This past June, I was lucky enough to travel to Dublin with a friend after graduation. Despite its questionable weather, Ireland is a gorgeous country with plenty to see and do! We stayed in Dublin for four days, taking one day trip across the country to the Cliffs of Moher. Since both my friend and I are recent grads (and had yet to find real jobs), we had a strict budget in mind for our Euro-trip. Here’s how we did Dublin on a budget!
Where to stay
Keeping our budget in mind, we decided to stay in a hostel during our time in Dublin. With only two people, hostels tend to be much cheaper than Airbnb. After some research on my favorite website, hostelworld.com, we decided on Abbey Court Hostel. Situated in the middle of Dublin, Abbey Court was clean, safe and overall the perfect choice for young and budget-conscious travelers. They serve a complimentary breakfast from 7:30-9:30 am (although we were never up early enough to enjoy it). From the airport, all you have to do is hop on the 700 bus to O’Connell Bridge, and from there it’s a two minute walk to the hostel. It takes a half an hour and only costs €7!
What to do
The Guinness Storehouse and The Gravity Bar
As Ireland’s most popular tourist attraction, the Guinness Storehouse is a must-see for first timers in Dublin. Walk-in tickets are €25, but it’s easy to get a better deal if you buy them online beforehand, follow this link to purchase tickets here. Seven floors of interactive beer experiences all lead up to the top level, The Gravity Bar. Redeem your free Guinness ticket at the top and experience beautiful, 360 degree views of Dublin (even though it’s nearly impossible to get a picture near the window).
Go on a Pub Crawl
My personal favorite thing to do in every city! If you sign up for one at the beginning of your trip, it’s a great way to meet fellow travelers to hang out with for the rest of your stay (especially for those traveling alone). We ended up booking Sandman’s New Dublin Pub Crawl for only €12 each. Starting at Bad Bob’s in Temple Bar, our amazing guide, Michael, led us to five of Dublin’s best bars in five hours! We had an amazing time and met some super fun travelers. I would definitely recommend this pub crawl for any broke, wild travelers looking to have a great time in Dublin on a budget.
Trinity College and The Book of Kells
While you’re in Dublin, why not pop over and see one of the oldest books in the world? The Book of Kells was written by four Christian monks around 800 AD. An €14 ticket (€11 for students) will get you in to see the books, and the museum surrounding them, as well as the Long Room, the main chamber of the Old Library built in the early 18th century. Click here to buy tickets!
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
As the National Church of Ireland, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is definitely worth a visit. Although we opted out of going inside the 800 year-old cathedral, we spent an hour taking pictures and walking the grounds outside of it. If you decide to go inside, admission to the church is pretty reasonable at only €7 (€6 for students), and you can buy tickets online here.
For those looking to do some shopping in Dublin (on a budget of course), Penneys is the place to be. They sell tons of cute, and very affordable, clothing, accessories and travel must-haves. There was a location right next to our hostel and both of us left Dublin with suitcases a little more stuffed than when we came!
Penneys near Abbey Court Hostel: 39 O’Connell Street Lower, North City, Dublin 1, D01 PY90, Ireland
Confusingly enough, Temple Bar does not mean one bar (although there is an actual bar with that name). Temple Bar refers to a young and fun area of Dublin. Located right across the river from Abbey Court Hostel, Temple Bar is home to tons of fun bars and clubs and live music galore! It’s a great place to hang out, especially for young, fun-seeking travelers looking to grab a Guinness, listen to some Irish music and chat with locals and tourists alike. Temple Bar is filled with delicious restaurants as well as bars, although the menus tend to be a little pricier in such a touristy area.
Dublin is famous for its colorful doors! We wandered around for hours, finally stumbling upon Lesson Street at the recommendation of a friend. This “Tiffany blue” door was our personal favorite, and strolling around to see all the different colors is a great way to spend an afternoon in Dublin. Just try not to annoy the locals who actually live there!
