Aspiring solo travelers often ask me where their first solo trip should be. Having traveled through a lot of Europe, my suggestion is always the same, I suggest Ireland! A weekend in Ireland is a perfect destination for your first solo trip for many reasons.
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Why A Weekend In Ireland?
My first reason for choosing Ireland for a weekend trip is the city sizes are small. Getting around by foot to all the major attractions is do-able. I recently spent a four-night getaway in Dublin and took notes of every possible reason why you should go.
Reason number two to chose Ireland is friendly people. Sure, in any city, you may come across some rude and unhappy soul, but in general, people are nice. And ladies, if you fancy the men, that accent is sexy ; )
Another reason I recommend Ireland for a weekend trip is the country is safe. Again, in any city, there could be some bad areas, but I always felt safe solo traveling in Ireland.
A Weekend Itinerary for Dublin
Arriving From Dublin Airport
If you are coming to Dublin by plane, some buses and taxis will take you to the city center. Depending on where you are going and the traffic at the time of day, a taxi will cost between 30 – 40 euros. The bus is a more cost-effective option, but depending on the time of day can take a while.
For 7 euros from the airport to the city center of Dublin, you can prebook your ticket with The Airlink Express. A wonderful option by bus.
A smart way to start your weekend trip is by getting the 3 Day City Pass. With this pass, you will have access to the Dublin Hop-on Hop-off City Tour buses and of the Dublin Bus public service buses, Airlink Express.
In Dublin, you want to download the App Free Now. Free Now is the taxi app used in Dublin, and it’s good to have it all set up before you land. The schedule for the buses into Dublin is located here.
Where to Stay in Dublin?
There are so many neighborhoods in Dublin that are all suitable for a weekend in Ireland. You will want to research ahead and be aware that accommodations in Dublin can be costly. For this reason, I do recommend using Airbnb. If you have not used Airbnb, here is a coupon for $38 off your stay.
The Best Neighborhoods of Dublin
Temple Bar Neighborhood
Temple Bar is your bang on, party all night into the morning and into the next week, neighborhood. You can find all iconic Irish Bars with Irish music, Irish food, and Irish spirit here. Just consider how light of a sleeper you are if staying in this neighborhood. The good times could be heard from the streets and into your hotel room…
A recommended choice would be Temple Bar Hotel.
St. Stephen’s Green
The neighborhood of St. Stephen’s Green is very central within a close distance to Temple Bar. The streets are lined with beautiful townhomes of the Georgian style architecture. Whatever you do, don’t stay on Harcourt street. That is the famous street where all the night clubs are located, and it’s loud AF.
Best Recommended hotel choices are:
Christchurch neighborhood is the area where you might have guessed it, Christchurch Cathedral is located. This is an excellent choice in the neighborhood if you can find a reasonably priced hotel. Since it is so central and less noisy, the desirability drives up the room cost.
I stayed right on the edge of this neighborhood before the canal just across from the Rathmines neighborhood. So I can recommend staying here and walking into the city center.
Ranelagh, Rathmines, Ballsbridge and Donnybrook Neighborhoods
If you are ok with taking a very short bus ride to the city center, the neighborhoods mentioned above are great places to stay. You can find terrific restaurants and shops located in these neighborhoods.
Great hotel choices here are:
What To Do On A Weekend In Dublin, Ireland
If you are spending a short time in Dublin, do your research on what not to miss! Here is a shortlist of the must do’s listed out by the day.
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Day 1 Dublin Itinerary
Guinness Factory, Christ Church Cathedral & St. Patricks Cathedral
Start your morning visiting Dublin’s most incredible cathedrals! Christchurch and St. Stephen’s Cathedral are of a short distance between each other, and if the weather is decent, you can walk.
After you have had your fill of marveling at these magnificent structures, it’s time to move on to the Guinness Factory!
