So, I’ve just got back from a short trip to the beautiful city of Dublin with my friends. As you can see by the title, we were in Dublin a mere 36 hours so it was a very short trip, however, we still managed to have a good time and spend a bit of time together before we all head separate our ways to university.
Anyway, as we are all students we all had limited budgets but still managed to have a really great time, so I thought I would share some tips I have on how to get great prices and also the places I would recommend visiting in Dublin, I will review some of the places in greater detail in some future posts.
In terms of flights, it is best to look at budget airlines such as Ryanair for the cheapest prices. I know flying with Ryanair doesn’t appeal to everyone but especially when flying somewhere like Dublin where the flight time is 20min, it doesn’t matter as much. However, I had no complaints about Ryanair at all, they exceeded my expecations. Here are a few tips I have for flying with Ryanair:
- Be prepared to fly from one airport and return to another airport. Especially with Ryanair you will nearly always be able to get a better deal because you can pick the two cheapest priced flights. Obviously don’t pick airports miles and miles away, I for example have 3 airports not too far away so we had three to pick the cheapest combination of flights from
- Secondly, book both flights separately, not together. This way, when you book the return from Dublin, for example, it charges you in euros which when converted to pounds at the check out works out cheaper. For example our return flight booked in pounds was £9.99 but when we booked it as a single from Dublin, it was €9.99 which worked out as £7.36.
- Only use hand luggage if you are going for a few days as they charge quite a bit extra for hold luggage.
- Don’t pay the £5 each way to reserve seats, if you get them randomly allocated your part usually gets put together anyway.
All together, we got our flights for £17.30 which for return flights is pretty good. I would recommend booking directly with Ryanair as it seems to be the best price, you can usually get a one way flight to Dublin for £9.99.
The best type of accommodation when on a budget is a youth hostel. When my friend first suggested it I wasn’t too keen, but I looked through the many hostels in Dublin and found a hidden gem, Generator hostel Dublin. It was a great hostel, modern, trendy and came at a great price, it was £12.50 for the night. Another great thing about hostels is they are often surprisingly close to the city centre and you get the chance to meet other fellow travellers. We only had one other person in our room but he was from California so we got to hear some amazing stories, it was one of the highlights of the trip.
We got the flight out early morning at 6 and we were in the city centre by 8 so we had the whole day to explore. On the first day we visited phoenix park which is a great place to visit as its free, there are deer, a zoo (which isn’t free 😦 ) and you can hire bikes because it is absolutely huge. We got lunch from a subway which is a great way to do lunch cheaply and you can take away and eat it anywhere such as the park which was fantastic as it was such a warm day. The nearby Irish Museum of Modern art is also a great free attraction, the El Lissitzky exhibition was the highlight, there is a photo at the top of the post. The early morning flight did become a regret though as we had to have nap back at the hostel before heading out for the evening.
The highlight of the trip for me was the Temple Bar area of Dublin. Its a wonderfully colourful, trendy area full of independent shops and bars, it’s a hipsters paradise. As you walk down the cobbled street there is wonderful traditional Irish music coming out of every bar, the smell of good food and a lot of interesting graffiti all over. I think I went a bit overboard on the photography of the graffiti but it really adds another dimension to the area. We had food here in a local restaurant, watched the world go by and soaked up the amazing atmosphere, the area was absolutely buzzing and it was only a Tuesday evening, it is just like that all the time. The night was finished off by an Irish pub crawl. We finished the crawl in a small pub near the hostel, it was quaint but nice and quite, just what I needed but the end of the night.
The second day and our last, we ate breakfast at the hostel which is a good way to cut down the cost of food without compromising on the quality as the hostel served truly great food. Two free attractions we visited were the National Gallery of Ireland and the National History Museum. The gallery was full of art from some of Irelands most famous painters, however, as you may have seen from some of the photos, I was more interested in the building as I am a big fan of modern architecture. The highlight of the Day however, was the Guinness Storehouse which isn’t free, but you can get a student discount, it is probably Ireland’s most famous attraction. By far the best part of the storehouse is the google 360 bar at the very top, you get a free pint with your ticket so you can sit, enjoy a Guinness and admire the fantastic views of the whole of Dublin.
Overall, we saw a lot of Dublin’s most famous sites and managed to do it on a students budget. However, I did go and spend €100 on vintage clothing from a great store that I found called Tola Vintage, but I’ll probably post about it tomorrow showing what I bought. The best thing to do though is visit a lot of the free attractions and maybe limit yourself to two of the fee paying ones.
Anyway, hope you enjoyed this post, let me know any of your budget travel tips and any of your must see sights in Dublin.