My favourite alcohol-free activities in Dublin volunteer Niamh has some ideas for fun activities you can do around Dublin that don’t revolve around drinking

Written by Niamh Elliott-Sheridan

Drinking alcohol is a part of Irish culture so strong that it can be difficult to find social activities outside of drinking. We drink at weddings, birthdays, funerals, christenings, good times and bad times, always fitting a situation with the excuse to drink. Known across the globe as a nation of binge drinkers, Irish people often struggle to see the issue with our alcohol consumption. If everyone else is doing it, so can I! Right?

It feels so good to get up early the morning after the night before and fit the gym in. You can enjoy a breakfast that isn’t made of foods to soothe the hungover salt cravings, but rather you can function and enjoy the weekend. Partying in moderation can be good for the soul if it suits you, but alternative activities that don’t revolve around drinking are in no shortage.

Here are some interesting, sober activities to do around Dublin City for when you want to mind your physical health, practise positive mental wellbeing, and break from the mould of an often draining drinking culture.


All year round there are lots of different types of shows. Find musical theatre at the Bord Gais, classic and modern pieces at the Abbey or the Gate, pantomimes at the Helix and the Gaiety, and everything else in between. Smock Alley Theatre, Project Arts Centre, the O’Reilly and Samuel Beckett theatre all showcase modern, creative, varied pieces for as little as seven euro sometimes. There is something for everyone whether you’re into escapism or politics. The listings are all found on the venues’ sites. The Abbey Theatre also holds a free preview for sometimes expensive shows. Through this I’ve seen Asking For It and Last Orders At The Dockside. Find the dates of upcoming previews here:

Museums and galleries

Again, something to spark all interests, and many of them free. The Natural History Museum and Art Gallery are both free and you can spend as little or as much time roaming as you want. IMMA, Collins Barracks and the Science Gallery host ever-changing exhibitions, so even if you’ve visited before, you can go again.

Dinner / lunch menu

The cost of a few pints can pay for a delicious two-course meal on various lunch menus. Luigi Malones, Mongolian BBQ and Mexico to Rome, all in Temple Bar, offer wonderful choices for ten euro. Umi have a nine euro meal deal including a fizzy drink or coffee, Neon noodles never fail and Sprezzatura pasta restaurant serve with pride their under a tenner mains. Most places in Dublin City either have a student discount, lunch deal or early bird special, meaning you can catch up with friends over some grub.

Bring out in nature

I think one of the greatest benefits of not drinking is the clear head space and energy you have.. Teamed up with the tranquility of the outdoors, a peaceful day can be easily planned. Popular walking routes include Greystones to Bray, Howth Head and the Clontarf seafront onto Bull Island. Fresh air, beautiful scenery and exercise. The Phoenix Park, Iveagh Gardens, St Stephen’s Green and St Anne’s Park are ideal for a stroll.


A vodka-coke generally costs seven euro fifty in a standard bar. For around twenty euro a month, less than the cost of three drinks, a monthly cinema pass can be bought in cinemas all around Dublin, granting you access to as many films as your heart desires. Perfect for the cold, rainy days we have here in Ireland. During the summertime, there are plenty of outdoor movies, and now with new multipurpose spaces like Jam Park in Swords, who knows what the next few months may bring.

Other experiences include coffee dates (Accents Cafe open until 11pm nightly), the tea gardens on the quays, mindfulness experiences or art session at The Clockwork Door and getting active in the form of yoga in the park, gym, dance classes and swimming. The Virgin Mary non-alcoholic bar offers cocktails and beer substitutes in a cosy, atmospheric setting. Check out events happening around your college. When you look for it, there are many fantastic alternatives to drinking alcohol that are better for the mind, body and soul.

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