Planning a weekend in the emerald isle? Here’s your Dublin 2-day itinerary…
Read on for my take on the perfect Dublin 2-day itinerary!
I recently went to Dublin for the weekend and it was the first time I’d been there in nearly two decades.
You might just think it’s a just place to sink a pint of Guinness, wander around the famous Temple Bar district, and enjoy the craic. And it is, but it’s also a lot more than that. I really loved the tourist attractions that told the story of Dublin’s rich history, the street art, and the food!
2 days in Dublin itinerary summary
Here’s a round-up of what we did during our Dublin 2 day itinerary…
Dublin itinerary – day one
- St Stephen’s Green, Temple Bar district, Trinity College, Book of Kells and the Long Room, Kilmainham Gaol
Dublin itinerary – day two
- Jeanie Johnston, the Famine Memorial, Ha’penny Bridge, Molly Malone statue, umbrella street, Guinness Storehouse
Where to eat in Dublin
A Dublin 2-day itinerary wouldn’t be complete without plenty of pitstops for food. Being a tourist is hungry work!
I’ll cover the places we ate out during our trip in the itinerary but here’s the list. There are so many lovely cafes that make a great spot for breakfast or lunch. In the evening, we opted for casual dining spots to try and limit the costs as Dublin is expensive.
I really enjoyed all of the places we ate at in Dublin. Special shout out to the café at the Kilmainham Gaol as well which was charming and sold really yummy cakes!
- House Dublin
- Keogh’s Café Dublin
- Bunsen Dublin
- The Lemon Jelly Café
- The Hungry Mexican Dublin
- Bewley’s Oriental Cafe
Are two days in Dublin enough?
It’s definitely enough to see the main tourist destinations in the city. You can fit a reasonable amount of chunky items into your itinerary without it feeling too packed. However, there were lots of things that there wasn’t time for. We didn’t even have time to do a walking tour, which I always seem to recommend as a great way to get to know a city.
There were also other, smaller things that we missed. One was 14 Henrietta Street, a Georgian townhouse that was one a tenement, and highlights how people once lived there.
Another was the mysterious Hungry Tree, a tree in the grounds of King’s Inn in Dublin that has partially absorbed the bench in front of it and looks like it’s eaten it, hence the name.
So, to answer the question. Two days in Dublin is good. Three might be even better.
Is Dublin for me?
This is an interesting question: is a trip to Dublin for you? I guess I was slightly worried that Dublin was just a bit of a party city.
When I first started researching this trip, nothing was really popping off the page. Temple Bar is great if you’re there on a stag or a hen do but I wasn’t really bothered about getting smashed. The Guinness Storehouse was another Dublin tourist attraction that I wasn’t sure was something I cared about.
In fact, we were originally talking about doing a bus tour to Belfast on one day and seeing the Giant’s Causeway and the Titanic Museum and only having one day in Dublin.
Well, I’m glad that we stuck it out in Dublin because I ended up having a really great time. Dublin has so much interesting history that I loved exploring. Plus, once I got into it, there probably ended up being too many things to do in Dublin for just two days!
Here’s my Dublin 2 day itinerary based on what we actually did…
Dublin 2 Day Itinerary
Eat breakfast at House Dublin
We checked into our hotel, Sonder The Earl, at around 9am. We were starving but I’d read that there was a restaurant just next door, so we headed straight there. The restaurant in question is House Dublin and it’s a beautifully designed absolute labyrinth of a place.
The place is HOO-UGE! I think there’s a piano bar in the basement in the evenings but, in the daytime, it was somewhere that seemed to attract a mix of business people, locals, and dishevelled tourists like us. Either way, it’s so spacious it has a really relaxed feel.
The breakfast menu isn’t enormous but it has everything on it that you need – a full Irish breakfast, eggs benny, smashed avo and poached eggs on toast, as well as a chia bowl and porridge. I was craving something healthy so I opted for eggs Florentine.
It came with two perfect poachies, wilted spinach, and hollandaise on a thick slice of sourdough toast. It was the perfect way to revive me after the 6.30am Ryanair flight. After an Americano and a glass of freshly squeezed OJ we were ready to start exploring!
House is located on Leeson Street in Dublin so it’s a bit out of the way of the main tourist circuit. However, if you happen to find yourself in the area I’d recommend it. I also have to give a mention to the bathrooms, which are gorgeous.
Explore St Stephen’s Green
The first actual tourist destination on our Dublin 2 day itinerary was St Stephen’s Green.
