Winter is a great time to visit Dublin. The weather might be chilly but there’s plenty to keep you busy, including seasonal festivals and events. Enjoy crowd-free sightseeing, cosy Irish pubs and festive Christmas markets. If you’re lucky, you might even get some snow.
Here are our top picks for things to do over winter in Dublin…
Visit the Guinness Storehouse
There’s no better (and more traditional) way to warm up in Dublin than with a pint of Guinness. Visit the famous Guinness Storehouse and you’ll learn all about how the black stuff is made before savouring a proper pint. You’ll be taken on a tour through a multimedia exhibition which details every single part of the process – from the Wicklow Mountain water that’s pumped into the brewery to the casks that transport the finished product. You can smell each ingredient that gives Guinness its unique flavour, and even learn how to pour the perfect pint. The tour finishes in the 360-degree Gravity Bar where you’ll enjoy a pint of freshly-brewed Guinness along with views over the whole city.
Tour the sights
Dublin’s must-see historic attractions are mostly indoors, so no amount of rain or cold weather will stop you from doing your sightseeing. There’s Trinity College Dublin where you’ll be able to see the treasured Book of Kells and tour the Old Library. The stunning 18th century university is where Bram Stoker, Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett studied. There’s also the Kilmainham Gaol which housed prisoners during the Irish War of Independence. And, the National Museum of Ireland where you’ll learn all about Irish history and culture, and see archeological treasures like the Ardagh Chalice and the Tara Brooch. The queues are shorter during the winter months, so it’s a great time to tick off several attractions in one short trip. Hop on a bus tour and we'll transport you to all the key sights of Dublin.
Duck into a cosy pub
You can’t visit Dublin without spending some time in the city’s iconic pubs or visiting Temple Bar. Cosy up with some hot whisky, experience that famous Irish hospitality and enjoy the traditional folk music and live bands. Dublin’s oldest pub is the Brazen Head which was established in 1198 and frequently visited by loads of historical figures like Robert Emmet, Jonathan Swift and James Joyce. This lively pub usually has a band playing to entertain customers. You’ve also got Mulligan’s which was established in 1854 and visited by John F. Kennedy, and The Stag’s Head which has featured in a few films and TV shows including Penny Dreadful and Educating Rita.
Click here for our other top bar and pub recommendations.
Browse the Christmas markets
The city’s Christmas lights are switched on around the end of November, so you can soak up the festive atmosphere for the whole month leading up to Christmas. And, there are plenty of craft and food markets where you can pick up trinkets and gifts, and enjoy a hot chocolate or mulled wine. There’s the Christmas Bazaar Market just off Smithfield Square, one of Dublin’s biggest indoor markets with over 100 stalls. You’ve also got the Dublin Christmas Flea Market in Pointe Square, and the Alternative Christmas Market where you’ll find loads of quirky gifts and unusual artwork.
Join in the revelry
Visiting Dublin over New Year’s Eve? The New Year’s Festival takes over the whole city for 2 days. Street performers, magicians and stuntmen entertain the crowds of partygoers, and there’s a huge concert with Irish popstars doing the official countdown.
Or, if you’re planning on visiting Dublin at the end of January, head to TradFest where you can enjoy performances of traditional Irish music. The festival is mostly free to attend, and shows are spread across various venues in the city featuring some of the biggest names in folk music.
And finally, if you’re planning your visit for March, join in the world-famous St Patrick Day celebrations in Dublin. The festivities go on for several days around the official March 17th date, and over 100,000 people join in this immense street party. There’s a St Patrick’s Day Parade for everyone to enjoy plus plenty of parties and celebrations going on in pubs and venues across the city.
Pick winter for your Dublin escape and you’ll enjoy the magical festive atmosphere, seasonal celebrations, and some crowd-free sightseeing. Don’t forget to keep warm in the city’s traditional pubs too. And if you're travelling with the kids in tow, check out our Things to do in Dublin with Kids guide.