What to see in Dublin on a weekend (or 3 day trip)

Seeing Dublin in 48 hours is a kind of sacrilege comparable to saying that the new ‘Star Wars’ films are better than the classics. However, as the vast majority of mortals need to work to live, the truth is that, for lack of free time, many travelers try to bring out the best in the capital of Ireland in a couple of days (usually a weekend).

I had the immense good fortune to live more than 8 years in Dublin and in it I feel at home. With its manageable size – especially considering that it is a European capital – Dublin is an especially multicultural, open, fun and friendly city. A perfect place to live, but also to spend a weekend.

Hold my hand – not literally speaking… Or yes – and I take you to know the best of Dublin in 48 hours or a weekend.

Friday

To give you the best advice on what to see in Dublin in two days, I am going to assume that you arrive in the city on a Friday, but, really, this route is applicable to any two days of the week, because the capital of Ireland is one of the most vibrant cities I have ever known and there is life in its bars and cultural offerings on a daily basis.

The first thing you need to do when you arrive at Dublin Airport is to find a transfer to the city centre (or wherever you have your accommodation). Clicking on this link you will be able to read all the options you have.

Once you’re in the middle of nowhere, and if you still have sunlight, you can start by taking a stroll down the mythical Grafton Street.

Main entrance to St Stephen’s Green

Grafton Street is always full of life. Tourists and locals fill their shops and are entertained by a good number of street artists who tell jokes, juggle or sing beautiful songs. At one end of Grafton Street, you’ll find one of Dublin’s most iconic parks: St Stephen’s Green.

This is one of the many green lungs Dublin has. Gardens adorned with flowers, ponds and imposing trees make it one of the best places to walk quietly in the heart of the city.

Trinity College Library

Less than 100 metres from Grafton Street is the gateway to Trinity College. The Trinity, opened in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I of England, is the oldest university in Ireland. Despite being in the heart of the city centre, as soon as you cross the threshold of the main door and enter the first of its interior courtyards, an atmosphere of recollection hovers over you. This effect is achieved by the magnificent distribution of the buildings, both old and new, as they all look inwards.

Trinity University has a large number of common areas open to all audiences – you can even watch some of the university team’s rugby on the weekend – but the most popular of all is its library.

The old Trinity College library is one of the most visited cultural monuments in Ireland. Inside – which looks like a Harry Potter film – you can admire millions of volumes, the most famous of which is the Book of Kells, a manuscript made by Celtic monks around 800.

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After soaking up Irish student history, it’s time to take a tour of one of its most scoundrel areas: Temple Bar.

In two or three streets, strategically located near the river Liffey, there are countless pubs, restaurants and curious shops. Temple Bar boils with life at any hour of the day. In its main square, on weekends a small market of books and records is improvised. In a more hidden square (next to the Irish Film Institute cinemas) on Saturday mornings you can buy organic fruit and vegetables. And, almost at any hour of any day, you can have a good pint of Guinness in one of its many bars.

I recommend a beer at The Porter House, where you can also enjoy good live music almost any day of the week. The Oliver St John Gogarty, The Temple Bar, Fitzsimmons and The Hairy Lemon are other of Temple Bar’s most famous bars.

Finally, when hunger strikes, be sure to try The Elephant and Castle’s chicken wings. Although the service is not the kindest in Dublin, the truth is that they are tremendous. The whole secret lies in the sauce.

Saturday

The second day arrives and you still have a good handful of things to do in Dublin for a weekend.

The Henry Street flea market has been full of life since first thing in the morning. It sells fruits, vegetables and flowers, but in its surroundings you will find butchers, fish shops and shopping centers with the typical shops of clothes, electrical appliances and others that you can find in any European city.

General Post Office William Murhpy on Flickr

After taking a walk through the atmosphere, go to the adjacent General Post Office (GPO) building. Its beautiful façade was an icon of the military uprising against the English in 1917. Continuing along O’Connell Street (one of the city’s main avenues), you reach the bridge over the Liffey River.

Walk along the Liffey

The Liffey is Dublin’s river artery and divides the city into two sectors: north and south. Historically, the south has been identified with the most prosperous and wealthy part and the north with the humblest. Having lived in houses located in districts on both sides of the river, I can attest that this appreciation is true.

From the O’Connell Bridge and leaving behind you the symbolic ‘Spire’ (a kind of needle that rises towards the Dublin sky), on your left you have the financial area of Dublin, and on the right (always without crossing the south bank of the river), the area of Four Courts. You can walk on both thanks to some wooden boards that constitute a walk next to the Liffey. On sunny days, it’s a good plan to make in Dublin.

Travel Insurance for Travel to Dublin

Are you one of those who still thinks that travel insurance is something dispensable? An insurance to any European destination of a week for a family with two children can cost about 45 euros (it does not even reach 7 euros per day). Travel in family, couple or alone, we recommend arriving at the destination with a standard insurance that includes a minimum of 60,000 euros in hospitalization, repatriation, theft and cancellation costs. We have tried several companies and the last few times we have repeated with Iati because everything has gone perfectly. In addition you have a 5% discount to come from us through this link.

If you feel like seeing some good museums in Dublin, you’ll have to cross back to the south side of the river. Near Merrion Square Park you will find the National Gallery, where you can enjoy a good collection of Irish and European paintings.

Guinness Store main door William Murhpy on Flickr

Another interesting museum is the National Museum of Natural History of Ireland, although the most visited – I don’t know why – are those of Guinness and Jameson.

These two distilleries, for beer and whisky respectively, also bring together part of the history of Ireland. Of special interest are the views from the 360-degree bar at the top of the Guinness Store tower.

Deer in Phoenix Park

After recharging your batteries with typical pub food at O’Neills, it’s time to visit Dublin Castle, then take a tour of one of Europe’s largest urban parks: Phoenix Park. Here you can see even a herd of deer.

By nightfall, you’d better have checked Dublin’s cultural agenda for those days, because its O2 Arena hosts huge concerts by world-class groups. If you prefer something more amateur, I recommend that you visit Whelan’s pub on George Street. It is one of the best places in Dublin to enjoy good atmosphere and indie-pop-rock music.

Another pub on George Street that I remember with special affection is The Hogan’s.

Sunday

Sunday arrives and, after visiting almost all the best places to see in downtown Dublin, it’s time to visit the city’s beautiful northern and southern coastal extremes.

To do this, you have to take the surface train, called DART.

Bray

At the southern end of the line, you’ll find Bray. Bray’s been my favorite hideaway since I got to Dublin. Two minutes walk from the DART station you will find a beautiful promenade that stretches out in front of the grey waters of the Irish Sea.

On sunny Sundays, Bray is full of life and sometimes there is even a small fair installed. At the end of the walk, the path climbs up to the large cross overlooking a green hill. From the top the views are spectacular. Cliffs upholstered in green die in a sea that here already acquires a navy blue color. The village, with its colourful houses, is on the other side, and a country path continues its way, meandering among hills covered with flowers, towards Greystones, another little coastal village.

If you want, you can eat here in any of the front line pubs.

Baily Lighthouse in Howth Giuseppe Milo on Flickr

If not, you can always cross over to the other side of the DART line.

Howth is a fishing harbour where Dominicans have fun feeding the seals and enjoy the best fish & chips in Dublin.

There’s also a good hiking trail that takes you to Howth Lighthouse before returning to the village centre.

If you make both visits, you’ll have spent a great last day in Dublin.

So I’ll see you in Dublin?

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