Dublin is among the most visited cities in Europe. It is well known for its history, culture, and lively entertainment scene. It is also well known for its high prices, especially in the most popular tourist areas. Save money on your visit with these five tips.
1. Visit the Free Museums
Just north of St. Stephen’s Green, between Kildare Street and Merrion Square is a wonderful group of free museums. Admission is always free to the National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology, the National Museum of Ireland: Natural History, the National Library of Ireland, and the National Gallery of Ireland.
If pressed for time, make sure not to miss the Archaeology museum. The exhibits here offer a comprehensive look at the human history of Ireland with artifacts dating back thousands of years. In particular, look for the impressive Treasury exhibit and the incredibly well-preserved bog bodies in the Kingship and Sacrifice exhibit.
2. Look Beyond the Main Streets
The most famous neighborhoods of Dublin are also the most expensive. The price of food and drink is especially variable. Temple Bar prices can be particularly high, and pubs raise drink prices late at night. Tour these popular and historic neighborhoods on foot before settling down to eat or drink at a much more reasonable pub or restaurant just a few blocks away. Why not try the Cobblestone Pub at the north end of Smithfield Square for great traditional music without the tourist crowds?
3. Check Drink Prices
Any visit to Dublin must include a stop in one of the neighborhood pubs that make Ireland famous. Ducking into a pub can be a quick one-drink shelter from the rain or an extended all-night experience. Drinks in Dublin pubs, particularly those in City Centre, are surprisingly expensive. Pubs are required by law to display drink prices, but these displays are often difficult to find. Do not be afraid to ask for a drink price list. Save money and still get the pub experience by enjoying a half-pint, a budget lager, or a cup of coffee or tea—surprisingly cheap in most pubs, and will often come with a sweet biscuit or cookie.
4. Take a Walk in the Park
Weather permitting, break out your walking shoes for a pleasant sightseeing stroll. Dublin’s City Centre is compact and flat, perfect for pedestrians. Use good maps to enjoy the historic streets and monuments without getting lost. If the weather turns, duck into a free museum or the nearest pub.
Make sure to explore Dublin’s three City Centre parks. St. Stephen’s Green, Merrion Square, and Iveagh Gardens are all well-kept, scenic, and safe. For a very inexpensive lunch, get some picnic supplies at a City Centre grocery and enjoy it in one of these three urban park gems.
5. Explore Alternative Lodging Options
For the adventurous traveler, youth hostels with private and group rooms offer some of the best rates and locations, and Dublin has a growing presence on AirBnB—the online rent-your-own-place community. Hotels near City Centre occasionally list special offers and packages for advance bookers. If you must find lodging beyond reasonable walking distance from City Centre, save taxi fare by locating a nearby Luas or DART train stop. These trains run regularly to and from City Centre and are easy to use. Dublin Bus is less convenient, but they are reasonably inexpensive and easy to use. If on the bus, use their free app and onboard Wi-Fi to follow your progress and ensure you request the correct stop.
A visit to Dublin can be the experience of a lifetime, and a highlight of your Irish or European vacation. With some careful planning and these smart tips in mind, you can enjoy the same experience for a fraction of the cost.
For even more ways to save money on a visit to Dublin, and for turn-by-turn walking tours of the museum row and Dublin’s three City Centre parks, check out my free eBook, The Frugal Guide: Dublin, available on most eBook distributors.