72 Hours in Dublin – The Perfect Family Weekend Itinerary

Dublin is one of the most vibrant and enjoyable cities to visit in the world. But as a local guide, I might be a little biased! I think that there are plenty of ways to enjoy this fair city, not only as for adults, but also with the family.

DayMorningLunchAfternoonDinnerEvening
1Breakfast at KC Peaches, Visit Dublin Castle and Chester Beatty LibraryLeo Burdock’s Chipper/Lundy FootsStroll through St. Stephen’s Green and visit the Little Museum of DublinRestaurants on Dawson Street/Grafton StreetTraditional Irish music show at the Irish House Party/The Church
2Breakfast at Bewley’s Café, Visit the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology and Natural History MuseumNational Gallery Café/Queen of TartsVisit to the Guinness Storehouse or EPIC The Irish Emigration MuseumDinner at a Family-friendly RestaurantFamily-friendly play at a local theatre
3Breakfast at Bread 41, A trip to Phoenix Park and Dublin ZooPhoenix Park Café/PicnicVisit Kilmainham Gaol or Collins BarracksThe Church/Beshoff’s/The DukeShopping at the local markets, Evening walk along the Grand Canal
TipsWalking, Busing, or Biking are great ways to navigate DublinDublin is generally safe and family-friendlyTry local delicacies such as Irish stew, soda bread, and fish and chips

Make sure to get the most out of your city. There are so many different things to see and do in Dublin that you might feel a little overwhelmed. So make sure to read and discover the best of my hometown…

72 Hours in Dublin
72 Hours in Dublin

Day 1: Exploring Dublin’s Historic Heart

Dublin Castle
Dublin Castle in the heart of the city center

Morning Fuel at KC Peaches

Kick-start your family’s Irish adventure at KC Peaches on Dame Street. This popular café, nestled in the heart of Dublin, is beloved by locals and tourists alike. Famous for its farm-to-table ethos and an extensive menu that has something for everyone, it’s the ideal place to fuel up for the busy day ahead.

Whether you opt for a full Irish breakfast, freshly baked pastries, or their nourishing granola bowls, the hearty meal will give you the energy you need to explore Dublin’s historic heart.

Delving into History at Dublin Castle and Chester Beatty Library

With your appetites satiated, make your way to your first stop: Dublin Castle. This architectural gem, with its history dating back to the early 1200s, is built on a much older Viking site and is well worth a visit.

Let your family’s imagination run wild as you explore the castle’s opulent state rooms, the charming medieval undercroft, and the beautifully maintained Dubh Linn Gardens on the castle grounds. The castle also organizes various family-oriented tours and events, making history come alive for your little ones.

In the grounds of Dublin Castle, you’ll find the Chester Beatty Library. Although the word ‘library’ might suggest a place of quiet and contemplation, Chester Beatty is much more than just books.

Housing a stunning collection of manuscripts, rare books, and artworks from around the world, it offers an enriching experience for families. Their interactive exhibits and frequent children’s workshops make it a hit with younger visitors.

Lunch Time Delight at Leo Burdock’s or Lundy Foots

fired meat beside sliced lemon
Photo by Valeria Boltneva on Pexels.com

When lunchtime rolls around, immerse yourselves in the local food scene. If Dublin’s weather is playing along, nothing beats the classic Irish experience of devouring fish and chips from the renowned Leo Burdock’s Chipper.

With over 100 years of history, Leo’s has perfected this traditional dish. Enjoy your lunch picnic-style, perhaps even on the grounds of Dublin Castle or the nearby Christchurch or St. Patrick’s Cathedrals.

However, if the weather isn’t as cooperative, make your way to Lundy Foots for a warm, indoor lunch. This family-friendly eatery offers an array of scrumptious Irish comfort foods that will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Its welcoming, relaxed atmosphere will make you feel right at home.

Afternoon Leisure at St. Stephen’s Green and Little Museum of Dublin

Post-lunch, take a leisurely stroll to St. Stephen’s Green, a serene oasis in the heart of the city. Marvel at the Victorian-era landscaping, feed the ducks by the lake, or let your children burn off energy in the playground.

The park’s diverse flora and fauna offer ample opportunities for a mini nature-trail with your kids. There are also posters around the park that talk about the failed 1916 Easter Rising in DublinOpens in a new tab.. One of the most important battles in the city’s history, part of which happened right here in this park!

A few steps away from St. Stephen’s Green, you’ll find the Little Museum of Dublin. This charming museum, spread across a Georgian townhouse, offers an intimate look at Dublin’s history over the past century. Their specially curated children’s tours make the visit more engaging for young minds, adding an educational twist to your afternoon leisure.

Evening Bites on Dawson Street/Grafton Street

As evening approaches, head towards Dawson Street or Grafton Street, areas teeming with restaurants for every palate. Whether you’re in the mood for some gourmet pizza, classic Irish stew, or exotic Asian cuisine, you’ll find a place that fits your family’s taste.

Make sure to indulge in some mouth-watering Irish desserts to end your meal on a sweet note. If you want to learn more about Irish street food in Dublin, you can find my guide to it here.Opens in a new tab.

Nighttime Fun at the Irish House Party or The Church

To cap off your day on a high note, immerse yourselves in Dublin’s rich musical tradition at the Irish House Party. Ranked as one of the top entertainment experiences in Dublin, this family-friendly venue promises an unforgettable evening of lively music, dancing, and storytelling that captivates both young and old alike.Opens in a new tab.

Should the Irish House Party be fully booked or if you fancy an alternative experience, head over to The Church. This unique venue, a beautifully restored 18th-century church, not only offers a delightful menu but also a fantastic array of entertainment options.

From traditional live Irish music and dancing performances to the enchanting view from the tower, it’s an experience that your family will remember long after your Dublin trip is over.

Wrap up Day 1

After a day packed with history, culture, fun, and great food, take a leisure stroll back to your accommodation. Allow the sights and sounds of Dublin at night to wash over you as you reflect on your experiences and look forward to the next two days.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a returning traveler, Dublin never fails to surprise, its vibrant energy and warm hospitality making every day a new adventure.

The Best Deal on Tickets

If you want to visit any of the attractions that I mention in this itinerary, there are plenty of ways to do that. One of the best is to buy the Do Dublin Ticket.

This ticket is €69 per person, but has access to dozens of different attractions all around Dublin, including many of the ones that I mention in this itinerary.

So, if you are planning on visiting more than a few of the places mentioned, then I highly recommend checking them out through the link here.Opens in a new tab.

Day 2: Dublin’s Cultural Treasures

guinness glass filled with beer
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

A Hearty Start at Bewley’s Café

Kick off day two of your Dublin expedition at Bewley’s Café on Grafton Street. This iconic café, with its vintage charm and incredible selection of baked goods, offers a quintessential Dublin breakfast experience.

Whether you’re in the mood for an Irish full breakfast or fancy trying their famous pastries, you’re in for a treat at Bewley’s.

Time Travel at the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology and Natural History Museum

Fully charged from breakfast, begin your exploration at the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology. This impressive museum houses a wealth of artifacts that tell the tale of Ireland from prehistoric times through the Viking era and beyond.

Noteworthy for kids are the ‘bog bodies’—incredibly preserved human remains dating back to the Iron Age. These may sound macabre, but they provide a fascinating and tangible link to the past.

Close by is the National History Museum, affectionately known as the ‘Dead Zoo.’ This museum is a delight for young ones, with two floors of animals from Ireland and around the world, all meticulously preserved.

A Midday Pause at the National Gallery Café or the Queen of Tarts

person holding a cupcake
Photo by iSAW Company on Pexels.com

Lunchtime calls for a pause in your busy day, and the café at the National Art Gallery is an excellent spot. Nestled within the Gallery, this café offers a variety of dishes made with locally sourced produce, making it an ideal location for a quiet, satisfying lunch.

Alternatively, consider the Queen of Tarts, a delightful café and patisserie known for its savory dishes and divine desserts. It’s the perfect spot if you fancy something lighter for lunch or wish to treat the kids to a sweet treat.

I would definitely recommend the Queen of Tarts if you are visiting the Guinness Storehouse after lunch, but more on that later.

Afternoon Adventure at the Guinness Storehouse or EPIC

Post-lunch, take your family for an unforgettable experience at the Guinness Storehouse. Though it’s most famous for its stout, the Storehouse also offers plenty for children.

They’ll enjoy the interactive exhibits and the bird’s-eye view of Dublin from the Gravity Bar. And don’t worry, there’s a range of non-alcoholic beverages for the young ones.

If beer-making history doesn’t pique your family’s interest, head over to EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. This world-class museum offers a captivating insight into the history of Irish emigration through its immersive and interactive exhibits.

This museum is especially worthwhile if you or your family have any Irish ancestors.

An Evening Feast

For dinner, explore one of Dublin’s culinary hotspots. Choose a restaurant that caters to your family’s preferences, whether it’s a hearty Italian meal, an innovative vegan menu, or traditional Irish fare.

Have a look at the map below to see if there are any places that strike your fancy!

Night Out at the Theatre

End day two with a dash of drama. Dublin’s thriving theatre scene often offers family-friendly plays or musicals. Consider venues like the Gaiety Theatre or The Abbey, which frequently stage shows suitable for all ages.

There are plenty of things to check out in Dublin in the evening. Here are a list of some of my favorite things to do in Dublin at night, with or without alcohol!Opens in a new tab.

Day 3: Dublin’s Natural Wonders and Beyond

Deer - Dublin
One of the many deer that call the Phoenix park home.

