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The Samuel Beckett Bridge on the Docklands in Dublin at Christmas. Photo: Ruth Medjber for Failte Ireland.

3 Days in Dublin: Top Sights to See on a Budget

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Dublin is a small city by European standards but there’s still a lot to see.

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This 3 days in Dublin itinerary will provide you with ideas on what to see and how you can make the most of your time while you’re in Ireland’s capital.

DAY 1:

Morning – The Guinness Storehouse

Start your visit of Dublin with a fun tour of the legendary Guinness Storehouse, one of Dublin’s — and Ireland’s — most popular tourist attractions.

The Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse. Photo courtesy of Diageo for Tourism Ireland.

You’ll need about 3-4 hours to see everything in this large museum, which is spread over 7 floors.

You won’t see beer being brewed, but you will learn all about the beer brewing process and the family who started it all.

A glass of Guinness stout. Photo: Engin Akyurt(opens, Pexels.

Most satisfying about any visit to the Guinness Storehouse is the chance to taste a pint of “the Black Stuff” in the place where it all began.

Be sure to visit the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor where you’ll get great views of the city while sipping your pint!

Book Your Ticket for the Guinness Storehouse Tours and Activities

Afternoon – Christ Church Cathedral & Dublinia

Switch gears with a tour of the iconic religious site known as Christ Church Cathedral, considered Dublin’s oldest building, and for good reason.

Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin. Photo: Rob Durston for Failte Ireland.

It was built by the Vikings in the early 11th century but in the 12th century, it was rebuilt in stone by the Norman nobleman, Strongbow (Sir Richard deClare).

Over the centuries, it was enhanced, morphing into the building it is today. Take a self-guided tour and learn more about the history of this magnificent Dublin landmark.

An exhibition in the Dublinia museum in Dublin. Photo courtesy of Dublinia.

Dublinia is an excellent interpretive exhibition on Viking and Medieval Dublin that adjoins the cathedral building. You can purchase a combination ticket for both attractions and save 40 percent on admission.

Expect to spend an hour in each attraction.

Read More: 7 Historical Attractions in Dublin that Reveal Its History

Evening – Irish Whiskey Museum & Kehoe’s Pub

Dublin has 4 working distilleries, in addition to the Jameson Distillery Bow St., where brewing no longer takes place but where tours of the facility are available.

In the interest of time while you have just 3 days in Dublin, and to get an overall history of Irish whiskey, head to the Irish Whiskey Museum on Grafton Street.

The Irish Whiskey Museum, where you'll learn about the history of Irish whiskey and more. Photo: Gareth Byrne, Failte Ireland.

Here you can take a guided tour and get a tasting of three or four different Irish whiskey brands. Tickets to the museum cost anywhere between €20 and €30 depending on the type of tour you select.

Give yourself close to 2 hours to enjoy the tour and relax in the bar afterward. The last tour takes place at 7:30 p.m.

glasses of whiskey 10 undiscovered whiskey distilleries in Ireland
Photo: Oleksandra Naumenko.

If you want to take a look at the variety of tours offered at the museum, be sure to visit the website.

Afterward, head on over to Kehoe’s Pub, established in 1803 and one of Dublin’s oldest pubs. Order a pint of Guinness and people-watch in this Victorian-style establishment.

Kehoe’s is located just off Grafton Street, so it’s a short walk from the museum.

How to Save Money on Accommodation in Dublin

DAY 2:

Morning – Kilmainham Gaol (Jail)

Give yourself the morning of your 3 days in Dublin adventure to visit this iconic city attraction.

The interior of Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin. Photo: Alvaro Prieto, Freeimages.com

The Victorian prison, constructed in 1796, is remembered as the place where 14 Irish rebels were executed in the aftermath of the Easter Rising of 1916.

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The Kilmainham courtyard where many executions took place. Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/giuseppemilo/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/

Despite its dark history, it remains a popular attraction for anyone interested in delving into Ireland’s troubled past.

You must reserve your ticket online in advance, although you might be lucky enough to get one on the day of your visit by visiting the museum’s website.

This attraction is not suitable for young children.

Read More: The Easter Rising: A Guide to Dublin in 1916

Midday – Trinity College (Books of Kells, Long Room Library)

If you're spending 3 days in Dublin you must see the Book of Kells, the iconic 9th-century manuscript that documents the life of Jesus Christ through a series of ancient drawings.

