The Irish way of life is something to be mimicked. Their warmth and humor make it easy to relax and enjoy your time on their land, while the capital city leads the way in hospitality. Despite Dublin’s big city vibe, its residents are still unapologetically welcoming to outside visitors, especially if your encounter happens to be in a pub. Yes, hanging out in a pub is one of Dublin’s most traditional pastimes. There is more to this city than pints, but it’s still an activity I highly recommend.
The capital of Ireland is a cultured and literary-infused city with castles, museums, botanical gardens and a beloved waterway running through its heart. The River Liffey flows among the Irish energy and city center serving as a lovely backdrop and as a reminder of the trade history dating back to the Viking era. The Little Museum of Dublin, Museum of Literature Ireland and the National History Museum are some of the best in the country and should be at the top of your list if you fancy art and history.
Grafton Street and Temple Bar offer a liveliness for visitors to shop, drink, eat and be merry. If you like people, you will like these districts but when it’s time to disconnect, you won’t have to go far. Just outside the city limits, hidden beaches and seaside villages such as Bray and Greystone are nestled into Dublin’s stunning coastline. Neighboring mountains are every which way and make space to leave the city lights in the distance in exchange for mountain biking, hiking and camping.
Dublin is not the cheapest city to explore in Europe but as usual, your trip is what you make it depending on your budget. During my time in Dublin, I kept it cheap with accommodations but allowed myself to splurge on food and activities.
How to Save Money on the Cost of Accommodation in Paris
As always with travel, it’s possible to cut your accommodation costs down to zero if you have the time and patience to seek out an offer.
Couchsurfing exists in Ireland — and, of course, Dublin — and allows you to stay with a local for free, sleeping on their sofa and enjoying a local’s insight into life in their country. It’s not the most comfortable of living situations, but if your budget is tight, it’s worth sending out a few requests to hosts to see if anything comes of it. You can search for potential hosts on the Couchsurfing site.
Housesitting is another option. This is where you’ll take care of somebody’s house for free while they’re away, and usually look after their pets, too. It’s best for long-term travellers or retirees as you can’t pick and choose dates and destinations, so you need to have a lot of flexibility as to where you go and at what time of year. If you do have that freedom, it’s a wonderful way to cut down your travel expenses, soak up some home comforts, and live like a local for a while. Trusted Housesitters is one of the best sites for getting started with housesitting.
I’m suspecting, though, that for most of you, you’re not interested in the free accommodation and just want somewhere clean, safe, and affordable to rest your head each night. If that’s the case, there are several options available for you.
THE BEST HOTELS AND GUESTHOUSES IN DUBLIN
Stauntons on the Green Hotel ($129 per night): Your money goes further at the Staunton on the Green Hotel. Not only is it quaintly buried in the buzz of the city but it also overlooks St. Stephen’s Green, the historic park hugging the perimeter of the hotel, making it as elusive as it is enchanting. The location couldn’t be more impressive, with its doors just steps from the city center yet private enough to be quiet during your stay. Grafton Street Shopping is only a 5-minute walk but if you keep on foot a bit longer you will run into the National History Museum and St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Breakfast is a big deal here, but perhaps not as big of a fuss as teatime in the garden- both are stunning. The hotel staff encourages picnics in the afternoon, so you can take in the surrounding greenery spilling from Victorian Iveagh Gardens.
The Wilder ($211 per night): Chic and retro décor are best friends in this establishment. The Wilder has perfectly represented elegance with a sip of personality. Located on Adelaide Road, the neighborhood is ritzy and stunning with oversized trees coating the affluent vicinity. The townhomes at the Widler offer various sizes depending on your stay from shoebox sized rooms to large suites, each with unique decorative offerings. The restaurants onsite are top notch. The Gin and Tea Room is exactly what it sounds like, Irish crafted gin, tea and coffee keep customers happily tasting. The Garden’s specialty is breakfast, but the vibe shines just as bright as the fare. Mirrors, fireplaces, greenery and brick walls all hang together to create a perfect ambiance for a fresh and uplifting start each morning.
