There are few places on earth with the energy and enthusiasm of Dublin in full flow. The Republic of Ireland’s capital city is a hive of activity… but never too busy to step back and take a breather.
With this is mind, we asked our friends at iStudy International Dublin for some local, insider tips for enjoying Dublin on a budget. Here is what they said:
Guinness and Oysters
Photo: Masaaki Komori
Have a pint of Guinness and fresh Oysters for €15 in Davy Byrnes pub, Duke Street. Dublin is famous for pubs and has many fantastic places but this is one is particularly famous as it’s mentioned in James Joyce’s book Ulysses. In the book Leopold Bloom is on a journey and visits the pub ordering a gorgonzola & mustard sandwich with a glass of burgundy, which is also available on the menu today. (davybyrnes.com)
Bewley’s Lunchtime Theatre
Bewley’s Café is a Dublin landmark which opened in 1927, and although it is no longer owned by the original family, it is still a significant part of the city’s cultural history. It has been named in many songs, plays and even in James Joyce’s book Dubliners.
There is an intimate and stylish theatre, nestled away on the second floor and there is no better way to enjoy the work of some of Ireland’s leading theatrical talents than up-close-and-personal at one of the lunchtime performances. Doors open at 12.50. Performance is free and lunch costs €8-€12 approx. (bewleyscafetheatre.com)
The Jeanie Johnson
After pigging out at Bewley’s, a trip to the Jeanie Johnson (stationed at Custom House Quay) may make you feel a little guilty. This working replica of Dublin’s most famous famine ship: the boats that took victims of the potato famine abroad to a better life. It has been painstakingly restored and there’s a fascinating museum inside. You can see the haunting bronze famine statues on the boardwalk. Entry for students is € 7.50. (jeaniejohnston.ie)
Rent a bike in the Phoenix Park for €5
At 707 hectares, the Phoenix Park is one of the largest enclosed recreational spaces within any European capital city. It was established in 1662 by illustrious viceroy James Butler, Duke of Ormond, on behalf of King Charles II. About 30% of the Phoenix Park is covered by trees, which are mainly broadleaf parkland species such as oak, ash, lime, beech, sycamore and horse chestnut.
A herd of Fallow Deer has lived in the Park since the 1660’s when they were introduced by the Duke of Ormond and over 400 of them can be seen there today. The Park is also home to the Irish President, Dublin Zoo and Farmleigh – a beautiful house and gardens. Entry is €12.50. (phoenixparkbikehire.com)
Catch an art-house flick and then hit the Cobblestone
Photo: William Murphy
Take in an art-house film in the Lighthouse Cinema, Smithfield for €7.50. This luxury cinema is also unique as you can buy a beer or glass of wine for about €5 and take it with you to the movie. Following the film, you might want to go to the adjacent Cobblestone pub, where you can listen to live Irish music (free) and have a delicious pint of Guinness (€ 4.80).
Skywalk Tour at Croke Park
Are you brave enough to try the Croke Park Skywalk Tour? Croke Park is the new national sports stadium. On this tour you have the opportunity to walk 600 metres on the roof of the stadium and take in spectacular views of Dublin city from 44 metres above the pitch. There five viewing platforms of the city and at each platform you listen to an audio commentary of the different landmarks you can see. The tour costs €20 for students. (skylinecrokepark.ie)
Photo: Dirk Heitepriem
Although it is a little out of the city centre, Ardgillan Castle is well worth the 30 minute bus or train ride. Set in 194 acres of rolling countryside and a few steps from the beach, this country house is a breath of fresh air on a sunny afternoon. The Dean of Clonfert built Ardgillan in 1738, including the ornate library with a secret door! Entry is only €5.00. (ardgillanskerries.com)
Much more Guinness!
Photo: Corey Harmon
No trip to Dublin is complete without exploring the origins of its most famous beer. The Guinness Storehouse is Ireland’s number one visitor attraction. This historical building is central to Dublin’s and Ireland’s heritage, and has been continually updated to create a blend of fascinating industrial tradition with a contemporary edge. The seven floors bring to life the rich heritage of the black stuff. The tour costs €13 and includes a pint of Guinness. (guinness-storehouse.com)
Shirley Temple Bar
Fancy an alternative night out on Sunday? Go to see a hilarious drag show and play bingo with Ireland’s most famous drag queen Shirley Temple Bar, at The George on George’s Street. This show is loads of fun and a huge crowd attends (straight, gay, bi – doesn’t matter).
Get there for 9pm to play bingo and 10pm for the show. Entry is free before 10pm, €5 thereafter. Drinks cost €5-€6. (thegeorge.ie)
Explore Georgian Dublin like a Georgian
Photo: Mikel Ortega
Take a 30-minute tour by horse and trap around Georgian Dublin, visiting beautiful squares and multi-coloured Georgian doors. Learn about the famous writers and poets, such as Oscar Wilde, who once lived in the area. See the old canals that used to transport goods in and out of Dublin. Wrap up warm if it’s a winter’s day! Get a group of 4 together and pay €10 each.
No website, just walk to the top of Grafton Street and you will see the horse and traps. Talk to the young men there who will help you. These horse and cart drivers are very local guys and some have a strong accent, listen carefully and you will pick it up! You can also try to negotiate a cheaper price… that’s part of the fun!
So there you go… 10 fantastic things to see, do, ride, eat and drink in Dublin for less than €20. Tempted? You can find out more about an English course in Dublin here.
Get involved! Share your Dublin experiences in the comments section below.