Summary of content of this post
Ayyy Dublin! What a special city! A city that you do or do not have to include in the itinerary of your route through Ireland, mainly because you will most likely arrive in the country through its airport. The capital of Ireland, known above all for its beers and whiskies, is also in our opinion one of the most charming cities in Europe. They say you either love it or it just looks like a town. The truth is that we are on the first team, so today we want to show you what to see in Dublin in one day 😉
COMPLETE GUIDE TO IRELAND
If you want to read more information about our route in Ireland you can find it here: complete guide of Ireland.
We visited Dublin on the last day of our tour of Ireland and spent the night there. If you ask us what to see in Dublin, these would certainly be the places we recommend and you can’t miss. Our recommendation, however, is that you walk around its streets and get lost in the charm of this city that either makes you fall in love or leaves you just like before you arrived.
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Can you visit Dublin in one day?
Let’s see, no, you can’t. In a single day you won’t be able to get an idea of all the good things Dublin has to offer, but it will serve to make a first contact with the most important points of interest and to make you want to visit it a second time. The great thing about Dublin is that it’s super easy to find cheap flights any weekend 😉
In our case, which on this very trip our priority was the road route, we didn’t mind spending less time in Dublin because we know that it won’t be long before we return.
What to see in Dublin: River Liffey
Because it’s true that time must be devoted to Dublin. In my case, it was the second time I visited it and that’s why I enjoyed it differently, putting more emphasis on those places that I fell in love with the first time.
A little history of Dublin
Dublin was founded by the Vikings on the banks of the River Liffey in 841, although there are records of earlier settlements. At that time Dublin was called Dubh Linn, which means ‘black lagoon’ in Gaelic.
During the 10th century, Dublin was the largest city in the Viking world and traded with all of Europe, Iceland and even Constantinople.
What to see in Dublin: St Patrick’s Cathedral
Over the next five centuries the city would suffer from pests, fires and power struggles by the various enemies who wanted to take control of Dublin and Ireland. It was not until 1603 that the English crown took possession of the entire island by forcing (or trying to force) its inhabitants to become Protestants. Years later a civil war broke out which the English eventually won and which gave way to a peace that lasted almost 150 years (which also helped make Dublin a prosperous city.
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In 1798 the Irish rebelled, unsuccessfully, against the English crown. It was not until the outbreak of World War I that they tried again and the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921 made Dublin the capital of the Free State of Ireland, the capital of a state that, in stages, cut its last political (but not commercial) ties with the British crown in the 1930s and 1940s and became a republic in 1949.
What to see in Dublin in one day
As I was saying a bit above, we arrived in Dublin at lunchtime, as it was the end of the last stage of our route through Ireland. Upon arrival, and before visiting any points of interest, we headed to The Church, one of the most special restaurants in Dublin. I’ll tell you about it in detail in the section on where to eat in Dublin, but imagine an old church turned into a pub. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
With our stomachs full, we set out to visit the most important places of interest in the city. If you ask us what to see in Dublin, these would certainly be the places we recommend and you can’t miss. To make it easier for you, we’ve collected them all (not just the ones you can see in a day) on this map, including several cool places to stop for lunch:
Remember that you can use this map on your mobile to make it much more useful once you are there
Just save a copy on your Google Drive and open it on your mobile whenever you need it.
Free tour of Dublin: what to see in Dublin in three hours
Without a doubt, we find free tours a great way to make a first contact when you first visit a city (or if you haven’t visited it for a long time). So if you have very little time to visit Dublin like we do, and you don’t speak English well, you can book it from here, it’s completely in Spanish. This free tour is a wonderful introduction to the history and the most important monuments of the city, so our recommendation is that if you can and feel like it, do it.
If you have more time, there are also three other free tours available, one to the north of Dublin, one to the Georgian quarter and one on the mysteries and legends of the city. All three are completely in Spanish and are super well rated by users so they can be a great option.
But come on, now you can see and do everything in Dublin in one day:
O’Connell Street and The Spire
If we think of the most important streets in Dublin, one of the first that comes to mind is O’Connell Street. This street, which is one of Dublin’s main avenues, also has one of the city’s most curious monuments: The Spire.
What to see in Dublin: O’Connell StreetWhat to see in Dublin: O’Connell StreetWhat to see in Dublin: O’Connell Street
This extensive avenue begins at the river, at the O’Connell Bridge, and gives access to several of the city’s major shopping streets, including Henry Street. In addition, O’Connell Street is full of statues of illustrious people for Irish history such as Daniel O’Connell, William Smith O’Brien or James Joyce.
St Mary’s Pro Cathedral
Built on this location because of Protestant opposition, Dublin’s largest Catholic church is so wedged between buildings that you’re likely to have trouble locating it even if you’re standing in front of it.
