Dublin may be small compared to other cities in Europe, but it has plenty to offer. With lots of green spaces, castles, museums, monuments, historic buildings, and even breweries or distilleries – your 3 days in Dublin will be jampacked with this itinerary.
For first time visitors, it is advised you research and plan your trip ahead. Book tickets to attractions online, or better yet buy the Dublin Pass for huge discounts in both attractions and transportation. Dublin isn’t a city for budget travelers, so when looking for a place to stay, make sure it’s within the city center. This is to ensure that you’re close to most of the major tourist spots in Dublin or bus/train stops to help you maximize your stay.
Below is a pretty manageable 3 days in Dublin itinerary where you get to explore and get to know the city, its history as well as the rest of Ireland.
Things you'll find in this article
- 3 Days in Dublin: Itinerary With Maps and Tips
- Day 1 of 3 Days in Dublin Itinerary
- Day 2 of 3 Days in Dublin Itinerary
- Day 3 of 3 Days in Dublin Itinerary
3 Days in Dublin: Itinerary With Maps and Tips
Day 1 of 3 Days in Dublin Itinerary
Christ Church Cathedral
Duration: 45 minutes to an hour and a half
To start your 3 days in Dublin, make sure you get a quick breakfast before going anywhere else. You can even try some Irish coffee as it’s known to have some health benefits. After getting your fill, head on to the impressive Christ Church Cathedral, a Medieval church built in the early 11th century by the first Bishop of Dublin.
This Gothic/Romanesque cathedral is Dublin’s oldest building and one of the city’s most important landmarks. The interior is absolutely stunning, with huge Gothic nave, stained glass windows and the crypt, which is the largest in the country and the earliest surviving structure in the city. Enjoy some quiet time after touring the church then walk five minutes to your next stop, the Dublin Castle.
Duration: two hours maximum
Not the usual fairytale-like castle that you might expect, the Dublin Castle was once the seat of the Irish government. Presently, it is maintained by the Office of Public Works and open to tourists.
You can walk inside to see how the staterooms used to be, as well as the Garda Museum, and the Chester Beatty Library. There are over 11 acres to explore, which includes the crypt of the Chapel Royal, Chester Beatty Library, and Garda Museum and Archives (a police museum).
Duration: one and a half hour at the most
After Dublin Castle, head to Grafton Street. It is about a 10-minute walk from the castle and it is the main pedestrian street in Dublin. Apart from amazing restaurants, there’s also plenty of shops where you can find souvenirs as well as side streets with interesting finds. You’ll also ‘meet’ Mary Malone in Grafton Street, a famous statue from the popular Irish song of the same name that has become Dublin’s unofficial anthem.
The statue can be found in Suffolk Street by the tourism office and makes for a fun photo reminder of your day in Dublin. Also within Grafton, you’ll most likely find plenty of free entertainment as musicians often stand outside playing for the crowds during the day.
You can also have your lunch here before heading to the next stop in our Dublin itinerary.
Then, head towards the nearby Saint Stephen’s Green for a bit of relaxing and quiet time.
Duration: one hour
Once a marshy common grazing area, Stephen’s Green is one of the most famous parks in Dublin. Here you’ll find lots of trees, a lake, a playground, a number of labeled plants (including some in Braille), fountains, statues, and memorials.
Alternately, if you enjoy gardens and green spaces, there’s the nearby Iveagh Gardens, a Victorian park that’s home to a rose garden, cascades, and yew maze.
Saint Stephen’s Green is just across from the Little Dublin Museum, which should be your next stop.
Duration: one hour
The Little Museum of Dublin offers visitors an alternative insight into Dublin’s past. Each artifact/ item on display was donated by a Dubliner, which creates an authentic and more interactive experience. The tours are timed and quite short, but very informative. It’s interesting must visit and should be part of your Dublin itinerary for 3 days.
Duration: two hours
After exploring the museum, head to Trinity College. It’s an only 7-minute walk from the museum. Officially the “College of the Holy and Undivided Trinity of Queen Elizabeth near Dublin”, the grounds are beautiful and worth a walk around.
The most popular attractions within the university are the Old Library and the Book of Kells. The 213-foot-long Long Room is the main chamber of the Old Library, which looks like it belongs in Hogwarts or the castle in Beauty and the Beast. Photos are allowed so make sure to bring a camera.
Meanwhile, the Book of Kells is a world-famous gospel manuscript written in Latin from the 9th century. Along with the Bible’s four Gospels, there are also various texts and tables to see. It’s highly regarded as the world’s most famous medieval manuscript and Ireland’s greatest cultural treasure.
After learning an important history, you can then enjoy the rest of your evening to the most visited attractions in Ireland – the Guinness Storehouse. You can either take the Dublin Bus or walk for about 20 minutes.
