One Day in Dublin City Itinerary: Classic Dublin Sightseeing

One Day in Dublin City Itinerary: Kilmainham Gaol

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.

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. 
One Day in Dublin City Itinerary: 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. 
Dublin in a day: giraffes at 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.
One Day in Dublin: sunken garden at Farmleigh House
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.
Dublin in a day: obelisk at Phoenix Park
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. 
Dublin Day Out: Phoenix Park
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.

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.
A Day Out in Dublin: The Old Storehouse in Temple Bar

Map of This Dublin City Itinerary: Classic Dublin Sightseeing


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 Itinerary: Classic Dublin Sightseeing
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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: One Day in Dublin City Itinerary: Classic Dublin Sightseeing
One Day in Dublin City Itinerary: Classic Dublin Sightseeing
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).
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