Dublin – what to do in a day or less

img_0701Although I live in Ireland, about 15 km from Dublin, I haven’t had many opportunities to explore the city from a visitor’s point of view since the year 2008 when I first moved here.

Over the week I had some family visiting the country and on the weekend we visited Dublin for a day. We actually arrived after 12 pm so it was tight but we still got to do lots of things.

If you’re just passing through Dublin or you’ve come for an event and just have a day or less to wander, this guide will give you an idea of what to do and where to spend your time.


Transport and parking in Dublin

We travelled by car coming from the south of Dublin. This option is usually more complex if you’re not used to city traffic and wouldn’t recommend it for first time visitors. That said, there’s plenty of parking spots and is worth searching online for an underground parking within the city before you head off.

This website will give you a good list of car parks in Dublin, and we choose this one

In terms of public transport, there are numerous bus lines (Dublin Bus), two main tram lines (Luas – green and read line, which are just being connected in the city centre), and the Dart (overground train). Depending on your location you will need to check out your options. The services are regular and the prices are affordable.

Shopping in Dublin city centre

The car park which we used was close to the main shopping/eating area of Grafton street. Within minutes we popped out at Dawson street and then onto Grafton. Shopping and food are on each side (plus ATM’s if you need some cash, and you will!). You can find souvenirs and gifts, clothes and accessories, food and drink, and everything a big city should be able to offer. We were looking for games, whiskey and cigars, and we also found those.

What I loved about Grafton street was that on every 100-200 m there was a live performance. Since I wasn’t looking to buy anything I was more interested in the life on the street. There was a musician at the start who had already attracted audience, then another one playing the guitar, then a sand sculpture artist whom I remember since the time I first arrived in Ireland, and we finished off with a man dancing and doing saltos, or jumps.

When you come out from Grafton onto the south side of it, you can head towards St. Stephen’s Green park or Stephen’s Green shopping centre. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can find almost everything you need in the area.

Eating and Drinking

After we found what we needed in the shopping centre, naturally we wanted to get something to eat and drink.

A fact: Pint [pa:int] is the measure of the draft beers, or beers on tap, and is a little more than 500 ml of pale or dark brown liquids.

If you haven’t ever tried Guinness, the traditional worldwide-popular stout (dark brown) beer, you will certainly have to try at least a glass even if you’re not into beers.

A tip: If you need to order more than one Guinness, don’t say “two/three.. Guinnesses but “two/three.. pints of Guinness”. I still remember my first days here when I found myself sounding really awkward ordering “two Guinnesses” at the bar, so be warned!

We strolled img_0703along the side of Stephen’s Greet SC onto South King Street (King St S on the map). There you will also pass the Gaiety Theatre  if you fancy an evening or night show. Right after that we took to the right onto Claredon Row where we found Rua Bar – a lovely place to sample some local food and drink. The staff was really friendly and professional, the food was fresh and the beer was just Irish! It was five of us and three meals, two portions of chips and five drinks, cost us less that €60. It’s not cheap, but between all of us it’s normal. (Ireland, and especially Dublin, is a high-standard country).


Also, not to forget to mention, two of us were actually children – a 10 year old and a 4 year old boys. And although, I didn’t see that many children in the city, it was totally doable for them. The distances were short and the pub was child-friendly, and even had Halloween balloons. Actually my son, who is nearly four, was absolutely mesmerised but the crowds, like in a little trance of his own!

Walking and Exploring

Creative Quarter

After our meal, we needed to walk it off and headed down Claredon Street, then Wicklow Street until we reached St. Andrew’s Church and Molly Malone Statue. All this area, stretching from South William Street to George’s Street and from Lower Stephen’s Street to Exchequer Street, is packed full of more shops, more pubs, bars and eateries. The streets are narrow and it can be very busy with locals and tourists but you will experience the real Irish feeling. It’s colourful, vibrant and chaotic but everyone is nice and it’s a rather enjoyable experience.

Here’s a glimpse of what the Creative Quarter is like:

We came onto the main Dame street where you can spot the double-decker buses, part of the busy traffic. What contributes to the chaos downtown is also the fact that they’re putting down tram lines. You can see fences all over and angry taxi drivers but that is really part of every big city. Still, Dublin is a milder place and most of the people and drivers are very patient. I’ve never heard anyone shouting or something like that. It’s really civil!

img_0707Temple Bar

When you cross Dame street and continue north, you come into Temple Bar. This district is a must-see in Dublin, and is the place where big part of the night life happens – pubs and bars, street musicians, live performances, movies and films, and so on. It’s always busy, there are always people who are partying, and the craic doesn’t stop.

Liffey River

From Temple Bar you can easily get to the river which marks the division between North and South Dublin. You can walk down the boardwalks and even hop on a boat trip on the Liffey.

Trinity College

After that we looped back south through College Green but instead going back from where we came, we went through Trinity College, which was founded in 1592, and its grounds. Watch this beautiful video to learn more about it:

We popped out on to Nassau street and before we made it to Dawson street, we made sure to stop for some cake at KC Peaches.

What a yummy afternoon in Dublin city!

Here are some more pictures from around the city:

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