Dublin has a reputation for being expensive – and it is! However, with some forward planning and our top insider tips, you can grab lots of bargains in Ireland’s capital! Let Marco Polo show you how:
Views across the city
If you want to see Dublin from above, you’ll have to pay: for the Dublin Wheel or the Chimney but the view from Howth Heath over the Dublin Bay, the mountains and many other parts of the city is free and peaceful. The short ascent begins behind the Deer Park Hotel. 84 rooms | Deer Park, Howth | Tel. 01 8 32 34 89 | DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit): Howth | www.deerpark-hotel.ie
The beer on the outskirts of the city may be cheaper, but in many pubs in the city centre there is also live music – without having to pay an admission fee. Good options: The Brazen Head (Bridge Street), Oliver St John Gogarty (Fleet Street) and especially Hughes’ Bar, where you can also often hear the bagpipes being played (19 Chancery St. | Luas: Four Courts).
If your feet hurt from all the sightseeing, then why not let the comfortable and eco-friendly Ecocab take you anywhere within Dublin’s city centre. The rickshaw-like tricycles are a free service, thanks to corporate sponsorship.
Strong cyclists will take you to any destination within Dublin’s city centre in modern, covered tricycles, also in a radius of about 2km/1.2 miles around the O’Connell Bridge. They ride between 10am and 7pm and have certain stops, but can also be waved down. They are sponsored by companies, so you don’t need to pay them, but a tip will be greatly appreciated. Don’t mistake the Ecocabs with the rickshaws or bicycle taxis that demand a fee! www.ecocabs.ie
Dublin Bus offers a variety of reasonably priced passes, for example the 3 day Rambler Ticket for all lines including the airport bus 747 and 748 (€13.30) or the 3 day Freedom Ticket (€26) which includes a round trip with commentary. Available at the airport and 59 Upper O’Connell Street. Insider tip: make sure you have enough change when taking the bus because the drivers don’t give change. Schedules and tickets: Dublin Bus Office | 59 Upper O’Connell St. | Tel. 01 8 73 42 22 | Mon–Sat 9am–5.30pm | www.dublinbus.ie
Museums – Free entry
National Gallery: masterpieces from all over Europe from the 14th to the 20th century. The Italian section is one of the most impressive with works by Fra Angelico, Titian and Michelangelo Caravaggio whose ‘The Taking of Christ’ is probably the most significant painting in the entire collection. Also on display are works by Spanish painters like Diego Velazquez, Francisco de Goya and Pablo Picasso, French masters like Nicolas Poussin and the Impressionists as well as German and Dutch works like those by Emil Nolde and Peter Paul Ruben which all hang in its magnificent 19th century halls. British and Irish artists are given priority, such as portrait painters Thomas Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds as well as the most significant Irish artist of the 20th century, Jack Butler Yeats. In the new wing of the National Gallery is the popular Museum café. Mon–Sat 9.30am–5.30pm (Thu until 8.30pm), Sun midday–5.30pm | Free admission | Merrion Square West and Clare St. | Bus: Merrion Square | www.nationalgallery.ie
National Library: a magnificent building dating back to the 19th century. The ornate entrance hall staircase leads up to the large reading room with a glass roof, a colourful frieze and ceiling mouldings. The original furnishings include shelves with wood carvings and tables with green reading lamps. Mon–Sat 9.30am–5.30pm (Thu until 8.30pm), Sun midday–5.30pm | Free admission | Merrion Square West and Clare St. | Bus: Merrion Square.
National History Museum: irreverent Dubliners call it the ‘Dead Zoo’. At the entrance you are greeted by the skeletons of some of the Irish elks that lived here 10,000 years ago. The Irish Room on the ground floor is dedicated to indigenous animals, while the top floor has animals from around the world. Even after extensive renovations the museum has kept its Victorian charm – it has remained a kind of museum within a museum. Tue–Sat 10am–5pm, Sun 2pm–5pm | Free admission | Merrion St. | Bus: Merrion Square West | www.museum.ie
Other outstanding Dublin facilities offering free admission: the National Museum – Archaeology, the National Museum – Decorative Arts and History, the Chester Beatty Library, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Hugh Lane Gallery.
