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04th Aug 2023

10 of the best things to do in Dublin on a rainy day

Fiona Frawley

what to do on a rainy day in dublin

Lovely weather we’re having, isn’t it?

This summer in Ireland has largely consisted of us layered up in jumpers and raincoats, watching on as mainland Europe experiences an ongoing record-breaking heatwave. And while we wouldn’t wish that upon ourselves, it’d certainly be nice to enjoy at least *one* day where the heavens didn’t open up.

Luckily we’re Irish and are used to having contingency plans in place should the rain decide to pour on down, as it often does. Trying to plan a cute date, a catch up with a pal or have a wander around on your own? Here are a few things to do around Dublin on a rainy day.

10. Have a rummage in the charity shops

Multiple locations across Dublin – we’re spoiled for choice!

Rainy days are the perfect opportunity to nab a few bargains. If you head to George’s Street you’ve got Oxfam, SVP and Enable Ireland all in a row, so you can explore all three with minimal soakage in between. NCBI (formerly Age Action) on Camden Street is also an excellent shout, particularly if you’re looking for home furnishings. So many gems to be found!

9. Take a trip to IMMA

Located in Kilmainham, for more info see their Instagram

You could spend hours exploring the free and ticketed exhibitions at the Irish Museum of Modern Art. This is the city’s hub for all artworks contemporary, and every piece is a potential conversation starter for an awkward first date.

At the moment, you can catch Influence and Identity – Twentieth Century Portrait Photography from the Bank of America Collection, and see if a picture really is worth a thousand words. It’s one of many exhibitions on at IMMA right now – browse more here.


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8. Visit the Project Arts Centre

Located in Temple Bar, for more info see their Instagram

See live theatre, music, dance or enjoy an exhibition at this multi-disciplinary space in the heart of Temple Bar. The Project’s bright blue exterior was the location for Maser’s famous Repeal mural during the Repeal the 8th movement in 2018, and this space has always been an epicentre for culture in Dublin.

It’s also worth keeping an eye for what the Project have scheduled for the upcoming Dublin Fringe Festival (9-24 September).

7. Have a browse through your local library

Various locations, more info here

Probably one of the most peaceful ways to spend an afternoon. If you haven’t had a library card since primary school, this is your sign to pop into your local branch and get your Matilda on. Flicking through the shelves and carefully selecting a story or two to get lost in for a few weeks is an excellent form of self-care, and these days the library has audiobooks, e-books and plenty more digital options if you’re that way inclined.

6. Hit up Dublin’s EPIC Museum

Located on Custom House Quay, for more info see their Instagram

A sensory delight for adults and kids alike, EPIC is Dublin’s multi-award winning Emigration Museum and was voted Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction in 2019, 2020 and 2021. Find out more about some of the most significant events in the history of our state, see exhibitions that challenge Irish stereotypes and highlight the resilience and talent of our people.

And then hit up the gift shop. You’ll have probably earned yourself a little treat.

5. Books and brews at Books Upstairs

Located on D’Olier Street, more info here

Books Upstairs is steeped in history as Dublin’s oldest independent bookshop, and is easily one of the nicest places in town to while away a rainy afternoon. Browse their impressive selection of classics and contemporaries, all laid out in the most aesthetically pleasing of manners. After you select the perfect story, take it upstairs to their cosy café with traditional fireplace and stained glass windows, and take it easy for an hour or three.


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4. Arcade game day at Token

Located in Smithfield, for more info see their Instagram

Token is a restaurant, bar and traditional arcade based in the perpetually trendy Smithfield, and is a step up from the sticky slot machines and toy grabbers of your youth.

Interiors are spacious and neatly laid out, with classic pinball machines lining the walls and plenty of benches for you and your pals to chow down on some delicious made-with-love fast food (vegan or otherwise). I’m personally eyeing up the Wagyu Paddy Melt for my next visit – it’ll have you forgetting all about the storm outside.


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3. Craft beers and vinyl at The Big Romance

The Big Romance is located on Parnell Street, for more info see their Instagram

Lay down your rain soaked burdens and while away a few hours in The Big Romance. Whether it’s their weekly jazz night or a cosy listening party, the vibes at this Dublin 1 bar are always immaculate, they’ve got an excellent beer and cocktail selection and they’ll always make space for walk ins.


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2. Barbenheimer at the Lighthouse

The Lighthouse Cinema is located in Smithfield, for more info see their website

This weather is certainly conducive to cosying up in the cinema for a double feature, and the timing couldn’t be better with two of the most anticipated films of the decade, Barbie and Oppenheimer, out now. Seeing a film at the Lighthouse always feels like a treat – the interiors are stunning, they always have a great mix of mainstream, indie, new and classic films on the go and their bar is the dream location for a pre or post-film pint. They’ve even got Barbie and Oppenheimer-themed cocktails to cater to your film buff desires.

1. Go for a rainy day swim at the Forty Foot or Vico

Located in Dalkey and Sandycove on the south side of Dublin. 

Hear me out. As long as it’s not a bad storm with treacherous conditions (always in our thoughts, Teresa Mannion), swimming in the sea while it’s raining is actually pretty nice. I mean, not to state the obvious but you’re wet already, and the water always feels a little warmer in the rain. Also if you like to avoid crowds, a rainy or grey day is the perfect time to get a dip in at the usually packed spots like the Vico or Forty Foot. Bring some cosy layers to wrap up in after and a flask of tea or whatever you’re having yourself, you’ll love it.

All you need now is a rainy day playlist to accompany you on your adventures and BAM, you’re the main character in your very own indie film. Good luck and god speed.

Header image via Instagram/Project Arts Centre/Books Upstairs