48 Hours in Dublin – Ideal Itinerary Created by a Local guide

Welcome to Dublin! The capital city of Ireland has a lot to offer visitors and locals alike and today I want to talk to you about the best ways to experience my home town.

Most people who visit will only spend about 2 days in the city, but you could spend a lot longer and never really see the whole place. There are so many different things to see and do, it might seem a little overwhelming at first.

Some of the more famous sights in Dublin are among the most popular in Europe and thousands of people arrive in the city every day wanting to see them. It can be difficult to beat the crowds if you don’t know where you’re going.

There are plenty of alternatives in the city for all the major sights and there are many different places nearby that are great for a day trip. In this guide I will try to give you as many alternative activities as possible.

Planning Your Trip

Most people will arrive by plane

Before you arrive, there are a few things you should investigate; flights, accommodation and you will also have to budget. We will talk about accommodation in a minute.

But if you want to learn more about how to budget for your stay in Dublin and how to get here, I have created a guide on how expensive Dublin is to visitOpens in a new tab.. It should cover all this information.

I also have a list of recommended gearOpens in a new tab. that I think will help you on your trip to Ireland. The Irish weather is unique and there are certain things you should pack for your trip.


You will have a lot of choices when it comes to accommodation in Dublin city. One issue that you might find is the price of accommodation. It has been getting steadily higher in the last number of years.

Currently, there is a housing crisis in the city and many people are struggling to find affordable places to live and this has naturally impacted travellers who want to visit.

Even though this is a serious issue, you still have lots of options for accommodation in Dublin. I have a full guide to my recommended places to stayOpens in a new tab., where I talk about all of this in much more detail.

If you want to get the most out of this guide however, I would suggest you stay as close to the centre of Dublin as possible. It can be tempting to stay in cheaper places much further out of the city.

But this really isn’t necessary as there are still many options near the centre. Also, you don’t want to spend half your day commuting back and forth! That can really eat into your time here.


Now that you’re settled, let’s talk about what to see, do and eat on your first full day in Dublin. This guide is for two full days in Dublin. We will begin on the first morning and end the following day.


There are plenty of places to find a great breakfast in Dublin

The most important meal of the day can really help set you up for your stay in Dublin. There are plenty of great cafes and restaurants that will serve traditional Irish breakfast or more exotic cuisine.

Traditionally Ireland is best known for its great alcoholic beverages, with food being an afterthought. There is a reason why you find Irish pubs are all over the world, but there are no Irish restaurants!

This is slowly starting to change. The last decade or so has seen a renascence in Irish cuisine, and it is there for you to take advantage of. You will be able to discover some of the best food around prepared with fresh, local, Irish ingredients.

Even old staples, like the “full Irish breakfast”, have been getting a modern face-lift. Check out cool cafes like the Joy of Cha to experience a great take on traditional Irish fare. This place also has hundreds of types of teas from all over the world and is my personal favourite cafe in Dublin city!

You could also try Lemon, they serve pancakes with pretty much any sort of topping imaginable. This chain has a few locations around the city, but the one on Dawson street is the most popular.

I have a full list of restaurants in DublinOpens in a new tab. that I recommend, including many great places to find breakfast.

Something Cultural

Now that you’re fed, its time to start the day’s activities. I always advise people to do something cultural in the morning, that way you can say they didn’t spend your entire time in Dublin locked in a pub!

There are plenty of great ways to spend a morning in Dublin. There are a few museums in the city that are famous the world over, but in order to get the most out your time, you should try to beat the crowds. In the afternoon many places get crowded!

Kilmainham Gaol.

Dublin’s Famous Kilmainham Gaol is one of the most importsnt sites in the city

Just outside the city centre is Kilmainham Gaol (pronounced jail). This is where the leaders of the famous 1916 Easter rising were executed. This was one of the most important moments in Irish history and the events that happened here were one of the driving forces behind independence.

This jail is where the equivalent to Ireland’s founding fathers were executed by the British government. You can really feel the weight of history in these walls.

This tour offers great insight into this formative period of Irish history and going here will really help visitors better understand Ireland. This is an absolute must do for any visitor in Dublin! The only difficulty with seeing the jail is that you must book your ticket in advance. Many people are turned away at the door as they have a limit in the number of visitors, they can accept each day.

