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Why Grand Canal Dock and the Dublin Docklands are Worth Visiting

Learn about a one day Dublin City itinerary focused on Dublin's Grand Canal Dock and the revitalized Dublin Docklands. Explore Silicon Docks which is home to international tech companies like Google and Facebook. Take a photowalk through the Dublin Docklands while sampling some great coffee shops and restaurants along the way.
In this post, we'll head to a non-touristy neighborhood in Dublin: Grand Canal Dock. 

Find out why Grand Canal Dock and the Dublin Docklands are worth visiting as you explore cool things to do on a day out in the city.

About This Dublin City Itinerary

One Day in Dublin City Itinerary Rating: Leisurely
This Dublin itinerary is recommended for people with the following interests: food, art, photography

One day in Dublin: Handprints on a pole in Grand Canal Square

Grand Canal Dock and the Dublin Docklands Itinerary in Brief

  1. Breakfast Choices in Grand Canal Dock
    • Art of Coffee
    • Lolly and Cooks
    • A Table
    • Il Valentino
    • herbstreet
  2. Do a walking loop through the Dublin Docklands
  3. Grab a burrito for lunch at Boojum
  4. Discover the heart of the Irish music scene at Windmill Lane Studios
  5. Go for traditional or peculiar afternoon tea at the Westin
  6. Dinner at Cafe Bar H in Grand Canal Dock
  7. Evening Activities in Grand Canal Dock
    • See a show at The Lir Theatre
    • Cocktails at the Marker Hotel
    • Catch a musical at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre
Explore other one day Dublin City itineraries here:
One Day in Dublin City Itineraries

Grand Canal Dock and the Dublin Docklands Detailed Itinerary

This one day Dublin itinerary takes you on a tour of Grand Canal Dock and the Dublin Docklands, also known as Silicon Docks because of all the international tech companies (think Google, Facebook and more) who call this neighborhood home to their European headquarters. 
One Day Dublin City Itinerary: Reflections of the Marker Hotel in the Grand Canal
There are a ton of breakfast and coffee options in Dublin's Grand Canal Dock to start your day. 

Art of Coffee

The original location of the Art of Coffee (a small Dublin-based chain) is located in Grand Canal Dock. I'm hooked on the latte art and the baristas make a different pattern each time I visit. 

The bunny and teddy bear have been my favorites so far. You'll also find porridge and some other sweet and savory options to fuel your day ahead.

Lolly and Cooks

You'll find delicious tempting cupcakes in addition to the usual caffeine fix. Lolly and Cooks runs a morning deal where you can get a coffee and pastry (cupcakes not included) for a discounted price. 
One Day in Dublin: Views from a walk along the Grand Canal Dock

A Table

A French-inspired coffee shop with well-crafted espresso drinks and tempting sweets. A Table also serves some hot dishes if you want to eat in.

Il Valentino

You'll find great coffee and irresistible Italian treats at this authentic Italian bakery. Eat in or take away. 

My favorite tiny treat is the riccotini: a moist cookie filled with chocolate chips. I can never resist ordering one every time I visit Il Valentino.  

herbstreet

If you are looking for a sit down option for breakfast, try herbstreet. You'll find American-style pancakes and egg dishes with great views of the Grand Canal Dock. 

You can even sit outside and enjoy your coffee and breakfast on a nice day. 
Dublin One Day Itinerary: Historic Boland Mills in the Dublin Docklands
After breakfast, do a walking loop through the Dublin Docklands. You'll find great photo-ops and some edgy street art. Some particular points of interest include:
  1. The Bord Gais Energy Theatre which was designed by world-famous architect Daniel Libeskind. 
  2. A neon forest of red poles sits on the plaza just outside the theatre. 
  3. Walk past Boland Mills which features prominently in the fight for Irish independence. The former bakery was held by Éamon de Valera (future Taoiseach of an independent Ireland) during the 1916 rising. 
  4. Check out the architecturally interesting Gasworks building, a former gas storage cylinder which has now been converted into apartments. 
  5. If you wander the streets behind Barrow Street (e.g., Joy St and Gordon Street), you'll find quaint cottages with stunning brickwork. These cottages historically housed gaswork and mill workers in the area. 
One day in Dublin City Itinerary: Home with ornate brickwork behind Barrow St. in the Dublin Docklands
On your walk, keep an eye out for Facebook headquarters next to the Bord Gais Theatre and Google headquarters on Barrow St. Airbnb is located in a series of historic warehouses along the Grand Canal.

If you're feeling adventurous, you can squeeze in a bit of kayaking on the Grand Canal to get a different view and some exercise.
One Day in Dublin City: Dublin's Grand Canal Dock neighborhood
Grab a burrito for lunch at Boojum. Ireland doesn't normally do 'spicy' very well but Boojum is the exception. Try a chicken burrito with 'medium' salsa verde which actually has a kick. 

There are just two things that prevent a Boojum burrito from being indistinguishable from a California burrito: (1) How it's wrapped. The burritos are a bit pudgy and misshapen rather than tightly rolled and cylindrical like the best-of-the-best in San Francisco. (2) The Rice. 