St Stephen’s Green is a famous park in Dublin that is located in the city centre and has been described as an oasis of calm in the city. It feels very elegant, with landscaped gardens, cherry blossom trees and statues atop plinths dotted around.
It also has an interesting history behind it. When the park was first opened it was a fashionable place to see and be seen. However, it was later closed to the public. It was Baron Ardilaun, the great-grandson of Arthur Guinness – the founder of the famous Guinness brand – who reversed this decision and gave it back to the public. He even gets a mention in Ulysses, James Joyce’s masterpiece. (I’ve actually read it, many years ago).
We really only walked through Stephen’s Green but you definitely felt that hit of zen and tranquillity straight away. If you’re looking for a breather it’s a nice way to spend half an hour or so. We were there in March but I imagine it’s a lovely spot for a picnic in the summer.
Wander around the Temple Bar area
Of course you can’t miss the Templer Bar district off your Dublin 2 day itinerary.
The first stop on the list is iconic pub The Temple Bar. With its bright red paintwork, corner spot, and steady stream of tourists taking selfies outside its doors at all times of day, you won’t miss it. The Temple Bar is a traditional Irish pub that has live music sessions every single day. If you want to experience a friendly atmosphere with trad music, come here.
There are also plenty of other pubs in the Temple Bar area that look really charming and old-fashioned. We didn’t have time to go in but they look cute from the outside. However, there’s definitely more to do in the Temple Bar area. One thing I really enjoyed was the street art. Around every corner, there was a colourful building to admire.
One thing that was super cool was Blooms Hotel, which is adorned with art nouveau-style artwork of James Joyce and characters from his novels. There is a street art tour in Dublin but I just enjoyed wandering around and discovering it ourselves.
There are also interesting independent shops in the Temple Bar area, including the bright pink Lucy’s Lounge. It’s a treasure trove of vintage finds, jewellery, and knick-knacks and it reminded me of a shop in the South Bridge area of Edinburgh back in the day!
I really wanted to go to Trinity College while we were in Dublin. Visiting a university isn’t something I’d normally do on a city break but Trinity is Ireland’s oldest university and pretty prestigious. In fact, its alumni include Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, and Samuel Beckett. Some proper literary heavyweights right there.
I also watched Normal People last year and I remember watching Paul Mescal’s character walking into the quad for the first time and it just seemed kind of iconic. I wanted to see it for myself. Luckily Trinity College is smack bang in the centre of Dublin.
I was a bit like: can you just show up on the campus and walk around? The answer is yes – there’s even a sign outside saying that visitors are welcome. And there were loads of them. I joked that it reminded me of walking through the entrance of the Taj Mahal!
You can book a tour if you like. There are self-guided tours that cost five euros or you can do a guided tour with a current student, which costs 15 euros. We opted for neither and just went for a quick wander before heading to The Book of Kells exhibition on campus.
Here are the details if you fancy doing a guided tour of Trinity College
The Book of Kells + the Long Room
Next on our Dublin 2 day itinerary was an exhibition in the walls of Trinity College.
The Book of Kells is a very famous illuminated manuscript. We booked a ticket online and then passed through into what we thought was a guided tour. It’s not a guided tour, it’s an exhibition, which tells you a little bit about the Book of Kells before you go into the next room and get to see it for yourself. The exhibition was OK but it was a little crowded and I didn’t take in as much as I could’ve done.
And after all the hype, the Book of Kells itself is a little underwhelming. It’s set in a glass box in a dark room so that the pages can’t be damaged by the light, with a person nearby keeping watch. However, because it was quite gloomy and the text and images in the book are really intricate, I found myself struggling to see it clearly. Just me?
Once you’ve seen the Book of Kells, however, you go up some stairs to what’s known as the Long Room. This was the best part of the whole experience for me. It’s nearly 65 metres in length and takes your breath away as soon as you step inside, not least because of its round, barrel-vaulted ceiling. And that’s even before you get to the books.
The long room holds over 200,000 books. With each row noted by glinting, gold letters and ladders on hand in order to climb up and reach the shelf and the book that you need, it very much has an aura of Beauty and the Beast about it. It’s all kinds of magical.
There are also 14 marble busts dotted along at intervals through the Long Room. Of course, they’re all men, but they still add a sense of grandeur to the place. Even more interesting is two third of the way down where you’ll see the Brian Buro Harp encased in glass. This is the model for the insignia of Ireland, which you’ll have seen on the Guinness logo.