The museum is located just outside of the city centre, so you will need to allow for some time to get there. It is approximately 20 minutes away from Trinity College. The tour itself is about 45 minutes long and the guides are usually passionate about the subject matter.

Tickets are between €4-8 and are best booked from the main Kilmanaham Gaol websiteOpens in a new tab..

A Free Walking Tour

The best way to see Dublin city is on foot. The centre is walkable and there are several companies that offer guided walks throughout the city. Most of the free tour companies offer similar services, a local will guide you through some of Dublin’s landmarks and give a compelling account of Irish history. These tours are one of the best ways to get to know any city!

Tours like this should last from 2-3 hours. Each one will be different, depending on the guide, and they will often give their own unique, local flare for what the city is like.

Though they are advertised as free, guides usually don’t receive any sort of payment other than tips from guests on their tours. The usual tip is anywhere between €10-20 (per person) depending on the quality of the tour.

These tours usually offer an excellent way to get to know a place quickly and Dublin is no exception. The unique thing about tour here is that the guides are often Irish themselves. In other parts of the world it can be difficult to find locals giving these sorts of tours.

On them you will get to ask questions from a native, meet people from all over the world and learn lots of interesting things about a new city. Just remember to tip your guide!

The free tour company I would recommend is the Yellow Umbrella Tour company. They run tours of different parts of the city throughout the day, but all their tours start at the Spire at the very centre of Dublin.

For more information about these tours, you can check out their websiteOpens in a new tab.. Their site is a little dated, but the guides here are probably the most experienced of any of the free tour companies in the city.

Trinity College and the Book of Kells

Trinity Library 2
The Old Library at Trinity College

Trinity college is the oldest and the most prestigious university in Ireland. The university campus is a beautiful oasis of calm in the middle of the hectic, modern city. You can wander around the campus at your own leisure, take a tour from the students or even look at the famous Book of Kells.

The tours of Trinity College run regularly, every few minutes from the main entrance to the college. They are €15 per person but also include free entry to the Old Library and the Book of Kells.

This book is over 1,000 years old and is a copy of the 4 gospels of the Christian Bible written by Irish monks. The book somehow survived the Viking invasions and now rests in the heart of Dublin.

Once you have seen the book however you will be treated to the Long Hall Library. This is one of the most beautiful rooms in the world. If you want to just explore the library and the book, it is €14 per person.

My advice is to do this first thing in the morning. I have personally brought tour groups there and had to wait nearly a full hour!

You can secure your place on the tour and book on the website for Trinity CollegeOpens in a new tab.. There is also an option to skip the que.


After a vigorous morning of learning about the history of Ireland, you will probably want to stop for a bite to eat. Maybe you have something booked for the evening and just want a lite lunch.

If that is the case, there are plenty of options. With the new “foodie” trend that has bees sweeping Dublin these last few years there are plenty of places to check out.

One of the best is Bunsen Burger. This place only does burgers cooked to your liking, the menu fits on a business card. They do one thing and do it very well. Bunsen has several different locations throughout the city and has become one of its most popular franchises.

This popularity means that it is often very busy and sometimes you will be asked to wait. I think that it’s totally worth it. The prices are reasonable (€10-20 per meal) and the quality is excellent. As modern as Ireland is today, you are never more than a few kilometres from the farm where your food was grown!

If you want more suggestions, you can have another look at my favourite places to eat in DublinOpens in a new tab..

Afternoon Activity

Dublin hosts some of the most famous attractions on the continent of Europe. Though there are many things to do in the city, people usually have 1 thing on their minds. Where can I find a pint of Guinness?

The Guinness Storehouse.

guinness storehouse door
The Guinness Storehouse

This is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, their annual attendance is sometimes higher than the population of Ireland itself! Its popular for a reason.

When you arrive here, you will first learn about the brewing process of the famous drink. Then you will receive a quick history lesson of the company and the massive impact it has had on the city of Dublin. Finally, you will get a chance to drink the “black stuff”!

The tour finishes in the gravity bar, overlooking the entirety of Dublin city. This bar has one of the best views in town. If that wasn’t enough, included in the price of your ticket is a pint of Guinness

There are also several restaurants on the premises for people to take advantage of while they are there.

One word of warning here are the lines! Because this place is so popular, you might have to spend a lot of time waiting to get inside. If you want to see this place, I would advise getting a ticket that allows you to skip the line.

