7 authentic dublin activities for saint patrick's day

Last updated Jun 04, 2023

Kiss me, I’m Irish! Yes, Saint Patrick’s Day is fast approaching (March 17th), and celebrating it in the Irish capital tops bucket lists the world over.

If you’re visiting Dublin this Paddy’s Day, you’re probably planning on hitting the St Patrick's Festival Parade, drowning the shamrock in Temple Bar, and visiting Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.  Any why not? These activities are all worthwhile. All the information you need for the St Patrick's Day Festival can be found on the official website.

If you’re in town for more than a day or two and are looking for an authentic Irish experience, we've curated a fantastic itinerary below.

1. gaa: gaelic football and hurling

GAA stands for the Gaelic Athletic Association, which is Ireland’s largest sporting organisation, and promotes indigenous Irish sports, also known as Gaelic games. Saint Patrick’s Day weekend is big for the GAA calendar for Gaelic football and hurling. Games will be full of atmosphere and give you a proper taste of real Irish life. Get your tickets online on the official GAA website, or watch them from a barstool over a few pints of porter and a toastie.


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Our favorite Dublin GAA pubs include:

You can also tour Ireland's national stadium Croke Park. This historical stadium has been at the centre of Irish sporting for over 100 years! Book your tour in advance online.


2. visit the liberties

The Liberties is one of Dublin’s oldest, most colourful, characterful, vibrant and dynamic districts. Nowhere else in Dublin does history meet modernity like in the Liberties, with historic sites such as the Guinness Storehouse sitting alongside modern cafes. And for a day’s shopping and browsing far removed from the usual tourist trail, the Liberties is where it’s at. You’ve got the art galleries, antique and vintage stores of Francis Street, the markets of Meath Street, and all kinds of everything on Thomas Street. A day in our beloved Liberties is a day so very well spent. 


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Our favorite spots in the Liberties include:


3. traditional irish music in smithfield

The Cobblestone (which calls itself “a drinking pub with a music problem”) is one of Dublin’s best venues for trad music, with some of Ireland’s finest trad musicians leading sessions here seven days a week. Pop in any time and you’ll find something going on in this relaxed and welcoming pub that serves an excellent pint of Guinness.  Its location is worth exploring too. There’s plenty to see and do in Smithfield, which is home to popular attractions including the Old Jameson Distillery, St Michan’s Church and the National Museum of Ireland-Decorative Arts & History at Collins Barracks.


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Our favorite spots in the Smithfield include:


4. explore dublin's the iveagh gardens

Dublin is blessed with beautiful parks, most notably Saint Stephen’s Green Park, Merrion Square and Phoenix Park. But a lesser-known park is the Iveagh Gardens. Known locally as ‘Dublin’s Secret Garden’ and dating back over 300 years, the Iveagh Gardens began as an earl’s lawn, and has since become an impressive park with features such as a yew maze, rosarium and fountains. And despite being in the heart of the city, it’s extremely still and quiet. You’ll spot many local workers taking time out here. And if all the Saint Patrick’s Day madness is proving too much for you, you should too. Even just 10 minutes soaking up its beauty and serenity is enough to restore equilibrium.


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Our favorite Dublin parks include:


5. day trip to bray

We adore the seaside town of Bray. And while it's in county Wicklow, it makes for a really short and easy day trip from Dublin, and is therefore more than worthy of a place on our list. The adventurous should start early and get the DART to Greystones (if you’re staying in the city centre, go from Connolly, Tara Street, or Pearse station). This train journey has beautiful views of Dublin’s coast, especially around Dalkey and Killiney.

From Greystones (itself a gem of a village that’s worth your time too) walk Bray Head to Bray. This also affords stunning views, and at 7km long, takes about 2.5 hours. The less adventurous (or those with small kids) can get the DART straight to Bray. Once there, just enjoy its simple pleasures. Get a takeaway fish and chips, perch yourself on the wall of the beach, munch, chat, skim pebbles and look out to sea. Next grab a 99, stroll the promenade, and drink in all the charm and fading Georgian grandeur. And last but by no means least, round your day trip off with a drink in one of Bray's delightful pubs.


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Our favorite spots in the Bray include:

  • Bray Promenade: Bray, Co. Wicklow, A98 N8N3

  • Bray Beach: Bray, Co. Wicklow, A98 N8N3

  • The Harbour Bar: 1 Strand Rd, Ravenswell, Bray, Co. Wicklow, A98 D308


6. stroll the great south wall

One of Dublin’s best kept secrets, this bracing and beautiful pier walk brings you right out to the centre of Dublin Bay, and features the picture postcard Poolbeg Lighthouse at the end. Don’t be put off by the less than pretty journey to it, which brings you through some rather bleak industrial land. Your destination is more than worth it. Indeed, you may even be lucky enough to spot some porpoises and seals along the walk. Occasionally there’s a catering truck at the start of the pier too, playing music and serving snacks and drinks, including hot ports and hot whiskeys. After completing the 8km return journey, you’ll have more than earned yourself a treat or two.


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7. the irish village barnacullia and the blue light pub

The Blue Light pub, which is 300-years-old, is situated in Barnacullia, a charming village in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains. While it’s best known for its spectacular views of Dublin Bay (on a clear day you can see Wales), they’re not the only draw. There’s also the ‘craic’, AKA fun (you’ll find yourself instantly mixing with the motley crowd of friendly locals, hikers, cyclists and motorcyclists here), the music (there's live tunes seven nights a week, and a piano gifted from U2, who used to gig here in the late 70s), and more recently, the pizza from their on-site pizzeria! The best way to get here is by adventuring through the woods from nearby Stepaside, which you can reach on the 44 bus from Dublin’s city centre.


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Lá fhéile Pádraig sona daoibh!

Travelling to Dublin this Saint Patrick’s Day? Then stay green and stay with Dublin-born Staycity at one of our six city centre locations. Find out more and book your stay here!