Designated as a UNESCO City of Literature, the Irish Capital of Dublin is famous for its Georgian architectural castles, sprawling gardens, pub culture, food scene, world class museums and galleries. But beyond those, Dublin also boasts rich cultures and traditions. In this 3-day suggested itinerary, you will see most of Dublin’s key attractions, from its historic and cultural sites to its premier shopping centers.
Things to know before travelling in Dublin, Ireland:
Language – The two official languages of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are Irish Gaelic and English. Generally, you do not need to learn Irish language words or phrases. However, consider learning some useful words when travelling around the countryside where Irish is the everyday spoken language.
Currency exchange – The official currency of the Republic of Ireland is Euro. Exchanging money in Dublin is easy and follows the same standard to elsewhere in Europe. Currency can be exchanged at the Bank of Ireland, as well as Bureau de Change around the city and airports. Most major establishments like hotels and restaurants in major tourist and business destinations accept credit cards. The best way to get local currency is to use the ATMs, which are widely available in Dublin and other major cities.
Getting to there – Dublin Airport is well connected with numerous international and domestic flights. Cheapest flights from New York are operated by Delta, Aer Lingus, American Airlines and Air France, and if you book in advance, a round-trip ticket costs under 600 USD. At this moment there are no direct flights from Hong Kong but this is not a bad thing since you can explore another vibrant city on your way to Dublin. Prices for Hong Kong – Dublin – Hong Kong start at about 900 USD (consider flying with KLM and explore Amsterdam for a day or two).
Transportation – Renting a car and driving on your own in Dublin is not recommended because of heavy traffic, a complex one way traffic system and expensive parking. For first time visitors, Dublin Bus Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tour is highly recommended as the buses link main attractions in the city. Dublin also has free bikes scheme which you can be availed for a minimal fee.
Accommodation – Dublin has a wide range of accommodation options, with something for every level of comfort and budget. There are also plenty of apartment rentals if you prefer the comfort and convenience of having your own place with cooking facilities. Staying in Dublin 1 or 2 is recommended as this area is the city center which contains most of the historical attractions, cultural sights, restaurants, nightlife and shops.
Hotels to consider in Dublin:
The Merrion Hotel (Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2, Ireland)
The Westbury Hotel (Grafton St | Dublin 2, Dublin Dublin 2, Ireland)
The Croke Park Hotel (Jones’s Road, Dublin D3, Ireland)
The Marker Hotel (Grand Canal Square | Docklands, Dublin 2, Ireland)
The Morrison, a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel (Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland – formerly Morrison Hotel)
Radisson Blu Royal Hotel, Dublin (Golden Lane, Dublin 8, Ireland – formerly Radisson SAS)
Day by Day Itinerary 3 days in Dublin, Ireland
Assuming you had to cross an ocean to get to Ireland, your first day will be rife with jet lag. Take a flight that arrives in Dublin Airport as early as possible and check in to your preferred hotel/hostel. To walk off your jet lag, hit one of the breakfast spots in the city. Try The Fumbally, located in Dublin’s antique quarter, for some locally-sourced, organic produce food at a reasonable price.
In the afternoon, start your walking tour at the heart of Dublin’s historical center, the O’Connell Street. Being the center of the Easter 1916 Rising, the event the marks the onset of rebellion towards independence from the British, O’Connell Street has several historical attractions. Some of the places of interest in this area are the historic General Post Office, Henry Street and the vibrant market along Moore Street. Then, make your way to The Old Jameson Distillery to learn how the Irish Whisky is made and get a free drink!
In the evening, head to Temple Bar, the neighborhood on the South bank of River Liffey. Here, you can enjoy the Irish pub scene. For a taste of traditional Irish cuisine, there are also plenty of restaurants around this area.
Unless breakfast is included in the price of your accommodation, start your day at one of Dublin’s best breakfast and brunch spots. A typical breakfast in Ireland consist of sausages, bacon, fried eggs, some grilled tomatoes and some toast.
After breakfast, it’s time to board the Hop-On Hop-Off Dublin Bus Tour. Tours start at 9:00 in the morning daily and will arrive at each attractions every 10 to 15 minutes. You can hop off at anytime to visit attractions like The Book of Kells in Trinity College, Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure and the world famous medieval religious text. Another interesting attraction is Kilmainham Gaol, the former prison in Kilmainham, Dublin that was converted into a museum. Here, you will be able to learn more about Easter 1916 Uprising and the road to Irish Independence. Other sights you can visit on this day are Guinness Storehouse, George’s Street Arcade and the National Museum of Archaeology.
Finish the day at Winding Stair (40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1, Ireland), located beside River Liffey. The restaurant has so much history attached to it and it continuously serve delicious local fare that is worth shouting about. If you still have energy, join a pub crawl with professional party guides and meet new friends on a great night out in Dublin.
Today marks the end of your adventure in Dublin. Taking in to consideration that you most likely stayed out rather late the other night, you can start your last day in Dublin at around 10 to 11 in the morning. If your flight is in the evening or late afternoon, explore the city for other attractions you might have missed. Fit in one last amazing lunch or dinner in the city. You could even squeeze in some souvenir shopping at Kilkenny Shop before you travel to the airport. Head to the airport in time to check in for your international flight home, or you may opt to continue traveling independently in Ireland, or extend your stay in Dublin (check out Rhythm of Dublin guide). The decision is all yours!
This is the end of our 3-day suggested itinerary. The sequence of activities and attractions above are just a guide and you can definitely change it to suit your interests. Enjoy Dublin!
Have you been to Dublin or anywhere else in Ireland? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? If so, you can leave your comments below.