One Day in Dublin: See the Best of Dublin in a Day

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Looking for a one day in Dublin itinerary? You’re in luck! We have a detailed guide for you!

Colorful storefronts, lively pubs, and lots of history, Dublin is a unique Irish city that should be in everyone’s bucket list.

There is so much going on in this city. It is hard to be bored in a place like this, especially if you only have a day in Dublin.

For obvious reasons, 24 hours in a city is not enough time to get a feel of the local vibe and get to hit offbeat venues.

Still, there are plenty of exciting things to do in Dublin in a day.

We have visited this city many times, and to be honest, we are nowhere near getting tired of it.

We always find something new to do, a new venue or pub to stop by and have a few bites or pints.

Still, this itinerary is for those people who can only explore Dublin in one day and are on a tight schedule.

Nevertheless, if you have some room in your Ireland travel planning, you might want to read this guide for 2 days in Dublin.

Anyway, we are pretty sure you will also fall in love with this lively city jam-packed with great things to do!

You’ve been warned!

Looking for a hotel in the city? Then you will want to read our guide to where to stay in Dublin and the best neighborhoods in Dublin based on your interests and budget.

It’s a complete and detailed guide filled with tips. If you’re traveling to Dublin, you have to read it!

Old Trinity Library shelves in Dublin
Calling all bookworms to spend one day in Dublin!

The best thing to do if you only have 24 hours in Dublin

Try the Hop-on Hop-off bus tour if you’re short on time, especially if it’s your first time in the city. For 15 to 20 euros, you can see all the highlights of Dublin!

There is a great audio guide in different languages explaining some history, a rooftop where you can sit outside and take it in, and the opportunity to hop on and off at any time for the whole day.

Even if you don’t want to get off and see all the spots at which it stops, it’s an excellent way to just get a feel for the city and a lay of the land.

Don’t miss out! Book your hop-on hop-off bus ticket here!

Wondering what to do in Dublin in one day? Read on!

One day in Dublin itinerary

Kick-off the day at Dublin Castle

The Dublin Castle is a must-see in two days in Dublin
The Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is the starting point of your one day in Dublin. The castle dates back to the 13th century, and interestingly it was built on a Viking settlement.

Years passed and the castle later became the English, and subsequent British, administration in the Emerald Isle.

But after Ireland’s independence in 1922, Dublin Castle was handed over to the Irish government, and today, it is used by the government and it is a significant tourist attraction of Dublin.

So to learn a little more about Irish history across the centuries, start your day off in the castle.

There you can find a museum with a wide variety of artworks from across the spectrum of the fine and decorative arts.

Beyond that, you can take a tour of the fancy State Apartments, Gothic Chapel Royal, and the excavation site of Viking and medieval times in Dublin. See the castle’s website.

Marvel at the Christ Church Cathedral

Include the Christ Church Cathedral in your one day in Dublin itinerary
Look at this floor!

Christ Church Cathedral is one of Dublin’s most magnificent churches.

Here, you can step off the busy streets of Dublin into a timeless sacred place. Manuscripts dated the church to this location in the 11th century.

After collapsing and being reformed a couple of times, Christ Church Cathedral is now not only a place of worship but also an art gallery.

That’s because the crypt houses the most important Treasures of Christ Church exhibition, which features several manuscripts and artifacts from over nearly one thousand years of worship in this and other churches nearby.

Fun fact about Ireland: The quirkiest part of the exhibition is the mummified cat and rat. The legend has it that they got stuck in the church organ’s pipe while the cat was chasing the rat. Now, they are the local Tom and Jerry.

Visit one of Ireland’s most important buildings, the St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Include the St Patrick's Cathedral in your one day in Dublin itinerary
Be sure to visit the St Patrick’s Cathedral while exploring Dublin in a day

As one of the most important religious buildings in Ireland, Saint Patrick’s has been at the heart of Dublin and Ireland’s history and culture for over 800 years.

Take your time to “read” the stories told by the stained-glass windows and the displays inside the church.

