Do you believe in love at first sight??
In life in general, I don’t really. But in travel, that’s a different story. There are places that just grab you by the throat and seep into your pores to become a part of you. It doesn’t really have anything to do with the amount of time you spend there…could be a day, a week, or a month. But once you leave, it has carved out a little permanent residence in your heart and the back of your mind.
Ireland overall did that for me, and Dublin was a big part of that. We only got to spend 24 hours in this gorgeous city full of craic (fun, energy, liveliness), but I was hooked and can’t wait to visit again. You’re probably thinking that one day isn’t enough (and you’d be right), but you’d be amazed how much of the city you can experience in that time.
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What to do with 24 hours in Dublin
- It goes without saying, but get an early start to the day.
- Eat! Fish & chips, steak & Guinness pie, scones, beer…stop and grab a snack every chance you get!
- Walk everywhere. So much of Dublin is just getting a feel for the city, and in our experience it was a super walkable city. From Temple Bar to O’Connell Street to St. Patrick’s and all the places between, exploring the nooks and crannies of the city was our favorite part.
- Only do the Guinness or Jameson tour if you’re dying to do it. I’ve heard they’re cool and if that’s your thing (or if the weather is terrible) then definitely do it (but try to get in early to avoid the worst of the crowds). We didn’t, and didn’t feel cheated.
- Find a whiskey shop that offers a tasting or samples, and take them up on it. My dad and I loved that, and the shop sold airplane-size bottles of a lot of the Irish whiskeys (including largely unknown ones) so I grabbed a few as a gift for one of my co-workers.
- If you’re a museum die-hard (I am emphatically NOT), there are a couple of must-sees in Dublin, including the Book of Kells, so do some research on that.
Read more from our awesome Irish roadtrip!
With only one day to explore the city, we were up early and headed over to the Temple Bar for breakfast at the adorable Queen of Tarts bakery. I fortified myself with a blueberry scone with jam and a cappuccino (the first of many!), and then we hit the pavement.
While there were a few specific things we wanted to see, we didn’t have a specific itinerary for much of the day. We just wandered around, stopping in at shops, taking pictures of the bright colors and enjoying the bright blue sky.
I was obsessed with all the different shapes and sizes and styles of buildings. Even though they’re all so different they all somehow go together beautifully.
Even with only 24 hours in Dublin, we made sure to see some of the biggest sights. We swung by Christ Church Cathedral, only for a few minutes. This style of architecture is one I particularly love…look at the top of that tower, those little jaggedy edges. (crenelations?)
We walked along the River Liffey and were charmed by the little things—decorative touches on lampposts, bright doors, cute signs on buildings.
Of course we couldn’t spend a day in Dublin without a trip to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I loved that there weren’t tons of people milling around so we could get beautiful pictures, with the fountain and bright flowers popping against the lines of the cathedral.
We enjoyed the hustle and bustle of Trinity College after a bit of shopping.
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After a crepe lunch we went over O’Connell Square and the Post Office. In addition to it being a beautiful building and the last great Georgian building constructed here, the General Post Office was the headquarters for the uprising’s leaders during the Easter Rising of 1916.
It was damaged quite a bit during that and repaired fairly recently, but you can still see bullet holes in some of the columns. I also loved the Spire of Dublin, it was super fun to photograph.
And of course, a visit the Guinness brewery is a must. We visited briefly but didn’t take the tour (same for the Jameson Distillery, we just went to pick up a souvenir for someone), but as I sat down with my steak and Guinness pie and a freshly pulled Guinness that night at the pub, I felt like I’d captured the spirit of the thing 🙂
Some of our Dublin faves:
- Temple Bar, O’Connell Square and the General Post Office, St. Stephen’s Green, quays along the River Liffey, Trinity College, Kilmainham Gaol, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Christ Church Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse and/or Jameson Distillery, local whiskey shops…and just walking around
- Eat at Queen of Tarts, and try to find a good local pub that’s not in Temple Bar
- We stayed at Buswells Hotel and were quite happy with it—clean, good value and location
What are some less-known things to do in Dublin that we missed? Let me know what to catch next time!
Other whirlwind city explorations:
- Less Than 24 Hours in Buenos Aires
- What to Do With 48 Hours in Rainy Barcelona
- How to Spend 24 Hours in Lisbon
- Falling In Love with Reykjavik in Less Than A Day