10 Unmissable Things To Do In Dublin At Night
The one unmissable thing to do at night in Dublin is go out in search of the craic. Thankfully, that's not as bad as it might sound. Ask someone Irish where the craic is and they'll more than likely point you in the right direction as the Irish can be quite friendly like that. They like everyone to have a good time when they're in Ireland and with all the amazing things there are to do in Dublin city centre, that's pretty much guaranteed.
So what's the craic? The craic means going out, having a good time, being entertained, meeting amusing people, and partying all night if that's what it takes, which it usually does. You'll know you've achieved it when you get back to your hotel in the early hours of the morning, look in the bathroom mirror at your haggard face, smile and say – that was a great craic.
The one thing you can't do is go out on the craic with your suitcases. If it's your last night in Ireland's capital city make sure you enjoy it properly, without having to worry about forgetting where you left your bags, and drop your stuff at one of Bounce's luggage storage facilities in Dublin. They'll be safe there and so long as you remember where you left them, you can pick them up on your way to Dublin airport.
So What Are The Best Things To Do At Night In Dublin City?
The Temple Bar is one of Dublin's most famous streets, is a part of Irish history, and is one of the best places to go at night in Dublin. If you're female, here's a tip – don't wear your best high heels as you'll either find yourself carrying them after you've been in one pub. Either the cobbled streets will have wrecked them in less than five minutes or you'll end up with a twisted ankle.
Temple Bar is lined with traditional Irish pubs, most of which have live music from early in the evening until late at night. If you're not sure if it's a traditional Irish pub , you'll know for sure when you hear the sound of a fiddle and a penny whistle.
One of the most famous pubs, and also frequently the most crowded inside and out, on Temple Bar is the Temple Bar Pub which has been inebriating locals and visitors since way back in 1840.
The Temple Bar Pub is also reputed to have the biggest collection of Irish whiskey in the country. Whether that is true or the owner kissed the Blarney Stone before boasting about his bottles, no-one knows for sure.
Ha'penny Bridge, Dublin's well-known landmark, is just a couple of minutes' walk from Temple Bar and as luck would have it, around the bridge area is where you can get some of the best street food in Dublin. That means you won't have far to go to grab a takeaway when you fall out of the pub door at midnight.
Big Bus Night Tour
While sitting on a bus may not seem like a fun thing to do at night in Dublin City, the Big Bus Panoramic Night Tour only lasts for an hour so there's plenty of time left for other activities when it's finished.
The bus tour has three different departure times which are seven in the evening, eight o'clock, and nine-thirty. All three follow the same loop route around Dublin City center where the most popular tourist attractions are, Temple Bar, St Stephen's Green, Grafton Street, Smithfields, and down to the docklands.
There's a pick-up point near Ha'penny Bridge, but don't forget partying on the upper deck is not allowed. For that, you have to wait until you get off.
Evening Walking Tour versus Pub Crawl?
Walking Tour Of Dublin
An evening walking tour of Dublin should never be confused with a pub crawl. They are two completely different things, but as things tend to go in Ireland it can happen that you end up in a pub on your walking tour.
Walking tours of Dublin at night are best done with a local guide. They'll let you in on all the craic, get you around the main attractions like the cathedral quickly and easily and make sure you get to have a rest in every other pub you pass on the route.
To be honest, pub crawls in Dublin are difficult things. Why? They usually don't happen as the first pub you go to will be so good, and have so much live Irish music all night, you won't want to leave until closing time.
You can try going for a Literary Pub Crawl where you drop in at the Dublin drinking holes of Ireland's most renowned writers like James Joyce and Oscar Wilde.
Make sure you take a notebook with you though because if inspiration strikes, guaranteed you'll have forgotten what you wanted to write by the time the tour is over.
St Patrick's Cathedral & Christ Church Cathedral
If you're praying to have a good night on the tiles in Dublin then the best thing to do is drop by St Patrick's Cathedral or Christ Church Cathedral for the evening service before you go out.
St Patrick's Cathedral
You may be surprised to find out that more people make a pilgrimage to St Patrick's Cathedral than they do the historic Guinness Storehouse or the Irish Whiskey Museum.
St Patrick's Cathedral is around eight centuries old and of course, dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland. Sadly, during the current times of Covid, the last service is at five thirty in the evening, but as it's dark in Ireland most of the time by then, it's still classed as a night activity.
If you arrive later than that, the best you can do is take some souvenir photos of the cathedral illuminated in emerald green.
Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral is the oldest out of the two cathedrals in Dublin by a good two hundred years. If you can't make it to St Pat's for evensong then the service at Christ Church starts half an hour later.
If you're there between Advent Sunday and Christmas Eve you can join the flock of knitted sheep that are strewn among the pews. If you're suffering from insomnia on a Saturday night and don't want to hit the Dublin nightlife in December or go jogging in Phoenix Park, counting the sheep while doing the Sheep Trail Pilgrimage is probably the most homeopathic cure you'll find.
