Travel Diary: 72 hours in Dublin

The famous bright red temple bar against a backdrop of blue sky in Dublin

A recent visit to Dublin made me fall in love with its grungy and alternative vibe. Between tourist spots and quirky pubs, here’s how we spent 72 hours in Dublin.

Back in March, my boyfriend and I visited Dublin for a three-day break to celebrate his birthday. Our main aim was to see one of his favourite bands live – Less Than Jake – who happened to be playing in Dublin. We’d never visited Ireland before, so I thought this would be a perfect excuse to finally visit!

I nabbed Ryanair flights last year in one of their many sales, so the trip seemed like a long time coming. Eventually, March rolled around and it was time for our first ever visit to Dublin/Ireland!

Colourful flags above the side streets of Dublin

Where we stayed: Camden Street Hotel

We booked into the two-star Camden Street Hotel which was situated a mere 15-minute walk away from Temple Bar and cost just £94 for two nights. The hotel was just right for our stay – it wasn’t anything fancy but the room was nice, bar a weird non-window that just stayed bright and green during the entirety of our stay. We never knew what it was actually supposed to overlook, if anything at all!

The hotel was really basic and only really had a small reception room with a tiny area for a cup of tea. I had mixed feelings about the staff – we arrived a good few hours before check-in and asked if we could leave our bags, which they allowed. However, I was hoping there would be a proper bar area to relax for an hour or so after our flight and maybe somewhere to get changed – but I strongly got the vibe they didn’t want us to hang around. So after dropping our bags off, they allowed us about half an hour to charge our phones before we went out to sightsee in the clothes we’d worn since our early morning flight.

For the price and location though, I can’t really complain! It was situated on a main street with plenty of places to eat nearby and was situated just two doors down from the pub where Less Than Jake were playing.

The River Liffey

Day one: Getting our bearings, visiting the National Leprechaun Museum and discovering Dublin nightlife

Our flight landed around 9am and by 11:30am we were exploring Dublin by foot. We took a slow stroll towards the centre of Dublin, spotting many bright and colourful pubs we wanted to visit during our break there. We also spotted the Molly Malone statue right in front of a beautiful church and spent some time taking photos along the beautiful River Liffey.

The  Molly Malone statue

We then visited The National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland, which was so much fun! Though small, this cute museum is dedicated to Irish folklore and mythology. We had a tour around the museum which offered different themed rooms like a rainbow room and another with giant furniture, all with the aim to make you feel like you were a small leprechaun!

It was really eye-opening and a little different too with the quirky storytelling and immersive rooms. It was also interesting to learn that, despite the movies, leprechauns are actually considered really friendly and not evil!

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We then ducked into a random pub for delicious burgers, chips and beer. I did not have a Guinness here as I wanted my first one to be at the Guinness Factory!

Next, we explored the famous Temple Bar. We didn’t stop in anywhere, we just took some photos and had a wander. There were so many intriguing pubs and bars we wanted to visit and we’ve decided that we’re definitely going to go back one day and have a proper pub crawl.

After a quick nap at the hotel (we had been up since 3am!), we headed a few doors down to check out the Whelans, where Less Than Jake were playing. It was such a cool place with lots of photographs of previous performances from iconic artists that had played there and a really fun vibe. We had one or two drinks (drinks were about London prices!), before popping over the road for a burger at Wow burger, a burger branch similar to Five Guys. The garlic butter fries were amazing, although I don’t think Shaun appreciated my smelly breath afterwards!

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Day two: Visiting the Guinness Storehouse and seeing Less Than Jake

Our second day in Dublin saw us heading across the river to explore the Guinness Storehouse. I’m gonna be honest here, I was definitely intrigued about our visit but wasn’t looking forward to it too much as I’d never really tried Guinness so wasn’t expecting much. Nor had I ever had much interest in beer (other than drinking it haha).

We spent our entire morning and early afternoon exploring the brewery’s many floors, learning about the very first steps of creating a beer all the way through to their best and most unique marketing campaigns. It was absolutely fascinating!

We ended our visit enjoying a cold Guinness at the very top of the tower, with beautiful views across Dublin. Gártha!

At the top of the tower at the Guinness Storehouse
My partner and I posing in front of the giant Guinness sign at the Guinness Storehouse
Inside the Guinness Storehouse
Old brewery barrels at the Guinness Storehouse

Once back in the city centre, we grabbed a tasty lunch at The Hairy Lemon, which I loved. This quirky bar was filled with cool memorabilia and funky things to spot in every corner and pretty fairy lights. I’d absolutely love to go back one day and hang out there on a night out.

Inside The Hairy Lemon, Dublin

We also spotted a rooftop bus after our lunch which we hopped on to see some more sights. Shaun fell asleep and I ended up cold (but amused) listening to the driver sing his heart out. It was a great way to see more of the city but it wasn’t the best one I’d been on.

After a quick change at the hotel, we headed down to Whelan’s to catch Less Than Jake live. They were amazing! I’d seen them a couple of times before at festivals but I’d never seen them headline. What was even better was that the room in which they performed was tiny. So it was really intimate and fun.

We stuck around afterwards for the silent headphone disco but they were not playing any good music at all. I thought it would be ska or punk rock music following the gig but it wasn’t – it wasn’t even popular songs either, just old 70s songs! So we called it a night.

We were tempted to do a full pub crawl this night but weren’t really feeling it – plus we wanted to get out a bit early on our last day so Shaun could take some photos. Maybe next time!

Views of Dublin
St Stephen's Green, Dublin

Day three: Wandering around Dublin before our flight home

On our final day, we took it easy and spent some time just wandering around the city. We explored by foot and popped into some charity shops in between taking photos. We also headed back to Temple Bar to go into the actual Temple Bar for a Guinness. It was so cool inside and not at all touristy as I’d expected – they had live music and the pub itself was really intriguing to walk around. We then had a very, very brief visit to the Little Museum of Dublin as we had free entry with our bus pass, but by the time we arrived, it was due to close within half an hour so we literally walked around super quickly.

Before heading back to collect our bags, we dipped into Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre for a bite to eat where we took more pretty photos and found a cute food court. We had the most amazing Katsu chicken curry!

After lunch, we collected our bags and jumped on the bus to the airport to go home!

Our three days seemed to be over in a blink of an eye but we managed to do all the major things we wanted, like visiting the Guinness Storehouse and see Less Than Jake. I really loved Dublin, it had a really cool grungy vibe in areas and reminded me a lot of London. Next time, I’d like to find the time to do a Dublin pub crawl, visit Kilmainham Gaol and perhaps do a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher.

Price-wise, it was mostly average but a little on the expensive side when factoring in things like drinks (but no more so than London). Therefore, it was perfect for a weekend break away!

Have you ever visited Dublin? Let me know!

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