The Marker Hotel ($348 per night): Calling all those with a boujee fondness. The Market Hotel is trendy and tidy. The rooftop bar is a site to be seen; in fact, it must be seen. The elegance mixed with the view is enough to get a buzz, no matter what you’re drinking. Posted up in Grand Canal Square, it’s at the heart of the business district putting it at a 20-minute walk to the city center. But you might not be leaving your hotel. The cocktail bar is exceptional while the Brasserie serves locally sourced Irish cuisine. The award-winning spa is a relaxation haven which offers a variety of body treatments and facials. And let’s not forget about the infinity pool and state of the art fitness center. And for a final touch, rest in savasana high above the cityscape. Yoga on the rooftop is a hit here. It’s luxury at it’s finest.
THE AVERAGE COST OF ACCOMODATION IS $229 PER DAY
Being the main hub in Ireland, you will find travel to and from simple and cheap.
- Round trip from Rome- $122
- Round trip from Paris- $34
- Round trip from NYC- $500
- Round trip from London- $70
- Round trip from Hong Kong- $628
Dublin has it figured out when it comes to getting around. The options are ample, clean and inexpensive. When you arrive at the Dublin International Airport you will find getting to the city center to be among the easiest transports. In fact, there is a special bus that takes visitors to and from the airport every ten minutes. One way fare is $8 while a round trip goes for $14. When you reach your destination, options for seeing the city are not far away.
Those staying in Dublin for more a day, you’re in luck. The Leap Visitor Card will save travelers a whopping 31% versus purchasing a single ticket every trip and can be bought online or onsite. You can purchase an unlimited 1-, 3- or 7-day pass for $12, $23 or $47. But wait, there is an even better bargain if you’re in town for 3 (ish) days. The DoDublin Card offers 72-hours of unlimited access to the Airlink Airport Bus, DoDublin Hop-on Hop-off City Tour buses, public bus network and entry and walking tour into the Little Museum. At $41 per person, it’s a steal. If you don’t have a Leap Card you will have to have exact change (in coins) so be prepared.
The Dublin Bus Network zig zags all over the inner and outer city making it super easy to hop on and off during your stay. A single fare costs anywhere from cents to a couple dollars depending on the length of your trip. Leap Cards are accepted.
When you tire of the roads, find the rails. DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) will get you where you need to go. With stops dotting the capital, it’s the fastest way to travel but its speed doesn’t just stay nestled in the city limits. It cradles the Dublin coastline on its way to seaside villages and hidden beaches just outside the energetic hum of the city. The DART is also a go-to if you plan to venture outside the capital to metropolises like Cork, Belfast or Killarney. The Leap Card is accepted.
Luas, which translates to the ‘speed’ in Irish, is the tram service running through town. With two different lines and a ton of notable stops, you can get pretty much anywhere you want to go (or at least close enough) on Luas. Tickets can be purchased at the street-side vending machines and start at $1.80 for a one-way. However, they also accept the Leap Card if you’re trying to save money and simplify your travel.
Like any detailed city, it’s nooks and crannies are best discovered on two wheels. Bikes are a popular, green and cheap way to travel around the capital. Dublin Bikes is a bikeshare company that lets you hop on and off for 3 days for an easy $6.
THE AVERAGE COST OF TRANSPORTATION IS $7 PER DAY
Tradition holds steady while innovation takes the lead in Dublin. Irish dishes like stews and boxtys still dominate menus but you can expect a clever twist on the old classics. Some call it a comeback following the devastating potato famine more than 150 years ago. The implications swept across the nation and impacted the Irish culture and spirit. Now, chefs are recreating the culinary spirit to honor the Irish heritage but also leaning into a progressive table approach. Land and sea are the theme across Dublin with meals appealing to both locals and visitors.
Boxty (a mix between a hash brown and a pancake), soda bread, Irish stew, coddle (similar to a stew) and colcannon (mashed potatoes) and -of course- Guiness all create a culinary scroll of tradition, but that is not all you’ll find on a Dublin menu. Corned beef and cabbage is a thing of the past. Although it still exists, it’s usually spiced up (sometimes literally) to give it a modern twist. Brightly coated produce lights up the plates in Irish restaurants, something the Irish have not typically been known for doing.
If you are going all out for the first meal of the day, you will want to pick the full Irish breakfast. Bacon, sausages, baked beans, eggs, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, white and black pudding and toast all come together to please diners. This production starts at $10 depending on the establishment. If you are a simple breakfast eater, go for a cappuccino and a pastry for $6 total.
