The capital of the Emerald Isle, Dublin, Ireland, is known for many things. With whimsical museums along with national treasures like the National Museum of Ireland, stunning historical monuments, the lively nightlife district of Temple Bar, and the beautiful Irish countryside that surrounds the city, it's a lot harder to come up with reasons not to visit than it is to find things to do here.
However, another thing you'll find plenty of in Dublin is rain. The city gets a solid 271 days of rain each year, so even if you visit in the height of summer, don't be surprised if you encounter a rainy day in Dublin. As the Irish like to say, it only rains in Dublin twice a week. Once for three days, and the second time for four days.
Luckily, Dublin has a truly impressive range of indoor attractions that are well worth visiting in rain or shine. Some of the best things to do in Dublin can be done with a roof over your head, so there's no excuse to let bad weather ruin your fun. Drop off your bags at a luggage locker in Dublin and try some of these activities for a rainy day. Chances are you'll forget all about bad weather very quickly.
National Museum of Ireland
The National Museum of Ireland is actually several museums rolled into one. With four different sites around Dublin, it's one of the most comprehensive collections of Irish history and culture in the world. The Natural History Museum - known locally as the Dead Zoo - the Decorative Arts and History Museum, the Archaeology Museum, and the Country Life Museum are all located in different parts of Dublin, so you can easily spend a whole day exploring them all. By themselves, these are some of the best museums in Dublin. Together, they represent an astonishing cultural treasure and form the biggest and arguably best Irish museum there is.
What you'll get in these museums is an astounding sense of the depth and richness of Irish culture and history. From the ancient bog bodies from the prehistoric past that famously inspired Irish Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney to the crowd-pleasing exhibits of ancient animals in the Natural History Museum, you could easily spend more than a single rainy day enjoying everything the museums has to offer. You'll need more than a few hours to appreciate everything there is on display here, and even if you're not a huge fan of museums, there's so much on offer that you're bound to find something that interests you.
Christ Church Cathedral
If you want to get a sense of Dublin's Viking past, then a visit to Christ Church Cathedral is a must. Founded in 1038, this was the site of the very first Viking settlement in Dublin, and today it's one of the city's most popular tourist attractions. Christ Church Cathedral is located in the heart of Dublin's historic centre, so it's easy to get to, and once you're inside you can enjoy some truly stunning architecture. The cathedral also has an impressive crypt that's well worth exploring, and if you want to get a bird's eye view of the city then you can climb the tower for just €6.
Trinity College Library
The Long Room in Trinity College Library is one of the most iconic places in Dublin, and it's well worth a visit even if you're not particularly interested in books. The library is home to over 200,000 of them, including the world-famous Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript from the 9th century. The Long Room itself is an incredible sight, with its soaring ceilings and rows upon rows of ancient texts. Even if you're not a bookworm, this is a place that's well worth visiting. Few activities turn a miserable day around like curling up with a good book, and there is no better place to do that than in one of the most beautiful libraries in the world.
Dublin Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city, and it's easy to see why. The castle has a rich history, dating back to the 13th century, and today it's one of the most important cultural institutions in Dublin. The castle is home to a number of museums and art galleries, as well as beautiful gardens. Even if you don't spend long exploring the castle itself, it's worth visiting just to walk around the grounds.
Chester Beatty Library
Located on the grounds of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Library is an award-winning facility that is recognized as one of the best museums in all of Europe, let alone Ireland. The library is home to an incredible collection of manuscripts, paintings, and books, all of which are displayed in a beautiful setting. The Chester Beatty Library is the perfect place to spend a few hours on a rainy day, and it's sure to leave you with a greater appreciation for the history and culture of Ireland and the rest of the world, since the collection here brings together books and manuscripts from around the globe.
EPIC Irish Emigration Museum
Ireland is practically unique among European countries in having a population smaller today than it was 200 years ago. The reasons for that are complex, and if you've visited the National Museum, you'll have a better understanding of why. But emigration has been a major factor in Irish culture for centuries, and you can learn more about it at the Irish Emigration Museum.
The Irish diaspora has been a major force in the history of the world, shaping the culture and identity of countries like the United States, Australia, the UK, Canada, and others. As well as the causes of Irish emigration, you'll learn more about this international community, and you'll even be able to do a little genealogical research to discover your own Irish roots.
