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Most of us know Dublin as Ireland’s fun-loving, youthful, and vibrant capital city. Dublin’s an especially fun place for travelers who have Irish heritage and want to learn about their families’ histories, as well as avid readers who’ve fallen in love with authors such as Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker.
Furthermore, Dublin is a very easy European vacation if you’re coming from the east coast of North America. I believe you can fly from Newark to Dublin in six hours. And if you’re visiting from the UK? Even better!
What’s not to love about Dublin?
You can easily see Dublin over a weekend, but I recommend staying longer if your itinerary allows it. Specifically, this guide was written to help you plan 4 perfect days in Dublin.
Keep in mind that it’s 100% true that most of Ireland’s beauty exists in the countryside. However, you don’t want to rush through this city with its abundance of museums, day trips, and pubs.
Let’s get started!
Before we talk about your itinerary for 4 days in Dublin, I also wanted to provide some general tips to help you navigate and enjoy the city.
And if you’re an anxious traveler? Then you’re in luck because Dublin isn’t a difficult destination!
Honestly, I found traveling around Dublin very easy even though I was alone.
In general, solo travel in Ireland is a wonderful and accessible for someone who is juuuust dipping their toes into overseas travel. Dublin’s tourist infrastructure is wonderful and readily accessible, and for English native speakers, you don’t need to worry about any language barriers.
Not to mention, most Irish people are pretty friendly and will help you if you’re lost. Just don’t bother someone who is obviously in a hurry!
Below, I’ve included some practical suggestions for transportation, accommodations, and more!
Best Time to Visit Dublin
Dublin is a delightful city year round.
So, if you’re limited to certain months because of school or work, then just book your vacation when you’ve free time, and enjoy everything that Dublin has to offer you.
At the same time, take advantage of flexibility if you’re lucky enough to have it.
For example, let’s say you want to avoid crowds and score cheaper hotel rooms. Then avoid July, August, and the week surrounding Saint Patrick’s Day.
Dublin might be Ireland’s capital, but it’s not an incredibly large city compared to places like New York or Paris. You can feel the crowds when too many people are packed near Temple Bar and on Grafton Street.
If you want abundant sunlight and the best weather, then I would definitely recommend late spring and summer, and just deal with the crowds. The winter months bring much darker days, but luckily, you shouldn’t see much snow.
As for myself, I visited Dublin in April and thought it was a fine time to go!
Getting Around Dublin
Arriving in Dublin
Most travelers will land at Dublin Airport.
The airport is close to the city center, only about six miles away. Feel free to grab a private taxi if you’re jetlagged, but for those of you on a budget, Dublin Airport has public transportation options available too.
Two direct buses most useful to tourists are the Airlink 747 and the Aircoach 700. These buses run on a regular schedule, and the entire journey takes about 40 minutes.
Dublin Airport also has plenty of car rental services.
While having your own car is useful outside Dublin, I highly recommend against having a car for your 4 days in Dublin itself. All city attractions are very walkable. Not to mention, day trips are easy to do with the help of a tour guide. Cars are expensive headaches that you’re better off without. Save the car rental for driving around the island.
Note to US Travelers: If you’re flying out of Dublin and returning to the United States, you will clear customs at the Dublin airport. Lines might be long and sluggish, so arrive at the airport at least three hours prior to your flight. I’ve done some, uh, tight connections at Dublin’s airport, and don’t recommend trying it.
Public Transportation in Dublin
Fortunately, most attractions in Dublin are within walking distance of each other.
Inside the city, you’ll find plenty of buses and Luas, which is Dublin’s lightrail system that I personally used to go to Kilmainham Gaol. For the Luas, you may purchase your tram tickets at any street side vending machine.
Furthermore, if you want to go outside Dublin, the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) system will take you along the coastline, making towns such as Howth very accessible for visitors without a car.
Taxis are quite expensive so I would personally walk or use public transportation unless you have an emergency.
Where to Stay in Dublin
Because Dublin is so popular, you have plenty of options when it comes to accommodation. Dublin’s also rather pricey compared to other parts of Ireland, so I tried to include hotels and hostels that would appeal to all budgets!
