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Top 10 free things to do in Dublin

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From Iron Age bog bodies to spiritual singing, Dublin’s free attractions are inspirational. Book a hotel in Dublin and read this insider’s guide to make your euros stretch further.

Bog bodies at the National Museum

These amazingly preserved Iron Age “bog bodies”, discovered in 2003, are in pretty good shape. You can even see the leather bracelet with a Celtic ornament on one shrivelled arm. Check out the museum’s Viking relics discovered around Dublin.

Kildare St, Dublin 2

Deer-spotting at Phoenix Park

In the former hunting ground of Charles II, fallow deer still graze peacefully in the world’s largest city park – over 1,752 acres. Head past the mammoth concrete obelisk Wellington Monument to the grasslands to spot the animals that – thankfully – no longer fear the shotgun.

Dublin 8

Statues at Trinity College

Statues of ex-pupils Edmund Burke and Oliver Goldsmith stand guard outside this world-famous college, dating back to the 16th century, which set the tone for its 40-acre grounds. Inside, take a closer look at the towering campanile, and Pomodoro’s sleek spherical sculpture outside Berkeley Library.

College St, Dublin 2

Evensong at St Patrick’s Cathedral

Inside Ireland’s largest church, burial place of author Jonathan Swift, evensong sees the choir in full voice. It’s also one of the most picturesque times of the day, when the light from the lowering sun casts coloured light through the huge stained-glass windows.

St Patrick’s Close, Dublin 8

Recitals at Hugh Lane Gallery

Every Sunday at noon in the Sculpture Gallery are free concerts featuring Irish and international music – perhaps a trio playing Haydn or a Beethoven string quartet. Save time to look around this bijou gallery, housing a reconstruction of Francis Bacon’s studio and Irish contemporary art.

Parnell Square North, Dublin 1

Seal-spotting at Sandycove

It’s a short walk from Dun Laoghaire harbour around the bay to the tiny Sandycove, a seal preservation area. For a closer look at these sleek mammals, the daring can plunge into chilly waters at the historic Forty Foot, until recently a gentlemen-only bathing spot.

Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin

Secluded walks through Iveagh Gardens

This has to be Dublin’s best-kept secret, a tranquil hideaway where office workers escape at lunchtime. Built in 1863 as part of Iveagh House, it includes woods with one-armed statues, water cascades and a rosarium.

Window shopping on Francis Street

Gaze at Georgian silver and Victorian furniture at O’Sullivan’s Antiques and Martin Fennelly’s along Francis Street, known as Dublin’s antique quarter. But it’s not only the past – the street is also home to vibrant contemporary art, like the Bad Art Gallery.

Francis Street, Dublin 8

Tour the Guinnesses’ house at Farmleigh

Take a free tour of the 78-acre estate, originally owned by the well-heeled Guinness dynasty. Inside the vast house, Connemara marble columns greet you at the entrance, with an oak-panelled library and a plant-filled conservatory. Check your watch to the Victorian Clock Tower in the grounds.

Castleknock, Dublin 15

Street culture and music at Temple Bar

This cobbled, cultural quarter is awash with contemporary arts, with many free festivals and events all year round. Busy weekends see buskers and street performers, plus the Design Mart and Food market.

Dublin 2