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The Best Hop on Hop off Dublin Sightseeing in One Day

Experience Hop on Hop off Dublin sightseeing in a day. Explore a one day Dublin City itinerary focused classic sightseeing experiences in Dublin. Board the hop-on hop-off bus to see Phoenix Park, Kilmainham Gaol, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).
Hop-on, Hop-off bus tours are a staple of city break travel and Dublin is no exception. While many people think of hop-on hop-off buses as the most touristy way to get around and thus are to be avoided, they can actually be quite convenient for traveling fast and efficiently around town.

Why spend a day on the hop-on, hop-off bus in Dublin? Dublin's public bus system operates on a hub and spoke model. If you want to get to points around the perimeter of the city, you'd need to take a bus out and back to each spot. 

The various hop-on hop-off bus services in Dublin connect up tourist attractions on the perimeter of the city like Kilmainham Gaol, Phoenix Park much more conveniently.

Hop on Hop Off Dublin: Kilmainham Gaol

How much can you expect to pay for a day on a hop-on hop-off bus in Dublin? A day pass costs about 30 EUR per person at the time of writing. 

Dublin does have a few different hop-on hop-off options and you can combine your tourist bus ticket with a public transportation pass in some cases for added savings. 

Read on and explore this one day Dublin itinerary with a focus on attractions you can visit using a hop-on hop-off bus ticket.

About This Dublin City Itinerary

One Day in Dublin City Itinerary Rating: Intermediate
This Dublin itinerary is recommended for people with the following interests: nature, history, culture, art, music

Classic Dublin Sightseeing Itinerary in Brief

  1. Breakfast at Voila on Baggot Street
  2. Buy a ticket for the Hop on Hop Off Bus (CitySightseeing Red Route)
  3. Explore the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)
  4. Understand Irish history at Kilmainham Gaol
  5. Lunch at IMMA Cafe
  6. Pay a visit to Dublin Zoo
  7. Tour Farmleigh House
  8. Walk Phoenix Park, one of the largest urban parks in Europe.
  9. Drinks at Nancy Hands Bar and Restaurant
  10. Dinner Choices
    • Italian at Wallace's Taverna
    • Pub grub with a bit of music and dancing at The Church
  11. Experience a night Out in Temple Bar
Explore other one day Dublin City itineraries here:
One Day in Dublin City Itineraries

Classic Dublin Sightseeing Detailed Itinerary

Start your day in front of a faux fireplace with a nice sit down breakfast at Voila on Baggot Street. Begin with a well-made latte and then treat yourself to an egg white omelette with brown bread. Voila is definitely worth a visit and one of our favorite places for a morning nosh in Dublin.

After breakfast, buy a ticket for the CitySightseeing Red Route Hop on Hop Off Bus. You've got a lot of ground to cover today and you won't make it if you walk. 

Hop off and explore the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA). You'll find interesting art exhibits inside and out with the modern creations contrasting with the historic building. Stop for lunch at Kemp Sisters Cafe on site at IMMA.

SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Looking for other fun ways to get around Dublin? Why not take a Dublin Viking tour? When you climb aboard Viking Splash tours, you'll drive the streets of the city and then splash down in the water at Grand Canal Dock. This Viking tour of Dublin is one of a kind.

Kilmainham Gaol is just a short walk from the IMMA. Visit Kilmainham Gaol to get a better grasp of Irish history. The prison can only be toured with a guide (8 EUR per adult at the time of writing). 

You'll start out in the prison chapel where many of the political prisoners from the 1916 Easter Rising were taken to pray immediately before they were executed. 

Continue into the depths of the prison and you'll be confronted with rusting doors and concrete walls showing their age. Sporadic windows let in some light. 
Hop on Hop Off Dublin: Kilmainham Gaol
We were told that in the jail's heyday, many of the windows didn't have glass and were open to the elements even in the winter. Kilmainham Gaol was a tough place to do time. The door to every cell could be seen and easily monitored by the guards on staff. A spiral staircase winds between the floors. 

