Dublin (Irish: Baile Átha Cliath, “Town of the Hurdled Ford”) is the capital city of Ireland. Its vibrancy, nightlife and tourist attractions are renowned and it is the most popular entry point for international visitors to Ireland. It’s disproportionately large for the size of Ireland with nearly two million in the Greater Dublin Region – well over a third of the Republic’s population! The centre is, however, relatively small and can be navigated by foot, with most of the population living in suburbs.
Founded in 841, Dublin was originally settled by Vikings amongst a population of Celtic tribes. In the 9th century the Danes captured Dublin and had control until 1171 when they were expelled by King Henry II of England. By the 14th century the king of England controlled Dublin and the nearby area referred to as “the Pale”.
When the English Civil Wars ended in 1649, Oliver Cromwell took over. Dublin experienced huge growth and development in the 17th century because many Protestant refugees from Europe came to Dublin. By the 17th century Dublin was the second greatest city, only behind London, and a period when great Georgian style buildings were constructed that still stand today. Georgian style architecture was popular from 1720 to 1840 during the times when George I, George II, George III, and George IV of England were ruling.
In 1800, the Act of Union between Great Britain and Ireland abolished the Irish Parliament. From this point on, the Irish worked to gain their independence from Great Britain, which they finally won in 1922. The Easter rising in 1916 and the War of Independence greatly helped Ireland win their freedom. One event remembered as a key moment in Irish history is the Easter rising in 1916.
A failed attempt to take over the several important buildings, among them the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, led to the arrest of hundreds and execution of 15, now considered martyrs for the cause. Many believe that this event helped gain sympathy for the fight for independence from Britain.
Dublin is divided by the River Liffey. On the north side of the Liffey is O’Connell Street–the main thoroughfare, which is intersected by numerous shopping streets, including Henry Street and Talbot Street. On the south side are St. Stephen’s Green, Grafton Street, Trinity College, Christ Church, St. Patrick’s Cathedrals, and many other attractions.
Dublin postcodes range from Dublin 1 to Dublin 24. As a rule, odd numbers are given to areas north of the River Liffey, while even numbers are given to areas south of the river. Usually, the lower the postcode, the closer to the city centre.
If you’re already in the city, the main tourist office, located in St. Andrew’s Church just off Grafton Street in the city centre (Dublin 2), is a good place to start for information. You can book accommodation and tours there, as well as find general information on where to go and what to do.
Although some of Dublin’s finest Georgian architecture was demolished in the mid-20th century, a remarkable amount remains. They were a reminder of the past British imperialism and were pulled without regard to their beauty and architectural significance. They were replaced with modernist or pastiche office blocks, St. Stephen’s Green (Dublin 2) being a prime example. Thankfully, attitudes have changed significantly, and Dubliners are now rightly proud of their impressive buildings from all eras.
Being subject to the moderating effects of the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf Stream, Dublin is known for its mild climate.
Contrary to some popular perception, the city is not especially rainy. Its annual rainfall average is only 732.7mm (28.8 in), lower than London. However, its precipitation is spread out more evenly so that on many days there can be a light shower.
Winters in Dublin are relatively mild when compared with cities in mainland Europe -daytime temperatures generally hover around the 5°C (41°F), but frost is common during the period November through to February when night time temperatures dip below 0°C (32°F) freezing point.
Snow does occur, but it is not very common, and most of Dublin’s winter precipitation comes in the form of a chilly rain and hail. The lowest recorded temperature in the city is -12°C (10°F). It should also be noted that during the first week of January 2010, the city canals froze over for the first time in years–this was a common enough sight back in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. It could be said that Dublin’s climate is very comparable to that of the northwest United States and southwest Canada, as well as to much of coastal Western Europe.
Summers in Dublin are also mild. The average maximum temperature is 20°C (68°F) in July, far cooler than even most of the coldest American cities. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Dublin is a mere 31°C (88°F), which in many other parts of the world, even at its own latitude, is just a typical summer day. Don’t plan on too many hot summertime activities. Thunderstorms also don’t happen very often in Dublin, on average only four days a year. Overall, the city’s climate is mild but would be considered drier and less ocean-tempered than western and southern parts of the island of Ireland: expect Dublin to be colder than Cork or Galway in the winter and warmer than those parts of the country in the summer.
