Planning your Irish itinerary? Be sure to visit the Republic’s largest city. With miles of charming cobbled streets, colorful storefronts, and quaint corners, Dublin is the perfect introduction to the Emerald Isle. If you’re planning a day in the Irish capital, use this guide to inform your sightseeing adventures!
Start your morning off at a place that feels like home: one of Dublin’s most welcoming bed and breakfasts. Anchor House is a revitalized Georgian home that was built in the 1700s, but still offers boatloads of charm, comfort, and convenience. Situated close to the Custom House on the River Liffey, the B&B is a hop, skip, and a jump from central shopping districts and some of Dublin’s most well-known landmarks.
For a breakfast that will satisfy your appetite, wallet, and conscience, head to Honest to Goodness in Dublin’s Dame Court. With a focus on natural ingredients, free-range eggs, and wholesome food, Honest to Goodness serves up some of the most delicious breakfast dishes in Dublin, including a traditional Irish breakfast and a (nontraditional, but no less divine) pancake platter.
As it’s still early, pretend you’ve gone back to school and make your way to the famous Trinity College. Founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, the college has a long-standing and illustrious reputation as one of the world’s finest. The ancient grounds have welcomed scholars of diverse and varied backgrounds, including writers Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift, Oscar Wilde, and Bram Stoker, and musician Courtney Love. The Trinity College Library, a stunning room full of ancient books, is also home to the famed 9th-century Book of Kells.
After spending your morning inside, get some fresh air at St. Stephen’s Green — Dublin’s most famous public park, a legacy of which stretches back to the 1500s. Peruse, picnic, or people watch — the park is a refreshing antidote to Dublin’s busy streets.
After perusing the park, make a beeline for St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Both the tallest and largest church in all of Ireland, this house of worship was built as an homage to its patron saint in 1191. Its extraordinary exterior is matched by its equally impressive interior, so be sure to bring your camera along. As you explore this magnificent cathedral, be mindful of the building’s storied role in Irish history, its survival of several natural disasters, and its status as a symbol of continued faith for believers.
From there, take a break from exploring and grab lunch — and maybe even a pint or two. The Creative Quarter near William Street South is jam-packed with places to eat and drink, including McDaids, the Brazen Head, the Palace Bar, and the Stag’s Head. Choose a spot and refuel before an afternoon of continued exploration.
Wander Dublin’s Temple Bar area and admire its colorful buildings, and even brighter street art. It’s a real treat, especially when the sky above is gray with a chance of showers.
If you’re interested in the capital city’s history, visit the Little Museum of Dublin, which features collections comprised of community donations. Take a guided tour and peruse relics from Dublin’s past, or attend one of the many musical events the venue hosts. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in the darker side of Irish history, plan a visit to Kilmainham Gaol and learn about Dublin’s most notorious detention center.
By now, you’ve earned (another) drink. Depending on your preferred beverage, choose between the Guinness Storehouse or the Old Jameson Distillery for a history lesson with a tasty twist. Both locations are a bit west of the city’s central zone, but they’re easily accessible via Dublin’s public bus system.
Begin your evening at a somewhat surprising Dublin facet: Dax restaurant and tapas bar. With a mix of casual plates and the option for fine dining in the establishment’s lower level, Dax is a fantastic stop for a fresh, inspired meal that bridges traditional and modern ingredients excellently. Perfect for a pre-theater meal, Dax is located on cozy Leeson Street. Be sure to call in advance or visit their website for a reservation!
End your night with a scare — Dubliners freely admit that their city is one of the world’s most haunted, so embrace the supernatural and embark on the Northside Ghost Walk. A perfectly spooky stroll, this walk guides participants through the city’s most haunted enclaves, including former Viking settlement “Oxmantown,” Saint Mary’s Abbey, and Hendrick Street. Just don’t let the city’s ghosts scare you off!
Once you’ve exhausted all of your options for evening entertainment, head back to your lodgings for a good night’s sleep — you’ve earned it!