Words: Kelsey Clark
9:00 Start the weekend with a free breakfast buffet at your hostel, the centrally located Ashfield House (ashfieldhouse.ie) where you can stay in a dorm for just under £8 or opt for a private twin for about £20. Check out Trinity College next door, founded in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I.
11:00 Introduce yourself to the city and its history with a free walking tour (newdublintours.com). For three hours you’ll wander past all Dublin’s major sights, led by friendly young guides who aren’t afraid to share their own personal stories of Dublin. Rain or shine, tours start at 11am and 1pm every day.
13:00 Fuel up at The Bad Ass Cafe (badasscafe.com) in Temple Bar for a lunch of bruschetta, handmade pizza and a jug of wine. Watch as your order is flung to the kitchen via catapult, and take in the donkey-themed art cramming the walls.
15:00 Still in Temple Bar, wander down the charming cobblestone streets and explore the bars, cafes and art galleries. Pop into the city’s only arthouse cinema at the Irish Film Institute (irishfilm.ie), or check out the Gallery of Photography (galleryofphotography.ie) for some cultural enlightenment.
Trinity College library, Dublin
17:30 Up for some childhood magic? Duck into the National Leprechaun Museum (leprechaunmuseum.ie) on Jervis Street. For about £8.60, wander through the museum’s 12 storybook chapters, search for a pot of gold and enter an enchanted otherworld of fairies and leprechauns.
19:00 Fill up on some satisfying fried food before venturing into the infamous pubs of Dublin. Eat at Leo Burdock’s (leoburdock.com) for the best-known fish and chips in the city, and with good reason. The menu is simple, fresh and has been around since 1913 – so they’re doing something right.
20:00 Kick up your heels at the Irish Dance Party (leoburdock.com), an interactive music and dance show. For about £10, learn basic Irish group dances from professional Irish show dancers and challenge the young local musicians who take requests.
22:00 If group dances aren’t your thing, escape the kitsch at D/Two nightclub (dtwonightclub.com) in the Georgian area of Harcourt Street. This modern and stylish bar and club boasts one of the most popular beer gardens in Dublin and is frequented by a younger, student crowd.
10:00 Drag yourself out of bed and get a feel for medieval Dublin at Dublin Castle (dublincastle.ie). Not exactly the most breathtaking castle in Europe (no moat, no turrets, pah!), it plays host to diplomatic state functions and rock concerts. But for just under £4, see the extravagant interior state apartments, or just wander around the impressive grounds for free.
12:00 Climb aboard the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship (jeaniejohnston.ie), a replica Irish emigrant ship from the famine era, located on Custom House Quay. For about £7, relive the cramped and depressing journeys of actual passengers from 1848, and be glad that you’re only visiting!
14:00 Get outside the city and on to the water with a Dublin Sea Safari (seasafari.ie). The 70-minute South Bay tour (at £30) has you watching for ocean wildlife as you bob around in a motorboat to nearby islands.
15:30 You could not honourably leave Dublin without a trip to the Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s number-one visitor attraction (guinness-storehouse.com). For about £12, get a tour of the distillery which ends at the seventh-floor panoramic window bar for a fantastic view of the city. Your ticket gets you a free drink, so enjoy the view.
17:00 Head to St Stephen’s Green in south Dublin for picturesque greenery. Made famous by James Joyce’s Ulysses, the urban park is known today for its tranquil gardens and lively performances by locals.
19:00 Treat yourself to an upbeat evening of Irish folklore and storytelling at Dublin’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head (irishfolktours.com). For about £38, you’re served a traditional Irish meal with a side of live Irish music, ballads, history and storytelling. Doesn’t get more kitschy than this.
21:00 Enjoy your last night in Dublin at Porterhouse (porterhousebrewco.com) with live music and very local drinks. This pub brews all of its own beers, stouts and ales and ships them from Ireland around the world. If you haven’t had your fill of Dublin when you leave, embark on a pub crawl through Temple Bar. Just make sure you’re sober enough to find – and be allowed to board – your plane in the morning!
Fly direct to Dublin from London Gatwick with Ryanair from £30 return ryanair.com