Tips from Locals - Dublin
Accommodation in Dublin
Finding the right place to live in Dublin can be a challenge. It's a city made up of lots of little neighborhoods, so it's best to try & understand the different areas well before committing to one location.
Searching on FlatClub for short or medium-term rentals is a good idea - it gives you a base of operations to explore the city & find out which location will suit you best.
Travelling in Dublin
Living in Dublin means there are a lot of public transportation options available. Walking can be your best choice if you’re exploring and considering living in Dublin. However you may appreciate being able to get places faster - and Dublin's public transportation will make that easy.
Dublin’s bus network is complicated to say the least, but the bus-drivers are very friendly to tourists and are always willing to give directions. They’re also happy to tell you when a stop is coming if you give them advance warning of where you’re going to. They start running at 6.30 and run until just after 23.30. The buses only take exact change and issue a receipt when you pay over the amount, which can be cashed in the bus terminal on O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare.
There are two over-ground rail networks in Dublin: The LUAS and the DART. Both are reasonably priced compared to taxis and have some interesting stops. The DART in particular brings passengers along the Dublin coast (more of that later) while the LUAS (there are two lines) runs inland and stops at Stephen’s Green, Collins Barracks Museum, O’Connell Street, Connolly Station and Heuston Station, Dublin’s main train terminal.
To get outside of Dublin, train is a good option. Most of the regional trains leave from Heuston Station several times a day. Irish Rail, the monopoly train operator has just undergone a complete refurbishment of its trains so you’re sure to find them very comfortable and clean. Check online for discounts, of which there are usually plenty if you book midweek trips. Most cities can be reached for less than €15 one way within 2 or 3 hours.
A visitor to Dublin once commented after visiting, “I have never seen so many taxis in my whole life.” There is certainly no shortage! However, unfortunately, this doesn’t mean that taxis are cheap. The minimum fare is €4.50, which lasts for less than five minutes. A typical journey will cost around €10. Luckily, Dublin is small and most places are accessible by walking and/or using the LUAS and bus networks.
Useful links: Public transport in Dublin
Events and Nightlife
Dublin has their fair share of theatres & live productions, so enjoy going out & read up on what's coming next here.
You'll also have lots of fun participating in one of Dublin's many festivals. It goes without saying that the St. Patrick’s Day festival in Dublin (around March 17th) is a good time to see a festival and plenty of partying in Dublin (although prices do go up accordingly). It’s not the only festival Dublin has to offer though. Keep an eye out for Dun Laoghaire Festival of International Cultures in August and the Dun Laoghaire Regatta in May. Likewise, Marley Park offers a series of free open-air events throughout the year and there’s an event known as the “Taste of Dublin,” held in Iveagh Park which happens every summer. There, visitors can sample all the best food that Dublin has to offer while being entertained by a varied group of Irish and international musicians.
Dublin's Traditional Attractions
Trinity College Dublin - This is a must-see in Dublin, right in the heart of the city. The entrance is grand but it gives no clue as to what awaits behind the front doors. Visitors are taken back in time as they enter a grand court-yard swarming with tourists and university students. The college has been in Dublin since 1592 and has had some very famous students indeed. The walking tour costs €12 and lasts an hour but is well worth the expense.
Dublin Castle - This Castle at the end of Dame Street is well-hidden and features a beautiful court-yard, which takes you back in history to the time when this was the seat of the British Government. There is also a garden here known as the black-pool, which marks the point at which Dublin was born. (Dublin comes from the Irish, dubh-linn meaning “Black Pool”).
Dublin Zoo - Dublin Zoo is generally considered one of the best of its kind. The animals are all well-looked after and more often than not, there are some new arrivals for visitors to see. The lions in particular, are said to produce more offspring in Dublin zoo than any other zoo in the world. Must be something about the rain!
Museums & Galleries
The National Gallery - Although there aren’t many household names in this gallery (a famous Caravaggio piece is the main draw), there are still several rooms full of Irish and international masterpieces and the best part is it’s free. A new extension from 2002 often features travelling exhibitions and its architecture is a draw in its own right. Well worth a visit and it’s straight across the road from Trinity College.
The National History Museum - This is right next door to the Irish Parliament on Kildare Street and is a not-to-be-missed spectacle for history buffs. This is a treasure trove of ancient objects, ranging from ornate jewellery down to a 5,000 year-old boat. As with the national gallery, entrance is free and is well worth a visit to see where Ireland has come from.
Irish Museum of Modern Art - This museum is a little bit out of the city centre (take a Luas to Heuston station and walk 8 minutes by following the signposts) but offers a unique modern art museum located in a 17th century court-yard. Sometimes there are open-air festivals held in the court-yard, which offers a spectacular backdrop. Most of the names on show are contemporary Irish modern artists but there’s enough here to make you scratch your head and give you food for thought!
