One Day in Dublin City: Along the River Liffey

One Day in Dublin City: the Samuel Beckett Bridge along the River Liffey

About This Dublin City Itinerary

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

Along the River Liffey Itinerary in Brief

  1. Breakfast Choices on the River Liffey in the Dublin Docklands
    1. Gerard's
    2. Barista Angel
  2. Learn about the history of Dublin Port at The Diving Bell
  3. Photograph the Samuel Beckett Bridge and Dublin Convention Center
    1. Learn about the tragic Irish famine aboard The Jeanie Johnston
    2. Experience the Irish diaspora at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum
    3. Lunch at Ely's CHQ
    4. Shop like the locals do on Henry Street
    5. Walk O'Connell Street
      1. Pay your respects to those who died in the fight for Irish independence during the Easter Rising at The GPO
      2. Seek out James Joyce Statue
      3. Admire the Spire
    6. Pub Stop
      • JW Sweetman
      • Brew Dock
      • Urban Brewing
    7. Dinner at Le Bon Crubeen
    8. Evening Activities Along the River Liffey
      1. See a performance at the Abbey Theatre, Ireland's National Theatre
      2. Take a chance on some comedy at the Laughter Lounge
    Explore other one day Dublin City itineraries here:
    One Day in Dublin City Itineraries

    Along the River Liffey Detailed Itinerary

    The River Liffey courses through Dublin and some think of the Liffey as the beating heart of Dublin. It's easy to focus a day in Dublin around the attractions that line the Liffey River.
    Dublin in a day: The Dublin Convention Centre on the River Liffey

    Start this one day in Dublin itinerary with a quick breakfast right on the River Liffey in the Dublin Docklands. Gerard's is located in a historic stone building nestled on the river. Gerard's serves 3fe coffee, pastries and porridge with very limited seating. Alternatively, consider grabbing a coffee at Barista Angel, a little kiosk owned by a super-friendly barista from Romania. Barista Angel is located across from the Dublin Convention Center near the Samuel Beckett Bridge. Come here for the coffee and conversation.

    After breakfast, learn about the history of Dublin Port at The Diving Bell, a big orange metal structure that was critical in making Dublin a viable port. Workers would descend in the Diving Bell to dredge the port and make it deep enough for large sea vessels. The Diving Bell itself is striking and photogenic but this area along the Liffey is generally ideal for Instagrammers and photographers. Photograph the Samuel Beckett Bridge and Dublin Convention Center, two of the most photogenic spots in Dublin, especially in the early morning golden hour.
    One Day in Dublin Itinerary: The Diving Bell along the Liffey River
    Walk along the River Liffey until you come to the Jeanie Johnston. Here you'll learn about the tragic Irish famine of the 19th century. The Great Famine was a defining part of Irish history and kicked off a wave of emigration dispersing people all over the world in search of sustenance and better lives for themselves and their families. The Jeanie Johnston is a true-to-life replica of a famine ship that brought many to their salvation in North America and others to a watery grave. Parked along the River Liffey, The Jeanie Johnston offers an informative guided tour for 10.50 EUR at the time of writing.

    Make your way down the jetty and onto the ship. Below decks you'll find wax mannequins depicting the lives of many who sought passage on the original ship. It's hard to imagine the desperation people must have felt back in the late 1840s when the potato crop failed year after year. Disembark the ship and set off along the quays on Dublin's north side. Stop and pay your respects at the famine memorial which showcases a gaunt and ghostly set of people hauling their meager belongings to port in hope of salvation.
    One Day in Dublin Itinerary: the Jeanie Johnston famine ship along the River Liffey
    Continue on to CHQ and understand the Irish diaspora at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. EPIC was designed by the same people who brought the Titanic Museum in Belfast to life. You'll find extremely interactive multi-media exhibits with not too much text to read. The focus is on world-famous people in different disciplines (politics, music, science, etc.) who can trace their roots back to Ireland.
    One Day in Dublin Itinerary: The Spire on O'Connell Street
    Eat lunch at Ely's Brasserie at CHQ. You'll find yourself ensconced in a very atmospheric wine cave. Ely's is known for great wine (we've been to several wine tasting events here) so consider indulging in a glass with lunch, you're on vacation after all! You'll find continental dishes served with fresh Irish ingredients. 

