7 Top Outdoor Activities in Dublin

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Doing a few outdoor activities in Dublin is a must when visiting this Irish city. While the weather can be chilly and rainy for much of the year, it’s lush, green, and beautiful! 

And visiting during the summer months gives you a chance to experience warm weather and all the outdoor attractions that Dublin has to offer. While the parks and outdoor activities are open all year round, they are much more enjoyable if you’re visiting when there is sunshine. 

I visited Dublin in August so I had the chance to visit the green spaces all around the city. I also spend a few days hiking and touring Wicklow Mountains National Park, a popular day trip from Dublin. 

Wondering what the top outdoor activities in Dublin are? This guide has all the best things to do as well as some hotel and restaurant recommendations to help you make the most out of your time in the area. 

outdoor activities dublin

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Take a Walking Tour 

Walking tours are the best way to explore Dublin. Knowing which places to visit in a new city can be difficult, especially in large towns like Dublin. On a walking tour, you’ll have a local guide take you around the city and point out all the best places to visit. It’s a great way to orient yourself to a new city as well!

Walking tours also usually include some tips on where to eat and drink around Dublin. You’ll also learn some history about the city as the guide will discuss all the historical sites like Dublin Castle and Trinity College. This secret food tour looks amazing and this traditional Irish food tour is quite popular!

You can also choose a walking tour that focuses on a topic you’re interested in. Most European cities like Dublin have choices for food walking tours, history tours, art walks, and many others. 

If you’re traveling solo, a walking tour is also an easy way to meet other travelers that you can connect with later. 

temple bar district, walking tour, people walking through temple bar, temple bar

Visit Dun Laoghaire 

Dun Laoghaire is about a 40-minute drive from Dublin. It’s one of the best things to do in Dublin outdoors since the city is small and walkable. Many Dublin locals head to Dun Laoghaire when the weather is nice for some outdoor shopping and dining. 

Try to visit on a Sunday so you can shop at the local farmers’ market. They have everything from artisan cheeses to gluten-free treats to freshly squeezed juices. 

Dun Laoghaire is a perfect outdoor destination because it’s a seaside town. You can grab a few things from the market and then walk on the beach or have a picnic by the water. 

The city is also well known for its beach pier, where locals frequent to buy some ice cream on hot days. 

If you don’t have a rental car, you can travel from Dublin to Dun Laoghaire by train or bus. The train journey goes along the coast with amazing views of the sea. It also only takes about 25 minutes and leaves from Connolly Station in Dublin. 

boats at the harbor, things to do in dublin outdoors

Hike in Wicklow Mountains National Park 

You can reach the Wicklow Mountains in about 20 minutes from Dublin if you’re driving or about 30-45 minutes if you take the bus. There are many outdoor things to do in Dublin, and visiting Wicklow Mountains National Park is at the top of the list. 

During the warmer months, the scenic spots in the mountains are covered in beautiful flowers. You can also hike through several mountain trails to see more plants and wildlife. 

Book a tour to see the best of Wicklow so the guide can show you all the best spots. If you rented a car and are driving yourself, here are some of the best places to see: 

  • Sally Gap: Easily one of the best photo ops in the park with stunning mountains and flower fields 
  • Lough Tay: A beautiful lake surrounded by mountains that you can either see from the car park or you can take a short hike to get closer to the lake 
  • Lough Ouler: You can get to this heart-shaped lake by taking a short hike from Turlough Hill 
  • Sugarloaf Walk: An easy hike where you can see Dublin city from the top 

Tour the City on a Bike 

Bike tours often cover more of the city than a walking tour since you can navigate around the city quicker while cycling. You can still take a bike tour even if you aren’t a confident biker. Most bike tours know that their clients are tourists, so they will take you down back roads or less busy parts of the city to avoid traffic. 

Bike tours are meant to be easygoing, so you also don’t need to be super physically fit. You can visit all the historical sites in the city and learn about the best places to visit. You’ll see popular spots like the River Liffey and the Ha’Penny Bridge. 

Most biking tour companies provide a helmet and rain jacket as well as the bike, so you don’t have to worry about safety. 

bridge over river liffey, outdoor family activities dublin

Wakeboard in County Meath 

Just 45 minutes from Dublin city center, County Meath is the number one place in Ireland for watersports. Wake’n’Ski is a perfect place to get your heart pumping, whether you’re a beginner or expert wakeboarder, water skier, or swimmer. 

You can either board or ski as an individual or as a group. If you have older children, this is one of the best outdoor family activities in the Dublin area. 

All of the equipment is provided, including wet suits and life vests. So all you need to do is show up and have fun. 