Few countries are as inextricably associated with a single product as Ireland is with Guinness. This iconic beverage has become a symbol of the country throughout the world, and there's no better place to learn about its history than at the Guinness Storehouse.
The storehouse is located in Dublin's historic St. James's Gate Brewery, and it's easy to get to from the city centre. The tour takes you through the history of Guinness, from its humble beginnings as a local brew to its present-day status as a global icon. You'll also get to enjoy a pint of the black stuff in the Gravity Bar, which has stunning 360-degree views of Dublin city.
Of course, Guinness isn't Ireland's only iconic drink. The Irish claim to have invented whiskey, and while Scotland may have a thing or two to say about that, there's no disputing that Dublin brand Jameson is one of the most popular in the world.
You can learn all about the history of Jameson and Irish whiskey at the Jameson Distillery, which is located just a short walk from Dublin city centre. The tour of the whiskey distillery takes you through the process of whiskey-making, from start to finish, and you'll even get to enjoy a complimentary drink at the end.
National Leprechaun Museum
One thing you can't accuse the Irish of is taking themselves too seriously. That's why, among so many distinguished museums in the capital city, you'll also find this Irish museum dedicated to the folklore of the leprechaun.
The National Leprechaun Museum is the perfect place to take the kids on a rainy day, and even if you're not a child yourself, you're sure to enjoy the light-hearted approach to Irish culture. You'll learn about the origins of the leprechaun myth, as well as some of the popular stories and folklore that have grown up around these magical creatures.
National Gallery of Ireland
The National Gallery of Ireland is one of the best art museums in the country, and it's the perfect place to spend a few hours on a rainy day. The gallery has an extensive collection of Irish and international art, spanning a wide range of genres and styles.
You'll find everything from early Renaissance paintings to contemporary sculptures, and you can even take a tour of the gallery to learn more about the individual works of art on display. If you're an art lover, or even if you just appreciate beauty, the National Gallery is sure to impress.
Much of Irish history has been shaped by its relationship with neighboring Britain. You can learn more about the struggle for the freedom of the Emerald Isle at Kilmainham Gaol.
This former prison is now a museum, and it's one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dublin. The Kilmainham Gaol tour takes you through the history of the prison, from its origins as a British penal colony to its role in the Irish independence movement. You'll also learn about some of the famous prisoners who were held here, including leaders of the Easter Rising of 1916. It's a story of heroism that has more than a few dark patches, but it's important to understand this turbulent history to get a better sense of why Ireland is the way it is today.
Literary Pub Crawl
For a small country, Ireland punches well above its weight when it comes to international literature. Some of the greatest writers in the English language, including James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, and Samuel Beckett, were Irish.
If you want to learn more about Dublin's literary history, there's no better way than to go on a Literary Pub Crawl. This popular tour takes you to some of the city's most historic pubs, while also regaling you with stories of the great writers who once drank in these very same establishments.
It's a fun and informative way to spend an evening, and it's the perfect activity for book lovers.
Little Museum of Dublin
Dublin has a long and rich history, dating all the way back to the 9th century. You can learn all about it at the Little Museum of Dublin, which is devoted to telling the story of the city through artifacts, photographs, and personal accounts.
The museum covers everything from Dublin's Viking past to its more recent role as a capital city, and you'll get a real sense of what life in Dublin has been like throughout the centuries. The Little Museum is one of the best museums in the city, and it's well worth a visit on a rainy day.
Go to the pub
If all else fails on a rainy day, there's nothing quite like the atmosphere of a genuine Irish pub. In fact, this atmosphere is so celebrated that there's barely a country in the world that doesn't have imitation Irish pubs. If you want to experience the real thing, there are few better places to do it than in Dublin on a rainy day. Head to the Temple Bar district to enjoy Ireland's premier nightlife spot, or just visit a quiet local establishment for a relaxing drink. Wherever you go, you're likely to encounter warm hospitality, a great selection of food and drink, and probably some live Irish music, too.
There's so much to do in Dublin that you may find yourself longing for a rainy day. After all, Dubliners know the kind of weather this city gives them, and so most of the city's top tourist attractions are completely indoor. A rainy day in Dublin is the perfect time to explore Irish history and culture or just sample some delicious food and drink while you soak up the atmosphere. However you choose to spend your rainy day in Dublin, you won't regret a single moment, no matter what the weather decides to do to you.