Dublin, how to enjoy a trip to Dublin without remortgaging your gaff! 

Kinda surprised it took me this long to write this one. Emigrating has really helped me start viewing this beautiful city like a tourist so here’s all my favourite places and things to do. I’m guessing you don’t need me to warn you about the weather, yeah bring a rain jacket, a good brolly and some waterproof shoes. Other than that, chillax, sure it’s only a shower!

Dublin’s pretty cool but Ireland’s such a small country if you have time definitely check out some day trips as most places are only a few hours away. Getting around Dublin itself is grand using public transport but going most places outside Dublin you’ll need a car. Our public transport isn’t great, it doesn’t run on schedule at all so take our timetables with a pinch of salt. If you’re at the starting stop though definitely be early as they will leave a few minutes early if they can. I’ve made a list of recommended day trips at the bottom of this article. Get a leap card day 1 and top it up, it’s cheaper than using cash as our public transport doesn’t allow bank cards for tapping on and off. Make sure to tap off at the Luas stop and don’t listen to the Dubs, the Luas isn’t free!! 

Things to do in Dublin. If you have a look on Trip advisor you’ll see all the main ones, Christchurch Cathedral, Trinity Book of Kells and they are all fab to be fair. For the Book of Kells though, make sure you see the Long Library. It’s one of my favourite spots in Dublin and absolutely stunning. If you’re on campus check out the Geology building too, it’s gorgeous and free. It is an active campus though so try not to get in the way of people getting to and from class. I studied here and tourists could be a right pain when you’d 10 minutes to get from one building to the next! 

Right, what we doing?

If you’re in this part of the city head on up Grafton Street and into Stephen’s Green Park. It’s a beautiful park, especially in Autumn. Not too far away (up Dame Street) is Christchurch Cathedral and Dublinia. These are both great if you want to learn some Irish history. If you fancy a walking tour I’ve heard great things about ‘Patliddys’ (on instagram) for a walking tour. I think it’s about €10. A friend of mine worked in the tourism sector in Dublin and said this guy was great. If you book a tour through him let me know how you get on. 

If you’ve got good weather you can head out to Phoenix Park and have a look around for the deer. The deer roam wild and free and you’ll see signs not to feed them around the place. You can still get close enough to have a proper look at them though and it’s a beautiful place for a walk. You can also rent a bike and cycle around the place and there’s cycle lanes the whole way around. Dublin Zoo is also here as is our president’s residence, Áras an Uachtaráin (pronounced aw-rus on ucta-rawn). If you’re in Dublin during the winter months check if Wild Nights is on, it’s beautiful. I prefer Malahide Wonderlights if you like a lightshow but you’d have to get the train (the Dart) out. Malahide Wonderlights in at Malahide Castle though so if you want to see an Irish castle, this is your chance! If you make it out this far and fancy a proper Italian meal check out Pomodorino in Swords, they’re pizza is to die for. 

Fancy doing something a bit wild?! You can do an abseil of the Hogan stand in Croke Park, one our GAA football stadiums. Pretty stellar views over the city too if you like a view.

“I’m MARVIN”- (Irish for starving!)

Speaking of food, Dublin is expensive, it just is unfortunately. We’re fairly used to it though so know where to get the cheap drink and food. Some of my favourite spots for dinner in Dublin if I’m not on a budget include Sophie’s on the Roof. Try book a booth and enjoy views over the city. When you come out you’re in a good part of the city to go for drinks or dancing. If you can handle the queue Dicey’s and Coppers (Copper Face Jacks) are good for young singles and cheap drinks, although I think it’s a tenner at the door. 

Other good spots include The Counter on Suffolk Street for burgers, Govindas for a cheap curry, and if you’re after just a cheap and cheerful meal check out Wetherspoons. For doughnuts only Offbeat doughnut will do. 1000 times better than any Krispy Kreme doughnut shite. Check out Rolling Doughnut for vegan doughnuts! 

For a GORGEOUS cup of tea the Bakewell on the queys does loose tea through a strainer and oh wow its fab. I could sit there all day enjoying a bit of people watching. They do cakes and sambo’s too and it’d be a nice spot for lunch. If you’re after something a bit greasier Apache do a student deal for a fiver, small pizza, chips and a drink! Leo Burdocks do the best chips in the city and a bottle of coke for under 8 euro. Govindas do gorgeous food too and it’s cheap! 