Duration: two hours
The Guinness Storehouse is a must for anyone visiting Dublin, and even if you don’t like the dark drink, it’s fascinating to learn how it’s all made. The interiors are designed to look like a giant pint of Guinness, and the tour will take you through seven stories of history, fun, and trivia. It ends with a free pint at the Gravity Bar where you get to enjoy a 360-degree view of Dublin, a perfect way to end your first day in the Irish capital.
Dublin Itinerary Route for day 1
Day 2 of 3 Days in Dublin Itinerary
Traditional Irish Breakfast
Start your second day in Dublin with a big, hearty meal that’ll help you get through a day of exploring. Enjoy a traditional Irish breakfast that generally consists of bacon, sausages, black-and-white puddings, eggs, baked beans, grilled tomato, and toast. There are various cafés, casual diners and even pubs that open early that could give you a plate of all these goodies. Most of them are right in the city center and close to popular attractions.
After breakfast relax a bit before heading to your first activity of the day: museum hopping, or more specifically, National Museum / Gallery hopping.
National Museum / Gallery
Duration: Two to three hours
Right in the heart of Dublin are three of the city’s greatest museums. They’re all free and the perfect way to spend your second morning in Dublin. Get to know more of the capital city and the rest of Ireland and its people by the massive number of items on display.
The National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology tells the history of Ireland through archaeology, presenting a wide range of objects from metalwork to weapons to religious objects to preserved Iron Age “bog bodies”. This museum houses the world-famous collection of medieval ecclesiastical objects and jewelry, western Europe’s greatest collection of prehistoric gold artifacts and much more.
The National Museum of Ireland – Natural History, meanwhile is a cabinet-style museum that’s about everything from mammals throughout the world to Irish fauna, presented in geological samples and zoological models. Lastly, the National Gallery of Ireland is home to an extensive collection of European art dating from the 14th to the 20th century. They have Ireland’s national collection of Irish & European art, including works by Burton, Turner, Monet, and Caravaggio. If you’re going to visit only one art museum in Dublin, this is the ideal choice.
After soaking up Ireland’s history, science, and art, its time to head out of the city for a bit of nature and a castle tour. Walk for 8 mins to Pearse Station then take the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) train to Dalkey.
Duration: five to six hours
First off, have a delicious lunch in town and one of the most recommended places is the Magpie Inn. Then head on to the Dalkey Castle where you can enjoy a quirky but entertaining guided tour. It is one of the most popular day trips from Dublin.
Also, instead of your usual guides, the castle has actors in a costume that will tell you stories about life in the 1500s. They’ll also let you experience activities such as archery, or offer some strange medieval food. The castle also houses the Writers Gallery. Meet the many writers who have passed through Dalkey such as James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Maeve Binchy, and even Bono.
After a fun visit to the castle enjoy a bit of nature by heading to the beach. Take a short boat ride or even kayak to the Dalkey Island where you’ll meet wild goats. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also rock climb at the Dalkey quarry. After you’ve enjoyed the stunning views, head back to the city and take the half-hour DART train ride back to Dublin, then a short LUAS train ride to Jameson Distillery.
If you don’t want to take public transport, joining this tour might be more ideal. You will be able to visit more places as well.
Duration: two hours at the most
Located in Smithfield Street, Jameson Whiskey Distillery is an international meeting spot for whiskey lovers. Discover the beauty of Ireland’s most famous whiskey, and oldest distillery in a guided tour facilitated by their entertaining and knowledgeable staff. Learn more about Jameson’s story and history, and enjoy a free drink at the end of the tour. This pretty much gets you ready for dinner and a bit of Dublin’s nightlife, as you head on to the Brazen Head. This is also in Smithfield and just a few minute’s walks from the distillery.
Dinner and Traditional Irish Music
Duration: two hours
Situated within the Temple Bar District which is synonymous to nightlife in Dublin, the Brazen Head is Ireland’s oldest pub. Here you can sample more Irish cuisine for dinner, and enjoy live music with a pint or two before heading back to your hotel.
Dublin Itinerary Route for day 2
Day 3 of 3 Days in Dublin Itinerary
Phoenix Park & Zoo
Duration: 2 hours
Start early on your third day in Dublin. Get a takeaway breakfast and a large cup of your favorite drink and go on a morning stroll around Phoenix Park. This is the biggest park in the city and is home to the Dublin Zoo, the Áras an Uachtaráin (residence of the Irish president), a castle and some impressive monuments.