Architecture-wise, the Gothic cathedral has an austere look, but the colorful tiles covering the floor add a lively touch to the church’s interior.

The cathedral, which is the largest one in the country, is built next to a well where Saint Patrick himself used to baptize people, and that’s probably the reason for its location.

After visiting the church, go for a stroll around Saint Patrick’s Park to see a stone marking the well’s location.

Get to know Ireland’s greatest university, the Trinity College Dublin

Include the Trinity college in your 2 days in Dublin itinerary
Trinity College

Sprawling in the heart of Dublin, Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university.

The school was founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I of England, and today, Trinity ranks among the world’s best universities.

Stroll around this historic building and its well-maintained green yard. In the yard, you will find the iconic campanile that attracts so many tourists every day.

But as a good old Irish attraction, the campanile has its own tale, of course.

Well, legend has it that if a student passes underneath it while the bell is tolling, that unfortunate gal or guy will fail the college exams.

Whether that’s true or not, we can’t say, but the campanile does make up for an excellent photo spot in Dublin.

See the Book of Kells and the Old Library

One day in Dublin is enough to see the Old Library in the Trinity college
The Old Library in the Trinity College Dublin

If there is one place you must see in Dublin, that is the Old Library of the Trinity College.

It’s so pretty!

Whether you are a bookworm or not, whether you have a day in Dublin or more, this unique place is seriously a must!

Walk through the entrance door of the library to travel in time and experience the city in the 18th-century.

When we walked into the room, we couldn’t avoid but to feel in a Harry Potter movie with those walls covered in oak shelves and ancient books.

Beyond that, the most excellent highlight of the place is the Book of Kells, which is a 9th-century gospel manuscript and one of the world’s oldest books.

The book is part of the exhibition “Turning Darkness into Light,” which features plenty of other ancient manuscripts.

Expect to spend around an hour or just over an hour here at the library. It’s a short visit, but one you can’t afford to miss during your one day in Dublin.

Shop at the Grafton Street

Include Molly Malone statue in your one day in Dublin itinerary
Molly Malone near Grafton Street

Grafton Street was a residential street in the 18th-century especially trendy among the upper-class of Dublin.

But after the O’Connell Bridge was built, the influx of people passing through this street increased exponentially.

As a result, Grafton Street became a desirable spot for merchants in town.

Nowadays, this road is filled with well-known international brands but also with street performers and more.

So stroll along the colorful storefronts and maybe shop for some Irish souvenirs too. There is so much to see here that you will probably see something that piques your interest.

Near the beginning of the street, in front of St. Andrew’s Church, you will find our favorite statue, the Molly Malone statue.

Be sure to rub your hands on her breasts while exploring Dublin in one day. It’s said to bring luck!

Drink Guinness with a view at the Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse Gate in Dublin, Ireland
Guinness Storehouse is a must!

From all the Irish drinks you can have while visiting Dublin, the one pint you can’t miss is Guinness.

This brand is by far Ireland’s biggest and most successful beer in the country and around the world.

And what could be better than learning about Ireland’s greatest beer in its storehouse?

In a 90-minute self-guided tour, you can freely explore the seven floors of the visitor experience.

Beyond that, you get an in-depth multimedia presentation about the history and brewing process, and even learn how to pour the perfect pint.

To top it off, you get a free pint of Guinness in the rooftop panorama bar Gravity.

The view, tour, and beer are not to be missed!

Don’t miss out! Book your Guinness ticket + free pint here!

Learn about the dark side of Ireland at Kilmainham Gaol

The Kilmainham Gaol Prison is a must-see in 1 day in Dublin
The Kilmainham Gaol Prison is an intriguing place to visit in Dublin

Although it might sound a bit weird to tell you to spend a few hours in a former prison when you only have a day in Dublin, know that this tour is by far one of the most interesting ones I’ve had in Ireland.

As mentioned above, Kilmainham is a former prison in the city. Here, many members and leaders of Irish rebellions were detained by British troops, together with ordinary children, women, and men.

