A 2 Day Trip to Dublin, Ireland
Updated: Jul 2
So much Dublin, so little time. The Irish capital is a fantastic city to visit, and I'm so pleased I finally made the journey there. We tried to fit as much into our 2 days in Dublin as possible, but I still feel like there's a lot more left to discover. There are definitely more pubs to go to, that's for sure, and Grafton Street didn't get the full attention it deserved from us. Dublin is full of life, so I can guarantee you won't get bored in this vibrant city.
Dublin's airport is quite close to the city centre which is ideal. We opted to take the Airlink Express (WiFi on board) as it was quicker and there was a stop very near to Iveagh Garden Hotel, where we were staying (more information at the bottom of this blog post). The city is known for being one of the more expensive capitals in Europe, but there are actually a lot of free things to do in Dublin that'll help keep you within your travel budget. Here's what we got up to during our 2 day trip to Dublin:
1. Become a Hogwarts Student in the Library at Trinity College
The Library at Trinity College had always been on my bucket list, having seen so many beauitful photos of it. The library dates back to 1592, and is the largest in Ireland. It's also home to the Book of Kells, which I was more excited to see than the library itself. For those of you who don't know what the book is, it's an illuminated manuscript Gospel book written in Latin, dating back to the 9th century. It's a beautiful piece of medieval history, and is considered a must see for anyone visiting Dublin. Tickets cost €11 at the door, or €14 for a fast track ticket online. We went at the earliest possible time to queue for tickets, and the amount of people already there was insane. So if you're on a time schedule, I'd recommend pre-booking the tickets online.
2. Walk Around Trinity College
Trinity College itself is also worth walking around. If you're taking a walking tour in Dublin, many of them will pass through here, and a few even include entry into the library. The college is near a number of other Dublin attractions, so it was very easy to add this to our 2 day itinerary.
3. Stroll Around St Stephen's Green
Dublin is full of beautiful parks, and St Stephen's Green is no exception. It's preserved in its original Victorian style and is centrally located. We took a stroll around here on one of our walks from Iveagh Garden Hotel. Dublin can get expensive, so it's nice to know there are some free things to do in the city.
4. Hang Out With Oscar Wilde
The Oscar Wilde statue is located in Merrion Square, a prominent stomping ground of the famous poet and playwright. It was commissioned by the Guinness Ireland Group in 1997, and is a unique thing to see in Dublin.
5. Sing a Song with Molly Malone
This was a fun surprise to stumbled across! I mean, who doesn't know this famous song? The Molly Malone statue is located on Suffolk Street, right in front of an information kiosk. This wasn't even on my itinerary, but I remember singing the song when I was a child so I had to take a photo of it.
6. Explore the Historic Streets
Dublin is full of amazing, quirky streets. So take a break from your schedule and enjoy the atmosphere. Dame Lane was a particular favourite of mine. It's a great street to visit if you want to enjoy the Irish pub scene, and is home to one of the last remaining Victoria era pubs in Dublin, The Stags. You can't spend 2 days in Dublin without visiting at least one pub!
7. Check Out Dublin Castle
Does Dublin have a castle? Yes it does! A short walk from Dame Lane is Dublin Castle. It's one of the most important buildings in Irish history, and from 1204 to 1922 was the seat of English, followed by British rule. If you don't have time to join the tour inside, make sure you walk around the grounds. There's a lovely garden you can access across the street from the castle as well.
8. St Patrick's Cathedral & Marsh's Library
St Patrick's Cathedral is the tallest and largest in Ireland, so definitely worth taking a quick peep at. Not only is it one of the city's main attractions, it's also something free to do in Dublin. Just behind it is Marsh's Library, dating back to the late Renaissance. It was the first public library in the country, and is beautifully preserved. It costs €5 to enter, and can easily be added to a 2 day visit to Dublin.
9. Guinness. Guinness. Guinness.
Get yourself down to the Guinness Storehouse. Even if you aren't a beer drinker, it's a fantastic brewery and the Gravity Bar offers panoramic views of the city. We decided to walk here, which was a bit of a trek but the weather was nice so we enjoyed it. There are seven floors inside with lots of activities to keep you busy for a few hours. You're even given the opportunity to pull your own pint, and sample some unique flavours of Guinness. Tickets cost €19.50 per adult, which includes at least 3 full pints of Guinness. I would 100% recommend going on this experience. It's one of the best things to do in Dublin and worth every penny. For some more detail and tips on the Guinness Storehouse, check out the Ultimate Guide to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland by Volumes & Voyages.
