Dublin in 48 hours? It can be done I promise … just expect to be shattered at the end of it, but in a good way :)

Having used up all my annual leave for 2014 by the end of September, it seemed likely that a visit to Dublin would evade me for yet another year.  Having visited Ireland six times within the last 5 years, but with not one of those visits involving Dublin, you’d be forgiven for thinking I was avoiding the place.  It’s only an hour away, and I’d head great things about the city from the crew of travel bloggers who attend TBEX in Dublin only last year, yet Dublin and I just hadn’t been able to arrange a good time to meet up.  But then, all of a sudden, the type of email a travel blogger dreams about dropped into my inbox, and within a matter of hours I was booked to spend 48 hours discovering Dublin.

Now 48 hours isn’t long in terms of travel, we all know that, but I was determined to make Dublin in 48 hours work, and set about seeing as much of Dublin as I could over just two days.  As per my usual liking for seeking out the less heavily featured and quirky attractions of a destination, the below itinerary may not include some of the attractions you’d expect it to, but I still think it would give any first time visitor to Dublin a great overview of the city. Hopefully you agree.

So are you heading to Dublin for the weekend anytime soon?

  1. I hope you have a great time
  2. If you want to try cram in loads of good stuff over just a weekend, try this Dublin in 48 hours itinerary on for size …

Dublin in 48 hours – Day 1

Arrival and transport

You’ve travelled early? With hand luggage only?  Good!

Straight off the plane, make your way through passport control and outside to the bus station.  You’re looking for the number 700 bus which operated from area number 2 of the bus/coach park.  You should purchase a one way ticket to Drumcondra at €6 per person.  The journey should take around 30 minutes, throughout which you can enjoy free wifi.

Croke Park – €20/£16

Why Drumcondra and not the centre of town?  Croke Park is why.

Croke Park is the largest amateur sports stadium in the world, holding up to 82,300 spectators.  It is the headquarters of the GAA (Gaelic Athletics Association), which itself is one of the largest amateur sporting associations in the world.  Every year fans of Gaelic Football and Hurling cram into this incredible stadium to watch the All Ireland Finals.

Gaelic Football?  Hurling?  Now if these are not sports that you are familiar with, fear not, for Croke Park has a fantastic museum will will teach you all about these two exciting games, but whilst the museum is brilliant, it was not the main purpose of my visit.  I was at Croke Park to take the Etihad Skyline tour – a tour of the stadium roof, which affords not only great views of the stadium itself, but all over Dublin.

The 0.6km walk a’ top the Stadium takes place 17 stories skywards and takes roughly 2 hours.  During that time you are latched to the roof via a series of heavy duty wires and hooks, and told all manner of facts and quirky anecdotes about the stadium and surrounding skyline by your guide.

Link: Skyline Croke Park

Croke Park Skyline

Lunch

It’s a case of take your pick really, as there are so many great foodie spots in Dublin to choose from.  Cheating a bit, I sought advice from Beverly at Pack-Your-Passport.com and walked from Croke Park into the centre of Dublin towards Temple Bar.  Having crossed Ha’Penny Bridge and arriving in Temple Bar, I made a beeline for Bison Bar & BBQ where I wanted to try a bit of Irish meat cooked Texan style.

As I sat in what felt like half traditional bar and half cowboy ranch, I chomped some delightfully spicy and tangy meets.  It was a close call between my favourite, maybe the pulled pork or maybe the ribs.

Link: Bison Bar and BBQ

Bison Bar & BBQ Dublin

The Brazen Head

A pub that is seemingly made up of lots of little smaller pubs, The Brazen Head is Ireland’s oldest public house, dating back to 1198.  With live music, sports on the TV’s, good food and Irish storytelling sessions there’s plenty of reasons to have more than one drink in the Brazen Head, but sadly I had to be on my way after just one if I was to see more of what Dublin had to offer.

