Think of the Irish capital Dublin and one thing comes to mind; booze. Drinking, specifically a dark, dry stout that goes by the name of Guinness, has become synonymous with how Irish culture is represented throughout the world. The good natured alcoholic stereotype of a typical irishman is depicted in popular culture repeatedly, like some sort of kindly uncle you just can’t help but love, even though he’s always drunk.
I’ve met a fair few Irish people in my time and have never failed to share a drink and a laugh. I feel like New Zealanders and Irish often find common ground, having a bigger, meaner brother across the sea. So when Ryanair come up with €18 London to Dublin return flights, it’s a very easy decision to go for a long weekend.
Book a few weeks in advance and you will find it’s a very cheap and easy flight to Dublin. Flight time is under 1.5 hours and airlines often have tickets for under €25 one way. This might mean not flying the most glamorous airline (see above), but for such a short flight, you can’t really complain.
You can reach the city via the regular bus services or taxi, expect to pay around €6 for an express bus and about €3 for a local bus, taxis might set you back €15-€20 depending on the time of day. We took the express bus, which was easy to find, and it got us to the city centre in about 25 minutes.
Central Dublin is small enough to be entirely walkable for the fit, and a good bus service can take you anywhere within the M50 (motorway bordering the city) quickly and easily, so accommodation options are vast.
As this was an impromptu visit and our first travel since we landed in the UK, our budget was minimal, meaning we went for the cheapest option available. At the time (April 2010) this was The Times Hostel on Camden Place, where we secured a private room with a shared bathroom (which has now changed to en-suites), for €52. At time of writing there are a large number of options much, much cheaper.
If backpacker hostels are your style, they start at around €16 per night, you can find Airbnb’s from €13 a night, and there are also good couch surfing options for those so inclined. If you prefer hotels, then the sky’s the limit.
Dublin is a thriving city with a great atmosphere and storied history. If you can drag yourself away from the numerous pubs there are plenty of attractions and sights both modern and ancient. Spend a day walking the city centre, visiting the Castle, the spire, the college and the river that divides the city.
One place not to miss is the Guinness Storehouse; a giant pint glass Guinness museum located at the St James’s Gate brewery. The storehouse offers tours for €18 and I would consider it well worth it. It’s a couple of hours worth of history, method and interactive exhibits culminating in the best pint of Guinness you are likely to drink overlooking Dublin city.
A point worth mentioning is that Dublin can be very expensive as a tourist. Food and drink in the wrong areas can be horrifically priced; I think in one pub we naively paid €9.80 for a pint of Guinness. Cheaper places can be found outside of the city centre, just like anywhere else it’s a good idea to ask some locals where to go.
We only had the one night as we were visiting friends in Belfast the next day, so we didn’t have much time to explore. While we think we got a feel for Dublin, I would recommend staying two nights at the very least, to see what the city has to offer.
Hint – Ask locals where to find the cheap pint.
Dublin for one night;
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