If you only have one day in Dublin, of course you want to make the most of it! Let The Travel Tester guide you to some of the highlights of this city.
Of all cities I’ve ever visited, Dublin was definitely one of the easiest to love right away. It’s quite big, but easy to get around (even on foot) and I found lots of great places for sightseeing, but also to relax and get some work done. I’ve been to Dublin twice now, but still would love to go back to explore more as I still didn’t have enough time here!
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Morning in Dublin
Start your day by a nice breakfast, either in your hotel or for example at the little Keoghs Cafe. They serve the best muffins I probably ever tasted and have a wide variety of teas an coffees to go with it. And pssst, they got WiFi too!
1 Trinity St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Then I would personally head over to one of the places that’s most popular to visit and can get crowded with tourist later in the day: Trinity College. It’s just around the corner from Keoghs!
Once you’ve found the entrance (a big wooden door), it’s great to stroll over the campus and see the students go about their daily routines. But of course the main attraction here is the Book of Kells. This 9th-century gospel manuscript and the Old Library from the 18th century at the end of the exhibition are just incredible and a must see if you haven’t already.
In the library, you’ll feel a bit like Belle in Beauty in the Beast, wanting to sing and dance around. Of course, you have to be quiet though… It’s still a library!
College Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
Make sure to also have a quick wander around St Stephen’s Green, a beautiful public park that opened in 1880 (but has been around since the 16th century).
The park lies right next to Grafton Street, where you can do some shopping and it is the largest of the parks in Dublin’s main Georgian garden squares. This is also the corner of the park where you’ll find the ‘Fusiliers’ Arch’, which commemorates the Royal Dublin Fusiliers who died in the Second Boer War (a war fought from Oct 1899 to May 1902 between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on the one hand, and the South African Republic and the Orange Free State on the other. The war ended in victory for the British and the annexation of both republics)
In the park, you can find a large lake spanning much of the length of the park, filled with ducks and other water fowl. There is also a garden for the blind with scented plants and are labels in Braille!
St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland
Our brilliant guide Brian Kennedy (Make sure to book him >> firstname.lastname@example.org)
You cannot tell this used to be a swamp, can you?
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre
Shopping is also good around O’Connell Street in Dublin. When you walk towards the Spire coming from the South side of the river (you can’t really miss it), turn left and there are some big shopping malls as well.
Afternoon in Dublin
A great place for lunch is Brick Alley Cafe in the Temple Bar area. They have great fruit shakes, sandwiches and bagels. And they serve the most amazing white hot chocolate you’ll find in Dublin, trust me! With the free WiFi, you can even get some work done if you need to.
The whole of Temple Bar is just great to walk around, see some street art and have a sneaky pint (or two) before you continue your explorations.
25 Essex St E, Dublin 2, Ireland
If you’ve been to Temple bar already, or want to do some more shopping, head over to the Creative Quarter. This area is located South of Temple bar, around William Street South and is filled with lovely little shops and places to eat.
There are many old pub that are worth a visit, like the famous McDaids. This pub was once the city morgue and was later converted into a chapel. It’s also the pub from the opening of James Joyce’s short story ‘Grace’ and favourite place of Irish poet, writer and playwright Brendan Behan. Nowadays McDaids provides jazz and blues music.
Also don’t miss the Powerscourt Townhouse, a speciality shopping centre set in an elegant Georgian house. It’s filled with Irish design stores and is a fine example of Dublin’s Georgian architecture; the house is unique in showing the transition from rococo style to neo-classic under one roof. You can also eat, see theatre and get tours in the Powerscourt Centre.
McDaids: 3 Harry St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, 59 William St S, Dublin 2, Ireland
The Creative Quarter
Don’t miss the George’s St. Arcade for lots of (handmade) goods!
The Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, extra pretty during the holiday season
After all this shopping, you’ve probably got a bit thirsty, so let’s head over to one (or both) of the most famous attractions in Dublin: The Guinness Storehouse and the Old Jameson Distillery.
Both locations are a bit to the West, so you could walk there for sure, or simply jump on a bus to get there. Allow yourself at least 2 hours at each location, so probably choose between the two based on your time left and your personal taste.
Now, I didn’t visit Guinness during the actual opening hours, as we had a welcoming party for a blogger event in the evening here, but we did get to walk around in the insanely amazing designed building and through the interactive exhibition when you enter the building. And yes, there was some serious Guinness tasting involved, too.
At Jameson, you get to go through the entire history and production process of the distillery. The girl that led us around had a great way of explaining -and cracked a lot of jokes. Typical Irish!
Guinness Storehouse: St James’s Gate, Dublin 8, Ireland
Old Jameson Distillery: Bow St, Smithfield Village, Dublin 7, Ireland
Read more about a visit to the Guinness Storehouse
Read more about a visit to the Old Jameson Distillery
After all this sin, it’s straight onto St Patrick’s Cathedral, of course :)
The church was founded in 1191 and is the largest church in Ireland! You can get a guided tour, but even if you’re just there to admire the view and especially all the different styles of stained glass windows, you won’t be disappointed.
Evening in Dublin
Where to eat in Dublin?
In the evening, of course the Temple Bar area is a very lively place to eat and drink. There is always some live music going on, for example at the Temple Bar Pub. This pub, as well as Oliver St. John Gogarty’s, is also the place to be for a nice pub dinner, like fish and chips for example.
For a more quiet dinner, I recommend The Green Hen (French cuisine with Irish variations in an informal brasserie) and Rustic Stone (Innovative, modern, rustic Irish diner using seasonal local produce). I had some amazing food here during my stay!
The Temple Bar: 47-48 Temple Bar, Dublin 2, Ireland
Oliver St. John Gogarty’s: 58 Fleet St, Dublin 2, Ireland
The Green Hen: 33 Exchequer St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Rustic Stone: 17 South Georges Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Where to party in Dublin?
Got energy left? There are an unbelievable amount of bars in Dublin, you can’t go wrong here. Not recently, but during my previous visit, I had a great evening at The Church (Converted church with cafe/bar and Irish restaurant surrounded by terraces), 37 Dawson Street (Quirky whiskey bar and restaurant with cocktails and modern food) and Odeon (Converted Railway Terminus with high ceilings, curtain-draped interior and an ornate marble bar).
The Church: Jervis St, Dublin 1, Ireland
37 Dawson Street: 37 Dawson St, Dublin 2, Ireland
Odeon: 57 Old Harcourt Street Railway Station, Harcourt Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
The Church Bar
Good Night… or better said: Oíche mhaith!
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Disclaimer: My trip to Dublin was part of the ‘Dublin: a Breath of Fresh Air’ blog trip (#LoveDublin), a collaboration between Tourism Ireland and iambassador. All photos and opinions are my own, as always.