Planning a solo trip to Dublin? Here’s everything you need to know for your visit:
- 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
- Best hostel for solo travelers in Dublin: Jacobs Inn. Located right by the bus station (and close to the city centre) in a safe area, this is a cozy establishment with clean beds and friendly staff. Cool “sleeping pod” bed design. Book in advance, as room prices in Dublin are notoriously high for any kind of accommodation.
- The cheapest accommodations are found near Dublin’s main bus station, Busaras.
- The areas south of the river are more expensive.
- Light rail (LUAS) runs from 5.30 AM to 12.30 AM, every 15 minutes (every 5 minutes during peak times). Fares range from €1.70 to €2.60, depending on travel zones used.
- 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 €2.10. A return day trip to Belfast will run you €8.00.
- You can easily rent a bicycle from one of the many bikeshare stations. Free for the first 30 minutes, and an additional €0.50 for every half hour after. Subscribe online and buy either the 1-day or 3-day ticket (dublinbikes official site).
- Taxis can be found on every corner (there are over 25,000 registered cabs in Dublin). Call City Cabs (872 7272) or National Radio Cabs (677 2222).
- 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.
- Hip scene: the famous Temple Bar has a well-established nightlife scene, and is the mecca for bars and clubs in Dublin.
- For a real local pub experience, go to the Merrion Row and Baggot Street areas.
- Opened in 1198, The Brazen Head is allegedly the oldest pub in Ireland. Very touristy, but a good stop nonetheless.
- Great pubs/bars for solo travelers: Fibber Magees (rock/metal), Cassidys (classic), Bruxelles (fancier), Thomas House (beer hall), Token (arcade games), Anseo, and P. Mac’s (gastropub).
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 defence 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 humour, 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.
- Great restaurants to try: Terra Madre (cozy Italian), Grano (Italian), Etto ($$ – European), Variety Jones (Irish), allta restaurant, Camden Kitchen, F.X. Buckley Steakhouse ($$$ – multiple locations),
- Where to find good cheap eats: Indian restaurants around South William Street area serve three course meals for cheap. Parnell Street has a dense concentration of Chinese and Asian restaurants. Affordable (yet delicious) places: Takara Ramen & Deli Sushi Bar, Sano Pizza, and Xian Street Food Dublin, Forno 500 (pizza), and Suesey Street ($$$).
- Dangerous areas: Ireland has a low crime rate, and the murder rate is lower than any other EU state. Avoid the Temple Bar area at night (gets rowdy).
- Call 999 or 112 for police, fire or ambulance.
Recommended trip duration: 2-3 days