Reasonably priced Chinese restaurants can be found in Dublin’s growing Chinatown on Parnell Street in the section east of Parnell Square and on Chapel Street.
Many pubs serve meals from midday until early evening, they range from soups to roast beef with all the trimmings. The portions are plentiful and the prices (by Dublin’s standards) are very reasonable. An excellent option is The Brian Boru near the Glasnevin Cemetery. 9 Prospect Road | Bus 4, 13, 19, 19a: Hart’s Corner | www.thebrianboru.ie
Market Bar: behind an unassuming façade lies one of the most stylish bars in Dublin. A café by day, a tapas bar by night or simply a hip and happening place to enjoy a glass of wine. What was once a market hall and sausage factory has been converted into an airy space with rustic benches under a high vaulted glass and iron ceiling. The lack of music – very unusual in Dublin! – means an evening of conversation and craic. The wine list includes a good selection from Spain and South America. Fade St. | Tel. 01 6 13 90 94 | Bus: South Great George’s St. | www.marketbar.ie
Gallagher’s Boxty House: favourite address for fans of the Emerald Isle’s traditional cuisine, and its comfortable traditional Irish atmosphere makes it a great place for you to discover the tastes of colcannon, coddle and boxty pancakes. The pancakes have a variety of rich and hearty fillings. 20 Temple Bar | Tel. 01 6 77 27 62 | Bus: Temple Bar | www.boxtyhouse.ie
If you want to be able to party and then fall straight into bed, the best place for you is the backpacker hostel Barnacles in the middle of the bustling Temple Bar district. The hostel is clean and safe and its rooms are light and quite spacious. Double rooms available from €30, in the communal rooms you pay as little as €10 a night. 1 Cecilia St. | Tel. 01 6 71 62 77 | www.barnacles.ie
Mercer Court is a student residence that rents out 100 en suite rooms to Dublin visitors during the student holidays between the end of June and September. They are cheaper than Trinity College and are often of a better standard. Centrally located near St Stephen’s Green, single rooms from €60, double rooms from €90. Booking at www.visitdublin.com, see under ‘campus accommodation’. Lower Mercer Street | Tel. 01 4 78 03 28 | Luas (Tram): St Stephen’s Green
ABC Guesthouse: a friendly reception, a generous breakfast and three clean rooms (in varying sizes) await visitors to this reasonably priced bed and breakfast in the north of Dublin. It is right on the bus route between the airport and inner city. 57 Drumcondra Road Upper | Tel. 01 8 36 74 17 | Bus from airport: 16A, 41, 746 until the Skylon Hotel stop; from the inner city there are plenty of bus routes, e.g. 3, 16, 41 | www.abchousedublin.com
Isaac’s Hostel: centrally located at the bus station, is in a converted wine warehouse. There are even a few rooms especially for smokers. Insider tip: you can book the airport bus at half price on the website. Lodging in a shared room from €18, double room from €74. 103 rooms | Store Street | Tel. 01 8 13 47 00 | Bus: Busáras, DART/Luas: Connolly Station | www.isaacs.ie
If you want to save money, then do your shopping north of the Liffey. Department stores like Dunne’s on Henry Street sell clothing at reasonable prices while the neighbouring Moore Street Market is a good choice for groceries.
There is also the weekend market in the suburb of Blackrock on the coast south of the city. Not everything is cheap, but if you hunt around you will find some bargains: clothing, accessories, furniture and bric-a-brac. Main Street | Blackrock | Sat 11am–5.30pm, Sun 10am–5.30pm | DART: Blackrock
Buy the Dublin Marco Polo Guide.