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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

Let’s call a spade a spade – if you’re spending 24 hours in Dublin, you need a well planned itinerary.

There are hundreds of things to do in Dublin, and in order to make the most of your time here you need an easy-to-follow plan of action.

And that’s where we come in. In this guide, we’re created 3 different 1 day in Dublin itineraries for you to choose from (all you need to do is pick on and follow it).

Each Dublin in a day itinerary has timings, what to expect and how far you’ll need to walk between each stop. There’s also info on public transport and more. Dive on in.

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

howth boat cruise

Photo by Peter Krocka (Shutterstock)

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’re not careful, you’ll waste a lot of time aimlessly wandering random back streets. Sure, they might look cool on Insta, but you’ll regret not planning later when your 24 hours in Dublin evaporates. Decide what do you really want to see/do in advance. Make a plan, and you’ll make the most of your time in Dublin.

2. Pick a good base

The saying ‘location-location-location’ really is true when staying in Dublin. It 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, Stoneybatter, Smithfield, Portobello or right in the heart of old Dublin. See our guide on where to stay in Dublin for more.

3. Book tickets in advance

Expect long queues to get into attractions, and don’t make the mistake of thinking it’ll be alright. It won’t. Book your tickets ahead of time and be early! Queues have been known to last for hours (I’m looking at you, Book of Kells!), buy prepaid tickets guarantee entry on time, giving you more doing, and less queuing.

4. Perfect for a layover in Dublin

If you have a layover in Dublin and you’re struggling to decide what to do, the 1 day in Dublin itineraries below are straightforward, don’t pack too much in and they all have timings.

5. Save, save, save with the Dublin Pass

If you’re spending one day in Dublin, the Dublin Pass is a no brainer. You simply buy the pass for €70 and you get access to the city’s main attractions, like the Guinness Storehouse and the Jameson Distillery. You can easily save from €23.50, depending on how many places you visit.

3 different ways to spend 24 hours in Dublin

Skerries Beach

Photo by Johannes Rigg (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, make some great memories, and pick up some classy souvenirs to take home. Included in this tour is 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 don’t want the hassle of parking, and who want to escape the city centre. 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)

Not afraid of venturing even further afield, this itinerary is best suited to those who want a mix of nature and culture. Enjoy hikes through forests, a swim in the Irish Sea, and an evening of fun at a proper Irish pub.

Dublin in one day Itinerary 1: For those that want to tackle the tourist trail of Dublin’s attractions

This itinerary will have you on your feet all day, and by the end, you’ll feel like a true Dubliner. Starting with a breakfast that’ll fuel your daylong adventure, you’re going to see and experience all the classic sights in Dublin. 

But don’t worry, there are regular stops for refreshments and refueling, and of course a decent amount of craic in the evening too!

8:30: Breakfast

Brother hubbard

Photos via Brother Hubbard Cafes on Facebook

It’s time to get started, and how better than with breakfast! We’d recommend going to one of the following (the spots we think do the best breakfast in Dublin):

  • Brother Hubbard (North): Classics with a twist, try their Meaty Mezze tray, or Eggs Baba Bida, in their flagship location.
  • Beanhive Coffee: near St Stephen’s Green, great for a takeaway or sit-down breakfast, don’t miss their Super Breakfast and coffee!
  • Blas Cafe: Closest to The GPO, they do amazing breakfast baps.
  • Joy of Chá: Ireland’s first ‘tea shop’, they also do a mean traditional Irish breakfast, and of course a wicked cup of tea!

9:00: Trinity College

the long room 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 history

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

Photo by Bernd Meissner (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

gpo dublin

Photo by David Soanes (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.