Kilmainham Gaol Tour
Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison in Dublin. While many of the people imprisoned here were regular prisoners, it also held well-known Irish revolutionaries who were campaigning for independence and were prominent figures in the 1916 Easter Uprising.
The tour was pretty harrowing. Seeing the cells and even touching the walls and feeling how cold they were quickly made you realise how difficult it would be to be a prisoner here. The coolest part was seeing the part of the prison that was designed in the panopticon style – where theoretically a prison guard could see every cell from one position.
There’s also an exhibition set over three floors. One of the rooms displays the letters that the men who were executed wrote to their mothers when they found out they were to be executed. Seeing the words in their own handwriting was really f*cking brutal.
A couple of things to note. You can only go around the prison on a guided tour, you can’t just wander around by yourself. From what I’ve read online, the guided tours at Kilmainham tend to sell out. We managed to book tickets for the following day no problem but if it’s something you’re super keen on doing it’s probably better to be more organised.
One final thing. The prison is quite a bit out of town – around 30 minutes walk. You might want to plan your day to do the Guinness Storehouse experience afterwards as you go past it on the way. Something we didn’t do but seems like a good idea in retrospect.
Dublin’s oldest pub is also in this area. The Brazen Head was established in 1198, which seems crazy! Why not go have a pint here to decompress after your tour?
Eat burgers at Bunsen
The final step on day one of our Dublin 2 day itinerary was burgers at Bunsen. I’d had a craving for a burger for a while and one name that kept coming up when you searched for burgers in Dublin is Bunsen. Bunsen is a chain that has restaurants in Cork, Belfast and Dublin. The menu is super simple – burgers, toppings, and fries. That’s it.
They looked like the gooiest, tastiest burgers I’d ever seen – all soft bun and molten cheese encasing a big chonk of meat. Add in the toppings of pickles, salad, mustard, ketchup and mayo and I was completely bought in. We HAD to eat Bunsen burgers in Dublin.
However, of course, everything couldn’t go smoothly. Like I said, there are tons of Bunsen restaurants in Dublin. You’ll see the turquoise signage everywhere. We decided to go to the closest one to our hotel. But that was closed. Ffs. We then headed to the next one on the list. That one had a queue of people waiting outside for a table. I mean, come on.
Luckily, the next Bunsen, located just outside the Temple Bar area, was able to squeeze us in. Emergency over! I was absolutely starving by that time so it didn’t take long to order: I went for a cheeseburger with all the toppings with a side of sweet potato fries. Oh, and they also asked you how you’d like your meat cooked, which I love. Medium for me.
The first bite I had of this burger was heavenly. The tang of the mustard and ketchup along with the American cheese and the juicy pickles cutting through all the richness… honestly, it was so good. I think Bunsen is one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Go here.
Breakfast at the Lemon Jelly Café
Day two of the Dublin 2 day itinerary started with breakfast! Naturally.
One benefit of booking a hotel that didn’t have breakfast was that there was a legit excuse to find lots of lovely places for brunch in Dublin. The Lemon Jelly Café is one example. Plus, it was only a few minutes walk from the next item on our itinerary that day, the Jeanie Johnson.
The Lemon Jelly Café is on the north side of the city, but you really just have to cross the river from the Temple Bar area. It’s tucked down this cosy street with a few other bars and cafes nearby. My first impression was how busy it was. It was absolutely rammed to the rafters and this wasn’t even a weekend, so I guess that was a positive sign.
We were squeezed into a table for two and promptly ordered. I was swithering between a cheese and ham omelette – mostly because it was served with sour cream, yum! – and French toast. In the end, the French toast won out because it came with strawberries and bananas and maple syrup. I think I was craving a little bit of nutritional goodness.
At this point, we were panicking a little because we only had 30 minutes between ordering and needing to leave. It was worried it would be really slow so because it was so busy.
Well, we needn’t have worried. The Lemon Jelly Café is clearly a well-oiled machine.
The food came out in around ten minutes and was exactly what I wanted. Toasted sourdough dusted with icing sugar, fresh strawberries and banana, and a generous helping of maple syrup to drizzle over everything. I shovelled it down along with an americano and an apple juice, carefully extracted myself from my seat, and we were on our way.
Visit the Jeanie Johnston
Day two of our Dublin 2-day itinerary started with the Jeanie Johnston.