Dublin is served by a two terminal airport approximately 10km (6 mi) north of the city centre. A full list of airlines flying to Dublin, along with timetables.
Ireland’s flag carrier airline, Aer Lingus, flies to Dublin from a large number of European cities. Aer Lingus fares are often lower than other flag carriers, but in part this has been achieved by matching the service levels of low-fare competitors. As a result, they now charge for checked-in bags and seat reservation at time of booking. Aer Lingus staff are always very friendly and helpful. The planes and flight attendants are decorated in bright green to get passengers ready to see all of the green in Ireland. Aer Lingus fly almost exclusively from Terminal 2 in Dublin Airport.
Ryanair, Ireland’s second airline and Europe’s largest low fares airline, has one of its main bases in Dublin from which it flies to a large number of European airports including Paris, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Madrid and Frankfurt as well as smaller regional airports such as Nantes or Kaunas. While famous for its low fares, Ryanair can be more expensive than other airlines for last minute bookings. All Ryanair flights depart from Terminal 1.
There are three types of bus transport to Dublin city:
Depending on traffic, journey times can vary from 25min to over an hour. These buses are considerably cheaper than AirLink and Aircoach. Both of these local bus services stop across from Drumcondra train station which is on the Dublin-Maynooth commuter line. Some trains on this line continue past Maynooth and serve stations as far away as Longford. All Dublin Bus buses (except AirLink) do not give change and fares must be paid in coins. Ticket machines near a few outdoor bus stops, including the one at the airport, do not require exact change. Tickets can also be purchased at the newsagent inside the airport. Luggage racks are limited on the local buses, and it is not unknown for drivers to turn away travellers with packs that cannot be stored.
A taxi to the city centre should cost around €20 to €30: it can be comparable to or cheaper than the bus options if you are in a group of three or more (as well as a lot less hassle). Taxis are legally obliged to provide an electronic receipt detailing the fare, distance and other pertinent details. Make sure to ask for one as otherwise they often do not furnish such a receipt.
A metro connecting Dublin Airport to the city centre is planned, but no work has started on this yet.
Unless your destination is Dublin City, it is probably best to use one of the extensive range of other bus services that stop at Dublin Airport and so avoid the city centre traffic.
Dublin has two main railway stations. Heuston Station, in the west of the city centre, serves much of the west and south of the country including an hourly service to Cork which also services Limerick. Connolly Station, in the north-east centre of the city, serves the south east and east coast, Belfast, Sligo in the north-west and suburban commuter services including the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) system. The two main stations are connected by bus and Luas routes. A direct train line also exists between the two stations, but there are no trains connecting Heuston and Connolly stations. Visit the website for all train services local and intercity.
Please note: taxis are available from Connolly station, but there is a group of drivers operating there who will tell you they “don’t know where that is” if you are only going a short distance and will only end up paying them a small amount. This practice is against their own union rules. If this happens, either take their name and registration number (prominently displayed at the front of the car) and tell them you will report them to the union, or follow the luas tracks to the right to busaras. Another taxi stand is past the luas stop on the left, in front of the pedestrian entrance to the bus station, and these drivers will take you where you need to go.
Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail), the national railway company, has one of the youngest train fleets in Europe and the Cork train in particular is extremely comfortable. Older trains were phased out completely in 2008 with the arrival of a massive fleet of brand new trains built in Spain, Japan and South Korea. There are internet intercity train fares for offpeak services which are substantially cheaper than over the counter tickets. Food on trains is generally overpriced and carrying your own food on board is normally permitted.
Train tickets booked in advance from Irish Rail can often be much cheaper.
A single bus station, Busáras, is the terminus for Bus Eireann services to almost all towns and cities in Ireland (except for a few services to County Meath and County Dublin, which leave from the surrounding streets). It’s next to Connolly train station, 10min by foot from O’Connell Street. There are also services to Northern Ireland and Eurolines services to Continental Europe. Luggage lockers are in the basement, along with the pay-to-enter public toilets.
