I’m excited to introduce this guest post by Jennifer who is telling us how to spend 2 days in Dublin. She has lived in Dublin for 9 years now so knows the city inside-out and can offer us great insight. Her 2 day Dublin itinerary is packed full of some of the best things to do in Dublin in 48 hours from visiting whiskey distilleries to exploring castles and walking along beautiful coastal paths.
I’ll hand you over to Jennifer now for her to tell us how to make the most of a weekend in Dublin.
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What you can expect from this article...
- 1 Visiting Dublin in 2 Days
- 2 An Overview of this 2 day Dublin itinerary
- 3 Reasons you should spend a weekend in Dublin
- 4 Things you need to know before spending 2 days in Dublin
- 5 2 Days in Dublin itinerary
Visiting Dublin in 2 Days
Most people who visit Ireland for an extended holiday fly into Dublin Airport.
Many folks hop in a car and drive out to the countryside right away, anxious to see for themselves why Ireland is known as the Emerald Isle. Those people are missing out.
Dublin is a fantastic and accessible capital city and is worth your while to spend a couple of days here exploring. There are many ways that you can spend a day in Dublin but you’ll have an even better experience if you can stay longer and spend at least 2 days in Dublin.
Read on to explore a 2 day Dublin itinerary based on my experience living in Dublin for the past 9 years.
Most Dublin itineraries will point you at Temple Bar, Grafton Street, the Book of Kells, the Guinness Storehouse and other places that you can get to on the Hop-on Hop-off bus. However, Dublin is so much more than those places which are heavily trodden by tourists.
This 2 day Dublin itinerary will take you to some parts of Dublin that many tourists never see.
Spend the first of your 2 days in Dublin within the city limits exploring the Liberties neighbourhood.
Did you know that Dublin City Centre is just a few kilometres from the Irish sea? Escape the fast-pace of Dublin City for some fresh air and sea views on your second day of your weekend in Dublin with some stops in the quaint towns along Dublin’s South Coast.
An Overview of this 2 day Dublin itinerary
Day 1 – Spend a day centred around Dublin’s edgy Liberties neighbourhood and then rock up to Temple Bar and Dame Lane for an evening filled with Irish craic (pronounced “crack”, not the illegal kind but definitely an addictive kind of fun).
Day 2 – Take the local commuter rail (DART) south along the coast on the outskirts of Dublin City and experience seaside Dublin at its finest in Bray, Greystones, and Dalkey.
Reasons you should spend a weekend in Dublin
- You can cover a lot of ground over 2 days in Dublin. Dublin is a compact city that can easily be explored on foot. If your feet get tired, there are buses, trains, trams, and taxis to whisk you to where you are going. You can see a lot in 48 hours in Dublin.
- Dublin has a delightful pub culture. It’s impossible to walk more than a block or two without stumbling upon a fascinating historic pub or a more modern pub serving amazing Irish craft beer. The pub culture has more recently been extended through the addition of fantastic wine and cocktail bars.
- Dublin has an understated beauty. You’ll see it when you walk around Merrion Square and fall in love with Dublin’s colourful Georgian doors. You won’t be able to resist taking some amazing photographs to help you remember your trip.
- There are two sides to Dublin. Visit Dublin city for pub culture, urban parks, and great restaurants. Escape to the towns along the sea and experience Dublin’s natural side with beautiful trails and landscapes that are easily accessible.
- Dublin has an amazing craft coffee scene. Skip the Starbucks and try a cappuccino, flat white, or pour over made with beans roasted within Dublin City limits.
Things you need to know before spending 2 days in Dublin
When is the best time of year to spend 2 Days in Dublin?
Dublin is fun to visit year round. It never gets too hot. Summer temperatures max out around 20 oC (about 70 oF) but are more typically in the 10-15 oC (50-60 oF) range. Nor does it get too cold in Dublin. It’s rare that the winter temperatures will drop below freezing.
Come in summer for near midnight sun (the sun rises around 5 am and sets around 10 pm) but be prepared to share Dublin with large numbers of tourists, many of whom arrive on large cruise ships.
Come in Autumn or early Spring for better prices and a reasonable amount of daylight.
