• dublin ireland travel tips

7 Journey Tips for Dublin Ireland

So many backpackers don’t make it to Ireland because they don’t want to add an additional flight. That was why I didn’t go my first time to Europe. Even with budget airlines, sometimes flights seem out of the question. I absolutely loved Dublin, although I was there only 4 days. I hope that anyone who is counting Ireland out on their list, pinches a few pennies and gets there! Dublin has old cobblestone streets, vintage pubs, little shops instead of massive malls, and extremely nice people.

7 travel tips you shouldn’t miss in and around Dublin, Ireland.

1. Take the double decker sightseeing bus. Not just for sightseeing, but to save money! I’m aware how lame it sounds. Dublin isn’t the only city where I’ve found this is the case. It was cheaper for us to get a 2 day “student” Dublin Bus Tour pass, at 14 euro, which stops at 23 places, than it would have been to pay for a 2 day metro pass, the extra cabs we’d have to take. You can get on and off the tour bus as you like and pick up the next one when you’re ready. It saved money, showed us places we hadn’t realized were worth seeing, and we didn’t have to use as many brain cells staring at maps. Remember to check the tour bus cost in cities you visit to see if a pass can save you transport money! Some of the more memorable places in Dublin on the tour were Trinity College (Oscar Wilde is an Alumni of, and students will give you tours), St. Stephen’s Green, and Kilmainham Gaol, a museum and former prison.

2. Check out the “secret” Dubh Linn gardens where many locals go to have lunch. This is where Dublin gets its name; Dubh Linn meaning Dark Lake. These are located just behind the Dublin Castle, which you can wander around for free. Like most castles, you’ll have to pay to go inside (I didn’t due to budgeting, but will when I go back).

3. Learn to pour the perfect pint of Guinness. To save money, go to the Guinness Storehouse right before it closes and use those free pints as a little pre-game for your night out. After an afternoon nap, the tour bus took us to the Storehouse. Next a tour through the factory learning about hops and other beer related terms, we went to the rooftop at Gravity Bar for a free pint and an amazing view. We actually ended up for a few extra tickets somehow and chugged down as much free Guinness as we could, considering that’s a hard beer to drink fast! We’re told over 10,000,000 glasses are drank a day all over the world! It was only 11 euro to get into the Storehouse.

4. After learning to put the perfect shamrock in the foam of your beer, head to Temple bar, the main area for nightlife, food, and entertainment. But don’t go to Temple Bar neighborhood only at night, it’s full of activity during the day. Wash down your Irish potatoes or stew with a glass of Carlsburg beer and then head out to a pub. We got lucky, there was a Gaelic football game and people were celebrating. So many guys tried to explain what Gaelic Football is and what I got from it is, it’s like American football, except with your feet? You don’t have to stay in Temple bar area to have a good time. Some great pubs include: Temple Bar Pub, the Long Hall, the Porterhouse, Kehoe’s, or Stag’s Head.

5. Do some shopping! Near St. Stephen’s Green (the tour bus goes here) is a large mall. Or get some very Irish-looking tweed at Kevin & Howlin. The Loft Market has loads of new designers as well as vintage pieces of jewelry and clothing. Also, the last Sunday of every month is a flea market. My favorite place to shop was a local handicraft market outside of Dublin, in Howth. Which brings me to my next point…

6. Get out of Dublin! There are so many little coastal towns you can take the train to for a day trip. Glendalough is very popular, but we chose Howth, a small fishing town. The market in Howth had one of my favorite markets full of breads, cupcakes, jewelry, fudge, nuts, gyros… you name it! The vendors also offered samples. At Howth, we took a long hike up the coastline. Everyone says Ireland is so green, and it did not disappoint! Although it rained, the views were spectacular and the grass was so green and fresh you wanted to roll in it. We saw seals, horses, and a very vintage looking lighthouse. Its so picturesque it’s hard to imagine the people who live there. On the way back from Howth, we stopped at Bray, another coastal town that was having a festival.

7. I did not get a chance to do this in Dublin, but like most cities they offer pub crawls, bike tours, and free walking tours. Our hostel was full of information about these, as most hostels will be.

For me, the joys in Ireland were outside of Dublin center.