A number of private bus companies also operate out of the airport and stop in city centre. Kavanaghs has a good service to Limerick and Waterford and Discovering Ireland offers tours around Ireland. Dublin Coach offers an express service to Limerick from Westmoreland Street. Citylink coaches has a good price to Galway and the West, while GoBus now provides a non-stop Dublin-Galway and Dublin-Cork service.
Dublin Port has several passenger ferry services to/from Wales and England. The main routes are Liverpool-Dublin and Holyhead-Dublin. Companies from Wales include Stena and Irish Ferries, and from Liverpool, P&O and Norfolk Line. The once key suburban port of Dún Laoghaire, 10 km (6 mi) south of Dublin, is no longer served by any passenger sailings. Crossings from Liverpool are seven hours, while crossings from Holyhead are from 2.5 hours, depending on whether you take a fast ferry or a larger ferry.
If you are travelling to Dublin from anywhere in Britain, a very cheap option is to purchase a combined SailRail rail and ferry ticket. The cheapest ticket to Dublin Port will cost between £31 and £38 one way depending on departure point (as of November 2013), which is particularly good value considering that the ferry ticket alone can cost up to £30 if purchased separately. See Arriva Trains for more details. Foot passengers departing Ireland do not need to book combined ferry/rail tickets in advance and can just buy them on the day at the ferry port. However, returning from Britain it is sometimes wiser to pre-book as ferry/rail tickets may not be available on the day at some stations.
The combined tickets can be purchased direct from rail stations in Britain or online from e.g. Arriva Trains, but note not all online rail ticket providers sell SailRail tickets.
The only bus from the port to the centre costs €3 and stops at Connolly and Houston stations. Be aware that there is no ATM in the port, and no facility to purchase a Leap card (for bus transport) via card, so change some sterling to Euro on the boat over or you will be stranded in the port 4km from the nearest ATM and forced to walk or take a taxi.
If you are visiting Dublin only for a daytrip and have a car, you can beat the traffic by leaving your car at a Park and Ride station. If you are coming from the south, two ideal places to leave your car are at the Sandyford Luas stop, located just off junction 15 of the M50 on Blackthorn Road, or Bray DART stop, on Bray Road. If you are coming from the west, your best option is the Red Cow Luas stop, off junction 10 of the M50. Coming from the north east, you would do best to use the Park and Ride station at Howth DART station. Tariffs at Park and Ride stations range from €2 to €4.
If you decide to drive into the city center, there are a range of car parks available. Dublin City Centre has sign posts around the city with directions and space availability for all major car parks. The city also offers pay and display parking on streets with a maximum stay of three hours. Car parks are clearly signposted in the city centre with live available spaces information.
While all car rental companies in Ireland have rental desks in the arrivals hall of Dublin Airport, the list of car rental companies with inner city locations is far less. The companies with genuine Dublin City Centre locations are CARHIRE.ie , Europcar, Avis, Hertz, Car Rental Ireland Budget Car Rental Payless NewWay Car Hire and Irish Car Rentals.
Public transportation has improved massively over the last few years, but it is still worse than in other European cities. This is more of a problem for the commuter than the visitor to Dublin, however, as the city centre is easy to get around on foot.
Dublin Public Transport is an independent website providing a range of information on the various modes of public transport available in the city, including an integrated map showing commuter rail lines, tram lines and airport bus links.
The Luas (a tram/light-rail system) runs frequently and reliably, and is handy for getting around the city centre. There are two lines – red (running from Connolly railway station and the Point Theatre to the suburb of Tallaght or Saggart) and green (running from Broombridge to Bride’s Glen in Cherrywood). The two lines connect at O’Connell Street. Tickets can be bought on the platforms at the machines and do not need to be validated. You must purchase a ticket or “touch on” with your Leap Card before boarding the tram. The fare structure is based on zones, with rides within the central zone costing €1.50. The two red and green LUAS lines now intersect meaning that it is much easier to access all areas of Dublin via LUAS. A large amount of further expansion of this network is expected within the next decade.
