How to Explore Dublin Like a Local

Dublin is an amazing city to visit. With a vibrant nightlife, rich pub culture and friendly people, there is always something to discover. While it’s no secret that Dublin can be pretty expensive, you know the truth – best things in life are free. You can do Dublin on a budget if you drink less, use advantages of free attractions and hit the supermarkets. In this post, I’m gonna show how to explore Dublin like a local.

 

How to Explore Dublin Like a Local

 

How to Explore Dublin Like a Local

 

Dublin is the capital and by far the largest city of the Republic of Ireland. The republic encompasses most of the island of Ireland, the westernmost country of the British Isles. It contains twenty-six counties. The six counties in the northeast make up Northern Ireland – a part of the UK. The two neighbors are very different in ambience and infrastructure.

 

Ireland has been an independent republic since 1922, after prolonged uprisings and discontent with British rule. Many of the insurgencies took place in Dublin and on my travels in the city, I saw the references and old photographs, which celebrate the hard-fought struggle for independence. An example is the 1916 Easter uprising at the General Post Office in O’Connell Street. This is commemorated in several locations, including the statuesque building itself.

 

street performers in Dublin

 

Dubliners are very proud of the rich culture associated with the city and it has produced many world-renowned poets, authors, artists, and musicians. Every time I wandered through Dublin I discovered some unknown references to the city’s famous sons and daughters – Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, WB Yeats, Francis Bacon, Iris Murdoch to name but a few.

 

Dublin is irrevocably linked to Ireland’s turbulent history. It is a port city and from here, many poor emigrants left during times of hardship – such as the potato famine of the 1800s – to settle in faraway places including England, USA, Australia and South Africa. Ireland has a current population of nearly five million – two-fifths of whom live in the Greater Dublin area. There are also countless millions of folk living all around the globe. They are proud and celebrate their Irish roots.

 

Ireland joined the European Union in 1973 and since then Dublin has become an important international business center and financial hub. It has suffered from its own success, however. The cost of living in the city is now amongst the highest in the Europe. There are many prosperous people in the city but many also who are struggling to make ends meet. I was dismayed during my recent visit to see several homeless people and street beggars.

 

Dublin bus

How to Reach Dublin

Dublin International Airport is located about 10 kilometers north of the city and has direct links with North America, Europe, Africa the Middle East and recently Hong Kong. It is the headquarters of Ireland’s flagship carrier Aer Lingus and has frequent flights to major cities in Ireland and the UK. There are daily car ferries from Liverpool in England and Holyhead in North Wales. I also took advantage of an extensive motorway system within the country with links to other Irish cities and Belfast in Northern Ireland.

 

Getting Around Dublin

There is no metro in Dublin but there is LUAS light rail system. It was opened in 2004 and currently, there are two lines and 54 stations with plans for further extensions. Dublin has an extensive bus network and a railway line, which follows the coast. Metered taxis are plentiful and there is a very successful bike hire scheme in operation in the city. Motorists drive on the left and the driving standard is good. If you plan to travel further afield in this fascinating country, car hire is a viable option.

 

Taxi in Dublin

 

Weather in Dublin. What to Expect.

Dublin’s weather is not its biggest asset and summer temperatures average only about 16 or 17 degrees Celsius. The warmest month is July. The winters are mild by Northern European standards – January at 5 degrees being the coolest. It rarely snows but it does get more than its fair share of rain. The climate can be unpredictably changeable and locals know that.

 

Dublin weather

 

Top Things to See in Dublin

The city center is relatively compact and I visited many places of interest in one day by walking. A good central starting point is O’Connell Bridge, which crosses the River Liffey, and is unusual for being wider than it is long. Nearby is the famous Temple Bar area. This is a cobbled pedestrian area of pubs, restaurants and quirky clothes shops. I very much enjoyed wandering in the area and listening to some of the Irish Traditional Music played in many of the pubs and by buskers in the street. The area really comes to life at night.

 

Nearby, and providing a good photo location, is the excellent Molly Malone statue. Molly was a fictitious shellfish vendor from the nineteenth-century music hall song, which begins “In Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty.”  It is the unofficial anthem of the city.

 

Molly Malone statue

 

A short walk from Molly will bring you to the grounds of Dublin’s famous center of learning, Trinity College. You can wander freely around the grounds of the very impressive buildings and there has been a university on the site since 1592. The current buildings date from the eighteenth century and surround two large quadrangles and playing fields. The college library contains the Book of Kells, which is the world’s most famous illustrated medieval manuscript of the four gospels from the Bible. It is written in Latin and dates from the 9th Century. For 10 EUR you can view some of the original folios.

 

trinity college in Dublin

 

From the college, walk along Grafton Street where you are sure to be impressed by the street’s grand and tall Georgian townhouses, many dating from the early 1800s. Now they are mainly used as business premises or professional institutions. They still show the grandeur of days long gone when they were homes of the wealthy, complete with basements and servants’ quarters.