It’s common to dine in pubs during lunchtime but, take note, pubs closer to Temple Bar and Grafton Street hike up their prices. Fish and chips are still a pub favorite and start at $12, while soups are also a big thing in Dublin and often eaten before the main dish during lunch and dinner. Pulled pork and fish sandwiches are a go-to during the noon hour and start at $12 a bowl of soup is between $5 and $7. A Pint of Guinness is $6.
Dinnertime is often spent inside a café or a pub. In fancier sit down restaurants you should plan to spend $18 per person for a main meal and that doesn’t include what you’re sippin’ on. A glass of house wine is $7, and cocktails start at $8.50. Pubs are a bit cheaper with a lager going for $6.50 and a glass of wine for $6, depending on your palate of course.
AVERAGE COST OF EATING OUT IS $46 PER DAY
Pick your mood, any mood. Dublin is dense with activities, ranging from day drinking and folk music to museums and mountain biking. Temple Bar District is a trendy cobbled stoned neighborhood loaded with bars, music, art, restaurants and entertainment. It’s been dubbed the “bohemian quarter” and one of the top attractions in the city. Being the first bridge to cross the River Liffey, the Ha’penny Bridge is an old must-see and must-walk across. Often thought of as the ‘jewel of the city’, it hasn’t always been so beloved. Built in 1816, it was free for patrons to cross over for a whopping ten days. After that it was paid for in “ha’pennies.” Don’t start scrounging for pennies just yet, nowadays it’s free.
Calling all bookworms. The House of Kells and Long Room Library is as stunning as it is informative. With one of the grandest libraries, perhaps in Europe, the Long Room is stacked with hardbacks resembling walls and natural sunlight leading the way. Tickets for access to both start at $19.
The Guinness Storehouse is a marvel. The iconic seven story building is spilling with the incredible history of the famous brew (the third floor is the tasting floor). The tour ends on the Seventh floor where the Gravity Bar invites guests to soak up a beer and the 360-degree view of Dublin. Tickets are $21 per adult.
If you’re more of a whiskey drinker, there is a tour for that. The Jameson Distillery on Bow Street is rustic on the outside with an old-timey saloon vibe on the inside. The Whiskey Tasting Experience is $24 when booked online. If you buy onsite, the price goes up $10.
When the road calls, answer back. Celtic Rider is a motorcycle rental company that allows you to explore the rolling and mountainous roads hugging Dublin’s landscape. Rentals start at $147 per day. The list goes on and on when you’re looking to stay busy in the city. See below for various ideas.
- Skip the Line Guinness and Jameson Irish Whiskey Experience Tour– $95
- Fast-track Easy Access Book of Kells Tour with Dublin Castle– $59
- Cliffs of Moher Tour Including Wild Atlantic Way and Galway City from Dublin– $60
- The Irish House Party Dinner and Show Dublin– $33
- Dublin: Giants Causeway tour, Dunluce castle, Dark Hedges including Belfast– $102
THE AVERAGE COST OF ACTIVITIES IS $ PER DAY
The Cost of Travel Insurance in Dublin
If you’ve read any other posts on Never Ending Footsteps, you’ll know that I’m a great believer in travelling with travel insurance. I’ve seen far too many Go Fund Me campaigns from destitute backpackers that are unexpectedly stranded in a foreign country after a scooter accident/being attacked/breaking a leg with no way of getting home or paying for their healthcare. These costs can quickly land you with a six-figure bill to pay at the end of it.
In short, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.
Travel insurance will cover you if your flight is cancelled and you need to book a new one, if your luggage gets lost and you need to replace your belongings, if you suddenly get struck down by appendicitis and have to be hospitalised, or discover a family member has died and you need to get home immediately. If you fall seriously ill, your insurance will cover the costs to fly you home to receive medical treatment.
I use SafetyWing as my travel insurance provider, and recommend them for trips to Ireland. Firstly, they’re one of the few companies out there who will actually cover you if you contract COVID-19. On top of that, they provide worldwide coverage, don’t require you to have a return ticket, and even allow you to buy coverage after you’ve left home. If you’re on a long-term trip, you can pay monthly instead of up-front, and can cancel at any time. Finally, they’re more affordable than the alternatives, and have a clear, easy-to-understand pricing structure, which is always appreciated.
With SafetyWing, you’ll pay $1.50 a day for travel insurance.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO TRAVEL IN DUBLIN?
Accommodation: $229 per day
Transportation: $7 per day
Food: $46 per day
Activities: $38 per day
Total amount spent per day: $320
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