The DART suburban rail service runs along the coast between Greystones in the south and Howth and Malahide in the north. Tickets can be bought in the stations, from a window or a machine. There are four other suburban rail lines servicing areas around Dublin: three of these lines operate from Connolly Station, the other from Heuston Station.
For Luas and DART network and station maps visit Dublin Transport Office.
The vast majority of bus services in Dublin are provided by state run Dublin Bus. However, since 2018, some are now tendered out to private operator Go-Ahead Ireland. These are all orbital and local routes serving suburban areas. They have a slightly different livery to Dublin Bus services but the fare structure is the same. There are around 200 bus routes in Dublin. The route numbering system, however, can be quite confusing, with numbers having been issued non-sequentially and with suffix letters denoting alternate destinations. The bus will display its final destination on the front of the bus. English-speaking visitors will find most bus drivers helpful, but obtaining an up-to-date route map from Dublin Bus is recommended. Here are some pointers about using the Dublin Bus services:
There are also a handful of private bus operators serving specific destinations.
The Leap Card is a rechargeable E-purse card (similar to London’s Oyster card) that can be used across Dublin Bus services, Luas and DART/Commuter rail lines within the city metropolitan area. Leap cards can be purchased in some outlets in both terminals of Dublin Airport, and at retail outlets within the city area displaying “Leap Card” adverts. The card costs €10 to purchase and comes with €5 credit and a €5 reserve credit. The card can be topped up at retail outlets, Luas ticket machines and at DART/commuter rail station ticket machines. The card can also be managed online with balance retrieval and top up at the Leap Card website. The card should be tagged on and tagged off at Luas stop validator poles, and when entering rail stations through the turnstiles. On buses, either present the card to the reader on the drivers machine and state your destination (the driver will deduct the correct fare from the card) or present the card to the reader on the right hand side of the door (the flat maximum fare of €2.60 will be deducted). You do not need to tag off when leaving the bus. The Leap Card fares are integrated across different modes of public transport so a daily/weekly/monthly cap or rebate is applied for multiple uses of the card. Leap cards cannot be used on Irish Rail’s Intercity routes (Dublin-Cork, Dublin-Limerick etc.) but can be used on some private intercity bus routes and on Bus Eireann services in Cork, Limerick, Galway and Wexford. Fares are on average 10-18% cheaper paying with a Leap card than paying with cash. A 1 day leap card can be purchased for €10 at airport arrivals allowing unlimited travel on all buses, trams and trains and airport buses for 24 hours.
Hiring a bicycle is a handy way to get around if you want to get outside the very centre of the city and are comfortable cycling in traffic. That being said, the city is not very bicycle-friendly, either in terms of quantity & quality of bike paths, pedestrians and drivers honouring the bike paths, road space available where there is no bike path (i.e. numerous narrow roads), or driver attitudes in general.
There are bikes to hire in several locations around the city centre with the Dublinbikes scheme, there is also a bike hire available from Lazy Bike Tours located in Temple Bar, also located at the entrance to the Phoenix Park, Dublin 8. When cycling in the Phoenix Park, note that while there is a dedicated cycle lane on both sides of the main thoroughfare unfortunately pedestrians also use these. When cycling in the city centre, be aware that cycle lanes, where they exist, are generally shared with buses, taxis, motorcycles, and parked automobiles; cyclists should pay particular attention when approaching bus stops where a bus is pulling out.
Motorbikes are not allowed to use the cycle lanes, but many still do so. Passing on the left is also allowed only in limited circumstances but is in fact still common.
If you choose to drive in Dublin, note that road traffic in Dublin is left-hand side.
Driving in Dublin is not to be recommended for much of the day, particularly in the city centre. Traffic can be heavy and there is an extensive one-way system, which some say is explicitly designed to make it very difficult for cars to enter the city centre. The quays along the river are especially bad. There are a large number of bus lanes (only buses, taxis and pedal cycles are permitted – others are promptly fined. It is often legal to drive in bus lanes at certain off-peak times; these times and days are clearly signed. If you absolutely must travel into the city by car (perhaps to load or you have a disability), it is advisable to do research on your required route (using GPS or even Google Maps) and to seek suitable parking in advance.
