For a relatively small capital city, Dublin has a huge amount to see and do, and it can’t all be crammed into one weekend – at least not comfortably. Here, we lay out a manageable 48-hour itinerary, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the city’s best bars and restaurants.
7 p.m. til late
Begin as you mean to go on, with an impeccable dinner at Delahunt on Camden Street. Housed in a Victorian building that was once a grocery store of the same name – the original sign from 1906 is inside – this historic spot also has literary significance, cropping up in James Joyce’s Ulysses.
Their contemporary Irish menu includes audacious twists on classic national dishes, such as boxty – a potato pancake – with market fish and seaweed, while the décor is flawlessly understated. If you prefer something with a more exotic flair, try the nearby Jerusalem for top-notch Middle Eastern cuisine. And if you’re hoping to save cash for the rest of your weekend, you can get a delicious organic Irish beef burger at Green 19 for just €10.
You’ll be spoiled for options for an after-dinner drink in the Camden Street area too, but for a sleek, New York vibe, try Sophie’s rooftop bar at the uber-cool Dean Hotel – one of the hottest tickets in town at the moment.
9 a.m. – 11.30 a.m.
Beat the crowds to an early morning walk around Trinity College – Ireland’s oldest university and the alma mater of Samuel Beckett and Oscar Wilde – making sure to see the Book of Kells exhibition. Then fuel up for more sightseeing with the so-called ‘brunch of champions’ at San Lorenzo’s on South Great George’s Street, or try some jerk chicken brunch tacos at Taco Taco.
11.30am – 12.30pm
Afterwards, head to Kildare Street and take a look at the former ducal palace Leinster House – on which the US White House was based – now the home of Ireland’s parliament. Cross to Dawson Street for coffee at the Art Nouveau Café en Seine if you need a pick-me-up, or go straight next door to the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, one of the best places in the country to see Celtic artefacts.
12.30 p.m. – 1.30 p.m.
Continue on to St Stephen’s Green – a former Georgian square turned public park – for a ramble, or visit The Little Museum of Dublin, situated in a grand townhouse overlooking the square. A popular people’s museum dedicated to the history of the city, you’d be wise to book a ticket for this in advance.
1.30 p.m. – 2.30 p.m.
By now you’ll have worked up an appetite for lunch, so have a bite at East Side Tavern, a modern Irish bar with a delicious lunch menu and cool interior. Alternatively, try Angelina’s or Saba on Upper Baggot Street – both laid-back joints with great food.
2.30 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Moving on to Temple Bar, take a stroll through the Saturday food market in Meeting House Square and check out cutting-edge concept store Indigo & Cloth, and then walk towards Christ Church Cathedral and the historic Liberties area. Having admired the cathedral, sample a locally roasted coffee in the popular new Riddler Café and Restaurant.
4 p.m. – 6 p.m.
If you’re so inclined, you can continue down Thomas Street to the Guinness Storehouse for a tour and a panoramic view of the city, but be warned that a ticket will set you back €20. Alternatively, jump on the number 13 bus to Kilmainham and visit the famous gaol (jail) or Ireland’s Museum of Modern Art. (Advance booking is recommended for the jail.)
8 p.m. til late
Spend the evening soaking up the atmosphere around the Creative Quarter, having tapas at Fade Street Social’s gastro bar or dinner at either Brasserie Sixty6 or Drury Buildings – the latter billed as ‘A mish mash of Berlin exterior, New York interior…classic cocktails and some really cracking food’. If you’re more in the mood for elegant dining, try Fallon & Byrne’s slow food-inspired brasserie. Finish the night with drinks at No Name Bar, Mary’s Bar & Hardware Shop or hip new spot Nolita.
9.30 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Having gotten an insight into life on Dublin’s Southside, spend Sunday investigating the north. Get your morning coffee at Brother Hubbard North, one of the city’s best-loved cafés, then walk up O’Connell Street past the GPO – the famous post office that sheltered Irish rebels during the 1916 Rising. Visit the Hugh Lane Gallery on Parnell Square, seeing Francis Bacon’s reconstructed studio and works by Irish and international artists. Opposite the gallery, you’ll find the Garden of Remembrance, dedicated to fighters who died in the Irish War of Independence.
12 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Drive (you can also take the bus or DART train) to the seaside village of Howth and walk along the pier or hike the cliffs to the Bailey Lighthouse, before enjoying lunch at one of its many renowned seafood restaurants – try Deep on the West Pier. Once sated, make your way further up the coast to the beautiful town of Malahide, visiting its castle and gardens.
Have dinner at Old Street, where two of Malahide’s oldest buildings have been converted into a newly opened neighbourhood bistro and cocktail bar. Alternatively, try Kajjal for highly recommended Pakistani and Eastern cuisine, or Cape Greko for Greek food. Finally, watch as the sun sets on your weekend in Dublin from Malahide Marina.