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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Umi, 13 Dame St, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 670 6866
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.
777, Castle House, South Great George’s Street, Dublin 7, Ireland, +353 1 425 4052
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, 19 Essex Street East, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 670 3384
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.
Generator Dublin, Smithfield Square, Arran Quay, Dublin 7, Ireland, +353 1 901 0222
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.
Times Hostels, 8 College Street, Dublin 2, Ireland, +353 1 675 3652