Dublin Ireland is an enchanting city filled with a rich history, culture, and vibrant sights to see. Though it would take a lifetime to explore all that this city has to offer, it is possible to hit up some of the top sights and experiences in just one day. Whether you’re traveling with family, friends, or taking a solo trip, this one day in Dublin itinerary will take you on an adventure around Dublin like no other. After a short but jammed packed trip, Buddy and I are sharing 9 interesting things to do if you only have one day in Dublin.
Buddy and I visited Dublin Ireland when Buddy was touring Ireland with his choir. Buddy experienced Dublin with his choir. And Sal and I, who followed Buddy to Ireland so we could see him sing in Trim on his birthday, explored Dublin without Buddy. However, working together, Buddy and I are including both the parents and a teenager’s thoughts on what to do and see on this Dublin itinerary 24 hours.
Only One Day in Dublin
Why only 24 hours in Dublin?
Well, for me and Sal, we planned it that way. Because we wanted to fit in all we wanted to see and do in Ireland between the constraints of Sal’s time off work and joining Buddy in Trim for his birthday, we had a limited time to do and see all we wanted to do and see on our Irish adventure. Something had to give, and it was our time in Dublin. This is why we had a one day Dublin itinerary. To be fair, we originally planned on visiting Dublin again on the last day of our trip before flying home. But we were too exhausted and spent the day in Swords instead.
As for Buddy, he was supposed to have 72 hours in Dublin with his choir. But because of flight cancellations, Buddy’s choir ended up arriving in Dublin a day later. So, he only had 48 hours in Dublin, and some of that was spent on a day trip to Glendolaugh with the chorus.
We know, 24 hours is not enough time to explore Dublin. But if you are passing through and want to take in some of the sites, we are sharing some of the things we saw and loved, and some of the things we missed. I will even share the exact one day in Dublin itinerary Sal and I did in case you want to follow in our footsteps!
Comfortable walking shoes are a must! And make sure you break them in before heading out on your travel adventures!
Dublin is a very walkable city but you will need to make sure your feet are ready for all that walking. I have two sets of shoes that I love to wear to walk all over Europe. For the summer months, I use these Dansko shoes. And in winter, I use these ankle booties. Although I visited Dublin in the summer, I wore the ankle booties for our one day in Dublin.
9 Interesting Things To Do If You Only Have One Day in Dublin
1. Visit Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
Start your day at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, one of the most iconic landmarks in Dublin. This historic cathedral is the national cathedral of the Church of Ireland. Founded in 1191, the cathedral has gorgeous stained-glass windows, stone carvings, and an impressive organ. The architecture and beauty of this cathedral are sure to leave you feeling inspired and ready to tackle the rest of your day.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral is located at t Patrick’s Close, Dublin, D08 H6X3 at the corner of Patrick Street and Upper Kevin Street. While there is a parking lot at Cathedral Close, chances are you will be walking to visit. The cathedral is a short walk from Dublin’s city center. For the most up-to-date information regarding hours and tickets, visit the website.
Buddy and I visited Saint Patrick’s Cathedral separately. After checking in to our hotel and grabbing a bite to eat, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was the first stop on our journey through Dublin. Although you can buy tickets in advance, and it is probably a great idea to do so during high season, we did not. Rather, since I was unsure how we would feel after our red eye across the Atlantic, and since I was unsure when we would be able to check in to our hotel, I did not commit to any site seeing activities early in the day.
Luckily, there was not a line when we visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral and we were able to purchase tickets at the door. We visited on a Wednesday in June. The audio guide was short and sweet and very easy to follow along. All in all, we spent about an hour exploring St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
Bring headphones to use the audio guide if you want to explore be hands free (and take photos!).
A Teenager’s Perspective
Buddy says, “St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I did not get to tour the site. Instead, I performed there in the Lady Chapel. The chapel was very old. It was built in 1270. So, I did get to see the Chapel and briefly look around the Cathedral, but not as a visitor. We were there to work, to perform.”
