Edited by Matthew Wears
I’ve lived in Dublin for just over two years now, and there’s really nowhere in the world that’s friendlier or more colorful than here. I fell in love with its people and its culture from the moment I got here from Germany, and for me, it’s those two things that make it so much fun to explore for the first time. It’s actually a really small city compared to a lot of other places, so if you want to know how many days in Dublin you’ll need, I’d say doing Dublin in three days is pretty much ideal. You should definitely be able to fit a few museums, some historic sights and even be able to plan some day trips from Dublin into the lush, green countryside as well. I love the little villages that you get all around the city, they’ve always got a bit of a quirky feeling compared to the city center, so I’ll be including a few of them for you to look at too. There will be all of this and lots of other bits and pieces as well, so let’s start off my list of what to do in Dublin in three days!
Day One - Morning
I would personally start your 72 hours in Dublin by walking around town to get a general feel for the place. Begin your day in the city center, let’s say Dublin One or Two for now. This is the part of town where you can see some of Dublin’s most iconic sights, like the Spire of Dublin or the ancient Dublin Castle. Take a walk along the famous river Liffey where you’ll find the iconic Ha’penny Bridge, which was actually the first pedestrian bridge to connect the north and south side of the city over two-hundred years ago. For quite a lot of tourists, this is what they think of when they picture Dublin, so it’s grounding to start your journey here. I also think it’s quite interesting to see the difference between the north and south of the river. The north is a bit more urban and run down, whilst the south is known slightly more as the classier part of town I’d say.
Day One - Afternoon
I know if you’re travelling with a group of people, it’s always tough to find somewhere where the food suits everyone. So it’s a good idea to go to the food courts down in the Jervis Shopping Center – I do this all the time when I need a quick meal with my friends or family. Each person can go to any one of the food stalls and then meet in the dining area and eat together for lunch. When lunch is done, start walking towards Trinity College Dublin, which is absolutely one of the most essential things to do in Dublin in my opinion. It contains one of Ireland's most important artefacts called the Book of Kells, which is a beautifully decorated ancient manuscript that was hand-written by Irish monks. They actually turn a page once every day as well, so if you want to see the whole book you might be there a while. You’ll struggle to fit it into your three days in Dublin itinerary!
Day One - Evening
After this, I’d probably recommend going over to the port area of town. This is still quite an industrial side of the city, but there’s definitely a few things to do in Dublin port that are worth checking out. Museums like the Irish Emigration Museum or the Famine Ship Museum are a good starting point if you want to learn a bit more about the history of Ireland. But for more of a laid-back time, there are plenty of bars and restaurants down here too. There’s a great restaurant called Charlotte Quay, which is a lovely spot that overlooks the waterside. It’s pretty fancy in here, but it’s all local Irish food and it’s very good indeed. For somewhere a bit more chilled out, try going to Mulligan and Haines back in Dublin Two. This is actually a cocktail bar, although they do some soup and sandwiches if you’re a bit hungry too. You won’t find as many tourists here, and it just has a really laid back atmosphere inside.
Day Two - Morning
For day two of your Dublin three-day plan, I think it’s a good idea to break up your trip by experiencing one of the many day trips from Dublin. The city center is great, but to get a proper taste of Irish life then you have to go into one of the quirky little neighborhoods that surround it. These beautiful little places always have a completely different feeling to Dublin, which is why I think that every tourist should take a look. There’s a fair few for you to choose from, but my favorite has to be Dalkey just south of the city. This is actually a really classy part of town and pretty much where most of Ireland's big celebrities have their huge, fancy houses. Bono is probably the most famous resident of Dalkey, so if you’re U2 super-fan then you never know, you could bump into him! Aside from celebrity spotting, the village is very pretty with lots of amazing walks in the countryside around it.
Day Two - Afternoon
For lunch I’d probably recommend going to the Finnegans of Dalkey in the center of town. This is a huge, family run bar that’s become pretty famous for its regular visits from the U2 members. As you can imagine, it’s all quite up-market in here, but it’s the best place to try some traditional Irish seafood! Dalkey is also quite famous for its bustling little harbor area. Not only is this quite cute and typically Irish, but it’s also the place where you’ll be able to find boat trips out along the coastline. These boat trips don’t cost all that much, but it’s the best way of seeing the local wildlife such as birds, seals and of course dolphins if you’re lucky. You can also find trips that go out to Dalkey Island, where you’ll have the chance to see the eerie looking Martello Tower, as well as the rabbits and goats that live there too. If you’re a little bit crazy about animals like me, then this is one of the most enjoyable things to do in Dublin.
Day Two - Evening
Also worth a look is the village of Howth, just north-east of the city. To get there all you have to do is get on the DART from the city center and you’ll be there in just over half an hour. Once you’re there, you’ll have lots of beautiful Irish scenery to explore, with plenty of walks that can be really nice if the weather behaves itself. The cliff walks are my favorite because you get the chance to see the thousands of seabirds that nest there, and you can take some amazing photos if you have your camera with you. You can even get the ferry all the way down to Laoghaire if you want to try and fit the north and south all in one day. It’s probably worth mentioning that it’s not really possible to go on these day trips if you’re trying to see Dublin in two days or less. I’d stick to seeing the city center and all the bits and pieces around there before you start heading out into the area's roundabout.
Day Three - Morning
For your final day you should finish back in the center of town. All that’s really left is to take a look inside some of the city’s museums and then I think you can almost say that you’ve seen Dublin in three days. Of course, there’s almost always going to be a few more things for you to do next time, but for now this is a good introduction. I’d start your day by going to the General Post Office right on O’Connel Street. This beautiful building actually now has a small museum inside, although it has nothing to do with sending letters would you believe! It focuses on the bloody Easter Rising in 1916, which is one of the most important parts of Irish history that there is. I sometimes find that a lot of tourists don’t know much about the difficulties that Ireland has faced over the years, so it’s always good to make room in your three days in Dublin itinerary for that.
Day Three - Afternoon
For lunch, you should definitely go to the Parisian style bakery Ladurée. This place does loads of indulgent things for a quick lunch, like ham and cheese croissants and freshly baked baguettes stuffed with all sorts. And afterwards, you have to make room for one of their over-indulgent hot chocolates, which I’m sure are made from not much more than pure, melted chocolate! After your lunch, I’d go to another one of museums in town. Since you’ve had a pretty heavy morning at the GPO already, go for something like a whiskey distillery tour. The Jameson Distillery is right in the centre of town and it’s always interesting to see how the proper Irish whiskey goes from distillation to bottle. I will say that one of the things to do in Dublin that I don’t recommend going to is the Guinness Storehouse! In my opinion this isn’t altogether that interesting and it’s so overpriced too.
Day Three - Evening
To end your seventy-two hours in Dublin, you should definitely head to one of my favorite restaurants in town – a little Italian restaurant called Pacinos. This place is simple, but it does really good food at reasonable prices. To end the night, I think you should go for one final drink around Dublin. If you’ve not yet seen the Temple Bar you could always have a look at that, although I couldn’t recommend going in there because it’s such a tourist trap. You should go to The Cobblestone instead, which is just near to the Jameson Distillery. They have traditional live Irish music every night, but it’s a bit different to the normal kind of stuff you get at most places in town. There are no cover bands in the cobblestone, it’s all real Irish music for the lovely local people of Dublin! There might be a few more tourists who have started going here, but it’s still a pretty authentic place to spend your last night.
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