A Weekend In Dublin: The Ultimate 2 Day Itinerary 2023

Wondering what you absolutely have to do and see during a weekend in Dublin?
We’ve visited Dublin more than 10 times, so you can trust that this itinerary is made up of our first hand experiences to ensure you have the best trip ever.


And so, we have put together this itinerary to help you get the most out of your weekend in Dublin , as it is would be rude to keep all this experience to ourselves!


A Weekend In Dublin: Trip Overview

Dublin is split into two: Northside and Southside, reflecting its position in regards to the River Liffey. Your time in Dublin can easily be split between the two areas, with both offering extensive choices of ways to fill your time.

We have hand picked the best things to do and see; we have experienced these ourselves so you can take our word for it when we say “you must do these!“.

💡 Short on time? We recommend the Guinness Storehouse, staying in the
Belvedere Hotel, and eating at Keogh’s Cafe!

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Dublin Itinerary Day One: Northside

Day one will be spent, primarily, in Northside. This area is known as being cheaper, even a little more run down than Southside; nonetheless it is still beautiful and warrants an entire day there!

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Morning

Your first morning in Dublin will begin on O’Connell Street, outside the Discover Ireland Centre.
Here you will purchase a 48-hour ticket for the Big Bus Hop-On-Hop-Off tour. Alternatively, you can purchase your tickets ahead of time, and one of their many helpful members of staff will print your tickets off for you.

You are at Stop 1 on O’Connell Street, so grab a drink from one of the many cafes in the area, and hop on the bus here.
Make sure to take advantage of the open top level as this will give you the best views during the journey!

You’ll be relaxing on here for the entire route around Dublin, with the experienced tour drivers taking you back in time with their knowledge. It is also the ideal time to note places down that you will want to visit later on during your visit.

This is our favourite mode of transport around Dublin, and the convenience of it is always appreciated after an early flight!

💫Purchase Big Bus Tour Tickets Here!💫

Upon completing the 90 minute route and being back on O’Connell Street, stay on the same bus (you may be asked to disembark first), and make your way to Stop 2 for Trinity College library, and the Book of Kells.

If you are in Dublin, you absolutely have to visit Trinity College. Its 200,000 old books located in The Long Room make it one of most impressive libraries in the world. Tickets start from €18.50, and it is worth every cent!

From Stop 2, hop back on the bus (remember to put your arm out to flag down the bus, they may not stop if not!) and go all the way to Stop 20 for Phoenix Park.

Don’t worry that you are doing the tour all over again, each driver will tell you new things and each has their own sense of humour! We did the tour in total about 5 times and each time we learned new things.

This 17th Century park is open to the public 24/7, and is gigantic.
You could fit New York’s Central Park into Phoenix Park TWICE!

Within here are monuments, and even one of the world’s oldest zoos: Dublin Zoo.
If you would prefer to refrain from going to the Zoo, you could also hire bikes from the entrance of Phoenix Park and spend a couple of hours cycling round its magnificent landscape.

A Weekend In Dublin-
Phoenix Park

Afternoon

With your Big Bus ticket, you can claim a free half-pint of Guinness from the Nancy Hands Pub, which is located at stop 21. Take this opportunity to grab a light lunch at Ireland’s first female-owned pub!

Your next stop of the afternoon is the famous historical ship “Jeanie Johnston”. It is heavily associated with Ireland’s history of emigration during the 19th century.

This replica ship is now docked up at Custom House Quay.
To reach here, jump back on the bus from your nearest stop, and get off at Stop 24. Continue to walk for around 5-10 minutes along the River Liffey and you will see the beautiful ship right in front of you.

Pre-Book Jeanie Johnston Museum Tickets Here

This guided tour is insightful, and puts into perspective the hardships of those trying to escape to a better life overseas following years of neglect. It also highlights the story of the Jeanie Johnston as an example of a ship that prioritised the welfare of its passengers unlike many others at the time.

After your tour is finished, head back to O’Connell Street where you will have a few options as to how to spend the next few hours of your weekend in Dublin.

