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1 Day In Dublin: 3 Different Ways to Spend 24 Hours in Dublin

1 Day In Dublin: 3 Different Ways to Spend 24 Hours in Dublin

If you’re spending 24 hours in Dublin, you need a logical itinerary.

However, as there are hundreds of things to do in Dublin, it’s often a pain trying to map out a plan.

In this guide, we’ve meticulously researched and planned out 3 different 1 day in Dublin itineraries, each of which takes in a different side of the capital.

Why trust this guide? I’ve lived in Dublin for 34 years. I’m very confident you’ll love each of the 3 itineraries below. Enjoy!

Table of Contents

Some quick need-to-knows before spending 1 day in Dublin

24 hours in Dublin can be the perfect amount of time to explore a corner of the city, but there are some need-to-knows that are worth considering before you start planning your trip.

1. A well-planned itinerary is key

If you don’t plan your itinerary in advance, you’ll waste a lot of time aimlessly wandering around wondering what to do in Dublin for a day, while wasting valuable time. Decide what you really want to see/do in advance and you’ll make the most of your time in Dublin.

2. Pick a good base

Dublin might not look big on a map, but there’s a lot to see and do in this city, and the best way to get around is on foot. We’d recommend staying in Ballsbridge, Smithfield or right in the heart of Dublin, if your budget allows. See our guide on where to stay in Dublin for more.

3. Book tickets in advance

You’ll find long queues at some attractions (I’m looking at you, Book of Kells!) while other will often book-out in advance. So, once you have decided what to do in Dublin for a day, book your tickets!

4. Getting around and saving money

Getting around Dublin is pretty easy. A Leap Visitor Card is handy if you’re doing Dublin in a day – a 24 hour ticket costs €8 and gets you unlimited travel on  Dublin City Bus, the Luas and the DART. The Dublin Pass is also a no brainer. You simply buy the pass for €70 and you get access to the city’s main attractions, like the Guinness Storehouse. You can easily save from €23.50.

3 different ways to spend 24 hours in Dublin

Ha’penny Bridge

Photos via Shutterstock

I’m going to give you a quick overview of our different 1 day in Dublin itineraries, so you can see what each one involves.

Each itinerary varies massively (one for the city, one for seaside towns and one for people renting a car), so it’s worth taking some time to see where each one brings you.

Itinerary 1: For those that want to tackle the tourist trail

This is the Dublin in one day itinerary that everyone knows and loves. You’ll see all the major sights including Trinity College and the Book of Kells, the Ha’Penny Bridge, the GPO tour and the Guinness Storehouse.

Itinerary 2: For those that want to escape the city

Heading north out of Dublin, this itinerary is best suited to those who have seen Dublin City before and who want to see what else the capital has to offer. You’ll take in sights like Malahide Castle, a quaint seaside village, and complete a spectacular cliff walk.

Itinerary 3: For those that have visited before and want to do Dublin differently (rental car needed)

This itinerary will also appeal to those who have previously visited Dublin City and who now want to explore more of the county. It takes you to the affluent side of Dublin and takes in walks, a mighty view, a seaside village and more.

One day in Dublin Itinerary 1: The tourist trail

The first of our one day in Dublin itineraries takes in all of the major tourist attractions in the city. You won’t need a car and, to be honest, you could easily walk the route without needing public transport.

It starts with a visit to Trinity College before moving to a couple of historical sites, stopping for a hearty lunch and then it continues to some of the city’s main attractions.

8:30: Breakfast


Photos via Shutterstock

Now, many hotels in Dublin will include breakfast. If yours doesn’t, we’d strongly recommend Beanhive Coffee near St. Stephen’s Green (has a little bit of everything).

Another spot dishing up some of the best breakfast in Dublin is the Joy of Chá – Ireland’s first ‘tea shop’. You’ll find it in Temple Bar.

9:00: Trinity College

Trinity College

Photos via Shutterstock

The first attraction in our first 1 day in Dublin itinerary is Trinity College. Grab a coffee to go from your breakfast spot and soak up the sights and sounds of the beautifully kept grounds.

You’ll want to book into the first Book of Kells exhibit, which kicks off at 9:30am. Once in the exhibition, you’ll have the opportunity to also linger in The Long Room; one of the world’s most breath-taking libraries.

