Dublin is a compact city with a lively heart, its multitude of bars and pubs are enough to satisfy the needs of the hordes of stag parties, hen parties and travellers after a weekend of fun. Beyond that, Dublin offers some excellent sightseeing options aswell as being a good starting point on a longer trip to explore the rest of Ireland.
As a result of the tourism boom and the euro switchover, Dublin is not cheap but there are possibilities for the budget traveller.
Dublin is in the EU and does not require any particular visas for short visits. Costs can add up quickly here, especially when eating or drinking out and accomodation is not cheap either. It is not too hard to blow €100 a day and unless you are prepared to self cater and avoid all night life!
The city is pretty safe, although Temple Bar can a get a bit rowdy when the majority of the pubs kick out, if your not into sharing your drinks with stag and hen parties I would recommend trying some of the other, if not, better areas of Dublin.
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The weather in Dublin can be very changeable, in the winter expect it to be cold, windy and wet. Despite more temperate conditions in the summer its always advisable to bring a brolly just in case!
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Getting there / Public Transport
From Dublin Airport a taxi costs about €30 and if there is a group of you it might work out cheaper and more convenient than the other options. The Airport run dedicated bus services every 30 mins which take about 45 mins.
If you are travelling from England or Wales, the ferry is an option, but bear in mind that a lot of ferries go to Rosslare (about 2-3 hours bus ride from Dublin). The ferries are also prone to cancellations and delay when the sea is rough.
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Where to stay
Accomodation is very expensive in Dublin and at peak times finding a room can be tricky. It is advisable to book in advance. If you are on a budget there are a number of affordable hostels, but again, booking in advance is recommended. Bear in mind that some hostels might be popular with Stag parties so it is worth doing some research into what hostels are quiet or noisy!
Isaacs Hostel - Large popular hostel popular with budget travellers and large groups. They have internet access, pool table and a deli next door if you feel like a more substantial breakfast than the paltry one offered. The hostel can get very noisy and the location of private rooms right next to dorms is questionable. We stayed for 3 nights and got woken up on the first and third nights twice by drunken stag parties outside our door. The hostel staff seemed unable to police people at night and although they did refund us one night, we won't be going back there in a hurry. You are also expected to vacate your room between 11 and 2 each day which annoyed some people when we were there.
Isaacs Hotel - Clean hotel just round the corner from the hostel of the same name.
Jacobs Inn - Modern clean hostel, more upmarket than Isaacs, great location near bus and Connolly train Stations.
Where to go
Guiness Storehouse - A must for everyone on their visit to Dublin, this impressive attraction is designed in the shape of a Guiness Pint Glass in an old storehouse building. There are lots of exhibits to keep you occupied for a couple of hours and at the end you can enjoy a complimentary pint of Guiness in the stunning 360° observation lounge.
Trinity College / Book of Kells - View a couple of pages from the world renowned Book of Kells which are beautifully crafted illuminated manuscripts. The most impressive part is the Long Room library which houses over 100,000 books in a beautiful old room with bookcases reaching up to the ceiling.
St.Stephens Green - Pretty park popular in the summer months
Kilmanhaim Jail - Very interesting and informative tour around this old jail which will give you an excellent history lesson on the last 300 years of Dublin. The jail was also used in films like the Italian Job (Original) and 'In the Name of the Father'.
Dalkey - Take a half an hour train ride to this quaint little village with 2 castles.
Howthe - Pretty seaside fishing village 20 mins from Dublin
Jameson Brewery - Offers tours of this famous whiskey distillery
The Chimney - Impressive observation tower at the top of an old chimney.
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Pubs and bars
Laughter Lounge - Large comedy club on the banks of the Liffey which offers a good opportunity to catch the latest in Irish comedy. Entry is quite expensive although you get a complimentary cocktail before half seven. The tacky after disco is best avoided unless you like that kind of thing. This place is about one of the only places that serves alcohol on Good Friday.
Mulligan's (Poolbeg St)- Traditional Irish pub that is charmingly dingy inside. It has also been used as a location in a few Irish films.
Palace Bar - Large grand pub on the fringe of Temple Bar, large selection of whiskey and beer. Upstairs they have a cosy bar which has live Irish Music most nights.
Brazen Head - Dublins' oldest pub is not surprisingly poplar and it can be a challenge jockeying to the bar to get a pint. They serve food all day and have live music sessions at night.
Dawsons Lounge - Dublins' smallest pub is accessible through a doorway and down some steps in to a basement, where there is about room for 30 people max. Their is quite often a lively friendly atmosphere and you will never be short of a conversation.
Long Hall Bar - One of Dublins finest bars with mahogany wood paneling and Victorian lighting this place recalls the Victorian era. Impressive selection of whiskies are available at the bar.
McDaids - Sleepy literary pub, good place for a quiet drink
Gilligans - Popular cheap 'weatherspoon' like bar
Market Bar - Large expansive bar/restaurant in an old sausage factory
Grogans Castle Lounge - Very busy compact pub
O'Donoghues - Traditional Irish Bar where the Dubliners first started out. The live music promised was not evident when we visited and the stroppy old bar man decided to refuse us service for no reason after spending about €40 at the bar already that night.
Robert Reade Pub - Nice clean pub near Isaacs hostel and the bus/train stations serving good pub food
Sackville Lounge - Small one roomed Georgian wood paneled bar, friendly clientele
Sean O Caseys - Local pub that gets quite lively later on in the evening
Hairy Lemons - Large pub with different rooms and levels, a good choice for people wanting a fun evening.
Gruel - Popular bistro serving tasty food only slightly let down by moody, slow service
Food Hall - A good inexpensive choice if you are on a budget. Choose from a mixture of Thai, Mexican, Japanese, Greek, Turkish and Indian. Closes at 7pm
La Dolce Vita - Italian restaurant serving tasty food with large helpings
Gallachers Boxtys House - Probably the best place to have breakfast in Dublin. This popular Irish Restaurant feels more like someone's home than a Temple Bar restaurant. It serves up traditional Irish food with good, attentive service. Make sure you try the Boxty pancake which is made with potato and is an Irish delicacy.
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Info supplied by Andy Webb (March 2008)