Are you headed to the Irish capital and wondering how to spend 2 days in Dublin? Fear not, I’ve got you covered with my super easy to follow 2 day Dublin itinerary.
Dublin is a city that oozes charm, rich history and culture. From the moment you step foot in the city, you’ll be captivated by its Celtic history, old-world beauty and the craic that’s to be had.
Stroll through cobblestone streets, explore medieval castles and soak up the lively atmosphere in the city’s many pubs – there’s no better place to spend a weekend than in Ireland’s charming capital!
So, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself with 48 hours to spare in this Irish gem, you’re in for a treat!
Having lived there for 12 years, I’ve picked up a thing or two about how to make the most of a short time in Dublin city – and two days in Dublin is all you’ll need to see the best of city.
This is the perfect Dublin itinerary for first-time visitors or anyone looking to cram a lot of activity into a weekend getaway. So without further ado, let’s jump into it!
Actually, wait… There’s a few bits you should know first. But if you want to jump straight to the 2 day Dublin itinerary, click here!
You might also like:
- Ireland Bucket List: 50 Places To Visit For The Ultimate Irish Experience
- The Best Castle Tours Ireland Has To Offer
- Easy Expat’s Guide to Living in Dublin, Ireland (2023)
- Ireland 6 Day Itinerary: Your Ultimate Irish Road Trip
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- How to get to Dublin
- How to save money in Dublin
- Where to stay in Dublin
- How to get around Dublin
- Dublin Map
- How to spend 2 days in Dublin
- Day 1: The Northside
- Cross the River Liffey
- Visit the Phoenix Park
- Explore Irish History at the Emigration Museum
- GPO Museum
- Marvel at the Spire
- Settle down with a Guinness in O'Connell's Bar
- Day 2: The Southside
- Dublin Castle & The Chester Beatty Library
- Christ Church Cathedral
- St. Stephen's Green Park
- Grafton Street
- Trinity College Dublin
- Guinness Storehouse
- Kilmainham Gaol
- Temple Bar
- Got more than 2 days in Dublin?
- FAQs about Dublin
How to get to Dublin
If you’re flying into Dublin, chances are you’ll be landing into Dublin Airport. From the airport, you have a few options for getting into the city centre – but the best (and cheapest) way is by taking the Airlink Express bus.
The journey takes just under 40 minutes and will drop you off right in the heart of Dublin city, close to all the popular attractions.
Other international airports in Ireland are Belfast in Northern Ireland and Shannon in Co. Clare. If you fly into either of these airports, you’ll need to travel a few hours to get to Dublin. While you can catch a bus or train (sometimes it will need to be both), renting a car is probably the easiest way to get around if flying into these airports.
Ireland has great bus and train links between all the major cities, so if you’re already in Ireland and don’t fancy driving, check out the following sites for timetables:
How to save money in Dublin
Dublin is not a cheap destination. There… I said it. But then again, what European city is these days?
There are a few ways you can save money during your time in Dublin, which will free up some extra cash to spend on Guinness, Irish dancing lessons or that all-important Aran souvenir jumper!
1. Avoid taxis and take public transport instead
Taxis in Dublin are pretty pricey. For example, a taxi from the airport to the city centre will set you back around €30, more if you’re staying in the south side. If the driver asks you whether you’d like to take the M50 or go through the city, don’t be fooled! Yes, it might be quicker taking the motorway, but it will be more expensive as it’s a longer journey.
2. Eat and drink like a local
The best way to save money on food and drink is to do as the locals do! Instead of dining in tourist traps, venture off the beaten path to find cheaper (and tastier) options.
Stock up on breakfast at your hotel! A full Irish breakfast – eggs, sausages, rashers, toast, hash browns, beans – will likely keep you going until mid afternoon!
3. Grab yourself a Dublin Pass
If you’re planning on doing a lot of sightseeing during your time in Dublin, then it’s definitely worth pre-booking a Dublin Pass.
This handy card gives you free entry to the majority of Dublin’s tourist attractions, which means that you can save a ton of money on entrance fees!
For example, a 2-day pass costs €89 but you’ll be getting €250 worth of activities – including walking tours, bike tours, entry to the Guinness Storehouse, beautiful libraries, and sooo much more.
Find out more about the Dublin Pass here.
Where to stay in Dublin
There are three major areas to stay in Dublin – the city centre, south county or north county.
The benefit of staying in the city itself is that you can walk to most places, and there’s always something going on. However, it can be noisy at night and accommodation is more expensive. But if you like to be in the hustle and bustle, then the city is the best place for you.