13:00: Lunch

food in dublin

Photos via Nova restaurant Dalkey

We’re half way through our 1 day in Dublin itinerary, so it’s time to eat. You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to lunch in Dublin. A quick 7-minute walk, and you’ll find the following recommended options:

  • Arisu Restaurant: is a Korean restaurant, and also has sushi as well as Korean favourites like kimchi, bulgogi, and yaki noodles.
  • Aobaba: Vietnamese street food at its finest; choose from classics like beef pho, steamed buns, and bubble teas.
  • Brother Hubbard (North): not just for breakfast, the team at BH also prepare wraps, salad plates, and soups, as well as coffee and cake.
  • Fusciardi’s Restaurant: European cuisine; you’ll find fantastic pizzas, pasta, fish and chips, and burgers, as well as sweet desserts and drinks. Note: closed on Mondays.

14:15: Dublin’s Oldest pub

oldest dublin pub

Photos via the Brazen Head on Facebook

If you’re still thirsty, then the next stop may take a little longer. The Brazen Head is only 10 minute’s walk from Capel St 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!). Make sure you linger for a pint and really drink it in.

15:00: Christ Church Cathedral

Christ Church Cathedral tour

Photos via Shutterstock

A wee walk later, or approx. 7 minute’s 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 go!

15:40: The Guinness Storehouse

guinness storehouse dublin

Courtesy Diageo Ireland Brand Homes via Ireland’s Content Pool

When you’ve had your fill of the medieval, 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

dublin castle tours

Photo by Mike Drosos (Shutterstock)

It’s time to take a load off. You can either head back to your accommodation for a wee 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

restaurants dublin

Photo via Manifesto Restaurant on Facebook

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

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

palace bar dublin

Photos via The Palace on Facebook

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 (there 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

portmarnock coast walk

Photo by Eimantas Juskevicius (Shutterstock)

It’s up and at ’em for this one day in Dublin itinerary, but the pay-offs are huge with 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 marina

Photo by Irish Drone Photography (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

malahide restaurants

Photo left via Old Street Restaurant. Photo right via McGoverns Restaurant. (on Facebook)

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:

  • The Greenery: A brisk 10mins walk and The Greenery has your typical breakfast foods; croissants, scones, granola, and cooked breakfasts too!
  • McGoverns: Only 3mins walk from the station, is an upmarket establishment with a more formal setting. Expect standard fare with classic style.
  • Déjà Vu: Also only 3 minutes from the station and with a distinctly Parisian feel, Déjà Vu is filled with wrought-iron cafe tables and delectable dishes like crepes, eggs Benedict, and pain perdu.

9:40: Malahide Castle

malahide castle

Photos via Shutterstock

You won’t be able to miss your next destination; Malahide Castle. It’s located only minutes from the train station and is set in the spectacular greenery of the castle’s public parkland.

Now, you can do a tour of the castle, if you like, but you’ll get some great views of it from afar, from the gorgeous grounds here. 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 harbour

Photo by Aitormmfoto (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 2mins walk from the stop.

12:29: Snack time at Howth Market

Howth market

Photo via Howth Market on Facebook

Try not to be caught up in the beauty of this seaside village. Instead, head to the Howth Market, which is just across from the station. You’re sure to find something to cater to every taste and level of hunger for both now and later!

If the mood strikes, you can also go to Gino’s in Howth village. It’s only a 5min walk, and there you’ll find great gelato, crepes, waffles and more!

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

cliffs in Howth

Photo by Cristian N Gaitan/shutterstock.com

Noted for being one of the best and 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

aqua

Photos via Aqua Restaurant on Facebook

After all that walking and indulging in the 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 exceptional seafood from one of the many restaurants in Howth. Here are our favourites:

  • Aqua: located on the western pier, is a more formal dine-in affair, and their Rock Oysters are freshly opened are to order, and their steaks are served with triple-cooked chips!
  • Beshoff Bros: family-friendly, and super tasty. This is the place you want for great food and a seaside view, then look no further. Try their traditional fish and chips, or sink your teeth into their fresh chicken fillet burger.

16:00: Old school pubs

best pubs in howth

Photos via McNeill’s on Facebook

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 classic Irish pub with an extensive menu that caters to all diets and tastes. Try their aged steaks, or beef and Guinness pie.
  • McNeills of Howth: A short walk along Thormanby Road, and you’ll find hearty fare in a welcoming pub setting. Try their Thai beef salad, baked cod, or even their Cajun chicken burger.