A Fresh Start at Bread 41

Start your final day in Dublin with a visit to Bread 41, a beloved local bakery renowned for its sourdough bread and scrumptious pastries. This is an excellent spot to grab breakfast-to-go, giving you more time to explore the great outdoors on your last day in the city.

Bread 41 is a trendy spot that will definitely leave you ready for the day ahead! It is popular with both locals and visitors. The bakery is right next to the famous Trinity College.

A Morning in Phoenix Park and Dublin Zoo

Make the most of your morning by heading to Phoenix Park, Europe’s largest city park. This vast green space is the perfect location for a morning stroll or bike ride, with trails winding past historical monuments, open green spaces, and herds of free-roaming deer.

The park itself dates back to the 1600s and is about 2.5 times the size of Central Park in New York! The Phoenix Park is one of the best assets available to the city.

Nestled within the park, you’ll find the Dublin Zoo. With its range of exhibits from the African Savannah to a Kaziranga Forest Trail, the Zoo offers an exciting and educational experience that kids will love.

Lunch Amidst Nature

For lunch, opt for a picnic in the park or visit one of Phoenix Park’s cafés. The Phoenix Café near the park’s visitor center offers a range of sandwiches, soups, and cakes, perfect for a casual, relaxing lunch.

Depending on the weather, you might even be able to buy a few extra bits from the Bakery in the morning for a picnic!

Afternoon at Kilmainham Gaol or Collins Barracks

In the afternoon, head to Kilmainham Gaol for a dose of history.Opens in a new tab. This former prison turned museum offers a sobering insight into Ireland’s path to independence. Its guided tours are captivating and suitable for older children and teens.

This is one of the most important attractions in all of Dublin and if you are able to visit, you really should. The only negative about this place is that its usually fully booked! Make sure to check the bookings the morning that you want to visit as there might be some last minute places available.

If Kilmainham Gaol is fully booked, a worthy alternative is Collins Barracks,Opens in a new tab. home to the National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts & History. The museum hosts a wide variety of exhibits, including historical weaponry and an antique Irish silver collection, fascinating for all ages.

An Early Evening Feast

Dine early at The Church, a unique bar and restaurant located in a stunningly restored 18th-century church. If you fancy seafood, Beshoff’s on Dame Street offers some of the best in town. For something more traditional, head to The Duke, a classic Dublin pub with a cozy atmosphere and an extensive menu.

Souvenir Shopping and a Grand Canal Walk

Cap off your final evening with a relaxed stroll along the Grand Canal, a picturesque waterway lined with charming Georgian houses, vibrant houseboats, and peaceful pathways.

While you’re out, seize the opportunity to pick up some unique souvenirs. The Temple Bar district and Nassau Street are home to several locally-owned shops offering a range of Irish goods, from Aran sweaters to handcrafted jewelry, perfect for a keepsake or gift.

Map of Dublin Recommendations

Below is my Google map with all of my recommendations for the city and places nearby. Please feel free to check it out when planning your visit:

Tips for Traveling with Family in Dublin

Here are some general tips for families coming to Dublin. Here, you should be able to find the answers to many other questions that you might have. If you still do have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

Navigating Dublin

Dublin is an exceptionally navigable city, with numerous options for getting around. For short distances, walking is often the best way to absorb the city’s vibrant street life and historical architecture. Dublin’s city center is relatively compact, making many attractions easily accessible on foot.

For longer distances, consider using public transport. Dublin’s bus network is extensive and serves the entire city, while the Luas tram service is an excellent option for traveling to attractions that lie a little further afield, such as Kilmainham Gaol or the Guinness Storehouse.

Dublin also offers a public bike rental scheme, DublinBikes, which could be a fun, active way for families to explore the city—especially its beautiful parks and the scenic Grand Canal.

Dublin’s Family-Friendly Atmosphere and Safety

Dublin is renowned for its warm and welcoming atmosphere, which extends to families. Irish people are typically family-oriented and generally appreciate and respect children. The city boasts an array of family-friendly amenities and attractions, from parks and museums to cafés and restaurants that cater to younger patrons.

As for safety, Dublin, like any major city, requires a certain level of vigilance, but it’s generally a safe destination for families. Most areas are well-lit and busy into the evening. Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas, and exercise common sense as you would in any other city.

Local Delicacies to Try

When in Dublin, you and your family will have the opportunity to sample some of Ireland’s delicious local cuisine. A hearty Irish stew or shepherd’s pie might appeal to kids who enjoy meat and potatoes, while those with a sweet tooth will surely love trying a warm, buttery scone or a slice of Irish apple tart.

For a truly Irish experience, encourage your children to try soda bread, a traditional type of bread that is often served with meals. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, sample some black or white pudding—a type of sausage that’s a staple of the full Irish breakfast.

Another crowd-pleaser is fish and chips, a dish that’s loved by locals and visitors alike. Many chip shops, known as ‘chippers,’ offer a child-sized portion, making it an ideal quick and easy meal.

Jack

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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