warm and cozy while eating in a Dublin restaurant.

Full Irish breakfast

5. Check Out the Wintertime Film and Rugby Festivals

Dubliners keep themselves entertained during the dark winter days by hosting exquisite festivals. The two most popular things to do in Dublin in winter include the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival and the Six Nations Rugby Competition, both of which take place in February. Movie buffs that gather at the Jameson Dublin Film Festival are treated to the latest and greatest in world cinema, with an obvious focus on Irish films.

For those out there more into sport than film, there’s nothing more exciting than taking in a Six Nations Rugby game. Locals go crazy for this historic match that pits Ireland against the members of the UK, France, and Italy.

People at the cinema during a film festival

6. Learn at the Little Museum of Dublin

Another way to warm up while in Dublin is to take in the city’s numerous museums. One museum that’s gained a great deal of attention from critics recently is the Little Museum of Dublin. So, what is the big deal about this little museum? Well, for starters, there are well over 5,000 impressive artifacts here to check out on three floors.

As guests visit the different interactive areas of this museum they’ll learn all about 20th century Dublin history. U2 fans will also find a special area here dedicated to Ireland’s favorite rock band. Now that word is out about this exceptional new museum, more tourists are adding it to their Ireland itinerary. It’s a great idea to add a stop to the Little Museum to your things to do in Dublin in winter list before it gets swamped with tourists.

The Little Museum of Dublin, Ireland

7. Try Your Luck in the Newgrange Lottery

The Newgrange Burial Ground is a huge Neolithic structure located in the Brú na Bóinne Archeological Park. Every year, park authorities hold a lottery that allows a select few visitors to watch the Winter Solstace sunrise from within this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

If you’ll be visiting Dublin between December 18th and 23rd, then you should test your luck and try to win a spot in this exclusive experience. Only ten winners, each of which can bring one guest, are allowed inside every day. You can apply for this contest either at the Brú na Bóinne Visitor’s Center or by email. Usually this lottery doesn’t begin til September and is drawn in October. Newgrange is only an hour’s drive from central Dublin.

Newgrange Burial Ground near Dublin

8. Cap Off Your Day in Dublin’s Pubs

Winter is a perfect time for pub-crawling in Dublin. There are at least 1,000 pubs in Ireland’s capital to explore, most of which offer sensational live musical performances. If you want to experience a historic Dublin pub, then keep the names The Brazen Head, Mulligans, and Kavanagh’s in mind. All of these pubs are some of the oldest and most respected establishments in the capital city.

Some of the popular pubs at the moment include Featherblade, Murray’s Pub, and The Brock Inn. Lastly, although it’s gotten touristy over the years, the Temple Bar is an exceptional place to sip on a Guinness and take in some music. By the way, be sure to wave to your family and friends back home at the Dublin Pub Earthcam outside Temple Bar!

the Temple Bar, Dublin

Summing Up

Before you book your flight to Dublin Airport, here are a few last things to keep in mind. Dublin temps tend to hover between 40°F and 30°F in the winter season, so dress accordingly.

While Dublin is generally considered an extremely safe city, locals can get a bit rowdy on weekend nights and a few muggings have been reported in dimly lit areas. As with most other places in the world, if you practice common sense safety, you have a fabulous time completing your list of things to do in Dublin in winter.

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