The factory’s location is within the current neighborhood you are exploring, so walking there could be an option. Once you arrive, you will pay an entrance fee of 18.50 euros. This fee will gain you access to the factory storeroom, self-guided tour of the brewery, and will get you 1 pint of Guinness in the sky bar.
The factory has several on-site restaurants, all ranging in price and dining style. I enjoyed a wonderful lunch here on my day trip to the factory.
For an enchanting evening of Irish folklore of storytelling and music while enjoying a traditional Irish candlelight dinner in Dublin’s oldest pub, the Brazen Head, check out Irish Folk Tours.
Day 2 Dublin Itinerary
In the morning, head over to Trinity College and view the 8th-century books of Kells. It is best to book tickets in advance online to avoid long lines. After a visit to Trinity College head on to Dublin Castle for picture taking and sightseeing.
A must-try place for lunch is Fish Shop on Benburb Street. This restaurant on Benburb Street is more casual and is open for lunch. I highly recommend the fish and chips!
After a filling lunch at Fish Shop, continue to the Jameson Distillery for a tour and a taste. The Jameson Distillery offers a few different tour options. The tours all vary in tour times and prices.
No trip to Dublin would be complete without a night in the Temple Bar! For a traditional Irish food experience, head on over to The Stags Head. This place gets very, very busy so… I would go earlier than later.
After dinner, you can just walk down the streets in Temple Bar, popping into any pub that has room to get through the door! Enjoy a night of singing, swaying, and drinking down that delicious Guinness! ** If you want to do a musical pub crawl tour, here is a great one.
Day 3 Dublin Itinerary
Hopefully, you aren’t feeling too wobbly from your night out in Temple bar and are ready for a bike tour! See Dublin by bike is a great tour company.
If it has to be your last night, and you want to have a nice dinner, check out Etto or Uno Mas. These restaurants have the same ownership and were the best meals I had in Dublin. I highly recommend getting reservations at least a few weeks in advance. Otherwise, you may miss out!
Bonus: Day 4 Dublin Itinerary
If you have more time on your weekend in Ireland and are looking for a day trip from Dublin, I suggest Howth! You can travel to Howth from Dublin in approx 45 mins. There is transportation by bus or by train. I took the bus, and it was effortless and fast.
Howth is a port town on the coast of Ireland and offers spectacular views and a great coastal vibe. I had lunch at Mamó Restaurant and was very impressed!
Other Bars and Restaurants I Recommend:
Circa– Higher-end dining without the suit and tie. This place is a must-try!
Bread 41 – Bread, lots and lots of amazing bread!
Fumbally – Delicious cafe with lots of fresh food options
VCC- Bar– Vintage Cocktail Club, need I say more…
Peruke & Periwig – For a unique, one of a kind dining experience, check this place out.
The Long Hall – Traditional Irish Bar, come thirsty!
A Weekend in Ireland Day Trip Ideas
Ireland is well connected by train, allowing for many options in alternate destinations. There are a few cities I would recommend checking out if you have the time.
Belfast: Belfast is located approx 2 hours 40 mins by train and depending on traffic, 2 hours by car or bus. If you are traveling to Belfast, you will be entering into the UK, where you need a change of currency to the pound. I have written a detailed post all about visiting Belfast, with many recommendations.
Kilkenny: Kilkenny is located approx 1 hour 45 mins from Dublin by train, and similar times by car/bus. I was impressed with the historic old town of Kilkenny and would suggest visiting. The medieval castle in the center of the city is impressive.
Wicklow: Wicklow is the closest to visit from Dublin at about an hour away by train/bus/car. This coastal town is a picturesque spot with a charming city center. Spend the day exploring this little village and checking out the local pubs and shops.
A Weekend in Ireland Safety Tips
I have been to Ireland five times now. Each time always feeling welcomed and safe in my surrounding.
Every city has it’s areas you should be wary of, and even in good areas, you want to be vigilant.
I created a simple to FREE & easy to read PDF Safety Guide for all Solo Female Travelers here:
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