How to Spend One Day in Dublin, Ireland

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After spending a semester in college studying abroad in Dublin, I can truly say it’s one of the most special cities in the world. Even if you just have one day in Dublin, you’ll have the best trip!

During our time in Dublin, we had lots of friends visit us, and each time, they were with us for just a day or two. So, we’ve tried many different 24 hours in Dublin itineraries of our own and have finally nailed down have to have the absolute perfect day.

Dublin is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe, and for good reason! This charming city has something for everyone, from history and culture to great food and nightlife.

If you’re only spending one day in Dublin, you’ll want to make the most of your time. Here’s how to do it!

How to Get to Dublin

People walking on a busy street in Dublin

There are a few ways to get to Dublin, Ireland depending on where you’re coming from.

If you’re flying in from the USA, there are many direct flights to Dublin Airport from most major cities. We flew Aer Lingus over from Hartford, Connecticut, and absolutely loved the flight. It was comfortable and affordable, and we were in economy.

You can also take a ferry from the United Kingdom. And finally, if you’re already in Ireland, you can drive or take a bus or train to Dublin. We loved taking the trains with Irish Rail around the country; they’re super reliable, and you can normally enjoy beautiful views out the window.

Once you’ve arrived in Dublin, it’s time to start exploring!

How to Get Around Dublin

green space by a castle

Once you’re officially in Dublin, you’ll want to figure out the best way to get around. As a budget-conscious college student, I found that the best way to get around Dublin is on foot!

Walking is the best way to see the city and take in all the sights and sounds. Plus, a lot of the best attractions are all by the River Liffey anyway, so it’s a walkable area.

If you’re short on time or would rather not walk, the public transportation in Dublin is also great. You can take both the bus and the Luas, which are a lot more reliable than any public transportation I’ve been on in the United States.

You could also get around using taxis or Uber if you’re not worried about money. I’d recommend downloading the FREE NOW app; this is what we mostly used to order taxis during times when we didn’t want to walk or were in more of a rush.

Where to Stay in Dublin

With just one day in Dublin, you’ll want to stay as close to downtown as you can. Luckily, depending on the time of year that you go, it can be fairly affordable to stay rather centrally. Find a few great options for Dublin accommodation below!

Abbey Court Hostel – $

If you’re visiting Dublin on a budget, then be sure to book your night at the Abbey Court Hostel! This was a hostel we had heard such great things about, but we never stayed there since we already had a dorm at our Ireland university. It’s right by the river and is a close walk to many top attractions in the area.

Click here to check current rates and book your stay!

Fitzsimons Temple Bar – $$

Check out a tour of our room at the Fitzsimons in our first study abroad vlog!

When we first flew to Dublin before we could move into our dorms, we stayed a night at the Fitzsimons Temple Bar and loved it! The location of this hotel is right in Temple Bar, and a lot of the must-visit spots are literally out the door.

The rooms were basic but comfortable. Just keep in mind that because of the location near all the bars, it was pretty loud until around 3 a.m. If that bothers you, you may want to consider staying a bit further away from Temple Bar.

Click here to check current rates and book your stay!

The Westin Dublin – $$$

For a more luxurious stay, consider booking a night at The Westin Dublin for your one day in Dublin. This accommodation is a bit more expensive but is a short walk from the famous Ha’penny Bridge, so it’s still central.

This 5-star hotel is also right next to Trinity College, so it’s a great spot to stay if you’ll be visiting the Book of Kells.

Click here to check current rates and book your stay!

How to Spend One Day in Dublin

Woohoo, here’s officially how to spend 24 hours in Dublin! We’ve carefully curated this itinerary after spending an entire semester at University College Dublin.

Eat breakfast at Queen of Tarts

Avocado toast with egg

If you’re looking for a delicious and hearty breakfast to start your day in Dublin, look no further than Queen of Tarts! It’s our favorite breakfast spot in all of Dublin, and there are two locations in the city. It’s also a bit more of a local spot than heading to a chain!

This cute little shop is located in the Temple Bar area and serves up some of the best morning pastries and coffees in the city. I highly recommend their chai; it’s the best chai I’ve ever had. Their scones are also incredible.

Try to get there right when they open because otherwise, you might have to wait a while for a seat. This has happened to us if we waited too long to head over for breakfast! With just one day in Dublin, you don’t want to waste any time.

Visit the Book of Kells

Girl standing by tall bookshelves

After breakfast, head right over to see the Book of Kells. I highly recommend you book your tickets online in advance to ensure that you’re able to see them during your trip to Dublin. I believe we booked our tickets just a few days in advance, and it was May.

This is one of the top must-visit historic spots in Dublin. The illuminated manuscript will take your breath away, and there are lots of interesting historical artifacts throughout the museum as well. Take the time to read everything and check out all that you can because this is a great way to step back in time in Dublin easily.

Walk around Trinity College Campus

College campus under a cloudy sky

Once you are done seeing the Book of Kells, you’ll want to spend a few minutes just walking through the Trinity College Campus. This campus is actually breathtaking and historical, and the architecture is beautiful. So, spend time walking around and just taking in the view.

