A weekend in the enchanting Irish city of Dublin doesn't have to put you out of pocket. Here are our top tips for a cracking trip that will make the most of your cash; plus advice on the best, yet not most expensive places to stay and eat which are full of benevolent Irish welcome.
One way to save pounds before even stepping foot on Irish turf is to wise up and take advantage of any deals on offer. The Dublin Pass is a great way to sight-see and avoid the costly entrance fees or pop online to visitdublin and browse their various food, drink and last minute offers.
Isaac’s Hostel (Frenchman’s Lane). This makes our list as it is the cosiest hostel in Dublin. Intact real brick walls are lowly lit by amber lights and huge oak beams line the ceilings. It's within walking distance of O'Connell St (for transport links) and Temple Bar (for night time antics). Highlights: free sauna, free walking tour, outdoor terrace and a common room.
Barnacles Temple Bar Hostel (19 Temple Lane). In the heart of Dublin's entertainment centre you will find this fabulous hostel. The staff here are ever so friendly and incredibly helpful.
Highlights: 24 hour reception and security, free internet access, games room, breakfast included mini-supermarket, tours/travel desk.
Oliver St. John Gogarty (18-21 Anglesea Street, Temple Bar). This place is great for families and groups. On arrival everyone gets a free CD of traditional Irish music and on top of that, downstairs they have live music every night of the week.
Highlights: 24 hour reception, nightclub, restaurant, common room, travel/tours desk.
The Kingfisher on Parnell Street is a decent place for some scrumptious old fashioned Irish food in the evenings.
Gruel on Dame Street has all sorts of yummy food and a lovely, sanguine atmosphere.
Boulevard Café on Exchequer Street has a mishmash of delectable goods and a great lunch menu: two courses for 15 Euros.
Make sure you pick up a copy of The Thirsty Traveller's pub map and discount card. The guide lists 24 of Dublin's finest pubs, which include the oldest pub in Ireland and the best places to find Irish coffee, whiskey and Guinness. You will traverse the city with this map and visit some hidden hang-outs. Grab one of these nifty guides at a tourist information office on College Green.
The Temple Bar is the Mecca for party animals and drinking fiends. The narrow, cobble stoned streets are jammed full of screaming clubs and jovial bars.
Kehoe's is a quintessential Irish pub and where you will find a cracking pint and a killer Guinness to enjoy as the day draws to a close.
The most famous street in Dublin for shopping is the pedestrian-friendly Grafton Street. The area has a rich, historic charm with a friendly, urban character.
If you wish to stray away from genteel Dublin wander down Moore Street where you will find rough and ready, fruit, vegetable and fish markets.
The Liberties area around Thomas Street has a more traditional shopping vibe and the stalls and markets are great places to pick up trinkets.
What to see for free: We've picked the best (free) things to do and see in the city
National Botanic Gardens (Glasnevin, Dublin 9) 9am-6pm daily.
The National Gallery of Ireland (Merrion Square West and Clare St, Dublin 2) National collection of Irish and European art.
Green on Red Gallery (26-28 Lombard Street East, Dublin 2) Tuesday-Friday10:00 - 18:00, Saturday 13:00 – 16:00. An exciting and compelling gallery with modern art work.
Irish Museum of Modern Art (Military Rd, Kilmainham, Dublin 8) Tuesday -Saturday 10am-5:30pm. Modern and contemporary art, plus gorgeous gardens with a cute café.
National Museum of Ireland - Natural History (Merrion Square, Dublin 2)
Phoenix Park (Phoenix Park, Dublin 8)
Spend the afternoon in one of the largest enclosed parks in Europe and as you pick-nick or rest on the lawns keep an eye open for the herd of wild deer that live in the park.
Merrion Square is one of the biggest squares in Dublin. Within the verdant grassy areas there are three Georgian style houses and a monumental statue of writer Oscar Wilde. Come to escape Dublin's bustling streets and ponder the witty Wilde quotes that cover two marble columns.
Trinity College: stroll through the stunning grounds littered with modern and historic sculptures. Join the undergraduates and visit the library and college park.
Suburbia: Dublin has many delicate and affluent suburbs and walking around them on a bright day can be very rewarding, particularly as a few of them are home to some of Ireland's finest architecture. The streets of Donnybrook and Ballsbridge are scattered with elite delicatessens and fine boutiques. A day trip here provides a sneaky peek into another side of Dublin.
Fun weekends in Dublin are easily affordable as long as you carry out due diligence and take the time to research all the available budget options.
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