It can be difficult to find parking other than in multi-storey car parks. On-street parking for short periods is allowed at parking meters, but beware of over-staying your time or you will be “clamped” by the clamping companies who patrol frequently – clamp release fees vary from €70-150 per 24 hours.
A system of two ring roads around the city has been introduced in recent years, with colour coded signage in purple and blue (see the orbital route map. The M50 is Dublin’s motorway, it connects to the M1 (to the north of Ireland and Belfast) near Dublin airport and to the M11 (servicing Wicklow, Wexford and the South) south of the city and to other motorways and national roads along its “C-shaped” route. It has recently been upgraded so is less congested, and is well signposted.
However, crossing the river using the M50 entails crossing the Westlink bridge (between M50 junctions 3 and 4). This is a toll bridge with the amount of the toll varying depending on the type of vehicle and how it is paid. It is important to note that the toll is barrier free and cannot be paid at booths while crossing the bridge but must be paid by internet or phone (or using electronic passes in the vehicle), or in certain shops. The vehicle passes through the toll gate without being stopped but the registration plate is photographed automatically. The toll must be paid by 20:00 the following day
After this deadline, the longer the toll remains unpaid the higher the fees involved. For foreign registered vehicles, this currently presents no problem as the Irish vehicle registration base does not have access to foreign ownership details, but for Irish registered vehicles, including rental cars, any fees due, including penalties for late payment, may well be reclaimed through the rental company and subsequently from the credit card of the person hiring the car.
Outside of the city centre, parking is generally not an issue, and ample free parking can be found outside of the M50 (and in certain areas within the M50 ring road).
Taxis were de-regulated in 2001 leading to a massive oversupply with Dublin now having more taxis than New York City. This is bad news for taxi drivers but good news for tourists, as taxis are now extremely easy to come by. They may be ordered by telephone, at ranks, or just hailed on the street. Point-to-point trips in the city centre should cost between €6 and €10: many taxi drivers will also offer a set fare if asked. There is a national standardised rate for all taxis and taxi drivers must use the meter unless you agree a set fare beforehand. You are entitled to ask for a written receipt at the end of your journey but most taxi drivers will not offer one unless asked. No tip is expected but it is common to round up to the nearest Euro. If the driver has been particularly helpful you may of course tip at your discretion.
Taxis can be recognised by a yellow roof plate which will be illuminated when available for hire. Inside the taxi the driver should have an ID card and licence clearly on display. Most taxis will only take cash payment. If you intend to pay by credit card make sure to confirm this before starting your journey. The ‘Uber’ and ‘myTaxi’ smartphone apps for taxis can be used in Dublin and the latter seems to have the best coverage. Unlike some cities, all Uber drivers in Dublin must be fully licensed taxi drivers.
Taxis are generally safe, reputable, and honest in Dublin. Taxi drivers may attempt to engage you in conversation but this is usually just being friendly. Wheelchair accessible taxis are increasingly available but you might want to book one in advance rather than relying on chance.
O’Connell Street; Spire and General Post Office
In the summer peak season, Dublin’s top attractions can get packed. Show up early to beat the crowds.
The local tourism board Visit Dublin has released a city sightseeing card, Dublin Pass which grants holders free entry and fast track entry to 33 attractions, museums and monuments in Dublin. It also includes airport transfer. Buy it at the booth at the airport in T1. It’s less than half the price for 2 days, with additional discounts for some venues (ie Jameson).
Dublin has many fine suburbs. Some are easily navigated by foot from the city’s centre and are dotted with many upmarket delicatessens and boutiques. Examples include Donnybrook and Ballsbridge – the 46a bus goes through Donnybrook and the 4/7 buses through Ballsbridge, with several stops in the north and south city centre. Ballsbridge is Dublin’s embassy district and is home to some of Ireland’s most expensive roads including ‘Shrewsbury Road’, which is famous for being the sixth most expensive residential thoroughfare in the world and ‘Ailesbury Road’ which is equally as salubrious and home to the bulk of the capital’s embassies including Spain and Poland.