This was one of the tours that I didn’t see mentioned on any of the top pages on Google, which seem to simply rinse and repeat the same list of things to do in Dublin. However, when I hopped over to TripAdvisor to do more digging I saw it and immediately clicked on the website. It looked super interesting and I booked two tickets on the spot.
The Jeanie Johnson helped transport many Irish emigrants to a better life in North America during the Great Famine between 1845 and 1852. The ship was formerly a cargo ship but later became a so-called famine ship, such was the demand at this time. Although this one isn’t the original ship, it’s been replicated to be almost exactly the same.
You get to step onboard the boat and go down into the belly of the ship, where the 200 or so passengers spent the six to eight-week voyage to America. There are heartbreaking stories of some of the passengers onboard dotted around the room, including one woman who gave birth to a baby on the ship and named the child after all the crew.
Our tour guide was also really great and managed to bring some lightness and some genuinely humorous moments into what was a really serious subject. He said his name was Owen if we enjoyed the tour and, if we didn’t, his name was Jack. I loved it and would say this was definitely one of the best things we did during our trip to Dublin. Don’t miss it.
Located only a few metres away Jeanie Johnston is the Famine Memorial.
The statues commemorate one of the most catastrophic periods in Irish history, the Great Famine, when over one million people in Ireland lost their lives. This was a result of the potato crop failing, a crop which the population at the time was hugely reliant on.
At this time in history, the diet of Irish people was almost 90% potatoes. Our guide at the Jeanie Johnston told us that Irish people would eat multiple potatoes a day – often raw – and the average consumption was around 40 potatoes a day. Hearing this helped us understand why the failure of the potato crop had such a devastating impact.
The statues themselves are tall and elongated, emphasising their thin, fragile bodies, while the faces are wreaked with pain. It’s a really compelling visual reminder of the tragedy. If you want to learn more, head to the Epic Museum – the Irish Emigration Museum.
Cross the Ha’penny Bridge
The ha’penny bridge is one of the most famous bridges in Dublin.
It was opened in 1816 and was the first dedicated footbridge bridge over the River Liffey. Before that, there was a fleet of ferries that took Dubliners from one side of the river to the other – madness!
It was originally called the Wellington Bridge, its namesake coming from the Duke of Wellington who was born in Dublin. However, it later became more commonly known by its nickname, which comes from the original toll to cross the bridge. It originally cost a ha’penny – half a penny – to cross and there were turnstiles at each end.
Beyond these reasons, I’m really not sure why the ha’penny bridge is so iconic – it is just an emblem of Dublin. Either way, I wanted to make sure I cross it during my Dublin 2 day itinerary.
See the Molly Malone statue
There are a million and one pubs called Molly Malone’s around the world – I can vouch for Stirling and Dundee for one – but who is the famous namesake, Molly Malone?
The character is derived from a song called Cockles and Mussels, which has become an unofficial Dublin anthem. It tells the story of a fishwife who lived and worked on the streets of Dublin before dying of cholera at an early age. However, that’s not the only story.
Another version of events is that there was a real-life Molly who lived in the 17th century. She was reportedly a hawker in the day (a disreputable street vendor) and a prostitute by night. Whether Molly was real or not, there’s a special Molly Malone Day on June 13.
The statue is affectionately known as “the tart with the cart” by Dubliners. As you’ll be able to tell, it’s good luck to rub the breasts of the statue. That’s why they’re gleaming and gold while the rest of the statue isn’t. I didn’t bother but each to their own!
Go to the umbrella street
If you’ve researched Dublin then you may have come across Dublin’s famous umbrella street. It’s a peak Instagram destination – as soon as I saw it I knew it was a bit of me! Luckily, it’s also a couple of minutes walk away from the Molly Malone statue.
The umbrella street in Dublin is located on Anne’s Lane, directly outside a bar called Zozimus. Look up and you’ll see the canopy of umbrellas above your head. The colourful shades of pink, blue, yellow, red, green, and white made even a dull, rainy day in March a lot more cheerful. I didn’t even have to wait around for any other bloggers!
I don’t know why the umbrella street is here and there doesn’t seem to be much information about it online. But I’m really glad we stopped by and saw it on our Dublin 2 day itinerary.
Visit Keogh’s Café
If freshly baked cakes and pastries are your thing, stop by Keogh’s Café.
