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72 Hours in Dublin

Welcome to our 3 days in Dublin itinerary! 72 hours is perfect to make the most of this city. Planning a trip is fun but time consuming, however with this Dublin Travel Guide you won't have to spend much time thinking about what to see in Dublin. Just follow our suggestions and we are sure you'll have an amazing time. Enjoy!

Dublin is renowned for its medieval cathedral and churches, Viking past, cobblestones, Georgian architecture and its atmospheric pubs. And as a Unesco city of literature, it is also a city that has many stories to tell, from the anecdotes overheard at the pub to the evocative pages of Ulysses.
Most of Dublin’s attractions are within walking distance but you’ll need to take a train to visit the picturesque towns dotted along its bay. On the step of the city lie indeed many a treasure: fishing villages, breathtaking cliff walks and a biosphere so rich and diverse that the Unesco recently declared the area protected.

The city is experiencing a revival. New eateries and independent shops are opening right, left and centre. A strong cafe culture with the emphasis placed on locally-sourced organic food and quality coffee is now growing alongside the traditional pub culture. There’s no denying that an exciting wind of change is blowing over Dublin right now.

Keep on reading to discover how much you can fit in a 3-day city break in Dublin. Below you’ll find a walkable circuit that includes the best attractions the city has to offer, insider tips on where to eat and drink and all you need to know to find your bearings in the Fair City.

Day 1

Morning

Upon arrival, go straight to one of the most iconic sights of the city: Trinity College. Hold your breath as you go through the imposing wooden door and let your eyes accustom themselves to the darkness under the arch. Skint joyfully as you step back into the light inside the College walls and face the alluring bell tower. Dating back from the 16th century, it is the oldest university in Ireland and it has counted among its ranks some of the greatest names of the Irish Literature: Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift and Bram Stoker to name a few. The campus holds many a treasure to keep you busy. Visit the Science Gallery to challenge your mind (admission is free). Marvel at the jewel that is The Old Library, fill your lungs with the most intoxicating old book smell you’ll ever encounter and inspect the world-famous illuminated manuscript, the Book of Kells (general admission is 10€). Visit the stuffed animals of the Zoological Museum (general admission is 3€). You can also opt for a guided tour of the campus led by students, find them at the Front Gate.
And if you just want to relax, you couldn’t find a better place to do so on a warm day than the terrace of the student bar, The Pavillion. It overlooks the cricket ground and you might just be lucky and catch the students in their white suits hitting plays.

Trinity College-DAY1_1

Trinity College

Noon

The Old Library-DAY1_2Hatch & Sons-DAY1_3If you’re feeling peckish, and if weather allows, grab a pasta box at Credo Pizza (5€) or a hot chocolate at Butlers and head to St Stephen’s Green. This park has such a romantic look with the willow trees caressing the ponds. It’s a great spot to catch a breather and watch the world go by.
Don’t miss out on the beautiful Georgian architecture surrounding the park too, you’ll be able to spot some of Dublin’s infamous doors and in the Autumn, the ivy-covered buildings turn a fiery golden red. Another building worth of note is the Stephen’s Green shopping centre. Step inside to look at its intricate glass structure and the giant clock ticking in its heart.

Early Afternoon

In the beautiful Georgian building at number 15 St Stephen’s Green, you’ll find The Little Museum of Dublin (general admission is 7€). Spread over three floors, this museum packs a punch. The walls are covered from floor to ceiling with frames holding pictures and memorabilia that tell the many stories of the people who made Dublin, from the big names to the not-so-big ones. From James Joyce to Dr James Halon, a surgeon who kept on practising after turning blind and deaf. And yes, there’s a whole room dedicated to U2. This is the place you’ll start falling in love with the mighty Dubliners.

The admission to the museum comes with a 10% discount in Hatch & Sons, the gorgeous cafe in the basement. It would be rude not to indulge in their selection of cakes; or something more substantial if you haven’t eaten yet (try out their Blaas, a speciality from Waterford).

Late Afternoon

Walk West from St Stephens Green for about 10 minutes and you’ll stumble upon the gothic St. Patrick’s Cathedral (general admission is 6€) This imposing structure, founded in the 12th century, is actually the largest church in Ireland. Inside, you’ll find notably the burial site as well as the death mask of Jonathan Swift. The author of Gulliver’s Travels was appointed dean of the cathedral in the 18th century. You can catch one of the regular tours or, if you’d rather fly solo, a free app is available to guide you.

Next to the Cathedral, you’ll find the entrance to the Marsh’s Library (general admission is 3€) which is a rare example of a ‘chained library’. It dates back from the 18th century and is the first public library of Ireland.