Off the Beaten Track
Howth - Take the DART line north and you’ll come across this sleepy fishing village. There’s a walk along Howth Hill, where you can view a panomrama of Dublin and plenty of good bars and restaurants in the village when your feet get tired. The best part is that it’s only 20 minutes train ride from Dublin city centre.
Dun Laoghaire - This is is around 20 minutes to the south of Dublin city centre on the DART line. The cost is around €4 return and it’s well worth a visit. Take a walk down the promenade and look at the boats on display. Elsewhere, on Sunday mornings, there’s a food market in the local park (well worth a visit) and you can get sailing and diving lessons just by showing up. The temperature of Dublin’s water won’t suit everyone however!
Sandymount - Just a ten-minute taxi ride (or again, a DART ride) from Dublin city centre, this is a quaint village close to the sea, which has been transported from time. You’ll feel like you’re entering an old English village, because that’s exactly what it is! There are a few nice restaurants and bars to keep you occupied and a nice village green to relax and watch the world go by.
St Stephen's Green - Dublin is full of beautiful parks and Stephen’s Green is probably the crown jewel. Situated right in the city centre, at the top of the main shopping street, Grafton Street, the park offers a welcome retreat to business people, shoppers and tourists alike. Inside the park, there is a lake with swans, beautifully maintained flowerbeds and a mixture of people that will allow you to people watch for hours.
Gallagher's Boxty House - This is a real tourist haunt but is still worth checking out. As the name suggests, it’s a restaurant serving traditional Irish food (boxty is a form of Irish soup) served up with a modern twist. Everything here goes down well with a pint of Guinness. Don’t be put off by the Temple Bar address – it’s good fare.
Green 19 - Located on Camden Street, not far from one of the main party areas of Dublin. This restaurant offers exquisite food at very affordable prices. The restaurant offers a wide variety of modern dishes with their own signature, the décor is cool and the staff are friendly. It’s not possible to book ahead so try and arrive early to beat the queues.
Shanahan's on the Green - This is a steak restaurant on Stephen’s Green. It’s very pricey (main courses upwards of €40), but you won’t be disappointed by the quality of food on offer. The service is impeccable and the location central. The wine collection is also one of the best in Dublin. If you’re into that kind of thing, this is the place you’re most likely to see some celebrities tucking into some top class food!
Powerscourt Town Centre - This shopping centre, located just off the main shopping thoroughfare, Grafton Street, is truly unique. The shopping centre was once a gritty old car park and retains some of the features, whilst now being a thoroughly high-class shopping centre. It’s small and expensive but there’s plenty of nice boutiques and a lovely café at the top when your feet get tired.
Dundrum Town Centre - This is the biggest shopping centre in Ireland and is located on the LUAS line (stop at Balally and walk 3 minutes). There’s nothing particularly unique here – just a typically modern shopping centre with all the usual features (ten-screen cinema etc.). But if you just want to go shopping, this is the place for you.
Henry Street - Henry Street was once considered the poorer sister of Grafton Street but it has come a long way. Located just off O’Connell Street, beside the millennium spike, the street offers a large variety of shops (don’t miss the Arnotts Department Store) and some nice eateries and bars at the end. Very popular with foreigners impressed with the bargains on offer.
Day Trips Out Of Dublin
Newgrange - This is a UNESCO-protected structure, which is older than the pyramids of Egypt! A bus leaves a couple of times a day from Dublin city centre and costs around €20 return. This is a truly unique experience and is as haunting as it is impressive. Newgrange is a 5,000 year old burial tomb which is perfectly aligned to fully light up on the winter solstice. An interpretive centre nearby will explain everything better, trust us!
Glendalough - This is another UNESCO world heritage site located less than an hour from Dublin with buses leaving daily. It’s a monastic site located in a stunning valley near a lake. You can walk and take advantage of the beautiful scenery and then learn about some of the history of the location. Well worth a visit for those looking to get away from the city for a few hours.
Cliffs of Moher - There are several advantages to Ireland being so small – one is that you can get to the other side of the country in just a couple of hours! With this in mind, it would be silly to overlook a trip to the Cliffs of Moher. This is Ireland’s picture postcard and is around 3 hours from Dublin. There are daily touristic trips there, which also stop in Galway, Ireland’s third biggest city. A welcome relief from Dublin’s hustle and bustle and at least you can say you’ve seen both coasts in one day!
- http://www.transportforireland.ie/ – Transport for Ireland. This website gives you Instructions on how to get from one point to another using public transportation. Recommended!
- http://www.timeout.com/dublin/ - Time out Magazine. Know everything that happens in Dublin, from festivals, shows and through special museum exhibitions and events around town.
- http://www.opentable.co.uk/ireland/dublin-restaurants - Excellent deals for the best restaurants in Dublin.