Authentic burritos use Spanish rice. Boojum uses white rice flavored with cilantro. Nonetheless, Boojum is a great approximation of the real thing and will definitely help satisfy cravings for Mexican food on a visit to Dublin

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for inspiration for other great photowalks in Ireland? Check out these pictures of Dublin and these photos of Ireland for lots of ideas. Continue your tour of the Dublin Docklands with a walk on the River Liffey starting at the iconic Samuel Beckett Bridge. This walk will take you past one of my favorite free things to do in Dublin: The Diving Bell. You can also explore the tragic history of the Great Irish Famine aboard the Jeanie Johnston.

After lunch, explore Dublin's rich musical history at what I consider to be one of Dublin's top hidden gems

From traditional Irish songs styled by Luke Kelly and The Dubliners and Classic Rock by Phil Lynott and Thin Lizzy to pop and rock superstars past and present like Sinead O'Connor, Hosier, and U2, all roads lead to Windmill Lane Studios. 

Head to Pearse Street and keep your eyes open for a lime green Art Deco-inspired building. This site next to the Ringsend Bus Depot has been the home of Windmill Lane Studios since 1990. From here, head over to the place where Windmill Lane Studios opened its doors in 1978. 

The original Windmill Lane Studios location is, no surprise, on Windmill Lane not far from the River Liffey. The studio began with a focus on Irish Trad Music, but was soon adopted by U2. Van Morrison, Sinéad O'Connor, and Elvis Costello followed suit and the studio developed an international reputation. 

Did you know that Def Leppard recorded part of Hysteria here.  Outside the original studio, you'll find a display of album covers embedded in the foot path. Drop by and pay homage to some of the greats of the Irish and international music scene. 

Continue on toward Dublin City Centre for afternoon tea at the Westin Hotel. You can go traditional and get your tea with finger sandwiches and cakes or peculiar. The peculiar afternoon tea at the Westin involves a pot of hot gin and more avant garde treats.
One Day in Dublin Itinerary: View of Grand Canal Dock from Above

If you are tired after this day out in Dublin, why not settle in for a drink at Cafe Bar H. Grab a glass of Spanish wine and eat tapas for dinner. 

Take a seat at the bar underneath waving legs of Serrano ham, garlic, and hot chillis. I'd definitely recommend Cafe Bar H for the relaxing atmosphere and tasty tapas.

You have plenty of choices for evening Activities in Dublin's Grand Canal Dock.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Did you know that you can take a Dublin canal cruise that includes a relaxing dinner? If you are looking for a seasonal alternative activity to add to this day out, I can highly recommend making a booking.

First up, consider seeing a show at The Lir Theatre. We once saw an innovatively staged version of Patrick Kavanagh's Tarry Flynn, something of a coming of age story. 

The theatre was a huge rectangle lined with a variety of comfy and kitchen chairs with the action turning to all sides. Actors whizzed past on bicycles and bales of hay fell from the rafters.

If you prefer musicals, head over to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. Here you'll find performances by international traveling theatre troupes. 

We've seen shows like 9 to 5, Dirty Dancing and Wicked. Bord Gais Theatre also hosts concerts. We saw a Carpenters tribute band last year. 

If you're looking for higher end drinks, head over to the Marker Hotel for cocktails. Choose between the rooftop or lobby bar. 

You'll find great views of Dublin's Grand Canal Dock from the roof but you may have to wait to get up there. The rooftop bar at the Marker is extremely popular, especially when the weather is fine and hotel guests are given priority. 

Map of This Dublin City Itinerary: Grand Canal Dock and the Dublin Docklands

Click on the image of the map below to open up an interactive version in Google Maps covering points of interest from this day out in Dublin's Grand Canal Dock neighborhood. 

Guide to Sidewalk Safari Dublin City Itineraries

  • Leisurely: No need to get up super-early to start this itinerary which is always good if you experienced a little too much of Dublin's famous craic the night before. Take your time exploring the sights on these itineraries or take detours that you discover on your own in the process of following my suggestions.
  • Intermediate: You should be able to comfortably fit in the activities recommended even if you don't get an early start. There is a fair amount of walking involved in these itineraries to get from place to place.
  • Ambitious: Lots to see plus a lot of walking. Make sure to get an early start or you won't make it to everything on the list.
The perfect formula for a day out in Dublin City includes: breakfast/coffee, morning activities, lunch, afternoon activities, a pub stop, dinner, and evening fun.

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One Day in Dublin City: Grand Canal Dock and the Dublin DocklandsOne Day in Dublin City: Grand Canal Dock and the Dublin Docklands

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Why Grand Canal Dock and the Dublin Docklands are Worth Visiting
Why Grand Canal Dock and the Dublin Docklands are Worth Visiting
Learn about a one day Dublin City itinerary focused on Dublin's Grand Canal Dock and the revitalized Dublin Docklands. Explore Silicon Docks which is home to international tech companies like Google and Facebook. Take a photowalk through the Dublin Docklands while sampling some great coffee shops and restaurants along the way.
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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