BEST THINGS TO DO IN DUBLIN IN 3 DAYS – A FUN ITINERARY
This post was written by Cassandra
If you are planning your Dublin itinerary and wondering about the best things to do in Dublin in 3 days, this post is for you. Find out about what to do in Dublin and how to spend three days plus more important travel tips for your first trip.
Dublin is a fun, lively and very friendly city filled with welcoming people who are proud of their heritage. Everyone I met in Dublin gave me recommendations on restaurants, told me stories and gladly chatted with me at any given time. The food was great, the city safe, plenty of sightseeing and history as well as a thriving music scene. I truly believe everyone should visit Dublin at some point!
3 days in Dublin is the perfect weekend trip or the perfect start to a trip through Ireland. Only a short flight from the UK it’s also a great combo trip to do with London, Edinburgh or Glasgow.
How to Get Around
There is no need for a car in Dublin, it is a very walkable city and for areas outside of walking distance, local taxis are very accessible as are rideshares such as Uber. For traveling outside the city itself you can book day tours or take the train.
Best Time to Visit
You can visit year-round, Dublin has mild weather all year never getting super cold or super-hot BUT again is common so bring layers and a waterproof jacket.
Summer is high season for travel to Ireland so if you want to avoid higher costs and bigger crowds you may prefer shoulder seasons of spring and fall.
Where to Stay
I recommend staying on the south side of the river but still close to the river. This puts you near Temple Bar district for some fun and lively nightlife. You could also stay a bit further south of the river near Stephen’s Green or Trinity College which is also great areas to be in for sightseeing but set back a bit more from the nightlife.
If you want to be closer to Temple Bar district I’d recommend the Jury’s Inn Christchurch, if you’re looking to be more set back the Trinity City Hotel is another great option.
Tips for Solo Female Travelers in Dublin
I found Dublin to be a very friendly and safe city- I never felt in danger at any point even alone at night. Of course, you’d want to exercise precautions like you would anywhere and be aware of your surroundings at all time. In general, though I think Dublin and Ireland, in general, is a great safe option for solo female travelers without much worry.
Compared to other European destinations, I found costs in Dublin to be mid-range. Nothing was particularly cheap, but I didn’t find anything to be incredibly expensive either.
I did love that there were plenty of attractions with free entry (Dublin Castle, Museum of Natural History etc.) and it was nice to be able to explore and do some sightseeing without dishing out tons of money. It’s also a very walkable city so we didn’t spend too much on transportation besides to/from the airport and doing some day trips outside of the city.
I loved the comfort food of Ireland, tasty stews, brews and plenty of potatoes. Everything was savory and filling. Some of my favorite spots were Boxty Restaurant, having lunch at the Guinness Storehouse (everything was cooked with Guinness and very tasty) and the Queen of Tarts café and bakery.
Dublin City Pass
I highly recommend pre-purchasing the Dublin City Pass for your stay so you have entry, fast track and hop on hop off transportation for main sightseeing easily.
Day 1 in Dublin
The first day is the perfect day to explore at leisure. Aim to arrive early so you can have as much time available as possible.
You can pick up the pass at the airport upon arrival. Just know that it activates as soon as you start using it and starts counting down from there so I recommend getting more than 1 days’ worth.
Once you get into the city and drop your luggage at the hotel first thing I’d recommend heading to Queen of Tarts for a nice bite to eat and some coffee to get ready for exploring the city.
From here you can walk right over to Dublin Castle.
Dublin Castle is a big part of Ireland’s history. From Viking Settlement to British house of rule and now Ireland’s own, it houses rotating art and history exhibits and is home to stunning gardens. It also has the amazing Chester Beatty Library on its grounds as well.
The library displays a wide collection of work and ancient pieces from all over the world including Buddhist scrolls and Ancient Egyptian work- definitely worth a visit.
After spending some time exploring the castle, enjoying the gardens and checking out the library you can walk over to City Hall for a quick stop in to check out the beautiful Georgian architecture before heading to Christ Church Cathedral.
The cathedral was built in 1030 and is one of the most historical in Dublin, the stained-glass windows and carvings are stunning and the medieval crypt is the largest in Ireland. If interested in a fun interactive live display of the olden days Dublin is neighboring Christ Church and would be particularly fun if traveling with any kids.
Afterwards, I’d recommend walking through the Temple Bar district. Temple Bar is both the name of the area as well as the name of the actual bar “Temple Bar” that resides here. The bar is touristy but also fun and lively and worth a stop in for a quick drink during a pub hop if you wanted.
During the day Temple Bar area is equally lovely, it’s a non-driving pedestrian-only road of cobblestone and old beautiful buildings usually with artists and street performers playing Irish tunes. The area is dabbled with shops, restaurants, and bars.
From here you can walk towards Ha’ Penny Bridge– this is the iconic Dublin bridge you’ve most likely seen in photos, this historic bridge has been refurbished and walking over it with a pause in the middle to take in the river and city views is a must-do.
For dinner I’d say to check out Temple Bar at night, have some traditional Irish food at Quays and then enjoy some of the local pubs- I personally like The Butcher’s Bar (which is a few blocks from Temple) for some hard cider, ginger beer or home infused whiskeys If you like something harder.
Day 2 in Dublin
Of course, there are more fun things to do in Dublin.
If you opted for the Dublin City Pass today would be day 2 on the pass and it’s the perfect day to utilize the 24-hour hop on hop off pass it comes with. Even if you don’t get the Dublin Pass I would recommend a 24-hour hop on hop off to get around to some of the highlights for day 2 in Dublin.
