Dublin's not the bargain it once was, but we have tips to help keep things cheap in this city of pubs and literary history.
Dublin Budget Tips
We always recommend stopping by a tourist office in any city as soon as possible.
The Dublin Tourism Centre located at St. Andrew's Church on Suffolk Street (open from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday), is remarkably well outfitted. The trusted staff there will plan itineraries, sell tickets, exchange money, provide Dublin and national bus information, make budget hotel and hostel reservations and give you rail transportation information, among other services. Dublin Tourism is one of the best and most comprehensive tourism information centers we've come across.
Dublin Tourism offices are also located at the following locations: in the Arrivals Hall at Dublin Airport (open daily from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.), at Dun Laoghaire Harbour's Ferry Terminal (open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. and from 2:30 p.m. until 5:30 p.m.) and at 14 Upper O'Connell Street (open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m until 5 p.m.).
For more information, visit the official site of the Dublin Tourist Board
Prices and Passes for Museums and other Attractions
Museums and other attractions are quite inexpensive in Dublin. Many of the city's most important museums (see below) are actually free! Yeehaw! This is particularly welcome given the fact that Dublin is not quite a Cheapo fantasyland.
Admission prices on popular museums in Dublin, listed for adults and children.
Dublin Writers Museum: This treasure trove of memorabilia from Dublin’s long line of literary royalty—from Oscar Wilde to Samuel Beckett—is a must-visit for booklovers.
Prices: €7.50 (adults); €4.70 (children); €18 (family, two adults/three children); Combined tickets are available with either the James Joyce Center or the Shaw Birthplace (€11 adults; €7.50 children; €29 family)
James Joyce Centre: This collection devoted to Dublin’s sacred scribe is housed in the former home of Denis Maginni, one of the many characters immortalised by Joyce.
Prices: €5 (adults); €4 (reduced)
Dublin Zoo: One of the world’s oldest zoos, Dublin’s zoo is devoted to conservation and protecting endangered species.
Prices: €15.50 (adults); €12.50 (reduced); €11 (children age 16 and under); free (children age 3 and under)
Dublin Castle: The 13th-century castle atop Cork Hill is still used for government business, but parts, including an original tower and excavations, are available for visiting.
€4.50 (adults); €3.50 (reduced); €2 (children 12 and under)
Given the fact that many museums in Dublin are free, we do not recommend buying a Dublin Pass. That said, the Dublin Pass may simplify travel for those committed to spending quite a bit of time on public transportation and at various attractions throughout the city. The adult Dublin Pass costs €35 for one day, €55 for two days, €65 for three days, and €95 for six days. Youth passes run €19 for one day, €31 for two days, €39 for three days, and €49 for six days.
In addition to offering free admission to 30 attractions (some of which, we must remind you, are already free), the Dublin Pass also offers a free airport transfer, and hop-on/hop-off tourist bus access. Check the tourism site for deals—sometimes Dublin Tourism offers the three-day pass for the price of a two-day pass. For more information, visit www.dublinpass.ie.
Many of Dublin's museums are free. The National Gallery's general collection, the Irish Museum of Modern Art, and the National Museum of Decorative Arts and History, plus several other Dublin museums are all free.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) is the most widely accepted form of student ID and provides discounts on sights, accommodations, food and transportation. Applicants must be working toward a degree at a secondary or post-secondary school and must be at least 12 years of age. The card costs US$22 and is valid until the end of the year issued. All cardholders have access to a 24-hour emergency helpline. In the US call 1-800-223-7986 or visit the ISIC online
For non-students 25 years and younger, the International Youth Travel Card, IYTC, also offers many of the same benefits as the ISIC. The card costs US$22 and is valid for one year from the date of issue.
Travelers with student cards, such as ISIC and IYTC qualify for big discounts from travel agencies. Most flights from budget agencies are on major airlines, though peak season deals might be on less reliable chartered aircraft.
Senior travelers will find some discounts in Dublin. Be sure to carry your passport to offer proof of your age. Sometimes, seniors must be members of a particular association in order to receive discounts. Members of the AARP get discounts on hotels, airfares and car rentals. They can be reached at in the United States at 1-888-687-2277 or visited online.
Finding a Budget Hotel in Dublin
As might be expected, the most coveted areas of Dublin (think St. Stephen’s Green) are the most expensive, but there are plenty of cheap hotels in Dublin to go around. In fact, the popular (and pricey) Parnell Square is home to one of our favorite properties, the affordable and historic Charles Stewart. Gardiner Street Upper and Lower is home to many cheap hotels and B&Bs, some of them downright gems.
Hotels will be at their most expensive during July and August, with spikes again during festivals (read: If you want to get your green beer on for St. Patrick’s Day, book well in advance). Rates are lowest between November and February, but we suggest visiting in late spring (May/June) or or early fall (September/October) when the rates are still low but the temps a bit higher.
Check out our hotel overview for more information on finding a cheap hotel in Dublin.
Other ResourcesFor more tips on keeping your trip to Dublin affordable, check out the sites listed on our helpful links page (including the city's official tourism website). You can also find more tips for planning your Dublin vacation on TripAdvisor and on Rick Steves' Graffiti Wall.
Related blog posts:
- Favorite Art Galleries in Dublin, from Classical to Contemporary
- A Full Day in Dublin for Under €20
- Tourist to Avoid in Dubin
- 4 Ways to Keep It Cheap in Dublin
- How to Find Affordable Theater Tickets in Dublin
Updated and edited: January 2012
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