It is a moving tour that talks about the life of prisoners, their fate, and crimes committed.

Their crimes ranged from petty offenses to serious felonies and even some people who committed a crime just to have a roof over their heads, especially during the famine in the 19th-century.

Kilmainham is hands down a place you can’t afford to miss during your one day in Dublin.

Oh, the hop-on hop-off bus stops at this spot, which is a bit farther out from the city center!

See intriguing animals from Ireland and around the world at the Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum in Dublin in a day
Natural History Museum – Courtesy of National Museum of Ireland

The Natural History Museum of Ireland is a must-see of Dublin in a day. It showcases a comprehensive zoological collection from Ireland and around the world.

In the first part of the ground floor, you will find plenty of birds, insects, sea life, mammals, and predators from the Irish fauna.

These animals are preserved using the taxidermy technique, and it is fantastic to see them in actual size.

Further out, skeletons and stuffed animals of non-Irish species fill the rest of the museum grounds, including elephants and whales.

Unfortunately, the other floors are closed for now for lack of emergency exits.

But the ground floor exhibition is, in our opinion, well worth the time!


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Finish your one day in Dublin at the Temple Bar

Temple Bar in Dublin city Center
Dublin nightlight

To finish your one day in Dublin, head over to Temple Bar and have a pint (or a few) of local beers.

Granted, this pub is probably the most touristy one in the city. Still, since you only have 24 hours in Dublin, you can better visit must-see places, and on a later vacation, you visit other offbeat pubs and venues.

Anyway, you can enjoy traditional live music sessions, lots of Irish whiskeys and beers in this lively and often jam-packed pub.

The iconic red building is hard to miss, and it looks typically Irish. Well, this is what we call “finishing a trip in style.”

Map of Dublin in a day

This interactive map of 1 day in Dublin is free for you to download and use on your smartphone while discovering the city.

To learn how to create your own maps, check out this guide on Google My Maps.

Click here to have access to the map below.

Map of Dublin in a day
Map of Dublin in a day -Map Data ©2020 Google

How to get around Dublin

Fortunately, Dublin City center is relatively compact, and most attractions are close to each other.

But if you need to get somewhere a bit further away, Dublin has a light rail tram called the LUAS and also has comprehensive public bus services.

Both the tram and the bus cross the entire city.

You can pay in cash or use a Leap card on trams, trains, and buses. Leap cards are cheaper, and there is a special rate for tourists.

Alternatively, you can also travel by taxi or rent a car. However, we highly recommend you don’t drive in the city, only when going to other Irish towns.

You might want to consider purchasing the hop-on- hop-off bus ticket since it rides past the main tourist attractions in the city, and a day ticket is pretty affordable!

Getting to Dublin

Blue double decker, Airlink, bus at Dublin Airport
Airlink Express 747 – Courtesy of Airlink

If you’re traveling to Ireland, chances are you will arrive at Dublin airport.

Well, that’s where most flights land in the country, so we will assume that you arrive in the capital.

Therefore you can easily take the shuttle bus from the airport to the city center.

You can also take a cab, but that’s considerably more expensive, especially if there is a traffic jam, which does happen quite often in the city.

Anyway, to help you with the details, we wrote this straightforward guide on how to get from the airport to Dublin.

All in all, it is effortless, and you could be at your hotel in 10-15 minutes!

Dublin travel tips

  • There is not a strong tipping culture in Ireland. Still, many locals and visitors tend to tip for certain services, in particular restaurants, taxis, and personal assistance, such as hairdressing. A rough general guide follows. If you want to tip and are in doubt about how much, think 10%. All tips are at your discretion!
  • Uber and Lyft are both illegal in Dublin, so if you need to get somewhere and public transportation isn’t an option, flag a cab down on the street.
  • If you want to use public transportation, get a Leap card as buses don’t accept notes or offer change.
  • Bring a handy umbrella! It rains very often in Dublin, let alone Ireland. Alternatively, you can pack a rain jacket, but we will get into that later. Either way, you won’t regret it.

