Three days in Dublin is just enough time to hit the highlights (and take an excursion to get a little breather from all the urban hustle and bustle).

Friday

When you arrive Friday morning, refresh yourself with a stroll through St. Stephen’s Green, pausing for coffee at Kaph or at one of the Powerscourt Townhouse cafés a block off Grafton Street before making your way to Trinity College Dublin and the Book of Kells exhibition. For lunch, you have your pick of fantastic eateries along Dame and South Great Georges Streets; The Bank is perhaps the most atmospheric (and the food is aces), though it may be a little early in the day yet for a cocktail. Pop into the Market Arcade on South Great George’s Street for a browse through the quirky shop stalls.

View at roof level of Christ Church Cathedral.

A view of Christ Church Cathedral from the walkway to the belfry, accessible by guided tour. Photo © Camille DeAngelis.

In the afternoon, sign up for the guided tour at Christ Church Cathedral so you’ll be able to climb up to the belfry and ring one of the bells. If you haven’t run out of steam yet, head to the Chester Beatty Library to view a dazzling collection of manuscripts, engravings, and decorative art pieces from all over the world.

Tonight, buy yourself a pint and settle in for a traditional music session at O’Donoghue’s, Hughes’, or the Stag’s Head.

Saturday

Today, explore Dublin’s Northside. After breakfast, stroll up O’Connell Street to the Garden of Remembrance and learn everything you ever wanted to know about Joyce, Yeats, Wilde, and Synge across the street at the Dublin Writers Museum. Then pass a happy hour a few doors down at the Hugh Lane Gallery, viewing Harry Clarke’s stained-glass scenes from John Keats’s poem The Eve of St. Agnes up close and personal; then check out Francis Bacon’s wildly messy studio to console yourself about the state of your own house!

Stone steps lead up from the crypts in St. Michan's.

You’ll never forget a tour of the vaults at creepy St. Michan’s Church. Photo © Camille DeAngelis.

After lunch at the courtyard café downstairs at the Hugh Lane, take a 15-minute stroll west to St. Michan’s Church to tour the over-the-top spooky crypts—because who wouldn’t want a hardcore spell of memento mori while they’re on holiday? Now you’ll be needing a drink, of course; fortunately the Old Jameson Distillery is right around the corner, and the price of admission includes a shot of whiskey.

Take it easy this evening with dinner at Gallagher’s Boxty House in Temple Bar.

Sunday

It’s time for an excursion north of the city! Take the DART to Malahide to stroll the grounds of Malahide Castle, popping into the Avoca food hall for gourmet souvenirs and an early lunch before joining the hourlong castle tour.

Elaborate chairs in front of a wall of diamond-paned windows inside Malahide castle.

Malahide retains the title of oldest inhabited castle. Photo © Camille DeAngelis.

Back in Dublin proper, spend the rest of your afternoon at either the National Gallery or the National Museum of Archaeology and History (both are centrally located, south of Trinity College between St. Stephen’s Green and Merrion Square, and are open on Sunday afternoon). For dinner, treat yourself to a meal you’ll remember for decades to come at nearby Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud (but be sure to book well ahead!). Then stop for one last pint at an atmospheric Victorian pub, like John Kehoe’s, William Ryan’s, or the Long Hall.


Excerpted from the Second Edition of Moon Ireland.