In this guide we’ll be taking about to take you through a 48 hour/2-day Dublin itinerary that’s wedged with the best things to do along with advice on where to sleep, eat and drink.
It’s pretty detailed. But it should make planning your 2-day Dublin trip that bit easier.
What you’ll get from reading this guide
- A detailed, hour-by-hour itinerary from start to finish
- Advice on where to eat, sleep and drink
- A guide on the best things to do in Dublin during your visit
Sound good? Let’s get cracking!
Where to stay in Dublin
OK. Naturally enough you’ll want to stay central, but where you pick will be completely dependant on your budget.
You could grab a bed in a hostel from €15 per night or spend €500+ in somewhere a little swankier.
The choice is yours, but here are some suggestions:
We created a guide to the best hostels in Dublin a while back after asking the 250,000+ strong Irish Road Trip community about their experiences.
Here’s what we found the best ones in the city to be:
- The Generator Hostel
- Barnacles Hostel
- Abbey Court Hostel
You’ve your pick of hotels in Dublin, but according to the lads at Timeout, the top 3 hotels in the city are:
- The Deam
- Number 31
- The Marker
If none of the above suit your budget/plans, we’ve created a map of the best places to stay in Ireland. Just open it up and zoom into Dublin.
Day 1: Castles, Cliffs and Historical Pubs
Your 2-day Dublin guide is going to take you to the city and beyond, and mixes the big touristy attractions with some unique things to do in Dublin.
I’m only going to make one assumption with this itinerary, and that’s that you’ve just flown into Dublin Airport – so, we’re going to start the trip from nearby.
That being said, you can easily move things around and start it from wherever’s convenient.
Day 1 Stop 1 – Coffee and a Castle
// We’ve a lot on the cards for today, so arrive to Malahide for 9. //
We’re kicking things off with a cup of coffee and. ramble around the grounds of Malahide Castle.
Grab a coffee from the cafe on the grounds and head off for a little ramble around some of the 260 acres of lush parkland.
The castle itself dates back to the 12th century and while you can step inside and take a paid tour, I’m going to recommend just admiring it from the outside.
Stop 2 – Sucking in Atlantic air on the Howth Cliff Walk
// Leave Malahide Castle at 10:00. Arrive at the summit of Howth for 10:30 //
Our second stop of the day takes us up along the coast road to the gorgeous little fishing town of Howth.
If you land in the village on a Saturday morning, you’ll find the place to be a hive of activity, with a cocktail of locals, tourists, and those working in the villages many shops and restaurants buzzing about the place.
After taking a quick spin through the village and admiring the harbor from afar (you definitely have time to park up and spend some time here – there’s a tonne of cafes to grab a coffee to keep the hands toasty as you ramble), continue up the hill towards Howth Summit.
From here, park your car and take the walk to the right of the car park that leads down towards the lighthouse.
This walk doesn’t require a huge amount of physical fitness and the views on a clear day are just absolutely brilliant.
Follow the path through the bushes and make your way down towards the lighthouse.
On a cold day the breeze that rushes in from the Atlantic will hit you like a tonne of bricks, so be prepared to have all cobwebs banished.
Day 1 Stop 3 – Kilmainham Gaol
// Howth to Kilmainham Gaol – 45-minute drive (arrive for 13:00) //
Our third stop of the day needs to be booked in advance, so make sure to buy a ticket online a few days before you’re due to arrive.
Kilmainham Gaol opened in 1796 as the County Gaol (prison) for Dublin.
It’s within these walls that leaders of the rebellions of 1798, 1803, 1848,1867 and 1916 were detained and, in some cases, executed.
Many members of the Irish Republican movement during the Anglo-Irish War (1919-21) were also detained in Kilmainham Gaol and guarded by British troops.
If you’re visiting Dublin, make a point of doing this tour. It’s fantastic from finish to end.
The average length of a visit to Kilmainham is 90 minutes.
Day 1 Stop 4 – Filling the belly at Union8
// Kilmainham Gaol to Union8 – 5-minute walk (arrive for 15:00) //
We’re going to grab lunch a handy 5-minute walk from Kilmainham Gaol.
Head over Union8 and grab a bite to eat (the signature Chilli Marinated Chicken Brioche
We’ve a busy afternoon and evening ahead.
Day 1 Stop 5 – A post-lunch stroll around St. Patrick’s Cathedral
// Aim to arrive for 17:00) //
Note: You’ll need to leave your car somewhere for the evening.
Either drop it where you’re staying if you’re close to the city or leave it overnight in one of the car parks in the city. Here’s a guide to finding the best bang for your buck when it comes to parking in Dublin.
When you’ve dropped the car off, head for St. Patricks Cathedral.
The cathedral, a superb, 800-year-plus old building, is constructed on the site of an ancient well that was supposedly used by Saint Patrick himself – hence the name!
The last time that I was here was on a sunny Saturday morning. I found a bench and admired the cathedral from afar.
