Travel to Dublin
July 20, 2006 10:17 AM   Subscribe

Next month, I am going on a trip to Dublin for a week. I have three questions for anyone who has experience with the city:
  1. Where would you recommend staying? (Hostels in the £10 / night range are my usual style.)
  2. What would you recommend seeing? (There is an AskMeFi post on this already, but it only covers a weekend-length stay)
  3. Is there anything particularly useful to know about going to Dublin?
posted by sindark to Travel & Transportation around Dublin, Ireland (20 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
IMHO, a week is too long to spend in Dublin itself. There is plenty of nightlife and hanging-out potential, but a lack of sightseeing to do in the daytime. I would consider heading out to Galway or Cork for some of the time.
posted by beniamino at 10:31 AM on July 20, 2006

I visited a couple years ago, and actually posted an Ask MeFi question of my own about it. (You might not have found it, since I hadn't tagged it with "Dublin" until about five minutes ago.)

What I ended up doing with my free day was going out to Howth, and taking a ferry out to Ireland's Eye, an uninhabited island a little ways off the coast, for a picnic lunch and some hiking. It's a great little day trip, and I highly recommend it.
posted by Johnny Assay at 10:35 AM on July 20, 2006

I lived in Dublin for a semester, and you really can see all its sights in 2-3 days. My favorite tourist sight in Dublin was the Natural Hisory Museum-- very old school, lots of dusty skeletons in glass cases. I recommend using Dublin as a jumping-off point for day-trips up and down the coast: for example, a worthwhile easy day trip (direct buses leave from Dublin daily) is hiking around Glendalough. And I would strongly recommend going to the West coast (not that long a bus or train ride, if I remember, just a few hours) to see Galway and the Aran isles. Or rent a car and drive around the countryside.
posted by MattS at 10:51 AM on July 20, 2006

Best answer: I went to Dublin a couple of months ago. I stayed at Dublin Hosteling International. It's a 3 or 4 block walk from the epicenter of town. The room was nice and cheap, and the location was decent (there are plenty of places to eat two blocks up or down the street, it's within walking distance of Aldi and Tesco, and there's a great chip shop and pub across the street). There was construction next door when I was there, though -- no clue if that's over, but it was annoyingly loud in the mornings. To be fair, there's construction all over Dublin, though.

You should try to get out of the city at least once. Glendalough is lovely, and lots of places have one-day van tours there. I took one offered by Over the Top Tours, and quite enjoyed it. Bus Eirann is a dirt-cheap way to get to Cork, Galway, and a bunch of other destinations. If you go to Cork, stay at the Aaran House Tourist Hostel -- friendly and cheap. Also, there are two canals that run through Dublin and its surroundings, the Grand Canal and the Royal Canal. You can walk along them for quite some distance. I took this canal walk, and it was one of the nicest things I did in Dublin.

Don't be paranoid or anything, but keep your wits about you. People like to throw eggs from cars in Dublin city center.
posted by vorfeed at 10:56 AM on July 20, 2006

You can probably cover the sights in the city centre in a couple of days, but it depends on what you're looking for.

For instance, Dublin's galleries and museums alone could easily absorb three or more days of your time (many of them are free, too).

Temple Bar and its surrounds are also good for a wander, and I've heard good things about Smithfield too (but I never go further west than Capel Street so I can't vouch for that).

There's also plenty to see (if not do) in the suburbs. Howth is recommended (take the DART or the 31/31B bus) and I'm sure there are nice places to visit on the Southside as well, but I'm a Northsider, so... :oP

Accomodation-wise: a friend of mine from Canada stayed at the Abbey Court Hostel at O'Connell Bridge a few years ago. It seemed very well appointed for a hostel to me.
posted by macdara at 11:04 AM on July 20, 2006

I agree a week may be a bit much.

I suggest that you don't stay at a hostel near the Guinness brewery, I think it's called "Brewery Hostel" or something like that. The stench of fermenting yeast will linger in your clothes.
posted by Brian James at 11:07 AM on July 20, 2006

I'll second the Guiness advice in Johnny's thread. If you like Guiness, the brewery is worth a visit. You don't get into the actual guts of the brewery and the "visitors' center" is weak, but you do get your money's worth of fresh beer at the end. When I was there a number of American wives weren't interested in redeeming their Free Beer tickets at the end of the tour and gave them to me. A fellow traveler and I spent about 90 minutes drinking their share...

The Irish Music Hall of Fame was disappointing. I'm not sure what I expected, but I could only keep myself entertained for about 40 minutes.

If you're interested in seeing some traditional music, ask around. The atmosphere will vary quite a bit from place to place. Some will be full of bus loads of old folks from Boston, others will be more intimate and/or local.
posted by jaysus chris at 11:16 AM on July 20, 2006

I've also stayed at Dublin Hosteling International and the Temple Bar Hostel. Both were clean, safe, and convenient. The latter is a great location if you're planning on bar hopping around Temple Bar, but it's not ideal if you need a full eight hours of sleep every night.

I agree that a week in Dublin alone might be too much. Taking the bus tour and seeing the sights only takes a couple days. Definitely make time for the Guinness Brewery and Jamesons Distillery tour...