Did Sal and I get to see Buddy sing in St. Patrick’s Cathedral? Unfortunately, no. The choir notified us of this performance after we made our travel plans. We were in Blarney staying at the cute Muskerry Arms Bar and B&B when Buddy was singing in St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
St Patrick’s Cathedral is great for: Travelers of all ages. There are even hands on activities for the littles!
2. Visit Christ Church Cathedral
Since we are on the theme of Cathedrals, next on your list should be the Christ Church Cathedral, situated in the heart of Dublin. This cathedral was originally a Viking church that dates back to the 11th century. The Cathedral is known for its crypt and its famous 18th century bells. And you can ring these bells on a guided tour of the Cathedral.
Christ Church Cathedral is located at Christchurch Pl, Wood Quay, Dublin 8, Ireland and is easily accessible on foot or by public transportation and site seeing busses. There is no parking onsite, so plan accordingly. For the most up-to-date information, including opening hours, self-guided or group guided tours of the cathedral, visit the website.
Pro Tip: group guided tours, the ones where you can ring the bells, must be booked in advance. And sometimes they are not always available, so call ahead or email the address on the website to inquire about your tour.
After finishing our self-guided tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Sal and I made a beeline for Christ Church Cathedral, opting to walk. It was an easy walk up a hill to get from one Cathedral to the next. However, our plans of taking a self-guided tour of the Cathedral were thwarted after we saw Buddy and his choir! They had just finished performing at the Cathedral. Given that we wanted him to have some space and get used to touring without us, we opted to leave so that he could adjust to traveling alone. But not before snapping some photos of him from a distance!
Yes, I am bummed that we missed the chance to tour the Cathedral and see Buddy sing there.
A Teenager’s Perspective
Buddy says, “At Christ Church Cathedral, it was the same as St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We did not get a chance to see the sites. Instead, we focused on performing.”
Christ Church Cathedral is great for: Travelers of all ages.
3. Walk Grafton Street
After Christ Church Cathedral, it’s time to take a stroll down Grafton and other streets. Marvel at the stunning architecture, stop in some of the local shops, and snap a photo of the iconic Mollie statue. Take your time wandering through the streets, as there’s always something new to discover in Dublin’s bustling city center.
From Christ Church Cathedral, Sal and I took a detour to walk past Dublin Castle, before making a trip to see Molly Malone Statue. After that we took a stroll down Grafton Street.
Fast Fact: Because some people believe it is good luck to touch the breasts on the Molly Malone statue, the breasts on the statue are discolored. You may want to refrain from touching the breasts of the statue on your trip.
What is the best part about Grafton Street? The live arts of course! There are many buskers performing on the street, and it was a blast watching all the street performances.
But is there shopping on Grafton Street? Absolutely yes! For travelers who would rather shop, there is plenty of that too! There are a lot of stores and cafes.
I did more than my fair share of window shopping. However, I did not buy anything as we were at the beginning of our two and a half weeks of travel and were traveling carry-on only. I do regret not buying an Aran Sweater when I had the chance!
A Teenager’s Perspective
Buddy says “At the time, I was very tired. So, I can’t remember walking down Grafton Street.
Grafton Street is great for: Fans of buskers, shoppers, travelers of all ages.
4. Visit Stephen’s Green
Next, head to Stephen’s Green, a beautiful park in the heart of Dublin. This park is known for its beautiful green space, small lakes, and sculptures. It is a great place to rest your feet after all that walking. And great for families traveling with littles, there is a playground complete with swings and slides. Of course, you can also feed the ducks!
When Sal and I visited, we sat on a bench, rested, and took in the beauty of all the green. As desert dwellers, we were in awe with Ireland’s green. It was truly stunning. But, since we were tired, we did not venture around to see the sites like the Yeats Memorial. Rather we rested. And I contacted a local bakery in Trim to put in an order for Buddy’s birthday cake.
A Teenager’s Perspective
Buddy says, “We were supposed to go to Stephen’s Greens after looking at the Book of Kells, but we were too tired to go.”
Stephen’s Green is great for: Families with littles, travelers who want to picnic.
