The most famous city in Ireland is probably Dublin and for a good reason. It’s a very walkable city, with many attractions being near to each other.
You’ll quickly get oriented with the city and love exploring all the history it has, from castles to cemeteries. Taking a weekend in Dublin is the perfect way to experience the city.
While you should spend more than a weekend in Dublin if you have time, that’s not always possible. This itinerary will show you how to make the most out of your time there. You’ll visit some of the most famous places in the city while also going to lesser-known areas.
You can always extend your stay in Dublin a few extra days by booking day trips. It’s the perfect base to have while you explore more of what Ireland has to offer.
Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Dublin (Travel Guide)
First things first – Before you get started
A great way to get a feel of a new city is by hopping on a hop-on hop-off bus. This will allow you to get to know the city of Dublin without wasting time trying to find things. We did it and we loved it.
Maximize your time in Ireland’s vibrant capital with a 24- or 48-hour hop-on hop-off sightseeing bus ticket. Discover Dublin’s spectacular sights on two routes boasting 30 conveniently located bus stops.
There are a few different companies that offer the same routes, we have listed out the best hop-on hop-off sightseeing tours in Dublin below.
3 Day Weekend in Dublin Itinerary – Day 1
You’ll begin your first day exploring some of the free sights in Dublin. Bring your walking shoes, as you’ll get some exercise while walking between places.
Even if you have just arrived on one of the early flights from the United States, don’t hesitate to slam a coffee and hit the streets. Dublin has many great walking tours that range from $10 – $20 USD.
Walk Through St. Stephen’s Green
Start your day by walking through this beautiful park in the middle of Dublin. Grab breakfast to go and enjoy your coffee while you people-watch from your bench. Take a stroll around the lake and watch the ducks glide across.
Visit Dublin’s top sites on this guided historical walking tour. Choose from a morning or afternoon departure, then see famous landmark locations beginning with Trinity College and moving on to Dublin Castle, Old Irish Parliament, Temple Bar and many more. Stroll along the cobbled alleyways and learn about Dublin’s medieval past.
Window Shop on Grafton Street
Located near St. Stephen’s Green, this street is famous for its shopping. Take a peek inside some of the stores early in the day, as it tends to be busy during the afternoon and evening. It’s an excellent place to grab a snack if you’re getting hungry.
You’ll likely find plenty of free entertainment here as well. Musicians often stand outside playing for the crowds during the day. Don’t be so quick to turn away from them either – many famous musicians have gotten their start here on Grafton Street, including Damien Rice.
Walk Over the Ha’ Penny Bridge
You might not know what this bridge as if you weren’t looking for it, but it has a past. There were no bridges to cross the Liffey River before the beginning of the 1800s, only ferryboats. When those started wearing out, the city ordered that a bridge needed to be built.
Anyone that crossed had to pay a halfpenny, or ha’ penny, by putting it in a turnstile on either side of the bridge. By the early 1900s, the toll was dropped. It’s now a beautiful place to get a picture of the River Liffey.
Learn About the Easter Uprising
Head to the General Post Office to learn about the revolution that happened here in 1916. It’s now the headquarters of the Irish Post Office, but it’s also the place where the Irish and the British got into a battle over Britain’s rule right in the streets of Dublin.
During this time, it became the headquarters for the Irish leaders of the uprising. The building was almost destroyed by gunfire and rebuilt years later. You can still see the bullet holes in the original facade of the post office.
Visit the Jameson Distillery
Ireland may be known as the birthplace of Guinness, but it’s also famous for Jameson whiskey. Since 1780, the factory has been open and is known as the birthplace of Irish whiskey. Visit the distillery to get a tour and learn how it’s been made for centuries.
Of course, what would be a distillery tour without doing whiskey tasting as well? Find which one is your favorite and even learn how to blend your own whiskey to take home. Their bartenders will help you create a custom cocktail to enjoy before you leave.
Hours: Sunday-Thursday: 10 AM to 5:30 PM, Friday, and Saturday: 10 AM to 7 PM
Tours fill up quickly, book your tour in advance.
See the Nightlife in Temple Bar
If you like a lively nightlife, Temple Bar is the area to go to. While it’s a bit touristy, it’s fun to be in the center of all the action at night. There are dozens of restaurants, bars, and nightclubs to choose from.
If going out to crowded places isn’t your thing, come here during the day on Saturday or Sunday instead. The Temple Bar Book Market takes place each weekend, and you can look through hundreds of different books, from classics to new titles.
Learn the history and stories behind traditional Irish music in a fun and informative way during this Dublin Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl, led by two professional musicians. Your guides, who are with you the entire tour, perform songs and instrumental Irish Jigs and Reels.
Dublin Weekend Breaks – Day 2
Now that you’ve explored Dublin some, you’ll spend your second day seeing some of the more famous sights.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Founded in 1191, this massive church is Ireland’s tallest and largest. It was supposedly built on the site of a well used by Saint Patrick himself. The current building has been there since 1220, and many renovations have been done over the centuries.
Mass is free to attend daily, but make sure you come plenty early if it’s a big holiday. Thousands of people flock here during those times. You can also get a tour if you’d prefer to walk around and learn about the cathedral.
Want a guided tour? Check out: Dublin Highlights Tour Including Skip-the-Line St Patrick’s Cathedral Visit
Hours: 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Trinity College is considered one of the most elite and prestigious schools in Europe. The admission process is highly competitive, but luckily you can take a free tour of the campus without having to go through that. It’s located in central Dublin, yet the sprawling campus still feels peaceful.
One of the most famous places to visit at Trinity College is the Trinity College Library to see the Book of Kells. The writing was completed in 800 AD, and it’s supposedly the oldest and most famous book in the world.
The book has the four Gospels of the New Testament in Latin, which people come from all over the world to see.
A cemetery might not be something you usually visit when you travel, but daily tours explain why this was important to Ireland’s history. You’ll also be able to see how grave markers have changed since the 18th century in the country.
A museum is also on-site to see pictures of how it used to be and find out what famous people are buried here.
Times: 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM
No trip to Dublin would be complete without visiting the Guinness Factory. Even if you don’t like the dark drink, it’s fascinating to learn how it’s all made. You can go through it on your own or take a guided tour to find out more interesting facts about its founder.
There are plenty of interactive things to do as well. You can learn how to properly pour a pint of Guinness with a staff member on hand to help you. Not only can you drink that one, but your tour finishes at the top with yet another pint.
You’ll also get a 360-degree view of Dublin. Book your ticket online before you come, as it can get crowded.
Enjoy a quicker entrance to one of Dublin’s top attractions with this skip the line pass to the Guinness Storehouse. Enjoy seven floors of Guinness history and memorabilia and learn why this dark brew is one of Ireland’s favorites. Learn about the beer’s 1759 roots and enjoy an included pint at the Gravity Bar, where you can catch incredible views of the city down below.
Cost: €17.50-€22.50 (peak hours are more expensive)
Hours: 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Looking for more to do at night? Why not check out a ghost tour. Dublin has many hunted sections throughout the city. Below we have listed out the best ghost tours in Dublin by Viator.
Submit to the realm of the supernatural on a walking tour of Northside, one of Dublin’s most-haunted districts. Alongside a guide, you’ll explore the former Viking enclave. Renowned for a plethora of ghost sightings and visit spine-chilling structures such as St. Mary’s Abbey and Hendrick Street, the former site of Dublin’s most haunted houses.
Day 3 – Weekend Trip to Dublin
Spend your last day in Dublin exploring a castle and joining the Irish in cheering on a local sports team.
Visit Dublin Castle
You don’t have to go far to see a castle, as the Dublin Castle is in the heart of Dublin. It played a massive role in Ireland’s history, as it was the seat of England from 1204 until 1922.
While no one lives there now, you can walk inside to see how the staterooms used to be. There are over 11 acres to explore, including multiple museums and gardens.
Cost: Self-tour – €7, guided tour – €10
Hours: 9:45 AM – 5:45 PM
See a Game at Croke Park
Ireland loves their sports, so see what the fuss is all about by visiting Croke Park. Depending on the time of year you come, you might be lucky enough to see a live match. Favorite Irish sports including Gaelic football and hurling.
Look Through the Flea Market
For some interesting souvenirs, head down to the Dublin Flea Market. It takes place on the last Sunday of the month and has over 70 different stalls to look at. You can get antique books, clothes, furniture, and more.
Day Trips From Dublin
Now that you’ve had several days to explore the city of Dublin, it’s time to take a day trip out of the town. Here are some you don’t want to miss.
For only €22, you can get a tour that takes you to and from Dublin to visit the Wicklow Mountains. It’s a beautiful place to walk around, have lunch, and take pictures.
