Ireland’s capital city is perfect for exploring when you only have a few days. If you don’t know what to do in Dublin we have some ideas to make the time fly by. Pick and choose your favorites and create your own itinerary for visiting some of Dublin’s best attractions. These are our choices for the best things to do if you have a weekend in Dublin.
What Not to Miss if You Have a Weekend in Dublin
Use this handy Dublin map to help plan your trip.
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1. Visit the Book of Kells and The Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity College
The Book of Kells is usually at the top of the list when visiting Dublin. It is an ornately decorated manuscript of the four Gospels dating to the 9th century, and a self-guided tour gives you the history of the book and a chance to see some of its pages. Located within Trinity College, it’s extremely important to purchase your Book of Kells tickets in advance to avoid the long lines. The exhibit itself is not very large, and it’s easy to see the images and read about their history in under an hour. At the end of the tour is the Long Room of the Old Library at Trinity College with its collection of over 200,000 antique books. It’s breathtaking to say the least.
2. Take a walk through St. Stephen’s Green
Any time I’m in Dublin, I head to St Stephen’s Green park. Located at the end of Grafton Street, it’s the perfect place to take a stroll, have a picnic, or people watch. With over 22 acres, there’s a lot to explore, so stick to the manicured paths that wind throughout the park. Keep an eye out for the bust of James Joyce (as well as other sculptures) and bring a book to read on one of the benches near the fountains. It’s a great spot to spend the afternoon if the weather is good.
3. Go shopping on Grafton Street
Grafton Street is another one of my must see places in Dublin. This pedestrian friendly street is where locals and tourists alike go for shopping and socializing. There are all types of stores, from high end boutiques to discount tourist shops. Make time to admire the stunning flower stands and listen to local musicians who line up along the street. I would highly recommend a stop at my favorite Irish store, Avoca, located on Suffolk Street, just off Grafton. Not only do they have the coolest local products, they have an awesome restaurant in case you’re hungry.
4. Visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral
It’s hard to miss St. Patrick’s gorgeous cathedral in the heart of Dublin. The church was built in the 13th century to honor Ireland’s patron saint, and it is the largest cathedral in Ireland. If you’re a fan of cathedrals, you won’t want to miss this one.
Across the street is equally impressive Christ Church Cathedral, built in 1030 as a Viking church. Inside you will find a 12th century crypt with important church artifacts from over the years. Don’t miss the Christ Church Viking tour next door at Dublinia. This heritage center takes visitors back in time as they learn about Irish Viking history and life in medieval Dublin.
5. Spend some time at Marsh’s Library
Just around the corner from St. Patrick’s Church is Marsh’s library. If you are a book lover, this place is a must visit, as the dark oak bookshelves and ancient volumes are breathtaking. Marsh’s Library was founded in 1707, making it the oldest public library in Ireland. There are over 25,000 books and manuscripts and some of their famous patrons include Bram Stoker, Jonathan Swift, and James Joyce.
6. Visit Kilmainham Gaol
Kilmainham Gaol was the Dublin jail from 1796 to 1924, and over the years it became the symbol of nationalism as many leaders of various government rebellions were kept and often executed here. If you wish to visit, be sure to buy Kilmainham Gaol tickets in advance. Entrance to the jail itself is only through timed tickets for guided tours.
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7. Take a tour of the Guinness Storehouse
Even if you don’t drink Guinness, you’ll want to visit Guinness Storehouse Dublin to learn about the history, enjoy some delicious food, and take in fabulous views of Dublin’s skyline. The best way to experience the factory is to book your Guinness tickets in advance. I highly recommend grabbing a bite to eat at 1837 Bar & Brasserie restaurant on the 5th floor before heading out on a tour. Try the flatbread or the Guinness beef stew for a filling and delicious meal.
Tours of the brewery start on the ground floor, inside the world’s largest beer glass (the atrium), which would hold over 14 million pints of Guinness stout. Here’s where you learn about the history of Guinness and the ingredients that go into the beer.
The third floor takes you through the Guinness history of advertising. It’s a quick stop before heading up to the 4th floor where you’ll find the Guinness Academy. This is where you learn to pour your own perfect pint and can even get your picture on a Guinness pint glass. The final stop should be the 7th floor Gravity Bar with 360 degree panoramic views of the city. It’s the perfect spot to enjoy a pint before wrapping up your tour.
8. National Museum of Ireland
There are three National Museum of Ireland institutions in Dublin. The National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, The National Museum of Ireland – Decorative Arts and History, and The National Museum of Ireland – Natural History. You can probably guess from their names what you will find inside.
The Archaeology Museum in Dublin is my favorite of the three. Inside you can see everything from bog bodies to hoards of gold to primitive weapons. It’s easy to spend half a day here engaged in the exhibits and learning about Irish history.
The Natural History Museum in Dublin has what you would expect, taxidermied animals and fossils of all shapes and sizes. If you’re a dinosaur fan, this is the place for you.
The Decorative Arts and History Museum in Dublin has everything from furniture to weaponry. It also covers Irish history through its war stories, fashion displays, and Irish craft collection.
9. Enjoy the festive atmosphere of Temple Bar
Temple Bar is one of those must see places in Dublin. Cobblestone streets, music spilling out of every pub, and tourists and locals seamlessly mingling. It’s one of those places where you can be anonymous or join in the merriment. Pop into a pub and listen to some live music, or join a tour and learn about the history of the area and music scene in Dublin. Click HERE to book a Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl through the area.
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10. Travel through time at 14 Henrietta Street
One of the more unique museums out there, 14 Henrietta Street is a tenement building turned into a museum. Built in the 1720s, this Georgian townhouse (and the surrounding neighborhood) fell on hard times through the years. The Dublin tenement museum opened in 2018, and visitors experience what it was like to live in this building as they listen to tales from the past told by a tour guide. It’s a fascinating look at Irish life from the high society to the lowest, and poorest class. Book tickets for 14 Henrietta Street in advance, it’s worth your time.
TIP: If you have extra time, take a walk around Merrion Square and admire the colored Doors of Dublin. They come in all shapes and sizes and make for some of the best Instagram spots in Dublin.
We hope you have found plenty of things to do in Dublin for the weekend. It’s an amazing destination any time of year.
Where to Stay in Dublin
Hilton Garden Inn Dublin Custom House – Comfortable and clean hotel. Walking distance to all main attractions. Next to the Financial District and on the River Liffey.
The Merrion – Impeccable property with five star service. The buildings are beautiful Georgian townhouses with every modern amenity you could want. Central location right across from St. Stephen’s Green and walking distance to Grafton Street.
Davenport Hotel – Stylish and comfortable property near Merrion Square.
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