Dublin’s charm and beauty is something that can strike you at any moment on any street in the city. Often it is something beyond the obvious – a colourful street mural gracing an alleyway wall, or a moment of quiet calm that descends on the city as you cross over the river Liffey at dusk. There is no doubt that Dublin’s narrow cobbled streets, its grand shopping thoroughfares, and its many parks and gardens bestow on the city a captivating magnetism.
Although the capital’s beauty can be appreciated no matter where you are, there are certain viewing spots that open up certain unmissable vistas, both from the streets of Dublin itself to elevated viewing platforms that offer an eagle eye’s view of the city.
In this post we share the best views of Dublin.
Map of Locations
The following map shows the location of every viewpoint highlighted in this post:
The Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar
In many ways, the true breadth and beauty of Dublin can only be grasped from above, and there is no better spot in the city to do so than the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse. Perched 46 metres above the city at the top of the historical Guinness brewery buildings, the bar offers a 360 degree panorama of Dublin. The view takes in the docklands to the west, the lush sprawl of the Phoenix Park to the north, and the Dublin Mountains to the south, with the maze of the city centre streets in-between. To add to the views, the Gravity Bar is the final point on the Guinness Storehouse tour, so you can savour a complimentary pint of Guinness while you take in the vista.
With the Guinness Storehouse firmly cemented as Ireland’s most popular paid tourist attraction, the bar was expanded in 2020 to accommodate the increasing numbers of visitors. If you’re visiting Dublin, make sure you don’t miss the best view of the city at the home of ‘the black stuff’.
As the dividing line through the city, the River Liffey has always been at the heart of Dublin. While countless bridges span the river connecting North and South Dublin, the Ha’penny Bridge has always held a special place in the hearts of Dubliners. The bridge originally cost a half penny to cross when it was erected in 1816, giving rise to the name, with the toll lasting for over 100 years until it was abolished in 1919.
As you pass over the raised centre of the venerable bridge, the city opens up before you to the east and west, taking in some of the most famous landmarks in Dublin, including The Custom House and the Four Courts courthouse. The view is best at dusk when the city’s sharp edges melt away in the half light, taking on a dreamlike, picture postcard beauty.
For a truly commanding view over the entire city, look no further than Montpelier Hill at the foot of the Dublin Mountains. Also known as The Hellfire Club after the name of the eponymous abandoned hunting lodge that sits atop the peak, Montpelier Hill is the perfect vantage point from which to survey Dublin in its entirety, as the 383 metre hill is still close enough to Dublin to offer a clear view of the city and beyond.
The view takes in the suburban sprawl of South Dublin, the famous Poolbeg chimney stacks, Howth peninsula, Ireland’s Eye, and even Lambay island far to the north.
The Great South Wall
For a new angle on Dublin, a trip to the tip of The Great South Wall can help uncover a whole new perspective on the city. Built in the 18th century to deal with the issue of silt blocking access to the river Liffey, the wall juts out more than 4 kilometres into Dublin Bay. At the end of the wall is the Poolbeg Lighthouse, from where you can savour the 360 degree views of Dublin Bay and Dublin harbour.
You would be forgiven for thinking you had been transported to the Italian coast on first ascending Killiney Hill in South Dublin. The spectacular view from the top takes in the golden stretch of Killiney beach, the seaside village of Bray in County Wicklow beyond, and the slopes of the Wicklow Mountains on the horizon.
While it’s a short hike to the summit of the hill, the view is more than worth the while.
The rugged Howth Head peninsula is well-worn by day-trippers and hikers looking for a shot of natural beauty, and for good reason. The elevated terrain of the peninsula offers some of the best loved views of Dublin. While the views over Howth village and Ireland’s Eye to the north are quite breathtaking, the unique views over Dublin city to the south are veritable showstoppers. From the right vantage point you can take in The Great South Wall, the famous Poolbeg Chimneys, and the rolling Wicklow Mountains to the far south.
Aloft Dublin City
For a view of Dublin from considerably plusher surroundings, look no further than the rooftop bar at Aloft Dublin City hotel. Located a stone’s throw from St. Patrick’s Cathedral in South Dublin City, the rooftop bar offers a striking and intimate view over the city centre. In particular, the outdoor balcony area gives a stunning bird’s eye view of the maze of streets of South Dublin, with the iconic green dome of Mary Immaculate church in Rathmines visible.
For a nighttime view over Dublin, the Aloft Dublin City rooftop bar is hard to beat, especially as their cocktail menu is first class.
O’Connell Tower, Glasnevin Cemetery
Glasnevin Cemetery in North Dublin is one of the hidden gems of the capital. Steeped in history, the cemetery is the resting place of numerous prominent Irish figures including Michael Collins, Charles Stewart Parnell, and Daniel O’Connell. The O’Connell Tower stands over the tomb of Daniel O’Connell.
Standing 55 metres in height, the stone tower was one of the tallest buildings of its kind when it was completed in 1855. Although the tower was closed in 1971 due to a bomb blast attributed to pro-British loyalists as revenge for the destruction of Nelson’s Pillar five years previously, the tower was completely refurbished and opened to the public again in 2018. There are 198 steps to overcome and the climb isn’t an easy one, but the views from the top are worth the effort. As the Glasnevin area is one of the most elevated in the city, the tower offers commanding views over Dublin.
Croke Park Skyline Tour
The home of Gaelic Games in Dublin, Croke Park is the largest stadium in the country. In fact, the 82,300 capacity stadium is the 3rd largest in Europe. The Croke Park Skyline Tour is a recent addition to the stadium, offering visitors the chance to walk on top of the massive structure and see out over Dublin from 17 stories high.
As you would expect, the rooftop tour provides panoramic views over North Dublin, the city centre, and south to the Dublin Mountains. The commanding view over the city is narrated by a tour guide to ensure you don’t miss any highlights. Of course, the view over the finely-manicured Croke Park pitch is second to none as well.