Dublin has emerged as one of the prime holiday destinations 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, and 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: Hostel start at around $14.50 USD for a dorm room and shared bathroom. For a private room, you will pay around $63 for a single, and $80-90 for a double.
- Budget Hotel Prices: A night in a budget hotel will cost around $60 for a double room and private bath.
- Average Cost of Food: Casual meals like pub food and fast food costs around $10 for a meal. A restaurant main dish with a drink will cost from $20. Grocery shopping and cooking your own food will cost about $40 USD per week.
- Transportation Costs: A ticket for the DART (suburban train) is $2, a Luas (tram) ticket is $2 and a bus ticket also starts at $2. These prices will go up if you travel through more than one city zone.
Money Saving Tips
- Visit the free attractions - Dublin has plenty of free attractions: the National History Museum, National Gallery, National Museum of Ireland-Archaeology, Chester Beatty Library, St Stephen’s Green and Phoenix Park are all free to visit.
- Combine tickets - If you’re going to splash out 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 to 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 with advantage that it can also be used on all Dublin Bus routes on the day for which the ticket is valid.
- Dublin Bikes - Free 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 of hire and then take another out immediately after.
- Take the free walking tour - Dublin City Council organizes weekly and special walking tours that are free for all to participate.
Top Things to Do
- Tour the Guinness Storehouse – This is the must-see attraction if you’re heading to Dublin. Take a tour through the history and brewing process of Ireland’s most famous export. If you know how beer is made already, you won’t learn much, but I found the old Guinness posters cool to see. After the tour, you can enjoy a pint in the Gravity Bar, which offers fantastic views of the city. Book tours online for a 10% discount!
- Relax in St Stephen’s Green – Spending an afternoon in St Stephen’s Green is a great way to soak up the atmosphere 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 whistlestop tour of the city, consider taking a bus tour. These tours take in all the important sites and tickets are valid for two days, so you can hop on and off at your leisure. There is also a Ghost Bus tour if ghouls are your thing.
- Play Student at Trinity College – Trinity is Ireland’s oldest university and also one of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions. The building is beautiful and highly photogenic. The college also has an art gallery and displays the Book of Kells, an ancient manuscript which dates from 800 AD.
- Drink in Temple Bar – Although it can be overcrowded and touristy, Temple Bar is the place to experience Dublin nightlife and Irish music. Performers, pubs and independent shops line the streets of this busy area. This is the primary night life spot in the city.
- Explore 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. Students can get reduced admission by showing their student ID.
- Visit Dublin Castle – At the heart of the city lies Dublin Castle. The castle depicts Ireland’s history pretty well and was built in the 13th century. The building is used for important governmental business, state receptions and inaugurations nowadays but tours run Monday to Saturday.
- Lock Yourself in Kilmainham Gaol – Kilmainham is a former prison, which has now been converted in to a museum. The jail once held some of Ireland’s most famous prisoners, particularly Irish Nationalists and Republicans. There are free tours of the gaol and you can see the old cells. It is a great chance to learn a lot about Irish history.
- 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 and if there is one thing to do in Dublin, it is to see how to whiskey is made. Visit the Jameson distillery, learn about whiskey, and have a few samples are the end of the tour.
- Wander through Phoenix Park – This massive park 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. There is also a polo field and the Dublin Zoo. Admission is free.
- See Prehistoric Newgrange – This grassy knoll might look unimpressive, but below the surface, it houses a Stone Age passage tomb. Dated back to 3200 BC, this unusual construction is older than the pyramids—but just as much of a mystery. It’s always neat to visit these sorts of prehistoric sights.
- Shop at Powerscourt Center – This is one of Dublin’s neatest shopping centers. Located just off of Grafton Street, 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.
- Stop at the Spire – As the highest sculpture in the world, this 120 m tall needle is pretty hard to miss. Funnily enough, it is a homage to the great social problem of heroin addiction within Dublin.