11:00: Temple Bar

Temple Bar on St Patrick's Day

Photos via Shutterstock

A short 8-minute walk will bring you to Temple Bar. This corner of Dublin has been popular with tourists for decades due to its cobbled streets and lively bar scene (see our Temple Bar pubs guide).

Enjoy rambling around some of the shops and soaking up the atmosphere (there’s live music played by buskers and in pubs here from morning to night).

11:15: The Ha’penny Bridge

Ha’penny Bridge

Photos via Shutterstock

The Ha’penny Bridge is Dublin’s original toll booth, as it happens. It’s located right next to Temple Bar, and it only takes 20 seconds to cross.

The Ha’penny Bridge has spanned the Liffey River for over 200 years, and it’s arguably one of the most beautiful bridges in the capital.

11:35: GPO Witness History Tour


Photos via Shutterstock

5-minutes further along O’Connell Street, and you’ll arrive at The GPO. This is where the brilliant Witness History Tour is located.

Visitors here will discover how the GPO played a key role in the Easter Rising of 1916. Bookings essential! This is regarded as one of the best museums in Dublin for good reason.

14:15: Lunch in Dublin’s Oldest pub

Brazen Head

Photos via Shutterstock

If you’re still thirsty, then the next stop may take a little longer. The Brazen Head is only a 20-minute walk from the GPO and is Dublin’s oldest pub.

The building here is stunning from the outside, and it’s nice and quirky inside (the food here is also very good!). 

15:00: Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral

Photos via Shutterstock

After a 7-minute walk from The Brazen Head, you’ll come to the stunning Christ Church Cathedral.

A holy site since 1030, this cathedral is an Irish institute and should not be missed. Be sure to check out the footpath labyrinth before you leave!

15:40: The Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

Photos © Diageo via Ireland’s Content Pool

When you’ve had your fill of Christ Church, take the 15-minute walk to the Guinness Storehouse; the home of Irish stout and the Guinness Tasting Experience.

This is arguably the most popular attraction in this 1 day in Dublin itinerary, and pre-booking tickets is strongly advised (more info here).

17:30: Chill time

Kilmainham Gaol

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s time to take a load off. You can either head back to your accommodation for a rest (see our guide to the best hotels in Dublin if you’re looking for somewhere to stay), or continue exploring.

Some other nearby attractions include Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, the Phoenix Park and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. See our Dublin attractions guide for more.

18:45: Dinner

F.X. Buckley

Photos via F.X. Buckley on FB

Now that you’ve walked the better part of 10kms, you’re going to need some refuelling! Dublin has a huge variety of fine dining restaurants and casual spots.

Hope into our guide to the best restaurants in Dublin to get a solid overview of the various hot-spots, from Michelin Star Restaurants to cheap places to eat.

20:00: Old school Dublin pubs

Doheny & Nesbitt

Photos via Doheny & Nesbitt on FB

There’s some brilliant pubs in Dublin, but there’s some terrible ones, too. If you, like us, love traditional, old-school pubs packed with history, you’ll love these ones (they are some of the oldest pubs in Dublin):

  • The Long Hall: 250yrs and counting, The Long Hall has been an Irish legend since 1766. Atmospheric and lively, this pub will not disappoint!
  • Neary’s (5-minutes from Long Hall): Established in 1887, with polished brass, and stained-glass windows, Neary’s is steeped in bygone days.
  • Kehoe’s (2 mins from Neary’s): Your local heritage pub, where the interior will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time
  • The Palace (8 mins from Kehoe’s): Celebrating its bicentenary in 2023, this pub has been popular since it opened. You’ll be sad to pull yourself away.

One day in Dublin itinerary 2: Explore Dublin’s wilder-side

It’s up and at ’em for this one day in Dublin itinerary. Expect spectacular scenery, historic castles, unspoiled beaches, and quaint Irish village markets and cafes.

Be sure to wear your walking shoes, and take note of the transport timings (if you’re unsure of public transport options, see our guide to getting around Dublin)!

8:00: Take the train from Dublin City to Malahide

Malahide Village

Photos via Shutterstock

So, as we mentioned earlier, our second 1 day in Dublin itinerary involves leaving the city, so we’re going to recommend you hop on a train from the capital to Malahide.

This journey takes approx. 30-minutes and leaves from Connolly Station on Amiens St. Aim to sit on the right-hand side of the carriage for glimpses of the seaside, and beautiful countryside during your journey.

