Greetings Internet Stranger and welcome to a one day in Dublin itinerary. Dublin, Ireland is a city that has seen the highs and lows of history. Here you can find incredible wealth and learning, as well as poverty, oppression, and suffering. (And that’s just at Trinity College alone.)
With a one day in Dublin itinerary, you can find amazing food, brilliant actors, and the most gorgeous book in the entire world. Just don’t try to tip your bartender and you can’t possibly go wrong!
One Day in Dublin Itinerary
Where to Stay
It can be hard to find an affordable place in Dublin for your one day in Dublin itinerary. The best affordable place to stay in Dublin is a private room in Trinity College. The rooms are nothing fancy, but the location is amazing and the price is perfect.
If you have a little more to spend during your one day in Dublin itinerary, try McGettigan’s Townhouse. This adorable place has free Wifi, a yummy breakfast, and a great location near the Guinness Storehouse. It can be your home away from home in Dublin!
One Day in Dublin Itinerary
What to Pack
Ireland, as you may have heard, is on the rainy side. That’s why it’s so green! So the two most important things you’ll need to bring are an umbrella and some rain boots. My favorite travel umbrella is the Repel Teflon Waterproof Umbrella. It is strong enough to stand up to the sometimes-quite-strong winds of Eire.
For rain boots, I recommend the Asgard Rain Boots. They are comfy/cozy and keep my feet dry all day. Plus they’re cute enough that I can wear them out and about without feeling like some gauche American with gross feet.
Finally, if you’re not from Europe, you need a universal adapter if you’re going to plug in electronics. European electrical outlets don’t work with either American or UK plugs. I suggest the NEWVANGA travel adapter. It’s usable with any electrical outlet in the world, so you won’t need to keep buying new adapters. I always carry two with me, just in case something happens to one.
A Perfect One Day in Dublin Itinerary
Morning: Secret Food Tours Dublin
To say that Dublin has not always been famous for its food is a severe understatement. In fact, I think it may be possible that restaurants were illegal in Dublin until the 21st century. But Ireland’s fair capital is certainly making up for lost time when it comes to eating.
And what better way to experience Dublin’s Culinary Boom than on a Secret Food Tour? Secret Food Tours is an international company that operates on all six inhabited continents. However, each city has its own local guides and manager. So you get the feel of a small company with the comforts of a familiar brand name. I’ve used Secret Food Tours in several cities, and I’ve always had an excellent experience. And this One Day in Dublin Itinerary was no exception.
My guide on my Secret Food Tour Dublin was named Niamh. (In true Irish fashion, Niamh is pronounced Neev.) She introduced me to every kind of Irish delicacy a person could ask for. I’ll be happy to share with you…
Approximately Top 5: Secret Food Tours Dublin Edition
1) Irish Breakfast
The first stop of the tour, appropriately enough, was for breakfast. We dined at the restaurant located about the Kilkenny shop near Trinity College. The store specializes in selling Irish crafts, which the town of Kilkenny is noted for. You can buy Waterford crystal, jewelry, perfume, textiles…basically any kind of product that Ireland produces.
And you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing it was actually made in Ireland. I thought it was a good idea to stop at a restaurant in the store because I could spend a little time shopping while my food was being prepared. (There was no pressure to buy anything.)
For breakfast, I got a potato cake with white pudding and spicy tomato relish. Obviously it can’t be an Irish breakfast without some crispy potatoes! That’s just science. I had eaten black pudding sausage before, but this was my first experience with the white stuff. Apparently it’s almost the same as black pudding, only you make it without blood. That will disappoint my vampire readers out there, but will perhaps make it more appetizing to my non-vamp audience.
On every Secret Food Tour, there is a dish that is secret. You can see it pictured above. But I’m not supposed to tell you what it is or where it comes from. I promised Niamh, and I would never break a promise to a woman bold enough to have an “mh” in her name but pronounce it like a “v”. So you’ll just have to take the tour to find out what on earth this is and what it tastes like.
2) Water of Life
Of course, it’s not an Irish food tasting without some proper Irish whiskey. I appreciated how this food tour showcased small-batch, local distilleries. My favorite was from Teeling Distillery, which just opened in Dublin in 2015. Before that, there had been no distilleries in Dublin for over a hundred years. That’s just a crying shame! I definitely blame the English, somehow. And speaking of crying, the best name for a whiskey I have ever seen is on the bottle pictured above called Writers Tears.