Here are my top picks for staying in Dublin city:
On a budget: Jacob’s Inn Hostel is in a very central location, close to all the popular attractions. It’s got funky pod-style beds and even has a bar to socialise in. This is a great choice for those on a budget or solo travelers looking to meet up with others.
Middle of the road: Jury’s Inn Christchurch is located just south of the River Liffey, 500m from Temple Bar and right across from Christchurch Cathedral. I’ve stayed in this hotel at least 10 times in the past and it’s got everything you need for a city destination. Great breakfast choice, lovely staff and even better location.
If you want to splurge: If you’re ready to go all out, the Marker Hotel in Grand Canal Square is the epitome of class, style and luxury. With gorgeous views of the river, a rooftop bar and stunning decor – this is a real treat! It’s also right next to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre so be sure to check out if there’s a show on while you’re in Dublin.
While staying in the city has its perks, it’s not for everyone. If you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere with easier access to nature and quieter surroundings at night, then consider staying in south county Dublin or north.
Both are well connected by public transport, so getting into the city won’t be a problem. Plus, accommodation is generally cheaper in these areas.
If you want to stay in south Dublin, I recommend:
- Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge is just a 20-minute walk from the city centre. It’s a beautifully restored 19th century school, now a 4-star hotel with all the amenities you need, plus it has a great reputation for being clean and comfortable.
- Gleesons Townhouse Booterstown is just 500m from the nearest DART (Dublin’s train network) which will take you into the centre of Dublin in less than 10 minutes. The rooms are spacious and comfortable and there’s a gorgeous roof terrace to enjoy the views.
- If sea views are what you’re after, the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire (pronounced ‘done leery’) is the perfect place for you. The waterfront town is just south of Dublin and easily accessible by train or bus. This 4-star hotel has beautiful views of the harbour, delicious food and top-notch service
For those wanting to stay north of the city, I recommend:
- The King Sitric in Howth on the north coast of Dublin offers spectacular views of the Irish sea and the coast, as well one of the best seafood restaurants around! It’s easy to catch the DART or a bus into the city, so it’s the perfect option if you want to escape the hustle and bustle but still be close enough to enjoy everything Dublin has to offer.
- The Grand Hotel in Malahide is 14km from the city and boasts a huge swimming pool, sauna and steam room, as well as stunning views of Malahide Estuary. It’s a beautiful building, perfect for a seaside retreat!
- The Skylon Hotel in Drumcondra is just a short bus ride from Dublin city, with a bus stop located right outside the hotel. It’s a stylish 4 star hotel with a great restaurant, large rooms and wonderful staff.
How to get around Dublin
Dublin doesn’t have an underground train system. I know! Surprisingly, it’s one of the only European capital cities that doesn’t have one. There’s been talk to for years about getting one, but alas…. not yet.
Luckily, it’s a pretty walkable city for the most part, and there’s good public transportation around the city. The main modes of public transport are the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport), the Luas (this is the tram) and by bus.
How to spend 2 days in Dublin
So… there’s a bit of a ‘rivalry’ when it comes to the Northside and Southside – not Gangs of New York/West Side Story kind of rivalry, just a friendly (and somewhat tongue in cheek) who wore it better competition between the two.
So to start off our 2 day Dublin itinerary, we’re going to stick with the Northside for day 1 and then move on to the Southside for day 2. At the end of your trip, you can decide which side you’re leaving your heart with!
Day 1: The Northside
Cross the River Liffey
The Liffey is the main river running through Dublin and it pretty much divides the city in half – Northside and Southside. To get from one side to the other, you’ll need to cross one of the many bridges that span the river.
If you’re staying on the southside, I suggest crossing either the Ha’Penny Bridge or the Samuel Beckett Bridge.
The Ha’Penny Bridge is the most iconic bridge in Dublin and was once the only way to cross the Liffey. Now, it’s pedestrian only and a popular spot for tourists to snap a photo. It’s so called because back in the day you used to have to pay half a penny (or a ha’penny) to cross it!
The Samuel Beckett Bridge is a newer addition to Dublin’s skyline, opened in 2009. It’s a beautiful piece of architecture and is even more beautiful when lit up at night.
Visit the Phoenix Park
No visit to Dublin is complete without a stroll through Phoenix Park, one of the largest enclosed parks in Europe. There’s a ton of stuff to see and do in the park, but one thing I don’t recommend is visiting Dublin Zoo. As you may know, Snap Happy Spoonie doesn’t condone animal captivity or any activities where animals are used for entertainment (unless they’re out in the wild).
