Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland, is a fascinating city to visit. The best way to truly experience this city of storytellers and musicians, and the home of Guinness and Jameson, is to walk around its vibrant streets and pop into a pub or two along the way. I was in Dublin recently for business but added on an extra day to revisit some of my favourite spots. I spent the day exploring the city centre on foot to visit Dublin’s main sights and discover new ones. Keep scrolling to see my walking route around the highlights of Dublin, including some of the pubs I visited. It’s particularly handy if you don’t have much time; this self-guided Dublin walking tour can easily be done in a day and covers the top attractions.
This self-guided walking tour of Dublin is approximately 8km (5 miles) long and can easily be covered in a day, including visits to some of the attractions along the way. I ventured off this route many times whenever I spotted something interesting, which resulted in a total walking distance that day of 12+km (7.5 miles). The orange pins in the map represent the top attractions in Dublin covered in the walking route below. The purple pins are Dublin pubs I can recommend.
I stayed at the Marlin Hotel, a cool design hotel with a terrific location. From there, it was a short walk to Dublin Castle, my first stop. One of the most important buildings in Irish history, Dublin Castle was constructed in the 13th century on the site of a Viking settlement.
Chester Beatty Library
Within the castle grounds, I visited the Chester Beatty Library, often mentioned as the best museum in Dublin. Formerly the library of Sir Alfred Chester Beatty (a 20th century mining magnate), the museum houses his incredible collection of ancient manuscripts, rare books and miniature paintings. Entrance is free and it’s absolutely worth a visit!
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
From Dublin Castle, I made my way to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and its adjacent park. The national Cathedral of the Church of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built in the 13th century and features a stunning nave and beautiful stained glass windows.
Christ Church Cathedral
I continued my ‘Cathedral Hop’ with a visit to the Christ Church Cathedral (or the Cathedral of the Holy Trinity). Constructed in the 12th century, this medieval Cathedral is even older than St. Patrick’s.
If you have time, continue up Lord Edward Road to the Guinness Storehouse, the famous brewery and museum. There are also panoramic views of Dublin from the Guinness Gravity Bar.
From the Christ Church cathedral, I walked down Lord Edward Street to the Dublin City Hall before turning left towards the River Liffey. The river is lined by beautiful, historic buildings on both banks.
I crossed the river and continued my walk along the promenade to one of Dublin’s most iconic structures, the Ha’penny Bridge. If you’re following this Dublin walking route, consider visiting the Jameson Distillery on Bow Street, not far from the river. You can also buy a combined skip-the-line ticket for Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery.
I crossed the Ha’Penny Bridge to the Temple Bar district. It’s one of my favourite areas in Dublin because of its lively pubs, vintage shops and colourful street art. I explored the streets and lanes in Temple Bar, looking for cool street art and simply soaking up the vibes, even if it was early in the afternoon.
Don’t miss the world famous Temple Bar Pub, where bands often perform. If you have time, check out the Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum in Curved Street. Temple Bar is also the perfect area for a lunch break as there are many restaurants, cafés and pubs serving food. I had a meal at Elephant & Castle.
From Temple Bar, I walked up Church Lane to St. Andrew’s Street, the location of the Molly Malone statue. Molly Malone is from a song called Cockles and Mussels, the city’s unofficial anthem. A statue representing the character in the song was unveiled in 1988. Over the years, the practice of rubbing her bosom for luck became popular among tourists, resulting in a very polished bosom!
Irish Whiskey Museum
I continued my walk and stopped at the Irish Whiskey Museum. I enjoyed the interactive exhibits that tell the history of whiskey in Ireland, followed by a whiskey tasting.
My next stop was Trinity College, across the road from the Irish Whiskey Museum. Established in 1592 by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity College is another iconic Dublin landmark. One of Europe’s most prestigious academic institutions, the main attraction for tourists is the Library, which houses important artifacts such as the Book of Kells and an ancient wooden harp, the national emblem of Ireland.
National Museum of Ireland
From Trinity College, I continued my walk along Kildare Street, the location of the Irish Parliament. Surrounding the Parliament are several notable institutions and museums such as the National Library, the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Museum of Ireland. I ventured into the National Museum (free entrance) and found a stunning interior with interesting exhibits and stories of voyages, battles and struggles.
St. Stephen’s Green
After the museum, it was time for another break so I headed to nearby St. Stephen’s Green, one of Dublin’s most popular parks. I found a bench to enjoy the sunshine and beautiful greenery. Instead of the park, if you’d like to visit another nearby museum, I recommend the Little Museum of Dublin opposite the park.
From the park, I headed for Grafton Street, Dublin’s main shopping street. Near the top of the street, you’ll find Brown Thomas, Ireland’s answer to Harrod’s.
George’s Street Arcade
I turned off Grafton Street into Wicklow Street and explored the surrounding neighbourhood, with its countless restaurants and pubs. On previous trips to Dublin, I visited Mary’s Bar & Hardware (a pub in a ‘hardware’ store!), Grogan’s (a Dublin institution) and the quirky The Hairy Lemon. I ended up at the George’s Street Arcade, a shopping arcade inside a stunning brick building.
Whitefriar Street Church
I continued up Aungier Street to my final stop: Whitefriar Street Church. A friend of mine mentioned this church to me. One of the most popular churches in central Dublin, Whitefriar Street Church is home to important relics of St. Valentine, a gift from Pope Gregory XVI in the 19th century. Since then, the church has become a popular pilgrimage site especially during Valentine’s Day.
I ended my walk at The Long Hall, just down the road from the Whitefriar Street Church, for a well-deserved Guinness. This historic pub has a striking Victorian interior and a great ambiance.
Read bout my drive along the Wild Atlantic Way on Ireland’s rugged west coast and my visit to the stunning Cliffs of Moher.