The other local whiskey I fell in love with was actually an Irish cream made by Coole Swan. Unlike some other Irish creams, this is only made in Ireland. You can truly taste the quality of cream they use in Coole Swan because it was richer than any other Irish cream I’ve ever tasted. I assume that they make it by milking swans because that’s really the only thing that could explain the different. Coole Swan is named after a William Butler Yeats poem called “The White Swans at Coole” because everything in Ireland is named after a poem.
3) The Hairy Lemon
No Irish food tour or One Day in Dublin Itinerary can be complete without some pub grub. It’s possible to find terrible, tacky, urine-soaked pubs in Dublin, but why would you do that when adorable places like The Hairy Lemon are still in operation? Look at those flowers hanging over the windows! I know nothing says “Get your drink on here” to me like a bouquet of posies.
The Hairy Lemon is something of a Dublin legend because the movie The Commitments was filmed here. (If you haven’t seen The Commitments, stop reading this blog right now and then go watch it.) Apparently the bar was named after a particularly sour-faced customer with impressive facial hair.
I had several options for lunch, but as usual I wanted something I had never tried before. That’s why I sprang for the coddle, which is an Irish stew made with sausages and root vegetables. Traditionally you make coddle with leftovers. But even though these sausages kind of look like severed toes, they tasted way too fresh to be leftovers from last night’s dinner. No one said Irish food had to be beautiful to be delicious!
The classic choice to pair with your coddle is a Guinness, of course. Niamh put a little black currant syrup in mine because that was traditionally the way ladies drank their beer. I think Ireland might be the only country to consider beer drinking of any kind especially “ladylike”! But the black currant syrup definitely makes the beer go down a little smoother.
4) Cheese Please
For a brief snack in between the larger courses, we got to stop at a local market and sample some Irish cheese. Ireland has long been famous for its dairy products. In fact, Irish butter is so famous that there’s an entire museum in Cork dedicated to butter production. But Ireland has recently started to become more famous in the fine art of cheesemaking. I especially appreciated this fine, crumbly sheep cheese pictured above. Ireland’s cheesemakers truly are blessed to have the milk of both cows and sheep to choose from.
5) Murphy’s Ice Cream
My complete obsession with Murphy’s ice cream is well documented on this blog. When Phil Rosenthal spent some time in Dublin on his adorable travel show Somebody Feed Phil, I kept shouting at the screen to visit Murphy’s until he finally did. I’d like to think he heard me and listened to my advice, even though that would probably violate the laws of the time/space continuum.
Murphy’s ingredients are impressively natural and local. (They actually make their own sea salt to use in their ice cream! Their sorbet is made with real Irish rainwater!) But my favorite thing about their ice cream is that they use real booze in it. I got the Irish cream flavor and asked the ice creamista behind the counter what other flavor would go best with it. She said it was cookies, so I took her suggestion. I didn’t really care though. I just wanted my whiskey ice cream. #sorrynotsorry
6) Fish and Chips
Worried that we haven’t had enough food on this tour? Well, I don’t see how that could possibly be a problem unless you are a cow and have four stomachs. And if you are a cow, I don’t think this is the tour for you because there’s definitely beef in some of these dishes, and this blog doesn’t encourage cannibalism. But if you are still hungry, allow me to rectify the situation with some hearty fish and chips.
Niamh assured me that Leo Burdock serves the best fish and chips in Dublin. Well, they’ve been open for over 100 years, so they must be doing something right! You can’t just fry any fish, you need one that is sturdy enough to handle the hot oil, but not so strong in flavor that it will taste weird after you fry it. At Leo Burdock, they use cod, which is perfect.
Niamh and I ate the fish and chips the proper way, with vinegar. I didn’t dare ask for ketchup. As we ate, we discovered several topics that an Irish person and an Irish-American can agree on. (Bono is better live, Guinness tastes better in Ireland, and the Irish are better than the English.) So a good time was had by all!
