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One Day in Dublin | An Itinerary for First-Time Visitors

Updated: September 1, 2023

If you have just one day to explore Dublin, this itinerary takes you to as many of the city’s best historic and cultural sites given your limited time. 

We also share food recommendations, tips on getting around, and other helpful information. 


24-Hour Dublin Itinerary

This self-guided tour through the heart of the city will take you through one calendar day, from morning to night. 

You’ll see some of the most historic landmarks and most popular attractions in the city.

There's time to taste some of its best beer and food, and you'll spend the evening listening to traditional Irish music. 

If you prefer a local to show you the best sites in the city, look into our free Dublin walking tours.

Click here for a larger map.

Breakfast at Murphy's Bistro Cafe

Start your day off right at Murphy's Bistro Cafe, a quaint spot along the River Liffey. You can have your full Irish breakfast now, or later at lunchtime. 

Either way, you simply must try this famous meal of two fried eggs, served with sausage, bacon, black and white pudding, beans, tomato, mushrooms, and toast.

The menu also has pancakes, other egg dishes and pastries, along with great coffee and tea.


GPO Museum

The GPO (General Post Office) Museum invites you to witness Ireland’s modern history through immersive and engaging exhibits.

The museum’s main focus is the all-important 1916 Easter Rising, an event anyone visiting Dublin should consider learning about. 

It’s housed in the classical style General Post Office completed in 1818. 

A visit to the museum will take about one hour at most. If you choose not to go into the museum, the building itself is worth a 15-minute walk-through for its sheer beauty.

Museum open hours are Tuesday to Saturday: 10:00 am - 17:00 (5 pm), with the last admission at 16:00 (4:00 pm). It is closed on public holidays and Christmas Eve.

Ticket Prices: Adult/ €15 | Child (over 5 years) €7.50 | Student €12 | Seniors (65+) €12.

The next stop is Trinity College via O'Connell Street. It’s just a 10-minute walk away.


O’Connell Bridge

On the way to Trinity College, you’ll cross over the River Liffey via the historic O'Connell Bridge.

The original bridge dates back to 1790. A hundred years later it was widened to accommodate more traffic. 

Today, the O’Connell Bridge is famous for being almost as broad as it is long!


Trinity College and the Book of Kells

Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university, created in 1592. Some of its famous graduates are literary masters Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde.

For those who love ancient history, seeing the Book of Kells at Trinity College will be one of the highlights of your trip. 

The Book of Kells, a 9th-century manuscript with the four Gospels of the New Testament, is located in the Old Library.

While it is free to stroll around the campus, seeing the Book of Kells requires a ticket. You can purchase a ticket here.

Since this itinerary includes a visit to Dublin Castle, you might want to buy a fast-track Book of Kells Ticket & Dublin Castle Tour

When you leave Trinity College, it’s a 15-minute walk to the next stop.


Merrion Square 

Merrion Square is one of Dublin’s grandest examples of Georgian architecture, with red brick houses lining three sides of the park.

The square was first laid out in 1792 and the houses were completed by the early 1800s.

Many houses have plaques listing the names of the notable and wealthy people who have lived here.

Today the houses are mostly offices, but the square is lovely to stroll through. On Sundays, local artists bring their artwork to sell.


Museums near Merrion Square

If you like museums, you are in luck as there are plenty of them just west of Merrion Square. 

Two are free! The National Museum of Ireland Archaeology Branch and National Gallery of Ireland cost nothing to visit.

The others charge a fee. The Little Museum of Dublin is €15 and the Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) is €13.50.

Whether you visit a museum or not, you’ll be a 5-minute walk from St. Stephens Green, one of Dublin’s loveliest parks.


Lunch at Beanhive

This modern coffee house serves a full Irish breakfast all day long, as well as salads, sandwiches and other lunch items. 

Eat up for energy at Beanhive as the day is still young! 


Grafton Street

Immediately recognizable, this car-free pedestrian shopping street is known not just for its stores.

Its famous for the buskers whose lively music brings a unique energy to the street.

Walk up Grafton Street as you make your way to the next stop.


Irish Whiskey Museum 

Irish whiskey is believed to have been created in the 13th century making it one of the oldest distilled spirits in Europe.

During a one-hour tour, your guide, an expert storyteller, will share the tale of Irish whiskey, its rise to glory, its dramatic fall and its current revival.

Besides the fascinating history, guided tours include 3-4 tastings of Irish whiskey. Read more about the Irish Whiskey Museum tour.

If you’d rather try the best Guinness in the world, take a 90-minute tour of the Guinness Storehouse. Just juggle around this itinerary a bit!


Dublin Castle

Right in the Dublin city centre is the historic Dublin Castle, built in the early 13th century on the site of a Viking settlement.

It first served as the headquarters of the English, and then British, administration in Ireland. In 1922, an independent Ireland took control of the castle.

You can visit the grounds for free, but if you would like to see the state apartments and chapel, you’ll need to purchase a guided tour ticket.

If you plan to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College, check out this fast-track ticket that includes both a Dublin castle tour and the Book of Kells.


Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Named after Ireland’s patron saint, this iconic cathedral, now the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, dates back to 1191.

It’s a marvelous example of Gothic architecture, with its ornate stained-glass windows, huge vaulted ceilings and elaborate tile floors.

You can attend a worship service for free, but if you want to thoroughly explore the interior, you can purchase a ticket for a self-guided tour with audio commentary.


Christ Church Cathedral

Another gorgeous cathedral, Christ Church was founded in 1030, making it one of the oldest sites in Dublin.

You can admire its breathtaking stained glass windows and intricate mosaic floors for free if you attend a service or private prayer. 

But if you want some more time in this gem, and visit the bell tower and the fascinating crypt, you can book a Christ Church Cathedral self-guided tour.


Ha'penny Bridge

As the afternoon turns into evening, head to Ha’penny Bridge to catch the sunset. This pretty cast iron bridge was the first pedestrian bridge in Dublin. 

Residents could cross the bridge for free just ten days of the year. Beyond that, the toll was paid for in ha’pennies (half pennies).

Its famous white railings are adorned with ‘love locks’ with the names of lovers who placed them there.


Dinner and Traditional Irish Music at Quays

Finish up your day with dinner and live music at Quay's, an authentic and lively Irish restaurant in the Temple Bar neighborhood of Dublin.

Enjoy classic Irish dishes like stew, chowder, Dublin Coddle, chowder, and boxty cake.

Have a pint -- or more -- of Guinness and wrap up your one day in Dublin like a local!


Tips for the Trip

Here are a few of the questions that many tourists ask.


Is Dublin a walkable city?

Dublin is an extremely walkable city, especially within the city center.

This itinerary includes sites that are quite close to each other, with the exception of the Guinness Storehouse.


How much money will you need for one day in Dublin?

This itinerary does not include an overnight stay, so the cost of accommodations is not part of this estimate.

On a day trip like the one laid out in this itinerary, one could expect to pay, per person, €90. 

This may sound like a lot for one day, but consider what is included in this calculation:

  • 3 traditional Irish meals
  • Live Irish music
  • Entry tickets to 3 popular tourist attractions (the Book of Kells, Dublin Castle and St. Patrick’s Cathedral)

You could easily spend a lot less than this if you did not visit any attractions but simply explored the city on foot. 

Our free Dublin walking tours are a great way to experience the city with a local and keep your budget low!


What is the easiest way to get around Dublin?

Other than walking, you can take public transportation.

The Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) is the electric rail system. It is easy to use and fast as well. 

You can also use the Luas- Dublin’s light rail tram system.


What to wear in Dublin

Ireland is known for the possibility that it can have all four seasons in one day. This means you need to think about layers and waterproof items.

In Dublin, the look is casual but neat. Jeans are fine, as are sneakers (except for any upscale restaurants).

Instead of sneakers, consider comfortable but waterproof or water-resistant footwear. 

In the warmer months, a lightweight top is fine, but bring a warm sweater and some kind of waterproof outerwear. 

Do not forget that umbrella! 


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About The Author

Justin Stoud

Justin is a travel content writer and editor with over a decade of experience in the field. He graduated from Portland State University in 2012. He has lived in the Pacific Northwest his whole life and knows the American West Coast very well. Read More...
Updated: September 1st, 2023
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