A Weekend In Dublin- Jeanie Johnston Museum

Option 1: GPO (General Post Office)
The iconic General Post Office played a central role in the Easter Rising of 1916. Not only is it a functional post office but also a historical site. You can learn about its history and the events of the Rising at the GPO Witness History Exhibition located on O’Connell Street.

Option 2: Shop and people watch
O’Connell Street and its nearby streets are home to a range of shops and boutiques. You can explore clothing stores, souvenir shops, and more.
Henry Street, just off O’Connell Street, is a popular shopping destination with several well-known retail chains. There are many small cafes for you to sit in and watch the world go by.

Option 3: Parnell Square
A short walk from O’Connell Street is Parnell Square. Here sits the Hugh Lane gallery, which houses a large collection of Irish and international art.
Directly across from the Hugh Lane gallery is the Garden of Remembrance, which is dedicated to those who fought for Irish freedom.

All of these are brilliant ways to spend a few hours of your afternoon in Dublin, and they can be tailored to fit your interests.

Late Afternoon/Evening

Now your afternoon on O’Connell Street has ended, it is time to grab some food!
Make your way to the Parnell Heritage Pub on Parnell St, and enjoy some delicious food, and maybe a few drinks to kick your evening off.

At 7pm (or 8:30pm if you prefer), you will be embarking on a Docklands tour– which is included in your 48 hour ticket-with Big Bus which leaves from Stop 1 on O’Connell Street.
This tour takes you to the other side of Dublin City, along the River Liffey. If timed right, you will be enjoying this experience at sunset; the glow on the city is stunning.

A Weekend In Dublin- Parnell Heritage Pub

Your tour is around 50 minutes, and will find you back on O’Connell Street. The night is still young, so make the short walk to Temple Bar to soak up the atmosphere. Make sure to walk over Ha’Penny Bridge, a picturesque pedestrian bridge.

Unfortunately, Temple Bar is not where you will meet Dublin’s locals as they tend to avoid it. The area is vibrant and fun, but if you are wanting a more authentic experience, we recommend going to any other local pub outside of the Temple Bar area.

If you are unsure where to start with Dublin’s 700+ pubs, consider joining a pub crawl. This includes free entry and several free drinks, along with a knowledgeable local guide to take you to all the best spots!

🍺Let Your Hair Down On A Pub Crawl🍺


Dublin Itinerary Day Two: Southside

Day two of your time in Dublin will be spent in Southside: known as being more upper class than Northside, it hosts many things to do and see which you cannot miss.

Morning

Before your day can properly start, it is important that you enjoy some hearty food! Breakfast will be served at Keogh’s today (open from 06:30am) on Trinity Street, right round the corner from the Molly Malone statue.

Keogh’s is a family run business, who prepare all their food in-house, and use locally sourced ingredients. They cater for vegetarians, and we thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast date here.

Just a short 10-minute walk from here is the National Museum of Archaeology, and the National Library. Both are fantastic experiences for history buffs, with the Museum of Archaeology having so many fascinating exhibits such as Ireland’s Gold, Vikings, and the Egyptians.

Both museums are branches of the National Museums of Ireland. This means that they are, along with several other museums, completely free!
The rule of thumb is that if it has “National” in front of it, then it is a free museum in Ireland.

Understandably, this may not be for everyone. If you would rather have a more “touristy” activity to do, we strongly recommend the Little Museum Of Dublin.

Located next to St Stephens Green, this museum is dedicated to all things Dublin. Featuring themed rooms, you will learn all about Dublin’s past in regards to politics, social life, music, literature, and more. It also includes items related to figures such as U2, James Joyce, and President John F. Kennedy.

You should take this opportunity to take a walk around St Stephen’s Green, which is a beautiful park right in the heart of Dublin.

A Weekend In Dublin- National Museum Of Archaeology

Afternoon

It is rare that we go for a sit down lunch. Most of the time, we just eat on the go, so we do not have a recommendation as such for a formal lunch setting.

This being said, we had the most delicious sandwich from the Spar on Merrion Row, which also offered a sit down area. From their deli counter, you can make up a sandwich of your choice, and it only cost around €6– we recommend going here for a cheap and cheerful lunch.

