This fair city has a lot to offer, I’m a local and even after 28 years I keep finding new things to see and do! While you probably won’t have that much time to devote to exploring the city, you can pack a lot into a short stay in Dublin.
How long should you stay in Dublin? If you just want to explore the famous Dublin nightlife, 24 hours should be enough. To really explore the city, you need at least 2 days. If you want to see as much of the city and its surrounding areas as possible, then you need at least a full week.
I believe that many people over-plan their trips to Ireland, especially Dublin. Exploring the general atmosphere of the city is always a highlight for travellers. Having said that there are some things you should focus your attention on if your time is more limited.
How Long Should You Spend in Dublin
This is a question that I see all the time online and it is a difficult one to answer. The simplest answer is that; “it depends”. For a lot of people, logistical concerns might be the largest factor when making their plans, finding cheap flights and accommodation to Ireland can be challenging, depending on where you are coming from. If you are on an extended period of travel, Dublin can be a great stopover destination on you way across the Atlantic, or a base to explore the rest of Ireland from.
If your time in the city is limited, you shouldn’t worry. There are plenty of things to see and do while here, I will go into more detail later in this article. For example, if you visit the Templebar area of the city, it is common to find Batchelor parties from the UK dominating many of the pubs. They take advantage of cheap flights and stay for a night or two. If you are doing something similar, then you will be able to explore the famous Irish pub culture on your visit. There is always something going on in Dublin and there will be pubs busy every night of the week.
If you can stay a little longer, or you don’t want to have any alcohol, there are plenty of other things to do. If you want more information on what to do in Dublin at night without drinking, I have a full guide on what to do!
Dublin has a rich cultural history and there are museums all over the city that countless tourists and locals enjoy every day. If you want to learn more about Ireland’s contributions to literary achievement, then places like the Dublin Writer’s museum or the James Joyce museum are great. There are also many great walking tours that offer you the opportunity to see the city on foot and learn more about it from a local.
Dublin is also close to some beautiful natural scenery. From the stunning coastline at Howth, to the Wicklow Mountains, you can easily get out to nature, even if you are staying in the heart of the city. Though to see much of this you may need a little more time. I will go into some quick itineraries later.
What’s the Craic?
One of the most important things to experience while in Dublin is “The Craic” (pronounced “crack”). This is a common Irish expression and there is no real equivalent for it in English. If you are asked the question “what’s the craic?”, the American English equivalent would be “what’s up?”. The craic is a general fun atmosphere. When wandering the streets of Dublin, it can be hard not to find the craic! And if you get a little of this, then your time in Dublin was well-spent!
1 Day in Dublin
If you only have 24 hours in Dublin, there are still plenty of things that you can see, you just might have to plan a little more and your visit might be a little more focused than if you had more time. Here is my quick itinerary for a day in Dublin:
- Morning: You should probably do something cultural while you are here. If even just to tell people back home that you didn’t spend your whole time in Dublin locked in a pub! One of the best ways to start your day in Dublin is by doing a walking tour. There are several free walking tours that go through the city. They are both informative and entertaining and you will learn far more about the city in three hours than you would from any other source (including this one).
- Afternoon: You have a few options here. You could check out a museum or experience one of the larger tours like the Guinness Storehouse or the Trinity College Library. My advice would be to ask for recommendations from your free guide in the morning on what they think is best for the time you have available. You never know, there might be some crazy traditional music festival happening that day!
- Evening: If you want to have a few drinks then you’re in luck. There are lots of great pub crawls in Dublin if you are looking for a party type of atmosphere. If you want to experience some of the more authentic Irish pub culture, then there are several companies that run great tours every night and on them you can experience Dublin pubs like the locals do.
A weekend is a great amount of time to experience the best of Dublin city. If you spend a couple of days here, you will be able to relax more and explore the city at your leisure. You might even need a morning to recover if you experienced too much of the craic the night before! Spending 2 days will allow you to see anything that you didn’t get the chance to the day before. If you are lucky enough to see some of the elusive Irish sunshine, you might even want to explore some of the city’s parks and the surrounding areas.
If you want more detailed information on what you can experience in Dublin in 2 days, you can read my full 48-hour guide to the city.
While it is rare that people will be able to spend a full week in Dublin, this is the perfect amount of time to get the most out of your stay. If you spend a full week in Dublin you will be able to not only explore its museums and cultural heritage, but you might also get the chance to see it from a local point of view. The Irish are welcoming and usually interested in helping visitors explore their country. If you stay here for a little longer you will get the chance to talk to the natives and see what they think you should see!
If you are here for a little while you will also be able to explore the areas around Dublin. Places like Howth and the Wicklow Mountains are where Dubliners go when they want to see a little more of Ireland. If you spend a week in Dublin, you will get a more complete picture of what the city is like and what it is like to live there.
The only issue is that if you spend a full week in Dublin, you might also realise that the city has far more to offer than can be seen in just a week. You might have to come back to see more!
How Long Should You Spend in Ireland? Ideally you should spend at least 2 weeks in Ireland. You can explore most of the west coast in about a week and a half and spend the rest in a city like Dublin. This will give you a well-rounded experience of the country. But a lifetime is hardly enough!
What is the Best Time of Year to Visit Dublin? The best time of year is June – September, there will be long days and good weather (for Ireland). The Weeks around Halloween and St. Patrick’s Day are also good, with the 2 weeks around Christmas being a highlight of the year for most Dubliners.