The Irish capital of Dublin isn’t particularly big (London and Rome, for example, are enormous in comparison), but the city packs quite a punch if we’re talking history, culture, and atmosphere. Plus, the locals' infectious friendliness make it one of the most charming places to visit. Oh, and did we mention there’s always a great variety of activities on offer on Dublin tours? Exploring off-the-beaten neighborhoods, tracking down historic sights, and soaking in the energy of an iconic pub are just some of the best things to do in Dublin in 48 hours.
Two days in Dublin can barely contain all that the city offers, which only means there are plenty more reasons to come back for follow-up tours. But whether you’re taking the 11-day St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland: Traditions of the Emerald Isle tour in March or the eight-day, multi-city Dublin, Edinburgh & London tour, you’ll get around 48 hours in Dublin. To make the most of that time, here’s a comprehensive look at how to do Dublin right.
Things to do in Dublin on Day 1
The ideal way to start your two days in Dublin is to get a lay of the land. What better way to do that than by exploring its most iconic tourist attractions?
Marvel at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest church in Ireland
Our sightseeing itineraries, on trips like our 14-day Grand Tour of Ireland, usually begin with showcasing Dublin’s grandeur. Seeing St. Patrick’s Cathedral, for example, is one of the most important things to do in Dublin, Ireland. First founded in 1191 as a Roman Catholic Cathedral, St. Patrick’s is the country’s national church. Inside, our tour director will talk you through its most stunning features, including its 4,000-pipe organ, the striking stained glass windows, the soaring vaulted ceilings, and some of the notable tombs you’ll find throughout. Your two days in Dublin wont be complete without a visit to this monumental religious site.
Explore historic Trinity College
Like St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College is one of Ireland’s most historic attractions. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest university in the country. It’s so renowned that you might have spotted it as the setting for countless books, television shows, and movies. Walk the grounds to soak in the imposing architecture, and save time to pop into the library to marvel at the historic Book of Kells—it’s a must-see on any trip to Dublin.
People watch in beautiful Phoenix Park and St. Stephen’s green
On our eight-day A Week in Ireland: Dublin, Cork & Galway tour, we visit Phoenix Park, one of the largest urban green spaces in any European capital. It’s also home to the president’s residence. A stop here during your two days in Dublin is the perfect way to see just how stunning the city is. It’s not just urban sprawl and city architecture; there are plenty of relaxing nature-oriented areas, too. Then, stroll through St. Stephen’s Green, which is right in the heart of the city. Beautifully preserved, 19th-century Georgian architecture surrounds the property. And perhaps more impressively, it’s a park that locals love to spend time in, so do some people watching while you’re there. It’s a great way to gain some insight into Dubliners’ everyday lives.
Take in the views from the Guinness brewery
If you’re wondering what to do in Dublin in 48 hours, a frothy glass of Guinness should top your list. It’s the most legendary drink in the city! On our eight-day Ireland for Solo Travelers tour, we build in a self-guided visit to the historic Guinness Storehouse. You can take your time exploring not just the brand’s storied past but also some of the technical details behind the perfect pint of Guinness. The entrance fee includes one drink. Make sure you redeem yours at the Gravity Bar, the top-floor hangout where you’ll be treated to the best views of the city. It’s truly one of our best Dublin travel tips.
Explore Dublin’s pub culture in Temple Bar
If you’re joining our celebratory A Week in Ireland: St. Patrick’s Day tour, you’ll have plenty of time to dig into the world-famous pub culture in Dublin, especially in the party district of Temple Bar. This cobblestoned riverside neighborhood is a lively destination where you can pop in and out of pubs. Some play traditional Irish music, others have live performances from more contemporary acts, and most serve pub fare like mutton stew and fish-and-chips. If you can only hit up one pub during your 48 hours in Dublin, you may want to consider the iconic Temple Bar Pub, home to fresh oysters, live music, and the country’s largest collection of Irish whiskey. Gather some of your new friends on tour for a fun night out.
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What to do in Dublin on Day 2
In the second half of your 2 days in Dublin, discover the more modern side of the city.
Stroll through Grafton Street for shopping and live music
Running from St. Stephen's Green in the south to College Green in the north, Grafton Street is one of Dublin’s most famous shopping areas. But if you’ve seen the 2007 film “Once,” you might know that Grafton Street is also popular for talented street performers. One of our favorite Dublin travel tips is to soak in the atmosphere along this busy thoroughfare. And if you’re thinking of doing a little shopping, you can peruse the racks at Brown Thomas, Dublin’s luxury department store brimming with designer goods. For a more local souvenir, grab a chunky Aran sweater. There’s an Aran sweater market location on Grafton. It’s only right that two days in Dublin should include a little retail therapy.
Go for an art walk
One of the best things about our Dublin tours, like the brand-new A Week in Ireland: Dublin to Belfast tour, is that we build in free time for you to explore your personal interests. Art lovers will have plenty to discover in the city’s world class galleries and museums. And here’s a money-saving Dublin travel tip: Many of them offer free admission, making art-hopping one of the best things to do in Dublin in 48 hours. The National Gallery of Ireland has a stunning portrait collection as well as gorgeous stained-glass pieces. The LAB Gallery is a more contemporary art destination showing works by Irish illustrators, photographers, sculptors, and multimedia artists.
Dine out with some of Dublin’s exciting young chefs
If you think Irish food is just mutton stews and sausage pies washed down with a cold pint of Guinness, you’ll be thrilled to learn that there’s plenty more to tuck into—especially if you’re hungry to try what young, Irish chefs are cooking up. During our tours of Dublin, there’s usually a night where you’re free to strike out for dinner on your own (or with the travel friends you’ve made on tour). Getting to know the city’s exciting food scene is one of the best things to do in Dublin, Ireland today. You may want to check out what surprising things chef Niall Davidson is doing with local produce, meat, and seafood at Allta, a rooftop dining room in the city center. Or check out the intimate restaurant Mae, where Gráinne O’Keefe offers a seasonally changing menu of dishes that are as comforting as they are elegant.