Dublin is very dark in the winter with the sun rising around 9 am and setting around 4 pm. At least in winter, you won’t feel guilty about whiling away the hours in the pub.
How to get to Dublin
Dublin Airport is well-served by Ryanair and Aer Lingus for inbound flights from across Europe. Major U.S. airlines like United, Delta, and American fly into Dublin as well.
As an added bonus, if you return to the U.S, you’ll clear customs and immigration in Dublin which means you’ll be on your way faster when you land in the domestic terminal at your U.S. destination.
How to get around during your 2 days in Dublin
Dublin is very human-scaled so it’s easy to get around on foot. In general, you can walk from one end of the city centre to the other in less than an hour.
Dublin Bus and the Luas tram system will take you to destinations across Dublin City.
DART trains travel up and down the coast between Bray and Howth.
A Leap Visitor card is ideal if you plan to spend 2 days in Dublin. The Leap card can be used on public transit for a given duration for a set price (currently 10 EUR for 1 day or 40 EUR for 7 days).
Taxis are also plentiful and can be hailed on the street or ordered via the myTaxi app. Taxis (other than those booked through myTaxi) generally accept cash only so make sure to withdraw some euros from the cash point (ATM) at Dublin Airport if you plan to take a taxi into the city.
Aircoach and Airlink also provide bus service from Dublin Airport to points around Dublin City.
Where to base yourself for 2 days in Dublin
Hotels in Dublin City Centre can be expensive and noisy. I recommend avoiding Temple Bar which gets raucous late at night and is not amenable to a peaceful night’s sleep.
Instead, consider staying in Ballsbridge or Grand Canal Dock. You’ll still be walkable to Dublin City Centre but these neighbourhoods are quieter at night and it’s cheaper to stay there.
2 Days in Dublin itinerary
Day 1 of your 2 Day Dublin Itinerary
What to do in the morning on Day one of your Dublin Itinerary
In the morning, start the day off with breakfast and coffee at The Fumbally, a popular cafe in Dublin’s Liberties neighbourhood. The fresh local ingredients used in each dish are on display around the restaurant. Order Fumbally’s amazing eggs and avocado on toast or if you have a sweet tooth, opt for a chocolate wedge with cream.
Head to nearby St. Patrick’s Cathedral after breakfast (8.00 EUR per adult unless you are attending a service). St. Patrick’s Cathedral dates back to the 12th century and the interior feels very Medieval with suits of armour embellishing the walls near the altar.
Make sure to spend some time walking around the lovely park surrounding the cathedral before heading over to Marsh’s Library.
Famous for being the oldest public library in Ireland (dating back to 1701), Marsh’s Library is often overlooked by tourists. Renowned Irish writer, Jonathan Swift (of Gulliver’s Travels fame) was a regular visitor to Marsh’s Library. Steep in the atmosphere and have a browse of the dusty texts on display.
Time for a wee bit of day drinking before lunch. Walk over to Teeling Whiskey Distillery for a tour that just happens to include a whiskey tasting at its conclusion (15 – 30 EUR per person depending on which whiskeys you choose to taste).
Dublin’s Liberties neighbourhood was originally home to a large number of whiskey distilleries but most closed down or moved outside Dublin City when the Irish whiskey industry tanked in the mid-20th century. It is only in the last decade or so that Irish whiskey has made a resurgence.
Teeling is the first distillery in decades to create whiskey distilled within the city limits of Dublin.
Whee to eat lunch on day one
Head over to Dublin Castle and the Chester Beatty Library and eat lunch at Silk Road Cafe which serves a casual menu of Middle Eastern cuisine (think hummus and falafel) in a light-filled courtyard.
What to do in the afternoon on day one of your Dublin weekend
In the afternoon, explore historic religious texts dating back centuries at the Chester Beatty Library (free entry). Chester Beatty Library is a true Dublin gem that is often overlooked by tourists.
Located on the grounds of Dublin Castle, the museum houses an extensive collection of religious manuscripts across Islamic, Christian, and Eastern faiths (e.g., Hindu and Buddhist). Stroll about the grounds and gardens of Dublin Castle (also free entry) before heading to the pub.
