Insider Tips

Dublin's Never Felt Bigger: Two Day Getaway

By Visit Dublin

19th June 2020

As you plan your great escape after months of staying put, you'll find that Ireland’s capital has plenty to offer.

Dublin is ever-evolving; its ancient docklands are home to tech giants and indie coffee houses, but its charm and history is evergreen. Take in some sights, dip in and out of the many cultural offerings and stop off to sup creamy pints with sound strangers.

Read on for our insider’s guide to spending two days in the old town.   

The best of the city centre

Canal Bank Ride

There are few better ways to explore Dublin than renting a bike. The city has over 190km of cycle routes, and the one along the beautiful Grand Canal is perfect for starters. Watch out for swans and barges, or the occasional kayaker as you pedal along this 3.6km route, stopping for coffee along the way. You’ll pass the Georgian elegance of Portobello, before arriving at the thriving tech hub of Spencer Dock.   

A couple cycling by the canal

MoLI – Museum of Literature Ireland

Even if you never read Ulysses you’ll know that Ireland (and Dublin) has its fair share of world-class writers. Delve into the tales behind the country’s greatest storytellers at the Museum of Literature Ireland. It’s right on St. Stephen’s Green, so it’s easy to combine your visit with a stroll through the park or some shopping on Grafton Street.

Couple in front of neon installation at the Museum of Literature Ireland

The Little Museum of Dublin

Just across the green from MoLI, The Little Museum of Dublin reveals the history of the city through a curious collection of memorabilia (complete with witty captions!). From the Vikings to U2, it’s an endearing human story of pop culture and the capital’s quirks housed in an impressive Georgian townhouse.  

Trio laughing on tour at the Little Museum of Dublin

Hatch and Sons

Downstairs from the Little Museum you’ll find Hatch and Sons, which offers good, honest Irish food to take away for the perfect picnic in the nearby Stephen's Green park. A particular favourite is the blaa with dry-cured bacon or sausage. Order with coffee on the side and walk away happy.  

Kehoes Pub

Ask any Dubliner to name their favourite pub and, chances are, Kehoes will feature high on the list along with staples like Grogan’s, The Long Hall and McDaid’s. You’ll find Kehoes just around the corner from Grafton Street on South Anne Street. The tiny snug is arguably the best spot in Dublin to chat, long into the night (and is known as a spot for romantic proposals!). With restrictions in place on bars and pubs in Ireland, be sure to check with individual businesses before visiting.

The Virgin Mary Bar

On Capel Street, a short walk across the Liffey from Temple Bar, you’ll find the rarest of establishments a Dublin bar with no booze. The Virgin Mary Bar is a bright and cosy newcomer to the bustling street with little snugs to hide away for chats and a drinks menu that changes with the seasons. Try the Chilled Raven Nitro Coffee that’s poured from a stout tap!

Escape the city

You could easily spend your entire break exploring Dublin City, but its pretty coastal towns are also worth a visit.   

Dalkey

A scenic, 30-minute DART journey (check the revised timetables before travelling) from the city centre brings you to Dalkey, a buzzy and picturesque seaside town. Visit the many bookshops and galleries or, if you’re feeling adventurous, head down to the harbour and take a boat trip to Dalkey Island where you’ll meet the local wildlife and enjoy exceptional views of the coast.

Couple chatting to fisherman in Dalkey

Killiney Hill

One DART stop up from Dalkey, Killiney is a popular destination for walkers and hikers with spectacular views of Dublin, the Irish Sea and the even coast of Wales on a clear day. Keep your eyes peeled for the area’s A-list residents (Bono and Enya to name just two) and sneak a peek at their impressive homes while you’re up on the hill.

Couple sitting on Killiney Hill

Dún Laoghaire

Or why not jump on a bus to Dún Laoghaire? (Stopping off to pick up your guitar is strictly optional.) Take a slow walk along the east and west piers, stop for a Teddy’s ice cream and, if you’re passing through on a Sunday, don’t miss the People’s Park Market (though check directly to find out when they re-open for business). The Hog Box at The Goode Life stall is not to be missed, so bring a healthy appetite.

Sandycove Beach

The nearby Forty Foot in Sandycove is something of a legend too. It’s at the back of the teeny  beach, and is a daily draw for brave bathers. Sit for a while or pack your togs and take a dip or try out the wood-burning sauna.

Man swimming at the Forty Foot in Sandycove

Howth

The northside of Dublin has just as many seaside attractions, so hop on the DART in Sandycove and don’t get off until Howth. Grab a window seat on the right of the carriage for the best views and spend the next hour admiring Dublin Bay, before you arrive in the charming fishing village. Take the famous Cliff Walk, go for a stroll on the pier or hop on a short boat trip to Ireland’s Eye. And it’s only right to top off your day with a feed of fish and chips.

Wherever you plan to go in Dublin, be sure to contact individual attractions and businesses in advance to confirm they're ready to welcome visitors again. And because our changed world means a new focus on public protection, social distancing and safe travel measures will be essential everywhere — as explained in the new nationwide COVID-19 Safety Charter.

Dublin has never felt better; if you have a little more time to spend uncovering its delights, read about more unique experiences in the capital. 

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