I think it’s like that in a lot of cities because I enjoy the countryside so much more than seeing buildings.  I have barely even touched on all Dublin has to offer, but it’s a huge city and I only had 4 days to wander around. There is SO much more to see, and definitely the kind of place you can’t go to only once. Even if you’re only 5% Irish, you’ll feel just like you belong there! You won’t run out of things to do in Dublin!




About the Author:

Rachel Jones left a career in nursing and lived on the beaches of Goa, India for the five years. Now she lives in Mexico where she gives advice on the 40+ countries she’s visited in the last 10 years. She’s the author of two India travel e-books: Guide to India and Insider’s Guide to Goa. Her blog, Werkenntwen, like its name, is a contradiction combining off-beat adventurous places with glamorous and bespoke travel. Werkenntwen has been featured in ELLE, Marie Claire, Grazia, and Cosmopolitan magazines. She’s a writer for Bravo TV.


  1. Mandy Indonesia January 5, 2014 at 4:28 am - Reply

    I’m happy and enjoy your post :) Journeyling is really beautiful, I love it and can’t imagine my life without it! Happy New Year 2014

    • Rachel January 5, 2014 at 11:38 am - Reply

      happy new year to you as well!

  2. David Ryan January 5, 2014 at 9:39 am - Reply

    Flying to Dublin next month. Can’t wait! Your post just made me more excited.

    • Rachel January 5, 2014 at 11:38 am - Reply

      awesome! have a great trip :)

  3. Elaine January 6, 2014 at 4:05 pm - Reply

    LOVE this post! I just spent this past summer in Dublin and fell in love with it. Your focus on the artisan market in Howth is so true; I definitely made it a point to go to that one, the one in Temple Bar and/or the one in Dun Laoghaire (another harbor, on the South side) weekly – such a perfect atmosphere. I’m jealous you were able to see seals & horses, how idyllic! Dublin is the kind of city you can see over a few days or a few years – never gets old. I’m surprised more backpackers don’t see Ireland as a prime place to go! -Elaine

    • Rachel January 6, 2014 at 6:56 pm - Reply

      awesome! howth market was amazing- thanks for the comment! You’re lucky you’ve got to see so much of ireland

  4. Lisa Imogen Eldridge January 10, 2014 at 11:06 am - Reply

    I went to the prison too – such an interesting place but being January it was freezing :) I’ going to have to go back and pull the perfect pint of Guinness through. Cool post.

    • Rachel Jones January 12, 2014 at 9:58 am - Reply

      i bet it was cold! I’d love to go anywhere in Europe in Winter! I bet it was beautiful!

  5. kiara January 16, 2014 at 10:11 am - Reply

    nice post!! really helpful…..I am very excited to visit dublin after reading it…..my family is planning to visit there.pictures you shared are amazing. hoping for great holiday…..

  6. Jennifer May 14, 2015 at 8:32 am - Reply

    I’ve been to Dublin 5 times, that’s how much I love it. It’s an easy city to walk. The crypts in Christchurch are amazing as is St. Patrick’s Cathedral. I really loved going to Trinity College and seeing the Book of Kells. A short walk from Trinity College is the Tall Ship Jeanie Johnston which is worth the stroll. I didn’t make it to Guinness but went to the Jameson Distillery which was interesting. Nothing can beat the live music in any of Ireland’s pubs.

  7. Lexi Sirkin September 30, 2015 at 2:53 am - Reply

    Rachel, I am an American myself studying abroad for the semester in London and I am actually heading to Ireland for the weekend! Is it true what they say about Irelands food? I am definitely a foodie and don’t think I’ll be too excited about bland potatoes for four days. Your pictures of the cookies and cupcakes do give me hope, though.

    • Rachel Jones October 1, 2015 at 11:25 am - Reply

      ahhhh I want those cupcakes now!! Actually, I have had more Irish food lately since this post and it’s pretty good!

  8. […] after our week in England. I’d actually spend four days in Dublin seven years ago, and wrote this post about it, so I re-read it to remind myself what to do here, like visiting Howth […]

  9. Cliff July 30, 2018 at 1:01 am - Reply

    Thanks Rachel, very helpful. Love your writing style.

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