48 Hours in Dublin: What to Do, Where to Go and What to Eat and Drink

Dublin, with the Liffey running through it, is small enough to get around by foot, and has plenty to offer for a weekend visit
Dublin, with the Liffey running through it, is small enough to get around by foot, and has plenty to offer for a weekend visit | © Shahid Khan / Alamy Stock Photo

For a relatively small capital city, Dublin has plenty 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, taking in some of the city’s best bars and restaurants.

Friday evening

7pm until 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.

Courtesy of Delahunt

Its contemporary Irish menu includes audacious twists on classic national dishes, such as boxty – a potato pancake – with market fish and seaweed, while the decor 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 spoilt for choice for an after-dinner drink in the Camden Street area. For a sleek New York vibe, try Sophie’s rooftop bar at the superbly cool Dean Hotel – one of the hottest hangouts in town.

Saturday morning

9am – 11.30am

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 breakfast of champions at San Lorenzo’s on South Great George’s Street.

The Long Room, Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland | © scenicireland.com / Christopher Hill Photographic / Alamy Stock Photo

11.30am – 12.30pm

Afterwards, head to Kildare Street and take a look at Leinster House. A former ducal palace, its design was the inspiration for the US White House, and it is 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.

Saturday afternoon

12.30pm – 1.30pm

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 museum dedicated to the history of the city, you’d be wise to book a ticket for this in advance.

1.30pm – 2.30pm

By now you’ll have worked up an appetite for lunch. Try Angelina’s or Saba on Upper Baggot Street – both laid-back joints with great food.

Courtesy of Eastside Tavern

2.30pm – 4pm

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.

4pm – 6pm

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. 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.)

Saturday evening

8pm until 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 Mary’s Bar & Hardware Shop or NoLIita, hip Italian bar and restaurant.

Courtesy of Nolita

Sunday morning

9.30am – 12pm

Having gained 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 cafes, 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.

Sunday afternoon

12pm – 7pm

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 Baily Lighthouse, before enjoying lunch at one of its many renowned seafood restaurants. Once sated, make your way further up the coast to the beautiful town of Malahide, visiting its castle and gardens.

Ireland, Dublin county, the Malahide castle | © Realy Easy Star/Giuseppe Masci / Alamy Stock Photo | © Realy Easy Star/Giuseppe Masci / Alamy Stock Photo

Sunday evening


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 from Malahide Marina as the sun sets on your weekend in Dublin.

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