Dublin was the last stop on our ten day tour of Ireland and it definitely didn’t disappoint! The city is the perfect mix of culture and modern city life, with shops and bars right around the corner from beautiful sights likes Trinity College— there is something for everyone! Putting together the perfect Dublin itinerary can be tough so I picked the best sites for a 2 day itinerary.
Day 1 of your Dublin Itinerary
Your first day in Dublin is the perfect time to get your bearings and learn some history, while still leaving yourself enough time for a nap to shake off the jet lag. This day can also be changed out for any day on your trip where there might be rain in the forecast, as the sites are relatively close together and mostly inside.
Tour Trinity College and The Book of Kells:
Grab a coffee and walk around the beautiful campus of Trinity College. Trinity College, founded in 1592, is the oldest University in all of Ireland.
Student run tours of the University run about every 30-45 minutes and cost €13 (€12 with student ID). The guides give a great tour and will go deep into the history of the university. You can skip this tour and head straight to the library but I found it entertaining and insightful, so I guess it really depends how into history/tours you are!
Your guide will end the tour in front of the main entrance to the library which houses The Book of Kells. The exhibit includes a museum with an in-depth history of the book that takes about a half hour to explore. The book itself is worth the wait and is even more beautiful in person. It is known for it’s bright colors, Celtic knots and incredible calligraphy.
The library is also famous and it is definitely worth spending some time looking around. Any book lover will feel right at home here!
If you opted for the student run tour, your ticket to the exhibit is included in your tour ticket or separately costs €9 at the door. You can also purchase tickets ahead of time to skip the line here.
Discover the Natural History Museum-
Admission to all four National Ireland Museums are free and worth a stop on your tour of the city. The Museum of Natural history is home to over 10,000 different preserved species of animals from around the world. The museum hasn’t changed much since opening in 1857, so it is a bit cramped, but the old school vibe gives it atmosphere and it’s a fun place to wander around for an hour or two.
This area also has some delicious tea shops and restaurants, if you are feeling hungry for lunch!
Head to The Little Museum of Dublin-
Just opened in 2011, The Little Museum of Dublin provides a modern look at recent history in Dublin. The museum lives up to its name being home to just over 5,000 artifacts situated in a 3 story home in the middle of the city. The exhibits range from artifacts of the visit of John F. Kennedy to the work of hometown band U2. Entrance to the Museum is just €5 and they run an amazing guided tour every hour.
It’s the staff that really makes this museum, so if you have any questions be sure to ask, as they are wealth of knowledge!
Snap Photos of the Dublin Doors-
Just a short walk from the Little Dublin Museum is Merion Square which is home to some of Dublin’s best doors. Dublin is known for the colorful, eye-catching doors that adorn the front of the gorgeous Georgian homes through the city.
The block of Georgian homes look exactly the same except for their opulent doors. Our cab driver told us that Dubliners of the past painted their doors bright colors so they could figure out which house was theirs after a long night at the pub, but in reality it was more likely a situation of one upping their neighbors.
Take a walk around the square and surrounding streets and try not to get camera happy at all the beautiful doors. Deciding which one is your favorite is the best part!
Check out our guide to Dublin’s doors to make sure you see all the best ones!
End Your Day with A Walk Down Grafton Street
End your first day in the city with a walk down Dublin’s famous shopping road— Grafton Street. Grafton Street is home to famous Irish institutions such as Weir & Sons and familiar stores from home. At night the street is bustling with street buskers and musicians. Keep your ears open, you might hear the next U2 playing!
See Also: Ultimate Packing List for Ireland
Day 2 of your Dublin Itinerary
Today’s a good day to venture out of town a bit and see some sights that aren’t in the city center. You’ll also get the chance to see some of Dublin’s top sites like the Guinness Factory!
Ride the Hop on Hop off Bus
It may sound like a touristy thing to do, but the hop on hop off bus in Dublin is a great way to see see the city. It is reasonably priced at €17 for a 2 day ticket. With over 40 different stops on 2 different routes, you can get almost everywhere in Dublin City and the surrounding areas. It’s the perfect way to make sure you fit in your entire Dublin itinerary!
You can also ride on the top and take in the scenery while listening to the history— they have live guides and an audio guide available.
Tour the famous Kilmainham Gaol-
When we were planning our trip to Dublin, countless people told us that we couldn’t miss the tour of Kilmainham Gaol. The Gaol was home to many prisoners, several of which played a big part in the battle for independence from Britain. This jail played a very significant role in Dublin history and the stories that the guides share are both informative and sobering. Guided tours cost €7 and run for roughly 45 minutes.
Kilmainham Gaol is also famous for scenes from several movies and music videos. You might recognize the picture above from the U2 music video “A Celebration.”
Get Sporty at Croke Park
If you are interested in sports, in particular the Irish sports of Hurling & Gaelic football, than a visit to Croke Park is a must!
Croke Park is roughly a 25-30 minute walk from downtown Dublin (or a 5-10 minute walk from the last stop on the Hop-on- Hop- Off bus) and is the home to the All Ireland Finals of Hurling and Gaelic football every year.
With a capacity of 82,300, Croke Park is the 3rd largest stadium in Europe. A tour of the stadium includes the locker rooms, the press box, a walk onto the field and a view from each level of the stadium. After the 1 hour tour ends, visitors get free admission to the GAA museum which is home to the Hurling and Gaelic Football hall of fame. If you want to give the sports a try yourself, there are exhibits upstairs that allow you to test your skills. The tour and museum admission cost €13.
Have a Pint at the Guinness Storehouse
Without a doubt, the Guinness Storehouse is the can’t miss stop in Dublin. The tour is a bit pricey for the budget traveler, but definitely worth it.
You don’t have to be a beer lover to enjoy learning about the history of Ireland’s favorite beer. The tour takes you through the beer making process from start to finish and ends with a pint in the Gravity Bar, an all glass rooftop bar that provides amazing views of Dublin.
Give yourself about 3 hours to take in the full experience. Tickets are €18 online and €20 at the entrance. Check out my post about my experience at the Guinness Storehouse for more details!
Wander the Temple Bar Area
No Dublin itinerary would be complete without a trip to the Temple Bar area. A short walk from most accommodation you will find tourist filled streets waiting to get into the famous Temple Bar to enjoy a €7 pint. Temple Bar is known for its traditional Irish music and the best pints in Dublin.
However, if you are on a budget, I suggest wandering into nearby bars like Oliver St. John Gogarty and The Auld Dubliner which are still packed with tourists, but have more reasonably priced drinks and live music all night. Temple Bar will definitely give you a night to remember!
Where to stay
For backpackers and budget travelers, hostels are modern, clean and reasonably priced. For around €13-€15 per night during the off-season, you can have a bed in a 4 bed dorm not to far from the city center. We stayed at Isaacs Hostel and LOVED it– can’t recommended it more!
Where to eat
Dublin is home to plenty of pub grub, street food, and fancy restaurants– so where you eat depends on your budget and taste.
For great pub grub at reasonable prices check out O’Neil’s Pub. They have a maze of small cozy rooms and even have counter service if you are in a hurry and don’t want to order off the menu. Don’t miss their turkey dinner— it was delicious!
The Celt is located on the Spire side of Dublin and is known for their amazing fish & chips!
Dublin is distinctly different from other cities in Ireland. We were excited to find it had such a great mix of people, entertainment, food, culture and history. If done right you can see most of the sites in 2 days on a reasonable budget. Hopefully this Dublin itinerary will help you plan your perfect trip.
If you are planning a trip to Ireland, make sure Dublin is your first stop!
Packing Essentials for Dublin
Camera Gear: Make sure you pack a good digital camera so you can snap tons of pics to show your jealous friends at home. A GoPro is also perfect for capturing your first sip of Guinness on the Emerald Isle!
Rain Gear: Ireland’s weather is rather unpredictable but you can count on a little (or a lot!) of rain during your time in Dublin. Umbrellas tend to be rather unhelpful due to the high winds so it’s important to bring other gear like a light rain jacket and packable rain boots!
Day Pack: A daypack is essential for carrying around cameras, snacks and rain gear while touring Dublin. I love ones like this Oricsson Lightweight Travel Backpack because when you’re not using it, you can fold it up in your luggage to not take up space. It is also water resistant, so you won’t have to worry too much about your items getting wet if it rains.
Good Guide Book: I’m obsessed with guide books and love having them on hand while traveling. They are super helpful when trying to figure out attraction hours and prices while on the go. I will either carry the guide book around in my day pack or download the e-book on my phone. Lonely Planet Ireland and Top 10 Dublin are both helpful while planning a trip to Dublin.
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