These tickets are about €4 more expensive than the regular ticket for the Storehouse tour. This is less than the price of a pint of Guinness in most pubs in Dublin.

The Skip-the-Line ticket costs €32 and you should book your tickets onlineOpens in a new tab. before you go, as they often sell out.

The Irish Whiskey Museum.

This museum is a newer addition to Dublin. Centrally located, right next to Trinity College, this museum offers guests a complete overview of the history of Irish Whiskey. 

Did you know whiskey was invented by monks trying to discover new forms of medicine?

Irish whiskey has gone through some troubled times recently. With prohibition in the United States, the industry started to decline in Ireland. Recently though it has undergone a resurgence. New craft whiskey companies have been emerging over the past couple of decades and have been taking the market by storm!

One of the most important parts of the tour is the whiskey tasting at the end. Here you will receive samples from different craft distillers throughout Ireland. This place is such good value that it is cheaper than buying these whiskeys in a pub!

This is my favourite alcohol-related tour in Dublin. I think that this offers you the best value for money (€20 for an adult ticket + four samples of craft whiskey) of almost any tour in the city and, because it’s not affiliated to any brand, I think that guides are a little more honest about whiskey.

There are multiple experiences on offer at this museum, but I think that the classic/ premium tours are still excellent. It’s the same tour, the premium gets 1 extra whiskey and a souvenir glass.

This tour has been getting more popular though, so like most other tours, you should book in advance.Opens in a new tab.

The Jameson Whiskey Distillery

Jameson Bottles

Over 250 years ago John Jameson started a whiskey distillery on Bow Street in the north of Dublin city. These days Jameson is made in county Cork, a long way away from Dublin, but the old distillery is still there.

Today you can take a tour of the old distillery in the heart of the trendy Smithfield district.

The tour itself lasts for about an hour or so. You will have to purchase a ticket and that will dictate what time your experience will start.

You start off by learning how Irish whiskey is made, then you learn more about John Jameson himself. After all that you will explore the history of the company and the impact that it had on the history of Dublin. The tour of course ends with a taster of different types of Irish whiskey!

If you want to learn more about Irish whiskey, I would strongly recommend the Irish Whiskey Museum over the Jameson Distillery. The latter is more brand-focused and I feel that the Whiskey Museum offers a more authentic experience.

I want to give you as many options as possible in this guide and there are many other places you will be able to see in the city.

I have a list of my recommended tours in Dublin,Opens in a new tab. if you want ideas of other things to get up to while you’re here.


fish and chips
Fish and Chips

After an afternoon whetting your appetite with some of the city’s more famous fare. It’s probably a good idea to get some dinner! 

Why not head to one of the most authentic traditional pubs in town, O’Neill’s on Suffolk street. This 100-year-old pub is home to not only some of the best grub in town, but there are live performances of Irish music and dance every single night.

Try to arrive before 8pm to get a good spot as there will be no reservations taken. The food is all self-service. It is a traditional carvery, where you load up your plate with as much meat, potatoes and vegetables as you possibly can. 

Though it only costs €10-15 for a meal there, you can get about 10-15,000 calories of delicious Irish “pub-grub” on your plate! (This may not be 100% accurate)

After about 8.30pm the music will start upstairs. Local performers will mix traditional classics with modern hits and help to make Irish music a lot more accessible.

Around 9.30 though is when the dancing starts. Other dancing shows are done on a stage and are not nearly as authentic or enjoyable as the free show in O’Neill’s.

Enjoy the Irish Pub Culture

Nightlife in Dublin has a lot to offer. Some pubs are obviously better than others, in the last few years different pub tours have become popular. If you don’t want to spend the night listening to music in O’Neill’s, there are a couple of evening tours that I recommend.

The Pub Crawl

If you want to party the night away, there is a pub crawl that runs every night. Staring in the Templebar district at 7.30pm, this crawl visits 4 pubs and the most popular nightclub in the country.

This is a great tour if you want to head out and meet other travellers and go to places that Irish people frequent as opposed to the usual tourist traps.

The tour costs €12 and this will include the price of your guide and will get you free entry to the nightclub at the end of the evening (normally this alone would be €10). There will also be drink deals and concessions throughout the tour.

