2 days in Dublin: the perfect itinerary

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2 Days in Dublin: the Perfect Itinerary
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Two days in Dublin? Grand! 48 hours is the perfect amount of time for a taste of this dynamic and diverse city.

Dublin has it all. Sea views. An elegant river. Fascinating history. Traditional music. Bags of history. Fairytale-like castles. An impressive literary tradition. And don’t forget the hundreds of welcoming pubs.

Its most charming asset, however, is probably the Dubliners themselves, known world-over for being some of the friendliest citizens on the planet. If we told you that Dublin was the craic capital of the world, would it put you off? Well, don’t worry, because the craic we’re talking about is the Irish kind, meaning fun, entertaining company.

Keen to experience Dublin’s craic for yourself? Set aside a weekend and read on for our perfect plan for 2 days in Dublin.

Kilmainham Gaol

Kilmainham Gaol is a prison where many Irish prisoners were held under harsh conditions.

After saying “top o the mornin to ya” to a hearty Irish breakfast and an (Irish?) coffee, you’ll be all set for your first day of discovery. And the first stop on our two-day itinerary is Kilmainham Gaol, a pleasant bus ride west of the city.

Now, visiting a prison might not be the first activity that springs to mind for a pleasant weekend away, but this jail-turned-museum is a must on your 2-day visit to Ireland’s fair capital.

Built in 1796, Kilmainham Gaol has over a century’s worth of harrowing stories to tell. You’ll take a tour of the cells where thousands of men, women and even young children were imprisoned, from petty criminals to Irish revolutionaries to some of Ireland’s most notorious criminals.

You’ll want to have a packet of tissues at the ready as the guide fills you in on the inhumane conditions and public executions that took place within these walls.

Booking tickets is strongly recommended, as their fascinating tours can sell out weeks or months in advance.


IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art has paintings by Irish and international artists.

While you’re in this part of the city, pop down the road for a more relaxing visit, this time to IMMA, the Irish Museum of Modern Art. In a centuries-old building, this collection of modern art stands out.

This dynamic museum is known for innovative exhibitions, Irish and international artists and a varied offering of workshops and events suitable for all the family.

You could even stop to recharge your batteries with a refreshment in the cafe in the museum’s lovely grounds. The museum is open every day except Monday.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar is buzzing with restaurants, cafes and bars,

Now, we know you must be getting hungry by now, so hop back on our handy bus and head back towards the city centre. Temple Bar is buzzing with restaurants, cafes and bars, so you’ll have plenty of enticing lunch options.

In recent years, Dublin has emerged as a culinary hotspot, with dishes ranging from contemporary to classic. Try out traditional dishes from the Emerald Isle, such as a hearty Irish stew or the lesser-known Boxty, a type of Irish potato pancake, washed down with a pint of the black stuff (Guinness). If you’re a fan of Guinness, you can even take a tour around the brilliant Guinness Storehouse.

All this hearty fodder will provide a good lining for your stomach for the next activity and the night that lies ahead…

Jameson Distillery

Take a tour of the former whiskey factory, the Jameson Distillery.

From edible excitement to drinkable delights, our next top activity for your 2 days in Dublin is a tour of the former whiskey factory, the Jameson Distillery.

Become an expert in the process of “grain to glass” as you learn about John Jameson’s 18th-century method of distilling whiskey three times.

Choose from the different tours available: do you want a cocktail-making class? Always been keen to bottle your own whiskey, straight from the barrel? Or do you simply want to taste a variety of premium brands? There’s something for every devotee of the “water of life.”

O’Connell Street

Lively O’Connell Street should be part of your perfect Dublin itinerary.

Keep the party going into the evening as you experience Dublin’s legendary nightlife. They say Guinness tastes better in Ireland than anywhere else in the world – it’d be wrong not to test out the theory! With around 772 pubs in the city, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

We recommend starting off with a jar (or pint) or two in and around lively O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare.

Now that you’re drinking like a local, you’ll want to listen to music like a local too. Dubliners are mad for trad, a type of traditional Irish folk music. This area brims with buzzing bars where you can enjoy trad, pint in hand, until the wee hours. And if you happen to be in Dublin on St.Patrick’s Day (17th March), you’ll be in for an epic party!

Day 2 in Dublin

EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum

EPIC is a must during your 2 days in Dublin.

EPIC by name, epic by nature. You can’t spend 2 days in Dublin without visiting this monumental museum. It tells the story of the Irish diaspora – the 10 million citizens who have left Ireland and helped shape the world.

Learning about history doesn’t have to be boring. This fully interactive museum offers a plethora of hands-on, interactive exhibits, including video galleries, motion sensor quizzes and audio and video that bring Irish history to life.

To become an expert on Éire’s history, you’ll want to immerse yourself in its songs and soul. Ireland’s history is told through its music. You’ll discover Ireland’s music history, from the traditional tin whistle to more recent rock legends, including Springsteen and Bono.

