A Budget Traveller's Guide To Dublin

Courtesy of Generator Dublin
Courtesy of Generator Dublin
Photo of Kate Phelan
1 November 2016

Dublin has a reputation for being a highly expensive city, and it certainly can be along the regular tourist track. But a visit to the Irish capital doesn’t have to cost the earth. If you’re looking to explore Dublin on a shoestring budget, here’s how to do it.

What to See and Do

Visit a Free Museum

Many of Dublin’s museums offer free admission, including the National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology. A tour of this treasure trove gives a fully rounded history of Ireland in objects, from Viking artefacts to religious items from Celtic times to the infamous bog bodies, and some of the oldest gold jewellery in the world. The award-winning Chester Beatty Library museum is also free to visit, as is the National Gallery of Ireland.

Gold Torc from the Stirling Hoard, National Museum of Ireland | © dun_deagh/Flickr

Take a Free Walking Tour

Free three-hour walking tours of Dublin are offered every day at 11 am and 3 pm for groups of less than ten. Beginning at The Spire of Dublin monument on O’Connell Street, an experienced guide will lead the tour group around all the major highlights of south Dublin, including Dublin Castle and the Dubh Linn Gardens, Christchurch Cathedral and Viking Dublin.

The arch at Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin | © Matt Buck/Flickr

Explore Trinity College

Wander the leafy, picturesque and historic grounds of Trinity at your leisure, but if you are visiting The Book of Kells, a guided tour of the college is worth considering – as it includes admission to see the book and only costs €2 extra, at €13 (student discounts are available). After a tour, the grassy area in front of the Pavilion Bar – colloquially known as ‘the Pav’ – is a perfect place to enjoy a beer on a sunny summer evening.

Trinity College Library | © Fred Bigio/Flickr

Walk in the Park

On pleasant days, Dubliners tend to abandon everything and splay out on the grass in Dublin’s parks. If you choose St Stephen’s Green, bring some bread to feed the ducks (and seagulls) who live in the ornamental lake. The Phoenix Park is by far the city’s largest green area. Here, you can visit the quaint Tea Rooms, and free tours of Áras an Uachtaráin – the residence of the Irish President – are available every Saturday. The little-known Iveagh Gardens is another beautiful spot worth visiting.

Áras an Uachtaráin | © Irish Jesuits/Flickr

Where to Eat

Umi Falafel

Umi have committed themselves to making Dublin’s freshest and most authentic falafel. With locations on Dame Street and in Rathmines, this low-key but delicious eatery serves dishes that will make you feel healthier after eating, at incredibly reasonable prices. Their ‘all day Umi plate for two’ consists of eight falafels, salad, hummus, two spinach rolls and four stuffed vine leaves, all for just €14.50.

Falafel | © insatiablemunch/Flickr


Trendy Mexican restaurant 777 run a Sunday special menu where all dishes and cocktails are €7.77. Choose from the taco del dia (taco of the day), carnitas, tinga bowls, and much more, and wash it down with one of the best margaritas in all of the city.

Carnitas | © Ginny/Flickr


Ireland’s version of UK Italian restaurant chain Pizza Express is called Milano, with ten restaurants across Dublin. They run weekly and monthly meal deals, regularly offering 25 per cent off their food or two-for-one pizza discounts. The deals can be accessed online quickly and easily and can be redeemed at any of their premises.

Milano | © William Murphy/Flickr

Where to Stay

Generator Dublin

Dublin’s design-led Generator is definitely its coolest hostel, with a bar full of light fittings made out of bottles and street art gracing the walls. Located in one of the city’s main hipster districts, Smithfield, it’s conveniently close to the Jameson Distillery. A bed in a shared room here will only set you back €8.50.

Courtesy of Generator Dublin

Times Hostels

The Times Hostels are both centrally located – one on College Street close to Trinity and another on Camden Place, near Iveagh Gardens. These funky accommodations run several special offers, such as weekly specials, mid-week deals and a ‘friends forever’ package, whereby a group can get a five per cent discount on a private room for three or more nights.

A lounge area at Generator Dublin | Courtesy of Generator Dublin

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