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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Valenti

What to do in Dublin: 3-day itinerary and 10 unmissable experiences

If I think of Ireland I picture myself a green island, clovers, leprechauns with pots full of gold at the end of a rainbow, rivers of good beer, and St. Patrick's Day: well, let me tell you that Dublin is all this and much more!

next stop: DUBLIN

Dublin has been on my wish-list for a few years now: pubs, the Irish culture and its troubled history, all elements that have always fascinated me greatly.

Well, I finally managed to go, among other things during one of the best and most characteristic periods in my opinion, after St. Patrick's Day! Taking the occasion of the thirtieth birthday of one of my best friends, we spent a short but very intense and fun Halloween weekend in the Irish capital.

Dublin is simply wonderful: small but lively and full of culture and history, just the way I like it!

If you have never been there, you absolutely need to fix it as soon as possible, and Halloween is certainly an ideal period!

City of writers, ghosts, pubs and mysteries, among its streets and along the banks of the River Liffey there are dozens of places to explore just waiting to be discovered.

The name of the Irish capital is very ancient and of Viking origin: “An Dubh Linn” which can be translated as “black pond”. The pond to which the name refers would be the one used by the Viking populations who settled in the area to moor their merchant ships; the lake was connected to the Liffey, the waterway that crosses the city.

If it is your first time in Dublin, here are the 10 things you absolutely cannot miss.

Dublin TOP 10:

  1. Drink a pint of Guinness in one of Temple Bar's pubs - READ ALSO: Best pubs in Dublin

  2. Admire the Book of Kells at Trinity College and walk through the Old Library;

  3. Visit Kilmainham Gaol and relive the hard fight for Irish independence;

  4. Have a whiskey tasting in one of the many distilleries in the city;

  5. Enjoy one of the typical specialties at Hairy Lemon - READ ALSO: Typical Irish food and beer: everything about what and where to eat in Dublin

  6. Admire the beautiful fawns in Phoenix Park;

  7. Visit the Guinness Storehouse and find out more about this world-famous Irish beer;

  8. Contemplate the beauty of St. Patrick's Church;

  9. Take a walk among the buildings of St. Stephen's Green and its beautiful park;

  10. Admire the splendor of St. Stephen's Green Shopping Centre.

This is definitely my Top 10 things to do in Dublin.

Dublin can be visited extremely easily and in just a few days: 2 or 3 days are enough to see a large part of the city center. If you have more days available, move out of the city, to the coast, with day trips: there are places of incredible beauty.

Next time I go back I think I'll move outside the capital, perhaps with a nice on the road trip. In any case, if you have a weekend available, Dublin is a perfect destination: we were there for 3 days and saw everything I planned - and if you know me, you know it was a lot!

If you are planning a trip to Dublin, don't miss my practical guide with a lot of useful info about how to get there, how to move around the city and where to stay READ ALSO: How to plan a weekend in Dublin

If you are curious about where to eat in Dublin and which are the typical dishes not to be missed READ ALSO: Typical Irish food and beer: everything about what and where to eat in Dublin

Now let's see how we planned our 3-day itinerary in the Irish capital, including the 10 unmissable things to do in Dublin and much more!

3-days itinerary in Dublin

Day 1:

Day 2 - by bicycle (to find out more about how to rent a bicycle in Dublin READ ALSO: How to plan a weekend in Dublin):

Day 3:

  • Grafton Street

  • Anne Street

  • St. Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre

  • St Stephen's Green and St. Stephen’s Green Park

  • Merrion Square - Oscar Wilde Statue

  • Trinity College Dublin - The Book of Kells

  • Asian Market e Om diva

  • lunch at The Hairy Lemon Pub

  • George's St. Arcade

Now let's discover these splendid places in detail, district by district, from Temple Bar to St. Stephen's Green, passing through the Liberties, the north of the Liffey and the Docklands.

Temple Bar

The hub of social life in Dublin is certainly the pub: there are more than 700 scattered around the city and some of the most beautiful are located in the Temple Bar district, which takes its name from the pub of the same name, certainly the most famous in the city.

Good puzzle would be cross Dublin without passing a pub” wrote James Joyce in Ulysses. Actually, it is a truly arduous undertaking, but the best challenge is certainly to enter each one and admire its beauty, perhaps enjoying a nice beer and listening to Trad music (traditional Irish music).

Temple Bar district is certainly one of the best in which to spend the evening in Dublin: here, rivers of young people, local and otherwise, pour into the streets outside and inside the various pubs from which excellent music always comes out. But Temple Bar is not just pubs, here you will also find many delicious places to eat local food, vintage clothing shops and some interesting exhibitions.

So let's discover all the best that Temple Bar has to offer!

Temple Bar

Temple Bar, Dublin

Temple Bar has now become one of the symbols of the city and definitely one of the most famous pubs in Dublin, from which the district takes its name. Its characteristic red facade is the most photographed in the city, and in front of its entrance there is always a considerable crowd of tourists.

I strongly suggest you give it a try and try to enter, at least to take a pic. If you're lucky, as happened to us, maybe you'll even be able to grab a table inside and enjoy the fantastic live Trad music: it was a sensational experience!

Undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and characteristic pubs we have visited. Watch out for the prices though: it is indeed the most famous and beautiful pub in Dublin, but perhaps also the most expensive. A pint of Guinness costs a whopping €7.90, but honestly, it was totally worth it!

Merchant’s Arch

Merchant's Arch, Dublino

The Merchant's Arch is definitely my second favorite pub in this area: if you are exploring the Temple Bar district, you will find the side entrance in a small alleyway under an arch, while the main one is on the road that runs along the River Liffey in front of 'ha Penny Bridge.

The Merchant's Arch, unlike the Temple Bar whose beauty also stands out from the outside, is quite anonymous from the outside, but don't be fooled! Cross the entrance threshold and you will be catapulted into a splendid venue with very high ceilings (in fact, you should know it is located in what was an ancient guild hall) where they always play Irish music! Please don't miss the spectacular internal spiral staircase, a true marvel!

P.s.: come in even if you don't intend to consume, mingle with the people inside the pub, and take a pic, no one will tell you anything!

Ha' Penny Bridge, Dublino

Ha’ Penny Bridge

Ha’ Penny Bridge is without a doubt the most famous bridge in Dublin and one of its symbols in the world.

It is an arched pedestrian bridge built in 1816 to join the two banks of the Liffey and its particular name comes from the half-penny toll that had to be paid to cross the bridge and reach the other side of the Liffey.

The structure of the bridge is completely made of cast iron and must be cyclically subject to restoration: the last one dates back to 2003, the year in which the bridge returned to its original color: white.

The Oliver St. John Gogarty

In the heart of Temple Bar you'll also find Oliver St. John Gogarty, a real institution and one of the favorite pubs for tourists from all over the world.

In fact, you will struggle to find Dubliners here, which is why we have snubbed it a bit, limiting ourselves to admiring it from the outside. Its green and yellow facade is unmistakable and of an ancient beauty from which the din of traditional music resonates which is played inside every day of the week from 1 pm until late in the evening!

The Quay’s Bar

The Quay’s is another pub of extraordinary beauty: the corner building will take you back in time and it is exactly what I imagined when thinking of Irish pubs. The interior is on two floors, the actual bar is on the ground floor, while the restaurant is on the first floor: there is always excellent live music in both!

Temple Bar Food Market

You can find this small food market in the Temple Bar district every Saturday from 10:00 to 17:00, a little hidden in a small square. It is the meeting place for excellent local and international street food, as well as stalls selling local and typical Irish products. I recommend it both for taking a walk among the kiosks to admire the various delicacies and smell the extraordinary aromas that hover in the air, but also as an excellent alternative to a lunch in a pub: it will allow you to try various specialties saving a bit!

Lucy’s Lounge Vintage Shop

Lucy's Lounge, Dublino

Lucy's Lounge is a wonderful vintage shop founded in 1987 and located in the heart of Temple Bar. The shop is on two levels and is inspired by Alice in Wonderland. It is simply sensational, both outside and inside.

Once you enter, don't stop on the ground floor which is cute and offers a wide choice of objects, but the true essence of Lucy's Lounge is on the lower floor: you will find many rooms full of vintage clothes and very particular accessories, a real spectacle! Even if you don't intend to buy anything, you absolutely must get lost among the colors and oddities of this place and meet the owner Lucy who walks around the shop wearing very particular clothes.

Lucy's Lounge is an institution in Temple Bar and an unmissable stop, so include it in your itinerary considering that it is only open on weekends: Saturdays from 12pm to 6pm and Sundays from 1pm to 5pm.

Molly Malone’s Statue

Statua di Molly Malone, Dublino

Moving a little further south from the River Liffey, on Suffolk Street in front of St. Andrew Church we find the very famous statue of Molly Malone, another symbol of Dublin and an icon of Irish culture.

She is sung about in the unofficial anthem of the Irish capital, "Cockles and Mussels" or "In Dublin's Fair City". Molly Malone is identified as a fishwife from Howth who died at a young age due to a bad fever. According to a 17th century legend, Molly Malone was a girl with a double life who during the day sold mussels and clams along the streets of the city, carrying a cart with her, while at night she was a prostitute. It is said that his ghost, on foggy nights, still wanders along Grafton Street with his fish cart, shouting "mussels and cockles", or "fresh clams and molluscs".

Many 'Dubliners' criticize the statue and call it "The tart with the cart" (literally "the slut with the wheelbarrow"), but for tourists it is a real lucky charm: "feel it" and take a photo with the statue of Molly Malone has become a ritual.

Dublin Castle

Dublin Castle is a Norman fortress that has long been a symbol of English oppression. Despite its four corner towers, bastions and moats, it is not the classic medieval castle: it was designed more as a residence than a manor. The interior is made up of about fifteen particularly pompous and opulent rooms and halls.

The guided tour of the castle lasts about 45 minutes and includes the sumptuously furnished States Apartments and St. Patrick's Hall used for the official inauguration of Irish presidents. If you are interested in visiting it inside, better buy tickets (adults €8, students €6) on the official website. We decided to skip the visit: we had looked online and it didn't seem particularly interesting or characteristic so we limited ourselves to admiring it from the outside.

Dubh Linn Gardens

The Dubh Linn Gardens are splendid gardens from which you can enjoy a beautiful view of Dublin Castle: here it is not uncommon to find numerous Dubliners studying, chatting or sunbathing. The park is located south of the Chapel Royal and the State Apartments, within a stone wall. To access the gardens you have to pass through a metal door with very suggestive Celtic spirals. The park is often the venue for various events, such as concerts or meetings, as the castle is currently used as a government building.

Christ Church

In the heart of the medieval city, we find one of Dublin's two Protestant Cathedrals: the older one Christ Church (the other one is St. Patrick's Cathedral). The stunning, immense cathedral was built in 1172 on the site of a wooden Viking church. The Cathedral of Christ (Christ Church) is also called the Holy Trinity (Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity).

From the outside it is a spectacle: with its passage over the road that connects two buildings, it is absolutely unmissable on your trip to Dublin!

If you manage you must visit it, from what I could see it is marvelous! Unfortunately, we were unable to enter because we arrived too late (it closes at 5 pm); remember to secure your entrance tickets (full price €11,5 - students €10) on the website to save time.

The Liberties

Traditionally inhabited by workers, the Liberties area is the most recently redeveloped district; it's a historic district of Dublin located west of Temple Bar and famous for its traditional pubs such as the Brazen Head, then the splendid St. Patrick's Cathedral and some tourist attractions such as the Guinness Storehouse.

John’s Lane Church

The Church of Saint Augustine and Saint John is commonly known as John's Lane Church: it is a large Roman Catholic church located on Thomas Street, not far from Christ Church.

It was built in 1874 on the site of the medieval St. John's Hospital, founded in 1180 and is a church belonging to the Augustinian Order. Entrance to the church is free, so I recommend you take a peek inside: I guarantee you won't be disappointed by the splendid stained glass windows and the elaborate altar.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Cattedrale di St. Patrick, Dublino

Saint Patrick's Cathedral has been the fulcrum of the history of Dublin, and Ireland in general, for more than 800 years: it is the largest Protestant Cathedral in the country, and also the National Cathedral.

It was built between 1191 and 1270 in the place where Saint Patrick is said to have baptized the pagans in a well in 450 AD.

In St. Patrick's Cathedral lies the tomb of Jonathan Swift, author of "Gulliver's Travels", buried together with his beloved Esther. Furthermore, according to one of the Dublin legends, the ghost of the author would never have abandoned the church and would still wander among these places today.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Dublino

Among the other wonders you will find inside the Cathedral, is a splendid choir inlaid with swords, coats of arms and helmets, together with all the knights of St. Patrick.

In the Church there is also a statue of Benjamin Guinness: he was the first member of the famous family to have supported the renovation and conservation of the Cathedral, an example followed by his son Edward who in 1901 created the adjacent Saint Patrick's Park.

Saint Patrick's Cathedral is a truly unmissable destination in Dublin, make sure you have an hour to visit it, dedicating the necessary time to it: entry costs €10 with a full ticket and €9 for students. You can book on the official website and remember that once inside you can take advantage of the free guide by scanning the QR codes scattered around the Cathedral. Once you have finished your visit, don't forget to cross St. Patrick's Park and admire the church cemetery: unfortunately, access is reserved for families whose loved ones rest inside, but it is also really interesting from the outside.

The Brazen Head

The Brazen Head, il pub più antico d'Irlanda

The Brazen Head, on Merchant's Quay, boasts the title of the oldest pub still in business in Dublin and the whole of Ireland.

The building was built in 1754 as a coaching inn, but it seems to have been built on an ancient Norman tavern built in 1198. The pub retains its charm and characteristics of its past and has hosted very famous people such as James Joyce and Jonathan Swift and some well-known revolutionaries such as Daniel O'Connell and Michael Collins. You absolutely cannot miss stopping to eat at the Brazen Head, still very popular today, with live music sessions every evening and delicious traditional cuisine with typical dishes accompanied by the inevitable pints of Guinness. We went for dinner without a reservation and found a seat without too many problems: the place is very large, with many rooms and arranged on several levels. If you're nearby, try dropping by, the Brazen Head is a piece of Dublin history that absolutely shouldn't be missed!

Find out more about what to eat at the Brazen Head READ ALSO: Typical Irish food and beer: everything about what and where to eat in Dublin

Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse, Dublino

The Guinness Storehouse is the ancient Guinness brewery built in 1759 on 26 hectares of land and 7 floors.

What you visit is not the real factory, for obvious safety reasons, but a museum dedicated to the very famous beer created in one of the oldest parts of the reconverted and modernized factory which takes the shape of a pint of Guinness. Inside the museum, you will follow a path that will lead you to learn more about Guinness beer and, on each floor, a different aspect of this famous drink, popular throughout the world, is presented. From bottom to top we start with the ingredients, the production, the coopers, transportation, advertising, the founder Arthur Guinness and finally tasting.

On the top floor, in fact, you will find the Gravity Bar: a very modern round bar with glass walls where you can enjoy a pint of Guinness while enjoying a breathtaking view of the city from above. If you plan to include a tour of the Guinness Storehouse during your stay in Dublin, don't forget to book in advance: it is a particularly popular attraction and tickets often sell out. To secure entrance tickets, visit the official website.

On the website you can choose from various options, from the basic Storehouse tour which also includes a tasting and a free drink in the Gravity Bar, to tickets which also include a lesson on how to pour a pint of Guinness or other packages. We opted for the Guinness Storehouse Experience including the classic tour inside the factory, with tasting and final drink at the Gravity Bar, paying €20 for full tickets and €17 for students. Honestly, the prices were quite higher when I went (we paod €30 full price). Now the price is fair enough for the visit which was nice and certainly an essential destination for lovers of this very famous dark beer, but nothing exceptional when compared to the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam. This is the reason why so I suggest to limit yourself at the normal "experience" and not to go premium.

Kilmainham Gaol

La prigione di Kilmainham, Dublino

Kilmainham Gaol is an old prison located west of the Liberties area, outside the city center, but still absolutely worth including in any Dublin itinerary.

Inaugurated in 1746, it is a prison famous for having hosted the major revolutionaries of the fight for independence from England: here you can retrace the bloody battles for freedom fought by the Irish people and learn a little more about the political and social history of this nation. Today, inside Kilmainham prison, you can see the cells and common areas, the site of many capital executions, thanks to a guided tour of about an hour in English. The visit is very interesting: starting from the small prison chapel, you then walk along long corridors of cells up to the Victorian in the east wing, then arrive at the common places outside the building and finish the tour in the prison museum.

La Prigione di Kilmainham, Dublino

Kilmainham still retains a special and sacred space in Irish people's memory, since thanks to the struggle of courageous patriots who were imprisoned and killed, Ireland obtained its independence.

I recommend this visit wholeheartedly: it was an incredibly interesting experience that allowed us to discover many things about the history of Ireland and the city. The only downside is that the visit is only in English, so not accessible to everyone, but it is the only way to get inside the building.

If you are interested in this experience, remember to book tickets on time: as you can only access with a guided tour, availability is often limited and sold-out. Go through the official website and secure entry immediately: they cost only €8 for full tickets and €4 for students.

Phoenix Park

Phoenix Park, Dublino

The Phoenix Park in Dublin is the largest public park in Europe with its 700 hectares of size and is famous for hosting several herds of deer. The park was born in 1662 as a reserve for deer and was then remodeled as an urban park.

Phoenix Park is practically a huge forest, a green oasis within the city, which makes it the perfect place to relax, enjoy some rays of sunshine or play sports. Its size makes it difficult to visit on foot: I recommend you get around by bicycle as we did, renting some of the public ones available at a time, or in one of the rentals present near the park entrances - to find out more about how to rent a bicycle in Dublin READ ALSO: How to plan a weekend in Dublin

The park is so large that inside there are roads for cars with parking lots, the Dublin Zoo and also the residence of the President of Ireland. The park is absolutely unmissable thanks to the families of deer that live peacefully inside: they are quite used to the presence of humans, so they let you get quite close! It's an incredible show.

Inside the park, on Chesterfield Avenue, there is a delicious Tea Rooms: here you can have a snack or even lunch, they have a delicious menu and the desserts are divine! Find out more about what to eat at Phoenix Tea Room and READ ALSO: Typical Irish food and beer: everything about what and where to eat in Dublin

Stoneybatter and north of the Liffey

Stoneybatter and the North Liffey are among the trendiest areas of Dublin, with plenty of places to eat and drink. The nightlife centers around the pubs with lively folk music concerts, famous chain shops (such as Primark, which here is called Penneys) or more extravagant ones, the famous PantiBar run by Ireland's most famous Drag Queen and the Jameson Distillery Bow Street for whiskey lovers.

It is a very lively area, an excellent alternative to spend a nice evening, in addition to Temple Bar: it is located exactly on the other side of the Liffey, crossing the Ha' Penny Bridge and moving towards the west.

Old Jameson Distillery

Old Jameson Distillery, Dublino

The Jameson Distillery is one of the most famous distilleries in Dublin and its construction dates back to 1780.

The Old Jameson Distillery is now a wonderful museum where you can immerse yourself in the production of Irish whiskey and have very interesting tastings. Tasting Irish whiskey is a must if you are in Dublin, so why not do it in style in one of the most famous and beautiful distilleries in the city? On the site there are various types of experiences to choose from, from the classic tour with tasting to cocktail lessons... choose the one that best suits your interests! We opted for the classic Jameson Distillery Bow St. Experience Tour for €26 full price (€20 students), lasting about an hour.

Jameson Distillery St. Bow Experience, Dublino

It was a very interesting visit, which began with an initial part of explanation of the history of the distillery, followed by a second interactive moment on how whiskey is produced and distilled.

To finish, a tasting of 3 types of Jameson whiskey! Definitely an interesting and typical experience even for those who don't know anything about whiskey, like me!

At the end of the tour we sat in the splendid bar of the Jameson Distillery (which can be accessed freely without an entrance ticket) and tried a few whiskey-based drinks: in fact, the ticket for the tasting also included a free drink at the end of the tour!

If you don't intend to do the tasting and visit the distillery, I still recommend you stop by the bar and try some whiskey, the place is splendid and characteristic and they make excellent drinks! Make sure you book your experience on time on the official website if you are interested.

