How To Spend One Day In Dublin (A Local’s Itinerary)
24 hours in Dublin doesn’t seem like a whole lot of time. While the city isn’t absolutely massive, it’s not tiny either. It will take more than a day to get around. You’ll barely scratch the surface when visiting, but if you do it correctly, it’s possible for you to get some feel for the place.
Some people will land at Dublin Airport and have a long layover, so they’ll probably go out and about and take a quick tour of the city and see what they can. Others may be coming from the south of Ireland and just want to spend 1 day there and see a couple of things before continuing on to their next destination. Everybody has their own reason.
Don’t let anybody throw you off visiting if you only have one day to explore Dublin. You can definitely get a little bit of exploring in, see some sights, eat some good food and have a pint without rushing too much.
This post is going to show you exactly how to spend a day in the capital and make the most of it.
Time to break it down!
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08:00 am – Wake Up And Grab Some Breakfast
Dublin is notorious for its breakfast spots. You’ll find all sorts of places serving tasty morning delights that cater to all budgets to fill you up before heading off on your one-day tour.
If you’re not sure where to go, websites like Yelp are great for searching for the best places to eat. You can also ask the reception or the host of the place you’re staying what are the nice breakfast options in the area. Or if you’re still not satisfied, you can check out our breakfast recommendations below.
- Póg (amazing pancakes)
- Keogh’s Cafe (they serve a lovely full Irish breakfast)
- Taste Food Company (scrumptious healthy bowls)
- Mackenzie’s (massive breakfast platters that will feed multiple people)
09:00 – Take A Tour Of Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol is one of the city’s leading tourist attractions and a must-do when you visit. It’s a prison that opened in 1796, and housed what were known as “political prisoners” during Ireland’s struggle for independence. These were people who fought for Irish freedom against the British during their occupation of Ireland. Some of the prisoners included those who took part in the 1916 Easter Rising, such as James Connolly, Countess Markievicz, and many more.
The prison’s conditions were awful. Food portions were incredibly small, inmates were forced to partake in hard labour, and the prison itself was overpopulated. As you can probably imagine, a lot of the prisoners never made it out alive by the end of their sentence.
On a guided tour, visitors will be taken around the prison to see the wings where the inmates were housed; then to the Stonebreakers Yard, which was the execution place for prisoners, and finally to the Chapel, a place for detainees to pray. By the end, your eyes will be opened to the horrors that went on behind the gates of the jail.
Tickets to see the jail can be purchased online for 8 euros. Tours begin every 15 minutes, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find a slot if you’re just in Dublin for a day.
10:30 am – Have A Walk Through The Phoenix Park, One Of Europe’s Biggest City Parks
Dublin is filled with some great parks. One of them is the Phoenix Park. It’s known as one of the largest city parks in the whole of Europe and has some fun things to do, including Dublin Zoo, the Papal Cross, and the Magazine Fort. Plus, it has some amazing walks for all levels of fitness.
As you stroll around the park, be sure to keep an eye out for the wild deer that call the recreational area home. There are around 600 of them in total. They run freely without being confined to a closed space. Visitors are allowed to get close to them. Just be careful because getting too close can cause them to become unsettled and they may freak out. If you’re looking for something unique to do, seeing these adorable creatures needs to be included in your one-day itinerary for when you’re in Dublin.
The park is a little over 3km from the main centre of the city. To get there, you can take Dublin Bus numbers 25, 26, 37, 38, 39, 70, and 46A. It’s beside Kilmainham Gaol, so doing the two in one go is pretty doable.
12:00 pm – Visit The Irish Museum Of Modern Art (IMMA)
A must-see if you’re on a one-day trip to Dublin is the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). The exhibition focuses on bringing together contemporary life and art to give visitors an experience like no other in the city.
The IMMA is where the National Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art is located. It boasts over 3500 pieces of art that are focused on the present day. As time moves on, the work is consistently updated.
During your visit, you can see the works of domestic and international artists. Some of the masterpieces you should keep an eye out for include Hate/Love by Isaac Julien and How To Make A Refugee by Phill Collins. Those who would like to see the IMMA don’t have to pay as it’s one of the handful of free museums in Dublin.
