We love a city break and ever since we discovered the Dubland podcast (which I highly recommend by the way) we’ve wanted to get over to Dublin. So just before Christmas we managed to fit in a couple of days in the city. And it’s only taken me a month or so to get around to writing about it…
One of the greatest things about Dublin, like so many other awesome cities, is that it’s great to visit all year round. Not to mention you don’t need to block out an entire week to visit. Everything is close by so you can get a real feel for the city in as little as 48 hours!
Which is exactly what we did.
So if you’re looking for inspiration for your next weekend break or you’re heading over to Dublin any time soon, here’s how we spent 48 hours in the city, without breaking the bank – and you can too!
09:00 – 10:00
On the first day you’ll want to get up, get your comfy shoes on (there’s going to be lots of walking involved) and get out for a traditional Irish breakfast to start the day.
Depending on where you’re staying – we were at the Clifton Court Hotel – make your way to the centre (around the Temple Bar area). Once there, you’ll have your pick of restaurants and cafes.
10:00 – 14:00
After breakfast, walk to Tara Street station and grab the DART to Howth (around €6 for a return). This is a small village just east of central Dublin. It only takes around half an hour to get there and is perfect if you love being by the sea like we do. I am a sucker for a city by the sea (my favourites being Brighton and Edinburgh).
Once there, you can take a walk along both the east and west piers. Or if you’re feeling more athletic you can do the cliff top walk around the village. Apparently, on a clear day you can see all the way to Wales, although it was far too windy and cold for us to brave it.
Before heading back to the city centre, stop in the Bloody Stream for a drink and maybe some lunch. Alternatively, if you love seafood there are several restaurants along the west pier, but as we don’t eat fish we passed on this. When you’re done, hop back on the DART and head back to the city centre.
14:00 – 17:00
Once you’re back, it’s time to start taking in some of the culture.
St. Patricks Cathedral is a must while you’re in Dublin. But don’t rush to get there because there’s plenty to see on the way.
Depending which way you walk, you’re likely to pass the Molly Malone statue, but don’t pose for a picture with her if you don’t want to look like a complete tourist.
You can also go via Dublin Castle. But sadly they were setting up a market when we went there so our views around the courtyard were somewhat compromised.
Then finally continue your journey to St Patrick’s Cathedral which was built in honour of Ireland’s patron saint.
17:00 – 19:00
Now you’ve seen some of Dublin’s most iconic sights, there’s another part of the Irish culture that you have to try. From the cathedral, you are just a short walk from The Guinness Storehouse. It costs around €18 per person to get in and it is definitely worth it.
The tour around the storehouse is really interesting and the views from the Gravity Bar at the top were so beautiful, especially all lit up at night. But the highlight has to be ordering a ‘Stoutie’. This is basically a pint of Guinness with your photo printed on top. Cheesy and very touristy? Yes. But I don’t even care because it was so great.
We also wanted to do the Jameson whiskey experience but as we were on a budget we decided to stick with just the one.
19:00 – 00:00
After the storehouse you can easily find your way back down to the river on foot. If you haven’t eaten at the Guinness experience you might be ready for some food. We stopped at Zaytoon, which is essentially a glorified kebab shop but made fresh and much tastier. It had a great range of vegan and veggie options which was great for me.
If not, there are plenty of other great restaurants on the river for you to choose from.
Once you’re done, head back to the Temple Bar area and find somewhere for a drink. There’s plenty around there to keep you busy until the early hours if you’re feeling up to it.
But after a day on our feet, we were pretty ready to head back to our hotel at about 23:00 for a good nights sleep.
10:00 – 13:00
Next day we had a slower morning and enjoyed a cheaper breakfast at our hotel. Once we were ready to get out, we decided it was time to see what the shopping was like in Dublin.
Not far from Temple Bar is Grafton Street, which is where we started, but sticking to a budget meant mostly window shopping. Especially as this is where most of the big-name brands are.
So if you’re looking for the better-known high street retailers instead, you can cross the river and head towards Jervis Street and the shopping centre there.
Once we were finished browsing the shops we took a walk through St Stephens Green Park not far from Grafton Street. If you’re feeling organised enough and the weather is right, it’s a beautiful place to stop for a picnic.
Alternatively, you can head towards Camden Street for a spot of lunch, keep your eyes out on your way because there’s some pretty impressive graffiti around the Copper Face Jack’s nightclub.
13:00 – 17:00
So far we’ve mentioned the Temple Bar area, but not Temple Bar itself. This is the ultimate tourist destination so it can get pretty packed in the evening.
If you want to experience Temple Bar, but be able to actually enjoy your time there and not have to fight your way to the bar, its best to pop in late afternoon. There’s live music there everyday so if you go in around this time you might have some music to accompany your drink.
As it got closer to the evening time (and it started getting dark) we took a walk along the river. This was particularly beautiful because everything was lit up for Christmas. For that reason, I would recommend going around December time.
And one of the greatest things about Dublin is that a bridge is not simply a bridge. They were also lit with all the colours of the rainbow, in particular, the Millennium Bridge.
Walking along the river towards the docks you have the Samuel Beckett Bridge in the distance. But you don’t have to walk all the way there. Along the way we stopped by Custom House (which again was lit up with snowflakes).
And if you cross over the river you’ll come across the statues commemorating the Great Famine at Custom House Quay.
17:00 – 19:00
Next, we stopped in J.W. Sweetman, a microbrewery near our hotel, for some dinner. The drinks there were cheap(ish) and again, they had some great vegan choices on offer. If you’re a big beer fan we recommend going in to try their tasting boards. You can choose a board of either five or eight beers and ales, including their seasonal specials and traditional Irish red ales.
After dinner, we headed over to the Foggy Dew, a pub we had heard about from the Dubland podcast. It is an old Victorian pub and was definitely our favourite in Dublin.
They also have live music here, but in particular, Sunday’s are dedicated to acoustic jam sessions.
19:00 – 00:00
Dublin, like most cities, has plenty going on in the evenings. If comedy is your thing you might want to catch a show at the Laughter Lounge or Chaplin’s Comedy Club.
Or, if like us you fancy some more music, take a look at what is going on at The Button Factory. We went to a free event called TILT (Totally Irish Live Tuesdays). We saw four up and coming reggae and jazz acts performing.
But of course, it’s up to you what you do. An evening in Dublin is one you won’t forget, so make the most of your time there.