The Ultimate 2 Days In Dublin Itinerary
Are you headed to Dublin and looking for the ultimate 2 days in Dublin itinerary?
Are you headed to Ireland and have only have two days in Dublin to cram in all the sights and have some craic in the pubs? Dublin is a bustling energetic city and it is quite small so very walkable.
How To Get To Dublin For Your 2 Days in Dublin
Many arrive at Dublin Airport and plan to rent a car to travel around Ireland. However, if you are only spending 2 days in Dublin you obviously won’t need a vehicle and getting from the airport into the centre of Dublin is pretty easy with local transport. The airport is about 6 miles or 12 km from the City Centre. There are 4 ways to get to the centre of Dublin.
Taxi’s to Dublin City Centre
Uber is NOT available in Dublin but you can use the My Taxi app to get a taxi to where you have booked your accommodation. This will be somewhat expensive though at around €30 Euros. So if you don’t want to spend that kind of money and save it for your adventures in Dublin take the local bus.
I recommend picking up a Leap Visitor Card at the airport. The best way to get around on your two days in Dublin
The Leap Card will allow you to use the Dublin buses and the trams in Dublin. For your two days in Dublin, a Leap Card can be bought at the Airport or at some selected DART lines throughout the City. You can also purchase top-ups for your Leap card through the Android or Apple apps on your phone. Cost for an adult Leap card is 24 hours €10.00 or a 3 day (72 hours) €19.50.
Express Public Buses Airlink
The Airlink Express route 747 will get you to the centre of town and you have a few stops to choose from. So pick the one closest to your hotel and grab the Airlink. Cost of the Airlink is €6 one-way for adults. These buses run every 15 minutes or so and go to Dublin’s main bus station Busaras, then to O’Connell Street in the city centre and finally to Heuston, one of Dublin’s main train stations. See the official Airlink timetable. You can catch the Airlink bus just outside Terminal 1 Arrivals level. Look for the big green buses which will be to the left of the Arrivals exit.
Aircoach is a privately-operated, 24-hour coach service that takes folks from the airport to the city centre. The Aircoach that goes to Dublin city centre is number 700. The Aircoach departs every 15 to 30 minutes depending on the time of day. The Aircoach stops just outside Terminal 1 arrivals level and outside the main door of Terminal 2 departures level. The adult fare from the airport to Dublin city centre (O’Connell Street) with the Aircoach is €7
The Dublin Buses are easy to recognise they are double-decker yellow with blue stripes. The main bus to Dublin is #41. This bus stops at Terminal 1, usually every 10 minutes during peak hours and 30 minutes non-peak hours. with yellow with blue strips along on the bottom, although sometimes Dublin Buses are used to display advertising, usually on the rear.
O’Connell Street is the main stop from there you can find your hotel or accommodations. Make sure you get the 41 bus that is marked Lwr Abbey Street via Aerfort. Keep in mind you must pay cash on the buses the driver cannot give change so pick some up when you hit the ATM.
There is another Dublin Bus that comes to the airport and this is #16. This route stops in the city centre (O’Connell Street) then crosses the River Liffey and continues through the southside suburbs. If you get this bus make sure you ask the driver to let you off on O’Connell street. You can catch the Dublin bus just outside Terminal 1 Arrivals the cost will be €3.30 and remember the exact coins will be needed.
How To Get Around During Your 2 Days In Dublin
I always highly recommend a Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour to familiarize yourself in a new city, particularly where you are only spending two days in Dublin or any other city for that matter.
There are two types of HOHO buses in Dublin and here are the major differences
Big Bus Tours
Riders can visit 36 different stops spread across the two routes offered by Big Bus Dublin. Unlike the other bus tour, companies Big Bus Tours have live commentary in English which you won’t want to miss and will have you in stitches by the end of the tour. Each ticket includes 2 children’s tickets and a free walking tour ticket.
As if that weren’t enough, you can also use your tickets on either Big Bus or City Sightseeing buses. Now you can buy a 24-hour ticket for €20 which includes that free walking tour.
