Welcome to my Dublin travel blog! So, you’re planning a weekend in Dublin? Good choice! Having grown up in Dublin I congratulate you for having impeccable travel tastes! As with any major city, Dublin has no shortage of cool things to do and see. If you’re not a morning person there are plenty of things to do in Dublin at night. And the craic. Definitely do not forget about the craic! If you don’t know what that means then you might want to check out my guide to Irish phrases. When you only have 48 hours in Dublin you might feel a bit overwhelmed about where to begin and how to really make the most of your time to experience the best that the city has to offer. Never fear. Marco Polo and I are here to help you out. Marco Polo, you ask? The famous explorer? Well, kind of – The Marco Polo Dublin guide, stuffed to the gills with useful information. It’s a real gem when it comes to maximizing your time and planning your trip. Each part of the city is handily dealt with in separate sections. It’s easy to see at a glance which attractions are close to each other, how to get to them, and where to find great food without going out of your way. So you can get the most out of your 3 days in Dublin. Navigating and finding your way around has never been easier. Let’s get planning your Dublin weekend.
A Weekend in Dublin
Getting to Dublin
Before you start your Dublin weekend you have to get there! If you’ve flown in there’s a high chance you’ve come with Ryanair. Whatever carrier you’ve flown with, getting from Dublin Airport to the heart of the city is easy as pie with the AirLink. It stops at the main bus station before making its way to one of the major train stations via O’Connell Street. OR, if you’re on a budget, you can hop on the number 16 Dublin bus which leaves from outside terminal 1 and drops you off at several points in the city centre. It costs €3.30 for a single fare into town. If you’ve come over the water by ferry, Dublin Port is just a hop skip and a jump away; catch the number 53 City Bus. Or walk to the Three Arena and hope on the LUAS into town. If you’ve traveled to Dun Laoghaire, the DART is your best bet for getting into the city. Of course, taxis are always available too. Apps like Uber, MyTaxi and Lynk can all be used in the city. Maybe you’ve taken the ferry into Rosslare? No worries, take the train direct into Dublin city and get your weekend in Dublin started! To get around the city pick up a Leap card and top it up to use the buses. It’s a bit like the Oyster card in London or the Octopus card in Hong Kong. It will make your 3 days in Dublin a lot smoother.
What to See and Do With 48 Hours in Dublin
From Dublin’s myriad of attractions, here are the top places to visit on your first weekend in Dublin:
- Guinness Storehouse: Home of the famous Irish “Black Gold”, learn about Guinness’s history, see how it’s made, and enjoy a pint from the panoramic bar. This is a massive tourist trap of course, so be prepared for crowds. And a rather extortionate entrance fee. It’s mainly worth it for all the old Guinness ads and the view from the Gravity Bar at the top of the Storehouse. Despite my objections, it is something you need to tick off the bucketlist of things to see in Dublin.
- The Old Jameson Distillery: See where Jameson Whiskey was made until the 1970s and sip on some of the legendary fire water. It’ll put hairs on your chest! This is by far my favourite tourist attraction in Dublin. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and it’s great value for money. Try the Jameson and ginger complimentary cocktail at the end of the tour, it’s delicious.
- Trinity College: A gorgeous, prestigious campus right in the heart of the city. It was founded in 1592 and is Ireland’s oldest university. You can visit the Book of Kells here. It also happens to be my old college where I got my degree in Pharmacy.
- St Michan’s Church: One of Dublin’s quirkiest attractions, descend into the crypt and meet the mummies. Tours of the crypt are only available on Saturday. The church is still used for worship so it is closed on Sundays. During the summer tours available on weekdays as well.
- St Patrick’s Cathedral: The grand medieval cathedral is the tallest in all of Ireland. Hmmm, are there too many churches on this list? Upholding the religious stereotype! But seriously, this is a gorgeous building. If you have a chance to attend a choir recital here, take it. And there’s a nice little garden area beside it, perfect for a picnic.
- Christ Church Cathedral: Another religious beauty, you can also see the mummified cat and rat. Scenes from the Tudors were filmed in here. In fact, my sister was an extra in a few of the scenes. Buy a combination ticket and visit Dublinia next door for a bit of a living history tour of the city.