We walked past here multiple times on the way to the Temple Bar area and, every time, there were people sitting at the tables outside, despite it being freezing. A crowd is always a good sign so I decided that it could be a good option for lunch. It turns out Keogh’s is a family-run business that’s been operating in Dublin for nearly 30 years.
Inside it’s cosy and warm, with brick walls, dark green panelling, and industrial furniture. Think copper lamps, wooden tables, and artwork of the local area. I was just so happy to get in from the cold and to be able to get a cosy little table in the room at the back.
There was a queue but this gave me much-needed thinking time. What should I order? A ham and cheese croissant? A cheese and ham omelette? The soup of the day, French onion soup? Or even just a pastry or a cake, which were all looking at me temptingly.
I ended up choosing a croissant which was heated up and arrived at the table oozing with cheese. wafting a buttery pastry smell around. A hot Americano on the side warmed up my hands and meant that by the time we left, we were warm, toasty, and ready to go.
Stop off at the Old Storehouse Bar & Restaurant
We had a little bit of time before having to make the walk to the Guinness Storehouse – around 30 minutes from the centre of town. So what better to do in Dublin than go to the pub? As we wandered around the Temple Bar area my partner suggested this place.
I was too busy taking photos to really pay attention but as soon as I stepped inside I loved it. Of course, it’s located in Temple Bar so it’s not like it’s a secret of anything, but it felt like a bit of a find. It just felt like everything I wanted from a pub in Dublin city centre.
The Old Storehouse Bar & Restaurant has bags of old-world charm. Think bricked walls. Tables made out of barrels. Dark wooden panelling. I clocked a little booth on the way in that instantly grabbed me. It was surrounded by old black and white photographs, letters, and signage from a bygone era and looked so cosy and charming.
It was fairly quiet at the time we arrived, around 2pm. However, it started to fill up really quickly – especially when a musician started to play a set a little later. I’m a sucker for live music. Even though I can’t say I’m a huge REM fan I lapped everything he played.
We pretty much had to tear ourselves away from here. If it wasn’t for the reservation at the Guinness Storehouse I could’ve seen us whiling away a good few hours here!
Visit the Guinness Storehouse
Can you do a Dublin 2 day itinerary without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse?
I’d been to the Guinness Storehouse when I visited Dublin the first time around. However, I couldn’t tell you much about it apart from I bought a mug with the famous toucan embossed on it, which was my favourite mug for a good while.
But this time around I was slightly dubious about going back. 1. I don’t like Guinness. Secondly, how much fun is walking around a brewery, really? It certainly doesn’t sound like much fun on paper, does it? And the third concern was the price. Everything is pretty pricey in Dublin and the 22 euros a ticket for the Guinness experience ticked that box.
In the end though, the FOMO tug was a little bit too much. It is the quintessential Dublin experience, right? It’s a seven-storey extravaganza that comes in as the top-rated thing to do in Dublin. I also wanted to see it for myself, rather than just decide I wouldn’t like it.
Well, I have to say I really enjoyed it. Even the stuff that I knew I would find pretty dull – such as how Guinness is made – are brought to life with engaging, interactive exhibits.
Plus, there isn’t too much writing to get through. Once you get through a couple of floors you’re onto the iconic advertising campaigns, which is so much fun. You can also take a much-needed seat and enjoy some of the most famous Guinness adverts ever made.
Top off the experience with a pint of Guinness in the gravity bar. I don’t really like it but I did notice that after a third it started to go down a lot easier. In fact, it seems the perfect way to make sure you leave with all those feel-good warm and fuzzy vibes. I certainly did.
The Hungry Mexican
For our last dinner on our Dublin 2 day itinerary, we opted for… Mexican. I love Mexican food at the best of times and in a city that is notoriously expensive I was keen to try and keep the costs down. No fancy meals for us in Dublin – at least not until brunch on the final morning anyway.
More on that in a bit. But first, The Hungry Mexican. I did a bit of research on Mexican restaurants in Dublin and a few names came up repeatedly. We ummed and ahhed over a couple – mostly Boojum and Pablo Picante – before opting for The Hungry Mexican.
It’s located by the river in the Temple Bar area, so right in the thick of it. I loved the stripped-back, industrial decor – think corrugated metal panelling and tables made out of wood chip. They also had a big piece of artwork, floor to ceiling, on the wall opposite us. We hadn’t made a reservation, even though it was Friday night, and there were plenty of free tables.
I opted for their strawberry margarita to drink – my favourite. While the flavour was bang on it wasn’t quite so smooth as some of the frozen margaritas I’ve had in my time.
