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Short breaks in Dublin – 48 hours of literary greats, graceful Georgian architecture and relaxing pints

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On a relaxing short break, Dublin is a city just made for walking. Step out of your Dublin hotel and fill a couple of days with this eclectic itinerary.

Dublin short break day one

Morning

Ireland’s oldest university, Trinity College, is the place to start your Dublin short break. The famous white Campanile tower at the entrance welcomes you to 40 acres of statue-studded lawns. If you have time, join the snaking queues to see the ancient Book Of Kells. Otherwise, check out the ornate National Library for rare first editions of James Joyce and W B Yeats.

Next-door’s National Museum brings Ireland’s ancient history to life. The macabre Iron-Age ‘bog bodies’ and intricate gold of the early Christian Tara Brooch take centre stage.

Start: Trinity College. Take any bus to Aston Quay.


Afternoon

Shop along famous Grafton Street then relax over lunch or coffee at much-loved Bewley’s café as the buskers perform below your balcony seat.

Nearby George’s Street Arcade was once a Victorian meat market, and Marsh’s Library is where Jonathon Swift wrote Gulliver’s Travels. Swift is buried in St Patrick’s Cathedral next door. Late afternoon is the best time to visit, when the low sun shines through the stained-glass windows.

Start: Grafton Street


Evening

Enjoy a tranquil evening with dinner overlooking the Irish Sea. The speedy DART train runs to suburban Howth where the sea spray splashes the West Pier. Treat yourself to fantastic fish at Aqua, which used to be the local yacht club. Don’t forget to reserve a table by its huge windows for that unbeatable sunset view.

Start: Howth

Dublin short break day two

Morning

Get a taste of Georgian splendour in the streets around Merrion Square, where elegant flat-fronted terrace homes are decorated with semi-circular fan-light windows.

Nearby is the gracious national parliament Leinster House, built as an 18th-century townhouse. Join the Saturday tour of the taoiseach’s (prime minister’s) office, or pop into the National Gallery for Irish 19th-century art and Italian School treasures. 

Start: Merrion Square


Afternoon

After a late lunch at Hugo’s, honour the national brew at the huge Guinness Storehouse, where old advertisements adorn  the top-floor Gravity Bar. 

After crossing wrought-iron Ha’penny Bridge, the wooden Liffey Boardwalk heads east, intersected by O’Connell Street. This broad street centres on the gleaming metallic Millennium Spire. Outside the General Post Office, look for rebellion-era bullet-holes in the pillars. Clever shoppers should head to Cleary’s, Dublin’s oldest department store opposite.  

Start: St James's Gate


Evening

End your Dublin short break with impromptu traditional music played out at Cobblestone, north of the River Liffey, where top-quality fiddlers, flute-players and accordionists get the locals’ feet tapping. Nightlife hub Temple Bar is packed at weekends, but early week nights see young local bands playing in microbrewery Porterhouse.

Start: North King Street