Merrion Row is 10-minute walk from the Archaeology Museum, a 1-minute walk from the Little Museum of Dublin, and only a 2-minute walk from the Big Bus Tour stop to take you to your next stop- it is a no brainer!

A Weekend In Dublin- National Museum Of Archeology

Now, to the Guinness Storehouse! From Stop 4 (around the corner from Merrion Row), you will go to Stop 9 for the Storehouse.

Originally we had decided not to visit here due to fears of it being overrated…it is not! We highly recommend you put this down as a must-visit during your weekend in Dublin, especially for those interested in Ireland’s iconic stout.

The only downside we have found is you will never be able to enjoy a pint of Guinness anywhere else, as it will never beat one from the storehouse.

The tour takes you through the entire brewing process, along with offering panoramic views of the city from the Gravity Bar. It is one of Dublin’s most popular attractions, and books up fast so make sure to book your tickets in advance.

Also, don’t worry if you are not a drinker. The experience is also made for those who don’t drink, and they offer non-alcoholic options!

🍺Buy Guinness Storehouse Tickets Here🍺

A Weekend In Dublin- Guinness Storehouse

Evening

After your Guinness Experience, make your way back to the Temple Bar area, then stroll through St Stephens Green before embarking on your next activity.

As your time in Dublin draws to a close, what better way to spend it than to sail along the beautiful Grand Canal? Take in the scenery around you, whilst learning about Ireland’s canal system. And the best bit? You will be served drinks and a 3-course meal throughout the duration of the journey!

It is a perfect, unique activity to enjoy to bring your hectic weekend in Dublin to an end.

💫Book 3-Course River Cruise Here!💫


Where To Stay For A Weekend In Dublin

There are many fabulous hotels dotted around Dublin, but we have handpicked our top 3!

📍Budget Option: The Leeson Lodge

Located in the lower portion of Southside, this guesthouse is a great budget-friendly place to stay when visiting Dublin.
With ratings of 8.3 on Booking.com, it is a steal with rooms for as little as €70 per night for 2 people.

📍Mid-Range Option: Belvedere Hotel

Belvedere Hotel is located in Parnell Square, and is a luxurious hotel for a fraction of the price you would expect to pay!
Rated an 8.2 on Booking.com, this hotel is a great option if you want to be close to O’Connell Street. A deluxe room costs from €150 per night for 2 people.

If you get the option to experience their 3-course meal in the hotel’s restaurant- do it! You will not regret it. Also keep an eye out for the Irish nights which are hosted there.

A Weekend In Dublin- Belvedere Hotel

📍Luxury Option: The Shelbourne

There is no doubt that The Shelbourne is top of the list for luxury options.
Located in St Stephens Green, this 5* hotel has hosted the likes of John F. Kennedy and many members of Royalty have stayed here over the years.

It is rated as an 8.8 on Booking.com, and prices for a small queen room are from €350 per night for 2 people.


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Walking Around Dublin

Dublin is considered a “walkable” city. The most popular attractions are within reasonable walking distance of each other, and the city centre. 

Temple Bar, Grafton Street, and Dublin Castle are all easily reached on foot. The city is relatively compact making it convenient to explore without the need for public transport, taxis, or vehicle hire. 

Some attractions and areas of interest will need the use of public transportation; whilst these are mostly covered by the Big Bus Tour, ensure to do your research beforehand and plan your route. 

Dublin has an extensive bus system and a tram, otherwise known as the Luas, which can be helpful for getting around efficiently if it is needed. 

It is a good idea to have a map or a navigation app to help you find your way around whilst walking in Dublin as there are many alleys and shortcuts you can take.

The Dublin Express takes 25 minutes (traffic dependent) to get directly from outside Arrivals at Dublin Airport to O’Connell Street. You can purchase tickets online before you travel to ensure an easy transfer on your arrival.

Dublin Express Airport Transfer Tickets


Things To Know

Visiting Dublin is relatively straight forward, but there are a few things you may want to remember before a weekend in Dublin!
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Temple Bar is an area which practices the world-wide phenomenon of raising its prices at night. This is common in tourist and entertainment districts, and acts as a way to ensure maximum profit for the establishments in the area during a period of high demand. 
Ensure you plan for this if you do decide to visit the wonderful area of Temple bar!