A few minutes away from St Patrick’s Cathedral stands another gothic gem, Christ Church Cathedral (general admission is 6€). It dates even further back as it was founded in 1093, which makes it the oldest building in Dublin.
In its basement lies the crypt where two strange creatures are staring intently in each other eyes under a glass case. The locals nicknamed them ‘Tom & Jerry’. A mummified mouse and cat who, legend has it, got trapped in the pipes of the church organ in the middle of a ‘friendly’chase.

Evening & Night

Dublin nights are not short on possibility. The Irish are renowned for their theatre with names like Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett or George Bernard Shaw. This is certainly the place to enjoy a play. If you’re in the classic mood, go to the Gate Theatre but if you’re looking for something more avant-guarde, you wouldn’t go wrong with the Smock Alley Theatre. Or you could secretly tap your feet away at a River Dance show at the Gaiety Theatre. Discover the young comedians walking in the steps of the likes of Dylan Moran and DaraÓBriain at the Laughter Lounge comedy club. Or watch a movie in the heart of Temple at the IFI.

St Patrick's Cathedral-DAY1_4

St Patrick’s Cathedral

 

Day 2

Morning

Saturday is a great day to visit Temple Bar. Three markets spread their stalls on the Old City’s cobblestones from 10 am every week. On Meeting House Square, you’ll find the Food Market where the oyster bar is a must. If you have a sweet tooth, try out the scrumptious chocolate goodies from Bean & Goose. On Cow’s Lane, sellers display beautiful Irish craft, from art prints to jewellery at the Designer Mart. And finally, on Temple Bar Square, you can browse through second-hand books and old maps at the Book Market.

Temple Bar

Don’t forget to go through the archway to have a look at another iconic sight in Dublin: the Ha’penny Bridge.

Noon

Dublin Castle-DAY2_2There are some great places to have lunch in Temple Bar (Pablo Picante, Bunsen, Boxty, Brick Alley Cafe, to name a few) but you might want to escape to a quieter place to enjoy a meal. How does an airy and light cafe in a library sound? Head over to the Dublin Castle, at the Chester Beatty Library (admission is free) where you’ll find the Silk Road Cafe. Their menu boasts fresh homemade food of Mediterranean and Lebanese influence.

Once your meal is over, climb up the stairs to look at the library’s collection of Oriental rare books and artefacts. Make sure you go to the top floor where there’s an access to a roof top terrace offering a superb view on the Dublin Castle and Gardens.

 

Early Afternoon

In the afternoon, explore the grounds of the Dublin Castle. Sit down and relax in the gardens, walk in the majestic courtyard and visit the State apartments (general admission is 4.50€) and surprise yourself by enjoying the Irish History of tax collections and duties in the Revenue Museum (admission is free).

If you are somehow overtaken with the desire for desserts, you’re in luck as you’ll find one of the best cakes in the city at the Queen of Tarts, a few steps away from the Castle.

Late Afternoon

Are you in a mood for shopping? Then, it’s time to head over to George Street where you’ll find the entrance to the Arcade Market. It is a covered market sheltering retro clothes, old books, records and eateries. The back entrance leads you to Dublin’s creative quarter where stand side by side independent shops, vintage sellers and cafes with the cool factor. Also check out The Powerscourt Centre, a massive townhouse that holds three floors of lovely shops and cafes at its heart. This is such a vibrant area and no doubt you’ll find there beautifully Irish made souvenirs to pick up for yourself or your loved ones back home (Article, The Irish Design Shop).

If you have some shopping stamina left, you are a few minutes away from one of Dublin’s High Streets: Grafton Street where you’ll find all the usual chain stores.

The Cobblestone

Evening/Night

There are numerous good value restaurants in this area, particularly on South William Street and George Street. Go to Cornucopia for vegetarian goodness, Soder+Ko for the interesting fusion of Asian and Scandinavian cuisine, Jo Burgers for surprising toppings, The Port House for fun tapas to share or Yamamori for filling ramen bowls.

When in Dublin…Spend a night at the pub. Finding a traditional pub that is not a glorious tourist trap is not always the simplest of tasks, so here is for you a list of ‘oldies but goodies’where you’re bound to bump into chatty locals too: The Cobblestone (music every night of the week from 7pm), The Brazen Head (the oldest pub in town), The Long Hall, The Stag’s Head, The Celt, O’Neill’s and O’Donoghue’s to name a few.

Day 3

Morning

One of the great thing about Dublin is its proximity to the sea. It would be a mistake not to spend some time in one of its picturesque seaside towns. You can reach the fishing village of Howth with the DART within 25 minutes from the city centre.

On Sundays, you will find a food market just as you’re leaving the train station. Also, keep an eye out for the second-hand book market in the empty church.

