Here’s how to spend one day in Dublin, Ireland. Even with only 1 day, you will have an amazing time in this vibrant and energetic Irish city. Use this thorough itinerary to make the most of your day when you’re spending 24 hours in Dublin. This Dublin travel guide is even useful if you have a long layover.
I arrived on an overnight flight from Toronto to Dublin, getting to the airport at 5:00am. In order to beat jetlag and maximize my time, I powered through the entire day and went to bed a regular hour, on Irish time, of course. As I got an early start, this itinerary is jam packed with popular tourist attractions and my favourite places in Dublin.
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This was also my only day in Dublin and I wanted to see and do as much as possible. Right after a day in Dublin, it was time for a road trip of the country. I ventured to the prehistoric site of Newgrange, then spent a day in Belfast, and then three days in Northern Ireland.
Getting to Dublin
Many tourists visiting Ireland will fly into Dublin and continue on the rest of their trip around the country. If you’re still in the planning stage where you’re looking for flights, I suggest shopping around for the best rates on flights to Dublin here.
Renting a Car in Dublin
If you’re embarking on a road trip of Ireland, your best bet is to pick up your rental car at the Dublin International Airport. On this website, you can search for the best rates on car rentals in Ireland. You can search by manual or automatic transmission, as well as any other parameters you desire. I also have this really helpful guide to renting a car in Ireland if you need any additional tips and tricks.
Private and Public Transportation to Dublin
If you’re not renting a car and you’re looking to get from the Dublin Airport to Dublin City Centre, there are a few options. First, you can arrange for a private transfer from the airport to the city. This is the easiest and most luxurious option. You can also get a taxi on arrival.
There isn’t a rail service between Dublin city and the airport. But, you can take the Dublin Bus. Route 41 operates on a 24 hour service between the Dublin International Airport and the city center, and Route 16 is another option. Please check the Dublin Bus website for details.
Once I was in Dublin, I parked the car and walked around everywhere. Dublin is a very walkable city and you’ll be able to get pretty much everywhere on your own two feet. You can walk to every attraction in this Dublin one day itinerary.
One Day in Dublin: Stop at a Coffee Shop
If you know me, you know that I love coffee. If you want to power through the day after flying from overseas, you might need some caffeine. In this case, there was no messing around. The first thing I wanted to do was find the nearest coffee shop and order a cup of coffee.
While I usually try to pop into an independently owned cafe, I stumbled upon Esquires Coffee, which is a chain in the UK. It was a great cup of coffee and gave me the fuel to keep going on my merry way. There are lots of great coffee shops in Dublin. I’m sure you’ll find one on your adventures, no matter where your starting point happens to be.
24 Hours in Dublin: Visit Trinity College
The main attraction is the Trinity College Library’s Long Room and the famous Book of Kells exhibit. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance through the Trinity College website. I recommend reserving a ticket early in the morning. We visited on Sunday morning during the first time slot to get there ahead of the crowds.
Please note that your ticket is an entrance ticket only. If you’re looking for a guided tour, here’s one that offers fast-track access of the Book of Kells and a tour of Dublin Castle. You’ll see the Book of Kells, the Old Library at Trinity College, and the grounds and gardens at Dublin Castle. There’s so much wonderful Irish history here.
I was mostly interested in seeing the Long Room at Trinity College as I’m fascinated by old libraries. This isn’t just any run of the mill library; it houses 200,000 of Ireland’s oldest books. Wander around and admire the library’s oldest books that rise up multiple floors to the ceiling.
With centuries-old textbooks from floor to ceiling and grandiose marble busts at the head of each shelf, visiting the Long Room was an awe-inspiring experience. The smell of old books wafted through the air. In hushed tones, we marveled at the history within this room.
We entered with the first large group of the day. When you enter, you’ll see the Book of Kells exhibit. I recommend that you skip the crowds here and head straight to the Long Room, where you’ll have it entirely to yourself. Then, feel free to wander back to the Book of Kells when everyone else is exploring the Long Room.
After you’re finished admiring the Long Room, take a stroll around the Trinity College grounds. It’s a very peaceful place and worth checking out. There are lots of historic buildings and statues, surrounded by tall trees.
With a limited amount of time in Dublin, I didn’t join any walking tours. It is possible to take a walking tour of the city highlights, including the Trinity College Grounds. This walking tour is one of the most popular and comes highly rated.
1 Day in Dublin Itinerary: Wander Inside the City Walls
The best way to get to know a city, especially if it’s a walkable destination, is to meander around and explore. Wander down those little alleyways. Zigzag down random streets. Part of the fun is the unknown. Walk wherever your feet will take you.
This advice holds true in Dublin. From Trinity College, walk around and take some pictures. You’ll stumble upon street art, buildings with brightly painted doors, and charming pub scenes. This is one of the best things to do in Dublin.
Famous Dublin Attractions: Temple Bar Pub
In the Temple Bar district, the Temple Bar pub is one of those iconic places where you should at least stop at admire the exterior, even if you don’t go in for a pint. You’ll probably find it as you’re naturally wandering around. If you do decide to stop, there’s usually some live music happening here or in the area as it’s a very lively part of town.
When we stumbled upon the bar in the Temple Bar area, it was pretty early in the morning. And in the morning, I’m not ready for beer. I’ll stick to my coffee! But, it might be a good time of day for a pint of Guinness when you wander past. Whether you decide to go in for a beer or not, at least stop for a photo.
