What to Do in 24 Hours in Dublin
A step by step guide through the city's best
Have you found yourself with a long layover in Dublin? Are you looking to see as much of the city as possible with minimal time to spare? There is much more variety in Dublin than tourists first realise. Follow this route for a condensed day of history, beauty, and culinary delight. From the airport, you can hop on the 747 Airlink bus into town to get started.
Get off the bus at the College Green stop for one of the best breakfasts in town. Take a left on Church Lane and follow it to the left, as it becomes Suffolk Street. On the left hand side you’ll see a shop called Avoca. With seven levels, there's something in it for everyone, whether you like kitchen goods, jewellery, beautiful clothes, or their famous wool throws. Follow the grand staircase to the top level for an exciting spread of breakfast options, from French toast with bacon to a hearty full Irish.
10:15am History and culture at Trinity
Take a left out of Avoca, and a left onto Grafton Street to find yourself at the beautiful gates of Dublin’s famous Trinity College. Sitting on roughly 47 acres of land, Trinity is a fixture in the middle of the city, and boasts an amazing list of alumni including Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and Jonathan Swift. Take a walk through it’s many squares, and stop to visit the Old Library & the Book of Kells Exhibition (€9). Thought to have been written around the year 800, the Book of Kells contains the Four Gospels, and is one of the most ornate works you will ever see. The Old Library’s main room, the Long Hall, is my favourite part of the tour and will have you more excited than when you first saw Belle’s library in Beauty and the Beast.
11:30am Shop the shops
You may think you’ve discovered the best place to shop in Dublin; I came here once as a tourist too! You’re probably wrong. Make your way back down Grafton Street until you reach the pedestrian-only zone. This is the heart of Dublin’s shopping district, which includes Brown Thomas, your upscale department store, and fan favourites like River Island, Tommy Hilfiger, Ted Baker, and Karen Millen. Browsing got you looking for a snack? Grab a coffee in style at Bewley’s Café.
Make sure you venture off towards South William Street. Take a right down any of the lanes on Grafton to land yourself on the chic side of town. Full of local and vintage shops, hair salons, and restaurants, you can get lost for the afternoon. Make sure to check out The Harlequin for vintage clothes, Industry for the latest in design, and wander through The Powerscourt Centre for an all around amazing experience.
There are many places in this area to relax over lunch. If you’re on a tight budget, fast food is always available. However, if you’re looking to explore a bit of what Dublin has to offer, this is the place to start! South William Street is home to amazing restaurants like Bear for steak and salad, and The Port House for tapas. Another fan favourite is Jo’Burger on Castle Market, which has been said to have some of the best burgers in town.
2:15pm Grab a pint like a local
Make your way back up South William Street and take a left on Trinity Street. Your second left will be the beautifully quaint Dame Lane. Depending on the day of the week, and the time of year, this street could be bustling with people. Walk halfway down until you reach The Stag’s Head, a pub here since the 1780s. Have a seat in a comfortable corner, revel in the age of the decoration, and enjoy a pint with the locals.
3:00pm Necessary photo opportunities
You’ve probably been snapping photos all morning, but now is a great time to walk back towards the River Liffey and soak up the atmosphere. While you may see more tourists here than anything else, this is where you’ll spot the famous views that people have come to recognize as Dublin: the beautiful buildings lining the river, the Ha'penny Bridge, and the Spire.
3:30pm Castles and churches
A trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without a look at a castle or a church! Follow the flow of traffic along the river until you reach Parliament Street. You’re now on the edge of the famous Temple Bar district. Turn left, and you will walk straight toward the City Hall building. To the right of it, there is a small street that will take you onto the grounds of Dublin Castle. A guided tour is only €4.50, and well worth it.
When you’re ready, exit the Castle grounds onto Bride Street, and follow it (away from the river) until you reach St. Patrick’s Cathedral on your right. It’s €5.50 to go inside this 800-year-old Cathedral, but the views from outside are breathtaking enough if that’s as far as you decide to go.
Leave via the Bride Street corner and follow Golden Lane up to South Great George’s Street. Take a left, and choose from some of the best! This neighbourhood plays host to some fantastic restaurants including Yamamori Izakaya for perfect sushi, Pitt Bros if barbeque is of interest, and Crackbird on Dame Street for the best chicken wings in town.
If you’ve got an extended evening, walk towards the river after dinner and get lost in Temple Bar. Sure, you’ll be surrounded by other tourists, but it’s a great vibe to experience at least once. Any bar will serve you a pint of beer or a glass of wine, but if you’re looking for cocktails, find your way to 15 Crown Alley where you’ll see a black door with the letters ‘VCC’ on it. This is Vintage Cocktail Club, and it’s something to write home about.