Sometimes all we have is a single day to explore a destination and, even if this destination is a thousand-year-old city like Dublin, we still want to make the most out of those short 24 hours. Luckily, you can tick most of Dublin’s leading tourist attractions off your bucket list and still party like the Irish at night, all in one single day!
Dublin city center is quite compact and can be easily explored on foot, and that’s why we have put together this one-day itinerary for this beautiful capital. Follow this guide and make the most of your one-day trip to Dublin.
Trinity College and The Book of Kells
Start your day at one of the most iconic universities in all of Ireland. With buildings dating back as far as 1592 (weren’t the Americas just being discovered by then?!), the grounds of Trinity College feel like a travel through time.
Stroll over the campus and then head over to the Old Library, where you can see The Book of Kells, a ninth-century illuminated manuscript written around the year 800 AD – considered to be the oldest book in the world and the most perfect specimen of Irish art.
Fun fact: The Book of Kells has been reported stolen twice. Once in 1007, possibly by Vikings, the reason for theft being solely to rip off the gold from its portable shrine. The second time, in 1874, the book disappeared for a week, when the librarian of Trinity College at the time had secretly taken the book to the British Museum in London for advice on rebinding, creating a huge fuss in the country.
Over 500 thousand people queue to see it every year, so we recommend booking your tickets early to avoid disappointment.
The tickets cost 14 EUR per adult and also grant you access to Trinity’s famous Long Room, a magnificent wooden cathedral of books. Feels like a scene straight from Beauty and the Beast.
Grafton Street and Dublin Castle
Once your visit to the Trinity College is over, head to Dublin Castle, but make your way via Grafton Street. This popular shopping street has everything from souvenir shops to local restaurants and big brands.
At Dublin Castle, you can visit the interior for 10 EUR per adult. Due to time restrictions, we recommend you stroll over the Dubh Linn Garden instead for a really nice view of the castle.
Fun fact: the castle was erected on the site of a Viking settlement in the early 13th century and served as the headquarters of British administration in Ireland for centuries.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
We recommend making your way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral via Bride Street, especially if you’ve never seen Georgian architecture before. We find the classic red brick facades and small stairs leading to the front door a charm.
Once you reach St. Patrick’s Park, make your way to St Patrick’s Cathedral. Named after the patron saint of Ireland, the present buildings date from 1191. Tickets to enter the Cathedral are 7 EUR for adults and we absolutely recommend it!
Fun fact: Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels, was the dean of the cathedral from 1713 to 1745 and is buried under its floors.
Christ Church Cathedral
Crossing St. Patrick’s Park to the opposite side, take Patrick Street heading to the river, and make your way to Christ Church Cathedral.
This medieval building has stood at the heart of Dublin for almost 1,000 years now, and it is home to the largest crypt in Ireland. Tickets are 9 EUR for adults and it’s worth every cent! You can also get a combined ticket to visit Dublinia Museum as well, though if you only have 24 hours we advise against it.
Tip: You can see a rare copy of the Magna Carta and a mummified cat and rat inside of its crypt!
Once your visit to the Cathedral is over, make your way to the riverside and cross the Ha’penny Bridge, heading to O’Connell Street.
The street has been the backdrop to several political events over the years and is home to the iconic General Post Office of Dublin. The GPO served as the main stronghold of the Irish Volunteers and it was nearly destructed during the events of the 1916 Rising. You can still see the bullet holes in the large columns outside. It’s still a working post office today, so don’t hesitate to have a quick look inside.
Also on O’Connell street and standing tall on its 120 meters, is The Spire. This stainless steel needle is now one of Dublin’s most recognizable features.
We also recommend taking a stroll through Henry Street before heading back to the Temple Bar. This long shopping street looks so alive once the sun starts to set.
Hot Tip: If the weather is good, look out for the sunset! Go to the riverside and enjoy the romantic views of a Dublin sunset.