- Kilmainham Gaol: Step into the past and see where the heroes of the 1916 Easter Rising were housed after events that ultimately (in 1949) led to Ireland officially gaining its freedom from England. Learn more about the previous inmates of the prison too, they weren’t all heroes. Scenes from the original “Italian Job” were filmed here, not to mention “Michael Collins” and “The Wind That Shakes The Barley”.
- Molly Malone: Previously located on the shopper’s paradise of Grafton Street, the lovely Molly has now been moved to Suffolk Street just across from O’Neill’s pub. Make sure to learn the song so that you can sing it to Molly. I’ll give you a few lines; “In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty, I first laid my eyes on sweet Molly Malone”. There you go, now make sure to Google the rest of the lyrics so you know her history.
- National Museum of Ireland: A top spot to learn more about Irish history and culture. There are 3 different branches of this museum in Dublin alone. My favourite is the Natural History Museum on Merrion Street.
- Dublin Castle: Slap bang in the heart of the city, the historic castle is well worth a quick visit on your weekend in Dublin. This is also a popular wedding venue. It has been used in movies such as “Becoming Jane” and “Michael Collins”.
- Phoenix Park: At 1752 acres Phoenix Park is one of the largest enclosed parks in a European capital city. Herds of deer have lived in the park since around 1660. You can get quite close depending on their mood, but I don’t recommend posing for silly photos or trying to touch them. I’ve seen many tourists fall foul of Bambi trying to get too close. Appreciate the beauty from a respectful distance. Áras an Uachtaráin, the official residence of the Irish president, can also be found in Phoenix Park, as well as Dublin Zoo!
- Ha’penny Bridge: So called because back in the day you had to pay a ha’penny to cross the bridge. Spanning the River Liffey, it offers great views of both sides of Dublin’s dividing river. People have started putting love locks on this bridge. I don’t recommend it as I don’t want the Ha’penny bridge ending up like the one in Paris.
Things to do in Dublin at Night
An essential part of any Dublin mini break is the nightlife! Temple Bar is the must-visit spot for first-timers experiencing a weekend in Dublin. Well, if you want to be the quintessential tourist that is. You’ll find very few local people in Temple Bar. But it does have its charms. The cobblestone streets are quaint. Personally, I’d only ever spend time in Temple Bar shopping, eating or to check out photography exhibitions during the day. Definitely head there a bit earlier if you’re not a huge fan of raucous merriment. Have a few drinks to settle in, and you’ll likely be singing and swaying along like everyone else before you know it. Just be aware that the price of a drink in Dublin is quite high in comparison to most parts of the world. Pints have been known to cost anywhere up to €7 (seriously) in the most touristy of pubs in Temple Bar. If you want to experience proper Irish dancing and singing, as opposed to drunken shenanigans, check out Johnnie Fox’s. You’ll need to venture into the mountains, but it’ll be a great night out. For a night out with the regular Dublin crowd check out the plethora of bars and cocktail bars in and around South William Street, George’s Street and Wexford Street. Alternatively, book tickets for an evening at the Gaiety Theatre and enjoy some high-quality drama. Dublin gave the world Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and George Bernard Shaw, to name a few greats, you know!
What to Eat in Dublin
With about two days in Dublin you’ll have plenty of time to feast on some Dublin delicacies. If you’re looking for some traditional Irish fare to sink your teeth into on your weekend in Dublin, you can’t go wrong with Irish stew. Another one-pot dish to try is coddle. Bacon and cabbage, as unappetizing as it may sound, is also really tasty. Grab a breakfast roll in the morning, or sit down for a full breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs and other goodies. Speaking of goodies, try goody if you’re craving something sweet. Or wrap your mouth around the Dublin favorite of gur cake. And, you have to try soda bread when in Dublin! If you’re veggie like me then have no fear, Dublin has gotten a lot better for vegetarians in the last few years. I love The Farm and Sprout & Co, both on Dawson Street, Cornucopia on Wicklow Street and Taste Food Company on South William Street. ALSO, Umi Falafel on Dame Street is incredible. Your Marco Polo guide will show you the best spots to savour Irish cooking at its best.
Have a ball during your weekend trip to Dublin!
If you have any questions about my city let me know!