Dublin in a Day: Make Your Own Shore Excursion

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Dublin in a Day: Make Your Own Shore Excursion – how to explore Dublin Ireland and see the best of the city in just a few hours on a British Isles Cruise. 

Temple bar Dublin, Ireland

This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises. All opinions are my own. 

I was recently on the trip of a lifetime – a cruise around hte British Isles with Princess Cruises on the Royal Princess. 

It was an amazing trip full of visits to my favorite countries – Ireland, the United Kingdom, and France – and provided SO much to see and do! And some of the most amazing food, ever. 

A trip with Princess isn’t just a trip – it is an experience to remember forever. They truly make seeing new countries so easy and accessible – the hard work is all up to them, and you can just explore and enjoy. There is nothing better than setting sail with Princess to go explore, and Come Back New! 

Dublin In A Day – Make Your Own Shore Excursion

Dublin is a small incredibly walkable city that is bursting with things to do – and while I recommend a few days to soak up Ireland’s largest city, it is easily explored in a day and perfect for a make-your-own tour from a British Isles Cruise ship! 

Princess Cruises British Isles cruise is one of my favorite vacations ever – it gives a lovely balance of cities, country, wild islands, and gorgeous views at every turn. 

To find your own British Isles cruise, check the Princess site here – where you’ll find the best deals! 

Buy the shuttle into town – or grab a taxi if you have a group over 3. 

At most cruise ports for larger ships like the Royal Princess, shuttles from the port into town are usually around $10-$15. They are reliable, run often, safe, and clean – making them a perfect choice to come to town. If you have a larger group, a taxi might be less expensive. 

We took the shuttle into town (which does include a return trip) – but ended up just taking a taxi back to the ship, because of where we had walked to – and in a group of over 3, it was less expensive to all split the price of a cab. 

Walk down the rows of brightly colored doors. 

a garden outside St Stephens Green

Head to St. Stephens Green. 

Saint Stephens Green is one of my favorite places in all of Dublin. 

Not only is is a gorgeous green space in the middle of the city, or a great place to watch people – but it offers tons of picturesque places for photos or just a spot to sit and watch the swans swimming under weeping willows and read a book. 

St Stephens Green is also a fabulous place to people-watch – there are two fun playgrounds for kids, benches full of adorable couples snuggling up, and scores of people soaking up the notoriously skittish sun in the summer.

If the weather is nice, you’ll see tons of people soaking up the great weather (not always a guarantee in the Emerald Isle), but it still feels like a bit of the country right in the middle of Dublin’s hustle and bustle. 

While Phoenix Park is much larger and grander, St. Stephens Green is right in thee action and just a short walk from Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, Trinity College and more, making it my favorite spot for a quiet and peaceful place to sit and relax in Dublin. 

Don’t miss: the gardeners cottage is adorable, and has gorgeous flowers. I am a sucker for ivy covered cottages, and this is one of my all time favorites! 

Grab a pint at Guinness. 

Guinness in Ireland just tastes better – it is so fresh and delicious, you can’t beat Guinness in Dublin! 

The absolute best place to grab a pint of the legendary stout is at the brewery at Saint Stephen’s Gate – which is a great destination in itself! 

The Guinness factory is a bit like Disneyland for beer – the tour is loaded with tons of interactive displays, animated information displays, fountains, and more. 

There are lots of unique tasting opportunities – from rare beers, to snacks, and the best best – drinking a pint in the Sky Bar at the top, where you can enjoy a 360 degree unobstructed view of all of Dublin! 

Your tour price includes a tasting – and minors or those who arent drinking can order water or sodas at the bar and still have a lot of fun. We had visited with my two small kids a few years ago, and they still talk about how much fun they had visiting Guinness – you definetely don’t need to drink to have fun with the tour or appreciate the way the beer is made and the history of Arthur Guinness, plus take part in the lively music and Irish dancing you’ll find as you wind your way through the tour! 

Try a Dram of Irish Whiskey. 

From Jamison and Teeling to other Irish brands – Ireland might not be as well known as nearby Scotland for their Whiskey. 

Irish Whiskey is less smoky than scotch, many with a little honey sweetness like bourbon. 

In Ireland, when you hear someone talking about “crack” it’s rarely what we as Americans might think – but rather the term for a rollicking good time, most often the kind of fun that comes from a glass (or two) of libations while listening to music or having fun with friends. 

Numerous bars advertise for “Craic” (pronounced “crack”) – it’s such a part of the Irish culture to have fun, and often over drinks…. Irish whiskey often being one of the biggest attractions! 

There are tons of cozy, quaint, and gorgeous bars all over Dublin that are filled with friendly bartenders who are honestly just as much a draw as big attractions – I’ve met so many fun and friendly people in Dublin’s small watering holes. 

Pop into one, pull up to the bar, and ask your bartender’s favorites to try. You’ll likely go away with a new friend – and a new favorite drink! 

Sample Ice Cream From Dingle at Murphy’s. 

I like ice cream – but I have to admit, I don’t live or die for the cold and creamy treat. 

Except for one. 

There is one ice cream I dream about and wish I could have around the clock – if I lived in Ireland I’d have a hard time eating anything else. 

The best ice cream? Murphy’s Gin Ice Cream. 

It’s absolutely delicious, smooth, and alcoholic – and tastes just like Gin. 

While it’s not a permanent flavor, Murphy’s does serve lots of gin ice cream, loaded with Dingle Gin from the Dingle Peninsula – just like Murphy’s. 

There are locations in a few Irish cities (including Killarney), all decked out in their signature blue colors. 

If you’re looking for a deliciously cold treat, run to Murphy’s and dig in! 

Check out Irish Architecture. 

From gorgeous Victorian and Georgian buildings, to the ornate government buildings, and impeccably chic rows of townhouses – Ireland has tons of buildings to admire. 

I love all of the brightly colored doors that line Dublin’s stately rows of white townhouses, the ivy creeping up sides of buildings, and all of the gorgeous Irish charm you can find just walking around Dublin! 

Check Out Temple Bar. 

Temple Bar, Ireland’s lively and raucous bar area, is always a fun place to stroll through, grab a beer, and visit the bright buildings with tons of gorgeous flower boxes. 

Temple bar is a bit too much for me at night – but during the day the wild bars are a bit quieter and there aren’t tons of rowdy and loud tourists all over. 

Go early for a delicious traditional pub lunch, like fish and chips, or a toasted ham and cheese sandwich and a big pint of Guinness before the crowds arrive, and check out all the gorgeous and bright buildings, filled with flowers, flags, and fun! 

The Quays bar What to Do In Dublin


Where to eat: 

Queen of Tarts – the best tea and desserts in Dublin. The Victoria sponge and pavlova are especially delicious! 

About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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  1. Meghan says:

    I enjoy travel posts but they often leave me wondering exactly WHEN the travel was done- what time of the year exactly?

    1. Courtney ODell says:

      Hi Meghan – I went in the beginning of September. Most British Island cruises only run through the summer months, but I prefer months outside of june, july, and august for less crowds.

  2. Dorina says:

    Thanks for your post!
    Have you been on Royal Caribbean or Celeberity Cruises? I have but have but have not been on Princess, so I am wondering how they compare and in particular the British Isles tour (or possibly mediterranean).
    Any details you can provide will be most helpful as I am scurrying to plan a trip to Europe (northern Italy in the Alps) with my 91 year Dad and he is also interested in going to Ireland.

    Was the good food you mentioned also on the ship?