Whenever reaching the big Penneys store at the end of Henry Street, turn to your left and head to the riverside. Cross the Millennium Bridge and make your way to the Temple Bar.
Temple Bar is the most famous and photographed quarter in Dublin. Here you will find the official Temple Bar, a red brick pub that offers over 450 different kinds of rare whiskies (Ireland’s largest collection!). We recommend stopping by for a photo and then exploring the area for a different pub to enjoy your night as a pint here can be quite the fortune.
You can also visit this area during daylight and enjoy the colorful atmosphere on your way from Christ Church Cathedral to O’Connell street, but we guarantee it’s not the same! The Temple Bar area comes to life at night with lots of live music to be seen and lots of pubs to visit, making it a great place to end your 24 hours in Dublin.
Hot Tip: No matter where you choose to go, don’t forget to order yourself a pint of Guinness and enjoy the friendly company of Irish people!
Getting around Dublin City
In case you don’t feel like walking that much, public transport is the easiest way to get around Dublin. Services include the bus, Luas, and DART. Don’t forget to get yourself a Leap Card for discounted rates and to place your hand towards the road to stop the bus at bus stops.
We don’t recommend getting taxis as they can be rather expensive, but in case you really need one, you can use the FREE NOW app to book your ride or place your hand towards the road for a conventional taxi ride.
If you’re into Bikes, there’s also a great option called Dublin Bikes. It’s completely free for the first 30 minutes.
Getting from Dublin Airport to the City Center
If you’re in Dublin just for a Layover, you can get an Air Coach from the airport to the city center and it costs around 12 EUR for a return ticket.
For a cheaper option, you can hop on the 24 hours 41 Dublin bus which will take you to Lower Abbey Street (and vice versa). This route is also available on the Leap Card.
Where to Stay in Dublin
You don’t really need to stay right in the city center when visiting Dublin. Of course, this will make your life easier, but because of their great public transport system, you should not worry in case your hotel is located a bit far away (your bank account will be happier too!). Here are some of the best options:
Dublin City Centre
€80-150 a night
€150-300 a night
€300+ a night
Good options outside of the city center on a price range of €80-250/night
Good options on a price range of €30-60/night
Also see: Check all our Hotel Reviews
Have an Extra Day in Dublin?
If you happen to have an extra free day in Dublin, we have compiled a list of day trips and other nice places to visit in the city:
Day trips from Dublin
Other places to visit in Dublin City
- Phoenix Park (look for deers!)
- National Botanic Gardens
- National Museum of Ireland – Archeology & Natural History
- Kilmainham Gaol – a prison telling stories of Ireland’s past
- Irish Whiskey Museum
- Teeling Whiskey Distillery
- National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland
Extra Travel Tips for visiting Dublin
Visit the Guinness Storehouse
If you’re into beers, we recommend skipping Grafton Street and Dublin Castle and visiting the Guinness Storehouse after the Christ Church Cathedral. Tickets are 18,50 EUR for adults (including a free pint) – note that the last entry is at 5 PM and it is a 15-minute walk from the Cathedral. You can also book your tickets in advance to avoid queues.
The factory was first set up as a shop by Arthur Guinness in 1759. Planning for the future, he signed a 9,000-year lease at 45 GBP a year, which is impressively still the amount they pay for the lease. The 90-minute tour ends with a free Pint at the Gravity Bar, with panoramic views of the city.
You’ll need an adapter!
Pack an adapter with you as plug sockets in Ireland are type G.
Dance the night away
If dancing is your thing, then head to Harcourt Street – a whole street dedicated to late-night dancing clubs.
Save some money
- Most shops charge you for their plastic bags, so it’s a good idea to bring a reusable bag with you.
- You’re only expected to pay tips at restaurants – though it’s heavily appreciated to do so whenever you’re satisfied with the service provided.
Hot tip: Leap Card is the easiest way to pay for public transportation and it can save you up to 20% on fares. You can check their tourist rates here.