 

Merrion Square is a small park just off Grafton Street and in one corner, you will find Oscar Wilde’s reclining statue. On the day I visited, there was a display of fine paintings by local artists attached to the railings all around the perimeter of the square.

 

You can’t visit Dublin without exploring its bridges. The River Liffey with many bridges across it flows through the center of Dublin and flows into the Dublin Bay. I believe it is because of the number of lovely bridges, I now remember Dublin as a city of bridges. As you stroll along the Liffey long banks you can find O’Connell Bridge, Samuel Beckett Bridge, Rory O’Moore Bridge, Sean Heuston Bridge and, of course, Ha’penny Bridge. Each one of them has its own history and worth spending some time gazing into the Liffey water. However, my favorite one is the James Joyce Bridge.

 

Temple Bar

 

James Joyce is one of the most widely read Irish novelists and writers. If you’re a James Joyce fan make sure to pay a visit to his statue near the O’Connell street and the bridge that is named for the writer. One of Joyce’s short stories was set in the house facing the bridge on the south side.

 

The bridge was opened in 2003. The thing I loved the most is the fact that the bridge has cozy benches along the lane and I spent two hours reading “Ulysses” there. This modern-style bridge somehow reminiscent of Samuel Beckett Bridge, but I think it is organically fit into the urban landscape. It looks even more spectacular at night when the streetlights turn on.

Where to Find: South Quay to Blackhall, Blackhall Place

 

Irish people love animals and placing bets. Shelbourne Park Stadium is the only place in Dublin to enjoy the greyhound racing after closing of Harold’s Cross Stadium in 2017. Races are held daily. With a cozy restaurant, it is still better to visit the stadium in a group to save money on food. Booking table in advance is preferable. You can bet starting from one EUR.

 

I was a complete novice but the waitress helped me a lot and explained how to bet. The race is a fun indeed! If you go there on a low budget, expect to get extra fun as the race results usually determine if you get another Guinness. Despite the fact that greyhound racing is a bit of gambling, you will notice that locals come here with kids to get some family fun. Don’t forget your student ISIC card to get an extra discount.

Where to Find: South Lotts Rd, Ringsend

 

saint stephen's green park

 

Located not far from St.Stephen’s Green Park, Iveagh Gardens are filled with tranquility and serenity. During my stay in Dublin, I found it to be less crowded than St.Stephen’s Green park because the Gardens are almost completely surrounded by buildings so it takes more efforts to notice it. That is the reason why you should visit it at least once, and if you are lucky enough to see the rose blooming. There also was a lawn near the Earlsfort Terrace entrance, a lovely waterfall and a maze with a sundial in the centre. I would totally recommend going there if you want to unwind from the hustle and bustle.

Where To Find: Clonmel Street, opposite side Russell Court

 

Shopping in Dublin

There are plenty of Irish souvenir shops in Dublin. Favorite locally produced goods include linen, tweed, crystal glass and whiskey. A lucky Irish leprechaun (elf) is a favorite keepsake. For best shopping experience, visit Creative Quarter that is home to a bunch of galleries, shops, and restaurants. Another place not to miss is the Powerscourt Centre. Located not far from Molly Malone statue, this re-purposed mansion is now turned into a shopping mall with piano music playing Irish songs.

 

Food in Dublin

Dubliners are cosmopolitan people and there are restaurants of many cuisines in the city. If you want to try some hearty local food, however, I recommend Irish stew, boxty (potato pancake) and coddle. This has layers of meat and vegetables and was a traditional way of using up leftovers. When in Dublin you must try a pint of its most famous beer – Guinness – that was invented in the city in 1759. You can find that food in Dublin can be a little expensive.

So if you want to save a few Euros for staying longer in Dublin, here are some budget food options to check:

1.  Top 10 Meals For Under 10 EUR In Dublin

2. Cheap Eats in Dublin

3. Where to Eat On the Cheap in Dublin

 

I am very fond of Dublin. It is an enchanting and friendly city where it is easy to break into conversation with the locals, who are well known for their wit and conversation skills. I have also discovered that Dubliners are among the frendliest people in Europe. They are ready to share the city secrets and letting you know how to explore Dublin like a local.

 

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41 Comments

  • I would definitely want to walk around the city center and hit up the Temple bar.

    2017-11-17 at 10:23 pm
  • Meg

    Reply

    I loved this article! Thank you! I have a special place in my heart for Ireland

    2017-11-18 at 8:09 am
  • That’s great! Now I wanna go to Dublin and explore it myself

    2017-11-18 at 12:07 pm
  • I was in Dublin years ago and would love to go back and check out the food scene and the park .

    2017-11-19 at 5:50 am
  • Since I came to live in England about 14 years ago, I’ve visited lots of places across Europe. Dublin is on my ultimate bucket list and I’m sure I’ll visit one day. You make it look and sound like a great place to visit. Thanks much for pushing it up to number one spot. Now to start saving.