I’ve taken many a City Sightseeing bus from New York to York in England and when it comes to the Dublin bus tours they have a great selection of 30 stops. The best part is that you can use your Big Bus ticket on the City Sightseeing buses as well.
So for your 2 days in Dublin, you can see sites such as The Guinness Storehouse, Phoenix Park, Dublin Castle and more. Live commentary is provided on their Blue route while audio commentary in 8 different languages is available on every third Red Route. Cost of a ticket is €22/Adults.
The Dublin bus network is pretty comprehensive and all routes go through the City Centre. You can use the Journey Planner to find your nearest bus stop and figure out your destination. Remember though if you haven’t bought a Visitor Leap Car which is valid for up to 72 hours you must pay the exact cash amount.
Luas literally means ‘speed’ in Irish. There are two tram lines, which cross the city. A Red Line and a Green Line these lines do pass some major sites you may want to see such as listed below and you can use your Leap Card on the Tram.
- National History Museum
- O2 Arena (Point Depot)
- Stephens Green
- Dublin Docklands
- Kilmainham Gaol
- Iveagh Gardens
- Dundrum Town Centre
- Guinness Store House
- Irish Museum of Modern Art
- The Old Jameson Distillery
- James Joyce House of the Dead
DART Rail Line
DART stands for ‘Dublin Area Rapid Transport’ the DART is a great way to get out of Dublin and see the coastline. The DART runs from the northern areas of Howth and Malahide through the city centre to Blackrock and Greystones. Again you can use your LEAP card on the DART.
Fancy something a little more eco-friendly then you might want to bike around the city. Dublin Bikes are a public bike-rental service. This is a great way to explore the hidden corners of Dublin. You can rent one from dozens of terminals dotted around the City Centre and inner-city suburbs. You can get 3 days for €5 which can be purchased at one of the many Terminals around the city.
The Dublin Pass is a great deal if you want to see some of the most popular attractions within your 2 days in Dublin. Several sites have a fast pass entrance which means you get to beat the crowds and line ups which is brilliant. A one day pass will cost you €62.00.
Dublin Pass – What’s included?
- Free entry to over 30 of Dublin’s most popular attractions, sights and landmarks
- Free Hop on Hop off Bus Tour to discover Dublin’s top attractions and landmarks with a 24hr ticket
- Discounts and exclusive offers at 20 extra venues, only available to Dublin Pass holders
- Fast Track Entry at selected top Dublin attractions to skip the queues
- Mobile Dublin Pass: Download the Dublin Pass App and access your Mobile Dublin Pass immediately. Includes useful attraction and travel information to help plan your trip
- Free guidebook to help plan your sightseeing adventure and guide you around the city
Where to stay in Dublin
Let’s talk practicalities obviously if you land in Dublin you are going to want to make sure your accommodation is booked before you get there and if you arrive at the airport with some luggage you will want to head to your hotel or hostel and dump that bag. All these recommendations can be found on booking.
So depending on your budget so I recommend these hostels for those on a budget.
- The Generator Hostel
- Jacobs Inn
- Sky Backpackers
- Barnacles Hostel
- Abbey Court Hostel
According to the Telegraph, these are the top budget hotels in Dublin
- The Gibson
- The Devlin
- The Maldon Hotel Smithfield
- The Dean
- The Mespil
- Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge
- Wynn’s Hotel
- Pembroke Townhouse
- Ariel House
Free Activities for your 2 days in Dublin
5 Free museums in Dublin
- The National Library of Ireland. 2/3 Kildare Street.
- The National Gallery of Ireland. Merrion Square West.
- The Natural History Museum. Merrion Square West.
- The Hugh Lane Gallery. Charlemont House, Parnell Square North
- The Chester Beatty Library. Dublin Castle.
The Chester Beatty Library
Chester Beatty Library displays the impressive collections of Sir Charles Beatty who made his wealth in mining. The treasures are
displayed in two collections, “Sacred Traditions” and “Artistic Traditions.” The Museum is located near Dublin Castle.
