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Dublin City Centre: 11 Great Things to Do, See, and Eat in a Day

Learn about a one day Dublin City itinerary focused on the classic attractions in Dublin City Centre. Check out the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin. Shop your way down Grafton Street. Sample a wee dram at the Irish Whiskey Museum. Eat and drink at some of Dublin City's most popular restaurants.
In this post, we'll explore things to do in Dublin City Centre. What parts of the Irish capital are considered part of Dublin Center City? 

You can think of "downtown Dublin" as the area between the canals: The Royal Canal North of the Liffey and The Grand Canal South of the Liffey. The River Liffey bisects Dublin in two.

You'll find a number of key landmarks in Dublin City Centre like Temple Bar, Trinity College, Grafton Street, Stephen's Green, Merrion Square (home to some of the best Dublin doors), Dublin Castle (one of my favorite castles in Ireland) and the Liberties

Find out how you can make the most of a day out in Dublin Center City with this comprehensive itinerary based on my personal experience of living in Dublin for 12 years.

About This Dublin City Itinerary

One Day in Dublin City Itinerary Rating: Intermediate
This Dublin itinerary is recommended for people with the following interests: culture, food, shopping

One Day in Dublin City Itinerary: green lawn at Trinity College Dublin

Classic Dublin City Centre Itinerary in Brief

Let's start with a quick outline of this Dublin Center City itinerary:
  1. Coffee at Coffeeangel, Butlers Chocolate Cafe, or Beanhive Dublin
  2. Explore the Trinity College Dublin campus
  3. See the Book of Kells
  4. Lunch Choices in Dublin City Centre
      • Vegetarian comfort food at Cornucopia
        • Sandwiches and cakes at Avoca
      1. Shop Powerscourt Townhouse
      2. Browse Stephens Green Shopping Center
      3. Window shop on Grafton Street
      4. Learn and taste a bit of history at the Irish Whiskey Museum
      5. Pub Stop at The Lincoln's Inn
      6. Dinner at the Green Hen in Dublin City Centre
      7. Evening Activities in Dublin City
        • Gaeity Theatre
        • Murphy's Ice Cream
      Explore other one day Dublin City itineraries here:
      One Day in Dublin City Itineraries

      Classic Dublin City Centre Detailed Itinerary

      Now let's deep dive into our plan for exploring Dublin Center City for a day.

      Start your day with a well-crafted cappuccino at Coffeeangel near Trinity College Dublin (TCD). If you prefer chocolate, consider Butlers Chocolate Cafe as an alternative choice.  You'll get a free chocolate with each hot drink that you purchase. 

      Beanhive Dublin is your best bet if you like intricate latte art. Make sure to request an ample sprinkle of chocolate on top of your beverage as well. Both Coffeeangel and Butlers are located along Nassau Street. 

      Once you've had your coffee, cross the street and enter the Trinity College Dublin campus. Walking TCD is one of the best free things you can do in Dublin.

      You'll find photo opportunities galore at TCD with plenty of historic architecture and pretty green spaces. If the building is open, step inside the Ballroom Physical Laboratory at Trinity. 

      We had the opportunity to visit during the annual Open House Dublin when a retired Professor of Physics from Trinity College Dublin decked out in gown and top hat whisked us inside for a tour of the historic lab which was built over 100 years ago. 

      The Physical Laboratory building features a fascinating array of historical lab equipment in period cases. We also sat in a historic lecture hall where Erwin Schrödinger gave a lecture titled What is Life?
      Dublin in a day: Trinity College Dublin campus and the Book of Kells
      No visit to Trinity College Dublin is complete without a visit to the Book of Kells. The Book of Kells dates back over 1000 years and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Dublin. 

      One of the most amazing things about the Book of Kells beyond the age of the volume are the intricate illustrations that accompany the text. The Book of Kells exhibit also gives a glimpse into life in Ireland and Scotland at the time the book was created as well as the life of a modern Trinity College student. 

