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How to spend 48 hours in Dublin

Here are the best things to do with only 48 hours in Dublin, from historic tours to eateries and late-night outings

Dublin Castle
By Kristen Gill |

Built up along the banks of the River Liffey, Dublin has a rich cultural heritage that spans millennia. Ireland’s largest city and also its capital, you’ll find it buzzing year-round with locals and tourists alike. From its cobbled streets and cozy bars to its theatre and street performances, to its castles, gardens, and breweries, a weekend in Dublin is the perfect amount of time to explore some of the city’s top highlights and to get a sense of her charm.

This itinerary includes visits to some of the city’s best restaurants and top attractions, as well as a few hidden gems. So enjoy your weekend, and as they say in Ireland, "enjoy the craic," especially so in Dublin!

48 hours in Dublin

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jackee M.

Friday evening

Ireland's only restaurant with two Michelin stars, Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud has a 36-year history as being one of the finest in the city. If you're in the mood for an impeccable dining experience, this is the place.  Using only the finest of local produce, its specialty dishes include blue lobster ravioli coated in a coconut lobster cream and grazed loin of sika deer with civet sauce. Save room for dessert, as the peanut parfait with salted caramel and popcorn ice cream is to die for.

Temple Bar, Dublin
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jeff H.

Friday late night

Friday night is the perfect time to visit the bustling Temple Bar area, chock-full of restaurants, bars, and boutique shops. Meander the cobblestone streets, cross the Ha’Penny Bridge, and then pop into the Oliver St. John Gogarty’s pub to listen to traditional Irish music at the upstairs live music bar. Sing-a-longs with the house band are encouraged!

The Book of Kells
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Pattie L.

Saturday morning

Visiting The Book of Kells Exhibition and Old Library at Trinity College Dublin is a must. Written around the year 800 AD, the Book of Kells contains a finely decorated copy of the four gospels in Latin and has been on display in Trinity since the 19th century. The Book of Kells is Ireland’s most significant cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript and attracts over 500,000 visitors each year.

Grafton Street
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Dahon

Saturday midday

Grafton Street is a pedestrian shopping street known for its “buskers.” Meander up to Dublin’s famed Brown Thomas department store or stop for a chat with the Flower Ladies of Grafton, who bring both wit and color to the corners of Chatham, Harry, and Duke Streets. At the top of Grafton Street is St Stephen’s Green, a park where you can watch the swans swimming in the pond or people-watch from one of the benches.

Chester Beatty Library
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/Gabriella Andrade

Saturday afternoon

Nestled inside the walls of Dublin Castle, the Chester Beatty Library Museum houses a rare collection of ancient manuscripts, artworks and rare books collected by world-traveller Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875–1968) throughout his long life. Established in 1950 and bequeathed to the city of Dublin upon his death, it is the only Irish institution ever to win the European Museum of the Year award.

Guinness Storehouse
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/A.E.

Saturday evening

The Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s #1 tourist attraction, is not just a brewery, it’s an impressive interactive experience. Learn about the Guinness family and how the story of Ireland's famous beer is interwoven with the history of the city itself. Be sure to head to the rooftop bar for a panoramic view from one of the tallest vantage points in the city, and don’t forget to try your hand at pouring your own perfect pint of the “black stuff”!

Abbey Theatre
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Dennis G.

Saturday late night

See a play at The Abbey Theatre. Founded as a national theatre for Ireland by W.B. Yeats and Lady Gregory in 1904, their manifesto was “to bring upon the stage the deeper emotions of Ireland.” Since then, many award-winning Irish playwrights have presented their work here. Today’s co-directors have even larger plans to bring in more international acts as well as to export their own creations abroad.

Avoca Store
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Sarah B.

Sunday morning

Take a 25-minute Dart train north to have tea or a late breakfast at the Avoca Cafe at Malahide Castle. Its particularly gorgeous setting boasts an outdoor terrace and views over the castle’s stunning gardens. Eating at Avoca always feels like a treat, with an ever-changing but consistently delicious array of artisan foods from Ireland and abroad. 

Malahide Castle and Gardens
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Linda C.

Sunday midday

One of the oldest castles in Ireland and set on 260 beautiful acres, Malahide Castle and Gardens dates back to 1175 and was home to the Talbot family for over 800 years. Lord Milo Talbot was a passionate traveller and collector of plants from around the world. Spend some time at the walled garden and interactive exhibition. It’s also worth a visit to the charming seaside village of Malahide and its marina just a short walk away.

Little Museum Dublin
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Bruce K.

Sunday afternoon

The quirky Little Museum of Dublin is housed in a landmark 18th-century Georgian townhouse. Unlike other museums, it consists of just a few rooms filled with artifacts that provide insight into Dublin and the fascinating people who helped shape the city. Guides are included in the price of admission and bring to life the story of Dublin through their vibrant and entertaining storytelling.

Time for a drink

Temple Bar is one of the most famous bars in Dublin, Ireland
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/zpics
Bars and pubs

The 12 best bars in Dublin

If there’s one thing that Dublin isn’t short of, it’s bars. Ireland’s capital has long been famed for its drinking scene, but while the city is filled with classic pubs, the last few years have seen a surge of new and exciting bars pop up.