If you’re planning a weekend in Dublin? Good choice! Having grown up in Dublin I congratulate you for having impeccable travel tastes! As with any major city, Dublin has no shortage of cool things to do and see.
If you’re not a morning person there are plenty of things to do in Dublin at night. And the craic. Definitely do not forget about the craic! If you don’t know what that means then you might want to check out my guide to Irish phrases.
When you only have 48 hours in Dublin you might feel a bit overwhelmed about where to begin and how to really make the most of your time to experience the best that the city has to offer. Never fear. I’m here to help you out.
It’s a real gem when it comes to maximizing your time and planning your trip. Each part of the city is handily dealt with in separate sections. It’s easy to see at a glance which attractions are close to each other, how to get to them, and where to find great food without going out of your way. So you can get the most out of your 3 days in Dublin. Navigating and finding your way around has never been easier. Let’s get planning your Dublin weekend.
Getting to Dublin
Dublin is well connected to the UK with airlines including Ryanair Aer Lingus CityJet , Flybe and BA. There are also ferries to Dublin and the nearby port of Dun Laoghaire.
Dublin airport is 12km north of the centre. There is no rail link but the 24-hour Aircoach shuttle provides a handy alternative running every 10 minutes at peak times with stops throughout the city; €7 one-way, €6 if booked online. Dublin Bus also operates the 747 Airlink to the Central Bus Station (1); €6 one-way. A taxi will cost about €25 one-way.
When to go
The weather is famously changeable in Ireland, including in Dublin. In general terms, May, June and September tend to be the sunniest months, while July and August can be a washout – and crowded to boot. Winter-time Dublin, with its contrast between chilly streets and a cosy, indoor culture, can be charmingly atmospheric.
Where to Stay
For a budget option, the award-winning Ariel House impresses with its relaxed and elegant charm. Two beautifully conserved red-brick Victorian properties enclose a mature garden and the comfortable sofas and grand piano (which guests are free to use) in the gracious drawing room make it feel cosy.
If extravagant décor and being really close to Dublin’s city centre are top of your priority list when it comes to accommodation then Trinity City Hotel is probably right up your street. Set behind Trinity College, Trinity City is a 4 star hotel offering guests a convenient, comfortable base to explore the city from. And if you really can’t help making your friends jealous by posting your photos to Facebook, the hotel also provides free wi-fi.
Where to Eat
With about two days in Dublin you’ll have plenty of time to feast on some Dublin delicacies. If you’re looking for some traditional Irish fare to sink your teeth into on your weekend in Dublin, you can’t go wrong with Irish stew. Another one-pot dish to try is coddle.
Bacon and cabbage, as unappetizing as it may sound, is also really tasty. Grab a breakfast roll in the morning, or sit down for a full breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs and other goodies.
Speaking of goodies, try goody if you’re craving something sweet. Or wrap your mouth around the Dublin favorite of gur cake. And, you have to try soda bread when in Dublin!
If Texan BBQs and hipster hangouts are your thing head to Bison Bar and BBQ right next to the river Liffey on Wellington Quay. That said, there’s nothing pretentious about this place; it’s got a relaxed atmosphere, the staff are friendly and the food’s so good they bring a roll of kitchen paper to your table should you get a little messy (and you probably will). Try the pulled pork with fries and home made coleslaw or the 14 hour slow roast Irish beef brisket beef. But be quick: when the food’s gone the food’s gone!
Whats the best place for good atmosphere? Try Alliance Francaise. Always packed, good value and absolutely always delicieux is the café where you can treat yourself to reasonable coffee and croissant deals, as well as good value main meals. The relaxed atmosphere belies the seriously good food they offer.
If you are looking for fuel for a day of traipsing around the sights, look no further than Mama’s Revenge Burrito Hut, where for €5 students can get a gut-busting, half-kilo of burrito which tastes as good as the colourfully decorated shop-front looks.
What to Do
A gorgeous, prestigious campus right in the heart of the city. It was founded in 1592 and is Ireland’s oldest university. Also a library housing 200,000 books in magnificent oak bookcases, Trinity College is still a functioning university in the heart of Dublin city and attracts thousands of visitors a year.
A campus tour, which lasts around 35 minutes, is a brilliant way to learn more about the history of the college and its buildings, and includes an introduction to the Books of Kells and the library (where you can spend as much time as you like).
Home of the famous Irish “Black Gold”, learn about Guinness’s history, see how it’s made, and enjoy a pint from the panoramic bar. This is a massive tourist trap of course, so be prepared for crowds. And a rather extortionate entrance fee. It’s mainly worth it for all the old Guinness ads and the view from the Gravity Bar at the top of the Storehouse. Have always wanted to learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness? You can also be taught the art of Guinness pouring.
Christ Church Cathedral
If you experience Dublinia, the exit from the gift shop leads you directly into Christ Church Cathedral. Founded in 1028, this breathtaking cathedral of the United Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough is one of the most sought after attractions throughout the Irish nation
Irish Museum of Modern Art
Home to Ireland’s national collection of modern and contemporary art, the gallery includes works by Goya, Rembrandt and more. It also hosts a diverse range of exhibitions featuring both Irish and international artists.
Where to Drink
You can’t go to Dublin and not have a refreshment. I mean you could, but where’s the fun in that?
Formerly St Mary’s Church, a 17th Century place of worship closed in 1964, The Church is now a bar, cafe, and restaurant with a stunning, unique interior including a stained glass window and a Renatus Harris organ. This place has a cosy atmosphere, despite its size, and is the perfect place for a couple of casual drinks.
If coffee is more your speed, Java Republic is a new cafe by an Irish-owned artisan roasted coffee company by the same name. The stylish minimalist cafe on Molesworth Street is a must for coffee lovers.