Theatres, Museums and Festivals

Luke McLeod | Last Updated 26/09/2023 | 9 Minute Read 

Dublin was the world’s culture capital all the way back in 1991, and that title has always stuck around. Ranked by the Big 7 as 41st in the world for Culture, it is no surprise with more than 165 cultural attractions in the city. With 62 Museums, 51 Libraries and 52 Art Galleries, Dublin has more than enough activities to do on your next holiday here.  


Dublin’s cultural quarter is suitable for all ages, with some of Dublin’s Attractions aimed towards families and more towards adults. However, what is guaranteed on your stay in our boutique Dublin hotel is an enjoyable and relaxing stay.  

Theatres in Dublin

Over the years, Dublin had 34 theatres in the city centre. With theatres like the Gaiety Theatre, Olympia Theatre and the Abbey Theatre only a stones throw away, our visitors will not be lacking in evening- or even day- time cultural activities.  

Abbey Theatre

The National Theatre of Ireland is one of the country's leading cultural institutions. Over 100 years old and relocated from its original building the Abbey is the first state subsidised venue in the English-speaking world.  

Founded by a collective, of which the great Irish playwriter W.B. Yeats was one of the most famous, in 1903. The Abbey Venue continued to grow and needed extra space. They acquired the Peacock and the Gate theatres and are still managed to this day.  

To this day, the Abbey is still one of the most diverse theatres in Ireland. With a redevelopment planned to create two new theatre spaces of 700 and 250 seats respectively. 

Olympia Theatre

Originally a music hall when opened in 1879, the Olympia Theatre is a protected building in Dublin. The theatre has hosted some of the world's biggest music stars while they were upcoming as well as a variety of comedians, talks and musicals.  

The Olympia holds an annual pantomime at Christmas. Notable productions include Aladdin, Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk and Robin Hood. The Jedward brothers are often in the cast with a special mention to their “Fairy Godbrothers” role in the Cinderella reboot.  

The Olympia is a short walk from the Arthaus, and an incredible venue to experience for a concert, show, pantomime or talk.  

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Gaiety Theatre

The Gaiety is the closest theatre to the Arthaus. Less than a 2-minute walk from your room. Built by one of the most experienced theatre architects, C.J. Phillips, in 1871 the venue still keeps a lot of the Victorian era features.  

The Gaiety specialises in operatic and musical productions, with occasional dramatic shows. If you’re in town at the right time, you can even catch the world famous Riverdance. The home of the Riverdance is right here in Dublin’s Gaiety theatre.  

Mill Theatre

Widely regarded as the theatre for nurturing young talent, the Mill has a large programme of shows running year-round. The main auditorium hosts 205 guests to the shows performed by mainly up and coming talent.  

If you’re heading to the Mill Theatre you can simply catch the green line Luas, or park close by before enjoying one of the expertly produced shows.  

Helix Theatre

One of the most recently opened theatres in Dublin, the Helix is on the campus of Dublin City University. The multipurpose venue has a concert hall, theatre, studio theatre, exhibition space, artists-in-residence studios, and a green room and other support spaces, along with an in-site café. 

The Helix is home to many of Ireland’s tv shows with The Voice, You’re a Star and Family Fortunes all recorded here. However, the stage is where the Helix shines, host to world-class performances ranging from the Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra, The St Petersburg Ballet, international theatre and world singers through to popular West End shows. 

The New Theatre

The New Theatre is arguably the smallest theatre in Dublin with only 68 seats. Founded in 1997, it was closed temporarily during 2007 for renovation works. 

The theatre hosts works as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival, Dublin Theatre Festival, Dublin Feminist Film Festival, and other events. TNT supports new writings and supports the community of writers who wish to develop their ability.  

Enjoying a performance at the New Theatre while on your holiday in Dublin is an incredible experience. You will discover new talent, stories that have yet to be told and a theatre with community built on culture.   

Bord Gais Energy Theatre

On the contrary, the Bord Gais Energy Theatre is Dublin’s largest venue. Constructed on the site of the former Dublin Gasworks, the theatres sponsor is quite fitting.  

The opening night of the theatre saw “Swan Lake” performed by the Russian State Ballet of Siberia to a full house. Since then, it has gone from strength to strength with huge productions visiting each season.  

The venue fills over 2100 sears during each performance, with over half a million visitors each year. Over 90% of the performances come from the West End, making a perfect opportunity to see a world-famous musical in a world-famous cultural destination.  

Smock Alley Theatre

Finally, one of the more unique theatres in the Cultural Quarter of Dublin is Smock Alley. From the mid 1600s, there has been a theatre named Smock Alley in Dublin, however this venue is only active since 2012.  

The current standing is built in the location of the 17th century Theatre Royal, with material from an 18th century theatre. The 21st century Smock Alley is a converted 19th century church. That may sound like a lot of to and fro, but that’s just part of the culture of Dublin.  

The Smock Alley Theatre site comprises Smock Alley Theatre (178 seats), The Boys School (60 - 100 capacity), Black Box (80 capacity), and The Banquet Hall (300 capacity). 