Link: The Brazen Head

Brazen Head Dublin

Guinness Storehouse – €18/£14 (but cheaper if booked online)

It just has to be done right?  I mean why wouldn’t you?

Dare I say that the Guinness Storehouse is Dublin’s premiere tourist attraction? Even before my visit I’d heard nothing but good things, and now having been I would agree with everything I’d heard previous.  This is a great way to spend a couple of hours, its educational, fun and tasty to boot.  Spanning over 7 different levels, the Storehouse’s self guided tour educates you on the history of the Guinness family, how they came to discover and develop their secret recipe.  Aside from the free pint at the end of the tour up in the Sky Bar, my highlights were probably the history of marketing and advertising section, plus the lesson in how to drink and taste all the flavours of Guinness correctly.  Have you been drinking it right?

Link: Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse

Check-in to your hotel

Now, its finally time to go check into your hotel, rest your feet for a bit, and then spruce up for the evening.  Trust me, you’ll feel a lot more able for dinner and a couple of drinks after a nice hot shower.

My bed for the night was located at Kelly’s Hotel on South Great Georges Street, and was sat on top of two bustling bars, and even had a little one of its own so I wouldn’t go thirsty.  The room was a nice size, with safe, wardrobe, TV, WIFI, desk and a seriously comfy bed.  The bathroom was also a fair size and had a lovely big shower.

With reception being manned by friendly staff 24 hours and movies free to rent from the front desk, I was really impressed by Kelly’s.  Breakfast was included which is always nice, and just walking around the boutique type rooms was really fun and interesting.  I love quirky accommodations as you may have guessed.

Link: Kelly’s Hotel Dublin

Kellys Hotel Dublin

Kellys Hotel Dublin

Dinner and Evening Entertainment

All spruced up and ready to hit the town? My first port of call was the interesting looking Neon Asian Street Food restaurant, located on the same street as my hotel.  Alas, even dining alone I was unable to secure a table for over an hour, so continued my search (fair warning, Saturdays get very very busy, so it pays to book ahead).  Rest assure I did find somewhere in the end, unlike me to skip a meal.

After dinner it was time for some live entertainment, this came in the form of Whelan’s, a large bar and renowned music venue in Dublin.  Seeing as I was on my tod for the evening, I thought I’d climb to the third floor and take a chance of whatever gig was on that evening.  I ended up watching a chap by the name of Simon McBride, who was on the last leg of his Irish tour.  You’ll have to excuse my somewhat rubbish photo below and believe me when I say that his guitar skills were incredible and that it was a very good night when combined with some locally brewed pale ale.

Obviously there’s more than one option of an evening in Dublin.  Whilst I really liked Whelan’s, I’m sure there are a hundred more establishments with live music which would have seen me have just as good an evening. Spoilt for choice really!

Link:  Whelan’s 

Mcleans Dublin

… and that’s day 1 done.  Not bad considering you only jumped off an airplane 12-15 hours ago.  You’ve walked a fair way in that time, had a few drinks, eaten some incredible food and hopefully met some wonderful people.  Great memories made in such a short space of time I’m sure, but now its time to hit the hay as you’ve got it all to do again tomorrow.  Night night.

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Dublin in 48 hours – Day 2

Day 2, here we go.  It may be tempting to have a lie in, but with so much to see I feel its worth cracking on early.  You can sleep at your desk on Monday morning, your boss will understand.

Go for a morning walk

Do you like street art?  Shops?  Amazing architecture?  Well now is the time to do find all that great stuff.  After a hearty breakfast, why not take a walk through Temple Bar in the morning sunshine.  Go see Molly Mallone.  Look up at the Spire in the centre of town – Europe’s tallest free standing sculpture.  Walk walk walk.

Dublin walk

Wakedock – €65/£54

Not what you might consider a stereotypical Irish activity, but a great way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon none the less.  Two feet strapped to a board, I was whisked up and down the Dublin Docks by the crew at Wakedock, learning first how to stand up, then how to carve, how to ride one handed and lastly how to turn.  It goes without saying that I face planted into the freezing cold water on more than one occasion, but within my 30 minute beginners session I went from complete notice to someone who could just about wakeboard.

Don’t forget your towel and swimwear.  All safety gear, lockers and shower facilities provided.

Link: Wakedock Dublin

Wakedock Dublin

A video posted by Neil Barnes (@packsandbunks) on

Trinity College – FREE

Ah Trinity, no longer a ‘hidden gem’ as such, but still more than worthy of your time whilst in Dublin.  My personal opinion is that Sunday afternoon is a great time to visit the college, mainly owing to the fact that it may be a little quieter than Saturday, and because if you’re lucky there may be some kind of sporting event taking place on the playing fields.  I was lucky enough to catch a keenly contested rugby match.  Its standing room only, proper school sports, but I loved it.

Trinity College Rugby

Late Lunch

As with Saturday, plenty of lunch time options around, but on the recommendation of an Irish friend I decided to go for 100 year old fish and chips at Leo Burdocks, and walked just around the corner to eat them in ….

Link: Leo Burdocks

Leo Burdocks Dublin

Dublin Castle Gardens

A little oasis in the city, and a great place to quietly sit and chomp on your lunch.  Designed in a way that makes the grass look like a piece of ancient Celtic jewelry, the gardens also serve as a Heli-pad believe it or not.  So whilst I would recommend this little area of Dublin as a nice quiet spot to take lunch normally, don’t blame me if a chopper suddenly decides to interrupt you and land down on the grass.

Link: Dublin Castle Gardens

Dublin Castle Gardens

Leprechaun Museum – €12/£9

Bear with me on this one, it might sound a tad silly, and the price may look a little high, but Dublin’s Leprechaun Museum is far from a waste of time, in fact it was a rather enjoyable hour spent learning about the history of Irish Fae (fairy type creatures) and the art of story telling.  Naturally you get to cross a rainbow and find a pot of gold.  You are also shrunk to the size of a leprechaun and get to experience how big our ‘normal’ sized furniture looks and feels to creatures of legend.  However most interestingly, you get to hear about the darker side of the Fae, their mischievous and naughty side.

Link: Leprechaun Museum

Leprechaun Museum Dublin

Coach to the Airport

From the Leprechaun Museum, simply wall for 10 minutes to O’Connell street and pay another €6 to get yourself back to the airport.

And that’s it, a great chunk of Dublin in a mere 48 hours.  Now don’t get me wrong, there’s still plenty more on offer, such as the Kilmainham Gaol which I very much want to visit next time I’m lucky enough to spend some time in Dublin.  But for a first attempt, I’d say this was 48 hours well spent!

What do you think?

NYF Dublin 

If you feel inspired to take a weekend break to Dublin, why not consider visiting over the new year?

This new year, Dublin will play host to a 3 day city wide festival of Arts, Culture and Live Entertainment.  Dublin NYF is set to be the biggest new years celebrations Dublin has ever seen. Follow the Music, Comedy and Culture trails across the city. Sample some delicious artisan food at the NYF Food Village. Watch as city streetscapes come alive with 3D animations. Join in the magical Procession of Light and become immersed in the Dublin Genius Spoken Word Festival. Ring in the New Year at the NYF Countdown Concert where Kodaline will be headlining, and plan your year of positivity at Resolution Day!


Disclaimer

Huge thanks to Tourism Ireland for arranging my 48 hours in Dublin in association with the #LoveDublin and #CountDownIreland social media campaigns.  Whilst this article makes up a part of those campaigns, please rest assured that all opinions expressed here are my own, and that each of the activities and establishments detailed above were of my choosing (from a very long list).

For heaps of useful information on Dublin and the rest of Ireland you way wish to visit Tourism Ireland website, and you can also follow them on Twitter at @GoToIrelandGB.