Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Shutterstock

A weekend in Dublin: The ultimate itinerary

Tight for time in the Irish capital? This is how to do Dublin in 48 hours via restaurants, castles and all the rest

Written by
Kristen Gill

We’re not going to pretend that 48 hours is anywhere near enough time in Dublin, but we’re also mindfully aware that beggars can’t be choosers. Sometimes two days is all one can spare, and having a clear plan of attack for that time is imperative.

Dublin has it all; rich cultural heritage, a cracking nightlife scene and great food to match. Don’t say we didn’t warn you, this city is a seriously good time. For quaint castles, cosy bars, iconic theatre and, yes, plenty of Guinness, here is how to spend the perfect weekend in Dublin. 

📍 The best things to do in Dublin
🍲 The best restaurants in Dublin
🍻 The best nightlife spots in Dublin
🏨 The best hotels in Dublin

Kristen Gill is a travel writer who spends much of her time in Ireland. At Time Out, all of our travel guides are written by local writers who know their cities inside out. For more about how we curate, see our editorial guidelines

A perfect weekend in Dublin

Friday evening

Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud has been one of the city’s top dining destinations for nearly four decades. If you’re in the mood for an impeccable gourmet experience, this is the place. Using only the finest local produce, its specialities 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.

Friday 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 grander plans to bring in more international acts as well as export their own creations abroad.


Saturday morning

Visiting The Book of Kells Exhibition and Old Library at Trinity College Dublin is a must. Written around 800 AD, the Book of Kells contains a finely decorated copy of the four gospels in Latin and has been on display at 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 draws more than 500,000 visitors each year.

Saturday midday

Grafton Street is a pedestrian shopping street known for its brilliant buskers. Wander 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 colour to the corners of Chatham, Harry and Duke Streets. At the top of Grafton Street you’ll find St Stephen’s Green, a park where you can watch the swans swimming in the pond or people-watch from one of the benches.


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 traveller Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (1875–1968) throughout his long life. Established in 1950 and bequeathed to the city of Dublin upon his death, this is the only Irish institution ever to win the European Museum of the Year award.

Saturday evening

The Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s number-one tourist attraction, is not just a brewery, but also an impressive interactive museum. 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 highest vantage points in the city, and don’t forget to try your hand at pouring your own perfect pint of the ‘black stuff’.


Saturday late night

Saturday night is the ideal time to visit the bustling Temple Bar area, chock-full of restaurants, bars and dinky boutiques. 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 bar. Sing-a-longs with the house band are encouraged.

Sunday morning

Take a 25-minute Dart train north to have tea or a late breakfast at the Avoca Café at Malahide Castle, which boasts a gorgeous outdoor terrace with striking views over the estate gardens. Eating at Avoca always feels like a treat, with an ever-changing but consistently delicious array of artisanal produce from Ireland and abroad. 


Sunday midday

One of the oldest castles in Ireland, the 260-acre Malahide Castle and Gardens dates back to 1175 and was home to the Talbot family for more than 800 years. Baron Milo Talbot was a passionate traveller and collector of plants from around the world. Definitely spend some time at the walled garden and interactive exhibition, but it’s also worth a visit to the charming seaside village of Malahide and its marina just a short walk away.

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 artefacts that provide insight into the history of Dublin and the people who helped shape it. Guides are included in the entry fee.

    You may also like
    You may also like