Ireland’s capital city, Dublin is full of charm, history and hidden gems. There are enough things to do to keep you busy for weeks. As a local, I know all there is know about the city. Here are some insider tips to help you get the most out of your trip.
Ireland is known for getting four seasons in one day. I would like to tell you Dublin is different and that the city experiences sun all year round, but unfortunately that is far from the truth. However, Dublin is on the east coast which gets considerably better weather than the west. Saying that, don't forget to bring your rain gear when you visit, especially if you're planning on doing any outdoor activities in Dublin.
Dublin is walkable with - the city is rather small and it is possible to walk from one end to the other in 40 minutes or less.
Public transport is also quite easy to navigate and consists of trams, busses and trains. If you are planning to stay more than one day in the city it is best to get a Leap Card. The leap cards can be used on all public transport excluding taxis.
When trying to get a bus or taxi in Dublin, you must put your hand out to let the driver know you would like them to stop. This is a mistake I often see tourists make, leading to confused looks on their faces when the vehicle drives on past.
As previously mentioned, Ireland’s weather can be unpredictable, as a result, it can be hard to say the best time of year to visit Dublin.
In my opinion, Dublin is breathtakingly beautiful in the Autumn months, the leaves are starting to fall on the ground and the city is glowing in orange, red and yellow colours. Halloween is originally a pagan tradition and originated in Ireland. So, if you enjoy the holiday, October 31st is the perfect time to visit. At this time the weather is starting to get a little chilly so make sure to wrap up warm.
September is the perfect month to enjoy the tail end of the summer weather. It is also the start of the Irish school year which means the streets are far less busy.
June is typically the warmest month of the year in Ireland, however, it is also a common time for people to book their holidays. If you don’t mind crowds and are looking for the best weather option then June would be a good bet.
Ok, so there is no point beating around the bush. Dublin is an expensive city. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t visit on a budget.
In fact, there are many free things to do in the city, including going on a free walking tour to discover Dublin’s historic past or exploring Phoenix Park, the largest urban park in Europe. Here, you can keep an eye out for the famous deer or pay a visit to the ‘Aras an Uachtarain’ (the president’s house).
Another way to experience the city on a budget is by buying dinner from a local ‘chipper’ or at food trucks such as the Eat Yard. Fast food trucks have become rather popular in the past few years and are popping up all over the city - and they are delicious.
Temple Bar is one of the most famous landmarks in Dublin. The cobblestone streets, live music venues and quirky shops are visited by over 3 million people each year. However, Temple Bar's only downfall is the price. Due to the street being a popular spot among holidaymakers, it costs twice as much to buy food and drink compared to the rest of the city. With that being said, I still do think it is worth a visit, even if it is just for an hour. You won’t find an atmosphere like Temple Bar anywhere else in the city, except maybe the nearby Damn Lane.
Dublin is home to many mysterious hidden gems but my favourite is the Hungry Tree. This is quite an unusual sight, located on the North Side of the city in Kings Inn Park.
An 80+ year old London Plane Tree is in the process of quite literally eating a park bench. Access to the park is only possible on weekdays from 7.30 am to 7.30 pm but it’s a really cool thing to get a snap of if you happen to be in the area.
Another great thing about Dublin is there is more to the county than just the city. The surrounding areas of Dublin are home to beautiful coastal walks, mountain hikes and stunning parks, all within 30 minutes of the city centre.
Another great activity near Dublin is the Bray to Greystones cliff walk, a 15km coastal route that connects two seaside towns.
Or, maybe consider escaping the hustle and bustle of the city by exploring the beautiful coastal town, Howth. Take a boat ride around the harbour and explore the cliffs from beneath. This is a truly unique way to experience Dublin and all its glory.
The Dublin Mountains are just a short 30-minute drive from the city centre, spend the day exploring some of the best walks in Dublin such as the Hellfire Club or Tiknock.
One of the best things about Dublin is its connection to the rest of the Country. Now, I’m not suggesting you base yourself in Dublin for the duration of your trip to Ireland, however, if you are limited on time, you can visit some of the country’s leading attractions on day trips from Dublin. The famous Cliffs of Moher, Blarney Castle and Kilkenny are all within three hours' drive of Dublin.