After a recent trip to Dublin, Ireland, I have found a new favorite city. One amazing perk about Dublin is that it’s easy to explore the city on a budget since many of the national museums and the parks are either free, or very affordable.
Here are 5 amazing places that you should definitely include in your itinerary if you’re headed to the Emerald Isle:
1. Kilmainham Gaol
While there are plenty of free places to check out in Dublin, Kilmainham Gaol is definitely worth the cost of admission. Take a tour of one of the largest unoccupied gaols (prisons) in Europe to learn about the prison’s history, Ireland’s War of Independence and Civil War, and to hear stories of the people that occupied the cells of Kilmainham Gaol.
2. St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green is one of Ireland’s best-known public parks, located right in the center of Dublin’s shopping district. With over 2 miles of pathways, beautiful green space, and the occasional free concert, it makes for a welcome and peaceful break from the busy city.
3. Jameson Whiskey Tours
If Whiskey is your thing, you’re in the right place. The Jameson Whiskey tour makes is a fun way to learn a little bit of the city’s history and taste some really great spirits while you’re at it. And make sure you hang around for your complimentary drink at JJ’s bar before you go! Pro Tip: be sure to book your tickets online for a discount and to avoid the lines.
4. Phoenix Park
Phoenix Park is the largest enclosed public park in any capital city in Europe — and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Originally, it was established as a hunting park and you can actually spot a large herd of deer still living there today! While you can definitely experience the park on foot, you’ll be able to take in more if you opt for one of the park’s cycling or segway tours to cover more ground.
5. Guinness Storehouse
There’s no better place to experience Ireland’s most iconic beer than at the Guinness Storehouse. You’ll learn about the history of Guinness, the ins and out of how it’s made, and even learn to pull the perfect pint! As with the Jameson Tour, it’s best to book your tickets in advance here to make sure you can actually get in on the day.
If you’re up for it, Dublin is very walk-able. Just make sure to dress in layers, wear comfortable shoes, and throw a raincoat in your bag so you’ll be prepared for the unpredictable weather and you’ll be set!
However, if you’re looking for other ways to get around, here are 4 of the best ways to get around Ireland’s Capital:
1. The Hop On, Hop Off bus
Not only in the Hop On Hop Off bus a great way to get around the city, it’s kind of a tourist attraction in itself. The original tour is about an hour and a half long, but you can – you guessed it – hop off whenever you’d like to check out one of the attractions at the 27 stops along the way. For just under €20, it’s one of the best ways to see the city if you don’t know where to start.
There are always cabs available in Dublin. I hear there are actually more cabs in Dublin than in New York City! (This is an unverified claim, but I never had an issue flagging on down.) They truly are one of the best ways to get around the city though and most hotels and pubs will help you call for one to make sure you can get to your destination quickly and safely.
3. Public Transportation
Like most big cities, the public transportation here is great once you figure it out. I highly recommend asking the locals or a tourist center for the best options to get around. There are two different train lines, the LUAS, which operates in Dublin only and is similar to a tram system, and the DART, which is a commuter train service for Dublin that operates along the coast. If you go this route, definitely check out the Leap Visitor Card, which gets you unlimited travel on multiple forms of public transport in Dublin.
If you’d like to cycle around town, dublinbikes has stations located all around town where you can rent and return bikes as you need! The stations are located pretty close to each other, and every station has a minimum of 15 stands — making it easy to enjoy the service. The first 30 minutes of use is free on every bike, but there’s also a 3 Day Ticket that costs €5 if you’re planning on using it frequently. You’ll just need to look for a station terminal if you need to buy a ticket.
When you’re ready to plan your own trip to Dublin, make sure to check out the official tourist site for Dublin with many tips for exploring the city and to see what will be going on while you’re there. They also have an official Visit Dublin app available to download for free, which is helpful when navigating the city.
I loved Dublin and wished I spent more than 24 hours there. The Guinness Tour is awesome. We used our free token to learn how to pour the perfect pint. It was amazing. I also liked the Jameson tour, as well. It was pretty cool how they had things set up, but the Guinness was by far cooler. The food was amazing on the 4th floor, I believe.
Also, a side note to Dublin. Don’t expect to see much on a Sunday. We stupidly went on a Sunday to spend 24 hours in this great city. Half the stuff was closed or didn’t open until later in the day. And naturally, they closed between 5 and 6.
We walked everywhere, except for taking a cab to the Jameson. We were in a hurry. We did go to the famous Temple Bar, but just for tourist reasons only. However, we ended up having a great time and stayed there all night. They had two bands playing. I can’t say if the atmosphere is like that all the time, but that night it was great. Although, it got crowded and harder to get a beer.
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