      The Book of Kells tour ends in the Long Room of the Old Library -- a dark wood paneled area lined with busts of famous writers and old musty tomes from floor to ceiling. What a great atmosphere to study in! 

      The Book of Kells visit costs 18.50 EUR for adults at the time of writing. The Book of Kells is extremely popular so definitely book in advance online to avoid disappointment.

      For lunch, you have a few options in Dublin City Centre. Sample vegetarian comfort food at Cornucopia. The food is wholesome and excellent value for money. 

      Enjoy delicious stews, soups, casseroles and quiches. Cornucopia is always packed but there is additional seating upstairs.
      One day in Dublin: Molly Malone statue

      Avoca craft shop in Dublin's City Centre features an upstairs cafe that's perfect for coffee and cake. The vibe is shabby chic. Enjoy a sandwich or if your sweet tooth strikes, opt for a slice of tart lemon cake washed down with a skinny latte for lunch.

      After lunch, it's time for some shopping with great atmosphere. Head over to Powerscourt Townhouse, an old Georgian building that has been transformed into a boutique shopping mall. You'll find crafty shops and high end clothing along with ample photo opportunities in the center enclosed courtyard.
      One Day in Dublin City Itinerary: Stephen's Green Shopping Centre

      For a wider variety of modern shops, browse the nearby Stephens Green Shopping Centre. The architecture looks Victorian but it's actually modern. Nonetheless, Stephens Green Shopping Centre is one of the most Instagrammable spots in Dublin. 

      You'll find department stores like Dunnes, international chains like Benetton and value-for-money options like Tiger and TK Maxx. Stephens Green Shopping Centre is a great place to get inside to warm up on a cold day.

      You'll also find ample high-end shopping along Grafton Street. Grafton Street has a great buzz. 

      You'll find buskers singing their hearts out, places to nip in and grab a snack, bookstores to browse and more. If you happen to visit in the lead up to Christmas, Grafton Street is positively radiant with brightly lit chandeliers and Christmas lights. Don't miss it!

      Take a break at the bottom of Grafton Street (the end closer to Trinity College Dublin) to learn about and taste a bit of history at the Irish Whiskey Museum. 

      The Irish Whiskey Museum recounts the rise, fall, and rise again of the Irish Whiskey industry and is the one brand agnostic whiskey tour that you'll find in Dublin.
      Dublin Day Out: Brick building on Grafton Street

      Time for a pub stop! Make your way to Lincoln Inn, a pub that has been serving pints to Dubliners for over 200 years. You'll find a decent pint of Guinness and some craft beer options too along with a great buzz inside the pub.

      For a more upscale dining experience, try the Green Hen for dinner. Here you'll find French-inspired cuisine with an Irish twist. For those who like to eat in peace, the Green Hen does not allow children under 12 after 5 pm.

      After dinner, head to the Gaeity Theatre for a show. The Gaeity is one of Dublin's most centrally located theatres near Stephen's Green and has great atmosphere for shows ranging from dance revues like Riverdance to musicals like Once

      If you're in the mood for a more low key evening, head over to Murphy's Ice Cream instead. Murphy's is Dingle-based and offers some of the best ice cream in Ireland. Try flavors like sea salt or brown bread. Murphy's is open late: until 10:30 pm every night of the week.

      Map of This Dublin City Itinerary: Dublin City Centre

      Click on the image of the map below to open up an interactive version in Google Maps to help you plan your day out in Dublin City Centre.

      Dublin City Centre Map

      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: Classic Dublin City Centre Itinerary

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      Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Dublin City Centre: 11 Great Things to Do, See, and Eat in a Day
      Dublin City Centre: 11 Great Things to Do, See, and Eat in a Day
      Learn about a one day Dublin City itinerary focused on the classic attractions in Dublin City Centre. Check out the Book of Kells at Trinity College Dublin. Shop your way down Grafton Street. Sample a wee dram at the Irish Whiskey Museum. Eat and drink at some of Dublin City's most popular restaurants.
      Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog