Searching “Things to do in Dublin” or “Dublin what to see,” I imagine you will have found myriad articles. This is not meant to be yet another article describing to you in full detail every place of interest in Dublin that you can visit in one day, two days or three days. Of course, if you are visiting Ireland’s capital city, cultural cues will be a must (and for that you are helped by dear Lonely Planet of Ireland). A city like this should also be experienced in the day-to-day, stopping, between churches, to listen to someone “strumming” in one of Ireland’s famous pubs.
If you are leaving for an Ireland road trip itinerary, my advice is to put Dublin as your first Irish stop. I mistakenly put it last.
What is the problem? It is that Dublin (with all due respect) is not the Ireland, and Ireland is not Dublin. They are like two sides of the same coin, each has a different flavor. I liked Dublin a lot, but the trip to Ireland I liked it even more.
Recommended Dublin tours
Before I tell you more about what to see in Dublin, I would like to recommend tours run by two major portals related to sightseeing.
DUBLIN PASS: Dublin is quite expensive, if you want to enjoy it to the fullest I recommend purchase the DUBLIN PASS which will allow you to save money. You have included almost all of Dublin’s attractions, including the Guinness Storehouse (which would cost €25 on its own) plus you skip the line at all the places provided by the Dublin Pass. If that link doesn’t work, I suggest this other link where you can purchase the same service.
Walking tours: if you want to be “accompanied” by someone who can tell you the best about Dublin, then you can consider a Walking Tours in English, 3-hour discovery of the city.
Guinness Storehouse tickets: absolutely must be bought first. The classic ticket can be found for 25€ and includes a pint of Guinness ->BUY HERE admission -> or there is another really interesting and more special experience. It is the tasting of various types and declinations of Guinness, a unique experience that you can BUY ONLY HERE and do directly in the Guinness factory.
When to visit Dublin?
Well, if you can manage to find affordable airline tickets…on March 17, or rather, during that week, when the city changes its appearance and fills up with people for the celebration of its patron saint, St. Patrick. If, on the other hand, you wish to see Dublin more leisurely, you can choose any other season/period, perhaps avoiding only the winter ones.
How to get from Dublin airport to the city center?
AIRLINK: Very simple! The Airlink service is really convenient. They are double-decker buses that depart from and arrive at bus shelters right outside Dublin Airport. They pass by both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The airlinks are number 747 and 757. The difference is the route they take.
Please note: only the 747 passes through O’Connel Street.
Tickets: cost €7 for an adult traveler and can be bought directly at the shelters.
DIRECT TRANSPORTATION: Nothing more convenient than being dropped off at any hour directly to your hotel. Highly recommended, especially for evening arrivals CLICK HERE to see transfer types.
TAXI: As soon as you exit Dublin Airport, you will find people on your right in a queue that you dispose of little by little. This is the queue to get a cab. Obviously, for those traveling alone or as a couple, the cost is quite prohibitive compared to the airlink. For those who are traveling with a family or prefer more convenience, then it becomes the ideal solution. It is great if, like me, you will arrive at Dublin airport on an evening flight.
Excursions (in Italian) from Dublin
There could be a plethora of excursions from the capital Dublin to all the other Irish destinations. But there is one you will not be able to forget to take: the excursion to the Cliffs Of Moher, directly from Dublin and thanks to this organized tour I propose CLICK HERE to find out and purchase it.
Another interesting excursion could be the one in Belfast and the amazing Giant’s Causeway (also read discover the Giant’s Causeway) or the one in Connemara which I told you about in the post on how to visit Connemara.
What to see in Dublin?
From my point of view I think seeing Dublin in three days is the right compromise; two days would also be fine, but the risk would be not to enjoy the atmosphere well. I personally spent two days in Dublin, but I would gladly have added another. I want to suggest a hypothetical walking route through Dublin’s central neighborhoods, assuming we start from O’Connel Street, the city’s main thoroughfare.
1 – O’Connel Street: the main street of Dublin
This is the grand boulevard that divides the city in half. On the right and left are big brands, department stores, cafes offering every good thing and especially a flood of those stores selling classic Irish souvenirs. It is a kind of franchise that will accompany you everywhere in your wanderings in Dublin city. Try to count them, there are so many that you will lose the number!
As you walk southward, and thus toward the Liffey River that bisects Dublin, you will encounter two city symbols: The Spire, a 120-meter-high steel needle-shaped monument and, at the end of the street, right near the waterway, the statue of Daniel O’Connel to whom the entire avenue is dedicated.
2 – Trinity College: one of the most important universities in the world
Needless to make introductions. I imagine you have already heard of the Trinity College dublin’s Trinity College. Just across the river, you will find this prestigious university that holds a huge cultural treasure trove of immeasurable charm.
Founded in 1592, it is still one of the world’s most emblazoned universities where the likes of Oscar Wilde and Samuel Beckett studied. Walking among tourists and possible new faces of the future world scene, I recommend heading to what turns out to be absolutely one of the things to see in DublinThe Old Library.
If you like libraries, if you like books, you will feel in heaven here. 64 meters of oak arches containing endless amounts of books. It would probably take 100 lifetimes to read all 200,000 volumes contained within. You will be amazed. Inside the Trinity College library, you will also see the famous Book of Kells, manuscript containing the four gospels written in Latin.
BUY HERE the skip-the-line admission ticket to the bookstore!
3 – Ha’ Penny Bridge: Dublin’s iconic bridge
If there is one widely photographed landmark in the city, it is theHa’ Penny Bridge, the third stop in this guide to visiting Dublin. It is only a few hundred meters from Trinity College. In doing so you will also pass through what turns out to be Dublin’s most famous neighborhood Temple Bar.
Built in 1816, the Ha’ Penny Bridge joins the two banks of the River Liffey. You may wonder why the name “Penny” … when it was built, those who wanted to pass over the bridge had to pay “half a penny”-simpler than that . (enforced until 1919).
4 – Temple Bar: where to spend at least one evening
Anyone who has never heard of Dublin’s Temple Bar neighborhood, raise your hand…well even if you raise it, I don’t believe you. Temple Bar is very famous. You know the classic Irish pub atmosphere and the sound of guitars alternating with the leaning of large mugs of beer? Well, here it reaches the nth power. If you want to visit Dublin at its best, you will have to explore the neighborhood, which is full of small streets, galleries and exhibition spaces. But, above all, you will have to spend at least one evening in a Temple Bar pub.
Here, compared to other pubs in Ireland that I have visited, you do not feel the genuine warmth of just the Irish people. Dublin is a capital city, full of tourists, it is quite different than being a stone’s throw from the sea in a remote pub in Doolin, just a few steps away from from the stunning Cliffs of Moher. Nevertheless, Temple Bar is a certainty, not only at night but also during the day. Why not enjoy a beer at 11 a.m. with some guitar strumming in the background!?
Temple Bar is a real neighborhood and is said to be named after Mr. William Temple who settled in this part of Dublin during his tenure as rector of Trinity College.
5 – Dublin Castle: or rather a palace?
Forget the classic idea of a medieval castle. I was a bit disappointed with Dublin Castle. Get the concept of a castle out of your mind and replace it with the idea of a palace, a stronghold that has guarded British power for 700 years. The building can be visited for €10. Personally, I think there are more interesting places to see in Dublin. However, if the cultural/museum part is important to you, you cannot miss a visit. For more in-depth information on Dublin Castle, you can use this Wikipedia link.
6 – Christ Church Cathedral
Even now, I remember well when I entered this cathedral. There was a choir of boys and girls intent on preparing hymns, perhaps in preparation for the next day, which was Sunday. We sat and listened to them for about ten minutes, living a bit like a Dubliner Docg, beautiful.
Later I found out that this cathedral is often used for concerts, given the atmosphere that can be created inside. The building is quite interesting, both outside, inside and in the underground part of the medieval crypt, where very valuable goods and findings are kept.
This undoubtedly fascinating cathedral is the oldest in Dublin and was built on the structure of a Viking church founded in 1037. Whether due to changes in historical periods (and thus architectural styles) or accommodations due to prolonged dilapidation, Christ Church Cathedral has undergone numerous renovations. What we can see now is a very distant ancestor of the original cathedral, some reference to which can be found only in the crypt.
This cathedral is absolutely to be included in the things to see in Dublin. Don’t miss it HERE find the entrance fee at €9.5.
7 – St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Just walk a few hundred meters from Christ Church Cathedral to reach another Dublin icon: the St. Patrick Park and Cathedral of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Dublin.
This cathedral was also built between 1191 and 1270 17over an existing one. St. Patrick is said to have baptized Celtic chieftains here and for this reason it is one of the most iconic Christian sites in Dublin.
There are numerous legends about St. Patrick’s Cathedral, such as that of a dispute between the supporters of the Earl of Kildare and the Earl of Ormond, during which the Cathedral becomes a refuge for the latter’s grandson. The episode also relates to the Irish proverb “to chance your arm” because of the vicissitudes that led the Earl of Kildare to bring the conflict to a completely peaceful, albeit risky end to his arm…
You will understand better when you visit the cathedral and find this anecdote in the information pamphlet, which will also point out that the building “houses” more than 500 relics of distinguished Irish people. BUY HERE tickets to the cathedral without standing in any queue.
8 – Guinness Storehouse: another Dublin institution
Let’s talk about Ireland, let’s talk about legends, let’s talk about pubs and we still haven’t mentioned beer, the famous Guinness?
Impossible to visit and see Dublin without spending at least two to three hours in the Guinness brewery. Even should you not like beer, it is a Dublin institution. Certainly a tourist attraction, and as such quite contrived. That should not stop you from having an interesting experience and drinking one, indeed more than one, mug of Guinness on the top floor of the Guinness Storehouse.
7 floors of ode to beer. Dark, mind you!
Famous all over the world, here Guinness reaches an otherworldly state, it is hailed…to the eye I would say. Guinness has a particular production process that is extensively explained within the 7 floors of the factory. This place is the first factory, dating back to 1759, where Arthur Guinness began to produce the most famous of Ireland’s many beers.
From the ingredients, to the production process, to the production of the casks complete with an explanatory video, all the way to the advertisements that made Guinness famous, all in 7 floors minus 1. In fact, the top floor is dedicated to a nice beer drink with a great view of Dublin, not bad I would say.
Info about the visit to the Guinness Storehouse
Included in the visit: there is also the opportunity to become a “tapper for a beer.” To tell you the truth, it almost looks more like an assembly line for tourists, but, although done in a decidedly hurried manner, the experience of tapping with an attached certificate is a nice thing to be able to do.
Please note: a pint of Guiness is also included in the price of the visit. So the advice is to visit Dublin with someone who doesn’t like beer, so the second free pint is assured. Obviously kidding.
Visiting hours: daily from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. (with last admission at 5 p.m.), while in July and August the closing time changes from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m./with last admission at 7 p.m.).
TICKETS: To avoid queues or various problems, I recommend that you CLICK HERE and purchase admission tickets directly.
How to get to the Guinness Storehouse?
True, I told you at the beginning of the article that it would be a walking route. Indeed it is, but to get to the Guinness factory from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, it will not be a short walk. Alternatively, you could take the123 bus (if you do not have the Dublin Card Pass you can buy the ticket directly on the bus) and possibly ask the driver to politely direct you to the correct stop.
Additional things to visit in Dublin
As I told you, you could easily spend three days in Dublin without any problems and by taking breaks-beer breaks. To the itinerary I suggested you could add:
- Grafton Street: once you’ve finished visiting Dublin, you can immerse yourself in this shopping street.
- Old Jameson Distillery: it has now been ten years since my trip to Scotland and since visiting the whiskey Distillery. Unfortunately, I was not able to visit the distillery in Dublin, but if you are a whiskey enthusiast, don’t miss visit the Old Jameson (click for tickets), present since 1780.
- Molly Malone statue: another Dublin icon. A statue dedicated to Molly (or Mary) Malone. Legend has it that she was a girl with a double life. By day a fishwife, by night a prostitute. Although to some city residents she is referred to as “the tramp,” she has become a good luck charm for tourists. You can find her at the intersection of Suffolk Street and St. Andrew’s Street.
- The National Gallery: museum lovers? You must not miss the National Gallery and the 13,000 works housed inside. It is located within walking distance of Trinity College.
See Dublin in two days?
Day 1: O ‘Connel Street, Trinity College, Ha’ Penny Bridge, Dublin Castle and Christ Church Cathedral, and taxing evening in Temple Bar.
Day 2: St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse and Grafton Street.
See Dublin Dublin in three days?
Day 1: O’Connel Street, Trinity College, Ha’ Penny Bridge, Dublin Castle, Grafton Street and taxing evening in Temple Bar.
Day 2: and Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse toward closing.
And Day 3: National Gallery, Merrion Square, relaxation at St Stephen Green and Old Jamerson Distillery.