Dublin can be a great place to visit, and it’s also a big draw for work with foreigners because it has history and culture as well as all the modernness you could want. It’s a thriving metropolitan city and I loved going down there to visit a New Zealand friend when she lived there. She’s now back home raising her own family so we don’t get down so often now that we all have children. But there is a lot to do in Dublin with kids; here are ten fun things to keep the kids happy!
This post may contain affiliate links through which I may earn a small commission at no extra charge to you.
10 Things To Do In Dublin With Kids
Hop On Hop Off
Last autumn we all went on the Hop On Hop Off bus tour through Isango. It was a cold Sunday morning so not much was open around town but it was the perfect time to see the city from the upper deck of a big red bus! We learned about the city’s history and picked out the places we want to stop and explore on our next trip. If you would like to know more about this fun tour, you can read about our day here.
Grafton Street Entertainment
There’s always something happening on Grafton Street. One of my favourite Irish bands, Key West, had their start busking on Grafton Street (I have seen them twice busking in Belfast and this is how I came to know them). You will be guaranteed to see some music of some sort, I’ve also seen life-size sand sculpture competitions, an old Manx acquaintance and his brother performed there as the White Man and the Silver Man (statues that stay still unless you pay them – they didn’t even blink). Just look for the crowds standing in a circle and see what’s shakin’.
St Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green is always one of my stops when in Dublin. This is a historical green (park) that was deliberately included in the planning of the city. It is just over from Grafton Street, and much more peaceful. Take a picnic lunch with you and spread out a blanket on the lawns or sit on a bench and watch people pass by. There is always colour in the trees; the autumn leaves are spectacular and lasted so much longer than ours did up north last year. Spring blossoms must be amazing! Even in winter, there is plenty of green, too. Walk along the pathways and you’ll find some sculptures, a bridge crossing the pond, and you can spend some time watching the mallard ducks and mute swans. There’s also a playground for the children to burn off some extra energy while the parents relax.
I spent a good portion of a day in the Wax Museum years back. It was a very cold and very wet December day (I hope to visit Dublin again sometime on a dry and sunny summer day), and I needed something to do and stay warm at the same time. I had a good wander around the museum, which is the first and only time I’ve been to a wax museum anywhere. It was a different experience seeing life-like but waxy figures of people I ‘knew.’ They also had a movie playing for children. Since it was a weekday and there weren’t many visitors, I sat down and watched Shrek in its entirety as well.
This is on my must-do list of things to see in Dublin. I haven’t made it there myself yet as time just hasn’t allowed during our visits; but I wouldn’t mind taking a trip down to Dublin one day just to visit the National Leprechaun Museum. What does it have inside? Certainly it must be quite unique! I’ve been to fairie trees, and fairie springs, but not yet a Leprechaun museum. I’ll be sure to update you with the details when we do go.
I visited Dublinia years back while my Kiwi friend was at work. If your children have an interest in Vikings, then this is the place to go. They’ll find out lots about the history of Vikings as they made Dublin a stop on their route. Our children loved their Vikings Experience last year and I know they would love Dublinia.
I have heard many good things about Dublin Zoo from people who have visited it. I am a little leery, though as friends gave me good reports about Belfast Zoo and yet I was disappointed. Perhaps my exposure to Canadian zoos with much larger spaces and interesting enclosures has spoiled me. But if you haven’t been to Calgary Zoo, perhaps the Irish variety may be great. I haven’t checked this one out myself yet, but as I have heard that it’s a top place to go in Dublin, check it out and let me know what you think!
I was told about the Science Gallery by a fellow Canadian who is living in Dublin. We had this on our list of places to explore, but we ended up going to the Archaeology and History Museum instead. Also a part of the Science Gallery, is the MakeShop which holds workshops and teaches various real-life skills to builders from 4-104.
Archaeology and History Museum
We spotted the Archaeology Museum from our Hop on Hop Off tour and wandered over for a look before they closed for the day. Kallista wasn’t so keen to go in, but once she walked through the doors and saw all of the gold displays, she was hooked! We could have spent the whole day here as we had a tough time herding the children out at closing time. You will see displays of Egyptian mummies, Viking log boats, and more – and the building itself has amazing carvings and designs in the doors, floors, and ceilings!
Window Displays at Christmas
If you happen to be in Dublin over the Christmas period, then take a walk down O’Connell Street and look at the windows in the GPO (General Post Office). They will take you back in time. I’m just old enough that I can remember the window displays in major Canadian department stores; the ones with the moving characters! The GPO has saved some of these vintage displays and has them in their own windows so everyone can enjoy – and yes, they do still move!
Kilmainhem Gaol Museum
The Kilmainhem Gaol (Jail) is packed full of Irish history of a different sort. A running jail from 1796 to 1924, it holds the stories many wars, both international as well as close to home in the form of the Easter Uprising. I took a tour here back in 2003 and would like to take the children there to learn some of the stories that caused the division between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Being a prison, the stories can be somewhat gruesome in nature, but it’s also important to learn the truth of history so we do not repeat it.