DRINK, FECK, ARSE. (This is a Father Ted reference FYI)

Now, drink! If you’re looking to try a Guinness there’s always the Guinness storehouse which has panoramic views over Dublin. If you’re looking for a proper sit down Irish pub atmosphere and you like Guiness check out Mulligans on Poolbeg Street or the Cobblestone in Smithsfield. Temple Bar has live music and atmosphere but the drink is way dearer. If you want some live music and atmosphere Fitzsimons is a good spot. So is Brogans on Dame Street. Now for cocktails, my favourites are Peruke and Periwig (book in advance), 9 Below, and the Vintage Cocktail Club. Capital cocktail bar is on Aungier Street too if you fancy a pub crawl this is a good road for it. For LGBTQI+ bars check out the George and Pantibar. If you’re looking for a rock/metal bar check out Bruxelles/Fibbers/ Grand Social on a Friday/Saturday night. 

Getting out of the city: 

Now that you’ve seen some of Dublin, enjoyed some soakage and woken up with a hangover, why not head out on the train and enjoy a light lunch on Howth (try the doghouse) and hike the cliff walk. If you’re into seafood this is a good shout. The cliff walk is not too bad at all and totally worth the views. When you’re done stop in the Summit Inn for a couple of pints and do your best to catch the last train back into  the city centre! 

Another nice walk in out to the Poolbeg Lighthouse but be warned, it’s blustery ad fuck. Pro tip, get a baileys hot chocolate or mulled wine from the van man at the pier! This lighthouse is the little red one you see flying into Dublin, at least if you’re coming at us from the Europe side. If you’re up for a nice hike how about a sunrise one?! Theres a group on instagram called Sunrise Social who do sunrise hikes around the Dublin area. Some of these do require a car so google map the event location if there’s one on while your here and message the group so they know you’re coming. Killiney hill is also another lovely spot for a walk, as is Bray (although technically this isn’t actually in Dublin, but it is train accessible). 

If you do have a car some beautiful spots include Sallysgap, Glendalough, Ticknock to name a few. If you have the time and are into Game of Thrones at all the Game of Thrones tours are excellent. I’ve done both and they were fantastic and I saw parts of Northern Ireland I may not have otherwise seen, including the Giant’s Causeway and the Dark Hedges. I have a blog on these trips!

Rainy days in Dublin:

Dublin still has a lot to offer, even on rainy days. We have a beautiful cinema in Smithsifled called the Lighthouse which shows Irish made and foreign films. The Iris Film Institute, in Temple bar or if you’re feeling fancy check out the Stella cinema in Rathmines. Kilmainham Gael is another shout, or the EPIC museum which is meant to be one of the best in Europe. What about an escape room if you’re in a group? Or axe throwing ? Or something slightly more chill like say, afternoon tea on a vintage tour bus? Or our indoor roller skating rink ‘D12’ or virtual reality game, shooter game style in a big warehouse at ‘Zero Latency’. The Laughter Lounge is also good craic and if all this sounds like too much work, hold up somewhere by the fire with a book and a pint in town and wait for it all to blow over 🙂

Pizza at Sophie’s

What to expect of the Irish:

It’s true, we’re a very friendly bunch! We’re also a very no nonsense bunch. We say what we mean and mean what we say. Well…to an extent. Expect lots of sarcasm and a good slaggin. If we take the piss out of you, it probably means we like you. It may even mean we fancy you. We don’t give a fuck what you’re wearing really, we’re not the most fashion concious bunch. We’re a very ‘please and thank you’ bunch and we simply cannot get off a bus without thanking the driver. One or twice I’ve gotten off without thanking them and its basically a silent fuck you and we all know it. You’d have to be a real prick of a driver for that to happen though. 

Our tipping culture is like a newish sorta thing here. It’s definitely not like the states where it’s expected. If the bill comes to 80 odd quid and we round up to 90 this is perfectly acceptable and is no reflection on the service of the waiter. In some places if its a table with more than six people say they’ll add a 10-12% surcharge onto the bill automatically so then you can just pay the bill as asked and not worry about any extra. Unless of course you want to. Restaurants and MAYBE bars are the only places you would ever tip. MAYBE a taxi driver if he was particularly kind, or listened to you pine over some boy for your 30 min drunk taxi ride home. Basically, it’s not expected but is a welcome surprise. If you’re here on a budget do not feel obligated to tip in a restaurant, it’s also perfectly acceptable to pay the amount on the bill and nothing else. If you wanna do something nice leave them a good review online or recommend them to a friend. 

Overall, enjoy what Dublin has to offer and let me know below if you did or tried any of the above and how you got on 🙂

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