Famous movies have been filmed here, such as “P.S. I Love You.” You can even see passage tombs from ancient Irish civilization dating back to 4,300 BC.
Soak up the majesty and myth of Ireland’s Wicklow County on this full-day tour from Dublin. Aboard a comfortable coach, explore cultural and natural gems and lively pubs to the breathtaking Wicklow Mountain National Park and Glendalough’s medieval monastic settlement.
Movie buffs will enjoy a stop at Sally’s Gap, filming location of Braveheart, as well as the bridge crossed by the lovers in the romantic comedy P.S. I Love You.
Cliffs of Moher
One of the most recognizable sites in Ireland is the Cliffs of Moher. Fair warning, this is on the other side of the country so it will be a long day trip getting there and back from Dublin. It’s more than worth it to see these astonishing cliffs, however.
Many different tour companies can get you here, so just contact one in advance to reserve your spot on the tour. A cafeteria is available at the Cliffs of Moher to buy lunch, snacks, or beverages.
There’s also a small exhibit inside to learn more about the history of the area, including the brave people who used to live in this windy area.
Escape the bustle of Dublin in favor of the coastal scenery of County Clare on a guided full-day trip to Ireland’s Cliffs of Moher. From the comfort of a luxury coach, admire the unrivaled beauty of the Irish countryside as you travel to the dramatic array of cliffs.
Venture into the fabled lands of Northern Ireland in search of lore and tales. A day trip to the Causeway Coast in Northern Ireland typically lasts all day and includes stops at Giant’s Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede, Dark Hedges and Belfast. On a sunny day, it is one of the most spectacular places you can visit on your trip to Ireland.
Discover the unrivaled natural splendor of Ireland’s UNESCO-listed Giant’s Causeway on a full-day trip from Dublin. From the panoramic vantage point of a luxury coach, marvel at the dramatic coastal scenery that surrounds the incredible rock sculptures of the Causeway. During your excursion, summon your courage to cross the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.
Where to Stay in Dublin
Deciding where to stay in Dublin is difficult. Dublin has so many wonderful neighborhoods, and each has its own vibe and characteristics that appeal to different types of travelers. The good news is that no two neighborhoods are very far away from each other.
Dublin is a very walkable city, and it has an excellent public transport service as well. Below we have listed out the best places to stay in Dublin, Ireland:
- Hostels: Abrahams Hostel
- Budget Hotels: Dublin Central Inn
- Mid-Range Hotels: Aberdeen Lodge
- Luxury Hotels: The Merrion Hotel.
Read reviews and check prices with our Hotel Search Engine, that gives you the best hotel deals found on the web. Our search engine pulls results from all of the major booking places, including Expedia, Hotels, Booking and more. All the options, all the deals, all in one place and just for you.
Where to Eat in Dublin
- Boxty House – You have to try a traditional boxty while you’re in Ireland, so come here to see what it’s all about. They have everything from a vegetarian boxty to one with chicken and smoked bacon.
- Mulligans – Known as “the home of the pint,” this pub is the place to go if you want to get away from the tourist district. You’ll rub elbows with locals getting off work and can rest assured knowing the bartenders here know how to properly pour a pint of Guinness. It’s the place to come to talk with friends, often shoulder to shoulder, as the locals pour in as the night goes on.
- Bunsen – Getting sick of shepherd’s pie? Sometimes there’s nothing like a juicy burger when you’re traveling. Come to Bunsen’s for a cheeseburger, fries, and even a milkshake.
- The Brazen Head – If you think of live Irish music when you think of restaurants in Dublin, this is the place to make your dreams come true. Every night musicians play while you enjoy specialties like Beef and Guinness stew. It also claims to be Ireland’s oldest pub.
Are you a foodie? Why not join a food tour that includes some of the best places to eat in Dublin? This is a great way to experience Dublin while filling your belly.
Eat like a true Dubliner on this 3-hour small-group Dublin food tour. With your guide, seek out authentic pubs, cafés, food shops, and markets, and savor Irish specialties including a traditional breakfast, artisan cheeses, ice cream, and more.
Pair your tastings with an Irish cream liqueur and another tipple, and admire some of Dublin’s hidden gems and learn about its culinary heritage as you eat and explore.
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About the Author
Marissa is an adventure travel blogger and photographer based out of Seattle who travels the world to inspire others to travel by sharing her stories on Postcards to Seattle and various other travel publications.
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