8:45: Breakfast in Malahide village


Photos via Shutterstock

Our second 24 hours in Dublin also involves an early start, so a rewarding breakfast is needed. A fine feed is exactly what you’ll get at these Malahide restaurants.

You’ll be arriving into the DART station, which is on the outskirts of the town. There’s a lovely breakfast spot (Déjà Vu) a 3-minute walk away.

When you finish, head for a ramble around the town, down past the harbour and along the busy streets.

9:40: Malahide Castle

Malahide Castle

Photos via Shutterstock

The first real stop of this day trip to Dublin is Malahide Castle. You’ll find the entrance to the castle grounds a few minutes from the DART station. 

From there, follow the signs and you’ll arrive to the castle in 10-15 minutes. Now, you can do a tour of the castle, if you like, but you’ll get some great views of it from afar.

There’s plenty of other things to do in Malahide if you’d like to linger here.

11:52: DART from Malahide to Howth

Howth cliff walk maps

Photos via Shutterstock

Howth is only 2 short train rides away from Malahide. So head back to the station and take the DART to Howth Junction (3 stops).

From Howth Junction and Donaghmede take the DART to ‘Howth’ (3 stops). Howth village is less than a 2-minute walk from the stop.

12:29: Snack time at Howth Market

Howth Market

Photos via Howth Market on FB

When you leave the station, you’ll see Howth Market right across the street. There’s everything from coffee and sweet treats to savoury bites here.

The market is tiny but it’s a worthy stop before the lengthy walk you’re about to take.

13:15: Do the Howth Cliff Walk or saunter along the pier

walks in howth

Photos via Shutterstock

Noted for being one of the most scenic walks in Dublin, the Howth Cliff Walk is hard to beat. There are several trails to tackle, ranging from 1.5 to 3 hours.

You can read more about these in detail in this guide. If a cliff walk isn’t your thing, there’s also a lovely walk along the pier that looks out to Ireland’s Eye, and the Church of the Three Sons of Nessan. The pier walk takes about 25 minutes.

15:00: Lunch in Howth village

King Sitric

Photos via King Sitric on FB

After all that walking and indulging in natural scenery, it’s time to refresh and refuel. When you’re this close to the Irish coast, you really can’t go wrong with some seafood.

There are some great restaurants in Howth. One of the best is Aqua (formal, dine-in spot). A great casual spot for a feed is Beshoff Bros (get some fish and chips to go and keep an eye out for the seagulls!).

16:00: Old school pubs

McNeill's Pub

Photos via McNeill’s on FB

So, we’re about half way through our second 24 hours in Dublin itinerary, which means, if you fancy, it’s pub time.

Have a wander around the harbour if you haven’t already, and then nip into one of the many pubs in Howth. Here are our favourites:

  • The Abbey Tavern: A traditional Irish pub with an extensive menu that caters to all diets and tastes
  • McNeills of Howth: A short walk along Thormanby Road and you’ll find hearty fare in a welcoming pub setting

17:00: Back to the city

Dublin City

Photos via Shutterstock

Time to head back to Dublin, and your best bet is the DART from Howth station. It’s a direct train and takes around 30 minutes (see our guide to getting around Dublin if you’re confused).

Once back in Dublin, we’d suggest returning to your base and getting a bit of rest in – there’s still a lot to see and do, and you’ll need your energy.

Do note, Connelly station does have a reputation for being a bit rough, so try not to linger there.

17:30: Chill time

Our second 1 day in Dublin itinerary involves a fair bit of moving about, so make sure to carve out a bit of chill time before heading for food.

Again, if you’re unsure about the areas of Dublin to avoid, see our guide on where to stay in Dublin or our guide to the finest hotels in Dublin.

18:45: Dinner


Photos via Brookwood on FB

Whatever you fancy for your dinner in Dublin, you’ll find it in this city. With a range of cuisines from across Europe, Asia, and the Americas, and fine dining to cosy bistros a quality meal is never far away.

20:00: Old school Dublin pubs


Photos via Grogan’s on Twitter

So, not all pubs are made equally, and Dublin is home to plenty of tourist traps. If you’d like to visit historic, traditional pubs, try our Dublin pub crawl.

If you fancy bopping away to some traditional tunes, visit one of the many live music pubs in Dublin (some have trad sessions 7 nights a week).