Grab a 99 cents with flake and walk along to pier to reach Howth Lighthouse and back. The views on the Ireland’s Eye are straight from a postcard. If you’d like to get closer, there are regular ferry boats circling the island every day.
Howth also boasts of fantastic cliff walks all around the peninsula (it takes approximately a couple of hours to complete the circuit and the level is easy).

Howth Lighthouse-DAY3_1

Howth Lighthouse

Noon

What better place to grab a fish and chips than a fishing village? Pick yours from Beshoff’s or Leo Burdock’s, two emblematic chippers in Dublin. Sit down facing the port and enjoy your takeaway boxes, maybe the old seal will make an appearance. Howth Village Market also offers some seriously delicious street food. If you’d rather sit down inside, order some grub at the pub inside the railway station. Handy place to wait for your train. Take the Dart back to town, get off at Tara Street. Walk towards O’Connell Bridge.

Early Afternoon

From the Aston Quay, take the 69 or 79 bus to KilmainhamGaol (general admission is 7€). The bus journey takes about 10 minutes. The visit of the jail is a chilling experience, both figuratively and literally. It gives a palpable insight into the living conditions of the Irish prisoners during the dark hours of the country’s History.
Something you may want to note is that the jail gets quite busy during the Summer months, you may experience queues and end up having to book a tour at a later time in the afternoon. Fret not as there are attractions around to keep you busy but if that’s an issue, buy the Dublin Pass and skip the queue. The tour lasts 1 hour.

Just next from the KilmainhamGaol, stands the IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art (admission is free except for occasional special exhibitions). As well as offering a beautifully curated collection of contemporary art, it features beautiful gardens where you can enjoy a peaceful walk and a cafe if you’re in need of refreshments.

Further away from the jail, a good 10 minute walk, located on the other side of the Liffey, is Phoenix Park. It is one of the largest walled city parks in Europe and because there’s so much to cover, the best way to do so is to rent a bike (there’s a Dublin bike station at the main entrance). Phoenix Park is the home of the President of Ireland but also Dublin Zoo, Farmleigh House and a herd of fallow deers that are surprisingly very friendly.

Late Afternoon

Whether you enjoy drinking Guinness or not, you can’t deny that it’s part of the Dublin’s identity. At St James’Gate brewery, you can visit the Guinness Storehouse, a museum spread on 7 floors (general admission is 20€). Learn the process of fabrication of the ‘Black Stuff’and the history of his founder Arthur Guinness. After the visit, you’ll be able to enjoy a free pint in the Gravity Bar which offers one of the best views on the city. Surely the perfect ending to a trip in the Fair City!

IMMA-DAY3_2 Phoenix Park-DAY3_3 Kilmainham Gaol-DAY3_4

 

Need more inspiration? Please browse through our range of things to do in Dublin. Expedia.co.uk also offers the best accommodation to make your 3 day break to Dublin extra special.

Dublin : Practical info

Airport Transfers

Dublin Airport is a mere 10 km away from the city centre. You can reach your destination thanks to a regular service of coaches, busses and taxis.

DUBLIN BUS

Dublin Bus operates an express line called AirLink 747. It serves the airport and various locations in the city centre. An adult single ticket costs 6€ and a return 10€. On average, the journey takes 25 minutes but that may vary due to local traffic.

You can buy your ticket online, at the Bus and Rail information desk or at the vending machines outside the Arrivals. Alternatively, you can pay a single fare to the bus driver, use your Leap Card or the Freedom Pass.

If you’re on a budget and have some spare time, you can take the normal bus routes, 16 and 41. For 2.90€, they will take you to the city centre but the journey is considerably longer, lasting up to an hour depending on traffic. You can either buy your ticket at the vending machine at the airport bus stop or pay the exact fare in coins to the driver. Leap cards are also accepted.

More information on fares, bus stop locations and time tables: http://www.dublinbus.ie/en/Your-Journey1/Timetables/Airport-Services/

TAXI

A taxi ride from the airport to city centre generally takes half an hour and will cost around 25-30€ depending on the traffic encountered. One way to avoid bad surprises may be to ask for an estimation of the fare to your cab driver before getting in the car.

AIRCOACH

Air coach is a 24-hour service that links Dublin Airport and various locations in town (including all the major hotels). A single adult fare costs 7€and a return 12€. Buy your tickets from the driver as you board or at the customer service desk in the airport. It is worth noting that the Aircoach transfer comes free with The Dublin Pass.

More information and online booking available at http://www.aircoach.ie

Transportation City Centre

Dublin is extremely walkable as this guide will hopefully show you. You can easily spend a day without getting on any form of transport. With that being said, the city has quite an extensive network of buses, trams, bikes, coastal trains and probably one of the highest concentration of taxis.