10. Guinness Storehouse Connoisseur Experience
Since we were only in Dublin for 2 days, we wanted to do as much as possible. When you purchase your ticket for the Guinness Storehouse, there's an option to add-on the Connoisseur Experience for an additional €40. If you love Guinness, this is an absolute must. There are limited tickets available each day, and you're taken in a small group to a completely private bar filled with all types of Guinness. You get to sample at least 5 different versions of Guinness, and finish by pulling your own pint here as well. The bartender also provides you with a lot of history and fun facts about Guinness. All of these drinks are on top of the pints you're entitled to with the general Storehouse ticket, so you should expect to be stumbling down the streets of Dublin when you leave!
11. Enjoy Dublin's Pubs
It goes without saying that you need to stop in to at least one pub while in Dublin. If you can't decide, The Hairy Lemon has quite an interesting back story to it, and is a charming traditional pub in the city centre - with lots of quirky memorabilia decorating its interior!
12. Warm Yourself at the Irish Whiskey Museum
The Irish Whiskey Museum is located right across the road from Trinity College, and is definitely a warm welcome on a cold, wet day. We only stopped in for some whiskey tasting, but you can also go on a tour of the museum where you'll learn all about the history of Irish whiskey.
13. Get Lost in Temple Bar
During our 2 days in Dublin we visited a number of different areas in the city, but Temple Bar was my favourite. Of course it has the famous bar there that goes by the same name, but there are so many other unique places to explore here. The Temple Bar pub is completely packed inside. We could hardly move and ended up coming out without getting a drink. But we still managed to get a photo outside of the bar!
14. Walk Across Ha'penny Bridge
Ha'penny Bridge was built in the late 1800s. It's a beautiful iron bridge crossing the River Liffey and was once the only pedestrian bridge in the city. It gets its name from the toll it used to have when it was constructed, replacing the seven ferries that were in charge of carrying people across the river.
15. Take a Look at the Hungry Tree
It's a bit of a walk to King's Inns but I had to see this! The Hungry Tree was a completely random thing on my Dublin itinerary, but I came across it while reading a post on Atlas Obscura and really wanted to take a look.
16. Jameson Distillery
If you love whiskey Jameson Distillery should be at the top of your list. Our 2 days in Dublin didn't give us enough time to go inside, but it's on my list for next time (even though I'm not a whiskey fan). It's considered one of the best things to do in the city, and is a great place to go if you're looking for whiskey tours in Dublin.
17. Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral is another key historic site in Dublin. It was originally a Viking church, and has almost 1000 years of history behind it. It's also one of Dublin's main tourist attractions, and we had just enough time during our 2 days in the city to stop by. There's an entry fee of €7.50 per adult to enter, so if you're visiting Dublin on a budget and don't want to pay, you can just sit outside of it like we did.
18. Step Back in Time at a Speakeasy
The VCC is difficult to find, unless you know where to look. It's located in Temple Bar, and looks like a rusty door. But ring the doorbell and you'll be taken back to a time when alcohol was illegal. The cocktails are delicious, and the food looked incredible too. Make sure to book ahead of time as it's a very popular spot. We stopped here on our way to Dublin's airport, and were lucky enough to be given a seat. The city's famous for its pubs, but can you really pass up the opportunity to visit a secret bar in Dublin?
19. Dublin's Secret Food Tour
Dublin's Secret Food Tour is the best way to try local food and the best food tour in Dublin. Don't worry about booking a restaurant for dinner, you'll be full until the next day. Staying for a weekend in Dublin? You need to add one of their walking tours to your itinerary. I can't rate this tour highly enough. It only took up a few hours of our 2 days in Dublin and best of all, they have tours worldwide too, so I'll definitely be booking one of their tours in another city. Click here to access my blog post covering the tour itself (minimal spoilers, don't worry).
Where To Stay In Dublin
Wondering where to stay in Dublin for 2 nights? The city is full of hotels to choose from, so it's a difficult choice to make. We stayed at the beautiful Iveagh Garden Hotel, which is Europe's first sustainable hotel and is very centrally located. It's absolutely gorgeous and the rooms are breathtaking, with lots of amenities included. I would recommend the superior double room if you want to treat yourself. Take a look at my review of the hotel here.
Price range: €79 +
Dublin is one of the best cities in Ireland to visit, whether you're going for its vibrant nightlife or to experience Irish culture and history. There's something for everyone, and if you're like us and only have 2 days to visit Dublin, there's a lot you can pack into them. Some of the most famous landmarks in Ireland can be found here, and even if you're visiting Dublin on a budget you'll have an amazing time.
If you love visiting city's that have a fantastic food scene, Dublin is a great choice for traditional Irish dishes. But if you ever find yourself in the north of England, Manchester has an enormous amount of restaurants to choose from, so I would recommend visiting it. Get in touch if you have any recommendations for my next trip to Dublin, and don't forget to follow me on Instagram for more travel tips and inspiration!