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Top 10 free things to do in Ireland
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When you holiday in Ireland, it's good to know that the stunning views and gorgeous coastlines are not the only things you can enjoy for free.

Here's a list of ten free things you can do in Ireland on your next short break.

1Explore The Chester Beatty Library, Dublin Castle, Dublin City

With free admission, the Chester Beatty is a must-see on any Dublin visitor's itinerary. This museum is the only one in Ireland named as the European Museum of the Year. Its rich collections from Asia, the Middle East, North Africa and Europe give visitors a glimpse into the artistic treasures of the great cultures and religions of the world.

Explore manuscripts, miniature paintings, prints, drawings, rare books and decorative arts all thanks to the collector Sir Alfred Chester Beatty.

Chester Beatty
2Visit the James Joyce Museum and Martello Tower, Co. Dublin

The iconic Martello Tower in Sandycove was one of a series of Martello Towers built to withstand an invasion by Napoleon many moons ago. It is now a museum devoted to the life and works of James Joyce, who made this tower the setting for the first chapter of his masterpiece, Ulysses

The James Joyce Museum's collection includes letters, photographs, first and rare editions and personal possessions of Joyce.

3 Follow the James Joyce Museum with a sea swim at The Forty Foot
Swim at the famous Forty Foot in Sandycove.

There are lots of great sea swimming spots around our coasts, but one of the most famous is The Forty Foot in Sandycove. Many locals take a dip here every day, so it's a real must-visit if you are in the area.  

Even at low tide, the depth of the Forty Foot means you can still enjoy a swim year-round. It's also the place where people go on Christmas Day for the annual plunge.

4Start researching your family tree at the National Archives Centre, Dublin City

Don't miss a visit to The National Archives when in Dublin, they are full of important information on the cultural and intellectual life of the Irish nation. 

The archives hold records from the late 18th century to the late 20th century as well as older documents dating back to the 14th century. Visit the archives, and you might just discover forgotten stories for your family tree.

5Walk through Lough Boora Discovery Park, Co. Offaly

Take the Lough Boora Mesolithic Loop Walk and discover the serene habitats, flora and bogland of Lough Boora Discovery Park. This well-trodden trail brings visitors to the shores of Lough Boora, through the Leabeg Wetland and old railway embankment before reaching the Mesolithic site. 

Cameras are a must here as whooper swans, purple moor-grass, skylarks and foxes all call this place home, make sure you check out the unique sculptures too.

6Watch master glassblowers at their craft at Jerpoint Glass, Co. Kilkenny

This Irish glass company Jerpoint Glass is a family-run business set up in Kilkenny in 1979. Visitors can head to the viewing area of the glass studio and watch the glassblowers turn the fiery molten glass into stunning shapes. 

Keep an eye on their website for their 'Blow a Glass Bubble' events when the team allows visitors to try their hand at mastering glassblowing.

7Cycle the Waterford Greenway, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford

While there are many greenways in Ireland, the Waterford Greenway is one of the longest. Take your time as you travel on foot or by bike along the 46km scenic Waterford Greenway from Waterford City to Dungarvan. 

The greenway traces the route of the old railway line along the coast with many places to visit along the way like Mount Congreve Gardens or Kilmacthomas.  The panoramic view of Dungarvan Bay as you reach your destination is worth the effort alone. 

8Discover Killarney National Park and Visitor Centre, Killarney, Co. Kerry
See the spectacular Eagles Nest in Killarney National Park.

You could easily spend a week exploring Killarney National Park and its impressive landscape. This magical part of Ireland includes the highest mountain range in Ireland, McGillycuddy's Reeks, the world-famous lakes of Killarney and over 10,000 hectares of epic Irish scenery. 

The distinctive combination of mountains, lakes, woodland and waterfalls under ever-changing skies gives the area an exceptional scenic beauty.

9Discover W.B. Yeats' county, Co. Sligo

Set against the striking backdrop of Benbulben, Drumcliffe is best known as the final resting place of Irish Nobel Laureate W.B. Yeats. The Irish poet was one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature and also co-founded the Abbey Theatre. 

Many parts of Sligo's natural beauty inspired his work, and his grave in Drumcliffe is marked with a simple headstone and the inscription 'cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman, pass by.' The graveyard also contains a high cross and the site of a 6th Century Columbian monastery is nearby.

10Hike the Slieve League (Sliabh Liag) Cliffs, Co. Donegal

If you're in County Donegal, make time to visit the highest accessible marine cliffs in Europe, Slieve League (Sliabh Liag). Leave your car at the car park and walk the few miles to the cliffs so as not to miss the breathtaking scenery.

Enjoy terrific views of the Atlantic Ocean, the Sligo Mountains and Donegal Bay as you make your way towards the top of Sliabh Liag, the cliff face rises 600m above the Atlantic. Experienced walkers can venture beyond the viewing point onto One Man's Pass, which loops around onto the Pilgrim's Path in the area.

When you holiday at home in Ireland, there are lots of things to do for free all year round. For even more ideas for your holiday at home, look at our Things to Do page and plan your pocket-friendly getaway.

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