Dublin Travel Guide
Dublin has emerged as a prime holiday destination in Europe due to the cheap flights to get there, inexpensive food, great pubs, and lively locals. The Irish capital has plenty to offer visitors besides a good time, thriving music and literary scene. I loved my time in Dublin. It’s a really great city, and I can’t recommend a visit there enough.
Hostel prices – Hostels start at around $15 USD for a dorm room and shared bathroom. For a private room, you will pay around $65 USD for a single, and $80-90 USD for a double. I’m a big fan of Generator Hostel with clean, cheap rooms and frequent bands that play at the bar. There are several great options around Temple Bar though, so you can’t go wrong.
Budget hotel prices – A night in a budget hotel will cost around $70 USD for a double room and private bath.
Average cost of food – Casual meals like pub food and fast food cost around $10 USD. A restaurant main dish with a pint will start at $20 USD. Grocery shopping and cooking your own food will definitely save you cash for about $40 USD per week.
Transportation costs – A ticket for the DART (suburban train) is $2 USD, a Luas (tram) ticket is $2 USD, and a bus ticket also starts at $2 USD. These prices will go up if you travel through more than one city zone, but are always affordable.
Money Saving Tips
Visit the free attractions — Dublin has plenty of free attractions, including the National History Museum, National Gallery, National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology, Chester Beatty Library, St Stephen’s Green, and Phoenix Park.
Combine tickets — If you’re going to spend quite a bit on attraction tickets, buy them together. Dublinia and Christchurch Cathedral tickets can be bought together for $15 USD – a saving of $4 USD.
Avoid taxis – With a call out charge of $5 USD, traveling anywhere by taxi is going to be expensive. Stick to the public transportation.
Rambler bus ticket — Visitors traveling between the airport and the city on Airlink 747 or 748 buses should consider buying the Rambler ticket. At the airport, it is available from the CIE counter (next to Tourist Information Centre) at Arrivals of Terminal 1. Elsewhere, shops displaying Dublin Bus logo sell the Rambler too. Rambler 1-Day Adult ticket costs $9.50 USD, the same price as one-way adult cash fare, but can also be used on all Dublin Bus routes on the day for which the ticket is valid.
Dublin bikes – Public bikes are available in the city center. A 3-day ticket costs $3 USD and the first 30 mins of hire is free. To avoid being charged, return the bike within 30 mins, and then take another out immediately after.
Take the free walking tour – Dublin City Council organizes weekly and specialty walking tours that are free for all to participate. You can also find free tours leaving from Dublin Castle daily
Top Things to See and Do in Dublin
Tour the Guinness Storehouse – This is a must-see attraction, one of the best brewery tours in Europe. Wind through the museum, learning about the history and brewing process of Ireland’s most famous export. Each entry ticket comes with a free pint – redeem along the way to learn to pour your own, or save for the top to use at the Gravity Bar while taking in great views of the city. There’s nothing like Guinness at 10am! If you book tours online, you get a 10% discount and can skip the line.
Relax in St. Stephen’s Green – Spending an afternoon in St Stephen’s Green is a good way to relax and watch the city go by. This stretch of greenery in the center of town is a welcome retreat where you’ll find picnicking couples, duck ponds, and ample photo opportunities.
Hop on a Dublin Bus Tour – If you’re on a whistle-stop tour of the city, consider taking this bus tour. The route takes in all the important sites and tickets are valid for two days, so you can hop on and off at your leisure.
Take a tour of Trinity College – Trinity is Ireland’s oldest university and also one of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions. The campus is beautiful and highly photogenic, right in the center of the city. The college also has an art gallery and displays the Book of Kells, an ancient manuscript dating to 800 AD, in the Long Hall, the university’s famous library. Students give tours daily, and is definitely something worth checking out.
Drink in Temple Bar – Although it can be overcrowded and touristy, Temple Bar is the place to experience Dublin nightlife and Irish music at its finest. Performers, pubs, and independent shops line the streets of this busy area. This is the primary night life spot in the city, and an ever evolving cross section of Irish culture.
Explore the Chester Beatty Library – Situated at the back of Dublin Castle, CBL boasts a wonderful and significant collection of exhibits which include Asian, Far-Eastern, and Islamic artifacts. CBL also has temporary exhibitions to complement its collection, together with lectures by invited guests, workshops and relevant events, most of which also free to attend.
Learn about “Dublinia” – Take a fascinating tour of Viking and medieval Dublin. The exhibitions include medieval street scenes, Viking longboats, and the chance to experience the recreated sights and sounds of these bygone eras. Most tours also include a visit to Christchurch Cathedral.
Check out Dublin Zoo & Phoenix Park – The zoo is one of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions and can be found inside the expansive Phoenix Park. It’s the world’s third oldest zoo, so worth a visit if you have extra time in the city. Students can get reduced admission by showing their student ID.
Visit Dublin Castle – At the heart of the city lies Dublin Castle, built in the 13th century.. While it’s not what you would imagine as a castle, it does depict Ireland’s history pretty well. Today, the building is used for important governmental business, state receptions, and inaugurations.
Lock Yourself in Kilmainham Gaol – Kilmainham is the city’s famous former prison, which has now been converted into a museum. The jail once held some of Ireland’s most notorious prisoners, particularly Irish Nationalists and Republicans. The tour is just a few dollars and is a great deep dive into the country’s storied history. Plus, you get to go into a cell yourself.
Go on a literary pub crawl – Dublin is famous for its literary greats – Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and W.B. Yeats are just a few of this city’s most famous writers. The literary pub crawl includes a walking tour, extracts from famous literature, and it culminates with street performances and a fun literary quiz.
Tour the Jameson Distillery – Whiskey is as famous as beer in Ireland, and if there is one thing to do in Dublin, it is to sample of the local flavor. Although Jameson isn’t made in the city anymore, the Distillery visits are 2nd best to Guinness, where you can learn about the process and have a few samples at the end of the tour.
Wander through Phoenix Park – This massive grassy space is the largest enclosed city park in all of Europe. The homes of the U.S. Ambassador and the President of Ireland can be found here, as well as some wild deer, as it used to be a royal hunting ground. There is also a polo field and the Dublin Zoo within the park.
See Prehistoric Newgrange – This grassy knoll might look unimpressive, but below the surface, it houses a Stone Age passage tomb. Dating back to 3200 BC, this unusual construction is older than the pyramids.
Shop on Grafton and Powerscourt Center – This is one of Dublin’s neatest shopping centers. Located just off of Grafton Street that has great shopping of its own, inside of a restored 18th century townhouse, you can find anything from cafés and galleries to clothing stores and jewelry shops. While some places will be expensive, there are plenty of great bargains to be found as well.