How can you squeeze 1000 years of history into just one day’s exploring? It’s not easy to get to know a city in just 24 hours, but in Dublin you can certainly hit all of its most iconic landmarks, discover more than a little of its history and eat some delicious food (and drink some delicious Guinness)! Make the most of your short time in this buzzing city, get to know some of its locals and tick its most famous attractions from your Dublin bucket list with our guide to what to do in the Irish capital if you've only got one day in town.
Start the day right
Start the day with breakfast at Brother Hubbard, an independent cafe on the north bank of the Liffey which serves up some of the most delicious, and innovative dishes in the city. Run by two pals who baked their way around the world (literally), you’ll find they use plenty of spices and techniques brought back from their travels. As well as their take on a classic Irish breakfast, there’s breakfast delights like Turkish eggs with whipped feta and roasted aubergine and halloumi flatbread, as well as plenty of vegan options. Fuelled up for the morning, it’s time to head to Trinity College, making sure to cross the river via the famous Ha’penny Bridge. You can wander through the grounds without needing a ticket, but if you want to see the famous Book of Kells, make sure to book a ticket online before you visit.
Step back in time
Most people visit Trinity College to see the Book of Kells, the 9th century embroidered Latin bible which is one of Dublin’s most visited attractions, but the real gem here is the Long Room, the college’s stunning library. Spread across two galleries under a high vaulted ceiling are around 200,000 of the country’s oldest, and most historically significant books. Leather bound volumes fill the space from floor to ceiling and the rows of shelves almost seem to extend endlessly as far as the eye can see, their ancient pages filling the air with the magical scent of old books. You’ll be taken to see the Book of Kells first, but work in reverse and head straight to the Long Room when you arrive - you’ll have this enchanting spot all to yourself for a moment or two before you double back to see the Kells manuscript.
Admire the architecture
From Trinity College, you’re just a stroll away from Dublin’s other historic landmarks, so zigzag your way through the charming cobbled streets and you’ll soon stumble upon Dublin Castle. The palatial looking main courtyard was added in the 17th century, but the oldest parts of the castle date right back to the 12th century. Make sure to check out the Gothic chapel before you meander a little further to St Patrick’s Cathedral, the Medieval landmark named after the country’s patron saint. You’ll find the oldest library in Ireland here, as well marvelling at the building itself which dates all the way back to 1191.
Visit a brewery
Continue walking west for another fifteen minutes or so and you’ll find another of Dublin’s most iconic, and possibly its most beloved attraction - the Guinness Storehouse. Even if you’re not a fan of the black stuff, visiting the St James’s Gate Brewery is not to be missed. With a 9000 year lease, the Guinness factory churns out around three million pints a day - take a tour around the brewery which ends in the Gravity Bar, where you can enjoy a pint as you take in the 360-degree views over the city. But if you’re more of a whisky lover, then trade your time in the brewery for an hour or two in the nearby Teeling Distillery, an independent whisky distillery where you can take a tour and of course, taste their award-winning single malt.
You’re probably about ready for a bite to eat now, so hop in an Uber and make your way over to the heart of the city, to El Grito to be exact. Authentic Mexican might not be what you’d expect to find in Dublin, but this taqueria delivers on flavor and is the perfect spot to grab a quick lunch - with only 24 hours in the city you’ve got to make the most of the time you have! On the fringes of touristy Temple Bar, this small eatery is tucked under one of the arches after the Ha’penny Bridge, and unless you’re lucky enough to blag one of the few tables you’ll be enjoying your tacos standing up. With some ingredients coming from Mexico, these tacos are the real deal - order slow-roasted pork tacos or the Guanajuato style torta, a regional sandwich that’s loaded with refried beans and your choice of meat, oozing with cheese and guac, and sprinkled with fresh coriander.
Energized by fiery Mexican street food, make your way back over to the north bank of the river and meander along until you reach EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum. Tucked away in the Docklands, this fascinating museum explores the history of the Irish diaspora and the global routes taken by Irish emigrants through interactive exhibits and immersive displays. A moving experience, you’ll discover the stories of some of the 10 million Irish people who left their homeland over the centuries, putting down roots all over the world. For your final culture fix of the day, visit the Dublin Writers Museum, although you may want to jump in another Uber to get to this Northside spot. Dublin is renowned for the literary legends who called the city home at one time or another, so peruse the 18th-century townhouse in which the collection is housed and discover more about Wilde, Beckett, and Joyce through their books, letters, and other unusual items on display.
Safe in the knowledge that you’ve really made the most of your day in Dublin, it’s time to enjoy a long and lazy dinner. Back where it all began, just a stone’s throw from Trinity College is the Pig’s Ear, a stylish yet simple restaurant where the traditional Irish dishes which have been given a contemporary lift speak for themselves. Hidden behind a bright pink door, follow the stairs up to the first floor to the light and airy dining room and feast on dishes that take the very best locally produced and seasonal Irish produce and turn them into delights like pork belly with scallops and smoked black pudding, braised Irish ox cheek with oyster mushrooms and bone marrow, and Earl Grey smoked salmon - this is contemporary Irish cuisine at its best.
Of course, you’ll want to end your day in Dublin scouting out some live music in one of its warm and welcoming pubs, the kind where you’ll feel like a local yourself after about five minutes. Not far away is the Stag’s Head, a traditional pub with an old school Dublin vibe, where you’re guaranteed a good pint of Guinness and some lively Irish music.
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