Alright, so it may not have the romance of Paris or the parties of Amsterdam. In fact, it may all too often be passed over completely. And yet, what Dublin may lack in size and celebration, it certainly makes up for in character…and we’re not just talking about Guinness-filled pubs. Booked your Dublin hostel and ready to experience the city? Here are our Top Seven things to do on a shoestring!
1. Guinness Store House
Photo by Un ragazzo chiamato Bi
A trip to Dublin isn’t quite complete without the accompanying pint glass in hand. Now, how about making that drink a little more original with a tour of the Guinness Store House? For only €13.50 (if you book online), you’ll travel through all seven stories of this pint-glass-shaped atrium, learning about the ins and outs of Guinness production before settling in for a complimentary tipple at Gravity Bar.
2. Trinity College
Photo by Unhindered by Talent
Head to Trinity College on a Sunday morning to beat the student crowds of Dublin’s intellectual hub. Founded way back in 1592, Trinity is the nation’s oldest university, boasting a calling card of stellar alumni from Oscar Wilde to Samuel Beckett. Shell out €10 for a student-guided walking tour, and you’ll also get admission to the Old Library and Book of Kelis exhibition.
3. Temple Bar
Photo by Ian Wilson
With its cobblestoned streets, cute cafes, art galleries and eco-schemes, Temple Bar is easily one of Dublin’s most charming neighbourhoods. Among the many cultural attractions in this hip bohemian suburb, you will find Dublin’s only art-house cinema at the Irish Film Institute, the National Photographic Archive and the Project Arts Centre. It’s also one of the best places to go for an authentic Irish night out.
4. Kilmainham Gaol
Photo by Sean Munson
This famous prison on Inchicore Rd closed its doors to prisoners in 1924. For the previous 128 years, it had housed the leaders of no less than five separate rebellions (who said Dublin wasn’t exciting?!) Today, Kilmainham plays home to the ghoulish museum of Irish Nationalism, featuring exhibits on the terrible prison conditions and tours around those spooky dark corridors.
5. Dublin Castle
Photo by celesteh
Fancy a brush with royalty? Okay, so it may not be quite what you were expecting (sorry, no moats, drawbridges or turrets to speak of), but Dublin Castle is certainly great for a daytime tour. While you can wander the Castle grounds for free, €4.50 will grant you guided access to beautiful interior of the State Apartments.
6. A Traditional Irish Meal
Photo by adactio
Okay, so some people say there’s no such thing as authentic ‘Irish food’. Beer, yes. Food, no. We beg to differ. For a bargain-price meal, head to Gallagher’s Boxty House which surprisingly specialises in…Boxty (an Irish potato pancake served with all sorts of delicious toppings, from smoked salmon and dill to tomato and Irish cheese). Expect to spend around €20 per person for a homemade main course.
7. St Patrick’s Day
Photo by mister_simon
Book a hostel early and come to Dublin for St Patrick’s Day on 17 March. It’s the perfect excuse to drink beer (if you needed another one that is)! The Dublin St Patrick’s Day Festival runs from 17-20 March in 2011, with a highlight being the Festival Parade featuring some of Europe’s best street performers. Alternatively, why not hit up some of those traditional Irish pubs – O Donoghue’s, Kehoe’s and the Porterhouse are a few of our favourites!