24 hours in Dublin itinerary 3: Dublin and Beyond

Our third 1 day in Dublin itinerary will get you off the city streets, and out onto the open road. Now, you will need a rental car for this itinerary (see our guide to renting a car in Ireland), so make sure to book one ahead of time.

This 24 hours in Dublin itinerary will appeal to travellers that have visited Dublin before, and that fancy seeing a different side of the city.

8:30: Breakfast


Photos via Shutterstock

Now, many hotels in Dublin will include breakfast. If yours doesn’t, we’d strongly recommend Beanhive Coffee near St. Stephen’s Green (has a little bit of everything).

Another spot dishing up some of the best breakfast in Dublin is the Joy of Chá – Ireland’s first ‘tea shop’. You’ll find it in Temple Bar.

10:30: Drive out to Ticknock

Dublin Mountains

Photos via Shutterstock

It’s time to hit the road, and you’re going to be heading south to Ticknock for a scenic walk in the Dublin Mountains. The drive takes about 40 minutes, and there is parking upon arrival.

The Ticknock walk does take a couple of hours, but the pay-off is breathtaking.

13:00: Lunch in Dalkey


Photos via Shutterstock

It’s time to refuel, so it’s off to Dalkey! A quick 25-minute drive down the road and you’ll be near the coast again.

There are several excellent restaurants in Dalkey, but one of our favourites is Benito’s Italian. Another great place to eat is DeVille’s if you fancy something more high-end.

14:30: More views from Killiney Hill

Killiney Hill

Photos via Shutterstock

Once your hunger is satiated, it’s time to hit the road again to take in the magnificent views from Killiney Hill. There’s a car park there, and it’s then a quick 20-minute walk to the viewpoint.

This is arguably one of the most beautiful places you’ll visit in any of our 1 day in Dublin itineraries, so you’re in for a treat.

15:30: Coffee and a paddle


Photos via Shutterstock

Leave Killiney hill and take the short spin to Killiney Beach – it’s around a 12-minute drive and there’s plenty of parking.

Once you’ve explored the shoreline or had a swim in the sea, you can warm up, or cool down with refreshments from the always popular Fred and Nancy’s (Seafront cafe with snacks and drinks, a must-do experience for Irish seaside visits).

17:00: Chill time

Stephen's Green

Photos via Shutterstock

Your 24 hours in Dublin isn’t over just yet, but it is time to get some rest before a night on the town.

So, head back to your accommodation and put your feet up for a while. 

18:45: Dinner

SOLE Seafood & Grill

Photos via SOLE on FB

Dublin is filled with dining options to suit your budget and your mood. No matter the vibe or cuisine, you’ll find something to suit your tastes and appetite.

See our guide to the best steak in Dublin, for something hearty, or our guide to the best Irish restaurants in Dublin, for something traditional.

20:00: Old school Dublin pubs


Photo left © Tourism Ireland. Others via Kehoe’s

We’re going to round off our final day trip to Dublin with pints in old-school pubs. I’ve a few favourites in the city.

The first is Bowe’s (Fleet St. near Temple Bar – small pub that does great Guinness) and the second is Neary’s (lovely old world pub just off Grafton Street).

FAQs about what to do in Dublin for a day

We’ve had a lot of questions over the years asking about everything from ‘Is 24 hours in Dublin enough?’ to ‘What are the best things to do in Dublin in one day?’.

In the section below, we’ve popped in the most FAQs that we’ve received. If you have a question that we haven’t tackled, ask away in the comments section below.

Is one day enough in Dublin?

No. Ideally you’d want at least two. However, if you follow one of our 24 hours in Dublin itineraries above, you’ll enjoy your short time in the capital.

How can I spend 24 hours in Dublin?

If you’re looking to do Dublin in one day, pick one of our itineraries above. If you want to do touristy stuff, go for itinerary 1. The other two take you outside of the city.

How much does a day in Dublin cost?

This is going to vary massively depending on 1, where you’re staying and 2, what you’re doing (i.e. free vs paid attractions). I’d advise a minimum of €100.

What are some non-touristy things to do in Dublin for a day?

Some non-touristy things to do in Dublin for a day include taking a day trip to Howth, Malahide, Dalkey or anywhere outside of the city which is where the more touristy attractions are found.

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