Fáilte to Dublin! I ran away to this city right after graduating college and had a blast exploring it and the rest of Ireland. I knew we had to add Ireland to our list of stops during our honeymoon. With a bit of knowledge under my belt already, and more after this second trip, I had to put together a Dublin city guide for first-timers. Read on to find an itinerary of activities, or scroll to the bottom for quick lists and recommendations for what to pack!
Read on to find an itinerary of activities, or scroll to the bottom for a Google map, quick lists of eats/things to do and also recommendations for what to pack!
*Make sure to land in Dublin no later than 2pm to follow this itinerary.
How to get from the airport to Dublin city center
Skip Uber or a taxi as it’ll run you easily 60 Euros. Instead, follow the signs for the bus and take the Airlink into town. You can buy a one-way pass for 7 Euros with a credit card at the bus stop. The bus has wifi and takes you right into town in about 30 minutes.
Where to stay
Find a hotel near Temple Bar, Trinity College or Stephens Green. This is the downtown area and everything will be in walking distance. If you have a high budget, stay at the Westin Dublin. Middle budget, The Lombard or at an Airbnb – use THIS link for $40 off your stay! Low budget, head to Abigail’s Hostel (stayed here my first time to Ireland and loved it!)
Check in to your hotel! Use this time to freshen up and change into something comfortable to get a big day of exploring in. The sidewalks aren’t always even, so wear comfy shoes and bring a jacket as the weather can change quickly. I recommend walking up and down the river and around Temple Bar to get your bearings and take in the sights. On a nice day, walk all the way to Phoenix Park.
Grab a Guinness at Temple Bar (the big red one that a lot of tourists will be taking a photo of) or go for a Whiskey tasting next door – you had a long flight, you deserve it! The staff at the whiskey bar are incredibly friendly and you can get a flight for about 10 Euros. Guinness will run about 6 Euros at the Temple Bar, and most places around Dublin. Stay for a few songs, there is usually live music playing.
For dinner, head to Cleaver East to hit up their happy hour special. You’ll get a great discount off food, almost 50%. We dined on a deliciously fancy meal for a fraction of the price. The decor in here is great – think hipster butcher. It’s just a few minutes walk from the Temple Bar.
walk back through Temple Bar or across the river for more beer and live music. You are in Ireland, after all! Click here for information on a live music tour.
Bedtime (have to adjust to that time change!)
For breakfast, walk over to the Bakehouse along the river. They have an excellent homemade breakfast, plus the decor is very cute! Stop in the cafe next door for a Guinness hot chocolate or the donut shop a few stores down for some seriously good donuts. Dubliners are obsessed with donuts – I swear we walked by over 20 during our time there.
After breakfast, walk across the river over to Trinity College. There is a walking tour you can take that is 14 Euros (I believe) and this covers your admission to the Book of Kells. Tickets are that much just for the books, so you might as well get a good tour in first! The campus is huge and has so much history. If it’s not raining, make sure to take the tour. The Book of Kells is worth it for the library alone – it makes you feel like you walked into Hogworts. Very magical.
After getting your fill of history, head across the street for a Whiskey Tasting and shopping at the Aran Sweater Market. There is the Whiskey Museum, where you can take a tour or simply buy a glass or flight like we did. They have a great view of the street below. After, head a few doors down to the Aran Sweater Market to shop Irish wool goods. The Aran Islands are beautiful islands off the coast of Galway (I spent a week there when I first visited Ireland) and they are known for their amazing wool clothing. We picked up a sweater and some gifts.
Stephens Green is a beautiful park near the heart of Dublin. There’s a few ponds and lots of grass to lay out in. Make sure to walk around at the least. If it’s sunny, bring some cheese, breads, etc and picnic here for lunch!
Around this point in the day, start walking towards St. James Gate for your Guinness tour. Leave some time to explore the city along the way. If you haven’t had lunch yet, swing by the Cornish Pasty shop in Temple Bar for a takeaway pasty. There’s a cool church along the way you can stop in along with shops.
Guinness Storehouse Tour! We loved our tour! Make sure to buy tickets ahead of time, though the time doesn’t really matter as you have free reign of the brewery. Instead of checking tickets, you can redeem them for beer – either at one of the bars or at the Guinness school. We chose the school so we could learn how to properly pour a beer (and drink it after) They have a sky bar, which has the most stunning view of Dublin. It gets crowded in the afternoon, so perhaps go in the morning if that’s important to you. Don’t forget to try a Guinness pale ale while you are at the brewery, which is only available in Dublin so it’s rare! Robin and I loved our tour here. They have 7 floors of things to see and do. Set aside at least 2 hours, more if you want to have a few beers.
After your tour, walk back towards Temple Bar/ Trinity College area and find a pub either along the way or in the area to grab a pub dinner in. You can trip and land in a pub here, so find one that suits your mood.
Late Night Snack
Donuts for dessert. City is full of shops, it’s a Dublin thing I think. Pick one close to your hotel and take them back to your room. On that note, they also have more Starbucks in a 6 block radius than Seattle, I swear.
Grab a traditional Irish breakfast this morning. Try Queen of Tarts Cow Lane for a hearty breakfast!
Use this time to explore anything you missed yesterday. Stop by Cornish pasty for to-go if you didn’t try them yesterday – they are very, very good here and make a great traveling lunch!
Checkout! Time to head to Southern Ireland?
Best Pubs + Tasting Rooms
Temple Bar Whiskey Tasting Room
Guinness Storehouse Skybar
Vintage Cocktail Club
The Pig’s Ear
What To Pack
I hope this guide helps you plan your visit to Dublin, Ireland! If you have any tips or questions, leave a comment below!