You’ve got one day to spend in Dublin and you want to make the most of it. Dublin has a lot to offer so one day isn’t always enough but as a native Dub, let me assure you, you can ‘do’ the essential Dublin in a day. That is to say, you’ll cram in the highlights and get a good sense of the city.
The plan below is aimed at a determined, unstoppable individual who’s going to make the most of every moment. If you’re more chilled, just remove a few items from my plan.
You need to see Trinity College with its library and Book of Kells. Barack Obama and the Queen of England stopped off on their whistle-stop tour of Dublin so if they deemed it worthy of their demanding schedule so should you. Don’t skip the library because you’re too tight to pay the entrance fee. It’s exceptional and if you miss the Book of Kells you’re missing our greatest national treasure. Give yourself min. 1 hour and allow for some queuing if you go in high season.
Walk from Trinity to the Queen of Tarts for lunch or coffee and cake. This will fuel you up in preparation for the Guinness Brewery which will take you a few hours. You have to walk to Guinness from here. (20 mins)
If you don’t want to do the Guinness Brewery (it’s not for everyone) go instead to St Patrick’s Cathedral – I really like this cathedral as it’s like nothing else in Ireland. (If you’re from the UK, skip it. It won’t be new or special to you.)
Option One: You’re a history addict and you never get tired. Go to Kilmainham Gaol for the tour. Arguably the best tour you will do in Dublin and it will give you real insights into Irish history.
Alternatively, you could do the Glasnevin Cemetery Tour. Just as excellent but it will take you out of the city to the northside (my side of town) so you may not have time. Unless you are going to the airport early evening. The tour starts at 2.30 every day so you could do this and head straight to the airport from here. A taxi costs about 20-25 Euro.
Option Two: You want to people-watch, meander the streets and soak up the atmosphere. Stroll about Drury St, Georges St, CastleMarket.
Have a pint of Guinness in Grogans or McDaids (traditional). Or go to the No Name Bar in Fade St for a more cool vibe and better wine. Nice beer garden for smokers. Pop into Article in Powerscourt Townhouse for some cool prints of Dublin landscapes.
Option Three: You want more culture but you don’t have much money. Go to the National Museum on Kildare St. It’s excellent and it’s free. One of my American friends went and he said ‘I finally understand what they mean when they say ‘Celtic’!’
Traditional Irish: usually eaten at home if you’re Irish but if you want to try it, go to Boxty Gallagher’s in Temple Bar where you’ll find coddle, stew, corned beef and cabbage, among other dishes.
If you want to go where the Irish go, you might try:
Japanese in Izikaya, George’s St.
Las Tapas de Lola followed or preceded by craft beer in Against the Grain, Wexford St.
Bobos on Dame st or Bunsen for a great burger. Very casual, sort of fast but much better than fast food.
M&L Chinese, Cathedral St. Popular with Dubs and Chinese customers. It even opens on Christmas Day and gets booked out months in advance.
Hang Dai Chinese, Camden St. New, hipster, Chinese. Getting rave reviews.
Elephant and Castle, Temple Bar for chicken wings, burgers; all their dishes are really good but you may have to put your name on a list and come back an hour later during busy periods (it’s always busy).
Arisu, Capel St, for Korean barbecue.
You still have energy – my goodness!
Some bars I haven’t yet mentioned:
Old school: Mulligans of Poolbeg St, The Stag’s Head, The Long Hall, The Palace, The Merchant’s Inn (Irish dancing or music every night).
‘Older’ crowd (30s and 40s): The Black Door
Chart music, drunken revelry, bit of madness for the young (very young): Coppers, Dicey Rileys.
There are so, so many more but my list of pubs would be as long as Ulysses if I kept going so I’ll stop now.