From James Joyce to Bono, Dublin has birthed some of the most intriguing characters this world will ever know. And it’s no wonder the city is such a petri dish for talent, it’s the capital city of a land filled with wild enchantment and ancient history.
Tradition is firmly rooted within these majestic hills through Irish folklore, music, and the ancient ruins that dot the country from coast to coast. In truth, Dublin’s just one little corner of fair Ireland. If only we had the time to travel the entire continent together!
Until then, let’s focus on the capital jewel that’s easily one of Europe’s most fascinating cities. Here’s how to master your 24 hours in Dublin.
Early Morning (7am - 9am) A Full Irish Breakfast
When in Rome… you must experience each’s country’s famous dishes. As for Ireland, it’s a full Irish breakfast or a “full Irish.” You must be a meat lover to indulge but, rest assured, Irish meat is some of purest, hormone-free meat on the planet.
In a full Irish, you’re going to dine on their form of bacon (which can be likened to American ham), sausage, blood pudding – another variation on sausage – eggs, toast, and fried tomatoes. Served alongside a pot of tea, or a fresh-brewed pot of coffee, you’ll be nice and full for your next 24 hours in Dublin.
There are two restaurants that are ranked at the very top for a full Irish: you’ve got The Bakehouse on Bachelors Walk or Queen of Tarts on Cows Lane. The Bakehouse calls their full Irish the Bakehouse Grill and you’ll be sure to enjoy all the essentials. As for The Queen of Tarts, it’s also a lovely patisserie. So, feel free to stick a pain au chocolate in your backpack for the journey ahead!
Address: 6 Bachelors Walk, North City, Dublin
Website: The Bakehouse
Queen of Tarts
Address: Cow’s Ln, Temple Bar, Dublin
Website: Queen of Tarts
Morning (9am - 11am) Grafton Street & St. Stephen's Green
After you’ve savored your morning meal and a hot pot of tea, strap on your backpack and start making your way to Grafton Street. Dublin’s a fabulous city for walking and you can do most of your 24-hours by foot. You’ll stroll along river banks, wander amidst colorful streets, gaze upon doorways painted every color of the rainbow, and dip in and out of quirky shops.
As such, you’ll definitely want to window shop along Grafton Street. It boasts of some of the higher-end brand names, such as Brown Thomas. It’s quite lovely to stroll up a lane that’s reserved for pedestrians only, and maybe you’ll pick up a trinket or two in one of the tourist shops, too.
At the top of Grafton Street, in the heart of a bustling city, you’ll find St. Stephen’s Green. This was the park that sprang to life in James Joyce’s “Ulysses.” And it’s still a serene sanctuary in the heart of Dublin’s fair city. You’ll feel like you’ve done well to work off that full Irish by the time you’ve circled this gorgeous greenscape.
St. Stephen's Green
Address: St Stephen’s Green, Dublin
Website: St Stephen’s Green
Midday (11am - 2pm) The Book of Kells
From St. Stephen’s Green – and, again, this is totally feasible by foot – you’ll want to head over to Trinity College’s Long Room and gaze upon The Book of Kells.
Let’s start with the Long Room first. Even if it never housed The Book of Kells, you’ll still be staggered by the sheer volume of books stacked into these mile high bookshelves. Loosen up your neck muscles because while your mouth is agape, your eyes will roam from ceiling to floor.
Then, there’s the crown jewel, The Book of Kells. It’s considered to be one of Ireland’s greatest national treasures. History dates this manuscript back to the ninth century. Columban monks came together to transcribe all four of the Gospels, accompanied by the kind of calligraphy and artwork that makes you wonder how the human hand could create such rare beauty. Similar to how we crowd the Mona Lisa in The Louvre, get ready for sheer astonishment.
Address: College Green, Dublin
Website: Trinity College
Afternoon (2pm - 6pm) Guinness Storehouse
Even monks like to enjoy a pint from time to time; just ask the Belgian masters over at Chimay. Take all your inspiration from the Book of Kells and apply it to another work of art – the perfectly poured pint of Guinness. Much like the full Irish, when in Ireland, you simply have to sample a genuine pint of Guinness.
Spending the cash on a tour of the factory is worth it. This brew is steep in Irish history and comes with fascinating facts about the fine craftsmanship that goes into every single pint. Best of all, victory lies atop their rooftop bar. What better way to indulge in Ireland’s famous drink than with a view overlooking Dublin herself? These are the kinds of views that will live in your heart forever.
Address: St James’s Gate, Ushers, Dublin
Website: Guinness Storehouse
Evening (6pm - 9pm) Gourmet Delights
In most capital cities, the gods are in your favor when searching for a good meal. Without question, Dublin is no slouch in the food department. Honestly, it was very, very difficult to narrow this one down. But, since Dublin gazes upon the Irish Sea, it’s a safe bet the seafood is going to be stellar.
At Rosa Madre on Crow Street, you’ll want to sample the Dublin Bay prawns, as well as any scallop-based dish. The freshness will blow your mind. The thing that makes Rosa Madre special amidst a sea of seafood joints is that the owner, Luca de Marzio, has an intense love affair with seafood. He loves educating his guests on this fine cuisine, leaving everyone just a little bit more enamored by the time they leave.
As for ambiance and intrigue, Hatch & Sons will do the trick. It’s located in the basement of The Little Museum of Dublin, a grand old house overlooking St. Stephen’s Green. It’s in the basement because this is where the kitchen would have been when the house was graced by lords and ladies. They’re only open for dinner on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so you know the allure is real. Here, you’ll sample some of the freshest salmon plates, as well as the classic Guinness stew, which you can liken to a hearty bowl of beef stew.
Address: 7 Crow St, Temple Bar, Dublin
Website: Rosa Madre
Hatch & Sons
Address: 15 Saint Stephen’s Green, Dublin Southside, Dublin
Website: Hatch & Sons
Night (9pm - Midnight) Traditional Irish Music
If you selected Rosa Madre for dinner, then you’ll be perfectly positioned to walk over to Merchant’s Arch, located in the heart of Temple Bar. Temple Bar is where traditional music sessions spring to life with a simple, rare joy that only Ireland can offer. Music notes will sail in and out of Merchant’s Arch all through the night, accompanied by a late night menu, in case those pints of Guinness start to stir up your appetite.
If you’ve chosen Hatch & Sons for dinner, then you’ll be well-positioned to walk over to The Celt on Talbot Street. It’s not as “touristy” as Temple Bar, if you’re less prone to wander into large crowds of people. Their nightly trad session can be counted on like clockwork, offering a genuine teaspoon of authentic Irish culture.
Address: Wellington Quay Wellington Quay, Temple Bar, Dublin
Phone Number: +353 1 607 4010
Address: 81 Talbot St, North City, Dublin
Website: The Celt
24 Hours of Misty Magic
How’s that for 24 hours in Dublin? You may not come upon quiet fairy hills or haunting swirls of ancient castle ruins, but that’s for tomorrow. In these 24 hours, you’re going to soak up authentic Irish cuisine, ancient Irish history, and waves of Irish music that’ll set your soul on fire.
Once you’ve tucked the memories of Dublin neatly into your back pocket, consider heading west to the natural wonders that await you along Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way. Visit harbor villages like Doolin and dance the night away in Dublin’s sister city, Galway. Know that Ireland will stay with you forever, wherever you wander to next. And, until we meet again, may the road rise up to meet you and may the wind be always at your back.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.