13:00 pm – Grab A Bit Of Lunch
After you’ve finished up at the IMMA, it’s best you grab some lunch to give yourself some fuel for the rest of the day ahead.
There are some delicious eateries that serve lunch around Smithfield. Heading there gets you close to the next stop on the list, the Guinness Storehouse.
See below for our lunch recommendations in Smithfield.
14:00 pm – Experience The Guinness Storehouse
The perfect one-day in Dublin wouldn’t be complete without taking a trip to the Guinness Storehouse. You’ll most likely end up on the self-guided tour, the one that’s the best value for money in our opinion, from the moment you set foot in the state-of-the-art Gravity bar that offers some of the best views of the city to learning the story behind how the stout was created.
Your self-guided tour will take you through the brewing procedure of how Guinness is made, how the recipe was found, and past advertisements that made the stout blow up globally. To finish off, you’ll be given a ticket for a complimentary pint of the good stuff.
Tickets for the Guinness Storehouse cost 26 euros. With that, you get your tour and a pint on the house. You’re better off booking your ticket in advance as it’s not guaranteed you’ll get a ticket at the entrance. It’s usually quite busy regardless of if it’s the weekend or midweek of the year since it’s one of Dublin’s top sites.
15:30 Admire St. Patricks Cathedral
Visiting St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one thing you need to do when you spend one full day in Dublin. It was built between the years 1220 and 1260 in celebration of St. Patrick, who is Ireland’s patron saint. Ever heard of St. Patrick’s Day? That’s the guy they were talking about.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the largest in Ireland and one of the last remaining buildings from the mediaeval period in Dublin. The inside of the holy place is quite charming, you could gaze at it for hours and never grow bored. Those alluring stained glass windows will definitely catch your eye.
Tickets cost 7.50 euros for entrance into the cathedral. With your purchase, you’ll be given access to a free app that works as a guide for your tour.
16:30 – Check Out The Georgian Doors At Merrion Square
Have you ever heard of the Georgian architectural era in Dublin? Between the 18th and 19th centuries, each building that was built had strict rules regarding the way it was to be constructed. All of the homes looked the same, so homeowners decided to paint their doors different colours to be able to identify which house was theirs. Still, to this day, the doors are brighter and more colourful than ever.
The Georgian Doors of Dublin are scattered all over the city in various pockets. They’re a bit of an emblem of the capital. The Dubs are proud of them, to say the least. If you speak to anybody from the inner city, they’ll tell you that you must visit them before leaving. Merrion Square is the place to go to see the best of the doors. While you can find them in other places, the ones in and around that area are particularly admirable.
17:30 – Finish The Day By Enjoying A Meal On Harcourt Street
Our advice is to dodge the crazy tourist prices in Temple Bar and make your way to the less frequented Harcourt Street. You’ll find a handful of restaurants in that area, and it’s a lot easier to get a table.
Check out Sophie’s Bar and Restaurant. They serve global cuisine with plenty of options to choose from, and it’s situated on a terrace with some nice views.
After your meal, potter on over to Diceys for some drinks. They’re cheap as chips, and the vibe is hard to beat.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Days Should You Spend In Dublin If You Have More Time?
Allocating one full day for a trip to Dublin is simply not enough. If you have the opportunity to spend more time, you should give yourself at least 3 days to explore.
What About Things To Do And See At Night?
Those who are still full of energy after a full day of venturing around the city and want some ways to spend the night should check out these activities.
- Head to Token for some food and arcade games (a fun thing to do for couples)
- Watch a movie at the Stella Theatre in Rathmines (the best way to spend a rainy day)
- Check out the Halfpenny Bridge (a free place to visit)
- Take the BigBus night tour (the best night tour)
Are There Any Day Trips That Leave From Dublin?
You can take lots of day trips from Dublin that will pick you up there and then drop you back at the same location. Some of our favourites include:
- Cliffs of Moher, Kilmacduagh Abbey & Galway Day Tour
- Giants Causeway, Dark Hedges, Dunluce & Belfast Tour
- From Dublin: Glendalough, Wicklow Mountains and Kilkenny Full-Day Trip
Written By Adam
Where In Dublin is owned, controlled and run by Adam Ryan. He’s a one-man army who knows Dublin like the back of his hand and strives to help anybody planning on visiting Dublin enjoy themselves.