Knowing what to do in Dublin with 72 hours is a much more daunting task than you may think at first. There is way more to do than you think!
As parents to four girls we are rarely able to get away but this summer we were blessed to be able to take the time out from the craziness of day to day life to see what we could do with 72 hours in Dublin. Now, I am of Irish decent so there has always been a special call for me to explore the ancestral land of my distant relatives (seriously, any reason is good enough for me to hop a plane). I think that this little tidbit may come in handy when you wonder why I put us on the tight schedule I did for this trip!
So we kind of had no choice but to fly when and where we could and spend roughly 12 hours tripping around Dublin before our AirBnB allowed us to check in. Well… I am a seasoned traveler so I figured, “No problem, I’ll sleep on the flight and pass out late the night we get there”. This is not a plan for the untested traveler like my wife and when we touched down after 16 hours traveling that quickly became quite apparent.
So I ended up having to learn, on the fly how to be a more accommodating travel companion and find us a hotel room asap. Thank the stars Holli is a trooper or I might have gotten left at the airport in favor of the closest taxi heading to a hotel! Anyways, once we got a little sleep and a shower we were feeling a less like the walking dead and were able to get out there and explore a little bit.
The first thing you need to know when touching down in Dublin is that while there seems to be public transit and cars everywhere, Irish people walk basically everywhere all the time…and they are way, way, way faster than you! So before you head out, you might want to take up a daily stroll or you are going to be SORE on day two!
Once you get off the plane make sure you take a minute to visit the tourist kiosks located everywhere in the airport, you are going to want to get yourself a LEAP card if you are in the area between 2-72 hours after your flight.
They work on basically every kind of public transit in Dublin (Trains, Trams, Buses) and can even get you a good 6-7 towns over in all directions, if you don’t mind a little route planning or meandering around while periodically asking for directions. Again, the LEAP card website is a great resource for planning out your day trips, check it out here.
There is absolutely too much in Dublin proper to even begin to see in one day, especially if you are like us and shy away from guided tours. So what we did was come up with a plan of attack each day based on how we felt at the start, then load up the backpacks and check our wallets for the appropriate cards and head out.
We were so tired for most of our visit that we were constantly looking for a place to sit on our daily expeditions and Dublin is definitely not short on places to sit and find a bite to eat. Most places you can find to serve you food are also perfect for grabbing a beverage to take the edge off your walk. We had so much good food on our trip from unique club sandwiches in little pubs to the best seafood chowder and brown bread I have ever had, I may have even gained a little weight on this trip.
From the quaint seaside neighborhood of Clontarf to the tucked away splendor of the Malahide Castle Gardens, there is history and architecture around every corner and my mission was to get my eye on as much of it as possible. I am noticeably drawn to old churches and castles as well as the monuments and gravestones that little every inch of this country so things tend to take a little more time in the wandering than we actually planned for. Still, there was always something to draw you further down the beach around every bend.
6 Places That We Visited And Loved
- Malahide Castle and Gardens: The visitor center/gift shop sells tickets for the guided tour of the Castle and tickets to tour the expansive castle gardens which house many exotic species of plants and trees.
- Trinity College Dublin: The library houses the legendary Book of Kells for which you can book advance tickets or just show up and wait around for the next tour to start.
- Temple Bar District Dublin: This is the place to be once the sun goes down in Dublin. Not for the faint at heart, you are going to hear lots of traditional music in small spaces. Grab a pint and a stool!
- The Tramyard Kitchen in Dalkey: South of Dublin, this beautiful little village with winding streets is right next to the ocean (seafood anyone?). If you happen to make your way through in the last week of August you can find yourself in the middle of their annual Lobster Fest.
- Madigan’s Pub Connolly Station Dublin: Connolly Station is the hub of downtown Dublin for most of your traveling further abroad, stopping off at this little pub for a pint or a quick sandwich is highly recommended before you head out.
- Finnegan’s Pub in Dalkey: We had a great time exploring the picturesque little village of Dalkey and we were lucky enough to run across a pub with my family namesake on it. If you are in the area we definitely recommend stopping in for a quick pint and a chat with the friendly staff.
We had a great time just picking up the pieces of our plan as we were able to each day but I definitely learned a lot about traveling more comfortably this time. Whether you have a concrete plan or just want to play things by ear, assess how you feel each day before you head out. Decide how far you can actually make it before having to head back and pack a bag with your essentials like snacks, water and a jacket. You are definitely going to find something to love in Dublin and you probably won’t have to look far!
Have fun exploring!
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