And for a main course, I had a chicken enchilada and a chipotle salsa. I also added an extra portion of sour cream because I can’t do Mexican without it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to love the enchiladas but the sauce was really spicy and tangy, I just wanted more of it.
I wouldn’t say this was the best Mexican I’ve ever been to in my life. I usually like ordering lots of small plates and being able to try a bit of everything. While the enchilada was good, and better than I expected probably, it was a bit of a commitment. However, if you’re looking for some tasty, no-frills Mexican food while you’re in Dublin this ticks the boxes.
Enjoy the street music on Grafton Street
This was a slightly unexpected addition to our Dublin 2 day itinerary.
After our food, we headed back to the hotel. The walk took us along Grafton Street and meant that we could soak up another one of Dublin’s big traditions: street music.
Busking on Grafton Street has long been a tradition in Ireland and many famous musicians have started their careers here – Bono, Damien Rice and Dermot Kennedy are just a few examples. Man, I would’ve LOVED to see Dermot Kennedy busk here.
The person we happened to see was a musician called David Owens, singing and playing the piano beautifully, which I’m an immediate sucker for. We just caught him as he was finishing up his set for the night. Honestly, I was completely pulled into it. I didn’t even expect to stop and then we were part of the crowd standing there on a cold evening, transfixed.
Make sure you visit Grafton Street when you’re next in Dublin!
I’m breaking the rules on my Dublin 2 day itinerary here but as we didn’t fly home until lunchtime the next day there was time for one more breakfast in Dublin!
Our flight was at around 1pm so we packed our bags and set off into town to sniff out one last place to get breakfast in Dublin before we had to head home. The place we ended up going was somewhere we’d walked past the day before and been a little intrigued by.
Eat breakfast at Bewley’s Oriental Cafe
Final stop on our Dublin 2 day itinerary – this rather cafe with an even cooler history.
The place in question is Bewley’s Oriental Café on Grafton Street. It certainly has a sense of grandeur and, it turns out, it’s a bit of an institution. The company was founded in 1840 and the coffee shop has been around for nearly 100 years. If you go onto TripAdvisor there are comments like, I remember visiting when I was a student in 1985, and so on which seems crazy for a coffee shop.
Another interesting thing is its literary connections. Apparently, Bewley’s was a haunt of a number of notable Irish writers, including Samuel Beckett and James Joyce. The café even gets a mention in the latter’s Dubliners.
Inside, the grandeur continues. The place is enormous, with cosy booths, stained glass windows and even a couple of fireplaces. We were led to a table that was right next to the fireplace at the back which was excellent – and we didn’t even ask.
One thing I will say is that this was the most expensive meal we had over the whole trip. ordered the crushed avocado caprese sourdough. Avo on toast with the added bonus of basil pesto, plump, juicy, cherry tomatoes, and half a burrata. Yum! For some reason I decided this wasn’t enough and decided to add two poached eggs into the mix.
Completely unnecessary! Don’t make my mistake – there’s plenty to enjoy without the eggs and they did make the price for a brunch dish pretty eye-watering. However, it was great and there are cheaper items on the menu, such as the granola or overnight oats. Or, just do what everyone around us seemed to do and come in for a scone. Lovely!
How to get to Dublin
We travelled on a Ryanair flight from Edinburgh, which was pretty cheap. The thing about Dublin is that it’s affordable to get to. It’s just when you get there everything is expensive.
Getting to Dublin from the airport
Getting to the city centre from the airport is really straightforward. You don’t even have to figure out a metro. You can get the Dublin Express airport bus from directly outside the airport – just walk outside and you’ll see a queue of people and some ticket sellers.
Of course, having needed to have cash for the airport bus on my last trip, I’d stopped at the cash point at the airport and retrieved a hefty 50 euro note as that was the smallest amount you could withdraw. Eeesh. It wasn’t needed though – you can simply pay with card.
You will need to have a rough idea of where you’re staying in the city as the cost of the ticket depends on your destination. Luckily, I knew that our hotel was near to St Stephen’s Green and so I didn’t have to do a hasty google search. The bus takes about half an hour to get to the Temple Bar area and then it was a further 20 minutes or so for us.
Where to stay in Dublin
Where should you stay during your trip? This is a tricky one as accommodation is really expensive in Dublin.
I remember looking at last-minute trips to Dublin last year because the flights were so cheap but when it came to accommodation it was just ridiculous. The only thing that seemed to be available was bunks in shared dorms and that’s not my scene, and that was that.