The book can be found in the Trinity College Long Room, the longest, single-chamber library in the world housing approximately 200,000 books.

sign Book of Kells
Entry sign pointing to the Book of Kells Exhibition, Trinity College. Photo courtesy of Tourism Ireland.

You should book tickets in advance. Expect to spend between 1 and 2 hours at this attraction.

It should be noted that a major restoration project of the Old Library will take place next year, meaning the Long Room will be unavailable to visitors for roughly five years.

The Trinity College Library where the Book of Kells is located. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

However, the Book of Kells will still be available for viewing but in a temporary exhibition space in the college's New Square.

While you’re in this section of the city, take the time to visit St. Stephen’s Green, an oasis of beauty in the city center.

The name is associated with a leper hospital that once existed in Medieval Dublin dedicated to Saint Stephen.

A pond in the middle of St. Stephen's Green, Dublin. Photo: trabantos for Getty Images.

Merrion Square and Iveagh Gardens are also nearby and worth a look, and are all peaceful havens in the city center.

If you need a breather, stop at Bewley's Cafe on Grafton Street.

See Dublin and Many of Its Attractions in 3 Days with the Go City Pass

Afternoon – EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum

There’s no way you can leave Dublin without visiting this excellent museum named “Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction” for three years in a row.

A digital display at the EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin. Photo: Ros Kavanagh for Tourism Ireland.

EPIC is the world’s first fully digital museum, which documents the Irish diaspora over a period of 1,500 years.

If you’re of Irish descent and interested in discovering your ancestors, you’ll really enjoy this popular place.


Booking.com

Evening – Abbey Theatre Performance

If you’re interested in Ireland’s literary history and culture, a visit to the renowned Abbey Theatre should be on your itinerary.

The theater was co-founded in 1904 by the Irish poet William Butler Yeats, Lady Isabella Augusta Gregory, and others.

The Abbey Theatre in Dublin. Photo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/bjaglin/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Its first performance, “Cathleen Ni Houlihan,” a nationalistic play written by Yeats and Gregory about the Irish Rebellion of 1798, was performed shortly after its opening.

Today, the Abbey continues to put on an impressive body of work, both new and old.

It is regarded as one of the most significant plays of the 20th century.

Be sure to book in advance if you want to experience a performance in one of Ireland’s leading cultural institutions.

Tickets are available for as low as €13 per ticket for seats in Row A of the theater.

Scenes from The Weir, which is currently playing at The Abbey until Jan. 14, 2023. Photo courtesy of Abbey Theatre Facebook.

And discounts are also available for students, seniors, professionals in the theater industry and the unemployed, with 20 percent off performances on Monday through Thursday each week as well as on Saturday matinees.

For more information on discounted tickets, email [email protected]

The theater also offers backstage tours during the day.

Take the Dark Dublin Guided Walking Tour

DAY 3

Morning – Dublin Castle & The Chester Beatty Library

You can kill two birds with one stone by visiting both popular attractions.

The Chester Beatty Library, more commonly known among Dubliners as “The Chester Beatty,” is located within Dublin Castle, which was built in the 13th century on a Viking settlement and later served as the official seat of the British government until 1922.

Dublin Castle, one of the must-see attractions you should visit during your 3 days in Dublin adventure. Photo: LuckyTD for Getty Images.

Dublin Castle exhibitions currently on display include a commemoration of Ireland’s centenary, which includes collections related to the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which ensured Ireland’s independence from Great Britain.

Lonely Planet has described The Chester Beatty Library as the best in Europe, and it is easy to see why.

The free museum houses an amazing collection of 20,000 manuscripts, rare books, miniature paintings, clay tablets, costumes, and other important artifacts.

The Sacred Traditions gallery at the Chester Beatty. Photo is the copyright of the Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library.

It is named after Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, a New Yorker and mining magnate, who was also an avid collector of European and Persian manuscripts, as well as Chinese snuff bottles and Japanese netsuke (miniature sculptures).

After his move to Dublin in 1950, Beatty established the Chester Beatty Library. After his death, his vast collections were bequeathed to the Irish people and entrusted to the care of the state.

Read More: Affordable Hotels & Guesthouses in Dublin: 8 You Should Know About

Afternoon – Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship

A 23-minute walk from the castle will get you to the Jeanie Johnston located at Custom House Quay.

The Jeanie Johnston tall ship, which is permanently moored in Dublin. It started out as a cargo ship but was later used as a vessel to transport emigrants to North America. Photo: Noel Bennett.