There are quite a few homeless people throughout the city. Every single individual we have encountered has been harmless when they have approached us; just apologise, and explain you have no change and you will more than likely be met with a kind reaction for just acknowledging them.

A Weekend In Dublin- View from Guinness Storehouse Gravity Bar

Avoid playing on Irish stereotypes– the locals do not take to them kindly.
Refrain from using phrases like “top o’ the morning” or exaggerated accents as these can be perceived as incredibly offensive, and will not be met with a smile.
Also, do not assume that everyone drinks heavily just because they are Irish. In short, just be respectful and appreciate the culture.


A Weekend In Dublin: FAQs

How Many Days Do I Need In Dublin?

The number of days you require to visit Dublin will vary depending on your interests, and what you want to do whilst you’re there.

If you’re short on time, 1-2 days is a good amount of time to get a glimpse of Dublin’s main attractions.

To explore the city more thoroughly, spend at least 3 to 4 days. In addition to the aforementioned sites, you could visit places such as Kilmainham Gaol, and perhaps venture to some of the city’s surrounding areas like Howth or Malahide.

If you’re a history buff, enjoy museums, or want to experience Dublin’s local culture deeply, consider staying for 5 days or more. This will give you time to explore lesser-known attractions, art galleries, live music venues, and maybe even take day trips to nearby places like the Wicklow Mountains or Glendalough.

Dublin also offers a vibrant nightlife scene! If you’re interested in experiencing Irish pubs, live music, and the local pub culture, you might want to factor in extra time for evenings out.

Essentially, the duration of your stay in Dublin depends on your preferences and whether you prefer slow or fast travel. It’s also worth considering any day trips you might want to take from Dublin, as there are several picturesque areas and historical sites within a short distance from the city.

Do I Need A Visa To Enter Dublin?

The  UK and the Republic of Ireland are part of the Common Travel Area,  meaning there is no need for a passport between these two countries. Generally, this means UK citizens do not require a visa to enter Dublin or any other part of the Republic of Ireland for short stays, and vice versa. Gov.uk can assist with any queries you may have.

Those from non-EU/EEA countries, there is a chance you may need a visa to visit Dublin. This all depends on your nationality, and the purpose of your visit. 

Be sure to visit the official Irish government website to determine whether you need a visa and how to apply for one if necessary. Only ever follow Visa advice from official Government websites.

A Weekend In Dublin- Temple Bar

Can I Do Dublin In A Day?

Yes, it’s absolutely possible to explore some of the highlights of Dublin in a day. However you should keep in mind that you will not get the chance to experience even a fraction of everything Dublin offers to its tourists.

Some attractions also have specific opening hours, so it’s a good idea to check ahead of time to avoid disappointment if there are specific attractions you wish to visit.

Are Dublin Plugs The Same As The UK? 

Dublin and the UK use Type G electrical plugs and sockets. Type G plugs have three rectangular prongs. This type of plug is commonly used in the UK, Ireland, and a few other countries.

Many modern hotels and new establishments will also have the option for USB charging if you do forget your Type G travel adapter.

Are Dublin Shops Open On A Sunday?

Yes, many shops in Dublin are open on Sundays despite being a predominantly Catholic country. This being said, the specific opening hours and which shops are open will vary. Larger shopping centers, department stores, and tourist-oriented areas are more likely to have shops open on Sundays.

Always check with specific shops or shopping areas for their Sunday opening hours, as they might differ from their weekday hours. Keep in mind that holidays and other events will also impact opening hours.


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Conclusion: A Weekend In Dublin

So, is a weekend in Dublin a good idea? Yes!

In fact, it is an excellent idea.
We have done this over and over again, and each time we fall in love with the city that little bit more.

Dublin offers a mixture of history, culture, entertainment, and warm hospitality which ensures that every moment spent in Dublin is a delightful experience.

If you’re exploring its historic landmarks, enjoying its lively nightlife, or simply soaking in the local ambiance, a weekend in Dublin promises an unforgettable trip.

At time of writing, there are currently no Coronavirus measures limiting tourists to enter Ireland. This is in accordance with the information provided on gov.uk.



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