5. Visit Trinity College and see the Book of Kells
No visit to Dublin is complete without a trip to Trinity College. This prestigious and historic college university is renowned for its historic buildings, including the stunning Old Library and the Long Room, which houses the famous Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is ancient manuscript, written around 800 A.D. and is regarded as one of Ireland’s greatest cultural treasures. Taking an estimated seventy-five years to finish, the handwritten manuscript tells the story of the four gospels of the New Testament using intricate illustrations and calligraphy on every page. The Book of Kells is truly one of the most impressive manuscripts in the world!
The University of Dublin Trinity College is located at College Green in Dublin. For tickets to see the Book of Kells or for a campus tour, visit the website.
After a much-needed rest at St. Stephen’s Green, Sal and I walked to Trinity College for our 4:30pm admission to see the Book of Kells. I am glad that we arrived at Trinity College early because it took us a while before we found the Old Library. But in retrospect, the instructions on our ticket were very clear, so it must have been the jetlag!
Despite the timed tickets, it was a bit crowded in the exhibit area. Admiring the Book of Kells itself is very short and sweet. Especially if there is a line before and after the book. But after viewing the book, you will step into the Old Library. It. Is. Amazing! For me, the Old Library was the highlight of our trip. It was filled with quintessential Irish history and artifacts that are a must see. A personal favorite was the Brain Boru Harp.
- Buy your tickets to see the Book of Kells in advance!
- And arrive at least 10 minutes before your time ticket to give yourself time to navigate Trinity College Campus, find the Old Library, and get in line.
Even though I gambled and did not buy tickets to St. Patrick’s Cathedral or Christ Church Cathedral in advance. I did buy tickets to the Book of Kells in advance because I did not want to risk missing out on this experience!
A Teenager’s Perspective
Buddy visited Trinity College and the Book of Kells with his choir the same day I visited with Sal. In fact, as we were exiting the Old Library, we saw Buddy and his choir mates lining up to enter. We waved from afar. Here is what our resident teenage traveler has to say about his Book of Kells experience.
“Honestly, the Book of Kells itself was very interesting. It looked like an old timey picture book but even older. It is a religious book with a bunch of drawings from the era, like the art you see in Cathedrals, but the book instead of on the walls. I couldn’t understand what it said but it was a cool book. And It looked in a great shape despite its age.
Unfortunately, I don’t think most teenage travelers will be interested in the Book of Kells or the Old Library. I was actually a bit interested in how the book was made but most of the older kids and teens on my tour were like nah! Not interested. They didn’t like it.”
Well, there you have it! If you are traveling to Dublin with teens, the Book of Kells might not be the most interesting, but probably a good thing to see nonetheless due to its historical and literary importance.
Trinity College and the Book of Kells is great for: Travelers interested in history, art, and literature.
6. Visit Temple Bar
Next, it’s time for some food and fun at Temple Bar. This iconic area of Dublin is bursting with life, and there are plenty of pubs to choose from where you can relax with a pint of Guinness or some Irish whiskey. And listen to some live music while you’re there. It is fun to soak up the atmosphere of this neighborhood.
After leaving the Old Library, Sal and I headed to Temple Bar to enjoy a drink and some live music.
What bar did we choose in Dublin’s Temple Bar area? The Temple Bar of course!
We arrived at The Temple Bar Pub around 6pm. It was a fun and lively atmosphere. There was music and singing with crowd participation. Sal had a Guinness while I admired the faces of the River Gods in the beer garden. I wanted to get a photo of the James Joyce statue, but there were fellow travelers around the statue constantly and I couldn’t get a shot!
We thought The Temple Bar lived up to its reputation. What do you think?
Although the pub offers food and souvenirs, we did not opt to purchase anything. After we finished our drinks, we headed out to continue our Dublin adventure.
Buddy and his choir did not visit Temple Bar.
7. Walk the Ha’penny Bridge
Take a walk to Ha’penny Bridge, which gives you a beautiful view of the River Liffey. From Temple Bar, it is a quick walk to the Ha’penny Bridge. Take the pedestrian bridge over the River Liffey. The former toll bridge is officially known as the Liffey Bridge and got its nickname from the original cost of the toll charged for crossing – a ha’penny.