While I enjoyed checking out the building itself, what was more entertaining was seeing the number of elderly people who clearly use the grounds as a Saturday morning meeting spot.
I watched as two aul lads in their 80’s, both wrapped up in thick jackets and well-worn woolly hats, scurried from one side of the grounds to the other, shouting loud greetings to one another in thick Dublin accents.
They perched themselves nearby and I sat taking the photos above and below while they theatrically discussed everything that had happened in their lives since they last laid eyes upon each other the Saturday previous.
Old friends having the craic – what more could you want from life?!
Day 1 Stop 6 – The Teeling’s Whiskey Tour
// Leave St. Patrick’s Cathedral at 17:20, arrive at Teeling’s for 17:30 (7-10 minute walk) //
Note: due to high demand, it’s recommend that you book your tour at Teeling’s well in advance. If you’re following this 2-day Dublin itinerary, book in for the 17:40 tour.
The Teeling Whiskey Distillery is Dublin’s newest destination for whiskey fans and for anyone with an interest in Dublin’s long association with Irish Whiskey.
Finely located in the heart of Dublin City Centre in the Liberties, the Teeling Whiskey Distillery is the first new distillery in Dublin for over 125 years.
You can head off on a number of tours here so pick whichever one tickles your fancy.
Day 1 Stop 7 – Bunsen for a bite to eat before our mini pub crawl
// Teeling’s to Bunsen on Wexford St. – 15-minute walk (arrive for around 19:00) //
Obviously you can eat wherever you like, but I’m going to recommend Bunsen.
I’m no foodie, but I’ll fight any man who says that there’s a better burger in Dublin than Bunsen (I’m not the only one that thinks so either)!
Get in, get fed, and bask in the joys of post-Bunsen bliss.
Day 1 Stop 8 – Walking off the burgers with a stroll to the Ha’penny Bridge (and several pints along the way)
// It’ll take around 15 minutes to walk directly to the Ha’penny Bridge… but we’ll be nipping into a handful of great pubs en route. So, let’s forget about the time. //
We’re going to polish off day one with a stroll to the Ha’penny Bridge. Now, there are several excellent Dublin pubs en route, so we’ll be doing a mini pub crawl.
Pub 1: The Long Hall (7-minute walk)
Licensed since 1766, the Long Hall is one of Dublin’s oldest and most beautiful pubs. The interior, which dates from 1881, has the same Victorian era vibe as the magnificent Crown Liquor Saloon in Belfast.
If you’re a fan of Irish rock, you may recognise the Long Haul from Phil Lynott’s video for his hit-song ‘Old Town’ from 1982.
Pub 2: McDaid’s (7-minute walk from the Long Haul)
Our next stop is to a pub which was once the Dublin City Morgue.
Not long after it was converted into a chapel for the Moravian Brethren, hence the Gothic style windows.
Back in the day poets Brendan Behan and Patrick Kavanagh were both known to frequent McDaid’s.
Pub 3: Neary’s (1-minute walk from McDaid’s)
Our next stop takes us to Neary’s, a UNESCO City of Literature Bar.
This lovely little pub has a long connection to acting and the literary community which date’s back to 1871 when the Gaiety Theatre opened. The stage door to the Gaiety is directly opposite the rear entrance to Neary’s.
I was here recently. The Guinness is delicious.
Mini stop: the Ha’penny Bridge (10-minute walk from Neary’s)
We’re going to take a break from the pints and stroll to the Ha’penny Bridge.
It should be nicely lit up by the time you arrive.
Built in 1816, the Ha’penny Bridge started its life as a toll bridge, and pedestrians were charged a Ha’penny to cross, hence the nickname.
Today, around 30,000 people cross it on a daily basis. Here’s a post I knocked up a few years ago where you can learn more about the history if you like.
Pub 4: The Confession Box (10-minute walk from the Ha’penny Bridge)
Next up is the Confession Box. Another great Dublin pub with a tonne of history.
Dating back to the Irish War of Independence (1919-1921), this pub has a quirky story behind where it earned its name.
During the conflict that took place during Ireland’s war for independence from the British, the last known excommunications from the Catholic Church in Ireland took place.
The excommunications were directed against those involved in the rebellion, of which Bishop Daniel Cohalan of Cork and Michael Collins were included.
Back then the pub was known as the Maid of Erin and some of the rebels were known to drop by the pub to receive Communion and Confession from sympathetic priests from the nearby Pro-Cathedral, earning the pub the nickname The Confession Box.
Finish up here and get to bed at an early hour.
We’ll be up bright and early for another busy day.
Day 2 Stop 1 – Trinity College
// Grab a bit of breakfast wherever you’re staying and aim to arrive at Trinity for 9. //
Now, the last time I visited Trinity I made an almighty balls of things.
My plan was to do the Book of Kells tour and then hit up a couple of attractions close by, but the queue for the tour was bananas.
If I was using my head, I would have booked online in advance.
Make sure you avoid making the same mistake as me!