    After lunch, shop like the locals do on Talbot and Henry Streets. Tourists go to Grafton Street, locals shop on Dublin's Northside. Talbot and Henry Street meet at O'Connell Street. Take a diversion onto O'Connell Street. Learn about those who died fighting for Irish Independence during the Easter Rising in 1916 at the General Post Office (GPO). Keep an eye out for some of the original bullet holes from the Easter Rising in the columns outside the GPO. You'll find a number of statues of historical importance in the middle of O'Connell Street including Daniel O'Connell (also known as "The Liberator") after whom the street is named and trade union leader Jim Larkin. Where Talbot Street meets O'Connell Street you'll find a statue of famed Irish writer James Joyce. Love it or hate it, you can't miss The Spire. The tall steely needle replaced Nelson's Pillar, a symbol of oppression during the time of English rule over Ireland in 2002. The Spire is a useful point of reference if you need to orient yourself from nearly anywhere in Dublin City.
    Dublin in a day: Jim Larkin statue on O'Connell Street

    Time for a pub stop! You have a few options. JW Sweetman is a multi-storey craft beer pub located on the River Liffey. JW Sweetman brews a variety of their own beers. Brew Dock is a Galway Bay pub featuring their own brews and several guest taps. Urban Brewing back at the CHQ brews their craft beers on site and offers a tour in additional to great pints.

    For dinner, stay on Dublin's Northside and eat at Le Bon Crubeen. The restaurant has a posh, if slightly dated-feeling interior but the prices are excellent. The menu is a mix of French/Irish cuisine. Save room for a decadent flourless chocolate cake for dessert.

    You have a number of choices for an evening activity along the River Liffey. See a performance at the Abbey Theatre, Ireland's National Theatre. You'll find a variety of performances at the Abbey but some of our favorites have included Shakespearean works and famous Irish plays. For example, we caught King Lear at the Abbey Theatre. I have a huge amount of respect for these Shakespearean actors who spout complicated lyrical dialogue without missing a beat. We also experienced a surprising treat. During the performance we noticed a couple of Irish wolfhounds being walked across the stage (presumably to add a more authentic feel to the performance - of course King Lear would keep hunting hounds). As we exited the theatre we found four of the enormous and gentle creatures waiting for the audience in the lobby. These beautiful canines truly stole the show.

    We also saw the Plough and the Stars. Written by Irish playwright Se├ín O'Casey, the show was originally performed at the Abbey Theatre in 1926, a mere few years after the Easter Rising and Irish Civil War that ended in 1923. The Plough and the Stars is definitely political: the play's title refers to the flag used by the Irish Citizen Army.

    If you're looking for something a little lighter, take a chance on some comedy at the Laughter Lounge. Laughter Lounge hosts regular stand-up and sketch comedy. We've seen Irish favorites Foil Arms and Hog at the Laughter Lounge. The venue is set-up theatre style for the comedy performances and turns into a nightclub afterward. Have a few laughs, down some nachos and pints and then exit stage left after the comedy ends or stay for a bit of clubbing and a late night if the mood strikes.

    Map of This Dublin City Itinerary: Along the River Liffey


    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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    Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: One Day in Dublin City: Along the River Liffey
    One Day in Dublin City: Along the River Liffey
    Learn about a one day Dublin City itinerary focused on the River Liffey. Photograph modern bridges and architecture along the river. Learn about the tragedy of the Irish Famine aboard the Jeanie Johnston and the Irish diaspora at EPIC Ireland. Take a history or shopping focused stroll along O'Connell Street.
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    Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog
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