The Church Cafe, Late Bar and Restaurant

The Church Cafe is perhaps one of the most beautiful places we went to this weekend in Dublin, and I highly recommend it even just to

take a peek without stopping to drink or eat: the Church is located inside an old deconsecrated church: the place is crazy, and decidedly suggestive. The bar in the center of the ground floor is fantastic, it looks like it came out of the 1920s, and the imposing organ overlooking the room will take your breath away without a shadow of a doubt. If so far I haven't told you enough to convince you to pop in here, I'll also add that the cuisine is excellent and that every evening they play live Irish music and have some very good dancers who will put on a show of typical dances! Find out more about what to eat at the Church Café and READ ALSO: Typical Irish food and beer: everything about what and where to eat in Dublin

St. Stephen’s Green e Grafton Street

St. Stephen's Green is an area of ​​Dublin that takes its name from the park of the same name and is characterized by wonderful Georgian houses, a true corner of peace in the city, a few steps from the busy Grafton Street, Dublin's shopping street.

Opposite St. Stephen's Green Park is the splendid St. Stephen's Green Shopping Center, a wonderful shopping center, which is worth visiting even just for the splendid internal architecture, which is somewhat reminiscent of a 19th-century train station.

Grafton Street, the shopping street, is famous for its street artists and the particularity of some of its streets, such as Anne Street and the St. George Arcade area. This is definetely one of my favorite areas of Dublin, colorful and not too loud, with just the right amount of quirkiness.

St Stephen's Park

St Stephen's Green is one of the most famous and oldest parks in Dublin, built in 1664 in Victorian style, it is a wonderful place to walk among the greenery among the squirrels and swans in the pond, and get away from the city traffic.

The peculiarity of this place is in the fact that until the second half of the 17th-century this was a marshy area and was used for public executions and witch burnings.

Grafton Street and Anne Street

Grafton Street is one of the most well-known and lively pedestrian streets in Dublin, famous for its shops and the street artists who populate it.

Here you will find a huge Disney Store, the Lego Store and shops of the most famous international brands, such as North Face. Anne Street is a small side street off Grafton St (on the left going towards St. Stephen's Green Park) and is famous for being home to the John Kehoe pub, a famous traditional pub built in 1803 in Victorian style, and the colorful umbrellas hanging from buildings.

Asia Market

A few streets behind Grafton Street we came across the Asia

Market by chance, a spectacular one-of-a-kind Asian shop. We were attracted by its chlorinated yellow facade and the window overlooking the internal Mochi Bar, so we entered and discovered a wonderful world. The shop is actually huge, and after a first room which houses the Mochi Bar and typical Asian objects, such as splendid Japanese tea sets or sets of dishes for ramen, the shop continues into a huge Asian supermarket with highly sought-after and excellent products. quality. I recommend you stop by to admire the beauty of this shop!

George's St. Arcade

George's St. Arcade is a Victorian-style covered market with the classic red bricks, which houses very particular little shops. This is exactly the type of thing that I adore and always look for in a city I visit: splendid little

corners in which to find the most particular things. As well as being a wonderful building, it is the home of Spindizzy Records (a very interesting vinyl shop), Retro (a shop selling super special clothes and accessories that reminded me a lot of Camden Town in London), and my favourite one: Maktus, a satirical gift, book and stationery shop.

If you are nearby don't miss this little gem, you won't regret it!

The Hairy Lemon Pub

The Hairy Lemon Pub is without a doubt our favorite pub in Dublin and the one where we ate best! Please don't leave the city without stopping by!

Its lemon yellow exterior has nothing to do with its typically Irish interior: the pub is huge, with many rooms and an upper floor. The atmosphere is totally traditional and the cuisine simply delicious! If you are looking for a local cuisine menu that respects true traditional recipes, here you will find what you are looking for. Just wonderful! Find out more about what to eat at Hairy Lemon and READ ALSO: Typical Irish food and beer: everything about what and where to eat in Dublin

Merrion Square, Dublino

Merrion Square e dintorni

Merrion Square is a splendid Georgian square and a delightful garden in the center of an area characterized by elegant decorated buildings and colorful doors, near the most prestigious museums in the city, such as the National Museum of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland and the very famous Trinity College.

A little curiosity - very illustrious people have lived here in Merrion Square, such as Oscar Wilde at n°1, Daniel O'Connell at n°58, at n°52 and then at n°82 William Butler Yeats.