5 Of The Best Free Museums In Dublin: A Museumgoer’s Guide

Are you planning a trip to Dublin and wondering what you can see for free? One word: museums. There are a TON of them scattered around the city. What better way to spend a rainy day than by meandering through an institution filled with delicate sculptures, saturated paintings, and some historic artefacts?

Naturally, with Dublin being a city known for its rich history, comes a ton of museums, and guess what? A whole lot of them are absolutely free to visit. This is perfect for travellers who are looking to cut costs where they can without missing out on activities.

For some, the thought of a well-done painting such as The Liffey Swim fills them up with excitement, whereas for others, a diorama of Ireland’s mammals tickles their fancy. There’s just something for everybody.

We’ve put together a list of 5 of the best free museums in Dublin that our museumgoing viewers will absolutely adore.

Please note that all of the museums on this list are situated in and around Dublin City Centre.

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How Many Free Museums Are There In Dublin?

There are over 40 museums and exhibitions all over Dublin that people can visit. Unfortunately, some of them you have to pay to get into, but on this list, you’ll find the best free ones. Who doesn’t love free attractions, right?

The Best Free Museums Open In Dublin

National Gallery Of Ireland

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Photo Provided By Juliet Furst – Unsplash

Just beside Merrion Square lies one of Dublin’s best free and also one of the most famous museums, the National Gallery of Ireland. 

Opened in 1864, the National Gallery of Ireland started out with just a collection of 112 pictures. Since then, the gallery has had millions of euros’ worth of renovations done to it to create a state-of-the-art visitor experience. And by God, have they done a good job.

When you visit the National Gallery of Ireland, you’ll come into contact with over 16,000 works of art, including paintings, sculptures, and drawings, some of which date back over 150 years ago.

Where Is The National Gallery Of Ireland?

dublin free museum
Photo Provided By Strocchi – “National Gallery Of Ireland” – Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The National Gallery of Ireland is located beside the popular city park, Merrion Square.

  • Address – Merrion Square W, Dublin 2, D02 K303

What Are The National Gallery Of Ireland’s Opening Hours?

dublin free museum

You can visit the National Gallery of Ireland 7 days a week, Monday to Sunday. The opening times vary from day to day.

Opening Hours
Monday 11 am – 17:30 pm
Tuesday09:15 am – 17:30 pm
Wednesday09:15 am – 17:30 pm
Thursday09:15 am – 20:30 pm
Friday09:15 am – 17:30 pm
Saturday09:15 am – 17:30 pm
Sunday11 am – 17:30 pm

Does The National Gallery Of Ireland Offer Any Free Tours?

dublin free museum
Photo Provided By James E. Petts – “National Gallery Of Ireland” – Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Very generously, the National Gallery of Ireland offers free tours and there’s no booking required.

The tours are on selected days and times. Just keep in mind that you cannot reserve a time slot and then expect a tour; that is not how it works. There are slots put out there, and it’s up to every visitor to show up on the day of the tour.

Family toursSunday at 12:00 pm
Highlights toursSaturday at 12:30 pm and 14:30 pm / Sunday at 13:30 pm and 14:30 pm

Pieces Of Work You Should Look Out For At The National Gallery Of Ireland

– Kitchen Maid with the Super Emmaus

– The Taking Of Christ

The Battle of the Boyne

Chester Beatty Library

dublin free museum

When it comes to free entry museums in Dublin, Chester Beatty is always the one that is seen as the most surprising among tourists.

The Chester Beatty Library is quite significant compared to the other museums on this list because it focuses on bringing together world cultures by showcasing specific pieces of work from a variety of regions around the world. The quirky idea is bound to catch the eye of certain travellers visiting Dublin.

Not only does it focus on international cultures, but it also attempts to draw in all of the culturally diverse groups of Irish society.

Where Is The Chester Beatty Library?

The Chester Beatty Library is located on the grounds of Dublin Castle, a popular tourist attraction in the city.

  • Address – Dublin Castle, Dublin 2, D02 AD92

What Are The Chester Beatty Library’s Opening Hours?

Chester Beatty Library is open 7 days a week. 

From the month of November to February, the library is closed on Mondays. If you’re planning your trip around that, it’s worth noting.

Chester Beatty Library Opening Hours
Monday09:45 am – 17:00 pm
Tuesday09:45 am – 17:00 pm
Wednesday09:45 am – 20:00 pm
Thursday09:45 am – 17:00 pm
Friday09:45 am – 17:00 pm
Saturday09:45 am 17:30 pm
Sunday12:00 pm – 17:30 pm

Does The Chester Beatty Library Offer Any Free Tours?

Yes, the Chester Beatty Library offers free public tours on the days and times below.

Wednesday17:30 pm
Saturday14:00 pm
Sunday14:00 pm

These tours are one hour long and must be booked online in advance. You can book one here.

Pieces Of Work You Should Look Out For At The Chester Beatty Library

– Edo in Colour (A Japenese Print)

Illustrations of Parisian Costumes

– Sailing with the Seven Lucky Gods

Irish Museum Of Modern Art (IMMA)

dublin free museum

The Irish Museum of Modern Art, also known as IMMA, is another one of the great free exhibition galleries in Dublin. IMMA strives to present visitors with an ostentatious style of art that stimulates awareness.

This art gallery is hidden within one of Dublin’s most historical sites, the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. The ancient hospital sits on a whopping 48 acres of land, which visitors can explore on their visit to the museum.

IMMA Dublin really pushes to try to involve anybody that sets foot on the complex by allowing visitors to take part in some of the museum’s programmes and events, which include workshops, studio programmes, and many, many more.

