3 days in Dublin
This post is about what to do for 3 days in Dublin, Ireland–home to castles and cathedrals, culture and amazing food!
We recently were in Dublin, Ireland for three days, after our Viking Cruise in Greece, Spain, and Italy. It was a short flight to Dublin, and the perfect amount of time (three days) to take in the sights, soak up the culture, and enjoy some great food.
3 days in Dublin
There are so many attractions, museums, shows, and potential things to do in Dublin. Since we’ve been here before, this time we stayed downtown near Grafton Street, to enjoy Dublin’s most popular attractions, restaurants, and neighborhoods. It’s the perfect city in which to walk and walk, and get so much culture in. It’s our tradition to go to Davy Brynes and get a pint of Guinness, in honor of Paul’s dad.
Dublin is Ireland’s capital and largest city, and offers so much sightseeing. The main highlights of the city include Trinity College, Christ Church Cathedral, the Guinness Storehouse or Jameson Distillery, and Temple Bar neighborhood.
Where to Stay in Dublin – The Grafton Hotel
There are so many options for lodging in Dublin, for all budgets–from hostels to apartments to Air B&B’s to luxury hotels. If you are looking for a comfortable good-value spot, we stayed at The Grafton Hotel. We wanted this location because it was walking distance to so many of the attractions, or just an Uber drive away.
The Grafton Hotel is in the entertainment district, and in a neighborhood for good shopping on Dame Street and Grafton Street. There are plenty of good restaurants, too. It’s only a quick walk to Dublin Castle and Christ Church Cathedral.
We found this hotel on Expedia.com, but you can also use Booking.com.
How to get around in Dublin
Walk, walk walk! We walked and Ubered, but Central Dublin is fairly compact and is best explored by a combination of walking and public transportation.
Dublin also has a good public transportation system, which includes public buses, trams, and rail services (for going outside the city center or outside the city). Our last time we were in Dublin we used the bus several times (a trip to Kimage), and found it easy to use.
There are also a few hop-on hop-off buses, like the City Sightseeing Bus and the Big Bus Open-Top Tours.
What is the currency in Dublin?
The currency in Ireland (the Republic of Ireland) is in Euros. You can get Euros from ATM’s, currency exchanges, and banks. Having just come from Europe, we had plenty of Euros, and most places accept credit cards anyway. TIP: If you plan to visit Northern Ireland, you’ll need to switch to GBP (what is that), because the currency in the UK is pound sterling.
What to do in Dublin for 3 days – attractions
On the first day, we visited Dublin’s classic sites, seeing one of Ireland’s top cultural treasures, taking a break in the city’s most popular green space, visiting one or more of its free museums, and famous Temple Bar neighborhood.
Day two, we crossed the river to explore the area of central Dublin north of the River Liffey. There are museums about Ireland’s emigration history, the 1916 Easter Uprising, and then you can sample Irish whiskey at Guinness Storehouse or Jameson Brewery.
South of the River Liffey in the western part of central Dublin where you can visit the city’s two famous cathedrals, pay a visit to one of Ireland’s most famous prisons, and end your day of sightseeing with a pint of Ireland’s most famous brew!
Dublin Castle (since 1166)–parts of the medieval castle still exist.
Churches & Cathedrals
The main Roman Catholic church in Dublin is St. Mary’s Church, which is the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin. Last time we visited Dublin we walked through this church, to see (and feel) where my husband’s parents were married years ago.
To visit a church crypt, visit St. Michan’s parish church, an Anglican church with an interesting crypt that is open on most days for public tours.
Christ Church Cathedral is Dublin’s oldest medieval cathedral and is found in the heart of what was once medieval Dublin.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is unique for having two cathedrals, and both date back to the medieval period (1191).
The Guinness Storehouse is on the site of St James’s Gate Brewery. This is where Ireland’s legendary drink, Guinness, has been brewed since 1759. The Storehouse was built in 1904 and used for fermentation until 1988, but is no longer part of the active brewery.
The Jameson Distillery on Bow Street is another famous distillery for whiskey! One of the most well-known Irish whiskeys is Jameson’s Whiskey, which you can learn about and sample. We took a tour and it was enlightening to learn about the history of Ireland’s most famous whiskey, which was distilled at this site from 1780 until 1971. At the end of the tour you also get a whiskey to enjoy at the bar at your leisure.