And don’t miss the opportunity to try your feet (no hands, please!) at the popular Riverdance! EPIC is open seven days a week, from 10:00 to 18:45 (last entry at 17:00), and a visit takes around 90 minutes.

Jeanie Johnston

The Jeanie Johnston is an impressive replica of an 1847 ship.

As you walk out of Epic and towards Dublin’s docklands, you’d be forgiven for thinking that you’ve been transported centuries into the past when you lay eyes on the Jeanie Johnston, a replica of an 1847 three-masted ship. The original vessel carried an astounding 2500 Irish emigrants across the Atlantic in search of a better life.

Step on the ship and imagine what life must have been like on board as its passengers sailed to the other side of the ocean, an often-grim journey that could take over two months. Learn all about the ship’s fascinating history as you explore its decks and masts and enjoy great views of the Dublin docklands.

Incredibly, no lives were ever lost on the Jeannie Johnston. After years as a passenger ship, it was sold and became a cargo ship. On her final voyage, she became waterlogged, and the crew spent nine gruelling days clinging on as she slowly sank. They were eventually rescued by a Dutch ship, thus maintaining her 100% safety record.

The tour takes less than an hour, so you can easily slot it into your day, especially when you’re in the area for EPIC.

Trinity College

Make sure the 16th-century Trinity College is on your to do list for your 2 days in Dublin.

Not only is Trinity College Ireland’s top university, but it’s also a bonafide tourist attraction and an essential on your list of things to do in 2 days in Dublin.

The 16th-century building is a stunner. One of its highlights is The Long Room, which lives up to its descriptive moniker at 60 metres long. Its creaky wooden floorboards, curly-wurly iron staircase and row upon row of dusty books (an unfathomable 200,000 volumes!) will give even the most sceptical muggles Harry Potter vibes.

The jewel in Trinity College’s crown is the fabled Book of Kells, a 9th-century illuminated manuscript. Don’t expect to sit down and flick through this ancient tome with a cuppa in hand! It’s so precious that only two sections are on display at any one time, and these fragile pages are turned only eight times a year, to avoid too much human handling.

Finally, Trinity College has lovely greens and a delightful rose garden. You don’t have to have a PhD from this distinguished institution to realise that this is an essential stop during your two days in Dublin!

Picnic at St. Stephen's Green

St. Stephen’s Green is a peaceful inner-city park.

If Trinity College’s green spaces inspired you, pick up a picnic, hop on our bus and head down to St. Stephen’s Green, a tranquil inner-city park, where you can while away a couple of happy hours relaxing, people-watching and escaping the city’s hubbub.

Incredibly, this park was first built back in the 17th century, although it wasn’t opened to the public until 1880. It has played a significant part in history, being a battleground during the struggle for Irish independence, the notorious 1916 Easter Rising.

Dublin Castle

Take a tour of the incredible 12th-century Dublin Castle.

Dublin Castle, the next stop on your Dublin itinerary, also has quite a history. Construction began in the 12th century, ordered by King John, on the site of a Viking settlement. It sits atop the highest point in central Dublin, which gave it advantageous views of the city and Dubh Linn, the dark pool to which the Irish capital owes its name.

In more recent history, “Dublin Castle” has become almost synonymous with the British government’s administration in Ireland; until 1922, its seat was here.

You can walk around the grounds and gardens for free. To get the full castle experience, you can pay for the 70-minute guided tour. This takes you to the building’s highlights, including the opulent state apartments, once the playground for the Lord Lieutenant and his chums. You’ll also visit the fascinating Viking excavation below the castle, with parts of the wall and moat of the original settlement still intact.

It’s got to be Bailey’s o’clock now, right? Just a stone’s throw away,  you’ll be back in Dublin’s hedonistic heart, Temple Bar, for one last hedonistic night of fun.

Two perfect days in Dublin

All good things must come to an end, and sadly, your two days in Dublin are now done. So, “Slán” (bye) for now, and hopefully see you on your next weekend in Dublin!

Frequently Asked Questions

It depends what you want! Grafton Street is a great choice if you want to do mainstream shopping in high-street shops. If it’s raining, head for George’s Street Arcade for an array of stalls and shops. EPIC has a great gift shop which will satisfy all your souvenir needs.

There is simply no better way to get around than Dublin on a 2-day trip than our hop-on hop-off City Sightseeing bus! Choose between 24, 48 and 72-hour tickets. Plan your own itinerary and see the city at your own pace, with the best views in town! You can even take a river cruise on the enchanting River Liffey. Or combine bus and boat with a brilliant-value combination ticket.

Our recommendation would be to talk to as many friendly Dubliners as you can! Spend time in traditional Irish pubs and strike up a conversation with a local to experience that famous Irish “craic”!

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