TRANSPORT PASSES

Dublin transport system uses an equivalent to the Oyster Card called the Leap Card. There is a 72 hour Leap Card available for tourists. For €19.50, you’ll be able to use the regular Dublin Bus services (including Airlink 747 and the Night Busses), the Luas and the DART. Validate your card as you enter the bus, on the right-hand side reader.

Visitor Leap Cards can be purchased at the Spar in the Airport (T1), or in most newsagents in town.

For 33€, the Freedom Pass provides you with 72 hours of unlimited journeys on the Dublin Bus services (including the Airlink 747) and the Dublin Bus Hop On Hop Off City Tour.
More information and online purchase available at dublinsightseeing.ie

DUBLIN BUS

You’ll easily spot the Dublin Bus fleet thanks to its yellow and blue stripes. If you’re a Visitor Leap Card holder, scan it on the machine on your right-hand side as you step in the bus.

You can also pay your fare to the driver, but you need the exact change in coins. As you pay, state the amount to the driver or let them know where you’re going so they can issue the correct ticket. Don’t forget to thank them before getting off.

Fare starts at 0.75€which is the City Centre Fare. Check out www.dublinbus.ie for further information about the fares, bus routes and timetables.

HOP ON HOP OFF BUSSES

There are three hop on hop offs services available in Dublin: The green Dublin Bus Hop Hop Off City Tour, the red ‘City SightSeeing Dublin’ and the yellow ‘Dublin CityScape’ (The yellow bus).

LUAS

The LUAS is the Dublin’s tram system. Two routes cross the city, the Green and Red lines. Scan your Leap Card on the platform before stepping on or buy your tickets at the stop vending machine.

More information on https://www.luas.ie

DART

The DART, or Dublin Area Rapid Transit, is the coastal light-rail service that serves towns along the Dublin Bay. There are three Dart Stations in the city centre: Tara Street, Pearse Street and Connolly.

You can buy your tickets in the vending machines at the station or use your Visitor Leap Card.

More information on http://www.irishrail.ie/about-us/dart-commuter

DUBLIN BIKES

Discover the city on two-wheels thanks to Dublin Bikes. You can purchase a 3-day ticket (5€) at the bike station terminals with your credit card. The first half-hour of use is free, a service charge will apply after that.

More information and a map of the bike stations can be found on http://www.dublinbikes.ie

TAXI

Taxi ranks can be found all over the city but you will soon notice that the streets of Dublin are never of shortage. You won’t have to wait too long for a cab to arrive if you stand and hail on the road, at anytime of the day or night. In consequence, booking is rarely needed (although it is advisable if you’re going to the airport as the company will generally be happy to quote a fixed price).

The initial charge when you get in the taxi is 4.10€ and it includes the first kilometre. A 1€ charge will be added for any extra passenger.

No tips are expected but it is customary to round up to the next Euro when you pay your fare to the driver.

Uber is also available in Dublin.

Passes

The Dublin Pass is a 3 day pass (71€) that offers free entrance to 6 attractions (Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Zoo, National Wax Museum, Christ Church Cathedral, Old Jameson Distillery and Dublinia) as well as a free transfer to and from the airport with Aircoach and various discounts across the city.

More information and online purchase available on http://www.dublinpass.com

Payments & Withdrawals

Currency Exchange is available at the bureaux de change in the airport and city centre, banks (open from 10 am to 4pm, closed on the weekend), post offices (An Post) and tourism offices.

There is a vast network of ATMs all over the city and in most newsagents. Local banks are Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and Allied Irish Bank (the main branches can be found on O’Connell Street).

Most commerces and restaurants accept major credit and debit cards. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Eurocard are widely accepted.

Notes of 100€or above may not be accepted in shops or they might go under careful control.

Local Customs

Most shops are open from 9am to 6pm every day except on Thursdays when they open late, until 9pm.

Pubs close their doors at 11.30pm during the week and 12.30am during the week-end. Those with late licences stop serving after 2.30am. Note that on Good Friday and Christmas Day, all pubs are closed and no alcohol is sold in the country.

Busses, trams and trains start their service around 6am and stop around midnight (there is a night bus service on the weekends).

Tip 10-15% in restaurants unless the bill specifies that the service is included.

Smoking is banned indoors, but most pubs have a smoking area or beer garden on their premises.

It is a fact that the weather in Dublin has a capricious nature. More often than not, you’ll experience the 4 seasons and everything in between in the space of a day. That is why layering clothes is key. Wear light shirts under cardigans or jumpers as well as comfortable footwear. Carry a rainproof jacket with you at all times (umbrellas don’t last very long with the strong winds coming in from sea).

For more information (and a free map if you need), visit the tourist information offices on Suffolk Street, O’Connell Street and College Green.

Don’t forget to check out the programme for events and festivals before you leave on http://www.visitdublin.com

**All prices and details are correct at time of publication and are subject to change without notice.

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