Europe Travel: Dublin, Ireland on a budget

During the run up to my travels to Dublin, Ireland, I heard lots from people about how Dublin is expensive and there isn’t that much to see but how they still loved it and would go again. I couldn’t understand wanting to revisit somewhere really expensive with not much to do but after visiting my self I can fully understand the Charm of Dublin. However there is a little more to do than I actually expected, which I will go into later in this post. But first let’s start with the basics.

Dublin basics

  • Ireland use Euros
  • They have English plug sockets
  • Dublin can be expensive especially the bars in the Temple Bar area
  • Good locations to stay in Dublin are on Parnell Square, O’Connel St

Travel

From Dublin airport we got a bus into the centre of the city called Airlink 747, which stopped at all the main tourist and hotel areas including Parnell Square and O’Connel St as mentioned above. This bus took about 30 mins from the airport and had wifi. It was €10 for a return which we got from the bus stop outside the airport on an electric machine. There was also the option to pay €6 one way. There were other options such as the Air Coach, but for this short journey why pay more?

Why I recommend staying near Parnell Square…

I stayed in a hotel called The Charles Stewart on Parnell Square. This hotel was €200 for two nights which was great value for money. It was comfortable, a great location and breakfast included. I fully recommend staying on Parnell Square. This location was a ten minute walk from the Temple Bar area, so easy to reach some of Dublins main attractions, yet not too close to the noise.

My experience 

When I first got off the bus in Dublins centre I was not that impressed. We got off at the wrong stop, which was not in the tourist area and walked to our hotel. The less touristy areas were nothing special to look at all, they were run down and looked a bit dirty. However once we found the more touristy areas my opinion on Dublin quickly changed. The buildings and streets were much cleaner and kept well. But it was the boutique shops, Italian cafes and graffiti filled walls which really gave Dublin its charm.

Temple Bar area

It’s definitely worth having a wander around the Temple Bar area and browsing the boutique stores. I really loved so many things in almost every one of these stores and bought a few things from them (I couldn’t afford much).

However what I would say is don’t expect Dublin to be as beautiful as many of the other European cities that you either have visited or are in your bucket list. Some parts are really interesting to look at but mainly Dublin just looks like an average English city.

Day 1

On day one after getting breakfast at a cafe not worth mentioning, we walked to the Temple Bar area. It was a short walk and we had to cross the famous Ha’ Penny Bridge to get there. This bridge is quite pretty in comparison to Dublins other bridges but to be honest nothing special. I don’t even think I took a picture of it. We then wandered around and explored the area. I like to get my bearings and figure out where I might want to come back to in the evening. We found Stephans Green Shopping Centre which was actually really beautiful inside. It was all white fences and staircases and although it looked quite aged, the architecture was quite beautiful. This also had some nice boutique shops inside.

After our powernap that evening we woke up starving and craving Italian. However we were struggling to find an Italian and all we could find was burger bars. We got impatient and ended up just going to Pizza Express or ‘Milano’ as it’s called here, where we had a bottle of red wine and got a little tipsy. We then headed to a pretty looking bar we noticed earlier called Crowbar. It was dark, full of candles and a little quieter than the other bars but still full and had a nice atmosphere. In some of the other bars, especially Temple Bar Bar you couldn’t move or hear each other and the prices were outrageous! But of course I had to atleast try it out. I would recommend Crowbar for maybe a more sophisticated evening than the usual stag/hen do atmosphere. I had my first pint of Guinness here where I discovered a pint takes me a long long time to drink!

Temple Bar Bar

Temple Bar prices

Crowbar


Day 2 (Guinness storehouse)

On our second day we went to the Guinness storehouse which was great and 100% worth going to! And they do student discount (always a bonus)!  It’s a really interactive place with the tasting rooms where they teach you how to properly taste Guinness. Then you get to learn how to pour the perfect pint and get a certificate to prove that you can do it! There are queues to these two parts of the museum but they don’t take long at all as they send you in in groups and are the best part as well so why miss them out? Free alcohol! Why not?! When leaving the the Guinness storehouse make sure you buy some Guinness cheddar crisps from the gift shop because they’re amazing!

img_3194.jpg

Guinness storehouse skybar

100% need to try these crisps

Day 3

We really wanted to go visit the Old Jameson distillery but we found out it is closed until March 2017 so day three was more wandering around and browsing the cool shops!

Favourite places

  1. Guinness storehouse
  2. Temple Bar boutique shops
  3. Je Fornio cafe
  4. Rosa Madre restaurant (get the sirloin steak if you’re a meat eater like me)
  5. Crowbar- I really like the relaxing atmosphere

Keeping your trip cheap…

I heard rumours about how Dublin is really expensive and I can understand why after visiting Temple Bar Bar I can imagine that other popular bars in the area also have high prices! A single shot of whisky for €7?! But you can keep it cheap if you’re on a budget. The truth is of course tourist destinations like this have expensive bars and restaurants in the popular areas. And sometimes you end up paying a lot of money for rubbish food! But you can always venture out of these areas where most of the time you can find cheaper places to eat and drink where you can still have a great experience and sometimes even better. I always find that walking around and browsing a few menus during the day is helpful to me. This way I am not getting impatient reading menus at night when I am starving, trying to find somewhere that looks nice and affordable.

Talking to other people and doing some research on the best tourist attractions before you go somewhere also helps you narrow down the tourist attractions you want to visit to just a few (the best ones).

Finally walking around cities can sometimes be tiring but if you have time and it’s a nice day then why not get some exercise and explore the city on foot. This way you’re saving money on transport!

Please comment below to ask any questions or to let me know if I have made a mistake or even your opinions on these places!

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