The capital and largest city in Ireland, Dublin is the first introduction many people get to the country—and what an intro it is. With cobblestone streets, a pub on every corner, and the Liffey River running through it all, Dublin is a charmer. It’s the birthplace of Guinness, home to one of the most impressive libraries in the world, and the hub for the tech industry in Ireland. It’s a place where the traditions of Ireland are on full display, but there’s still plenty of modernity, too.
>> Before you go, read more about the history and culture that makes Dublin special.
History lovers, couples of all ages, families, merrymakers, anyone interested in learning about the science and heritage behind Ireland’s traditional suds and spirits
Dublin is refreshingly budget-friendly. It's much less pricey than London, and marginally cheaper than Edinburgh. Plenty of beautiful hotels offer rooms at or below $150/night, while vacation rentals are typically a bit less expensive. The restaurant scene is less cutting-edge, too (Ireland isn’t exactly known for its cuisine, though Dublin does have some great spots), and $50-$70 is plenty for a full day of dining out.
Dublin is a safe city, with some exceptions. Crime rates are low (being mugged is extremely unlikely, for instance) and the city is widely regarded as a place that’s welcoming of all genders and orientations. But it’s also got a bit of a reputation for being intolerant of BIPOC. This isn’t universal, of course; traveling to Dublin can and should be an experience devoid of any hate speech or discrimination. Still, it isn’t unlikely to find oneself treated derogatorily due to racism. As for women, Dublin is generally safe, but instances of violence towards women do occur.
Dublin has a maritime climate with mild temperatures all year round. From June through August daily highs average 65-68° F while in winter daily temperatures are around 46-51°. It can dip colder at night—into the high 30s—but snow accumulation is very rare. Instead, rain is common, with 10-13 days of rain each month.
Summer is the most popular season for visitors and prices reflect that. If you’re worried about colder temperatures but don’t want to deal with peak season crowds, opt for spring or fall. Winter is low season but those who don’t mind bundling up or carrying an umbrella will enjoy far fewer crowds and much lower prices on accommodation. One major exception is in March during St. Patrick’s Day.
Avoid taxis. They can add up quickly, so get familiar with the local bus service. Or simply walk; Dublin is pretty compact and you can see most of it on foot.
Order a half pint. If you’re not a big drinker but still want to experience some pub culture, order a half pint and save yourself a bit of cash.
Find what’s free. There are over 40 museums in Dublin and many of them, including the Irish Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery, and The National Museum of Ireland are free.
The food scene in Dublin has traditionally been a bit of a sleepy one, with an emphasis on hearty, homestyle food, but that’s changing with a crop of new chefs turning out inventive dishes that use the best of Ireland’s homegrown produce and meats. Plus, trendier, more multicultural establishments are opening up with each passing year. As for drinks, the city loves its beer and you will, too.
A solid hotel in Dublin close to the action will run you around $150 per night, while apartment rentals can be a bit cheaper, running $80-$100 per night for a cozy place for two people. Hostels are another plentiful option and some even have private rooms.
When it comes to picking a neck of the woods to rest your weary head, the city center is the obvious frontrunner in Dublin, favored for its convenience and ease of understanding (though the River Liffey does bisect the region, which can be a bit confusing). Within the city center, Temple Bar is the go-to for nightlife enthusiasts and the waterfront Docklands are great for a splurge-worthy hotel, but for the best local experience, Stoneybatter, considered one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city, is the move.
Moving about in Dublin is easy, thanks to the city’s system of buses, trains, and trams; it isn’t even necessary to rent a car if and when you decide to take a day trip, as the rail service (DART) offers routes out of the city. Of course, there’s always two-footed transit, which is a great way to fit in with the locals and acquaint yourself with the city while you’re at it. Lyft and Uber and available, and Dublin requires its ride-share drivers to be licensed taxi drivers as well.
Dublin Airport (DUB) is the largest and busiest airport in Ireland. It’s just over four miles from central Dublin and the main hub for Aer Lingus and Ryanair. It’s a focus city for TUI Airways, Emerald Airlines, CityJet, and ASL Airlines Ireland.
There are several bus companies that serve Dublin Airport. Travel times to Dublin’s city center are generally in the 20–40 minute range and ticket prices are €2-10. There isn’t a flat rate for taxi transportation from the airport into the city, but you can expect to pay €25-30 for a 20-minute trip. The cost of an Uber from the airport into the city usually starts at about €20.
Take a 50-minute rain ride out to Bull Island, where the gorgeous sandy beach is the perfect place to be on a summer day for swimming and fans of water sports.
Take a 2.5-hour train ride to Cork, a charming, laid-back riverside town that’s unofficially known as the “foodie capital of Ireland.” Consider combining Cork with a visit to the Rock of Cashel, an incredible Medieval castle.
Take a road trip along the Wild Atlantic Way, an incredible scenic route that covers over 1,500 miles along the rugged coastline of Ireland’s west end.
Hop on a 1-hour flight to London to continue your UK adventures.
Check out Edinburgh and Glasgow, an hour away by plane, made all the better for the fact that round-trip tickets run about $65.
Rent a car and hop on the Holyhead-Dublin ferry to reach Snowdonia National Park, a gorgeous section of Wales full of hiking trails, impressive peaks, lakes, waterfalls, and the tallest mountain in Wales (Mount Snowdon), the summit of which can be reached via train.
Dublin has been home to many great writers, including James Joyce and Oscar Wilde.
There’s even an annual event for passionate fans of James Joyce. Bloomsday happens each year on June 16—the date on which Joyce’s book, Ulysses, takes place—and is celebrated by people dressing up in costumes from the period and performing readings at different locations around the city. Ulysses can be a challenging read for those new to Joyce. A better place to start is with his 1914 collection of 15 short stories, Dubliners, which depicts middle-class life in the city at the time.
Dublin makes a great movie backdrop and films with musical talent in particular feature in the list of Dublin movie highlights. Once, Sing Street, and The Commitments all tell the stories of struggling musicians in the city with a mix of humor, drama, and catchy tunes.