Local tips to help you get more (for less!) out of your next trip to Dublin…
Some of Dublin’s best museums and art galleries are open free to the public, housing many famous works and notable artefacts. The National Gallery of Ireland is home to a vast collection of Jack B Yeats’ works, who is one of Ireland’s best known artists, as well as housing works by Goya, Rubens and Turner.
Those interested in Ireland’s Celtic heritage should head to the National Museum of Archaeology, whilst the National Museum of Ireland: Natural History, rather ominously known as the Dead Zoo, was built in Victorian times in a cabinet style to display natural curiosities from around the globe including the now extinct quagga and the rare pygmy hippopotamus.
Literary enthusiasts will be in their element in Dublin. Visit the James Joyce Museum for free housed in the Martello Tower, which was aptly the setting for the first chapter of his world famous novel Ulysses. The former home of Oscar Wilde is also located within the city.
When looking for budget accommodation in Dublin, there are a few things to look out for. Firstly, it depends on how you are getting to the city. Those arriving by air might wish to look for an airport hotel for at least part of their stay, and these can be found for up to 35% off the original price via Secret Hotels. The concept also offers city centre accommodation. If you’re arriving by car, make sure your accommodation choice offers free parking no matter how reasonable it may seem as car parking fees can add up!
For those that want to be central for as little as possible, bed and breakfasts and hostels are your best bet, although the latter is not recommended for families with young children. If you’re visiting for a week or more, self catering apartments often work out as the most economical as you’ll save no end on eating and drinking out.
Unfortunately a cheap pint in Dublin doesn’t really exist, but there a few recommended evening venues where you can get more for your buck! The Stag’s Head is a popular Irish pub with free comedy nights whilst Whelan’s is the place to go to catch free live music and free entry before 10.30pm to enjoy the DJ sets.
Savvy planners should try and coincide their visit with one of Dublin’s famous festivals to benefit from evening promotions and a guaranteed great atmosphere. Saint Patrick’s Day is celebrated in the city between 14th and 18th of March with plenty of free entertainment on offer, whilst Dublin Dance Festival in May and Absolute Fringe in September offer select performances for free.
Dublin Culture Night takes place once a year and allows the public to immerse themselves in the city’s culture for free, with talks, performances and events for the whole family.
Budget cafes and restaurants are plentiful in Dublin, it’s just finding the ones with the tasty grub that’s the problem! The Pieman Café in the popular Temple Bar area serves delicious pies from a couple of euros, including Irish favourite steak and Guinness! The Parnell Heritage Bar & Grill is another budget favourite, with a friendly atmosphere it’s a great place to go for lunch or an evening meal with a few pints. For a traditional Irish fry up, Keoghs on Trinity Street is a great option, and if you’re after a quick snack, the café is famed for their scones and muffins!
Don’t worry about paying for a city tour, invest in a good guide book or download a free walking tour onto your ipod and stroll around the beautiful historic streets. Henrietta Street, dating back to the 18th century, is lined with stunning red brick Georgian mansions and Trinity College is the country’s most prestigious University, which can be explored at your leisure.
To save you time flitting from one side of the city to the next, why not take advantage of Dublinbikes. Similar to the system in London, the first 30minutes of your journey is free- perfect for short trips to get to the next sight!
Why bother with expensive shops when you have the delights of the Dublin markets at your fingertips? The Arts & Crafts Market in Newmarket Square is perfect to finding original souvenirs whilst Smithfield Outdoor Market on Friday and Ballymun Farmers Market on Thursday are a foodies paradise!