Free for all: Ireland’s city savers

National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin City
National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin City

Not surprisingly, Martin Scorcese’s new movie, Wolf of Wall Street is all about the money. But a weighty wallet should never stop you having a good time. Especially in Ireland’s cities

We’re all told that money makes the world go round and who can argue. And while life like those of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Wolf of Wall Street and Wall Street’s Gordon Gekko might looks like fun to the big spenders, the rest of us love a bargain.

So what if you could base an entire holiday around using as little money as possible enjoying free festivals, discount dinners and gratis gardens?

Good news alert: you can – and you can do it in Ireland’s cities.


Thanks heavens for community festivals. Not only do you get to join the locals in their very own city, but you generally get to do it for free.

Feile Belfast is the perfect example, and its Bliain na Gaeilge 2013 (Year of Irish 2013) Family Fun Day won’t cost you a penny.

Outside of festival season, Belfast’s best complimentary treats include tours of City Hall (Monday to Saturday) and entry into the Ulster Museum (where you'll find dinosaurs and an Egyptian Mummy). A stroll around the colourful Botanic Gardens and Palm House won’t cost you a penny, while the breathtaking wonder of Belfast's St.Annes Cathedral is free to view.

Come night time, head for Fibber Magees in Robinson’s Bar, where you go back in time to an old style spit and sawdust-style pub. And in true traditional style, you’ll find nightly traditional Irish music to entertain you at no extra cost.


Everyone loves a free festival but few can match Dubin’s Street Performance World Championships. Lizard men, acrobats and magicians make Dublin buzz in July and the entertainment won’t cost you a red cent.

Of course, all of the National Museums of Ireland located in Dublin are free for you to roam around at your own leisurely pace, too. Keep costs down by picnicking in the Iveagh Gardens with some sausage rolls and salads from the affordable Liston’s Deli.

See the best of Ireland’s art collections gratis in the National Gallery of Ireland and the Hugh Lane Gallery, where you’ll find Francis Bacon’s messy but masterfully maintained studio.

For self-confessed nerds the Science Gallery is well worth a visit with events and exhibitions throughout the year.

Dublin, home of writers WB Yeats, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker to name a few is famed worldwide for it’s cultural heritage and where better to spend Culture Night (20th September 2013) than in the fair city.


Beside the picturesque River Lee sits Fitzgerald Park. Bask in the local flora and fauna before reaching Cork Public Museum in the centre of the park, where you’ll find historic displays spanning from the Bronze Age to the 20th century.

Culture Night isn’t just for Dublin and events take place all over the country. Several noted Irish artists, writers, musicians and politicians are Corkonians, making Cork city another great place to immerse yourself in Irish culture.

Get on your bike for the Cork Cycling Festival (20th-28th July) and take part in cycling tours around the city.

Relax in a traditional Irish pub in the city and enjoy some free music provided by Cork’s finest musicians. The Oliver Plunkett hosts The Midnight Rambles Jamming Sessions or if you’d prefer something more 1920’s style, Crane Lane Theatre hosts free entertainment every weekend.

 Gordon Gekko and his pals would have a field day in Ireland's cities with all the money they would save.