“The traveller sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” - Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Ah, Ireland. The cliffs of Moher, the music, Connemara, and also the capital city, Dublin; any trip to Ireland has to include a trip to the capital.
Combining Irish culture and urbanism, Dublin is a city unlike any other and that's why over 11 million tourists visited Ireland in 2019. The country is a popular tourist destination and most visitors also visit Dublin.
It’s definitely worth a visit! Between the famous Temple Bar, Trinity College, or the medieval parts of the city, there’s more than one reason to visit Dublin.
So how can you plan a trip to Dublin, how much does it cost, and how long can you stay for?
Don’t panic! Here’s our advice.
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Where Should You Stay in Dublin?
When you visit a city like Dublin, you need to think carefully about which area of the city you want to stay in. Depending on your budget, wants, or preferences, some areas are better than others. To choose the right area in Dublin, you should learn a little about them.
Here are some of the main areas where you can find decent hotels and accommodation.
- Temple Bar, the central part of town that’s full of life. This area tends to be more expensive than others.
- O’Connell Street, to the north of the Liffey river. This is one of Dublin’s main streets but it’s actually quieter than Temple Bar. However, the prices are similar.
- Smithfield is a residential part of Dublin around 20 minutes from the centre. The rates here are lower than in the city centre. A good way to enjoy Ireland on a budget.
- The Georgian Quarter is great if you love architecture but the area is one of the more expensive ones.
- The Docklands. This is a popular part of the town where the rates are lower because it’s a decent distance from the city centre. The best thing about this area. The old port installations.
- St. Stephen’s Green is about a 20-minute walk from the centre.
Some areas are more lively than others whereas others are better for having a pint whilst others are better for catching your breath and relaxing. Dublin is a diverse city, after all!
The Top 10 Things to See in Dublin
For a successful trip to Dublin, there are a few things that you definitely have to see. Between the culture, the local life, and nature, here are 10 things you need to see in Dublin.
- Trinity College, the oldest University in the Country. This architectural marvel can be visited for €10.
- Dublin Castle. This fairytale-style castle was build in 1204 on an ancient Viking fort. It costs €4.50 to visit.
- Phoenix Park, one of Europe’s best parks and the lungs of the city. You can visit it for free. The zoo, which can be found in the heart of the park, costs €16.50 to visit.
- The Guinness Storehouse. You can learn about Ireland’s most popular beer than with a visit that includes a tasting session on the roof with a view of the city.
- The Kilmainham Gaol, a prison that was used between 1796 and 1924. Entry is €8 for adults and €4 for children.
- Temple Bar, one of Dublin’s central neighbourhoods where you can enjoy stalls, shops, and pubs. A must-see!
- The National Gallery of Ireland. Opened in 1854, this is home to works from artists such as Rembrandt, David, and Caravaggio.
- Saint Stephen’s Green Park. An open-air national park.
- Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. Built between 1220 and 1260, a visit to this Medieval vestige costs €5 per person.
- Ha’penny Bridge, Dublin’s most famous bridge. Back in the day, it would cost you half a penny to cross it, hence the name.
These are some of the best sights and attractions in Dublin
But how long would it take to visit them all?
How Long Should You Spend in Dublin?
“Philosophy and beer are the same thing. Consumed, they change all the perceptions we have of the world.” - Dominique-Joël Beaupré
Dublin is a goldmine for the curious. Depending on your budget, you could go for a short trip or spend more time there.
To know how long you should spend in Dublin, you need to plan your trip and do your research. Fortunately for you, we’ve already done some of the research!
Consider your budget, how many people are going, the time of year, etc. If you’re going as a family, it’s a little harder to plan. We’d recommend at least 3 or 4 days to see everything while also keeping the kids happy. Dublin is a kid-friendly city.
A couple can easily enjoy a long weekend, walk around Dublin’s parks, and enjoy the beautiful little streets.
A group of friends would probably prefer going to Temple Bar for a few drinks and with the other attractions to see, you’d need at least a few days.
Generally, no matter the type of trip you’re going on, you’ll want to spend at least 3 to 4 days in Dublin. After that, you can start exploring outside of the city.
On average, 3 days will be enough to see most of the city’s main attractions.
How Much Does It Cost to Visit Dublin?
The Republic of Ireland and Dublin, in particular, is a destination rich in culture. Between Irish culture, the Guinness brewery, Whisky distilleries, etc., the Irish capital is a goldmine for those spending a few days or a weekend there.
But you need to think carefully about how much going there will cost you. Depending on the type of trip you go on, here’s some advice on how much you should budget for your trip to Dublin.
- To get to Dublin, there are flights from many European cities and you can go for as little as around €50 with an airline like Ryanair or upwards of €200 if you go with a more expensive airline.
- To get to Dublin from the airport, it’ll cost you about €30 in a taxi or €12 for a return on the shuttle bus.
- Accommodation in the city averages around €70 for a night in a double room in a hotel. Hostels start at around €10 for the night.
- Food isn’t that expensive in Ireland and a pint of beer will cost you around €5 and a meal for two will cost upwards of €30. What better way to enjoy the city?
- As for activities and tourist attractions, most of the museums in Dublin are free but attractions like Dublin Zoo, the prison, the Castle, and the Guinness Storehouse will cost you. There’s a “Dublin Pass” for €69 that includes a lot of the main attractions.
- Finally, to get around on public transport, a bus ticket will cost you between €2.15 and €3.80. A ticket for the DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) commuter train costs around €3.30 and LUAS trams cost €2 per trip. There’s the Leap Visitor Card Dublin for €7 which includes the cities various modes of public transport.
For around €150 per day, you’ll have a good time in Dublin. Of course, this amount can be higher or lower depending on your budget and what you want to do there.
To get the most out of your time in the Irish capital, you'll probably want to put together an itinerary. While it can be nice to just explore and go down whichever street takes your fancy, a bit of planning will ensure that you save time and money and enjoy the great things Dublin has to offer.
Tours are a good way to see the city's most important sights but if you don't enjoy being in groups of tourists, planning what you want to see, getting tickets (where necessary), and knowing that you haven't missed anything is one of the best ways to travel.
While the idea of a tour mightn't be to everyone's liking, for cities with a lot to do or a museum with a lot to see, it can be handy having someone there to help you see everything worth seeing.
If you like the idea of going at your own pace without a guide, visit everything you want but also leave yourself some free time to explore or relax. That's how you can accidentally find a great pub or restaurant or unearth a hidden gem that you wouldn't have otherwise visited!
There's a lot of information available on the internet and highly-rated places also mean that a lot of people have visited them. This could mean that the best pub or restaurant is one that tourists love but not really representative of what the Irish enjoy.
You don't want to overdo it with the planning when you travel as then it'll start to feel like work but you also don't want to get home and think you wasted your time wandering around aimlessly.
Keep in mind that there are also other towns and cities in Ireland such as Cork, Galway, breathtaking hills, but the capital is as good a place as any to start discovering Ireland.
Welcome to Dublin!