17:00: Back to the city

the DART train

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

St Stephens Green in Dublin

Photo left: Matheus Teodoro. Photo right: diegooliveira.08 (Shutterstock)

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

steak in dublin

Photos via Marco Pierre White Steakhouse & Grill on Facebook

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

Kehoe's

Photos via Kehoe’s Dublin

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

Killiney Beach car park

Photo by Photo by Roman_Overko (Shutterstock)

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

Beanhive Coffee restaurant dublin

Photos via Beanhive Coffee on Facebook

Before setting off, you’re going to want to grab some breakfast. Depending on where your base is, we’d suggest the following options:

  • Brother Hubbard (North): A local favourite for any time of day, their breakfasts are tasty and filling. Try the vegan Mezze or Velvet Cloud Pannacotta with Granola, delish!
  • Beanhive Coffee: Just around the corner from St Stephen’s Green, they have both dine-in and takeaway options. We’d recommend the scrambled eggs, or vegan breakfast to fuel the day ahead.
  • Blas Cafe: Located over the Liffey in the north of Dublin, you can choose between a bap-in-the-hand, or sit with a bowl, Blas Cafe’s food is healthy and tasty.

10:30: Drive out to Ticknock

the ticknock walk

Photo left: J.Hogan. Right: Jemma See (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. Be sure to take plenty of camera battery, as the skyline over Dublin is amazing!

13:00: Lunch in Dalkey

dalkey restaurants

Photo left via Benito’s Italian Restaurant on Facebook. Photo right via the Dalkey Duck on Facebook

It’s time to refuel, so it’s off to Dalkey! A quick 25-minute drive down the road to Dalkey and you’ll be near the coast again. There are several excellent restaurants in Dalkey, but here are our favourites:

  • Benito’s Italian Restaurant: as the name suggests, it’s Italian, and it’s delicious. With a seasonal menu, you can choose from familiar favourites like ravioli Florentina, or pollo ai funghi porcini and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in Sorrento.
  • DeVille’s: is definitely up-market and worth the experience. Only a few doors further down Castle Street, you’re bound to enjoy a mouth-watering meal. Try their seafood chowder, or beef Bourguignon and make the most of the visit.

14:30: More views from Killiney Hill

Killiney Hill walk dublin

Photo by Globe Guide Media Inc (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

Fred and Nancy's killiney beach

Photo via Fred and Nancy’s

From the top of the hill, you’re now headed for Killiney Beach and a quick dip in the Irish Sea. Killiney Beach car park is just down the hill, about a 12-min drive, and there’s ample 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

the spire o'connell street

Photo by mady70 (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. After your rest, get your dancing shoes on; it’s time for dinner and some fun!

18:45: Dinner

The Best Restaurants in Dublin: 21 Tasty Places to Try Tonight

Photo left via Bunsen. Photo right via RIBA. (on Facebook)

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

palace bar dublin

Photos via The Palace on Facebook

There’s only one way to do Dublin right, and that’s to spend your evening checking out the best pubs the city has to offer. When it comes to enjoying a craic, you want to get yourself to these establishments:

  • The Long Hall: an Irish institution since opening in 1766, it’s filled with a lively atmosphere, after all, it’s been one of the best pubs in Dublin for 250yrs!
  • Neary’s (5-minutes from Long Hall): is everything you’ve ever seen or heard of. It’s filled with polished brass, and stained-glass windows, and is a true Victorian-style pub.
  • Kehoe’s (2 mins from Neary’s): staggering distance from Neary’s, Kehoe’s is the ‘local’ pub you didn’t know about.
  • The Palace (8 mins from Kehoe’s): with a bicentenary to celebrate in 2023, The Palace in Temple Bar is popular with both locals and visitors alike.

FAQs about spending 1 day in Dublin

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.

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