Ballsbridge is also home to The Royal Dublin Society (RDS) which promotes and develops agriculture, arts, industry and science in Ireland. It hosts many concerts and also showcases the annual Show Jumping Competition, a major entertainment event. You can approach Ballsbridge via ‘Herbert Park’, a pleasant public green park and fashionable road, opposite Donnybrook Village and vice-versa..
Dalkey and Killiney which lie on the southern most tip of Dublin are upmarket neighbourhoods and home to such celebrities as Bono, Maeve Binchy and Enya among others. A walk up Vico Road to take in the view is a must-do. Killiney Hill is beautiful, offering panoramic views of the surrounding Dublin Mountains. These areas are best approached by the DART, which runs along the coast and has three main stops in the city centre.
Blackrock or Dun Laoghaire, accessible by bus or DART, are also worth a visit.
Ranelagh and Dartry are also worth visiting- Ranelagh is small but affluent, accessible by the Luas Green line and has several critically acclaimed eateries.
Sandymount, a coastal suburb no more than 2 mi (3 km) south-east of the City Centre, is another quite affluent area with a tiny park and some restaurants. It is the birthplace of W.B. Yeats. The suburb and its strand appear prominently in James Joyce’s Ulysses. There is a wonderful walk from Sandymount across the north end of its beach to the South Bull Wall which reaches a finger well out into the Bay.
Be sure to go north of The Liffey also. Clontarf, Malahide, Skerries and Howth (all accesible by DART/commuter rail are all great places to spend an afternoon. Malahide has a beautiful Castle (including extra doors for the ghost)in a Park and is a nice little village with harbour, beach, estuary and lots of restaurants. You can also take a 20-30 minute walk along the coast up to Portmarnock beach (a 5 km long beach).
Howth was home to a handful of Irish celebrities including Gay Byrne and the late Dolores O’Riordan. Walking the cliff walk or climbing the Ben of Howth, a 561 ft (171 m) high hill on Howth Head, on a fine day is well worth your time. Although the water may be too cold to enjoy a swim, Howth has a small stretch of beach that has a beautiful view of mountains in the distance.
Dublin’s best beach is also to the north. Dollymount Strand and the adjoining bird sanctuary are highly recommended. It’s a great bike ride – there’s an excellent bike path from the city along by the sea, and may also be accessed walking from Clontarf Road DART station or bus route 130 from the city centre.
Dublin’s most famous shopping street is the pedestrianised Grafton Street, which runs between St. Stephen’s Green and Trinity College. It has recently, along with its surroundings, been classified as an ‘Architectural Conservation Zone’. This will involve a re-establishment of the area’s rich historic charm and urban character. The best concentration of shoe shops is found on Grafton Street and the adjoining Wicklow Street.
Brown Thomas, Dublin’s most famous and expensive department store is on Grafton Street along with a wide range of clothing, jewelry, and photography shops, etc.
The Powerscourt Centre , just off Grafton Street, is one of Dublin’s most attractive shopping centres, set in a beautifully restored 18th century townhouse. Here, you will find clothes, cafes, galleries and Irish designer jewelers. You must check out the The Loft Market – it is a haven for Dublin Fashion. There is lots of up and coming young fashion designers and vintage clothing sellers such as Perk Up! Vintage, Lisa Shawgi Knitwear and MO MUSE to shop around. Beware the overpriced antique dealers, some of whom will drop a price by 50% after only the merest suggestion that you are willing to haggle (and it still may not be a bargain). For gifts, there is an engraving business based in the centre next to Bonsai Shop.
Leaving Powerscourt via the ornate steps on to South William Street, you will find yourself facing a small street called Castle Market, which leads to a covered red-brick shopping arcade known alternatively as the Market Arcade or the Georges Street Arcade. This area is worth a visit for vintage clothing, fabrics, unusual accessories, vinyl and club wear. It also features some small cafes.