One Day in Dublin Itinerary
Afternoon: Trinity College
In most cities, a college wouldn’t necessarily be a destination for tourists. But as I’ve said several times, Dublin is not most cities. Queen Elizabeth founded Trinity College in order to encourage Protestantism in Ireland. (It didn’t take. But education definitely did.) TC educated legendary Irish writers from Oliver Goldsmith to Oscar Wilde. It is still a thriving college to this day.
If you are a tourist, you can take one of their student-led tours during your One Day in Dublin Itinerary and buy a combination ticket that will also allow you to see the glorious medieval achievement, the Book of Kells. (I recommend taking the tour first because the line to get in to see the Book of Kells can be crazy long.) On both the tour and the Book of Kells exhibit, you’ll learn far more than…
three fun facts: trinity college
The campanile (bell tower) is one of the most famous structures on Trinity College campus. There are a lot of superstitions about it, but my favorite says that if you go underneath the campanile, you’ll fail your exams. If I had an academic rival, I’d definitely try to trick them into going underneath here. It’s absolutely the perfect crime because technically it would be the bell that cursed them, not me.
Near the campanile is the statue of former provost of Trinity College, the rather fishy George Salmon. Apparently he said that women will be admitted into Trinity College over his dead body. Sure enough, shortly after he died, the women started a-comin’. Now the female undergrads like to rub it in by sitting on his lap. Moral of this story: never say something will happen over your dead body.
2) Berkeley Library
Don’t be fooled by the spelling of this building! It is named after Irish philosopher George Berkeley, so it’s pronounced more like American philosopher Charles Barkley’s name. Our guide looked right at me as he said that the library wasn’t related to Berkeley, California. I felt like maybe he was suggesting that because I’m American, I think everything revolves around the USA. But I know that’s not true! Americans know other countries exist; we just can’t find any of them on a map.
The odd ball/sculpture outside the library is Sfera Con Sfera by Arnoldo Pomodoro. He has made multiple versions of this sculpture all over the world, but no one is 100 percent sure what it means. Our guide said it might represent the world being destroyed by environmentally unfriendly technology. I think it’s a tomato because the sculptor’s name is Pomodoro. SMORT!
3) Book of Kells
Once your student-led tour is over, it’s time to visit Trinity College’s greatest treasure. I speak, of course, of the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells is, without any hyperbole, Ireland’s greatest treasure. It is a 9th century manuscript of the four gospels.
The monks illuminated the leaves of the manuscript with all the skill in painting that the Irish are so justly famous for. The Book of Kells is in a special exhibit inside the Old Library of Trinity College. I recommend buying a timed ticket for the exhibit online here because the lines to get in and see The Book are madness.
Unfortunately, you can’t take photos of the Book of Kells. That’s why I can’t show you its wonders here. But you can take all the photos you want of the Old Library. Feast your eyes on its exquisite Long Room! It contains many of Ireland’s cultural wonders. You can see everything from a 15th century harp to a bust of Gulliver’s Travels writer Jonathan Swift to the 1916 (unsuccessful) Proclamation of the Irish Republic. Basically all this place is missing are Bono’s sunglasses and Colin Farrell’s eyebrows.
One Day in Dublin Itinerary
Late Afternoon: Early Dinner at Rustic Stone
“Blurgh,” you might be thinking, Internet Stranger. “We just ate all morning a feast that included sausages, Guinness, fish and chips, and ice cream. Why are we getting an early dinner?” Good questions! And I’m not just saying that because really I’m the one who is asking them. I like to leave options available for every reader, and some people might want to have dinner on a One Day in Dublin Itinerary, even after a lengthy food tour. For example, I myself am always ready to eat seven meals in one day.
So for those of us out there who are Eaters, I suggest getting an early bite at Rustic Stone, which is one of the more health conscious restaurants in Dublin. Dylan McGrath, the celebrity chef, runs the restaurant. (At least, the Internet tells me he is a celebrity chef, even though I had never heard of him before coming to this restaurant.)
24 Hour Treat: Sirloin
The fun part of eating at Rustic Stone is when you order a fine piece of meat. I suggest the sirloin with three peppercorn relish. Then they bring out the meat RAW with the sauce on top, along with a hot stone. This way, you get to cook the meat on the hot stone yourself, exactly as you like it. (This is top-notch sirloin, so you can eat it rare and it will taste amazing.)