One Day in Dublin: Tour the Guinness Storehouse
Although it might seem touristy, the Guinness Storehouse is one of those places you simply must visit when you’re in Dublin. It’s one of the most popular attractions in Dublin. Even if you are only an occasional beer drinker, the experience at this seven floor museum devoted to Guinness is well worth the trip.
Cross the River Liffey as you walk towards the Guinness Storehouse from the city center. I highly recommend booking your ticket to the Guinness Storehouse in advance, if possible. There are lots of perks to booking your ticket ahead of time, like reduced rates, the option to skip the line, and you’ll receive a complimentary pint of beer.
You’ll learn many interesting facts and all about the history of Guinness along the journey from the first floor to the Gravity Bar at the top. For instance, did you know that 100,000 tonnes of Irish grown barley are used to make Guinness beer every year?
Did you know that it’s reported that the yeast used to make Guinness is a descendant from the original strand used by Arthur Guinness? The yeast is only grown there at St. James’s Gate and a special reserve supply is always locked in the Director’s Safe.
The water used in the Guinness made at St. James’s Gate comes directly from the nearby Wicklow Mountains. A quality source of water is vital when brewing beer, and the water from the Wicklow Mountains is excellent.
As we walked around the museum and travelled throughout the seven floors, we discovered more displays with facts, as well as artifacts and memorabilia. Before reaching the top floor, there was an intriguing section showcasing their old advertising campaigns.
And at last, tasting the beer! At the very top, enjoy 360 degree views of historic Dublin from the Gravity Bar. I swear, a pint of the black stuff just seems to taste better at the Guinness Storehouse. And yes, Guinness is 100% vegan-friendly!
24 Hours in Dublin: Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, founded in 1191. While I only admired the exterior of the building without venturing inside, the church draws crowds of over 300,000 people every year.
The church’s organ is the largest in Ireland, and parts of the instrument date back to 1695. You can book your self-guided ticket to St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the official website. Your admission also allows you to take a complimentary guided tour. These are offered at several times throughout the day, simply inquire at the front desk when you arrive.
Optional: Dublin Vegfest (or Any Local Event / Festival)
It was purely a coincidence that Dublin Vegfest was happening while I was in Dublin. It made sense to save my appetite and head there for lunch, where I would eat and eat until I couldn’t physically eat any longer.
Dublin Vegfest usually happens on a weekend towards the end of September, with many vendors selling delicious vegan meals and desserts. There are also speakers, music performances and cooking demonstrations. You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to attend – just bring your appetite!
Tip: Before you visit Dublin, search around on Facebook events, Eventbrite, or Meetup to see if there’s anything unique and fun happening in the city. You might be able to find a local event or festival that interests you!
Best Restaurants in Dublin
Dublin has many vegetarian and vegan options. From vegan-friendly restaurants to vegan food tours, you won’t have a problem sticking to a plant-based diet. Here are my favourite places to find vegan food in Dublin.
Since 1986, Cornucopia has served up delicious and healthy vegetarian and vegan cuisine. It’s the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Dublin. You can eat here for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. There are a variety of options for vegans, as well as those following gluten-free, sugar-free or raw food diets.
I chose a main course with two side salads: a delectable pastry pocket filled with mushroom, beetroot, chickpeas, eggplant, and peanuts. I enjoyed an Asian cucumber noodle salad and potato salad as my side dishes. For dessert, I went for the chocolate brownie.
Stoned Pizza (Formerly Apertivo)
Stoned Pizza is a pizza place in Dublin specializing in vegan pizza. While they don’t serve exclusively vegan pizza, it does make up half of their menu. The pizza offerings here are quite original and ranging in variety.
McGuinness Traditional Takeaway
McGuinness’s of Camden Street, a traditional takeaway, has a whole vegan menu in addition to their traditional menu. As it turns out, the owners both went vegan and decided to launch a fully plant-based menu. That way, anyone following a diet devoid of animal products could visit the chipper, just like their meat-eating pals.
Sova Vegan Butcher
Sova Vegan Butcher is an amazing 100% vegan restaurant in Dublin with all kinds of innovative plant-based eats. You’ll find gyros, tempeh skewers, veg skewers, sushi, kebab and gnocchi. When we visited, we stopped by for dessert (avocado chocolate mousse and strawberry cheesecake).
Where to Stay in Dublin, Ireland
There are lots of fantastic properties in Dublin that you can call home for the evening (or longer!). Here are a few of my top recommendations:
To compare even more hotels and accommodations in Dublin, please feel free to use our handy map below. Enter your travel dates for even more accurate information and compare hotel locations, amenities, prices and more.
More Things to Do
Even with only one day in Dublin, you can cover a lot of the city. You can see mostly all of the top things to do in Dublin within 24 hours. Even though it’s a short visit, you’ll still have enough time to see many sights and have a great day.
Some other places that could strike your fancy: the old Jameson Distillery, the National Gallery of Ireland, St. Stephen’s Green and the Little Museum of Dublin, the Kilmainham Gaol Museum, the Ha’Penny Bridge, and the National Museum of Ireland.
Even if you only have a day in Dublin, the Dublin Pass could be useful for you. While I didn’t use the Dublin Pass, it is great for people who love visiting lots of attractions and museums. You also get to use the Hop On Hop Off Bus around Dublin, too. The Dublin Pass is available in 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 day passes where you’ll gain admission to many tourist attractions around town, as well as the hop on hop off bus.