The grounds of Trinity College are a joy to walk around, and are arguably one of the best places in Dublin for people watching.
You’ll encounter a colorful cocktail of people, from University Professors and students, to tourists and, on the day I was there, drama students dressed in full Victorian attire.
When you’ve had your fill of the grounds head for the entrance to the Book of Kells tour.
The highlight of which is the Long Room.
I love this tour.
It’s the second time I’ve done it and it still floored me like it did the very first time I experienced it.
There’s just something wonderful about the Long Room in Trinity College.
The smell of old books that hits you as you walk into the library, the high ceilings with their beautiful designs, the winding staircase, the dusty volumes – I love it all.
Day 2 Stop 2 – The National Science Gallery
// The National Science Gallery is on the grounds of Trinity, so it’s a handy stroll from stop 1. Arrive here for 10:15 //
The last time that I visited the Science Gallery, the ‘SOUND CHECK’ exhibition was taking place, which made for interesting viewing, even if my ears were still ringing fifteen minutes after leaving the place.
The gallery is free to enter and definitely worth dropping by to see what’s on during the time you’re thinking about visiting. Check out the schedule for the gallery here.
Day 2 Stop 3 – The GPO 1916 Tour
// Leave the Science Gallery at 10:40 and arrive to the GPO for 11:00. //
No Dublin itinerary, regardless of length, is complete without a visit to the GPO 1916 Tour.
The GPO 1916 tour is one of those things to do in Dublin when you’ve a good chunk of time on your hands.
Simply put, it’s brilliant – but you could spend hours on end walking around and soaking up the history.
Walking into the tour is like stepping out onto a battlefield; from the minute the tour begins, you feel completely immersed in the action.
The exhibition puts you right inside Dublin’s GPO during Easter Week in 1916.
It’s highly visual, and conveys the events in an easy to digest, dramatic manner that’ll leave you with a totally different perspective of the General Post Office forever more.
Day 2 Stop 4 – A bit of lunch on Capel Street
// Leave the GPO at 12:20 and arrive to Brother Hubbard on Capel Street at 12:30 //
As you’re in the area, I’m going to recommend that you ramble up O’Connell St. and head for Brother Hubbard on Capel St. for lunch.
The Braised Beef Short Rib sounds amazing!
Fill the belly and take a bit of time to recharge. We’ve a solid afternoon and evening ahead.
Day 2 Stop 5 – Getting up close with the Vikings at Dublina
// Leave Capel St. at 13:30 and arrive to Dublina at 13:40 //
The Dublinia Tour is one that has been recommended to me time and time again.
Those that embark upon it will meet the Vikings face to face while learn about life during the Medieval period in Dublin.
How the folks at Dublina describe the tour:
‘Go back to Viking times in Dublin! See for yourself what life was like onboard a Viking warship. Learn of their long and challenging voyages, their weaponry and the skills of being a Viking warrior.
Try on Viking clothes, become a slave (watch those heavy chains) and stroll down a noisy street. Visit a smokey and cramped Viking house, learn the Viking runic alphabet and hear their poetry and sagas. Enjoy the myths and learn of the mysteries surrounding the Vikings and their legacy.’
Find out more about the tour here.
Day 2 Stop 6 – The Guinness Storehouse
// The Dublina Tour will take around 90 minutes. Finish up there at around 15:25 and take the 15-minute walk to the Guinness Storehouse. //
I left the Guinness Storehouse out of a previous 2-day Dublin guide, and I received a tonne of mails saying that it’s well worth adding.
So, here we are.
Your journey at the Guinness Storehouse kicks-off at the bottom of the world’s largest pint glass and continues up through seven floors packed with interactive experiences.
When you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with a pint in the rooftop Gravity Bar, where you can enjoy it as you look out over Dublin.
Day 2 Stop 7 – Food, music and craic in Johnny Fox’s
// Aim to finish at the Storehouse 17:40 and make your way to the Shelbourne for 18:35 //
OK, so we’re going to spend the night in Johnny Fox’s, which is about 40 minutes from the Guinness Storehouse.
Now, if you’re feeling flush you can grab a taxi.
But there’s also a handy shuttle service that leaves from several hotels in the city (note: you need to book it in advance).
If you don’t fancy forking out for the taxi, you can take the 30-minute stroll from the Storehouse to the Shelbourne hotel to grab the bus.
Situated in Glencullen on top of the Dublin mountains, Johnnie Fox’s Pub is one of Ireland’s oldest and most well known traditional Irish Pubs.
We’re going to recommend that you book the Hooley Show (€59.50 per person – book in advance) which includes a four-course meal followed by a live music session.
And that’s a wrap on our 2-day Dublin itinerary
You’ll have polished off the 2 days in style in Johnny Fox’s and hopefully be heading home with a head full of memories and only a trace of a hangover.
Did we miss anything in this guide? Of course we did.
2 days isn’t a huge amount of time, but we’ve packed in as much good stuff to our Dublin itinerary as physically possible.
Let me know what you think in the comments below!