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1. NATIONAL MUSEUM OF IRELAND (all locations)
The National Museum of Ireland is government owned and consists of 4 different museums: Archaeology, Decorative Arts & History, Country Life, and Natural History. All, except Country Life, are located in Dublin's city centre. Country Life is in a more remote area in Co. Mayo. They are all closed on Mondays, but open all other days including weekends (hours may vary museum to museum), and best of all, FREE.
2. THE SCIENCE GALLERY
This gallery is for science lovers and not. They have rotating exhibitions (check their site for information on their current one) as well as events such as workshops. The gallery is located in one of the Trinity College Dublin buildings, so it's central and you can explore the campus before or after your visit.
3. IRISH MUSEUM OF MODERN ART
This is one my favourite places on this list because of the history of its buildings and that there is a massive and beautiful garden. The museum is housed in the Royal Kilmainham Hospital, built in the 17th century. I'm not a fan of modern art, and if you feel the same, I would recommend you still go for the architecture. It's completely worth it. Plus, it's near Kilmainham Gaol though there is an entrance fee for that.
4. PHOENIX PARK
Would you believe me if I told you that Phoenix Park, created in 1662, is bigger than Central Park and is one of the largest in a European capital city? Well you should because it is all true! The park has many features including a visitor centre, Dublin Zoo, monuments, Deerfield Residence (home to the United States ambassador to Ireland), Magazine Fort, Áras an Uachtaráin (official residence of the Irish President), a military cemetery, football club, and so much more! It's also home to a herd of deers, which you can spot if you are lucky. There's nothing short to do in Phoenix Park, and I would recommend dedicating a whole day to it...unless it's raining. It is Ireland after all.
5. CITY HALL
Looking to learn more about Dublin's civic history? Then City Hall is the best place to go. By City Hall I mean the old building on Dame Street, and not the new one where Dublin City Council is currently based. This 18th century building, which was used as a garrison for the Irish Citizen Army in 1916, is perfect for history and architecture lovers. They sometimes have exhibits, but a visit for the architecture is worth it.
6. THE CHESTER BEATTY LIBRARY
The Chester Beatty Library is located right next to Dublin Castle and in the heart of the city centre. The library has a few different exhibitions that contain artifacts from Chester Beatty's private collection. These include numerous books, prints, and images from all over the world such as China, Japan, India, and England. The library also hosts numerous workshops for children, which are mostly free. Keep in mind that they have a no-photography policy as these artifacts are fragile and sensitive to light, but feel free to take lots of pictures of the building from the outside or in the main hall.
Chester Beatty Library - Photo credit: Trip Advisor
7. HUGH LANE GALLERY
Hugh Lane Gallery has an incredible history starting with Sir Hugh Lane, who first opened the Gallery. Today the Gallery exhibits modern and contemporary Irish art, and includes Francis Bacon's studio and archive. Nearby is the Garden of Remembrance dedicated to those who gave their lives for Irish Freedom.
8. GREAT SOUTH WALL
The best thing about the Great South Wall walk is that it is close to the city centre and offers a relaxing walk with wonderful views. At the end of the wall is Poolbeg Lighthouse. From the beginning of the South Wall, it is about 30-45 minutes (4km) walk to the lighthouse and all along the way you have great views of Dublin Bay.
9. GALLERY OF PHOTOGRAPHY
This contemporary photography gallery is located in Temple Bar and completely free to visit, though donations are welcome. It's a not-for-profit organization and is in a very sleek looking modern building. It's open 7 days a week and their exhibitions change often, so make sure to check their website to see what they have on now.
10. DUBLIN MOUNTAINS
If you're looking for an outdoorsy adventure, I'd suggest heading out to the Dublin Mountains where there are plenty of hiking and mountain biking trails. Not to mention the incredible views you get from the top! The mountains are accessible through several points, and the best way to get there is by car. But there are a few buses that go by some points, and all this information is on their website. There are also guided walks if you prefer to do that.
Photo credit: Visit Dublin