    2017-11-20 at 12:31 pm
  • Love travel posts! Haven’t been to dublin yet so i am book marking this! Xx Vee

    Inloveandlacebyvee.com

    2017-11-20 at 2:00 pm
  • Great post! I’ve never been to Dublin, but it is on our list. I always love these ‘like a local’ posts, since they make it so much more affordable to travel. And at the same time, it’s even more fun to experience a country or a culture in that way, since it often brings you to place you’d not be able to find otherwise!

    2017-11-20 at 2:04 pm
  • Dublin is one of my favorite cities! During my most recent trip we rented a car. It was an adventure to say the least! Great, informational post!

    2017-11-20 at 2:47 pm
  • Dublin is such a beautiful city! Thanks for all the tips. I will definitely use it when I go back again one day.

    2017-11-20 at 6:38 pm
  • I wish I had this guide when I was in Dublin. Great information. I guess I’ll just have to make plans to go back!

    2017-11-20 at 10:33 pm
  • I love everything Irish, music, food, drinks… hehe. I loved reading your post, Amazing photos. I am sure to take the traditional taxi option in the picture and food recommendations when I am in Dublin next.

    2017-11-21 at 9:13 am
  • I’ve never been in Dublin, but it’s looks very nice city. Thank you for sharing your trip and information about sightseeing!

    2017-11-21 at 10:20 am
  • These are great tips! Dublin is definitely on my “to visit” list so I’ll have to keep this post in mind! Thanks for sharing!

    A- simplylovely90.com

    2017-11-21 at 7:19 pm
  • Great post, I do want to visit Dublin one day. Your post is very informative.

    2017-11-21 at 10:04 pm
  • I took a trip to Ireland as a teenager, but I would love to return as an adult. I think I would appreciate the city of Dublin more and would have a better understanding of the culture. Great post! I agree that it is always best to look at a new place like a local would versus going in blind.

    2017-11-21 at 10:23 pm
  • i have never been to Dublin but i love the cultures, writers, music and way of life. i hope to be there soon

    2017-11-21 at 11:24 pm
  • It looked like a nice city to walk around or roam in public transpot. Thats one reason I will definitely try to be there. This post will help me.

    2017-11-22 at 6:43 am
  • Very nice and helpful post. I pinned it, as I would love to visit Dublin one day. I know some Irish people and I am sure that Dublin must be a lovely place 🙂

    2017-11-22 at 7:45 pm
  • Great post – hope to visit Dublin one day! My husband’s been there before and he loved it. He raves about the drinks and especially, the food (believe it or not — most Irish folks think he’s joking!) I’d love to try Irish stew and hit up Temple Bar, too!

    2017-11-22 at 9:42 pm
  • Dublin is one of my top priority ”to visit” place so I really appreciate this post!

    2017-11-23 at 6:48 pm
  • I Loved walking around the Trinity University grounds when in Dublin and imagining all the great authors who had roamed the streets and written in pubs there as well (some of my favorites!) However I will say it was the coldest I’d ever been in a city (granted it was January) and the cost of living is so prohibitive I couldn’t consider living there but oh do I love Ireland-we are actually considering Cork as one of our potential places to move this next year.

    2017-11-25 at 9:24 am
  • We are going to Dublin in February and will definitely be revisiting this post come that time. We are very excited to see the pubs and drive around the country and see the natural beauty

    2017-11-26 at 5:32 am
  • Thanks for sharing, seems like a really interesting place to visit. Definitely planning to have a beer when I get here.

    2017-11-26 at 5:45 am
  • IVy

    Reply

    I’ve yet to visit Dublin, thanks for these great tips! I’d like to try some of that Irish stew. Good to know that the weather there isn’t super appealing, I’d definitely time it so we visit in July when it’s the warmest

    2017-11-26 at 6:20 pm
  • Really great overview of a place that keeps popping up in my life lately. Armed with this post, I’m sure I can now plan an amazing trip to Dublin, so thanks!

    2017-11-26 at 9:55 pm
  • My coworkers are from Dublin and I keep hearing great things from there! And it seems like in all the Dublin blogs I read, people really like to visit The Temple Bar! (Or at least take pictures of it.) Definitely a great list of itinerary suggestions and will keep it bookmarked for when I visit. Thanks for sharing!

    2017-11-27 at 12:30 am
  • Dublin is one of those cities best seen by walking around. This will definitely come handy once i finally step put in this city someday 🙂

    2017-11-28 at 12:17 am
  • Your style is so unique compared to other
    people I have read stuff from. Thanks for posting
    when you have the opportunity, Guess I’ll just book mark this
    blog. http://novel-secrets.blogspot.com/

    2017-12-09 at 7:49 am
  • I love all the pictures. Imaynever ho so it’s nice to read about it. Thanks for sharing.

    2017-12-14 at 12:57 pm

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