The National Gallery of Ireland and the Irish Museum of Art are both free and include a wide selection of art and sculpture from the 14th to 20th centuries. If you prefer modern art then the Irish Museum of Art will be your happy place.
The Botanic Gardens just north of Dublin’s city centre and near Glasnevin are a must-see for visitors. With amazing plants growing inside and outside the large glasshouses, it’s perfect for any kind of weather and any time of year! The gardens are right beside the Glasnevin Cemetery and hold the dubious honour of having a larger population of residents than Dublin City currently has.
If you are trying to trace your Irish ancestors or simply visit the graves of some of Dublin’s famous and infamous a trip to Glasnevin is in order. There are fee-based walking tours and an entry fee to the Museum but the Cemetery is free and there are maps to show you where some of Dublin’s famous are buried. You should also drop in for a pint at the Gravediggers pub around the corner for some very Irish company.
The General Post Office
One of Ireland’s most famous buildings the Post Office on O’Connell Street was the centre point for the great 1916 “Rising” during the fight for independence. You can wander through the Post Office and don’t forget to check out the bullet holes on the outside columns. There are interpretative panels that explain the events of 1916 and there is an option of a paid admission and tour.
Molly Malone Statue
The statue was located on Grafton street but was moved a few years ago to make room for the construction of the LUAS track. The statue is located on Suffolk Street, in front of the Tourist Information Office.
Molly was not a real person the song that makes her famous is an old one is a story made up of a fishmonger who sold her wares on the streets of Dublin and died young of a fever. In the 20th century, a legend grew up around the fictional Molly when the Dublin Millennium Commission endorsed in 1988 claims made for a Mary Malone who died in 1699 and they declared the 13th of June to be “Molly Malone Day”.
You will probably be introduced to the Molly statue by the guides on the HOHO buses as the “Tart with the Cart” of the “trollop with the scallops”. The fact that the statues has a low cut dress has led to what is known here in Ireland as being “handsy” rubbing the statue’s breasts for good luck.
Temple Bar District
An immensely popular spot with tourists Temple Bar is a complete rip off zone. Feel free to wander the streets and soak up the vibe of the area as it is very popular. However, getting a few drinks in one of the pubs will set you back a pretty penny.
There are some great places to eat but the only one I would recommend with great prices, fabulous authentic Irish food and right in Temple Bar is the Boxty House.
There are some fabulous places to eat in Dublin but try to avoid Temple Bar as it can be very overpriced and not great food. Don’t be worried about food allergies or food sensitivities Ireland’s laws ensure that all ingredients must be clearly accessible.
Temple Bar is a great place to get some brilliant photos of popular and famous pubs and simply people watch.
The Ha’Penny Bridge
Just down from the Temple Bar area, you will spot the Ha’Penny Bridge crossing the Liffey. It got its name because they used to charge a ha’penny for pedestrians to cross the Liffey. These days it is one of the most iconic sites in Dublin.
Visit St. Stephen’s Green
Gorgeous green space in the centre of the City it has a complex and eventual history starting with its beginnings as a church area for those with leprosy to The Beaux Walk situated along the northern perimeter of the park became a popular location for high society to promenade.
The park contains a large number of important sculptures and includes a playground and a garden for the visually impaired. Many species of birds and plants also call the park their home.
Trinity College Dublin
Situated right in the middle of the city alongside Grafton Street, Trinity College has hosted renowned playwrights including Samuel Beckett and Oliver Goldsmith. The book of Kells and the old library are the main attraction of Trinity College, but you can wander the grounds at no charge.
If you do want to see the Book of Kells be aware that you may not be able to see the illuminated pages. They turn over the pages every day and many of the plates in the book are not illustrated and it costs around €10 fee to see the Books and you may be very disappointed.
You could also visit the actual Village of Kells where the great book was found. There is a copy of the book in the church that is quite beautifully done and the Celtic cross grave markers are pretty impressive.
Tip for seeing the Book of Kells and the Old Library for half price
Visit 30 minutes before the library closes. Visit the website for details as to closing time as it can vary.