Some of the places included in this tour are O’Neill’s and the Grand Social. The nightclub is called Copper Face Jack’s (or Coppers) and is the most popular in Ireland.

This tour is really good value, especially for budget travellers trying to get the most bang for their buck.

This tour is popular and can sell out on busier nights, so book online before you arriveOpens in a new tab..

Pub Culture Tour

Bar - 900px(w)
A typical Irish pub

If a late night doesn’t sound appealing, but you still want to see a little of the famous Irish pub culture, then there is a great alternative in the pub culture tour.

This tour also runs every evening. It starts at 6pm at the spire and is run by the Yellow Umbrella Tour company. It costs €20 and is great value for money.

Included in the cost of this tour will be tasters of 3 Irish craft beers, half a pint of stout (like Guinness), a local craft whiskey and a craft gin and tonic.

There will also be a concession on food prices at the restaurant. This is excellent value for money and is probably the best value for money tour in this entire guide!

This tour will go to modern craft-beer bars and traditional Irish pubs, meaning you will get the best possible overview of this important part of Irish culture.

There will also be a visit to at least one place with live, traditional Irish music.

For more details, here is the booking page for the tourOpens in a new tab..

Day 2

Now it’s time to collect yourself and head out for another day!


This morning you can visit another of the great restaurants in the city for food. Try going to somewhere you missed the day before.

Walk it Off

There are lots of great hikes to do near Dublin

Checking out some of Ireland’s famous green scenery is always a good idea. A rainy walk in the park is authentic, not unpleasant! There are some great places in Dublin and nearby where you can see some of the famous Irish natural scenery.

There are a couple of different approaches you could take when doing this. You could go on an excursion to the other side of the country and try to fit as much into your visit as possible, or you could see something a little closer. Both are possible.

Things nearby

Let’s start with some of the things you can see from Dublin just using public transport. I have a complete list if you want more information.Opens in a new tab.

The Phoenix Park

Deer - Dublin
You can meet deer in the middle of the city

This is the largest walled city park in the world. From here you will be able to find many of Dublin’s most important landmarks, including Dublin Zoo. The perimeter of the park is about 11 kilometers long. You should join the locals as they make their way to the park to take advantage of the huge green space.

This park has been a popular spot for Dubliners since it was founded as a hunting ground for British royalty over 400 years ago. In that time, it has become home to some of the most important figures in Irish political life, including the Irish President, Prime Minister and the U.S. Ambassador.

The park is also home to a herd of several hundred deer who are regarded as residents of the city, just as much as famous figures like James Joyce! 

Stephen’s Green

The Fusiliers Arch is the main entrance to the park

This city park is in the heart of things, next to the bustling Grafton Street. One of five “Georgian Squares” that dot the city center, Stephen’s green has always been a favorite haunt for both locals and visitors. The park has undergone many changes in its history, but notably, it was also the site of conflict during the 1916 rising.

Throughout the park you will see signs that describe the fighting that went on here. One of the more interesting describes the ceasefire between both sides so the caretaker could feed the ducks! You will also find monuments to various figures from Irish history like the revolutionaries Robert Emmett and Constance Markievicz.

If you get to see the elusive Irish sun, I would advise that you get an ice-cream and head straight here. When you arrive, you will be greeted by thousands of local people doing the same!


Bailey Lighthouse
The Bailey Lighthouse at Howth

Howth is a small fishing village just outside of Dublin city center. Here you will find some of the best coastal walks on the Eastern side of the island of Ireland, as well as some of the best views of Dublin city. 

Howth itself has been a fishing village since at least the medieval period, though there are ruins there that are thousands of years old!

Howth is reachable by public transport from the city. Both Dublin bus and the D.A.R.T operate regular services to Howth village. If you chose to go to here for the day, I would recommend that you stay here for at least one meal. The seafood served in many of the restaurants usually have their stock caught fresh that morning. They will offer up some of the best shellfish you can find in western Europe.

The walks along Howth offer some of the best views in Ireland. From the summit of Howth hill you will be able to see out across the Irish sea and along the coast. From the western side you will be able to see most of the peninsula, the entirety of Dublin and six counties that surround the city. This is all dependent on the weather of course!

Howth is one of may favourite places in all of Ireland and I have already talked about it in a lot of detail.Opens in a new tab.

Day Trips

Wicklow National Park

If you want to go further afield you have a lot of options. Ireland is home to world-famous sights like the Giant’s Causeway and the Cliffs of Moher.

If you want more information on the best day trips from DublinOpens in a new tab., I have a complete list of my favourite ones.

In that list I have included all the logistical information, including transport costs and which companies offer the best tours.


I always recommend that people check out the seafood in Howth. The mussels are usually fantastic. A hike around the cliffs after a night on the town can seriously work up an appetite, so it is fortunate that the town’s pubs and restaurants are well stocked to relieve weary travellers.

If you find yourself in Howth for lunch, the Bloody Stream is an excellent choice. It is located directly beneath the train station, so finding it is never an issue. It is named after a bloody battle that took place against Viking invaders, where the small stream that now flows beneath the building ran red with blood! It is still a lovely place to enjoy a meal…

If you want something a little closer to the city centre, try Leo Burdocks. This is a chain of fish and chip shops that are popular with the locals. The original one can be found near Christchurch Cathedral and has a list of all the celebrities who have visited over the years.

Afternoon Activity

They say the best things in life are free, and in Dublin that can be the case! Most of the national museums in Ireland are open to the pubic free of charge. Below are my favourite museums in Dublin.

Click here for my list of the best free things to do in Dublin.Opens in a new tab.

The Chester Beatty Library

This museum is arguably the most underrated thing in Dublin. It beats the Trinity College Library hands-down! Created from the historical art collection owned by the “Colorado Copper King”, Chester Beatty. This museum houses the second largest collection of Muslim Qur’ans in the world, among many other things.

If you find yourself with an hour or so to spare in Dublin and you are unsure of what to do, then check this place out. Its free of charge, so if you don’t like it you can just leave! Most people who visit here stay. This is the only Irish institution to win “European Museum of the Year”, and you will quickly see why.

The library itself is the main attraction, but the tearooms are also well worth a visit. Unlike most of the free museums on this list, the Chester Beatty Museum is open on a Monday. Many of the other national exhibits will close for that one day during the week. So, plan ahead.

The National Archaeology Museum

Located next to St. Stephens Green. This museum houses some of the best exhibits in the country. By far the grisliest though are the bog bodies. You can guess what they are! They also house some of the best Viking and medieval displays in Ireland. You can also head downstairs and check out some of the oldest archaeological finds from Ireland’s distant past.

This museum is free of charge and offers a great overview of artefacts from across thousands of years of Irish history. Unlike the Chester Beatty Library, this museum will close on a Monday, so plan accordingly.


If you feel like you haven’t been fed enough by this point in your weekend.

See Some Live Performances

Live traditional music

Music is at the heart of Irish culture. There are musical instruments on the coins and the pints of Guinness, some of our most famous citizens are musicians and music is always in the air somewhere. 

Seeing some live music or a show is a must in Ireland, and Dublin has plenty to offerOpens in a new tab..

Traditional Music in the Cobblestone

The Cobblestone is probably the best place in Dublin for some live traditional Irish music. A music session involves musicians meeting in a pub and playing songs with strangers.

If you know an instrument yourself, you are more than welcome to join. If you don’t know the song, all you must do is sit back and enjoy the music. Everyone will get a chance to play! 

The cobblestone is famous for its music sessions and people flock there from all over the world to experience some of the best Irish music. The owners are musicians themselves and love to support this part of local culture.

Also, on offer in the Cobblestone is some of the best pints of Guinness in Dublin, so make sure to check that out while you’re there!

A Gig in Whelan’s

One of the most famous music venues in Dublin. This pub has been seen in numerous Hollywood productions like P.S. I Love You.

While the locals may not fully appreciate the American take on this establishment, there will be contemporary musicians performing there most nights during the week.

The pub is located on Camden street, which is far more popular than Templebar among locals! From here you can start your own pub crawl.

Free comedy night in the Stag’s Head

The Stag’s Head on Dame Lane is another traditional pub in central Dublin city. Here you will find one of the best regular comedy performances in Dublin.

Every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday some of the best comedians in Ireland practice their new material here. 

They offer these unpolished performances up for free to the public. Those who attend will be offered ice-cream, but in return some sort of tip is expected to help run the famous Irish comedy night.


Jack Redmond has been a tour guide in Ireland for the past decade. Having received a national guiding qualification, he has brought thousands of travelers all over the island of Ireland.

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