When I was in Ireland, I took the train from Dublin, stayed overnight at the Riverside Inn in Athlone (nice, quiet little town), and continued on by train to Galway. It was a good way to see/do a lot, provided you don't mind spending a few hours (roundtrip) on the train.
posted by 27 at 11:25 AM on July 20, 2006

I third (or whatever we're up to) the day-trip recommendations. I've been to Dublin 5 times in the past 7 or so years, and after about 3 days total I felt like I'd seen most of what I wanted to see. Glendalough is a great day trip and it's quite lovely. Belfast is a little over a 2 hour train ride each way, so I went up there this last trip and it was fascinating. If you want to stay near Dublin, I strongly second the recommendation of Howth - it is absolutely stunning and you can hike around up in the hills for hours if you want.

And though it's the touristy thing, taking one of those hop-on, hop-off buses throughout the city is a pretty good deal - I think it's 12 euro for students, and you can hop off at both the Guinness brewery and the Jameson distillery, and then just hop back on another one, a little more tipsy than you were when you hopped off. :)
posted by bedhead at 11:30 AM on July 20, 2006

There was a literary-themed pub crawl that I went on, that sounds really cheesy but was actually quite entertaining. I used to be a big fan of Irish writers so that was a fun way to spend an evening.

There's also an Irish writer's museum in Dublin that is worth seeing.

I highly recommend renting a car and driving around Ireland for a day or more. A friend and I drove just a short distance from Dublin and found ourselves in some of the most beautiful, open countryside I have ever seen. Then we drove along the coast, saw Martello Tower, etc., and had a great time.
posted by jayder at 11:35 AM on July 20, 2006

If you're a vegetarian, go to Cornucopia on Wicklow St. Some of the best vegan/veggie fare I've ever had. Also not nearly as expensive as some of the other restaurants in the area.
posted by np312 at 11:36 AM on July 20, 2006 [3 favorites]

And this is the pub crawl. (Sorry for the multiple posts.)
posted by jayder at 11:40 AM on July 20, 2006

The Guinness brewery is worth a visit, but only for the Gravity Bar at the top. If you pay for the tour you get a drink token, but the tour is exceptionally crap and the whole thing is worth avoiding. And you can just buy the Guinness like a regular bar. They make it look like you need to pay for a tour - you don't. Just jump in the elevator and take in the views from the top, great way to spend an afternoon.
posted by fire&wings at 11:49 AM on July 20, 2006

Having recently been there, I'll throw my 2 cents in -

St. Patrick's Cathedral is beautiful, and fairly obligatory. If you feel like resting your feet and people-watching, hang out under some trees on St. Stephen's Green for a bit.

I'd also recommend heading out into the rest of Ireland. Car rental is easy and reasonably priced, and you'll get used to driving on the left quickly, I promise (that is, if you're not from a left-driving country already).

The already-mentioned Glendalough and Howth are fantastic. You might want to head northwest and see Newgrange.

Having spent most of my time there in County Wicklow, I'd definitely recommend it - it's a short drive south from Dublin, and Wicklow and Greystones are both worth spending some time in. (to be noted: it's not a nightlife-heavy area, but rather, a fairly "normal" representation of Ireland. I got more than one comment that "We don't see a lot of you [americans] around here".)

Further afield, there's Waterford (100 miles from Dublin), and on the way, Kilkenny.

Sorry for the WP heavy linkage, but hey, if it works, right?
posted by god hates math at 2:21 PM on July 20, 2006

Ashfield House, Isaac's Hostel and Abbey Court would be three of the most centrally located hostels (full list), so you shouldn't have too much hassle finding a handy place to stay for that price. Most of the good stuff's been covered already but if you get a chance to go to any GAA matches in Croke Park (big 'if' though, as tickets are usually scarce for matches at this stage - particularly if Dublin are playing) I'd recommend it, always a great occasion!
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:57 PM on July 20, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks a lot for all the great responses. I hadn't expected to be lacking for things to do in a week but, on the basis of these suggestions, I will definitely do a few day trips. Renting a car is out of the question since I don't have a driver's license that is valid here, but I think it should be possible to find my way by bus or train.

In any case, I am printing off this whole thread for planning and reference.
posted by sindark at 4:13 PM on July 20, 2006

The Chester Beatty Library is worth a visit. So is Marshes Library if you'll be seeing St Patricks Cathedral, it's right next door.

As the northsider (hi macdara!) glossed over the glorious southside, this southsider will recommend a walk along Killiney Bay or in Sandycove, or dinner in Dalkey or Monkstown. All of them are very easily and quickly available via the DART.

In my opinion the guinness brewery thing is a horrible tourist trap, better to hit one of the nicer pubs for an afternoon (I'll recommend Kehoes but someone else will probably chime in with a different suggestion).

I think Newgrange is fantastic and well worth the trip, personally, but I know people who've been disappointed with it so read up on it and see if it sounds like your thing.

A couple of years ago someone loaned me this book (and I'm a native Dub!) which I thought was a really excellent tourist guide, particularly the various walks thru the city they outline.

The horse show is sort of an institution in Dublin and is on next month, in the RDS. Definitely pick up the Times and look through their listings - it's a big city and there are any number of shows, festivals and events on this time of year which get minimal publicity.
posted by jamesonandwater at 5:59 PM on July 20, 2006

Definitely, definitely, definitely go to the Chester Beatty Library if you want to look at some beautiful manuscripts. About a million times better than seeing the Book of Kells. A billion even. And it's free!
posted by robcorr at 8:15 PM on July 20, 2006

Also, the Jameson distillery tour is much better than the Guinness tour. Make sure you put your hand up at the start, as you'll get a whole bunch of free whisky, whiskey and bourbon.
posted by robcorr at 8:19 PM on July 20, 2006

« Older Which light best portrays an accurate depiction of...   |   Recommendations for international movers? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.