Alongside the historic Trinity College you will find Nassau Street where there are many shops selling tourist-related items such as Waterford Crystal, Belleek Pottery, Aran sweaters, and other Irish craft items. Shops selling these items include House of Ireland and Kilkenny Design.
Dawson Street, parallel to Grafton Street, is home to the official residence of the lord mayor – the ‘mansion house’ as well as several upmarket clothes shops, restaurants and well stocked large bookshops including Hodges Figgis.
There is also an extensive shopping area on the north side of the river, in Dublin 1, centred on O’Connell Street and Henry Street (Ireland’s busiest shopping street). Clery’s (O’Connell Street)(18 O’Connell Street) and Arnotts (12 Henry Street) are large department stores each with a long history. Two large shopping centres, the Jervis Shopping Centre (Jervis Street), and the Ilac Centre (Henry Street) are nearby. The latter also houses Dublin’s Central Public Library
Just off Henry Street is Moore Street, which has a fruit, vegetable and fish market. It’s worth a stroll if you want to get a slice of life from the less genteel side of Dublin. For a more traditional Dublin shopping experience go to the Liberties area around Thomas street and check out the stalls on Meath street and the liberty market (off Meath Street) on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. At the top of Henry Street on Parnell Street is Chapters, which has a massive selection of books at generally cheaper prices than other high street stores, as well as a large secondhand section. It is especially great for ‘coffee table’ style art books.
The Loop Duty-Free is in both terminal 1 and terminal 2 of Dublin Airport. There are a variety of concession stores within The Loop including Jo Malone and MAC amoung others. The complex stocks a range of discounted products from Ireland as well as 1000’s of big brands in beauty, fragrances, confectionery and more. There is an option to buy online in advance of your flight and collect at the airport.
Be sure to visit Temple Bar’s Temple Bar Square and Meetinghouse Square on a Saturday morning or afternoon for the markets (Dublin 2), which sells all types of foods, from traditional fare to delicious baked goods. Both squares are also home to several very good restaurants. Meetinghouse Square, which lies only about 150 ft (50 m) west of Temple Bar Square, sells much finer fare and more exotic foods than Meetinghouse Square.
The Temple Bar area offers some alternative to shopping at the larger chain-stores. Small clothing boutiques, including the city centre’s only swap shop, are popping up all around the area (Temple Lane, Crow Street and Fownes Street) with an emphasis on vintage and unique original independent designer pieces. If you can’t make it to any of the markets at the weekend, the best can be found here during the week.
Also, in Dublin 8, Cows Lane Fashion and Design Market, which is the largest designer market in Dublin, offers handmade one-off original designs. The market is open every Saturday from 10.00AM-5.30PM. Found outdoors on Cows Lane and indoors in the old Dublin’s Viking Adventure, this market is not to be missed.
For those for whom it just would not be a holiday without hanging out at the mall, there are various shopping centres located around Dublin, including Blanchardstown Centre (Dublin 15) (39 and 70 bus routes), Liffey Valley (Dublin 22) (bus routes 25, 25A, 66, 66A, 67A,78, 78A, 210 and 239), and The Square, Tallaght, (Dublin 24, last stop on the red Luas). Dundrum Town Centre is located in South Dublin and served by the green Luas tramline from St. Stephen’s Green. In Dublin 14, it was awarded the title of best shopping mall in the World, 2006. Harvey Nichols, an upmarket British department store chain housing designer names in fashion, accessories, beauty and food and is located in Dundrum Town Centre.
Another great option is to head to the subarbian seaside town of Dun Laoghaire where the Pavillion is also available with many shops including Meadows and Byrne, cinema and theatre.
Dublin is not cheap for general shopping, although visitors from outside the European Union can obtain a refund of VAT (sales tax: 23%) on many of their purchases. Just look for the refund sign and ask in the shop for details. Keep in mind that most stores will issue VAT refund vouchers only on the same day of purchase. More on VAT refund can be found on Irish eGovernment website.
