A couple of weeks ago, we asked Knackpackers on our Facebook page, “If you received a travel voucher for $5,000 to go anywhere in the world for a week, where would you go?”
Over 50 people responded with the dream destination of their choice, sharing answers from “A trip to NYC with my family!” to “The Great Barrier reef for scuba diving!”
We loved hearing from the community, and we were pleasantly surprised at the most popular answer. About 1/5 of the Knackpackers who replied listed “Dublin!” or “Ireland!” as their top destination.
Seeing this, we decided that it would be fun for the Knack team to share the best way to maximize your time on a trip to Dublin, with a few extra tips about visiting other places Ireland. We hope this blog post helps you in planning your dream trip to the “Emerald Isle!”
How Many Days in Dublin?
While you could spend weeks exploring Dublin, you can definitely see a good number of sites in a 2 or 3 day visit. Below, we’ve shared the top sites to visit, along with an estimation of how long to stay at each place. We’ve also organized this list by what is closest, starting at the west side of Dublin and going to the east!
Site to See #1: Kilmainham Gaol (2 hours with tour)
The Irish people are extremely proud of their history, and Kilmainham Gaol is one of the most important historical sites in the country. Many Irish revolutionaries were held there, including the 1916 members of the Easter Uprising that led to Ireland gaining its independence from England.
Tours start at 9:15 and the last tour starts at 5:45PM. All in all, the tour takes about an hour, and you need to arrive 15 minutes prior to the beginning of the first tour.
"Tours book up quickly, so be sure to book at least a month in advance!" shares Knack founder, Chad Mellen.
Site to See #2: Temple Bar (20 minutes to visit, 2.5 hours to dine)
The Temple Bar is about a 15 minute walk from Kilmainham Gaol, making it the next stop.
The Temple Bar is one of the most famous of Dublin’s landmarks, and is included in almost every guidebook or blog post about the city. All in all, the line is pretty lengthy to eat here – and the pub is mostly full of tourists. Unless you really want to eat here, snapping a photo with the iconic backdrop will be enough to check this site off of your “To See” list!
Site to See #3: Book of Kells at Trinity College (1.5 - 2 hours)
After you’ve visited the Temple Bar, it will likely be time for lunch. After enjoying some local pub food, the next stop is the Book of Kells at Trinity College. It’s about a ten minute walk between the two, and driving takes a bit longer.
The Book of Kells is a 9th century manuscript that documents the four Gospels from the Bible, and is housed within the Old Library.
This is one of the most popular attractions in Dublin, so definitely book online. Going through the exhibit takes about an hour, and you’ll want to arrive 20 minutes before your ticket time. "Book the first tour to avoid long lines!" shares Knack team member, Rachel.
Fun Fact: The Trinity College library is what inspired the Hogwarts library in the famous movies!
Site to See #4: The Spire & Gift Shopping (20 minutes for The Spire + Shopping Time)
After you’re finished at Trinity College, it’ll be about 3 or 4PM. Most attractions will be closing, so now would be a good time to go see “The Spire” and do some souvenir shopping. You can also visit Ha’penny Bridge if you’d like, as it’s a ten minute walk from The Spire.
Site to See #5: The Guinness or Jameson Factory (2 Hours)
After breakfast, it’s time for a tour! Depending on your passion for spirits, you may want to tour both the Guiness Factory and the Jameson Factory - or only one! If you’re staying in Ireland for only a few days, you’ll want to pick your favorite (or swap out something else in order to see both).
The 2 tours take place about a 15 minute drive from each other, and both tours are around 2 hours.
"Both tours are full of tourists, but the Guiness Tour has the best view of the Dublin skyline," shares founder, Chad Mellen.
Site to See #6: Dublin Castle (20 Minutes for a Picture or 1 Hour for a Tour)
Next up is Dublin Castle, which is about a 15-20 minute drive (depending on which tour you decided to go on). Dublin Castle is a combination of a government building, conference center and tourist attraction or museum. A self-guided tour will take about 30 minutes if you go inside.
All in all, Knack team members didn't see this as a "must-see." This is a good attraction to swap out for a different activity.
Site to See #7: Museum (2-3 Hours)
After lunch, it’s time to pick a museum to visit. The Chester Bealty or IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art) is a must-see for art and design nerds, while family history buffs will likely want to visit the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and Famine Museum.
Site to See #7: St. Patrick’s & Christ Church Cathedral
To finish out your day, stop in at St. Patrick’s and Christ Church Cathedral, which are about 10 minutes walking difference from one another. Christ church is the oldest building in Ireland (built in 1030), and it has incredible architecture.
On Day #3, you can go on a tour of “Oscar Wilde’s Dublin,” or partake in more museums and tours. However, if you plan on leaving the country after a short trip, we recommend taking a day trip to The Giant’s Causeway. You can book a day tour with a company and see other sites (like the Dark Hedges seen on Game of Thrones) or rent a car and enjoy your day trip at your pace.
Taking Your Knack Pack to Ireland
We’ve received photos from several Knackpackers featuring their Knack Pack around Dublin (and all of Ireland). When compressed, both the medium and large Knack Packs make excellent bags for sightseeing, as you can unzip the expandable compartment to store souvenirs.
Let’s talk about how to decide which Knack Pack to take for your trip, depending on the number of days you’re staying in Ireland:
Medium Knack Pack (3-4 Day Trip in Dublin)
Many Knackpackers decided to live their #OneBagLife after landing at an airport and learning their bag was lost. If you’re traveling to Ireland in the summer months, a medium Knack Pack will work just fine, carrying 3 changes of clothes and an extra pair of shoes.
If you want to bring a bit more, you can use the large Knack Packing Cube to compress your clothes by 60%!
Snag your medium Knack Pack here.
Large Knack Pack (4-5 Day Trip in Ireland)
If you’re spending a week in Ireland, we suggest packing a large Knack Pack. It holds 4 changes of clothes, and is a bit roomier for longer travel. It’s also a great bag for a road trip down the Irish Coast, storing easily so you can get out to see the sites.
Avoid paying for bottled water by bringing along the Knack Insulated Bottle, which keeps water cold for 48 hours and coffee hot for at least 12 hours.
Get your large Knack Pack here.
Where Will You Go Next?
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