Trinity College and the Long Room
Trinity College Dublin was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592 and is widely regarded as the finest university in Ireland. The college has a rich history and is an impressive campus to wander around.
Grafton Street – Shopping
Grafton Street is one of the best known streets in Dublin and one of the city’s main shopping streets. It’s a lively place, with lots of cafés, stores, street performers, and restaurants. The majority of the street is for pedestrians (no cars), which makes it easy for walking and strolling. You can easily find food in this area, with geltato and coffee on every corner (it seems).
- Little Museum of Dublin: This “museum of the people” will take you through the life in Dublin in the 20th century and up to the present day. It has over 5,000 artifacts on display across three floors, including a room devoted to Ireland’s most famous musical exports: the rock band U2.
- Art Museums & History Museums: Dublin offers a number of free museums, which include the National Museum of Ireland, the National Gallery of Ireland, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.
- The Irish Emigration Museum covers the history of Irish emigration around the world. Ireland is a country that has had its fair share of troubled times, and this has led to an estimated 9 to 10 million people having emigrated since 1700! (You can also book a private consult if you want to look up your own genealogy).
- GPO Witness History Exhibition: This museum is about 20th century history in Ireland, particularly the 1916 Easter Rising on O’Connell Street, a beautiful Georgian building built in 1814, and one of Ireland’s most famous buildings. My husband’s grandfather fought in the Easter Rising, so this was indeed interesting to us, as in 1916, a group of Irish republican rebels who wanted Irish independence from Great Britain stormed the GPO and seized control of the building (a bloody 6 day affair, with 450 deaths, including civilians, British military officers, police, and rebels:)
- Dublin Writers Museum: The Dublin Writers Museum displays all the history about these notable writers: James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and William Yeats.
- James Joyce Centre: One of the most famous Dublin-born writers is James Joyce, who wrote the 20th century classic Ulysses. The James Joyce Centre is dedicated to his writings.
St. Stephen’s Green – Park
St. Stephen’s Green is one of Dublin’s most popular parks, with trees, a lake, a playground, a number of labeled plants (including some in Braille), fountains, statues, and memorials.
River Liffey & Ha’Penny Bridge
As we watched the sun set over the River Liffey, which runs right through the center of the city, we walked across the most famous Ha’Penny Bridge, a cast iron pedestrian bridge built in 1816. From Grafton Street to the other side, is where we found many restaurants for dinner. My husband’s uncle was an artist, and at one time had his art store right on the river.
Temple Bar District
For a fun nightlife with music, or just walking, the popular Temple Bar District is the party capital of Dublin!
Walking Tours of Dublin
Since we travel quite a bit with Viking Cruises, we’ve learned to really take in all of the walking tours that we can. You learn so much about the area you are visiting. Dublin offers many guided walking tours of the city.
Theatres & broadway
We walked from Grafton Street to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre to see Bat out of Hell, a broadway show about the story of the famous singer, Meatloaf. There are many theaters in Dublin, so we recommend whatever date you have free, to see what theatre is nearby and what is playing. Check out the Abbey Theatre, Smock Alley Theatre, and Gate Theatre.
Where to eat
For all the misconceptions about Irish cuisine, the modern food scene in Dublin is fantastic. You will find some of the best restaurants with tender beef, salty butter, and traditional Irish dishes, but also vibrant new restaurants with amazing chefs and cuisine.
Dublin is full of restaurants, which makes it hard to decide where to eat. Here are a few that we recommend:
- 147 Deli – for the Dublin Dip
- Oysters at the Temple Bar Food Market
- The Winding Stair: good old-fashioned Irish food (this is where we fell in love with Brown Irish Soda Bread)
- Fried Chicken at Chimac
- Davy Byrnes: This old hostelry has been serving the citizenry of Dublin and beyond since 1798 when the winds of insurgency were sweeping across Western Europe.
- Sunday roast at the Butcher Grill
- Bunsen (burgers)
- Rolling Donut (best donuts)
- Shelbourne for tea
We hope you enjoyed our recommendations for visiting Dublin in 3 days. We love the city, and all the activiies and attractions, and all of the history. The food is the icing on the cake!
Oh, and yes, I did enjoy a meat pie at Davy Bryns, with a pint of Guinness upon our arrival. It’s just the thing you do. :)
This trip was our own extension from the Viking Cruises Mediterranean Odyssey. We had perfect weather enjoyed our time so much, mid-August to first of September.