You’ll also encounter a herd of wild fallow deer which are quite friendly. Walk a bit and explore the sights, then relax on a bench and finish the rest of your breakfast before heading to your next destination. Take a cab that’ll take a few minutes to the historic former prison turned museum, the Kilmainham Gaol
Duration: one hour
The Kilmainham Gaol or jail/prison is a huge symbol of the tradition of militant and constitutional nationalism of Ireland from the rebellion of 1798 to the Irish Civil War of 1922-1923. It opened in 1796 and closed in 1924. The British imprisoned and executed several Irish revolutionaries here, but it also held thousands of ordinary people convicted of various crimes.
Film fans may recognize Kilmainham Gaol as the filming location for the prison in the original Italian Job movie. After a tour of the jail, the next stops further takes you to Ireland’s tumultuous history. Hop on a LUAS rail and take a half-hour ride to the site of a replica of the Jeannie Johnston Tallship.
Jeannie Johnston Tallship
Duration: one hour
Climb aboard Jeanie Johnston and back to the original sailed in the mid-1800s. The original Jeanie Johnston, a three-masted sailing ship was originally built in Quebec, Canada, in 1847. It was one of the so-called “famine ships”, used to transport emigrants between Ireland and North America during the Great Famine in Ireland from 1845 to 1849. From poverty-stricken Ireland, the Jeanie Johnston made 16 trips carrying emigrants across the Atlantic to North America
Onboard, and through a guided tour, you will learn about the Famine era and life on deck both for the emigrants and crew of this iconic tall ship. The Jeanie Johnston was particularly noteworthy as she didn’t lose a single passenger or crew member on any of her voyages. The tour can be quite a moving experience, but an unforgettable one and a definite must in your three-day Dublin itinerary. Another worthy visit that’s right next to the Jeanie Johnston, located in the historic 200-year old Custom House Quay Building is EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum.
EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum
Duration: one hour
EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum is an interactive learning experience where you’ll discover more about Irish culture and people, particularly during those periods of mass emigration in the country’s history. An estimated 9 to 10 million people emigrated since 1700, and the guided tours will take you through 20 themed galleries to find out the personal stories of many people who have emigrated and their journeys.
The museum is in the CHQ building which also several restaurants and cafes if you are looking for a convenient place to have coffee or a meal after your visit. The place is also a few minutes walk to the bus and light rail stop. Hop on and spend less than twenty minutes of a leisurely early afternoon commute to your next destination: the Dublin Writers Museum.
Dublin Writers Museum
Duration: one hour
Housed in a beautiful 18th-century mansion on Parnell Square, the Dublin Writers Museum is a must-visit whether you’re interested in literature or not. Ireland is famous for being a nation of storytellers and Dublin is a UNESCO designated City of Literature.
The Dublin Writers Museum has exhibits dedicated to some of the most notable writers in Irish history, including James Joyce, Jonathan Swift, George Bernard Shaw, Oscar Wilde, and William Yeats.
Located near one of the city’s main streets, the museum is right next door to the present-day Irish Writers Union. Once you’ve acquainted yourself with Ireland’s literary history and heritage, it’s time to spend your afternoon on a leisurely stroll along Dublin’s main thoroughfare – O’Connell Street which is just a few minutes from the museum.
Duration: one hour and a half
Formerly named “Sackville Street” O’Connell Street is the most impressive street in Dublin. It may be relatively short, but it is reputed to be the widest urban street in Europe. Since you’re coming from the Dublin Writers Museum in Parnell Square, walk towards O’Connell Bridge and you will see The Parnell Monument.
Walk further and you’ll come across a taxi rank with its own small Sacred Heart Shrine, the former Carlton Cinema with its painted fake windows, and the “Spire”, made from gleaming steel with an illuminated tip, which is the world’s tallest sculpture.
You will also come across a statue of James Joyce, and the General Post Office, which was the main focus of the Easter Rising 1916 and also the main post office in Ireland. Finally, there’s the massive O’Connell Monument which still has bullet holes from the Easter Rising in some statues. After your stroll, walk a bit to the nearest stop hop on a bus that will take you to Liffey Bridge in about 8 minutes or you can also walk for around 10 minutes.
Ha’Penny Bridge (Sunset over the River Liffey)
Before the beginning of the 1800s, there were no bridges to cross the Liffey River only ferryboats. Officially named the Liffey Bridge, it was built in May of 1816 and required people to pay a “halfpenny” in order to cross by putting it in a turnstile on either side of the bridge. By the early 1900s, the toll was dropped. Now over 200 years old, it’s the most popular pedestrian bridge in Dublin, the site for many scenic selfies and even love locks, and the ideal place to stop after a long day to just watch the sunset or the moon rise.
On either side of this centuries-old bridge are plenty of cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy an early dinner and enjoy the last few hours of your 3 days in Dublin.