Phoenix Park is an oasis in the middle of a bustling city. One of the largest parks in Dublin it covers over 7210 hectares. There are stunning monuments and statues, herds of deer, a fairy walk and benches to sit and people watch from. The park is also located near the Dublin Zoo which you do have to pay for.
Georgian Dublin at Merrion Square
World-famous for its Dublin Doors and its reputation as one of the best places in Dublin to live, Merrion Square is the biggest Georgian Square in the city. Centred around a park you will see some beautiful examples of Georgian design in the redbrick townhouses. The park itself has a number of statues including a lounging Oscar Wilde who lived on the square back in the 1800s.
Take a free walking tour in Dublin
Tips based tours are offered by several groups throughout Dublin. Essentially these “free walking tours” work of the premise that you enjoy yourself on the tour and your Guide’s information and patter that you will reward the guides accordingly. They usually last around 3 hours and you get to see some of Dublin’s iconic sites (from the outside) such as Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral, Temple Bar and plenty more.
Free Traditional Music sessions
Home of The Dubliners, O’Donoghues is perhaps the greatest, a traditional Irish pub in Dublin. Always busy, especially when Ronnie Drew and the Dubliners would come and play, for free, with other local musicians.
O’Neill’s has traditional Irish music sessions but also Irish dancing, jigs, reels and all sorts of mischief and fun. The food is pretty excellent too.
John Kehoe’s has been around since 1803 and it always looks the same – it never changes. Ever. That means it’s completely authentic, unspoilt and brimming with atmosphere and tradition. A trad session here is usually small but absolutely fantastic.
The Oliver St John Gogarty, or just Gogarty’s, is in Temple Bar and has live Irish music and ballads every single day of the week, all afternoon and into the night. That’s upstairs. Downstairs, other sessions can spark up at any time. Enjoy the very best of live traditional music every day from 1 pm till 2.30am, cocktails will set you back around €10 euros each and a pint around €9 rather ridiculous prices to be honest.
This is arguably the best pub in Dublin for live traditional Irish music sessions. The Cobblestone is in Smithfield, near the Jameson Distillery and across the river from Guinness’s. The owner has made sure he has the best musicians in the city and you’ll be impressed every night of the week and all afternoon at the weekends.
Favourite sites to see in your 2 days in Dublin
These particular sites will be accessible through your Dublin Pass tickets and come highly recommended.
Kilmainham Gaol Museum
Kilmainham Gaol Museum is the place where the Irish rebels were incarcerated. Accused of many crimes including the 1916 Easter Rising it was at Kilmainham that many lost their lives to a British firing Squad.
Your Dublin Pass will cover the entry fee with no waiting in line and entry to the Museum. The tour is absolutely fascinating and will give you a real overview of Irish history.
I has to include this one as everyone talks about Guinness in Dublin. I personally don’t think it is worth the money and I know many Irish that would agree. However, if you do have the Dublin pass why not. You will get one free drink and a fabulous view of Dublin from the Gravity Bar.
The tour is not of the brewery it is merely information panels and displays that describe the history of Guinness in Dublin and the pints upstairs in the Gravity bar are incredibly expensive after you get your first free and learn how to pour a pint of the black stuff.
Jameson Distillery Tour
The Jameson Distillery Bow St. carries on this ambition through the fully hosted Bow St. Experience, the distillery tour which has a firm focus on immersive storytelling. You’ll be invited to touch, smell, and most importantly, taste Jameson in the original Bow St. Distillery buildings.
Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship
Learn about the Famine era and life on deck this iconic tall ship. Take a guided tour and discover another side to Dublin’s multi-faceted past, the poverty-stricken Irish emigrants and the sailing industry of the 19th century. You’ll be amazed at how this life-size replica takes you back in time, it is a spitting image of the original that sailed in the mid-1800s.
These are a mere few sites you can see when spending 2 days in Dublin. There are dozens more to take in. If you are attempting to visit various places in Ireland I would carefully pick and choose what you want to see and then spend only that 2 days in Dublin before you head out to see the rest of the country.
Rest assured this will give you a tiny taste of Ireland and you will be back for more.