Dublin is rightfully high on many travelers’ lists, and this at-once ancient and modern city is full of welcoming people and a rich culture that stretches back for millennia. While there’s more to do in Dublin than one trip often allows, here are some budget-friendly tips that won’t disappoint.
1: Get a Dublin Pass
The Dublin Pass card covers admission to 33 of Dublin’s top attractions, including the Guinness Storehouse, Dublin Zoo, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, Kilmainhan Gaol, Malahide Castle, and the National Museum of Ireland. Cards are available in multiple day passes, and start at €39 per adult/€21 per child for a day (€105 per adult for 6 days.) Pro tip: Plan your daily itinerary beforehand to make sure the pass will result in savings.
2: Get around with a LEAP Card
A LEAP Card allows visitors to use buses, the Luas tram services and DART, and Commuter Rail in Dublin for 72 hours for €19.50. Cards are sold at the 24-hour SPAR retail shop in the arrivals hall at the Dublin Airport in Terminal 1 and Terminal 2, or at the Travel Information Desk in Terminal 1. Depending on your itinerary, this can save quite a bit in transportation fares.
3: Check out the free attractions
The National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology displays artifacts such as stone tools from Ireland’s megalithic era, gold work from the Iron Age, Viking relics, and the preserved bog bodies of the Iron Age. The National Museum of Ireland: Natural History is unique in that, it in itself, is a time capsule of sorts, with its collections of stuffed animals from all over the world. Little changed from when Dr. David Livingstone cut the ribbon here in 1857. Don't miss St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin’s signature 22-acre Victorian park where blooming flowers set off Ireland’s famous emerald grass, or the campus of Trinity College, which is free and fascinating to explore, though the €11.50 admission fee to see the Book of Kells and Old Library is well worth it. Opened in 2008 at Trinity College and billing itself as science and art melded, the Science Gallery is a free museum devoted to exploring issues related to science through rotating exhibits. Finally, the Temple Bar district often has events and markets where hours can be spent just soaking up the friendly vibe of Dublin.
4: Take advantage of Free First Wednesdays
On the first Wednesday of every month, attractions overseen by the Office of Public Works offer free admission. Sites in Dublin include the Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol and Casino Marino. Others worth the trip include Carrowmore Megalithic Cemetery and Donegal Castle near County Sligo, and the Newgrange Monument, about 21km north of Dublin. Otherwise, admission price to many of these sites is still a very reasonable €4 or so.
5: Booze it up for a bargain
A tour of the Guinness Storehouse (free with a Dublin Pass) is a Dublin must-do, and even non-beer drinkers will appreciate Arthur Guinness’ contributions to Dublin over the centuries. Save 10 percent when you book your tickets online (normally €18). If you can, time your visit to end at sundown, when you can see the lights of Dublin coming to life from the Gravity Bar with its 360-degree view of the city. The Jameson Whiskey Distillery also offers online savings of 10 percent (adults normally are €14).