Dublin’s Umbrella Street
We happened upon this adorable umbrella street accidentally! While wandering around trying to find colorful doors (and getting a bit lost), we stumbled onto Anne’s Lane and this hidden treasure. Although you can find umbrella streets all over Europe, it can be fun to take a few cute pictures and get out of the sun for a bit!
Day Trip: Cliffs of Moher
Although not officially in Dublin, you can’t go to Ireland without seeing the beautiful Cliffs of Moher! The cliffs are actually pretty far from Dublin, around four hours each way, so we decided to book a day trip to simplify the travel time. Wild Rover Day Tours is located directly next to Abbey Court Hostel and we were able to pop in and book the Cliffs of Moher Day Trip quite easily. For €41 (€39 for students), you get a bus transfer to and from the Cliffs of Moher (eight hours total), a short stop in Doolin village for lunch, an optional (€54 extra) Cliffs Cruise, and a tour guide to provide interesting facts about Dublin throughout the bus ride. Our guide, Sean, was wonderful and well-educated on all facts of Ireland! The tour itself was very well done and I would definitely book with Gray Line Tours again.
Day Trip: Galway
If you have extra time in Dublin, consider taking a trip to the charming town of Galway. Many tour operators that offer day trips to the Cliffs will include a stop in Galway, as it’s only an hour and a half drive away. I traveled there on a Cliffs of Moher day trip with Bus2alps in November. Although it would have been fun to spend a night there (I hear the nightlife is great), a few hours is plenty of time to enjoy the highlights.
If you’re hungry, stop for a delicious Irish dinner at the Kings Head!
If it’s November/December, check out the Christmas markets!
Buy a Claddaugh Ring!
Claddaugh rings represent love, friendship and loyalty and are traditionally passed down from mother to daughter. Find a great, and affordable, selection at Claddagh Jewellers on Mainguard Street!
What to Eat
Although there is no shortage of delicious restaurants in Dublin, these were our (budget-friendly) favorites throughout our trip!
The Brazen Head
As the oldest pub in Dublin, opened in the 12th century, The Brazen Head is the picture of Irish charm. It’s the perfect place for a long, leisurely lunch or a lively Irish dinner!
And if I haven’t already convinced you…go for the fried brie.
Located directly next to Abbey Court Hostel, Arlington Hotel had great service, tasty food and reasonable prices. Directly after arriving from the states, we sat down to enjoy an Irish mixed plate filled with eggs, tomatoes, sausage, pork, mushrooms, black pudding, and fries while we waited for our check-in time. Arlington Hotel was also the site of our first Guinness in Ireland!
Fitzgerald’s was located right across the river from Abbey Court. The bartender was very welcoming and friendly as he served us Irish stew with soda bread, a Cajun chicken burger, and, of course, Guinness.
Trinity Bar Venue
After our 15th Guinness in a row, we headed over to Trinity Bar to try some of the other brews Dublin has to offer. I enjoyed a icy-cold Hop House 13, while my friend opted for a crisp Orchard Thieves Cider. The Guinness Pie was yummy and extremely filling!
The Ivy Cottage
The Ivy Cottage is an adorable little restaurant in Doolin village that our tour stopped at on our way back from the Cliffs of Moher. We ordered chicken and pulled pork paninis, both of which were super tasty and very affordable!
Gallagher’s Boxty House
Gallagher’s Boxty House is always listed as one of the best restaurants in Dublin. After reading countless raving recommendations, we decided to give it a try on one of our last nights. The food was amazing, definitely some of the best we had in Dublin. However, it was not the most budget friendly menu, and we ended up grabbing pizza afterwards because the portions were a bit small for the price.
On our last night in Dublin, we decided to go out and find a real Irish dessert. Woollen Mills was only a five minute walk away from Abbey Court, so we decided to stop in and try some of their whiskey caramel bread pudding. Although bread pudding is not normally my go-to dessert (I’m a sundae girl myself), we both enjoyed ourselves and it was a perfect way to end a great vacation in Dublin.
Thanks for reading and I hope you all enjoy Dublin as much as we did! If you like what you see, follow my blog and my Instagram @brokewildandtraveling.