10 Free Things to Do In Ireland!
Posted by Ola Kosakowska on the 5th of November 2015 at 10:20:17
It's always good to know what free things you can do and see in Ireland and this post was really popular so we thought we'd share again! Vacationing in Ireland doesn’t have to be expensive as there are lots of things you can see and do that will cost your absolutely nothing!! Yippee! For a start there are lots of beaches and cliff walks you can follow, many towns have a heritage trail you can do as well and our national parks and museums are all free too! But where to start and what to pick?
To help you out and to inspire your Irish itinerary, here are some of my favorite free places in Ireland!
1. Chester Beatty Museum, Dublin City – situated in the grounds of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty holds an impressive collection of books and manuscripts ranging from 2,700BC to the present day. View intricately designed Qur’ans, scrolls from China’s Imperial Court and some of the earliest copies of the 4 gospels. Breath-taking and beautiful, you could literally spend hours wandering around this amazing museum. Afterwards, gather yourself in the gardens of Dublin castle – the site of the Black Pool or Dubh Linn – which gives Dublin her name!
2. Farmleigh (Phoenix Park) Dublin City – this fine Georgian house dates to the 18th century and was purchased by Edward Guinness - the great-grandson of Arthur Guinness in 1873. Edward extended the house around the old Georgian design and so the house has a rather unique medley of architectural styles from the Georgian period and Edwardian to the Victorian. Today, it is the official guest house of the Irish state where visiting dignitaries stay while visiting the country. All guided tours must be pre-booked and take place on Thursdays and Fridays- although they are liable to be cancelled due to a date visit or event, so always check first!
3. Belfast Botanic Gardens, Belfast City – these delightful gardens opened in 1828 and are an important part of Belfast’s Victorian era. It has an extensive Rose Garden - a vivid riot of color, the Palm House – with an array of tropical plants and seasonal displays and the Tropical Ravine with its orchid and banana plants. Beautifully maintained and popular with tourist and local alike, this should not be missed! And within its grounds be sure and pop into the Ulster Museum (for free) with its exhilarating collection of artifacts from around the world.
4. Holycross Abbey, Tipperary – is a restored Cistercian monastery situated along the River Suir just outside of Cahir in Tipperary. It was founded in 1168 and was later rebuilt in the 15th century before falling into ruin for several centuries, before eventually being restored again to its present edifice. It takes its name from a relic of the True Cross given by Isabella of Angoulême who wished to repay the monks for their kindness in giving her son a Christian burial after his murder in the local area. It was a place of pilgrimage for many years and has remained a special place in the hearts of the Irish people. There are very few places where you sit and ponder in the same spot that the monks of 8 centuries ago did – special and scared – you must visit!
5. Hill of Tara, Meath – one of Ireland’s most sacred sites and once the seat of Ireland’s ancient kings. So much of Ireland’s mythology, folklore and history stems from this ancient and important site. Today, it is difficult to fully comprehend the importance and revere that it once held as you see mounds of grassy earth dotting the site but each of them hold within them the secrets of the past and the huge structures hidden beneath. On a clear day, you can see almost a quarter of Ireland from this strategically built site. While entry to the site itself is free, there is a small fee for the adjacent heritage center. Impressive!
6. Glendalough, Wicklow – a personal favorite of mine – this site has drawn people for over 2,000 years. Peaceful and beautiful, it seems to calm the soul and inspire the spirit. There are numerous walks you can take around Glendalough and there is one to suit all capabilities or you can just wander around the monastic settlement founded in the 6th century by St. Kevin. This large and important monastic settlement developed into a quasi-city due to the large number of buildings within its confines from the Round Tower, to the churches of St. Mary and St. Kevin. There is no charge to walk around Glendalough and take in the quiet, but the Heritage Center is certainly worth a visit to as well (entry is a small fee) as it illuminates this bustling settlement and gives you a history of the area and the influence of Glendalough.
7. National Museum of Archaeology, Dublin City – has an array of wonderful artifacts dating from 7,000 BC to the 20th century. It first opened in 1890 and it is worth just popping in to admire the wonderful architecture of this aesthetically pleasing building. The collection has some 2 million artifacts – although not all on display. I particularly love the collections of Ireland’s Gold and Viking Ireland. A wonderful way to spend an afternoon and gain an insight into the Ireland of yesteryear!
8. Lewis Gluckman Gallery, Cork City – located with the University of Cork, this award winning art gallery promotes the creation, research and exploration of the visual arts. The building itself has won awards for its stunning architectural design and in it of its self is worth a visit to. There is a gorgeous riverside café within the gallery and with a constant evolving range of exhibitions to explore - no visit is the same! Modern and Avant garde – an exciting look at Ireland’s contemporary art.
9. Free Guided Walks of Galway's Medieval Treasures, Galway City - this wonderful guided tour takes you around Galway City’s medieval highlights such as Eyre Square, Lynch’s Castle and St. Nicholas' Collegiate Church. Every Tuesday and Thursday during the months of June to August, pick up the tour from Druid Lane and embark on a journey of discovery. A great way to discover the city’s hidden gems and to learn her long and exciting history too all in the competent hands of a great local guide – do not miss this tour!!
10. Killarney National Park – Kerry with over 24,700 acres of some of Ireland’s most beautiful landscapes – sweeping valleys, majestic mountains, gushing waterfalls and mirror like lakes – not to mention historic buildings and an abundance of wildlife - you could literally spend hours here enjoying the great natural beauty of this bewitching National Park.
Who says that you can’t get something for nothing?! From history and heritage to dramatic landscapes and exhilarating walks – enjoy some of Ireland’s best bits for nothing! Custom Make your tour with us and include some of these great FREE attractions into your itinerary!
And if you liked this have a look at Free Things to do in Dublin!