But here’s what you should do in Phoenix Park:
- Wander through the Victorian gardens, otherwise known as the People’s Gardens
- Visit the Papal Cross, erected for Pope John Paul II for his visit to Ireland in 1979
- Stroll through the deer park, but try not to get too close to the resident fallow deer (they may look cute, but they can be aggressive!)
- Admire the Phoenix Monument, built by the Fourth Earl of Chesterfield and depicts a Phoenix rising from the ashes.
- Explore Ashtown Castle and the Victorian Kitchen Garden
- Visit the Magazine Fort, built in the 15th century as an ammunition store for the British army and to house troops
If you’re feeling active, you can also hire a bike from Phoenix Park Bikes and cycle around the park. You can even get all romantic with your other half and go for a tandem bike ride!
Explore Irish History at the Emigration Museum
If you’re interested in learning about the Irish diaspora, then a visit to the Irish Emigration Museum is a must. The museum tells the stories of some of the greatest minds that left Ireland and made their mark on the world.
You’ll learn about politicians, scientists, artists, writers, poets and more who all left Ireland in search of a better life. And you’ll also get to see how the Irish have shaped the world as we know it today.
The museum is located in the Docklands, at Custom House Quay and is open 7 days a week from 10am, with last entry being 5pm. Pre-book your tickets here!
The GPO (General Post Office) is one of the most iconic buildings on O’Connell Street in Dublin and it’s the headquarters of the Irish postal service.
During the 1916 Easter Rising, the GPO was used as the rebel headquarters and it was outside the GPO that Patrick Pearse read the Proclamation of Independence.
Nowadays, as well as being the head post office, the GPO is home to an interactive museum that tells the story of the Easter Rising and the Irish War of Independence. It’s a really interesting museum and well worth a visit if you’re interested in Irish history.
Tickets to the museum can be purchased on site only and they’re €15 for adults, €7.50 for children and €12 for students and seniors.
Marvel at the Spire
The Spire of Dublin, otherwise known as the Monument of Light (An Túr Solais in Irish), is a 120-metre tall stainless steel needle that stands in the middle of O’Connell Street. It was erected in 2003 and is one of the most recognisable landmarks in the city.
While there’s not much to do other than take impressive pictures of the Spire, it’s definitely worth admiring if you’re in the area!
Head further down O’Connell street to get the best Insta photos of the Spire.
Settle down with a Guinness in O’Connell’s Bar
After all that walking around, you’ll be ready for a pint of the black stuff! And there’s no better place to enjoy a Guinness than O’Connell’s Bar on O’Connell Street.
This historic bar on the banks of the River Liffey is one of the most popular pubs in Dublin, with great food, live music and of course drinks galore!
Day 2: The Southside
Dublin Castle & The Chester Beatty Library
Dublin Castle dates back to the 13th century and is one of the city’s top tourist attractions. It was built on the site of a Viking settlement and for years was used as British headquarters. Today, it serves as a complex of government buildings, conference centre, and of course, a popular tourist attraction.
The castle is located in the heart of Dublin city centre, on Dame Street, and is open to the public 7 days a week so you can explore the State Apartments, the Chapel Royal, the grounds and gardens and more. It can get pretty busy there during peak times but you can skip the line with this ticket to avoid the crowds.
While you’re in the area, be sure to also visit the Chester Beatty Library, located within Dublin Castle. The library houses an incredible collection of manuscripts, rare books and other artifacts from all over the world.
Pssst! Dublin Castle is one of the many visitor attractions on the Dublin Pass!
Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral is one of Dublin’s two medieval cathedrals, the other being St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It was founded in 1028 and is the seat of the Church of Ireland.
It’s a spectacular building, both inside and out, with beautiful stained glass windows, an impressive organ and the mummified remains of a cat and rat!
Choose a self-guided tour or a guided tour and if you’ve got a Dublin Pass, you’ll be able to visit Christchurch Cathedral for free!
St. Stephen’s Green Park
Next up on our list of things to do in Dublin is a visit to St. Stephen’s Green, the capital’s largest city park. The park is located in the heart of Dublin city centre, at the end of Grafton Street, and is a great place to relax, people watch or take a stroll.
On sunny days you might see someone playing music or theatre groups in the bandstand, and there’s also a lovely lake where you can feed the ducks.
Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre is just outside the park, if you’re looking to shop. There’s a really sweet stall on the ground floor selling inexpensive Irish jewellery. I got a Claddah Ring there which I have worn every day for the past 10 years!
My favourite street in Dublin (especially during the Christmas period) is Grafton Street, a pedestrianised shopping street in the heart of the city. It’s one of the busiest streets in Dublin, with buskers, street performers and shoppers galore!
You’ll find almost every type of street performance on Grafton Street – mime artists, magicians, musicians, comedians and more. It’s such a vibrant street full of atmosphere.