If it’s school season, be warned that the campus could get pretty busy. Luckily, the students at this school tend to be used to visitors because the Book of Kells is on TCD campus too!

Grab lunch at The Temple Bar Pub

Bright red pub with lights

Okay, so, with one day in Dublin, I do actually recommend visiting this tourist spot. You’ll normally never find locals at this pub, but it’s so famous with its iconic red exterior that it’s worth it to stop by for the photo opportunity.

They also have really great lunch, with a huge sandwich menu and tons of drinks to pair with it. Stop by for lunch when it’s way less busy. In the evenings, this pub is completely overrun, and there are even people swarmed around it on the outside.

During the day, you can normally find a spot to sit, and there’s lots of room to breathe, especially during the week! If you’re wondering what to order, I recommend Bulmer’s; it’s apple cider, and it’s delicious. Save room for later for a Guinness!

Shop on Grafton Street

The main shopping place in all of Dublin is Grafton Street! This shopping area is a mix of both local and commercial shops, and you’ll love walking into the stores, especially if you aren’t from Ireland.

One thing we loved doing was going into the bookstores to see the beautiful covers because they were so different from the USA!

Inside of a shopping center with lots of windows

St. Stephen’s shopping center is also right here, and there’s a great store inside called Flying Tiger Copenhagen. This nifty shop has incredibly unique gifts and knick-knacks. If you’re looking for something easy to bring home as a souvenir, this is a great place to shop!

Or, you can stop by the touristic Carroll’s. It’s definitely geared towards those who want to buy souvenirs, but they have some great small gifts to take home!

Relax in St. Stephen’s Green

Pond under a cloudy sky

After you’re done shopping (or window-shopping), consider heading over to St. Stephen’s Green for a quick rest. There are tons of benches and fountains throughout this park, and it’s truly relaxing!

Visiting this park is one of the best free things to do in Dublin. You could even sit and read a book if you want. You’ll want to take the time to regather your energy before you go out and explore more of the city since you have just one day in Dublin!

Stop by Dublin Castle

Old brick castle

Obviously, with just a day here, you’re going to want to stop by at least one castle. So, head to Dublin Castle, which isn’t that far from Grafton Street! It’s a 13th-century castle with bright pops of color that are incredibly Instagrammable.

It’s up to you whether you’d like to go inside or not! It is beautiful from the outside, but if you have the time, pay a small fee for the ticket price and go on a guided or self-guided tour. Guided tours are until 4 p.m. daily, and self-guided tours can be booked up to 14 days in advance online.

Go inside St. Patrick’s Cathedral

Side view of a cathedral with green space

St. Patrick’s Cathedral is a 12th-century church right in Dublin. The inside will truly take your breath away, and because it’s so well-visited, there are plaques throughout (and even some activities) as you learn more about what you’re looking at.

Jonathan Swift, the author of Gulliver’s Travels, is also buried at this church. There are tons of artifacts and exhibits, and you can also go on a tour during your visit as well. Depending on what time of day it is when you finally make it there, you may want to book the tour!

Have a pint at the Guinness Storehouse

Two empty guinness pint glasses on a table

Okay, it’s officially time to go to the Guinness Storehouse! This is one of our favorite places to visit in all of Dublin; it’s literally where Guinness is made. Throughout this interactive museum (that’s shaped like the world’s tallest pint glass on the inside), you can learn all about how Guinness is made.

You’ll want to book your ticket at least a few days in advance if you will be visiting during peak season. They can be booked online.

Once you get to the top, head on over to the Guinness skybar and have your free pint that comes with your ticket. From this bar, you can look out and get some of the best views of Dublin from above.

While you’re there, I highly recommend getting a custom engraved pint glass, too. My girlfriend and I did this, and it’s such a fun keepsake to have!

Grab dinner at The Old Mill

Pub facade that says "The Quay's Bar"

For dinner, head back over to the Temple Bar area, and instead of dining at a popular busy spot, get a more local experience by going to The Old Mill. It’s right next to The Quay’s Bar, pictured above! We frequented this restaurant during our five months in Dublin and love their food.

Once you enter, you immediately walk up a bunch of stairs until you’re in a charming little restaurant. There are rarely ever many other people there, but there are lots of spots to sit and dine. Everything on their menu is so tasty, and it’s a great way to try the local food without having to wait hours for a table.

Finish the night at local pubs

Brown pub that says "The Stag's Head"

After dinner, it’s time to enjoy some of Dublin’s nightlife. Explore some of the local pubs, take in Dublin by night, and more! A great pub to head over to is The Stag’s Head.

When it gets dark in Dublin, one thing we’ve loved to do is to walk by the River Liffey. It’s beautiful lit up at night, and you can enjoy the Ha’penny Bridge just to yourself, normally.

I hope you enjoyed this itinerary on how to spend the perfect one day in Dublin!

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