Last Updated on 4th January 2023 by Sophie Nadeau
If you’re planning on spending some time in Europe by way of North America, then chances are one of your first ports of call will be the beautiful city of Dublin. Capital of the Emerald Isle, here’s how to spend the perfect one day in Dublin.
Dublin is a fairly small European capital, with almost everything located within walking distance. This means you’ll want to pack comfortable shoes as you’ll be on your feet for most of the day (especially if you’re looking at embarking on a walking tour)!
You should also note that it rains frequently in Dublin and so an umbrella or waterproof jacket is a must, even in the summer. For even more helpful advice prior to your travels, be sure to check out our top Dublin travel tips.
Is one day enough time in Dublin?
The answer as to whether 24 hours is enough time in Dublin depends on what your priorities are when you’re travelling, the pace you prefer to travel at, and the attractions you wish to visit.
For example, if you want to head off the beaten path in Dublin, then you’ll probably want to plan to spend at least a weekend in Dublin. If you’re looking at taking a day trip from Dublin, you’ll want to stay at least 3 or 4 nights in the Irish capital.
Suggested itinerary for one day in Dublin
Trinity College and the Book of Kells
One of the top things to see in Dublin is the Book of Kells, which is housed within Trinity College. Wooden shelves are stacked floor to ceiling in a place where many of the greatest writers, historians, and thinkers of times gone by once studied. And that’s not all a rainy day experience at Trinity College will unveil.
Instead, below ground, in a complex of well-designed low-light rooms, some of the greatest treasures of the Republic of Ireland are held. And perhaps none is quite so famous as the Book of Kells.
This historic manuscript dates all the way back to the 9th-century and is one of the most beautiful historic monastic works in Europe. Purchase your Fast-Track Access Book of Kells and Dublin Castle Tour here in advance.
Explore Temple Bar
Named for one of the most famous bars in the area, Temple Bar lies in the very heart of Dublin and is best explored on foot. All cobbled lanes and little alleyways, this neighbourhood is located close to the riverside. Some of the top spots to explore include open air markets, including a Book Market.
Head to a café for lunch
Those familiar with the Emerald Isle will know that the country is best known for its oodles of history and countless bars. But in the past decade or two, a new trend has started, that of excellent cafés. Head to one of the best coffee shops in Dublin for lunch.
If there’s one attraction that is visited more than any other in Dublin, it’s the Guinness Storehouse. I’ve actually been several times and enjoyed the experience each time. Set across seven levels, you begin your visit by learning exactly how to brew beer, as well as the secrets of what makes Guinness such a unique drink (by the way, it’s now vegan!)
Fans of the tipple will be delighted to discover that you even get the chance to pull a pint for yourself, all included in the price of your ticket. At the top of the Guinness Storehouse, there’s even a ‘Gravity Bar’ which offers panoramic views across the city. Purchase your Guinness Storehouse tickets here in advance.
National Museum of Ireland
One of the best things to note about visiting Ireland is that there are a number of free museums scattered across the city. If you wish to learn more about the culture and history of Dublin, then the National Museum of Ireland is a no brainer.
Ireland actually has four national museums, three of which are located in central Dublin. Some of the other museums include ones about Archaeology, the Decorative Arts and a spectacular Victorian designed Natural History Museum. Though you’ll have to pay for entrance, there’s even a National Leprechaun Museum!
Head to a pub for an early dinner
If there’s one thing you should know about Dublin, it’s that there are over 700 pubs, meaning that there’s no shortage of places to visit! After exploring some of the museums that the Irish capital have to offer, you’re probably a bit peckish, and so it’s time to grab an early dinner.
One of the most famous pubs in Dublin is The Brazen Head, which is located centrally and where we opted to dine and grab a pint for dinner. There are vegetarian options on the menu, as well as traditional Irish dishes such as Beef and Guinness Stew and Bangers and Mash. Just be sure to reserve in advance as spaces fill up fast!
Do a Ghost Tour
if you’re not too tired after a day of exploration, then why not head out on a ghost tour? For example, this Ghostbus Tour lasts for a couple of hours and show visitors sites which are allegedly haunted and a guide recounts a number of ghostly tales. Check prices and availability here.
Where to stay in Dublin
Due to its status as a capital city, Ireland has no shortage of places to stay at every price range. From hostels for the backpackers to luxurious accommodation for those who love their holidays served with a slice of luxury, here are the best places to stay in Dublin (based on price and web reviews):
Abbey Court Hostel, 29 Bachelors Walk, North City, Dublin, D01 AX90, Ireland: For those looking for a hostel and a very affordable option, Abbey Court Hostel is centrally located and generally well-reviewed. Check prices and availability here.
O’Neills Victorian Pub & Townhouse, 36-37 Pearse St, Dublin 2, D02 VX62, Ireland: This mid-range priced pub can be found in the very heart of the action, somewhere between the River Liffey and the National Gallery of Ireland. Check prices and availability here.
The Shelbourne Dublin, A Renaissance Hotel, 27 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, Ireland: Situated in a hotel building dating back to the 19th-century, this five-star accommodation is just a ten-minute walk away from Trinity College Dublin. Check prices and availability here.
Merrion Hotel, Merrion St Upper, Dublin 2, Ireland: This five-star place to stay offers luxury at its very finest. Set within a restored Georgian building, the hotel can be found just over a five-minute walk away from the National Gallery of Ireland. Check prices and availability here.
What to wear when exploring Europe
In the summer, you can’t go wrong by pairing a cute midi dress with classic white tennis shoes for a laid-back smart casual look that’s just as chic for walking around a city’s cobbled lanes as it is for wandering coastal paths. I love this dress and have it in several colour ways. In terms of tennis shoes, this is my go-to shoe.
When it comes to winter in Europe, most places (with the exception of a few islands) can get pretty cold and so warm layers is a must. I find that cute ankle boots like these ones are the perfect mix of practical meets cute.
Shoulder seasons (spring and summer) in Europe tend to come with a mix of rainy and sunny days and so, again, layers are a must. Trench coats and sneakers are the best uniform to explore the continent in.
Finally, a cross-body bag like these ones is a must. I personally use a crossbody bag by this brand and love its shape, size, and versatility. As well as being convenient and compact, it’s one of the safest ways to transport your valuables, all the while looking chic. I also recommend bringing along a travel adapter like this one so you can charge all of your electronics during your stay!
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Sophie Nadeau loves dogs, books, travel, pizza, and history. A Francophile at heart, she runs solosophie.com when she’s not chasing after the next sunset shot or consuming something sweet. She splits her time between Paris and London and travels as much as she can! Subscribe to Sophie’s YouTube Channel.