When you step onboard this fascinating ship/museum you’ll be transported back in time to a period when crossing the North Atlantic on a “famine ship” was the only alternative for millions of starving Irish.

Overcrowding, disease, filth, starvation, and violent weather were among the hazards of these perilous journeys. Visit the ship/museum for free when you purchase the Dublin Pass.

Evening – Neary’s Pub

Spend your last night in the city at Neary’s a UNESCO City of Literature bar on Grafton Street, where Brendan Behan was a regular.

It is located at the back of the Gaiety Theatre, so naturally, you’ll find lots of creatives hanging out there.

a lanatern 3 days in Dublin
The exterior of Neary's Pub in Dublin. Photo: Janet McKnight, https://www.flickr.com/photos/janetmck/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Of course, there are plenty more interesting pubs to find in Dublin, all with their own history. Discover more about the oldest pubs in Dublin before you embark on your 3-days in Dublin journey.

Read More: Custom House Visitor Center Now Open

Other Dublin Attractions Worth a Mention

If you have more time than the allotted 3 days in Dublin itinerary provided in this blog post, these attractions are certainly worth visiting and can be seen on a budget.

They include free walking tours of the city with Generation Tours (a tip is always helpful).


Other popular tours of Dublin include Alan Byrne’s great walking tour of the city’s main attractions and another one focused on the city’s monuments courtesy of Alan Swayne of Dublin City Tours, both Ireland on a Budget Tourism Ambassadors.

deer in a field 3 days in Dublin
Herds of deer are a common sight on the grounds of Phoenix Park in Dublin. Photo: Rpb Durston for Failte Ireland.

The Phoenix Park is one of the largest walled parks in Europe and home to Aras an Uachtarán (where the Irish president resides).

Free tours are available of this grand house, but you could easily spend an entire day walking around the park in amazement at its herd of wild deer, who have made Phoenix Park their home since the 17th century.

Dublin Zoo is also nearby, and you can save up to 15% on tickets if you prebook.

a cemetery 3 days in Dublin
Many of the Rising's leaders and other political figures are buried at Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

Glasnevin Cemetery is hallowed ground when it comes to Ireland’s many heroes. Take a guided tour that will bring you to the top of O’Connell’s tower and take in the breathtaking views of the city.

Dublin’s free museums are a treasure. They include the National Archaeology Museum, the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and The National Gallery, among others.

The Little Museum of Dublin is another treasure not to be missed if you have more time. This quirky museum contains artifacts and other memorabilia donated by the people of Dublin.

a mannequin outside a store 3 days in Dublin
Sweny's Pharmacy in Dublin. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

For literature lovers, particularly Joyceans, Sweny’s Pharmacy is a must-visit.

Mentioned in James Joyce's “Ulysses,” it remains unchanged since Victorian times. It’s completely free to visit, but donations are always welcome.

Sticking with the literary theme, Marsh’s Library was once a place of study for Jonathan Swift, author of “Gulliver’s Travels,” and Bram Stoker, the author of “Dracula.”

Totally worth a visit. And admission is affordable (under €5).

a stone archway 3 days in Dublin
St. Audoen's Gate in Dublin, part of St. Audoen's Church. Photo: Psyberartist

Get a feel for medieval Dublin at St. Auoden's Church, an old medieval parish church that is close to Christ Church Cathedral. Its 14th-century ruins are also on display, as well as a piece of the old medieval streets. Admission is free.

a large building with a clock on top 3 days in Dublin
The exterior of the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin, which was built in 1662. Photo: William Murphy, https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomatique/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Prior to the Abbey, the Smock Alley Theatre operated in Dublin wowing audiences nightly with its performances. This small theater, now totally renovated, dates to 1662. It’s a great place to check out emerging Irish acting and writing talent.

Traditional Irish music venues tend to be centered around the popular Temple Bar section of the city (and you should check it out when you’re there), but there are other, more unassuming pubs to investigate beyond those mentioned in this post.

men playing instruments 3 days in Dublin
A trad session at the Cobblestone Pub in Dublin. Photo: Giuseppe Milo, https://www.flickr.com/photos/giuseppemilo/ https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

They include The Cobblestone (Smithfield), McNeills (Capel Street), and O'Donoghues (Merrion Row).

Does spending 3 days in Dublin interest you as a potential getaway in 2022? If so, let me know in the comments below.

colette

Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

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