The interior can be visited free of charge (unlike the other two major cathedrals in Dublin) and is open every day from 9.30am to 5pm.
This peculiar pedestrian bridge links the two banks of the River Liffey and is undoubtedly the most famous bridge in Dublin and one of the oldest in the world. Built in cast iron, it was inaugurated in 1816 to replace the ferries that connected both banks of the river.
What to see in Dublin: Merchants Arch and Ha’penny Bridge
Its original name is Liffey Bridge, but it is known among the Dubliners as Ha’penny Bridge because half a penny is what it cost to cross it.
Bank of Ireland
This palatial building from the beginning of the 18th century housed the Irish Parliament until 1801 and was also the first building in the world to be built with that purpose in mind, that of being a parliament. In 1801 the parliament was dissolved, the building was sold and only the small House of Lords remains from its time as a hemicycle, which can be visited during the bank’s business hours free of charge (unless it is closed for a private event).
What to see in Dublin: Bank of Ireland
Trinity College and Book of Kells, one of the great must-sees in Dublin
Founded in the late 16th century by Elizabeth I, Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university and was once one of the most prestigious in Europe. It produced illustrious graduates like Oscar Wilde or Samuel Beckett.
With almost 200,000 square meters of land in the heart of the city, Trinity College is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to study. When it was founded, it only admitted Protestant students and it was not until 1793 that the university began to admit Catholic students.
What to see in Dublin: Campanile at Trinity College
A walk around the grounds of Trinity College is undoubtedly one of the must-see sights in Dublin. The entrance of the Regent House, the magnificent squares of Parliament Square, Front Square or Library Square, the famous Campanile and its history… Do you know that there is a legend that if a student passes underneath when the bells are ringing he will fail his exams?
But the real treasure of Trinity College is its impressive library, which contains the largest collection of books and manuscripts in the entire country in eight buildings. One of these buildings, the Old Library, holds within it (in addition to a huge 65 metre room with over 200,000 manuscripts, the oldest in Ireland) one of the country’s treasures: the Book of Kells. If you’re a bookworm like us, you’ll love this place.
What to see in Dublin: Old Library at Trinity College
And what is this book so famous for? Well, mainly because it’s believed to be over 1,200 years old, which is said to be soon. Made by some monks on the island of Iona, off the coast of Scotland, it ended up in the custody of Trinity College in the 17th century, after being robbed, looted and buried underground. During your visit to the Old Library, you will be able to admire two of its original pages, one with illustrations and the other with texts.
Admission to the Trinity College campus is free, but if you want to visit the Old Library and the Book of Kells you will have to pay admission. It costs between 8.50 and 14 euros depending on the time you make the visit. You can buy the tickets from here.
What to see in Dublin: Old Library at Trinity College
The Old Library is open every day and the schedule is as follows:
Monday to Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Sundays (from October to April) from 12:00 to 16:30
Sundays (from May to September) from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm
Statue of Molly Malone
Very close to Trinity College is the statue of Molly Malone, a famous Irish woman (who was never real) known for the popular song of the same name which has become the unofficial anthem of Dublin. The song tells the story of a woman who used to sell mussels and cockles with her cart and ended up dying of a fever in the middle of the street.
What to see in Dublin: Statue of Molly Malone
It is said that she was a saleswoman during the day and a prostitute at night, hence the completely worn-out breast area of the sculpture. They say if you touch her breasts you’ll go back to Dublin.
Grafton Street is one of Dublin’s quintessential shopping streets. And for such a central street, it has a couple of major shopping malls: St Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre and Powerscourt Centre, located inside an 18th century building.
Temple Bar, one of the most interesting places to see in Dublin
Contrary to what many people may think, Temple Bar is not just a pub, Temple Bar is a beautiful, cobbled and interesting district in the centre of Dublin. So the best thing is that, if you can, don’t just visit it when the sun goes down, because getting lost in its streets during the day is also interesting.
What to see in Dublin: Temple Bar
Bars, restaurants, second-hand clothing stores, food and book markets, or places to buy records of old musical glories all coexist in the narrow streets of Temple Bar.
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If you would like to take a tour of Dublin’s best pubs with other travellers you can book it here.
Located very close to the Temple Bar and Dublin Castle is the City Hall, in a Georgian building built between 1769 and 1779. It was once built to house the Royal Exchange, but in the mid-19th century it became the City Hall.
What to see in Dublin: City Hall
The interior of the building can be visited free of charge and is open from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 17:15. In the basement of the building there is an exhibition on the history of the city.
When you think of your visit to Dublin Castle, don’t imagine the typical castle like the ones we’ve seen all along our route through Ireland. No. Dublin Castle is more of a palace complex than a medieval building full of towers.