Dublin Ghost Tours At Night
Any city with a history as long and diverse as Dublin has is going to have paranormal happenings somewhere - or at least that's what the psychics would lead you to believe. Go on a ghost tour of Dublin at night and you'll soon discover just how creepy it can be.
If you're nervous about things that go bump in the night or what might pop up from behind a gravestone in the dark, visit the Glasnevin Cemetery Museum during the day. It's a lot less scary.
For the brave, or foolhardy, there are some great ghost tours of Dublin and maybe a couple of the best are the Gravedigger Ghost Bus Tour and the Haunted History Tour. The added bonus to going on a ghost tour in the Irish capital is you'll know where the best places to stay in Dublin are and where to avoid in case you encounter an unwanted apparition at the end of your bed.
Gravedigger Ghost Bus Tour
Take the Gravedigger Ghost Bus Tour and you'll probably end up laughing as much as you do shrieking with fright. The bus departs just before eight at night from the College Green Tourist Office and follows a two-hour-long route, passing by some of the oldest buildings in Dublin.
The bus is wired with special effects like smoke machines and strobe lights so expect the show to start as soon as you set off. There are also two ghoulish actors narrating the trip who'll treat you to a street performance at the Kilmainham Jail stop, a body-snatching grand finale and of course, a drink in the Gravediggers Pub at the end of the tour.
Haunted History Tour
The Haunted History Walking Tour promises to take you to the gates of hell and back which could be a slight Irish exaggeration or then again, maybe not. They will take you to the St Audeon's area of the city though, which is nicknamed Hell for its past connections with the Hellfire Club, the burning of witches, and the murderous Dolocher figure who prowled the streets in the 18th century. It's certainly steeped in Irish history, and of the darker kind too.
The Haunted History Walking Tour is held on a Friday and Saturday night. The meeting point is in the small square on Dame Street, near Dublin Castle, where the guide will be waiting for you just before eight o'clock. The tour takes around an hour and a half after which you'll be so spooked you'll be ready to run through the door of the first Irish pub you find. With a bit of luck, there'll be some traditional Irish music playing or there'll be someone singing a few Irish folk ballads to take your mind off your goosebumps.
Dublin Whiskey Tours
Rather than look longingly at the bottles on display in the Irish Whiskey Museum, join a Dublin Whiskey Tour run by local tour guides and sample a few of the best Irish malts for yourself. They're some of the best night tours to do and definitely beat wandering up and down Grafton Street window shopping when everything is closed.
As Irish whiskey is pretty strong, most tours limit the tastings to five different whiskeys which you get to sip in three different pubs mostly located in the city centre.
Probably one of the big must-do's in Dublin is visiting the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street. The distillery is open to visitors until seven in the evening so not a bad place to start a night out at all.
Not only will you get to tour the distillery and see how whiskey is made, you'll have the opportunity to blend your own whiskey and watch a whiskey cocktail-making class. Even better is the fact you can take your own bottle and get it filled straight from the cask.
NB: If you're wearing well and look younger than your years, make sure to take some photo identification with you as all visitors to the distillery must be eighteen or over. Just a note of caution - you can get dizzy just breathing the air in the distillery. If after the tour you’re seeing a double version of Dublin Castle or can hear the strains of traditional Irish music, don’t be alarmed. It’s the Jameson effect which wears off pretty quickly when you’ve had some hearty Irish food.
Tip: If you're a keen photographer who wants to catch some shots of Dublin Castle at night when it's illuminated, it makes perfect Irish sense to do it before you go on a whiskey tour when you've still got a steady hand.
Abbey Theatre, Dublin
When you want to have a bit more of a sophisticated night out in Dublin then you should put the Abbey Theatre at the top of your to-do agenda. The theatre is on Lower Abbey Street which is around a ten-minute walk from Dublin Castle or a fifteen-minute bus ride from Phoenix Park.
The Abbey Theatre has been providing quality productions to entertain visitors and locals since 1904. Performances and events promoting Irish culture change periodically, so visit the official website to find out what's on during your stay in Dublin.
Kayak The River Liffey At Night
If you're not a party animal or just want a night off from being one, then one of the most exciting things you can do in Dublin is go kayaking down the River Liffey.
The evening kayaking tours set out from the Dublin City Moorings next to the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and you need to go prepared to paddle clothes-wise, so don't dress up in your best or it'll get wet.
You'll paddle down the Liffey for around two hours and in those two hours, you'll go right through the city center, under Ha'penny Bridge and the bridge that crosses O'Connell Street.
The good thing about going kayaking in Dublin at night is after you finish your arms will be too tired to lift a pint glass so you'll be more than ready for some Irish food, probably Irish stew if it was a chilly evening, followed by an early night.
So now you know what the craic is and where to find it in Dublin. All you have to do now is go out and experience it for yourself.