Sonder The Earl, Dublin
This time around there was more time to plan and we ended up picking Sonder The Earl. I think on this occasion I may have been swayed by the minimalist décor. The hotel did look very nice – it had a charming bright yellow door and inside the tasteful décor continued.
However, it did feel a little soulless. I didn’t realise at the time of booking that there isn’t really a front-of-house team at the Sonder. You’re given an entry code for the main door and an entry code for your room. There is a reception area with fancy-looking tables and chairs and, most of the time, there was someone sitting there with a laptop.
However, on the morning we checked in there was no one there. The whole place was deserted, which was kind of weird. We checked in our bag into the storage locker – using another key code – and I freshened up my make-up in the hallway mirror and off we went on our merry way without speaking to a soul. It was a bit strange, I thought.
The other issue with the entry code system was our phones running out of juice. Chris forgot to bring his portable charger and when we came out of the Kilmainham Goal our phones were both really low on battery having taken loads of photos over the day.
We basically had to power walk the whole way home to try and make sure we had enough charge, while also having to use Google Maps for directions. It basically ended up with me on 2% battery trying to find the entry code and just praying we could do it in time.
Of course, it wasn’t the end of the world – there was a restaurant next door and I’m pretty sure we could’ve gone there, grabbed a quick drink, and charged our phones. But it’s just one of those annoying little things that wouldn’t happen at a (air quotes) “regular” hotel.
The next thing I wasn’t fully convinced about was the location. It’s not far from St Stephen’s Green, which is somewhere that I did want to see on our trip to Dublin. However, it was about twenty minutes walk out of the city centre. It’s a nice area with lots of colourful Instagram-friendly doorways but, on reflection, it was just a little far out I’d say.
The room was nice and had everything you needed, but it was a bit cramped. It definitely wasn’t all bad but, for all those reasons, I probably wouldn’t stay here again.
When to visit Dublin
What time of year should you visit Dublin? We visited in March and the weather wasn’t exactly amazing. There was a glimmer of sunshine, then it was grey the rest of the time. But let’s be honest, you don’t really come to Ireland for the weather, do you?
St Patrick’s Day on March 17 is worth keeping an eye on. I’ve never visited Dublin at that time but I would imagine it takes on a life of its own! If you want a quiet break then I would skip it, but if you’re looking to party then there probably isn’t a better time to come!
How to get around Dublin
Honestly, the best way to get around Dublin is simply to walk. The city is pretty compact and I found that as you’re walking around you naturally come across places that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. Keogh’s Café was definitely one of those!
Saying that, the Guinness Storehouse and the Kilmainham Gaol are slightly further out of town. You can jump on a hop-on hop-off bus or simply catch a regular bus.
How to save money in Dublin
Two days in this city isn’t a lot of time, but how do you stop a Dublin 2 day itinerary from costing a fortune?
The thing about Dublin is that the flights are pretty cheap to get there – it’s just when you step off the Ryanair flight that it gets expensive. And as much I would love to book Dublin as a last-minute break, when I looked last year the accommodation prices were crazy!
I would advise booking your trip a few months in advance. That way you can have your pick of accommodation – including all the hostels in Dublin – of which there are plenty.
I would also swerve the organised tours. As much as I like an organised tour, I think you can get a lot out of Dublin simply by wandering around and soaking it up for yourself.
A final note
One of the reasons I wanted to start this travel blog in the first place is because I have a terrible memory. I wanted to bottle my moments in photos and words, rather than have them be lost forever. Like so many memories I never digitalised.
I’d actually been to Dublin before. I went a long, long time ago and I literally couldn’t tell you anything about it. The only memories I have is taking home a Guinness mug as a souvenir from the Guinness Storehouse. I have another equally vague recollection of being in the Temple Bar area and someone mentioning a ‘famous pub’ but I wasn’t really into travel at that point in my life. The rest is all lost, never to be remembered.
When my partner booked us tickets to Dublin as my Christmas present I was intrigued. Would all the memories come popping back as I roamed through the streets? Would it be less enjoyable because I’d already been there before?
The short answer is no. I explored Dublin as someone who’d never been there before. And that was great, because I’d mentally ticked off as “I’ve already been there” and I probably wouldn’t have gone again if it was up to me.
But, in short, I’m really glad I did! If you’re planning a visit, I hope you have a great trip too.