Walk across Dame Street to Temple Bar for a cheeky afternoon pint. Temple Bar tends to be a bit much after dark but is quite picturesque to explore during daylight hours.
Check out The Vat House or Old Storehouse and you might even get to hear some Irish traditional music to go with your pint.
While you’re in the neighbourhood, check out the fun street art on Icon Walk behind the Icon Factory on Aston Place. Icon walk features symbols of Irish pop culture like Father Ted.
Where to eat dinner on day one
Splurge for dinner and make a booking at Rustic Stone, which is run by famed Dublin restaurateur Dylan McGrath. Not surprisingly, steak on the stone is Rustic Stone’s signature dish.
The steak comes out lightly seared and then you slice up your meat and cook it yourself on the hot stone that it’s served on. Enjoy a lovely cocktail or glass of wine with dinner.
What to do in the evening on day 1 of your Dublin itinerary
In the evening, pop over to Dame Lane for a proper pub crawl. Having trouble finding Dame Lane? Listen for the strains of live music playing on the street.
You’ll be spoiled for choice of pubs to try. The Stag’s Head has a great atmosphere and is my personal favourite pub in this area. The Stag’s Head interior is wood-panelled and warm with various deer heads displayed on the walls.
Squeeze into a snug for a quiet pint or hang around outside and watch the world go by. Try not to go too crazy since you do have a busy day ahead tomorrow.
Day 2 of your 2 days in Dublin Itinerary
What to do on the morning of your 2nd day in Dublin
In the morning, board the DART train and head to Greystones, at the far southern end of the line. Note that some trains only go as far as Bray so make sure you look specifically for a Greystones bound train.
Fortify yourself with breakfast at the Happy Pear, a vegetarian-focused cafe with outdoor seating which is an ideal spot to soak up the sun on a nice day. From here, walk from Greystones to Bray along the Irish Sea.
This 5-mile walk is one of the most popular trails in Dublin. On one side, you’ll find fields often blooming with bright yellow gorse and on the other a sharp drop to the sea. Be on the lookout for seabirds nesting on the rocks near the water.
Take a short walk on the beach in Bray and listen to the surf roll rhythmically across the wave-smoothed stones. When you’ve finished this short meditation, get on the DART again and head for Dalkey.
Where to eat lunch on day 2 in Dublin
Eat lunch at Dalkey’s quaint Corner Note Cafe featuring soups, sandwiches and more in a homey setting. Dalkey is a magnet for celebrities and both U2’s Bono and Pierce Brosnan call Dalkey home.
Afternoon activities on your 2nd day in Dublin
In the afternoon, browse the shops on the main street that runs through Dalkey Village and then take a guided tour of Dalkey Castle (about 10 EUR per adult).
Actors in period costume will guide you through the history of the castle during Medieval times. You’ll be regaled by stories of how the inhabitants would ward off attacks by pouring hot oil and fire onto would-be invaders through the Murder Hole.
The description of Medieval medicine and hygiene is also fascinating if not slightly spine-tingling. The actors really make the tour and take something that could be just a boring historical monologue and turn it into something engaging and fun.
After the Dalkey Castle tour, grab a pint of Irish Craft Beer at the Magpie Inn or seek out a more traditional pint of Guinness at Finnegan’s of Dalkey.
Where to eat dinner on day 2 in Dublin
Hop on the DART one more time and head north from Dalkey to Monkstown. Book a table and eat dinner at FX Buckley where you’ll enjoy some expertly aged and prepared Irish beef.
How to enjoy your last evening in Dublin
In the evening, watch cover bands perform at Monkstown’s Purty Kitchen. We’ve seen a Smiths cover band and Aja (a local Steely Dan cover band) is often in residence. You’re unlikely to find a single tourist in sight in Monkstown, a fitting conclusion to your two days in Dublin.
Many thanks to Jennifer for enlightening us about how to spend 2 days in Dublin, her hometown. Dublin is still very much on my personal travel-bucket list so I know I’ll be using this 2 day Dublin itinerary to plan my own trip.
Have you been to Dublin? Have you any other suggestions for how to spend 2 days in Dublin? We’d love to hear them – just pop them in the comments box below!
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