After leaving Temple Bar, Sal and I strolled across the Ha’penny Bridge and continued our walk along the Liffey River.
Buddy says, “I did not visit this bridge with the choir, but I wished I could.”
8. Grab a bite to eat
After all that walking, you may have built up an appetite. If so, you can grab a bite to eat at a nearby restaurant for a quick bite to eat. And there are many delicious restaurants in Dublin.
Sal and I chose to eat at two local establishments during our one day in Dublin. After traversing the Ha’penny bridge, we decided to grab a bite at the Brazen Head.
The Brazen Head is the oldest pub in Dublin. It is located at 20 Lower Bridge St, Usher’s Quay, Dublin, D08 WC64, Ireland and we highly recommend visiting! The atmosphere and ambiance is like no other.
When we arrived, there were no tables available, so we ordered at the bar. We then moved to a table when one opened up. The Brazen Head does have live music, but none was playing when we visited. We ate dinner at the pub. Sal had the fish and chips and I opted for the Irish stew. We also tried the Carlsbery, Smithwick, and Sal had an Irish Coffee for dessert. But the best part of the meal was the bread! It was so good.
Earlier in the day, at the recommendation of our hotel’s concierge, we had lunch at John Fallon’s “The Capstan Bar.” We stopped for a bite on the way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral. We each had a ham and cheese toastie and Sal had a pint. We sat outside as it was a sunny day and we wanted to enjoy the cooler Irish weather.
- Teens and children under 15 must be accompanied by an adult to enter a bar or pub. Kiddos under the age of 18 can stay in a pub until 9pm, or 10pm in the summer months.
- The legal drinking age in Ireland is 18.
For the most accurate information, visit this post about the drinking age in Ireland from a local.
A Teenager’s Perspective
And this is what Buddy recommends.
“For eating in Dublin, I recommend the Belvedere Irish Nights Show with dinner and traditional Irish music and dancing. The whole experience and atmosphere was pretty neat. I enjoyed the food, especially because it was the first real meal I had on my trip. And the first time I tried Irish food. I can’t remember what I ordered because I had to put my order in advance with the choir. But I do know that it was a three-course meal, and it was good.
The older kids and teens I traveled with also liked the Belvedere dinner and show. The only thing was we went the day we arrived, and everyone was so sleepy. I was so jet-lagged that I fell asleep about 5 times during the show, But I would definitely go again and yes, so would the other boys.”
- Tickets for Buddy’s recommended Belvedere Irish Nights Show must be booked in advance.
- The all-ages dinner and show is approximately 3 hours.
Good for: Foodies, travelers of all ages, anyone who likes to eat.
9. Visit Dublin Castle
Finish off your day by visiting Caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath or Dublin Castle, one of the most iconic landmarks in the city. This historic castle, built in the 13th Century, is home to both Viking and mideval structures. Visit Dublin tour of the castle to learn about its fascinating history and architecture.
Sal and I did not have time in our Dublin itinerary to visit Dublin Castle. But, because he was in Dublin for two days, rather than one, Buddy did. Dublin Castle is his recommendation. This is what he has to say.
A Teenager’s Perspective
“Dublin Castle was very nice, honestly. It was fun to explore the history of the castle. I enjoyed learning how it was built and how they rebuilt it after the fire. It was also interesting to how it was during Independence.
I took a guided tour with a chorus. One thing to know is that you do have to stand a lot during the tour. So just be aware of that. And we were pretty tired that day, so it was hard to stand for a long time.
Yes, me and the teens I traveled with liked Dublin Castle. I would go back, and I think that my parents should have seen it.”
Our One Day in Dublin Itinerary
In case you are interested in replicating our adventurous one day in Dublin. Here is the exact Dublin itinerary I planned for me and Sal. Please note that it is a full day, and it does require a lot of walking. And you will not be able to spend a lot of time at any one location.