Also, if you want to find thrifty nick nak shops, then Talbot street is a good start. Like any city, if you look hard enough and don’t get caught up in the glitz and glam when shopping, there are great bargains to be found.
There is fairly extensive duty-free shopping at Dublin Airport, at prices sometimes cheaper than the rest of the city.
Dublin has a wide range of good quality restaurants. Many are overpriced by European standards, however, tougher economic times have given rise to a new wave of stylish but casual, low priced eateries with great food. Main course prices range from €8 at the lower end up to around €40 at the higher end. Wine in restaurants is generally marked up from its already expensive retail price by a factor of at least two and three times retail price would not be uncommon. Look out for “Bring Your Own Bottle” options which can certainly save some money.
There are many excellent value Indian restaurants around the South William Street area, parallel to Grafton Street. These often have reasonable priced lunch and ‘early bird’ deals, offering three course meals for around €10. Particularly to be recommended are the Khyber Tandoori on South William Street and Shalimar on South Great Georges Street. Also excellent is Surma on Camden St and “Govindas” on Augnier Street for very cheap Hare-Krishna vegetarian food. all are in Dublin 2.
A similar multi-cultural hotspot is Parnell Street in Dublin 1 (O’Connell Street-Gardiner Street), which has a dense concentration of Chinese and Asian restaurants extensively frequented by the ex-pat communities.
Don’t forget to try Leo Burdock Fish and Chips (2 Werburgh St, beside the Lord Edward). Small indoor eating area. About 10 Euro for way too much food (share it with someone). Visited by many famous people whose names are listed on the wall.
No visit to Dublin would be complete without a visit to one (or ten) of its many pubs (last count says there are over 600 pubs). Drink is moderately priced by comparison with some European capitals: a pint of stout costs from €5.00 and up, while lager costs around €5.50 and up. Since the government gave a tax break to micro-brewed beer , this had a slight effect on prices in brew pubs. Pubs serve drinks until 24.00 with some drinking-up time allowed. Many bars have late licenses allowing them to serve up to 03:30, although this usually means a cover charge or price increases after 24.00.
Smoking has been illegal in Irish pubs (as well as all indoor workplaces) since March 2004; this has had the positive side effect of increasing al fresco facilities. Beer tends to be more expensive around the Temple Bar area, due to the increased tourist flow, and will be cheaper in more traditional styled pubs.
There are pubs in Dublin offering cheaper drinks, if you are willing to go off the beaten trail or ask other patrons for suggestions. Fibber McGees just off Parnell square, in the City, has €3 per drink for any drink including shorts, every Thursday night. (There is a €5 door fee to enter after 21:00 Thursday) please be aware Fibber McGees is a heavy metal bar, so if loud music is not your thing then best avoid. Craft beer bars also tend to have certain pints available for around €4.
The Temple Bar that people often speak of is an area that used to be a sand bar, not an actual bar. (Originally, anyway; there is a pub called “The Temple Bar” in Temple Bar.) The Temple Bar district has a mixture of food, drink, shopping and music. It appeals to all ages, but is a hot spot for tourists. The narrow, cobble stoned streets gives it an original feeling within the heart of the city. Its central location also makes it easy to walk to from Dublin’s Centre. However, late night revellers tend to make it an unpleasant place to be after dark. It can be taken over by drunken stag and boisterous hen parties, many who travel cheaply from the United Kingdom to avail of Temple Bar’s delights. Tourists should beware that prices in the Temple Bar area can go as high as €7.50 for a pint.
Outside The City Centre
If you go there for a weekend trip, please note that hotels in Dublin book fast for the weekend, especially during Spring; booking 2-3 months in advance is highly recommended.
Dublin is not well-served for visitors who wish to camp in designated sites. The nearest to the city centre is located to the southwest of the city.
There are a huge number of backpackers and youth hostels (mostly around €20 per night in dorm accommodation), bed & breakfasts (around €45 per person), and hotels (€50+ per room). Cheaper accommodation is to be found around Dublin’s main bus station, Busaras. While areas south of the river contain more expensive options.
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