Among the famous prisoners that served at Kilmainham, tour the former cell of Charles Stewart Parnell who served time in the late 1800s. A drawing of Parnell adorns the wall. 

You'll have the chance to explore some of the cells on the main floor and even close the door to see what it felt like to be imprisoned here. The peephole from the inside looks like an all-seeing eye. 

Learn about how Grace Gifford married Joseph Plunkett on the eve of his execution for his role in the 1916 Rising. Grace Plunkett was later imprisoned at Kilmainham for her own role in the fight for Irish independence. She painted lovely religious inspired art on the walls of her cell. 

Step outside into the courtyard where the main players in the 1916 Easter rising were executed. A cross commemorates the spot where Ireland's rebel leaders fell. 

All save one was executed on this side of the courtyard. James Connelly was wheeled in on a stretcher, mortally wounded during the Easter Rising. He was tied to a chair and executed along with his comrades in arms. 

It is believed that this act turned the tide of sentiment against the British and ultimately led to freedom for Ireland in the years that followed. 

Kilmainham Gaol is definitely worth a stop for a strong, sobering dose of Irish history. The Gaol combined with the 1916 Easter Rebellion Walking Tour and Glasnevin Cemetery Tour provide a well-rounded crash course on the path to Irish independence.

Hop on the Dublin CitySightseeing Red Route and take the bus to Phoenix Park where you'll find Dublin Zoo. The Dublin Zoo is a fantastic diversion (even if you don't have kids!). Take a walk through the serene surroundings and check out animals from all over the world. 
Hop on Hop Off Dublin: Dublin Zoo in Phoenix Park

Make your way from Dublin Zoo to Farmleigh House. Farmleigh House is an estate near Phoenix Park formerly owned by the Guinness family. It's now used to entertain visiting dignitaries, including former U.S. President Barack Obama. 

Spot cattle and donkeys grazing when you enter the grounds of Farmleigh House. Take a tour inside the impressive mansion and then spend some time exploring the grounds. 

A Victorian greenhouse adds to the atmosphere. Don't miss the sunken garden placed dramatically behind Farmleigh House. Clearly a lot of time is spent shaping the hedges into peacocks and spirals! Farmleigh House also has a traditional walled garden that is fun to explore.
Hop on Hop Off Dublin: sunken garden at Farmleigh House Hop on Hop Off Dublin: Obelisk in Phoenix Park

If the weather is nice, take some time to walk through Phoenix Park, one of the largest urban parks in Europe. You'll find water features, flowers, plenty of meadows, and even a herd of photogenic wild deer.

After all this walking, you've earned a pint. Stop into Nancy Hands Bar and Restaurant, a classic wood-paneled pub for a pint of Guinness. 

For dinner, opt for a filling Italian meal at Wallace's Taverna or try pub grub with a bit of Irish music and dancing at The Church. The Church is architecturally interesting because the pub and restaurant are located in a deconsecrated church.
Hop on Hop Off Dublin:  Phoenix Park Hop on Hop Off Dublin:  The Old Storehouse in Temple Bar
After dinner, experience a night out in Temple Bar. Vat House, The Norseman, and the Old Storehouse are three pubs that I recommend. Get yourself a pint of Guinness or try some Irish craft beers (particularly at the Norseman). 

Wander around, check out the buskers and do some people-watching. Particularly on the weekend, the craic is epic although you'll find more tourists in Temple Bar than locals. 

Just make sure you aren't planning to get too early of a start the next day. You'll likely need a proper fry up and maybe the hair of the dog after this night out.

Hop on Hop Off Dublin Sightseeing Map

Click on the image of the hop on hop off Dublin map below to open up an interactive version in Google Maps. 
Hop on hop off Dublin 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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Hop on Hop off Dublin Sightseeing

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: The Best Hop on Hop off Dublin Sightseeing in One Day
The Best Hop on Hop off Dublin Sightseeing in One Day
Experience Hop on Hop off Dublin sightseeing in a day. Explore a one day Dublin City itinerary focused classic sightseeing experiences in Dublin. Board the hop-on hop-off bus to see Phoenix Park, Kilmainham Gaol, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA).
Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog