Ultimate Guide on How to Visit Dublin in a Day

Planning your dream vacation in Ireland and wondering what to do in Dublin for a day? Don’t worry! With its rich history, pub culture, and green spaces, Dublin has plenty to offer. With careful planning, you can experience some of the city’s top attractions in just 24 hours, or even better, if you have 2-days in Dublin.

Situated on the East Coast and is known for its diverse history, impressive museums, and pub culture – specifically Guinness and whisky. The capital of the Republic of Ireland is a UNESCO City of Literature boasting four Nobel prize winners! Dublin is one of my favorite cities in the world, and I have visited it many times. I have gotten to know the city very well over the past years, and now I am here sharing all the best things to do in Dublin for a day.

This guide is packed with insider tips. Here I will cover everything you need to know to make the most of your day in Dublin, including insider tips on top attractions, how to get around, where to stay, and the top-pick guided tour options. Get ready to discover the best of Dublin in a day!

Dublin in a Day Itinerary

Quick Overview for Dublin in a Day

Before diving into this amazing Dublin Day itinerary, let’s discuss trip planning and ensure you’re prepared for the best experience. I highly recommended arriving in Dublin with a well-defined itinerary outlining the top things you want to see and do to maximize your time here. Ideally, I recommend spending 2 days in Dublin.

Dublin is busy and crowded, so book tickets to attractions in advance and ensure your accommodation is in a good location for walking and exploring. Making reservations in advance is also part of a well-planned visit. Also, make sure your accommodation is in a good area where you can easily walk and explore the main attractions, and make reservations in advance

Keep in mind that Dublin is one of the most expensive cities in Europe, so budget accordingly. Optimize costs by taking public transportation and purchasing the Dublin City all-inclusive pass.

For first-time visitors, booking a city tour with a local guide is highly recommended, as you will optimize your time and get to explore much more of Dublin in only a day!

Lastly, you can purchase a SIM card at phone shops, convenience stores, and even Dublin Airport. To get a SIM card, you’ll need to provide identification, such as your passport, and you may need to unlock your phone if it’s locked to a specific carrier.

HUAWEI E5577s-321 Mobile WiFi Router

I recommend buying this WiFi router. You can insert any SIM card around the world, and it shares data across all your devices, up to 10, via WiFi and the battery lasts up to 12 hours.

Best Tours in Dublin in a Day

Many people choose to take a guided tour of Dublin which includes all transport and some entrance tickets. These tours take all the logistics out of planning your trip, and you’ll learn so much from your local guide. Here are some of my recommendations for guided tours in Dublin:

Traveling around the city on this hop-on hop-off tour is a great way to explore as you’ll get to listen to audio commentary along the way. You’ll also get to stop off at all the highlights and you’ll be given a complimentary map to help you plan your trip.

This award-winning tour will teach you all about Dublin’s history including the potato famine, the 1916 rising, and the War of Independence. You’ll also get to see some popular sights along the way including Dublin Castle and the City Hall.

If you’re a big foodie then you need to go on this walking tasting tour! Not only will you get to explore the city, but you’ll also get to taste a variety of Irish specialties. This includes dishes like traditional potato cakes, Irish stew, soda bread, and artisanal cheeses.

Exploring Dublin itinerary

Essential Tips to Visit Dublin for a Day

Getting to Dublin:

Dublin Airport serves as the gateway to this incredible city and there are endless flight options available. For those flying from America, several large cities offer direct flights to Dublin. This includes New York, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C, and Orlando. You’ll also find plenty of direct flights from other destinations in Europe.

To get from the airport to the city center you can either catch a bus, take a taxi or book a private transfer. The latter option means you won’t have to worry about organizing transport which is always handy, especially if you’ve had a long flight or delays.

If you’re in France or the United Kingdom then you can also hop on a ferry over to Dublin. Cherbourg is the French port town that you’ll be traveling from, or if you’re in the UK you can travel from Holyhead (Wales), Liverpool (England), and the Isle of Man.

Getting Around Dublin:

Dublin is one of the most walkable cities in Europe as many of the popular tourist attractions are located relatively close together. However, if you’re on a tight timeframe then you may want to use alternative methods to get you from A to B more quickly.

Taxis are available but they’re expensive so I’d recommend taking advantage of the bus network here instead. There are plenty of bus routes in the city, so make sure you download the Transport For Ireland app. This will give you an idea of the departure times and help you to plan your route.

Dublin also has a tram system (The LUAS) and a rapid transit system (DART) that will allow you to easily get around the city and its outer suburbs. Last but certainly not least, there are e-scooters and bikes available if you’d prefer to travel around yourself.

Exploring Dublin Itinerary

Best Accommodations in Dublin:

If you want to be close to the best places to visit in Dublin for a day, I highly recommend staying in the downtown area. This will allow you to be within walking distance of almost all the main attractions in Dublin. Here is my top pick for you:

Best Accommodations in Dublin:

  • TOP OVERALL PICK: The Merrion Hotel is an excellent spot for exploring Dublin and is known for its fantastic facilities. This includes two Michelin-starred restaurants, an infinity pool, an on-site spa, and beautifully landscaped gardens.
  • BUDGET: Garden Lane Backpackers is one of the cheapest options in the city and is perfect for those looking to cut costs. You’ll be staying in dormitory rooms but will have access to plenty of facilities including a shared lounge and kitchen.
  • MID-RANGE: Staycity Dublin Aparthotel is located within walking distance of major attractions, including the Temple Bar. It offers spacious and stylish apartments, with fully equipped kitchens and 24-hour reception. It is a great price for all that it offers!
  • LUXURY: Anantara The Marker Dublin is one of the most luxurious hotels in the city with gorgeous rooms and excellent amenities. The highlight has to be the rooftop lounge where you’ll be treated to jaw-dropping views of Dublin!

15 Best Things to Do in Dublin for a Day

If you’re looking to see the best of Dublin in 1 day then you’ll want to visit some of the top attractions below.

As you’re rather limited on time, you won’t be able to visit all of them so make sure you prioritize your ‘must-sees’ based on your interests. if you have more time in Dublin, I recommend you to check the perfect 2-day itinerary in Dublin for more options.

1. Admire some of Dublin’s incredible architecture

There is a lot to see and do in this vibrant city, and if you only have one day in Dublin, I recommend spending your time wandering around, as it is the best way to discover the city. This way, you can appreciate the impressive architecture that’s found here and discover some hidden gems.

Some of the most spectacular buildings in the city include St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Trinity College, and Christ Church Cathedral.

You’ve also got Malahide Castle, Glasnevin Cemetery, and the GPO Museum. Don’t forget the iconic Spire of Dublin, and the Liffey Bridge a beautiful cast iron bridge built in 1816, and considered the oldest pedestrian crossing in Dublin.

Dublin in a day
The beautiful Christ Church Cathedral

2. Visit the Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Storehouse is a must-see in Dublin in one day, as it’s the city’s most popular attraction. If you only have one day in Dublin, this is a must-visit! Here, you’ll get to learn all about the country’s most iconic beer from the brewing process right up to when it’s poured out of the tap.

Once you’ve purchased your entrance ticket, you’ll learn all about how this stout is brewed and will then get to enjoy a complimentary pint at the site’s rooftop bar. From here, you’ll get fantastic views of the city! This experience is a must for any Ireland bucket list so don’t leave it off your itinerary!

Dublin in a day
Roof top bar at Guinness Factory

3. See the Best of Dublin + Hidden gems

Next on my list of best things to do in Dublin in one day is to join this best of Dublin tour. Don’t forget that they are plenty of things to do in Dublin, and your day will be packed and overwhelmed with visiting the top places and experiencing the best that the city has to offer.

When you join a tour with a local guide, you will optimize your time, simplify the logistics and learn much more. Even after visiting Dublin a few times, I still like to join the local tours as I always learn something new, in as short as a 3-hours tour.

Dublin in a day best Itinerary

4. Take a tour of Trinity College and The Book of Kells

To see the best of Dublin in one day, you need to take visit the historic Trinity College. This campus dates back to 1592 so there’s a lot of history here, and you’ll also find plenty of things to see as well. It’s one of the most famous landmarks in Ireland so isn’t a place you want to miss!

The best way to experience this place is to head on a guided tour which will see you visit Trinity College Library which is home to the famous ‘Book of Kells‘. You’ll also get to explore the grounds of Dublin Castle and see its impressive exterior.

Exploring Dublin in a day Itinerary

5. Wander around Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park is one of the largest urban parks in Europe covering an impressive 709 hectares (1,752 acres). It’s open 24/7 and is free to enter, which is surprising considering how much there is to do here.

The highlight of Phoenix Park has to be the free-roaming deer that are found here. However, you’ll also want to visit the Magazine Fort, the Phoenix Monument, the Prehistoric Burial Chamber, and the Papal Cross. Ashtown Castle is also found in this park.

You can opt to visit Dublin Zoo if you wish which is located within Phoenix Park. However, to make the most of your visit you’ll want to spend at least three hours here and that will take up a good chunk of your day!

What to do in Dublin for a day

6. Walk around the National Botanic Gardens

If you’re looking to spend some time outdoors then head to the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland. These gardens are located just 3 km (1.8 miles) from the city center and are home to over 15,000 plant species. Even better, the gardens are free to visit!

There are plenty of awesome attractions to see here. However, the most popular ones include the Turner Curvilinear Range and the Great Palm House. Don’t forget to visit some of the other glasshouses too.

Best Dublin itinerary

7. Listen to some live music whilst in the city

No trip is complete without listening to some live music, even if you do only have one day in Dublin. After you’ve spent your day exploring, head to one of the city’s iconic pubs and dance the night away to some traditional Irish music.

There are plenty of establishments in Dublin that offer live music, but the most popular options include The Cobblestone, The Temple Bar, The Brazen Head, and The Celt.

Another great option, if you are really into music, is to experience the Music and Dance Show at the Irish House Party. This is a very unique experience in Dublin at an 18th-century Dublin townhouse, where you will be served an amazing 3-course Irish dinner while enjoying live entertainment by world-champion Irish musicians and dancers.

Exploring Dublin for a day

8. Do some tasting at Jameson Whisky Distillery

If you enjoyed the Guinness Storehouse then you should also head to Jameson Whisky Distillery. It’s where Jameson Irish whisky was originally distilled up until 1971 so it’s a really cool place to visit!

While here, you’ll go on a fully-guided tour of the distillery to learn all about John Jameson and how this whisky came about. You’ll also get to taste-test this popular spirit and buy an exclusive and personalized bottle of this whiskey. So what are you waiting for?

9. Spend some time at the Irish Whisky Museum

For those who are more interested in spirits, head to the Irish Whisky Museum. At this museum, you’ll go on a guided tour where you’ll get to learn about the origins of this drink and do some whisky tasting yourself!

After you’ve finished your tour, you can always spend some time in the on-site McDonnell’s Bar which offers fantastic views of Trinity College’s historic main gates. There’s also a store if you want to purchase some whisky or souvenirs.

Dublin in a day itinerary

10. Experience Glasnevin – the National Cemetary of Ireland

Visiting a cemetery may not usually be an ‘attraction’ as such, but Experience Glasnevin is an exception. It was opened in 832 to serve as a multifaith burial place, and today it is the largest cemetery in the country and preserves the history of over 1.5 million people.

You can go book this amazing tour of this cemetery and there’s also an indoor ‘Extra-ordinary Lives’ exhibition which you’ll want to check out. Doing both of these will allow you to learn about some of the people that shaped Dublin and Ireland as a whole!

11. Explore the Little Museum of Dublin

The Little Museum of Dublin is one of the quirkiest places you’ll find in the city. Its famous guided tour will allow you to learn about the city’s history and the events that have taken place here in the last 100 years.

There are plenty of cool things to see here, but this museum also has an exhibit dedicated to the Irish rock band U2. You don’t have to have a guided tour here if you don’t wish, you’ll just need to purchase an all-day ticket instead.

Where to go in Dublin

12. Head to Kilmainham Gaol Museum

If you’re only visiting Dublin for a day then you need to explore Kilmainham Gaol Museum. Built in 1787, this former prison was once home to thousands of people who were charged with crimes, some were minor while others were involved in some of Dublin’s most historic events.

You can purchase your tickets in advance and you’ll then be taken on a guided tour through the old prison. While here, you’ll get to learn all about the site’s history and hear specific stories of the inmates who were imprisoned here.

Best things to do in Dublin in a day

13. Visit the EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum

EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum is a must for any Dublin in the 1-day itinerary! Honestly, this museum is an attraction like no other as you’ll get to learn about some of the country’s most inspiring people through a fully interactive experience.

Whether it be sportspeople, scientists, or politicians, this museum allows you to learn about people’s stories in a unique way. In fact, the museum documents the stories of over 300 people so there’s a lot to see here. You can also book your admission ticket in advance.

14. Learn about the country at the National Museum of Ireland

The National Museum of Ireland has four separate sites across Dublin. They’re split up into Archaeology, Country Life, Decorative Arts & History, and Natural History. Even better, each one is free to visit so you’ll want to explore at least one of these sites.

One of the most iconic options is the Natural History building which is often known as the ‘Dead Zoo’. Although not a pleasant name, this part of the museum displays a wide variety of wildlife from Ireland and it dates back to Victorian times.

