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To get to and from the airport, there are two coach companies. Aircoach runs 24 hours a day every day except Christmas. A second option is the Airlink coach run by Dublin Buses. Both are very reliable and will take you into the heart of the city. They cost between €11 and €12 for a return if booked online, which stacks up well compared to a taxi, which will cost at least €25 each way.
Dublin is split in two by the Liffey River, with the south side offering more tourist attractions. Getting around Dublin on foot is easy. The centre is set around Grafton Street, Temple Bar and Trinity College. It’s quite small and easy to navigate with the majority of museums, galleries, theatres and bars all located within a 20-minute walk from the centre. For longer journeys, Dublin buses are very handy, as is the Luas, Dublin’s tram system. Buy a Leap card to get the best deal on public transport.
As mentioned, Dublin is bisected by the Liffey River, and there is a noticeable difference between the two parts. The north side is raw and edgy, while the south is more sophisticated and upwardly mobile. Both have their pluses and minuses. For good traditional Irish music, try the Cobblestones in Smithfield on the north side, and for a freshly made Mojito, go to the No-Name bar in the Creative quarter on the south side.
Dublin caters to all budgets. If you want to stay in the centre of Dublin and not spend a fortune, you have many hostels to pick from. The north side is generally cheaper, with Smithfield and the O’Connell Bridge are being the nicest. Sky Backpackers, once a recording studio for the likes of U2 and David Bowie, can be found just off O’Connell Bridge, five minutes away from Temple Bar. It offers free high-speed wi-fi, regular live music, and a cool, comfortable vibe.
Generator Hostel is another superb, purpose-built hostel, again on the north side, right beside the Smithfield Luas stop and the Jameson Distillery. With a late bar, cinema room, and funky 24 hour lounge, you can relax after a hard day exploring.
On the south side of the city, there are a number of hostels found in and around Temple Bar, the cultural quarter of the city. Abigail’s Hostel on Aston Quay is just seconds away. It has free wi-fi, and all rooms are en suite. Another nice place to stay is Barnacles Temple Bar House. As its name suggests, it’s right in the heart of Temple Bar, so everything is within walking distance. Lastly, The Times Hostel beside the world-famous Trinity College has a great location, free wi-fi, and free phone calls to over 40 countries, making calling home to say hello a lot easier.
All the hostels mentioned are very popular, so booking in advance is highly recommended, especially around the St Patrick's Day Festival period. A bed in a shared dorm can be had for as little as €10-12 per night during the off-season. Try and avoid hostels further out of the city as buses run less frequently at night and taxis, while plentiful, can be expensive.
With over a thousand listings, Airbnb will almost certainly have something to suit the budget traveller. Be it a single room or a whole apartment or house, this is an option that should be explored. You can save money by cooking for yourself or preparing your own picnic for a full day of exploring. Take advantage of your host’s local knowledge to find the best places to eat, drink, and be merry! Prices for a single room start from about €20 per night. Check that your location is central to the attractions you want to visit, and then scroll through the many options available.
Fancy a room in a boutique hotel, in the very heart of the Creative quarter of Dublin, at a very reasonable price? Then try Kelly's Hotel. Situated on South Great Georges Street and within walking distance of Dublin Castle, Temple Bar, and Grafton Street, this hotel offers comfort and convenience. Not only does it have free wi-fi, wonderfully attentive staff and a residents' bar open 24 hours a day, it has custom-made mattresses to make sure you get a good night’s sleep.
Kelly's Hotel sits above two of the most popular bars in Dublin. Hogan's serves a great pint of Guinness, and the No-Name Bar, where cocktails are the name of the game, lets you party the night away, then climb the stairs to get some well-deserved sleep. A scrumptious all-you-can-eat continental breakfast is included and is served in the award-winning l’Gueuleton restaurant. Rooms rates start at €60-70; contact the hotel directly to get the best price. A small word of warning though, being above such popular nightspots, on the weekends it can be noisy, so join in, or use the ear plugs provided.
The Adelphi Hotel also offers very good value for the money and can be found just off the main shopping area of the north side, O’Connell Street. It's very close to the main Dublin bus station and Connelly train station. Clean and comfortable, it makes it a good base if you’re planning to see the rest of Ireland.
There are many free walking tours available in Dublin, where you can learn about its bloody history, rich literary talent, and famous residents. Dublin is also packed to the rafters with museums and art galleries, many of them free to enter with guided group tours. Then there are the many parks. Dublin has more grass per square mile than any other European capital city, so you are never far from somewhere to sit down and relax with nature.
St. Stephen's Green is definitely a local favourite among parks due to its convenient location at the end of Grafton Street. It can get busy, though, especially on a sunny day. Another beautiful place to soak up some nature and relax is Iveagh Gardens, with fountains, grottoes and statues, it's a unique blend of French and English gardens.
A sight that shouldn't be missed is the wonderful Book of Kells, a manuscript Gospel in top-notch condition despite being over 1,000 years old. It's housed in the library of Trinity College, Ireland's oldest university. It might sound a bit steep at €10 for the entry ticket, but it's a sight unlike many others. If it's sunny, seize the chance to spend some time wandering Trinity College's gardens.
Most hotels and hostels will have discount vouchers for various attractions, so don’t be afraid to ask at reception. If the weather is good, stroll around, enjoying the city's beautiful architecture and atmosphere, or buy a ticket for the hop-on-hop-off tour buses, which will allow you to see even more of Dublin at your own pace. Lastly, you must, of course, have a pint of Guinness!
Off season in Dublin is generally January to the middle of May, with prices rising as the weather improves. In the middle of this, though, is the St Patrick's Day festival, which lasts a week, centred on March 17th. That’s when prices can go crazy! Also, watch out for sporting events like the Six Nations Rugby and Irish Football and Hurling games. These are generally on the weekend, and hotels fill up very quickly for these events with prices rising accordingly.
Music concerts are another hurdle to overcome when trying to get a good deal. The Irish love their music, so any famous artists playing in Dublin will raise the price of hotel and hostel rooms. One more thing to note, if you are in Ireland for Easter, remember that all the bars, pubs, and most restaurants close for Good Friday as they are not allowed to serve alcohol on that day.
Hotels generally set their prices high to start with and lower them as the weeks go by, so if you’re feeling brave, and it’s off season, there are plenty of bargains to be had. But be ready to wait until three or four weeks before your trip. Have a great time in the land of a thousand welcomes!
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© 2015 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.