I’d say to start the day early around 8:30 or so with a quick stop at KC Peaches Café to grab some coffee and a quick bite on your way to Trinity College. The college itself is beautiful but the highlight is the library and the Book of Kells which is on display there.
The library alone is often rated amongst the most beautiful in the world, from the 18th century and housing 200,000 + of Trinity’s oldest books it is absolutely worth a visit.
The book of Kells exhibit though is a must see – a 9th-century manuscript that documents 4 gospels. From here you can walk by Merrion Square– mostly popular for the gorgeous Georgian doorways surrounding the area- on your way to the museum row where you can visit any that spark your interest.
All the museums open at 10 so arriving at opening is a perfect time before they get too crowded. I personally enjoyed each located here: The National Gallery of Ireland, The National Archeology Museum of Ireland, The Natural Museum of Ireland and The Little Museum of Dublin.
They are all right next to each other and all are relatively small compared to other cities I’ve been to, so I found it doable to briefly explore each of them but, I’d most recommend the Archeology Museum and the Natural Museum. The Archaeology Museum displayed the history of Ireland and artifacts from pre-historic to Viking past, medieval and more.
They also have a small section on Ancient Egypt but personally, I was there to see Ireland’s history! If you live in a city of have been to a city with a vaster Egyptian display you could easily skip it and focus on the Irish history displays. The Natural Museum I found to be a unique display.
They have a large section on Irish wildlife from pre-historic giant deer to modern times as well as a huge insect display which was actually very interesting. The whole experience felt like stepping back in time in comparison to other Natural history museums I’ve been to.
You can easily see both museums within 2 hours unless you are a lover of either and want to linger longer. From here make your way to Stephen’s Green where you can relax on a park bench and take in the views and great people watching before grabbing the hop on hop off bus from it’s Stephen’s Green stop.
Take the red line to St. Patrick’s Cathedral, dating back to 1191 it’s believed this is where St. Patrick performed baptisms. The building is beautiful! Step inside to view the monuments and massive stained glass windows before getting back on the hop on hop off the red line. Next, get off at Guinness Storehouse.
Of course, you’ll want lunch by this point so once entering the storehouse make a stop at one of their many on-site pubs or dining areas to enjoy a tasty meal before starting your tour. The storehouse is an absolute blast so I recommend taking your time here to soak it all in.
Learn to pour the perfect pint, do a tasting, learn how Guinness is made, view fun interactive displays of past marketing campaigns and head to the very top- the Gravity Bar- for a pint with prime views of the city. After completing your Guinness tour and lunch grab the hop on hop off again but this time get on the Blue line.
Depending on how long you spend at each stop would determine how much you could fit into the day but by now it should be about mid- late afternoon. Take the blue line to Glasnevin Cemetery– rated Best Cultural Experience in Ireland for a reason, this historic cemetery and its monuments and stories are fascinating.
The cemetery opened in 1832 and houses over 1.5 million souls. A tour through the cemetery and museum will reveal Ireland’s history and heroes. When departing you can take the blue line back to where you started and grab some dinner at Drury Buildings.
Luckily, Ireland is quite a small country and you can easily explore any part of it from Dublin in a day trip.
Some great options are Cliff’s of Moher with Galway, Belfast and Titanic, or Howthe Harbor and Malahide Castle.
If you want something not too far and not too long of a day Howthe is a much closer spot to head to. The castle is a nice stop by Howthe itself was my favorite part.
Hiking the gentle path along the coast, viewing the lighthouse and some ancient ruins followed by a lunch at a local pub was a great getaway from the city and view into smaller village life. If you have an interest in history I would say Belfast and Titanic would be the best option.
Belfast located in Northern Ireland is actually still part of the UK and not Ireland. Visiting and doing a black cab tour is a really cool experience showcasing the history of the revolution and show you another side of Ireland. The Titanic Belfast is another noteworthy stop on a trip to Northern Ireland with interactive exhibits showcasing the Titanic experience.
If you’re a nature lover you may want to opt for the Cliffs of Moher. One of the most popular sights to see in Ireland for a reason, these stunning cliffs drop off into the Atlantic at a striking 702 ft.
The nearby town of Galway is also a lovely stop and is famed for its Irish folk music and colorful town on the west coast.
Another popular day trip is to head south and visit the Blarney Castle and stone as well as the town of Cork. Legend has it that kissing the Blarney stone endows you with the gift of gab! Cork is a charming Irish town with plenty to see and do although I would most recommend a visit to the English Market and St. Anne’s Church.
The English Market has been around since 1788 fueling foodies and serving up local goodies both food and crafts and is worth a chunk of time to stroll through and enjoy at leisure. St. Anne’s is a gorgeous medieval church but unlike most others, visitors are welcomes to climb the town and ring the bells.
If you’re a fan of Game of Thrones you may want to opt for a Game of thrones tour through Northern Ireland’s nature where several scenes were filmed. In addition most usually also include a stop at the unique rock formations of Giant’s Causeway.
Hopefully, this 3-day Dublin itinerary has helped you plan your trip and how to spend 3 days in Dublin! Enjoy.
Find out more about great places to visit in Ireland.
About the Author
Cassandra is a US-female travel addict who loves traveling the world and works for a tour operator. She is a freelance writer for Arzo Travels where she shares her expertise and has a special love affair with Mexico – so she knows pretty well what she is recommending to you 🙂