Throughout its history, in its more than 700 years, it has fulfilled different functions: military fortress, royal residence… But nowadays this place is used mainly for receptions of foreign leaders.
What to see in Dublin: Dublin Castle
The interior can be visited in a one-hour guided tour (only available in English) or on your own (although with this option there will be areas you cannot visit, such as the excavations or the royal chapel). The guided tour includes a visit to the royal apartments (including the throne room), the Viking excavation, the royal chapel and the exhibitions.
The visit costs 12 euros if you take the guided tour and 8 euros if you want to visit on your own. You can buy the tickets online from here. The castle is open every day from 9:45 am to 5:45 pm.
Christ Church Cathedral
This impressive cathedral, which is over 1,000 years old, has its origins in a Viking church. It was founded in approximately 1028 and is one of the oldest buildings in Dublin, although it is true that it has undergone several reconstructions over the years that have changed its original appearance. Two of the most interesting things about the cathedral are the 12th century crypt and the 1870 bridge that connects the cathedral to Synod Hall, the building that houses Dublinia, the Dublin museum of Viking exhibits.
What to see in Dublin: Christ Church Cathedral
To visit the interior of the cathedral you have to pay 8 euros per person and you can choose between making a guided tour or visiting the cathedral on your own. You can buy the tickets here. The opening hours of the cathedral are as follows:
From March to October. Monday to Saturday from 9:30 to 18:00 and Sundays from 12:30 to 15:15 and 16:30 to 18:00.
November to February. Monday to Saturday from 9:30 to 17:00 and Sundays from 12:30 to 15:15
St Patrick’s Cathedral
Rivalling the Holy Trinity Cathedral we just told you about, is St Patrick’s Cathedral, which is just as impressive or even more so. It is the largest cathedral in Ireland and one of the most important places of pilgrimage in the country. It was built between 1191 and 1270 in honor of St. Patrick, patron saint of the Irish.
What to see in Dublin: St Patrick’s Cathedral
Visiting the interior of the cathedral is not free, it costs 8 euros per person, but if you buy the ticket online from here you can save 0.50 euros. You can visit the entire cathedral on your own and the schedule is as follows:
From March to October. Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 17:00, Saturdays from 9:00 to 18:00 and Sundays from 9:00 to 10:30, from 12:45 to 14:30 and from 16:30 to 18:00
November to February. Monday to Friday from 9:30 to 17:00, Saturdays from 9:00 to 17:00 and Sundays from 9:00 to 10:30 and 12:45 to 14:30
Very close to St. Patrick’s Cathedral is this beautiful library. Unchanged for three centuries (it was founded in 1701), this perfectly preserved library from the age of the Enlightenment, with its original oak shelves, houses more than 25,000 books.
What to see in Dublin: Marsh’s Library
Visiting the interior of this beautiful library costs 5 euros per person and the schedule is as follows:
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturdays from 10:00 to 17:00.
St Stephen’s Green
St Stephen’s Green is to Dublin what Central Park is to New York. Built in the middle of the 17th century, this huge park is one of the oldest public gardens in the country. If you walk down Grafton Street to the end of the street, you’ll come to the northwest corner of this huge park, which is perfect for a walk, a picnic or just relaxing (weather permitting).
What to see in Dublin: St Stephen’s Green
The only attraction of St Stephen’s Green is not only the park itself with its huge lake and its monuments dedicated to illustrious Irish people, but all the buildings around it are from the middle of the 18th century and are part of what is known as the Georgian Dublin. One of the most prominent is the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland, located in the west.
Merrion Square and Oscar Wilde House
Our tour of Dublin today ends at Merrion Square, one of the city’s most charming squares/parks. Georgian in style, like most of the houses around it, it has well-tended gardens and its flowery flowerbeds. Among the most outstanding buildings that flank the park is the former home of Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats or Leinster House, which currently serves as the Parliament of Ireland.
What to see in Dublin if you have more time
Guinness Factory. This place is perfect especially for beer lovers. Guinness is not only a beer, it is also a symbol of Dublin and Ireland. On the visit to the Guinness Storehouse you can learn much more about the process of making this famous beer, take a walk through its museum and have a pint to our health 😉Si you want, you can buy here the tickets for the guided tour and without queues in Spanish.
Kilmainham Prison. This old prison built at the end of the 18th century can be visited for 8 euros per person. We have read that it is very worthwhile, so it is important that you book your tickets in advance (minimum one month). You can do it from here.
Boat trip around Dublin. You can hire a boat ride around Dublin from here.
Chester Beatty Library. If you are a book lover, you might find this museum located in the clock tower at the back of Dublin Castle interesting. It houses works from all the world’s cultures, from Asia, China and Islam to Egypt and the West.
Any of your museums. We read that the best ones are the National Museum of Ireland (the part dedicated to archaeology) and the National Gallery.