I chose the truffle fries as a side because the waiter said they were the best. Maybe it’s not the lightest option, but I don’t care! It’s always my policy to order the house specialty because I want to see what the restaurant does best.
One Day in Dublin Itinerary
Evening: Dublin Literary Pub Crawl
Now it’s time for an evening activity on our One Day in Dublin Itinerary that will combine the two greatest Irish activities: writing and drinking. That’s right, it’s time for the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. This tour, which is performed and led by professional actors, will take you to some of the most famous pubs in Dublin. It begins at 7:30 in the PM at the Duke Pub. You can get tickets there, but I suggest buying them in advance online. The drinks aren’t included with the tour, but the entertainment absolutely is! I promise you that you’ll learn far more than…
three fun facts: Dublin literature
1) The Duke Pub
The tour begins with tales of one of the giants of Irish literature and drinking: James Joyce. There’s a reason that the Pub Crawl begins at the Duke. It’s one of a bajillion places in Dublin at which James Joyce drank himself into a stupor. Back in his day, it was known as Kiernan’s Bar. Here Joyce met up with a fellow writer named James Stephens, just before Joyce moved to Paris. But my favorite Joyce story was about how Joyce got his revenge on another Irish writer named Oliver St. John Gogarty.
Apparently Joyce was staying at Gogarty’s place and there was a bizarre incident during which Gogarty fired a gun above Joyce’s ben while he was sleeping. Naturally Joyce did not want to remain a houseguest under these conditions and left immediately. But Joyce had his revenge. He turned Gogarty into the character Buck Mulligan in Ulysses. (Mulligan is the enemy of Joyce’s stand-in, Stephen Dedalus. The moral of this story is: don’t shoot at legendary authors while they are sleeping.
2) Oscar Wilde
Our next stop was Trinity College, where our guides promised us culture, but no drinking. (They promised the next stop would have drinking and no culture.) At Trinity College, we learned about the exploits of one of its most famous alums, Oscar Wilde. While on a tour of America, Wilde was incongruously booked to discuss aesthetics with a group of miners in Leadville, Colorado. It was not their cup of tea.
Therefore, they decided to play a prank on this stuck-up European. They convinced Wilde to descend down a mine shaft with them and have a little drinking competition. They thought they would leave him down the shaft to teach him a lesson. Little did they know they were not dealing with just any European, but an Irishman. Wilde outdrank all of them and ended up having to get the miners out of the shaft himself. This may be the single greatest story I have ever heard.
3) Davy Byrnes
The last stop of the pub crawl was Davy Byrnes, which is famous for its inclusion in Ulysses. Here our guides began to give a performance about another one of its regulars, booze enthusiast and writer Brendan Behan. One of the guides began to do an impression of Behan being interviewed by a New York City reporter and slipped immediately into a (credible) impersonation of Joe Pesci.
Now I am from New York City, and one of my pet peeves is when people think people from NYC sound like Joe Pesci. (Mr. Pesci, a fine actor, hails from New Jersey.) All across Europe, people ask me why I don’t have a New York accent! I do! You just don’t know what a New York accent sounds like!
At this point I couldn’t take it any more, and I committed a hideous faux pas by blurting out, “That’s not a New York accent!” The guide asked me if I’d like to come up there and try a Dublin accent, so I meekly explained he was doing a very good New Jersey accent. All was forgiven! The moral of the story is: if you ever make an actor angry, give him a compliment.
That’s a Perfect One Day in Dublin Itinerary
What would you do with a One Day in Dublin Itinerary? Are you ready to start booking your hotel in Dublin? Have you ever interrupted a pub crawl to correct someone’s accent? And is Dylan McGrath mad at me because I wasn’t sure he was a celebrity? Please leave your thoughts below.
Note: If you want to know how I put my travel itineraries together, just click here. Keep in mind that while each article is about how to spend 24 hours in a place, that doesn’t mean you should ONLY have a one day in Dublin itinerary. If you have time for another one day in Dublin itinerary, click here. If you want to add on another itinerary for Kilkenny, Ireland, click on this link here or here to explore hotels.