The Irish capital’s compact size makes it the perfect city to tour in three days. Here’s the ultimate travel guide for a short visit to Dublin, Ireland.
With stunning architecture, vibrant pubs, cutting-edge galleries, and stellar restaurants squeezed into 123 square miles, knowing what to visit in Dublin in 3 days can be a total head-scratcher. To save you the trouble of plotting your trip, we’ve pulled together a see-it-all guide to Dublin that offers plenty of tourist attractions, as well as a few hidden treasures, to help you squeeze every ounce of enjoyment in Ireland.
What to Do in Dublin: Day One
Beat the crowds as soon as you get to the capital and make a beeline towards Trinity College. Here lies the Book of Kells, a beautiful medieval manuscript and one of Ireland’s most famous treasures. This is one of the top things to see in Dublin, as well as the magnificent Old Library which houses it.
Take a stroll through Dublin’s Georgian past in the perfectly preserved Merrion Square, only a stone’s throw from Trinity College. It’s the best spot for a little Instagram magic – the doors of this glorious area come in a spectrum of colors and make for postcard-perfect photos. Originally laid out after 1762, the area is a hotbed of culture, neighboring the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Ireland.
Start your weekend in Dublin the right way with lunch at the fabulous Café en Seine. With towering 40-foot trees, a bust of Louis XIV and an elegant grand piano, the French restaurant is a glamorous affair. The building dates back to 1798 and has had French prisoners of war, King George IV, and Queen Victoria’s dressmaker within its walls.
Dublin has its fair share of museums, but The Little Museum of Dublin is a real hidden gem. It’s two minutes away from the restaurant, past the Celtic Whiskey Shop. For a small venue, it packs in a lot of Dublin’s history, spanning from Alfie Byrne to U2.
Time for a bit of greenery. Cross the road and stroll through lovely St Stephen’s Green. Wander around its lawns, flowerbeds and swan-speckled lake that is dotted with sculptures, chirping birds, flourishing plants, and the local artist capturing the area onto his easel.
Exit the park onto Grafton Street and make a pit stop at Neary’s, a traditional boozer on Chatham Street. Just plan to keep walking for the day, unless you have a designated driver. There’s no raucous music here, but a discreet, low-key ambiance, made for conversation. The people here are a friendly bunch, so once you get chatting, you’ll be sure to pick up some local tips for your weekend in Dublin.
Dublin cuisine extends way beyond the Irish shores, and no more so than at Saba on Clarendon Street. This award-winning Thai and Vietnamese restaurant aims to please with its to-die-for selection of curries, noodles, and wok-kissed wonders – many with veggie, gluten-free, low-calorie, and paleo options.
What to Do in Dublin: Day Two
To squeeze in all of Dublin’s delights in a short space of time, the hop on hop off Dublin bus is ideal. There are more than 20 different stops on three different routes, so you’re guaranteed to pack all of the things to see in Dublin into your weekend itinerary. Book your tickets online before you get there or head to the ticket station on Upper O’Connell Street.
Make sure you hop off at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where you can grab lunch at nearby eatery The Fumbally. Specials range from sticky Japanese rice bowls to the ‘full Irish’ with ricotta-stuffed oatcakes and black garlic potatoes. Once well fed, spend a good hour exploring the stunning cathedral and discovering the stories that lie within its ancient walls.
Every tourist guide to Dublin will tell you to head to one place: the Guinness Storehouse. They’re not wrong – it’s one of the top places to visit in the city, even if you’re not a stout lover. Jump back on the bus and make for the seven-story building, learn all about the Guinness-making process from start to finish and finish with a pint of the creamy tipple in the Gravity Bar. Stunning views of the city are included.
Wander the cobbled streets into one of Dublin’s oldest quarters: Temple Bar. If lively dancing and partying the night away is what you’re after, this is your spot.
If Indonesian cuisine is having a moment in Dublin, it’s thanks to Chameleon Restaurant in Temple Bar. There are two award-winning set menus to choose from: one casual pick-’n’-mix approach and a more formal rice table set. There are plenty of gluten-free options for coeliac diners, too.
What to Do in Dublin: Day Three
Heard of hurling? Or Gaelic football? Head for Croke Park, the home of Irish sport, to get a taste of these unique games. Take a stadium tour and visit the Gaelic Athletic Association Museum, before finishing 17 stories above ground at the Ericsson Skyline, an eye-watering rooftop walkway with panoramic views of the city.
After your dose of adrenaline, it’s time to slow things down. Stroll to Chapter One Restaurant for a once-in-a-lifetime Michelin treat. Dishes range from delicious stuffed leg of rabbit to succulent salt marsh duck. With great value and sublime service, you’ll leave with a beaming smile.
You’re going to need to walk off that exceptional lunch, so glide on down to the River Liffey, enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk and wander across Ha’Penny Bridge. It’s the best way to breathe in the crisp Irish air on a long weekend in Dublin and take in views of the city along the way.
Continue through Temple Bar towards Powerscourt Centre to pick out some unique finds. The boutique shopping center is set within a handsome Georgian building, selling everything from exotic silk-wear to fabulous hats. It’s open until 6pm every day, except Thursdays when it closes at 8pm, so there’s plenty of time to find a terrific gift to take back home.
In James Joyce’s famous novel, Ulysses, its main character Leopold Bloom stops for a gorgonzola sandwich and a glass of burgundy at Davy Byrne’s pub. The public house is only a two-minute walk from the shopping center and probably isn’t in your tourist guide to Dublin. Pop in for a pint of Guinness or take a leaf out of Leopold’s book and opt for a glass of red.
Round off your weekend in Dublin at Market Bar, a chilled-out tapas restaurant. From gambas pil-pil to chicken and chorizo skewers, the food may be more Spanish-focused, but the portion sizes are most definitely Irish (i.e. huge). The story behind this building is fascinating – a former abattoir in the center of what was once one of the largest red-light districts in Europe. King Edward VII is even said to have indulged in the services here.
What does your perfect day in Dublin look like? Show us your dream Ireland travel photos by tagging us on Instagram.