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How to Plan the Perfect Weekend in Dublin

Experience the charm of Ireland's capital city on a quick getaway.

U.S. News & World Report

How to Plan the Perfect Weekend in Dublin

The quays in Dublin City, Ireland at dawn with the sky reflected in the River Liffey.

With fascinating cultural traditions, thousand-year-old sites and plenty of culture- and history-filled attractions geared toward travelers of all ages, there's plenty to take in on a 36-hour jaunt to Dublin.(Getty Images)

With its cobblestoned streets, storied pubs and staggering Georgian architecture, Dublin integrates its traditional Irish heritage with 21st-century allures. And as you walk through the streets, catching the roar of laughter from boisterous pubs and greetings from witty and jovial locals, it's hard to deny that Dublin is undeniably welcoming. Today, Dublin offers an incredible array of activities and attractions for all ages, from the iconic zoo to the infamous Guinness Brewery and Storehouse. After a few days, you'll quickly see why so many fall for Dublin's charm. Here's how to plan the perfect weekend itinerary in Ireland's vibrant capital city.

Where to Eat and Drink

Start your visit with tea and breakfast at Queen of Tarts, a cafe and patisserie famous for its delectable selection of savory and sweet tarts that offers a relaxed replica of an English tea house. Or, if you're searching for the perfect blend of local charm and tourist kitsch, head to the celebrated Mulligans Pub, where you can grab a pint of Guinness and soak up the authentic Irish culture. And when hunger sets in, stop into Gallagher's Boxty House for some hearty shepherd's pie and corned beef. If you happen to be planning a romantic trip with your better half, also make sure to check out Mulberry Garden. Located in a restored 1911 cottage, at Mulberry Garden chefs have revolutionized traditional Irish fare, and serve plates such as succulent duck breast paired with prune puree or fresh-caught scallops with cabbage. And if you're looking to splurge on haute cuisine, visit Chapter One, a Michelin-starred restaurant, which offers dishes such as chestnut soup and hen pheasant with Jerusalem artichokes in an elegant setting.

Where to Play

Begin your Dublin exploration at the renowned Trinity College, one of Ireland's most prestigious universities. Established in 1592, the campus features Gothic-style halls, wrought iron staircases and a can't-miss attraction in its library: "The Book of Kells." Afterward, walk to Dublin Castle, a storied fortress with a tower dating back to the 13th century, that is conveniently located in the middle of the city. From there, stroll to St. Patrick's Cathedral, Ireland's largest church. Built between 1220 and 1259, the cathedral features an eclectic mix of old and new, with 18th- and 19th-century additions. Hop on the bus (a three-day Freedom pass grant you access to public transportation and a variety of must-see attractions across the city) and head to the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship. The ride will take you along the River Liffey and past iconic sites, such as Temple Bar, the Irish Houses of Parliament and Trinity College. Once you've hit these can't-miss sights, head across the river to Phoenix Park, one of the largest urban parks in Europe, to unwind or check out its countless running and biking trails and the Dublin Zoo.

Where to Stay

Clontarf Castle Hotel, built in the 18th century, is more of a 21st-century hotel with its modern amenities and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. The hotel is just a quick bus or taxi ride from the city center, and it's just a stone's throw from the breathtaking Dublin Bay. If you would rather stay in the heart of the action near Dublin's city center, check into The Merrion Hotel, an upscale property encompassing four restored Georgian townhomes. Along with a range of family-friendly guest rooms and suites, The Merrion also features a five-star spa and an outdoor patio and garden along with an array of restaurants. Plus, you can't beat the location, which is just a five-minute walk to St. Stephen's Green and less than a mile walk to St. Patrick's Cathedral.

About En Route

Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.

Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.

Edited by Liz Weiss.

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