- Founded in 841 by Vikings, Dublin is the capital of Ireland (population: 1.5 million).
- Has 2 names: Baile Átha Cliath (“town of the hurled ford”) and Dubhlinn (black pool).
- Home of many famous artists, musicians, actors, and writers (including George Bernard Shaw, James Joyce, Bram Stoker, and Oscar Wilde).
- Nicknames: The Dubs, The Liffeysiders, The Jackeens, The Jacks, The Metropolitans, The Pale, The Big Schmoke (referring to the city’s smog problems up to the 1980s).
- Currency: Euro (EUR).
- Spoken languages: official languages are Irish and Gaelic, but almost everyone speaks English.
- Best time to visit: July to August (when temperatures range from 15° to 20° Celsius).
- Arriving from the airport: 3 types of bus transport: Aircoach (€7), Dublin Bus express AirLink service (€6), and other local routes (€2.65, with more frequent stops). Taxi fare is €20 to €30.
WHERE TO STAY
Dublin has many youth hostels (€20 per night), bed & breakfasts (€45 per person) and hotels (€50+ per room). The cheapest accommodation is found near Dublin’s main bus station, Busaras. The areas south of the river are more expensive.
- Dublin’s train services (Dublin Area Rapid Transit or DART), run from 6.30 AM to midnight with departures every 10 to 20 minutes. A one-way ticket starts from €2.20.
- Light rail (LUAS) runs from 5.30 AM to 12.30 AM, every 15 minutes (every 5 minutes during peak times). Fares range from €1.60 to €2.40, depending on travel zones used. A pass is available for €5.30/day, €19.10/week, or €76/month from the ticket machines – save money by purchasing from a newsagent at €5/day, €17.50/week, or €67/month.
- You can rent a bicycle (40 stations and 450 bikes in the city centre) with a €10 Smart Card (deposit of €150) purchased online or at any of the stations. Free for the first 30 minutes, and an additional €0.50 for every half hour after.
- Taxis can be found on every corner of the street. Call City Cabs (872 7272) or National Radio Cabs (677 2222). The fare starts at i€4.10, with an additional €1.03 for every km. At night and in the early morning (From 10 PM to 8 AM), fares start at €4.45 with €1.35 for every km thereafter.
- Drinking age is 18 (not enforced, under 18s are allowed in bars until 8 PM and after with an adult). Last call is midnight, but you can find bars and clubs open until 2.30 AM.
- Local watering holes: O’Reilly’s on Tara Street, Fibber McGees on Parnell Square. For a real local pub experience, go to the Merrion Row and Baggot Street areas.
- Hip scene: the famous Temple Bar has a well-established nightlife scene, and is the mecca for bars and clubs in Dublin.
- Note: the hot clubbing spots change often, so check out magazines like In Dublin, or online guides such Entertainment Ireland.
- Opened in 1198, The Brazen Head is allegedly the oldest pub in Ireland.
UNIQUE LANDMARKS TO VISIT
- Trinity College. Be sure to check out the Book of Kells (in the Long Room Library), a sacred manuscript authored by Celtic Monks in 800 AD. It is an illustrated representation of the four gospels of the New Testament.
- Christ Church Cathedral – the oldest building in Dublin, dating back to the 11th century. Entry fee of €6 (€4 for students).
- Must-sees: The National Museum, National Gallery and National Library. Admission is free to all three.
- The Dublin Writers Museum is dedicated to James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, and many others. The tour is €7.25.
- Stop by the Guinness Storehouse and Old Jameson Distillery – be sure to raise your hand when they are picking volunteers for a tasting!
- Founded in 1204 for defense purposes, the Dublin Castle is now an Irish government complex. The tour is €4.50 (€3.50 for students).
- Go on an evening gravedigger and ghost bus tour. Perfect as an introduction to the city’s infamous plague epidemic.
- Walk around the Oscar Wilde house and statue, found at the corner of Merrion Square (across from Merrion Park).
- Day trip out of Dublin: take a bus out to the Wicklow mountains and Ireland’s Valley of the Kings. Discover the beautiful countryside, where a historic and mystical area awaits. Visit Giant’s Causeway, with its incredible geometric rock formations. Be sure to check out the famous rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede.
- Irish people are known for their humor, and you will notice that they never seem to be in a hurry.
- You can test your Gaelic Football & Hurling skills at the Croke Park Experience.
- Where to find good cheap eats: Indian restaurants around South William Street area serve three course meals for €10. Khyber Tandoori on South William Street and Shalimar on South Great Georges Street. Parnell Street, with a dense concentration of Chinese and Asian restaurants. Leo Burdock Fish and Chips on 2 Werburgh Street offers food for 2 at €10.
- Dangerous areas: Ireland has a low crime rate, and the murder rate is lower than any other EU state. At night, avoid the Temple Bar area, frequented by drunks and heroin addicts. If you do have problems, call 999 or 112 for police, fire or ambulance.
The Best Dublin Guide Books:
Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days