Where to go after your one day in Dublin

Cliffs of Moher near Doolin Ireland
The majestic Cliffs of Moher

Oh, where to start?

Ireland is jam-packed with incredible cities and old towns filled with tales and history.

From castles to temples to cliffs, you can go on plenty of unique day tours from Dublin, including the Wicklow Mountains.

Two of our favorite tours are the one to Cliffs of Moher and the other to Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland.

Both of these day trips are mesmerizing, and we had a lot of fun with our drivers because they wouldn’t stop telling tales and jokes.

We love the Irish humor!

Anyway, if you have an extra day in Ireland, do go on a day trip from Dublin. You won’t regret it.

These are some of the best day tours from Dublin:

Best time to visit Dublin

Hands down, the best time to visit Ireland and Dublin is late April-May because this period has the perfect balance between pleasant weather and fewer crowds.

It doesn’t rain as much as during winter and summer months around this time, and the weather is relatively warm.

As far as crowds are concerned, you can also avoid them by traveling to Ireland in spring too.

Summer in Europe is often jam-packed with tourists. Although Ireland has considerably fewer tourists than France, for example.

On the other hand, winter in Europe is far less crowded in January and February. In December, crowds increase again as many visitors celebrate Christmas in Europe.

What to pack to Dublin

As said above, the weather is getting warmer in Ireland during spring, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t come prepared.

You will want to add layers to your Ireland packing list.

It is advisable to pack in layers because it can be warmer during the day, but get very cool at night.

A cardigan and a raincoat with pants and good walking shoes will work for summer and something warmer for winter months.

You won’t want to forget a scarf to protect your neck. It can get quite windy in the Emerald Isle, especially if you are planning to hit the coast.

Moreover, you can either pack an umbrella or waterproof jacket to stay dry during your trip to Dublin.

A waterproof jacket, together with a universal waterproof smartphone case, is one of the best investments we’ve made for our vacation in Ireland!

Both products helped us to stay nice and warm (and to keep my iPhone functioning!)

Further out, Dublin is a European capital, meaning it has lots of pickpockets too.

Therefore, if you are a gal, you will want to bring an anti-theft purse or, who knows, a travel bra with you, which are travel essentials for any woman.

If you are a guy, a money belt will do.

As for backpacks, it is essential you buy a high-quality one that won’t break during your vacation!

If you’re #TeamRollingLuggage, you might want to bring a sturdy backpack with wheels with you to relieve the stress on your back and shoulders.

If you simply prefer a backpack, we wrote an extensive guide on the best travel backpacks for Europe.

But if you want a quick recommendation, we love this Osprey backpack. It has a lot of internal capacity and is incredibly comfortable!

Dublin travel resources

We want you to have a fantastic time in Dublin! That’s why we create heaps of useful guides for you.

If you’re staying in Dublin only for a day, why not give yourself a royal treatment and stay in a castle hotel?

There are lots of castle hotels in Ireland. Still, one of the best (and most affordable) castles is near Dublin City center!

Clontarf is a lovely castle with ridiculously comfortable rooms and excellent food! Seriously, staying a night in a castle is a no-brainer.

If this itinerary for Dublin in one day is part of a more extended trip through Ireland, you might want to read our detailed 7-day Ireland road trip.

It covers places like Cliffs of Moher, Doolin, and an overnighting in Cork.

Also, if you’re traveling to the Irish west coast, be warned; you might fall in love with Galway. This lovely place with a small-town feel is unique.

If you, like us, plan to stay a little longer there, you will want to read our guide to the best hotels in Galway.

And for fun, check out the meaning of the Irish flag.

That’s it for today, gals and guys! Happy travels!

Don’t forget about travel insurance!

Before you leave for your trip make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy because accidents happen on the road. We have been paying for World Nomads travel insurance for five years, and we happily recommend them to our family and friends.

If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what it was stollen.

Because, for just a couple dollars a day (depending on how long your policy is for), you’re going to get lots of things covered. Be smart and get travel insurance.

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