- Drop your bags at the hotel
- Grab a bite at John Fallon’s “The Capstan Bar”
- St. Patrick’s Cathedral
- Christ Church Cathedral
- Walk to the Molly Malone Statue
- Walk Grafton Street
- St. Stephen’s Green
- Trinity College and the Book of Kells
- Temple Bar
- Ha’penny Bridge
- Brazen Head Pub
- Return to the hotel and check in
What we missed
Because one day in Dublin is not enough time to take in all the sites, here are some notable places that we missed on this trip. Hopefully, we get the chance to return soon and visit these sites.
- National Museum of Ireland
- Kilmainham Gaol Museum
- The Little Museum of Dublin
- EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
- Museum of Childhood Ireland
- Teeling Whiskey Distillery
- Guinness Storehouse
We also heard that Dublin has a really great hop on hop off bus. Buddy was supposed to experience the hop on hop off bus but missed it due to his flight cancelation. Maybe next time!
Where to stay in Dublin Ireland
When choosing a place to stay in Dublin, there are so many options to consider. There are many options for accommodation in and around Dublin City Center. For a central location, the Temple Bar area is a great choice, with a bustling atmosphere and lively nightlife. If you prefer a quieter location, the trendy suburb of Ranelagh offers charming cafes, boutiques, and parks. For a family-friendly option, the Ballsbridge area has plenty of parks and museums, and is within walking distance to the Dublin Zoo. No matter where you choose to stay, Dublin is a very walkable city and has options for public transport.
When we visited Dublin, Sal and I stayed a little off the beaten path at the Aloft Hotel near the Teeling Whiskey Distillery. I chose this option because I wanted something quieter than what I read Temple Bar has to offer. I am also a member of the Marriott Bonvoy program and wanted to get some points. The Dublin Aloft was nice. They definitely cater to a younger crowd. They offered us wine upon check in and had a band from Belfast playing afternoon we arrived. It was very lively.
But the best part of Aloft was the customer service. There was a very friendly concierge who helped us store our bags, park our car (more on that later), and recommended places to eat while we waited for check in.
A Teenager’s Perspective
Buddy and his choir stayed at the Jacob’s Inn Hostel in Dublin. About the hostel, Buddy says, “It was very modernized and the food that as served there was great. Just note that the ground level becomes a bar after lunch time.”
Driving in Dublin
Dublin is a very walkable city. Visitors do not need a car to explore the Irish capital. In the city center, parking might be challenging and pricey! In general, it is best to visit Dublin without a car. If you are renting a car for a road trip around Ireland, it might be best to rent the car before or after visiting Dublin.
That said, we did not follow that advice! Given that we only had one day in Dublin, we did not want to return to the airport the next day to rent a car. We wanted to head off to Kilkenny bright and early the next day. So, against better advice, we picked up our rental car when we landed and Sal drove it into Dublin.
It was quite an adventure driving on the left side of the road on Dublin’s streets. And we had to pay a pretty penny for parking at the hotel. But once parked, we did not pick up the car until it was time to leave. Had we spent more than one day in Dublin, we would not have rented a car.
Would we visit Dublin again?
Absolutely! We loved Dublin and look forward to visiting again in the future. But maybe for longer than one day! And perhaps we might even have time to film a Movement Postcard!
Buddy says, “Dublin was really nice. I loved the way it was organized. Especially Luas, the tram system. I would go back to Dublin, and I do recommend Dublin for teenagers.”
We hope this Dublin itinerary has inspired you to get out and explore the best of Dublin, Ireland. With so much to see and do in just one day, there is no doubt that Dublin is a city not to be missed. Whether you’re touring with your kids or alone, this Dublin itinerary is perfect for everyone looking to experience a fun-filled day in Dublin. Start making your travel plans today and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime!
Are you traveling to Dublin Ireland soon? If so, let us know in the comments below!
Do you have questions about family travel or traveling with teens? Feel free to reach out! We are happy to chat and share our experiences! We look forward to connecting with you.
If you enjoyed reading this, check out these blog posts!
- 5 Tips for a Fantastic Visit to Blarney Castle
- Day Trip to Kilkenny: 5 Interesting Things To Do
- 5 Tips for a Fantastic Visit to Blarney Castle
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