Where Is The IMMA?

dublin free museum
Photo Provided By Infomatique – “ROYAL HOSPITAL KILMAINHAM [ HOME TO THE IRISH MUSEUM OF MODERN ART]-125505” – Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The IMMA is situated on the grounds of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham. It’s about an hour’s walk from Dublin city centre, so be sure to bring your walking shoes or consider taking public transportation.

  • Address – Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Military Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8

What Are The IMMA’s Opening Hours?

You can visit the IMMA 6 days a week. Unfortunately, the museum is closed to the public on Mondays.

IMMA Opening Hours
Tuesday10:00 am – 17:30 pm
Wednesday11:30 am – 17:30 pm
Thursday10:00 am – 17:30 pm
Friday10:00 am – 17:30 pm
Saturday10:00 am – 17:30 pm
Sunday12:00 am – 17:30 pm

Does The IMMA Offer Free Guided Tours?

dublin free museum
Photo Provided By Infomatique – “The IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art)” – Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0.

At the moment, the IMMA is not offering free guided tours due to the Covid-19 pandemic. There’s no word on when they’ll resume, but be sure to keep an eye on the tour section of their website.

IMMA Guided Tour Times Pre Pandemic
Wednesday 13:15 pm
Saturday14:30 pm
Sunday14:30 pm

Pieces Of Work You Should Look Out For At The IMMA

– Line Writing

Power Boy (Mekong)

– Margaret Again

Hugh Lane Gallery

dublin free museum

A list of free art museums in Dublin wouldn’t be complete without the mention of the Hugh Lane Gallery. Also known as the Dublin City Gallery, It’s one of the places you must visit on your trip.

The Hugh Lane Gallery is a real art lover’s museum, holding some of the finest paintings in the whole of Ireland, including portraits of Lady Gregory, who co-founded the Irish Literary Theatre with William Butler Yeats.

The popular Dublin attraction was established in 1908 and sees hundreds of visitors daily from around the globe. Located in the Charlemont House on the northside of the city centre, the gallery’s architectural design is the cherry on top.

Museumgoers will find the Hugh Lane Gallery truly fascinating as it’s regarded as an “out of the ordinary” museum.

Where Is The Hugh Lane Gallery?

dublin free museum
Photo Provided By Lu_cia610 – Instagram

The Hugh Lane Gallery is located in Charlemont House, which is where Parnell Square is. It’s really close to O’Connell Street.

  • Address – Charlemont House, Parnell Square N, Rotunda, Dublin, D01 F2X9

What Are The Hugh Lane Gallery’s Opening Hours

Similar to the IMMA, the Hugh Lane Gallery is open 6 days a week and closed on Mondays. Opening times vary from day to day.

Hugh Lane Gallery Opening Hours
Tuesday09:45 am – 18:00 pm
Wednesday09:45 am – 18:00 pm
Thursday09:45 am – 18:00 pm
Friday09:45 am – 17:00 pm
Saturday10:00 am – 17:00 pm
Sunday11:00 am – 17:00pm

Does The Hugh Lane Gallery Offer Free Guided Tours?

A Quote We Spotted At The Hugh Lane Gallery

The Hugh Lane Gallery offers free public tours every Sunday at 14:15 pm. Visitors will be taken around the gallery to discover some of Ireland’s most sacred works of art.

There are no bookings required for the public tours, but numbers are limited, so it’s best you get there as early as possible, especially because it is one of the museums you can access for free in Dublin.

Pieces Of Work You Should Look Out For In The Hugh Lane Gallery

– Portrait Of Miss Iris Tree

– An Cuan

– A Boy In Brown

National Library Of Ireland

dublin free museum

The last of our top free museums and galleries in Dublin is the National Library of Ireland.

A walk inside this domed reading room is sure to bring the nerd out in the bookworms of this life. The library was established under an act known as the Dublin Science and Art Museum Act of 1877 and opened in the year 1890.

For people who are fascinated with the idea of their ancestors, they can trace their roots in the library’s genealogy room, where there’s access to certain websites that can track where their family came from, such as Irish genealogy. I can already sense the excitement coming from our American readers.

Where Is The National Library Of Ireland

The National Library of Ireland is located just down the road from the popular city park, St. Stephen’s Green.

  • Address -7-8 Kildare St, Dublin 2, D02 P638

What Are The National Library Of Ireland’s Opening Hours?

dublin free museum
Photo Provided By Rosty.de.buenos.aires – Instagram

You can visit the National Library of Ireland Monday to Friday. On the weekends, it’s closed except for certain exhibitions.

National Library Of Ireland Opening Hours
Monday09:30 am – 17:00 pm
Tuesday09:30 am – 17:00 pm
Wednesday09:30 am – 17:00 pm
Thursday09:30 am – 17:00 pm
Friday09:30 am – 17:00 pm

Does The National Library Of Ireland Offer Free Guided Tours?

There are no official tour times listed with the National Library, but our research suggests that you can contact the library and try to organise a tour, but there’s no guarantee you’ll get one.

Pieces Of Work You Should Look Out For In The National Gallery Of Ireland

– The Library’s Genealogy Room

– Yeats Book Collection

– The Dublin Magazine

Some More Cool Free Museums In Dubin You Should Check Out

  • Garda Museum | History of the Garda (OPENED MONDAY TO FRIDAY APPOINTMENT ONLY)

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Written By Adam

Where In Dublin is owned, controlled and run by Adam Ryan. He’s a one-man army who knows Dublin like the back of his hand and strives to help anybody planning on visiting Dublin enjoy themselves. 

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