If shopping is your thing, then you’ll be in heaven on Grafton Street! The street is home to Dublin’s most famous department store, Brown Thomas, as well as a host of other high-end shops. If your budget doesn’t stretch to designer clothes, don’t worry – there are plenty of cheaper stores too.
Grafton Street is also a great place to stop for lunch on our 2 day Dublin itinerary. Need to keep your energy up for the rest of the tour!
At the end of Grafton Street, you’ll find the Molly Malone statue. She was a fictitious character from a 19th-century ballad, but she’s become an icon of Dublin city and one of Dublin’s major attractions.
“In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty, I first laid my eyes on sweet Molly Malone. As she wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow, crying cockles and muscles alive, alive oh”
Trinity College Dublin
Trinity College Dublin is the oldest university in Ireland, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I. It’s one of the sister colleges of the University of Cambridge and has produced many notable alumni over the years, including Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker and Samuel Beckett.
The main attraction at Trinity College for visitors is the Book of Kells. This is an illustrated manuscript in Latin of the four Gospels of the New Testament, dating back to the 9th century. It’s on display in the Old Library, along with the Long Room – one of the most impressive libraries in the world!
Trinity College is located at College Green, just off Grafton Street and you can either get your tickets directly from the Trinity College website or join it with a fast track ticket of Dublin Castle!
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! No trip to Dublin would be complete without a visit to the Guinness Storehouse, home of the black stuff!
The Storehouse is located in the heart of the St. James’s Gate Brewery, which has been brewing Guinness since 1759. The seven-storey building tells the story of how Guinness is made, from the hops to the malt to the yeast, and best of all, there’s a pint of Guinness at the end in the rooftop Gravity Bar, where you’ll have panoramic views of the city!
Kilmainham Gaol is a former prison that was used to house Irish political prisoners during the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries. Many of the prisoners were involved in the various rebellions against British rule in Ireland throughout history.
The jail has been restored and is now open to the public as a museum. You can take a guided tour of the prison, which takes you through the different wings and cells, and hear about the prisoners who were held there.
The tour ends in the courtyard where some of the executions took place. It’s a moving experience and one that will give you a better understanding of Irish history.
As one of the most popular Dublin attractions, I highly recommend pre-booking your ticket in advance for Kilmainham Gaol.
We’ve come to the end of our two days in Dublin (already!) and there’s just one more things left to do – have a pint in Temple Bar!
The Temple Bar district is the cultural quarter of Dublin, with cobblestone narrow streets lined with pubs, restaurants and bars. It’s a great place to enjoy a night out in Dublin and you’ll find live Irish music in many of the pubs.
The most famous bar in Temple Bar is (surprise surprise) The Temple Bar! This is the most touristy pub in Dublin but it’s also the most iconic and it’s definitely worth popping in for a pint before it gets busy.
Got more than 2 days in Dublin?
If you’re looking to spend a little longer in Dublin, I’ve got a few more suggestions for you!
- Visit the National Museum of Ireland and see the archaeology and history collections
- Take a day trip to Wicklow National Park or the Giant’s Causeway, some of the most beautiful places in Ireland
- Get out of the city and explore Howth head or Bray Head
- Learn about Dublin’s Viking past at Dublinia Viking Museum
- Have a drink at the Teeling Whiskey Distillery
- Visit the National Leprechaun Museum
FAQs about Dublin
Is 2 days in Dublin enough time to spend there?
Two days in Dublin probably isn’t enough time to see everything there is to see. But it’s a great start! And it’s more than enough time to see the highlights and get a feel for the city.
Is Dublin safe?
Dublin is a relatively safe city. Walking around during the daytime is generally fine but at night you should stick to busier streets. Pickpockets are common so keep your valuables close to you.
Is Dublin expensive?
Dublin can be an expensive city but it doesn’t have to be! There are plenty of free things to do, like walking around St. Stephen’s Green or seeing the Spire and strolling down Grafton Street.
What’s the best area to stay in Dublin?
If you want to be in the middle of the action, then Temple Bar is the best area to stay in Dublin. But it can be noisy at night so if you’re looking for a more relaxed atmosphere, try staying in one of the neighbourhoods like Rathmines or Ranelagh.
PIN FOR LATER!
So, there you have it, my guide to spending two days in Dublin. There are endless things to see and do in Dublin, but I hope this guide has given you a good starting point for exploring this fun city.
Vourneen is a travel junkie and chronic illness warrior. Although she was late to game in terms of travelling, she has picked up numerous tips and tricks from the almost 30 countries she has visited in the past 5 years.