During the excavations before the redevelopment took place remnants of the building's theatrical past were discovered. These artefacts included wine bottles, clay tobacco-pipe fragments, an actor's wig curler, a medieval roof tile, fragments of mosaic floor and many oyster shells.  

Dublin’s theatre scene is alive and well, a sign of the cultural importance it has. While we have looked at the city centre theatres, there are hundreds more around the country.  

Stay and Save at the Arthaus Hotel

Explore some of our favourite cultural attractions and relax in the heart of Dublin’s Cultural quarter. Just seconds form one of Ireland’s most well-known venues.  

Enjoy a luxurious overnight stay in one of our boutique rooms in the heart of Dublin. Inspired by the best of the Bauhaus Art Movement. Our stylish and creative rooms are the perfect touch of luxury to begin your Dublin journey. 

Our artwork in the Boutique rooms features works inspired by the Bauhaus teacher Wassily Kandinsky. He is often hailed as the pioneer of abstract art. In his own words, ‘’Colour is a power which directly influences the soul. 

Enjoy a fresh full Irish Breakfast on each morning of your stay.  

Stay two nights at the Arthaus Hotel and get €20 off per night.  

Dublin in Film

While Ireland has some well-known filming locations such as Skellig Michael in Star Wars, Castle Ward in Game of Thrones and the Eniskerry in Disney’s Enchanted. Dublin has its fair share of Hollywood moments in film. Michael Collins had a huge cultural impact on Ireland and was recorded partly filmed in Dublin Castle.  

Irish Film Institute

If you’re looking for a special cinema experience or some of the best film festivals in Ireland, look no further than Ireland’s national cultural institution for film. The Irish Film Institute promotes Irish film heritage through their range of film related educational and entertaining programmes.   

Although offering so much more to both audiences and those in the film industry, one of the ways you can engage with the Irish Film Institute includes attending their festivals like the Virgin Media Dublin International Film Festival or the IFI Family festival.  

If you’re lucky to be in Dublin during one of their events, we recommend attending. Or if you’re visiting Dublin specifically for a film festival, why not stay in Arthaus Hotel, found in the heart of Dublin? 

Before you come to Dublin, why not check out one of the most famous Films set in Dublin. Once is a heartthrob story featuring one of Ireland’s favourite musicians. Falling Slowly, the title track of the film, is an Oscar winning hit that encaptivated the world in 2009.  

Once is set all around Dublin, with Glen Hansard’s busking scenes set on Grafton Street. Busking is hugely popular in Dublin, it’s part of the culture here and how so many artists get discovered. You can discover a lot of the filming locations within walking distance of the Arthaus.  

The Little Museum of Dublin

The Little Museum is the ideal place to learn about Dublin’s history and rich heritage a short 5 minutes’ walk from our hotel. With guided tours running every hour seven days a week, learning about Dublin and its culture has never been so entertaining.  

Although entrance is only allowed by guided tour, this is included in the admission price which is only €10 for adults and €8 for students and seniors. The tour was great but now you’re hungry? Check out some of the best restaurants near stephen’s green.  

National Print Museum

Culture can be found in Film, Theatre, Music and Literature. At the National Print Museum, we can see over 10,000 objects that represent Ireland’s printing heritage. Taking a tour allows you to immerse yourself in the history of Ireland’s printing industry.  

Highlights of the permanent collection include an original copy of the 1916 proclamation, a replica Gutenberg Press. A new exhibition is opening in late October 2023, highlighting 100 years of Irish Stamps.  

As the Decade of Centenaries draws to a close, this exhibition will examine Irish cultural identity through the medium of these little pieces of printed paper.  

Epic – Irish Emigration Museum

Irish history forms our culture. At Epic history is an experience. This cultural experience is a totally interactive museum. At EPIC you’ll discover the far-reaching influence of Irish history and the impact that the 10 million Irish men and women who left Ireland had on the world. 

As you go from room to room on Dublin’s docklands you will discover Irish history, letters home from emigrants, song and dance, the rogues’ gallery and the whispering library.  

This experience is accessible and available in 8 different languages through their app, really marking it as an excellent visit on your trip to Dublin.  

The Wrap Up

Wading through the cultural attractions in Dublin can take a long time. Whether you’re into art galleries, tourist attractions, or discovering the shopping streets we have to offer, the Arthaus is your perfect hotel to stay in. Our 4* boutique hotel marries culture and luxury into one offering.  

Located near the Creative and the Georgian Quarters, step into a world of beauty, art and fun in our Dublin 2 neighbourhood just off St. Stephen’s Green. Each room in the hotel has a piece of art inspired by the Bauhaus movement in Germany.  

About the Author 

Meet our passionate and seasoned Travel and Culture Editor, Luke McLeod. With an insatiable wanderlust and an unquenchable thirst for cultural exploration, Luke is your trusted guide to unlocking the soul of Ireland. 

With years of experience in the realms of travel and culture journalism, Luke has made it his mission to hand-pick the most captivating and authentic experiences that the Emerald Isle has to offer to you.