Dublin is a must stop on your Ireland vacation. I’m here to help you navigate the ins and outs of planning your perfect trip to Ireland’s capital city!
How to Get to Dublin:
Being the Republic of Ireland’s capital, Dublin is very well connected. It has an international airport, a train station, and a bus station.
If you’re coming from the airport:
The ride into the city center is about 30 minutes on the Airlink buses which pick up directly outside the terminal. Tickets can be purchased at the Bus and Rail Information desk before you exit the airport or at the self pay kiosks by the buses. For an adult, tickets are either 6 Euro for a one way or 10 Euro for a return. The buses make many stops through the city center. It is easiest to ask the driver to let you know when they have reached the stop you need. If you ask for their help though, make sure you are courteous and sit where you’ll be able to hear them call out your stop! 🙂
Taxis and car rental are also available to get to the city (though I wouldn’t recommend renting a car for Dublin sightseeing-see my comments on this below).
If you’re coming from somewhere else in Ireland:
HINT: If you will be using the bus system to travel to several places around Ireland, check out the Open Road Pass! It saved us a bunch of money, so it may help you out too!
How to Get Around Dublin:
Like many cities in Europe, the center of Dublin is fairly compact. It is EASILY walkable. Every major tourist attraction and famous pub can be reached by foot, no problem. Having lived in Edinburgh, Scotland for a year, we were expecting Dublin to be walkable, but Blythe and I were surprised by how small the city center felt. You won’t need to worry about trying to figure out the bus system here.
If you don’t feel comfortable walking from place to place, there is a Hop On Hop Off bus that takes your directly to each attraction. Again, most major European cities have these. After having lived in a tourist city for a while, I feel like these are a bit of a rip off as they are astronomically more expensive than the city buses and generally everywhere they take you can be reached by walking 5 to 10 minutes. However, everyone travels differently, so if you love the Hop On Hop Off buses, never fear, Dublin won’t let you down.
If you need to get to the city center from your accommodation, take a look at the cities bus system, Dublin Bus. While we didn’t use this service, it seems like it is fairly extensive. Do make sure that you have exact change for the driver when buying your ticket.
I do not recommend using a car to get around the city center. The city is old with small streets a little parking. This means that parking is both scarce and expensive. A car in the city center would be more of a hassle than a help.
Where to Stay:
When we visited Dublin, we were on a major budget and stayed in hostels. We’ve stayed in two hostels in Dublin and Kinlay House was by far our favorite. Free breakfast, clean facilities, nice beds, and the location… the location could not possibly be better. Right smack in the middle of everything you’ll want to see and do. They also offer a free walking tour of the city every morning.
If you’re not planning to stay in hostels, I recommend finding accommodation within walking distance of the things you’ll want to see and do and the pubs you’ll want to visit (it is Dublin after all!). Staying someplace you can walk to is a big time and money saver.
What to Do in Dublin:
There is a ton to do and see in this city and your Dublin bucket list would most likely continue to grow the longer you stayed. That being said, you can see all of the major tourist attractions in a day or day and a half.
Jameson Distillery Tour:
We, unfortunately, didn’t get to do this tour during our visit, but we’ve heard great things about it! You get a chance to tour the famous distillery and taste some Irish whiskey. What could be better? The Jameson Distillery is at the top of our list for our next visit to Dublin.
The Irish people love their Guinness. The rest of the world loves the Irish people’s Guinness. The Guinness Storehouse is the most visited attraction in all of Ireland. You should probably put this on your itinerary. While the tickets are pricey and you don’t actually get to tour the brewery, the people at Guinness have created a one of a kind experience for guests to tour through. At the end, a cold and exceptionally fresh pint of Guinness awaits you.
St Patrick’s Cathedral:
This nearly 1000 year old cathedral has incredible historical significance and is worth a visit. It costs 6 Euro per person during visiting hours. Blythe and I attended a church service instead (which is free) and loved being able to see the cathedral in action and listen to the choir. The church belongs to the Church of Ireland (a cross between Catholicism and protestant). A perfect way to spend your Sunday morning.
Trinity College Long Room and Book of Kells:
Ever seen the picture of that gorgeous two story library that looks like something out of a fairy tale? Ever wondered where in the world that was? Now you can officially add it to your bucket list! It’s called the Trinity College Long Room and it’s in Dublin. Your ticket in lets you see both the Long Room and the Book of Kells currently on display at the library.
If you go to Dublin and don’t visit any pubs, did you really go to Dublin? As I’ve said, we were on a super tight budget during our visit, but we did manage to have a pint of Guinness at several pubs. These were our favorites:
Temple Bar- Without a doubt, the most famous pub in Dublin. You must make a stop here. There’s great whiskey, good beer, fantastic live music, and an atmosphere that can’t be beat. Make sure you stop in for a pint!
The Brazen Head- This is the oldest pub in Ireland and has been around since 1198 (whaaaat?!?). It’s a little bit of a walk away from the rest of the pubs and has more of a laid back atmosphere (it’s also a touch cheaper than the pubs by Temple Bar). There’s something special about having a beer in a place that’s been serving it since the middle ages.
City Tours and Day Trips:
There are countless Dublin city tours, pub crawls, and day trips all over Ireland offered from Dublin. We took a day trip to Northern Ireland during our stay and had a great time!
What to Eat in Dublin:
We didn’t eat out too much during our stay because of our tight budget, so I’m not much help in picking the best restaurants. You’ll have to ask the receptionists at your accommodation for their recommendations, they can normally steer you right! However, I can definitely help you make sure that wherever you eat, you’re choosing the most authentic things on the menu! Here are some of the foods Ireland is known for:
- Irish Soda Bread- Holy yum!
- Guinness Stew- The best beef stew of your life…
- Full Irish Breakfast- to get your day started out right, with a pint of Guinness!
- Bacon and Cabbage- it sounds stange, but when in Dublin.. .try it, you might like it!
- Irish coffee- it makes my soul smile.
I hope you enjoy your trip to Dublin as much as we enjoyed ours!
“May the road rise to meet you…” -Irish blessing
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