What to see in Dublin: Is the Dublin Pass worth buying?
Like other cities such as New York, Paris or London, Dublin gives you the option to buy the Dublin Pass, which gives you the chance to have paid entrance tickets to the most important places to see in Dublin, such as Christ Church Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin Castle, Guinness Store House, Dublinia Museum or the Dublin Tourist Bus. At this link you can see EVERYTHING included in the Dublin Pass.
What to see in Dublin: Henry Street
As we always tell you with this type of tourist pass, whether it is worth it or not depends on the type of trip you want to make. Our advice is to add up the price of all the sites you want to visit and do the math. If it finally pays off, you can buy it here:
BUY DUBLIN PASS
What to see in Dublin: interesting tours from Dublin
Field trip to Howth. You can visit it on your own if you have a rental car or want to travel by public transport, or you can hire a guided tour from here.
Excursion to Malahide. Like the previous one, you can visit it on your own or you can hire a guided tour to Howth and Malahide from here.
Getting around Dublin
The route we have proposed for this day in Dublin can be done walking perfectly, although, yes, you have to like walking and you have to get up a little early. Remember that walking is how you discover the most special corners of cities 😉
What to see in Dublin
If you are going to spend more days in Dublin and need to get to other areas you can do it in the following transports:
Bus. You have more than 100 bus lines available. If you are going to use the bus, remember that you will need to pay the exact price because the drivers do not have change. The price varies depending on the route you take, but will be between 2.15 and 3.60 euros.
Tram or Luas. Dublin has two tram lines that are interesting to visit the points of interest farthest from the center. As with the bus, the price varies depending on the stops you make, but will be between 2.10 and 3.20 euros.
Bicycle. Dublin city centre is fairly flat, so you’ll have no trouble getting around on your bike. For 5 euros, you can take bikes from Dublinbikes for 3 days in a row, so it can be a great option.
*If you need it, both the bus and the tram have day passes available that considerably reduce the price of the trips. You can get more info here.
Getting from Dublin Airport to the City Centre
Getting to the city centre from Dublin Airport is super easy, so don’t worry because you won’t have any problems. There are three main options and your choice will depend on the area you are staying in and the budget you have (or are willing to spend):
Express buses. The journey now takes about an average and there are two companies that make this journey:
Aircoach, which costs 6 euros (11.50 if you buy a return ticket)
Airlink Express, which also costs 6 euros, (11 if you buy a return ticket)
Besides the price, the main difference between these two companies is the timetables. Aircoach makes the trip 24 hours a day and Airlink Express does not make routes from 00:30
City buses. If you prefer to save a little you can make this journey with city buses, which take a little longer than the previous ones. You can use lines 16, 41 and 102.
Taxi. If your budget does not limit you, you can get to the city centre from the airport by taxi for between 25 and 30 euros.
If you prefer to go to the city from the airport by private transport you can hire it at the best price from here.
Where to eat in Dublin
The truth is that on our last trip to Dublin we spent quite little time in the city, so we only had time to eat at one place: The Church. Not that this place has the best food in Dublin, but it is true that it is a special place to be in a church. So even if it’s just for a drink, we highly recommend it.
Where to Eat in Dublin: The ChurchWhere to Eat in Dublin: The Church
We had some wings as a starter, a hamburger and a sandwich with drinks for 52.30 euros.
Where to Eat in Dublin: The ChurchWhere to Eat in Dublin: The ChurchWhere to Eat in Dublin: The Church
We have left you with several places that have caught our attention, and then I leave you with other interesting options for lunch and dinner in Dublin:
Where to sleep in Dublin
When we were planning our trip to Ireland, it was clear to us that Dublin was not one of our priorities (although we did want to spend a day in the city), so the two nights we spent in the city (one at the beginning of the trip and one at the end) we slept in two hotels located near the airport:
As you can see, and although both hotels were great (they had shuttle to the airport), they are quite expensive. We had a hard time finding hotels near the airport at a more affordable price. I can’t show you pictures because I don’t know why but we couldn’t find them anywhere, but in general the hotels were very good, except for the price.
As always, our recommendation is that you look for accommodation as far in advance as possible, because this is the only way to find affordable options.
Below I show you some superb accommodation options in Booking in Dublin:
Dublin Skylon Hotel >> 8,5/10 de puntuación en Booking y alrededor de 63 euros la noche sin desayuno.
Beautiful Stay Dublin >> 9/10 de puntuación en Booking y alrededor de 67 euros la noche sin desayuno.
Academy Plaza Hotel >> 8,3/10 de puntuación en Booking y alrededor de 67 euros la noche sin desayuno.
Generator Dublin >> 8.1/10th of a score in Booking and about 74 euros a night without breakfast.
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