- Abbey Court Hostel: Abbey Court Hostel is scenically located on the banks of the River Liffey, and is a perfect budget option for solo travelers! (see prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com)
- Jacobs Inn Hostel: This award-winning hostel is in a great location, and has a bar and restaurant right on site. (see prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com)
- Oliver St. John Gogarty’s Hostel: This hostel right in the middle of Temple Bar is highly rated and named after an Irish poet, which, of course, I love! (see prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com)
- Brooks Hotel: Seeking some luxury on your 4 days in Dublin? Then you’ll love this 4 star boutique hotel! (see prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com)
- Hampton Hotel: Hampton Hotel is actually located in a very pretty suburb – Donnybrook – and is set inside a charming Georgian building. This hotel would be a great option for travelers wanting a quieter stay. (see prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com)
- Roxford Lodge Hotel: Want to stay in a Victorian townhome? Look no further than this boutique hotel located in one of Dublin’s most fashionable areas. (see prices on TripAdvisor.com and Booking.com)
What to Pack for 4 Days in Dublin
As for packing, of course, you’ll want to consider the time of year that you visit Dublin.
However, these essentials are important for any short city trip! Don’t forget them at home!
- Dublin Travel Guide: As much as I love blogs, I’m a sucker for traditional guidebooks. Lonely Planet makes my favorite ones! So bring a Lonely Planet Guidebook for Dublin to learn about everything to see and do! These guidebooks are available in .pdf and Kindle formats.
- A Good Pair of Shoes: You’ll walk a lot in Dublin. Don’t skimp on shoes, and make sure they’re waterproof too! I’d recommend these Merrell Waterproof Ankle Boot. They are cute to wear in the city, but provide all the practicality you need!
- Point and Shoot Camera: I like taking great pictures, but I’m not a fan of lugging around a huge camera. My personal favorite is the Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera which takes stunning high-quality photos.
- Travel Insurance: Don’t ever, ever, ever leave home without purchasing travel insurance. Your medical insurance may not follow you overseas. I always use World Nomads when I travel and have never felt disappointed!
- Travel Umbrella: Welcome to Ireland where it rains at random times. You’ll want to bring a travel umbrella with you to Dublin. Nothing too big or bulky, but enough to stop you from getting wet when those dark clouds roll in.
- Windbreaker/Waterproof Jacket: Ireland’s windy and wet especially on ferries and near the cliffs! Pack a light windbreaker to keep yourself warm and dry on those rainy days.
- UK-Ireland Electric Adapters: Lastly, you want to make sure you’re able to charge your devices. If visiting from North America or Europe, make sure to pack UK-Ireland Adapters so you’re able to plug in!
For spring-specific inquiries, I talk a lot about what to pack for Ireland in April, but some essentials are important for any time of the year! Check it out!
Quick Glance: 4 Days in Dublin
|1||Arrival, Walking Tour, Temple Bar, Trinity|
|2||Visit Newgrange & Dublin Castle|
|3||Grafton Street, Dublin Museums, St. Stephen’s Green, St. Patrick’s Cathedral|
|4||Kilmainham Gaol, Guinness Storehouse, Afternoon Howth|
4 Days in Dublin: Detailed Itinerary and Guide
Alright! Let’s talk about your epic 4 days in Dublin!
This detailed itinerary will give you suggestions for walks, day trips, and attractions. But, as always, I’ve left some wiggle room so you can put your own personal touches on your travel plans.
Day 1: Walking Tour, Temple Bar, Trinity College
After checking in, I recommend taking a free walking tour. I always like suggesting walking tours on first days, because, although you might feel tired, these walks offer great insight to your temporary new home.
SANDEMANs New Europe offers a lovely Dublin Free Tour where you’ll learn a ton about the city and make new friends. On this tour, you’ll learn all about Dublin’s most famous writers, its fascinating Viking history, and the Irish people’s struggles for independence.
With free walking tours, make sure you have some spare Euros to tip your guides! It’s a free tour. Be generous especially if your guide is amazing.
After your walk, explore the famous Temple Bar neighborhood. Snap scenic pictures of River Liffy on Ha’penny Bridge, and pose outside the original red and cheery Temple Bar pub. You’ll also want to see the Molly Malone Statue, which is based off an Irish song. Is posing near pretty Molly touristy and silly? Yes, sure, but what’s traveling without a little cheesy fun?
Last but not least, embrace your academic side with a visit to Trinity College. Trinity has a beautiful campus. I recommend taking a walk and checking out all the statues on campus.
And, of course, you’ll discover both the magical book-lined Long Room on Trinity College’s campus.
Trinity College’s biggest attraction, however, is the mystical Book of Kells. This incredible treasure, concerning the Gospels, was carefully written by monks in 800 CE. You cannot take pictures of the Book of Kells and must come in-person.
If you want to skip the line, purchase a Book of Kells ticket ahead of time, which you can combine with Dublin Castle.
Day 2: Tour Brú na Bóinne, Dublin Castle, Chester Beatty
I hope your 4 days in Dublin is off to a wonderful start! Today we’re leaving the city.
In the morning, you’ll go transport back in time to Celtic pre-history. Believe it or not, Dublin is close to mystical sites that are even older than the Pyramids. To reach these sites, you can either book a spot on a guided tour or rent a car for the day.
Start your day with a magical visit to the Hill of Tara. The oldest tomb here – Mound of Hostages – dates way back to 3,000 BC.
The Hill of Tara was also the inauguration place of the high kings of Ireland.
After Tara, explore the UNSECO World Heritage Site Brú na Bóinne or Boyne Valley Tombs. The most famous of these tombs is Newgrange.
At Newgrange, you’ll learn all about this fascinating site at the Visitors Centre. Afterwards, your tour guide will walk you to Newgrange itself. Believe me, standing near a 5,200 year old tomb will take your breath away!
You can see all these sites with your own car. If you don’t want the stress of driving, then you can book a tour to takes you to Newgrange and the nearby castles. An organized tour offers the benefit of additional insights from your guide.
In the afternoon, return to Dublin to see Dublin Castle and nearby Chester Beatty Library. Chester Beatty is free, which is great for budget travelers, and come on, who doesn’t like being surrounded by books?
Day 3: Grafton Street, Museums, St. Stephen’s Green, St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Rise and sun! We’re off to Grafton Street!
Grafton Street is one of Dublin’s main shopping streets and is pedestrian friendly. Although Grafton Street draws in tourists, I still found the hustle and bustle energizing and even did a bit of souvenir shopping!
Grafton Street ends at St. Stephen’s Green, which is, without a doubt, one of the prettiest parks in all of Dublin!
Next you’ll want to check out Dublin’s incredible museum scene. I’ve listed several recommendations in this post.
- Dublin Writers Museum: Want to learn all about Irish literature? Then check out Dublin Writers Museum, which is located inside a gorgeous mansion. Exhibits feature writers such as Swift, Wilde, Yeats, Joyce, and more!
- EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum: Want to learn all about your family history? This award-winning museum is all about Irish Emigration and the contributions of Irish immigrants around the world!
- The Little Museum of Dublin: This much loved museum is all about Dublin’s history. The Little Museum of Dublin is set in a beautiful Georgian Townhome and guided tours are provided throughout the day.
- National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology: Want to go waaaay back in time? This fascinating archeology museum is also a great supplement learning to your trip to Newgrange.
At the end of the day, go see another popular Dublin attraction: St. Patrick’s Cathedral! You literary fans won’t want to miss the burial place of Jonathan Swift.
Day 4: Kilmainham Gaol, Guinness Storehouse, Afternoon Howth
Kilmainham Gaol is one of the most popular tourist attractions in all of Dublin, even though it’s admittedly a sad place to visit.
The Irish Struggle for Independence was bloody. At Kilmainham Goal, you’ll learn that several Irish revolutionaries were arrested and executed here after their part in the 1916 Easter Rising. Not to mention, many other rebellion leaders were held prisoner here, going as far back as 1798.
To see Kilmainham Goal, you’ll be taken as part of a tour, which is great for those of you who want to learn about Irish history.
After Kilmainham Gaol, you’ll probably need something to cheer you up. What better than a visit to Guinness Storehouse? Even if you don’t drink or don’t like Guinness, you should still visit, especially since the top of the storehouse has some of the prettiest views in Dublin.
Last but not least, with 4 days in Dublin, you’re bound to tire of the city and look for a change of pace. Fear not!
Nearby Howth offers fresh seaside charm and a cute lighthouse. It’s a small and pretty town that is fit for grabbing a seafood meal before your final evening in Dublin.
I hope this itinerary helped you plan an epic 4 days in Dublin! Have a great time exploring Ireland’s amazing capital city. You’ll fall in love with it.