Colin and I recently got back from our whirlwind 10 day trip through Ireland. While I usually advocate for traveling slow, we decided to speed things up this time and visit four cities on our Ireland sampler trip. Our first stop and our last stop was Dublin. We didn’t get a lot of time there, but we did cram a ton in. Here’s how to spend 24 hours in Dublin, Ireland.
To be honest, Dublin wasn’t my favourite city. I didn’t think it was going to be. Most people say that Dublin is just another big city and is best used as a pit stop before moving onto other places in Ireland. I do think Dublin is worth a visit, but wouldn’t spend a ton of time there. 24 hours in Dublin was actually kind of perfect. That being said, we did also visit during the cold and rainy season, so maybe Dublin has more going for it in the summer!
Your 24 hours in Dublin starts bright and early. Your first stop? It’s gotta be the Queen of Tarts for breakfast. This place was recommended to us by many people and travel blogs, and it didn’t disappoint. There are two locations in Dublin, and both are charming little tea shops. A few people came in for tea and scones served on old fashioned China and it was just too cute! They also serve real breakfast food, like my smoked salmon benedict. But they’re most well known for their delicious treats. We took a brownie to go and were very happy with that decision!
After breakfast, head to the Guinness Storehouse for their interactive self-led tour. Now, I’m not a huge beer person, but even I really enjoyed this experience. It was seven floors and each one had really cool exhibits, movies and more to learn everything I didn’t think I needed to know about Guinness. There was a special tasting room and we got to learn how to pour the perfect glass of Guinness. But the best part was definitely taking in the views from the top foor!
Bonus: If you visit the Guinness Storehouse in the morning, tickets are cheaper. They’re also cheaper to book online so book ahead and book for the morning!
After touring the Guinness Storehouse, you’ll be ready for lunch. During our short 24 hours in Dublin, we only had one lunch and it was at a pub that just happened to be right outside Trinity College. It was tasty, but not especially memorable. So if you’re in Dublin and haven’t tired of pub food, head into the nearest pub and fill up before you head out for more sight seeing. I’ve also heard good things about Sanai Indian Restaurant and Mannings Bakery.
The other must-see on my list for Dublin was Trinity College and specifically the Book of Kells at the Old Library. To be honest, I didn’t really know what the Book of Kells was before we got there besides just a really old book. And still, I couldn’t tell you very much about the Book of Kells after visiting. But I can tell you I had a great time touring around Trinity College.
On the advice of some other travel bloggers, we got tickets for a tour from the Authenticity Tours desk. There’s no need to book ahead; you just stroll up to the desk right in the main entrance to the college and buy tickets to the next tour. Tour times are listed online. The tour costs 14 euro and includes admission the Book of Kells/Old Library. By contract, just visting the Book of Kells costs 13 euro. We also got to skip the line for Book of Kells tickets with our tour tickets.
And if that wasn’t enough incentive to go with the tour over just the Book of Kells ticket, the tour was actually our favourite part! Our tour guide, a current student, was hilarious and gave us so much great information about the school and the Old Library. If we had just gone into the library, it still would’ve looked cool, but we would’ve had no context or appreciation for the building. I highly recommend the tour!
After you finish up at Trinity College, use your remaining daylight hours to check out a few other Dublin highlights. Admire St Patrick’s Cathedral and Christchurch Cathedral, stroll through St Stephen’s Green (we skipped this because it was much too cold!), walk along the water or go shopping!
As the sun starts to set, it’s time for you to make the obligatory tourist stop at Temple Bar. Temple Bar is the Time Square of Dublin. It’s not nearly as big and flashy, but it is a total tourist trap. But just like you have to go to Time Square when you visit New York, you have to go to Temple Bar when you visit Dublin. With 24 hours in Dublin, you have enough time to check out the area, comment about the cute cobblestone streets, and snap a pic in front of The Templer Bar.
Okay, your 24 hours in Dublin is almost up! Last but not least: dinner and a show! There are lots of pubs in Ireland that do live music every night. One place that is talked about a lot is Arlington Hotel. However, in our opinion, it was a bit expensive and overrated for the experience. We did enjoy ourselves. The music was great, dancers were awesome and food was decent. But we had a much better time at Murray’s, the pub we stumbled into on our first night in Dublin. The music was AMAZING! Colin and I both had huge smiles on our faces the entire time. We had planned to just get a quick bite to eat but ended up staying for the whole show and were so thrilled with the music, dancing and food.
And that’s your 24 hours in Dublin!
Tips, tricks & tidbits for 24 hours in Dublin
- Dublin is a very walkable city. We only took the bus in from the airport and again when we were short on time and needed to get to a train station. But besides that, we walked everywhere! And if you don’t feel like walking, there seems to be a ton of easy transport options.
- We stayed at the Dublin Central Hostel and would highly recommend it. Accommodation isn’t cheap in Dublin. We paid 50 euro per night for a private room with a double bed and private bath. So even though it wasn’t super cheap, it was actually our favourite accommodation in Ireland. The rooms were super clean, modern and quite spacious. On our last night, we actually got upgraded to a room with two beds. The bathrooms were awesome with really pretty tiles. And even the free continental breakfast was good – which is saying something considering some hostels just throw out a loaf of bread and jar of nutella. While it wasn’t the most central (despite its name), we would definitely stay there again.
- Go early! We were expecting huge lines at Queen of Tarts, Guinness Storehouse and Trinity College but didn’t run into any because we always showed up early. It definitely pays to get an early start to your day.
- In case I wasn’t clear enough above: book the Authenticity Tour at Trinity College. Don’t see the Book of Kells without it!
- We were only had 24 hours in Dublin and the weather was pretty miserable the whole time. So we definitely missed out on a lot. Some of the things on my list that I’d love to visit next time include: St Stephen’s Green, Kilmainhm Gaol (tour of a jail), Brazen Head (oldest pub in Ireland), Sanai Indian Restaurant and Mannings Bakery.
How would you spend 24 hours in Dublin?