Dublin is an undeniably fun city! Use this guide to ensure you make the most of your short time there and see the best of what Dublin has to offer – while also getting a taste of the rest of Ireland!
I will walk you through a weekend itinerary packed full of activities, and then I will give you some general tips on where to stay, how to get there, etc.!
Start your weekend off with some Irish grub (meat pies and mash potatoes, YUM!). Find a restaurant within walking distance and soak up the city’s atmosphere on your way there.
Many restaurants or pubs offer live entertainment such as music, or even better yet, IRISH DANCING! Not going to lie – I have always wanted to be an Irish dancer. THEY’RE AMAZING!
Make sure you look online ahead of time and see what restaurants have entertainment and then get there early and snatch up a table near the ‘stage.’ Then you can eat your meal, and stay put, enjoying the show with a couple of pints of Guiness!
You may even like to hit up a pub or two on the way home, but don’t stay out too late – you’ve got an early morning tomorrow 😉
I know you have only just arrived in bustling Dublin, but you have so much more to see! Ireland is such a beautiful country and the best way to see the most of it in a short time is a day tour.
Many companies (such as Viator) offer day trips from Dublin. The options are endless! You can go to the Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle, Giant’s Causeway, Galway, Kilkenny, and even to some sheep dog trials.
I highly recommend a day trip that stops at The Cliffs of Moher and Galway.
I recommend these two destinations for the following reasons:
- The Cliffs of Moher are just one of those incredible natural masterpieces that you must see – pictures will never do it justice
- Galway is such a lively, colourful city that feels more ‘authentic’ than Dublin in a way – especially the pubs at night, if you have a chance to stick around for an evening
- The route allows you to see the beautiful countryside of Ireland, and typically stops once or twice to take some pictures of the beautiful landscape – places you never would have even knew existed
The bus tours last all day. Here is what my day looked like:
- Board the bus around 6:50 am (early – I know)
- Drive half way to Cliffs of Moher
- 20 minute snack and bathroom break
- Finish drive to Cliffs of Moher
- 2 hours at Cliffs of Moher (perfect amount of time!)
- Drive to Burren
- Quick stop for some photos and to admire the lunar limestone landscape (super cool!)
- Arrive in Galway
- Organised 30 min walking tour (which, to be honest, I skipped!)
- Free time in Galway to eat, shop and explore
- Back on the bus and home (in Dublin) for about 8 pm
I will admit that it is a long time to be on a bus, but it really is the best way to see as much as possible in a short time.
Additionally, the tour guide gives you loads of interesting information about Ireland as you ride along to keep you entertained. Also, if you’re anything like me, I love being in a new city but I need a little taste of nature to keep me happy!
Oh, and the bus was air conditioned and had wifi so it was very comfortable.
Now, I know that sounds like a long day – but the night is young and so are you (if not numerically, then spiritually at least!). End your Saturday with a few drinks in the Temple Bar neighbourhood.
There are several fun bars and pubs, however, Temple Bar itself will be ram-packed with tourists and cannot be missed! Everyone there is excited to be in Ireland, and there is usually live music. Thus, a lively, sing along atmosphere will sweep you up as you sway along with strangers. Just be careful not to spill your pint!
The Guiness Factory Tour cannot be missed! Before going on this tour, I was skeptical, if I am completely honest. I thought it was going to be boring but I was so wrong. It genuinely was interesting and the whole tour was set up so well.
There are bits that are ‘museum ish’ and you can go through at your own pace, and then there are bits where you have people explaining things to you – like how to properly drink Guiness.
I kid you not. There is a right and wrong way to drink Guiness! I was drinking it wrong, and found it quite disgusting, and by following the correct method, I came to really enjoy it. I won’t spoil the secret here, though.
You also learn how to pour your own pint which is good fun. You then get to drink that pint which is even more fun!
Be sure to book a couple of weeks in advance for a lower price!
At the end of your tour, you can go to the top floor bar. There are floor to ceiling windows all around that give you a great view of Dublin. While you only get one pint free, you are welcome to stay a while and buy yourself another (and another..and another…).
If you’re lucky like me, you’ll find yourself standing right by the bar when the barman is changing the keg and so he will offer you a free pint as he is checking the temperature of it. And then if you’re really really lucky (like me) this will happen THREE MORE TIMES!
Don’t worry… I (hesitantly) shared with my husband and family.
After this tour, you may have a bit of spare time to walk around and see the other sights Dublin has to offer. By all means, all of the major things to see (cathedrals, bridges, what have you) are within walking distance so just have a wander! Don’t forget to stop in some tourist shops for some trinkets. Ok, ok, they may be cheesy but I love little touristy gifts and t-shirts from time to time 🙂 I have a shot glass collection from all around the world that I love adding to!
Right so I have given you my list of favourite activities for a short Dublin getaway, but here are some additional tips that may come in handy for your travels!
There is no train from the airport into the city centre and it is definitely not within walking distance (roughly a 20 minute drive!). You could get a taxi but this will likely be expensive. Thus, a bus is typically the best option.
You can pay for tickets for the bus at a machine right at the bus stops outside of the airport. It is cheaper to book round trip than a single journey – so if you are flying out of the same airport, just do that!
Otherwise, loads of tourist companies offer shuttle buses into the city which you can book online. They are all typically around the same price (7-9 euros one way) but can be slightly cheaper if booked online ahead of time using a site such as booking.com.
When to Go
In terms of weather, Ireland’s weather is always a mixed bag – a mixed bag with lots of rain. However, summer will likely give you the best weather (but do still expect some rain!). Winter months will be the wettest. Think of it this way:
Summer: Some rain, decent/warm temperatures
Fall/Autumn: Slightly more rain, slightly cooler temperatures
Winter: Lots of rain, coolest temperatures (think 40’s F)
Spring: Lots of rain, slightly warmer temperatures
In terms of crowds and cost, avoid school holidays if you don’t like a crowd! Summer will by far be the busiest. In the UK, summer holidays take place July – August. Summer will also likely be the most expensive time to go. It is still a great time to be in Dublin – it will definitely be lively, but just be sure to plan well in advance as nearly all the hotels and airbnb’s will fill up!
Where to Stay
I recommend staying near the Temple Bar neighbourhood as this is where the nightlife is. Everything is pretty much within walking distance (especially if you don’t mind a nice, long stroll) but this part of Dublin is guaranteed to be busy and fun and near to food and drink.
If you prefer a quieter option, I would recommend staying further away from Temple Bar but still near the centre of Dublin so you can enjoy all it has to offer at all times of the day/night.
Depending on your budget, there are some really nice authentic Irish pubs that offer accommodation. However, if you are looking for an inexpensive place to crash, I suggest using websites such as airbnb or hostelworld.
Again, book well in advance as the best options go the quickest!