If you’re visiting Dublin in the summer of 2023 or after, you can go wakeboarding right by the Grand Canal Dock at WakeDock. They’re reopening after being closed for renovations. They have lessons for first-timers as well as lessons for families. 

Wake’n’Ski is located at Arodstown, Summerhill, Co. Meath, A83 RF76, Ireland. They’re open every day from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Prices vary depending on the activity and the number of people you have. Make sure to check their website and make reservations. 

man wakeboarding, explore dublin

Tour the Temple Bar District 

Visiting pubs while in Dublin is a must. Temple Bar District has some of the best choices both for locals and tourists. It also has some of the best outdoor dining in Dublin since the best Irish food can be found in pubs! 

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You can grab a pint of Guinness and listen to live Irish music any day of the week. How perfect is that? 

The most highly rated pubs are the famous Temple Bar or The Auld Dubliner. Check out my full guide to the best pubs in Dublin for more recommendations all around the city. 

Shop on Grafton Street 

The best outdoor shops in Dublin are on Grafton Street. Most of the shops are well-known stores like North Face or Ray-Ban. However, you’ll be able to find locally-owned shops mixed in as well. 

Grafton Street is also filled with bars and restaurants. Most of the restaurants offer international cuisine, making it a perfect choice for those who are tired of Irish food. You can get a burger at Gourmet Burget Kitchen or visit Chopped for fresh salads and healthy food. 

people walking through grafton street, outdoor shops dublin

How to Get to Dublin

Dublin has an international airport (DUB) with daily flights from around the world. However, Dublin’s airport is much smaller than airports in London and Paris. You might find a much cheaper flight to one of Europe’s larger airports, and then you can connect to Dublin. 

If you’re already in Europe, flights are very cheap with Ryanair and Easy Jet. I found flights for as low as 30 Euro ($30 USD) roundtrip from Paris to Dublin. 

How to Get Around Dublin

Dublin is very walkable. Many of the main attractions are close enough to each other that you only need to walk 20 minutes or less. Dublin also has a bus and tram system to help you get around the city. 

If you’re visiting Wicklow Mountains National Park, consider renting a car or booking a tour. You can take a bus to the outskirts of the park, but it will be hard to get to the different hiking routes and scenic spots without a car to drive yourself around. 

dublin outdoor activities

When to Visit Dublin 

Dublin weather can be chilly even in the summer, but for the warmest months to visit Dublin, make sure to go between May and August. In August, the weather can already resemble autumn. I wore pants, a jacket, and a thin scarf when visiting in August. 

The weather is comfortable enough to be outside in the summer as long as you have light layers to wear. If you want to wear shorts or spend time in the water, try and visit in June and July. 

Keep in mind that it will rain in the afternoon during the summer, so plan your activities around the afternoon hours. 

Best Places to Stay in Dublin

Budget—DCU Rooms Glasnevin: Stay here to be close to both Dublin Castle and the Guinness Storehouse. They have a nice pool where you can relax when the weather is warm. They also have a restaurant and gym on-site. 

Mid-range—Camden Court Hotel: This hotel is less than a 10-minute walk from some amazing outdoor activities, including St. Stephen’s Green and Iveagh Gardens. They have a heated pool with a jacuzzi and an on-site restaurant with terrace seating. 

Luxury—The Dylan Hotel: This hotel is only a 3-minute walk from the Grand Canal. Upgrade to one of the suites so you can have an outdoor terrace with seating. All the rooms have free WIFI and minibars. 

georgian doors in dublin, red door, green door, things to do in dublin outdoors

Best Restaurants in Dublin

Layla’s Rooftop Restaurant has rooftop seating with great views of the city. If you’re visiting when the weather is a little cooler, you can still sit outside on the patio next to one of the heaters. They’re open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as brunch on the weekends. 

Fade Street Social Restaurant & Social Bar only uses fresh local produce and meat. They have a beautiful outdoor terrace that’s open during the warm months and is covered and has heaters during the colder months. Try the truffle cheese flatbread or the roasted belly pork. 

Drury Buildings is one of the top spots frequented by locals when the weather is nice. They have a huge outdoor dining area. They also have a cocktail bar outside where you can sit in the garden and have a few drinks. 

Don’t Skip the Best Dublin Outdoor Activities!

Don’t visit Ireland without doing some of the best Dublin outdoor activities! You can go pub hopping or go hiking through the Wicklow Mountains. The city and surrounding areas have endless choices for outdoor attractions. 

When visiting during the summer months, you’ll have more enjoyable weather for things like wakeboarding or hiking. You can also spend time shopping on Grafton street or exploring the city on a walking tour. 

Have you been to Dublin? What was your favorite outdoor activity?

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