Dublin in a day

15. Visit some of Dublin’s other museums if you have time…

Now I know I’ve mentioned plenty of other museums in this guide but Dublin just has so much to offer in this regard! If you’ve got some extra time, then there are a couple of other cool places you can visit:

Best Pubs to Visit in Dublin for a Day

One of the best things to do in Dublin is to go on a pub crawl but I figured this required its own section! You could easily spend your whole day in pubs alone as there are so many to choose from. However, remember there’s a lot to see in Dublin for a day!

To make the most of your time in Dublin, just head to a select few instead. Here are some of my top recommendations when it comes to bars and pubs in the city:

  • The Temple Bar – arguably the most popular pub in the city, this place is not only beautiful from the exterior but boasts a fantastic atmosphere. It’s a great place for live music too!
  • The Church – as its name suggests, this bar is located in an 18th-century church that has been converted. It’s one of the quirkiest bars you’ll ever visit and it’s also a great spot to grab something to eat.
  • The Brazen Head – this is Ireland’s oldest pub so it’s the perfect place to visit if you’re a history-lover. Part of this place dates back to 1198 which is crazy to think about.
  • The Palace Bar – The Palace Bar is one of the best places in the city to try whisky. There’s a separate whisky bar upstairs but the highlight of this place is simply its traditional decor.
  • The Cobblestone – lastly we have The Cobblestone which is the place to be for live music. Although it’s located outside of the city center, you’ll definitely want to make the trip out as the music culture here is rather impressive.

If you’ve had any personal experiences in other bars or pubs then feel free to drop them in the comments. I’ll make sure to visit them next time I head to Dublin!

Dublin in a day
The most famous pub in Dublin, The Temple Bar

Best Time To Visit Dublin

Generally, the best time to visit Dublin is during the summer months of June, July, and August. This is when the temperatures are at their highest and you’ll often find plenty of awesome outdoor events at this time. Unfortunately, this is also the most expensive time to visit as hotel prices and airfares often rise.

If you’re looking to avoid those costs then it’s better to visit during the shoulder season; either Spring (April-May) or fall (Sep-Oct). Prices will be cheaper and you’ll also get to avoid the crowds that frequent Dublin in the summer months. Just keep in mind that temperatures will be cooler and you’re very likely to encounter rain.

Some people also choose to visit in the winter when the Christmas markets take place here. Although the weather is pretty chilly and rainy at this time, you’ll find plenty of festive events in the city to get involved with. I personally visited Dublin 3 times during winter time, and still love the vibes of Dublin at this time of the year.

Dublin in a Day

If you Have More Time: Top Day Tours From Dublin

For those with a bit more time, there are plenty of awesome day trip opportunities from Dublin. If you hire a car you can visit them yourself, but luckily there are lots of fantastic day tours available if you’d prefer not to.

Here are a few of my top tour recommendations:

This awesome tour is one of the best day trip options from Dublin as you’ll get to visit several iconic attractions. This includes the beautiful Cliffs of Moher, Kilmacduagh Abbey, The Burren, and Galway City. All your entrance tickets are included and the tour lasts for around 13 hours so you’ll get plenty of bang for your buck.

Looking to visit some of the most popular attractions in Ireland? Then this Northern Ireland tour is for you! You’ll get to visit lots of awesome places including Dunluce Castle, the Dark Hedges, and the Giants Causeway before having some free time in the city of Belfast. After doing some sightseeing and grabbing some food, you’ll then head back to Dublin.

This fantastic tour will allow you to appreciate the beauty of Ireland’s lush landscapes and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. During this tour, you’ll be treated to scenic views of Wicklow Mountains National Park, take a walking tour of Kilkenny, and learn all about Glendalough Valley and Monastery.

Wild Atlantic Way Route Planner
Wild Atlantic Way Route Planner

Dublin for a Day Conclusion

With so much on offer, putting together a Dublin 1 day itinerary isn’t easy. You won’t be able to visit all the attractions listed in this guide if you’re limited on time. However, hopefully, you’ve got a good idea of the ones that stand out to you the most!

Whether you’re looking to visit some of the city’s museums, spend some time appreciating Dublin’s alcoholic beverages, or admire the incredible architecture, there are tons of things to do here. For that reason, I recommend spending more than one day in this city if you do have the time.

If you’ve got any further questions about spending a day in Dublin then just leave a comment below. Or feel free to leave some additional suggestions if you think I’ve left somewhere off this list!

If you’re planning a trip to Ireland then you’ll love these articles:

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1 thought on “Ultimate Guide on How to Visit Dublin in a Day”

  1. Ireland was an amazing trip indeed!!!
    Would highly recommend it, and you captured Dublin so well❤️❤️❤️

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