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13 Delightful Dublin Travel Tips for First Timers

13 Delightful Dublin Travel Tips for First Timers

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Are you visiting Dublin for the first time? Check out these amazing Dublin travel tips for first-timers that will save you stress on your trip to Ireland!
This list of Dublin travel tips was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

I just got back from my first trip to Dublin and I’m already trying to figure out when I can go back!

As the birthplace of Guinness and literary greats like James Joyce and Oscar Wilde, Dublin has a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. 

No wonder it’s such a popular place to visit!

Ireland’s capital city straddles the River Liffey on the east coast. It’s a mix of modern, multi-story buildings in the old docks and cobblestone streets lined with colorful pubs, vintage shops, and centuries-old museums.

But it can be an incredibly busy, expensive, and overwhelming city. These Dublin travel tips for first-timers will ensure you make the most of your trip without overspending or missing out on top attractions.

Learn all the essential Dublin tips right here so you have an incredible and memorable city break for all the right reasons!

13 Delightful Dublin Travel Tips Worth Reading

Planning Your Dublin Trip

You’ll soon realize when figuring out your Dublin travel itinerary that there are tons of things to do! Prioritize the must-see attractions, especially since it’s your first visit, before adding ‘nice to do’ activities if you have extra time.

Image of Marcie Cheung in front of Dublin Castle
This is Dublin Castle. Photo credit: Tetiana in Dublin for Flytographer

One of the biggest Dublin travel tips for first-timers is to visit the Guinness Storehouse, Trinity College Library, and Dublin Castle. Kilmainham Gaol should also be high on your list.

The Irish capital has two main cathedrals that are both free to visit: St. Patrick’s Cathedral and Christ Church Cathedral.

Dublin has lots of cool museums too. Visit EPIC: The Irish Immigration Museum if you have Irish ancestry. The Little Museum of Dublin is hands down the best local history museum, although the national museums and galleries are beautiful and free.

There are lots of cute parks and squares in Dublin like Merrion Square and St. Stephen’s Green. Walk down the River Liffey (and across Ha’penny Bridge!) and along Grafton Street to hear local musicians.

A visit to the lively Temple Bar Neighborhood is essential for any first-time trip. For some good Dublin travel advice, visit during the day! There are lots of traditional folk musicians playing in the top pubs but it’s much quieter before 5 pm.

How Many Days in Dublin?

Planning an Irish road trip and only spending part of your trip in Ireland’s capital? You’ll need two days in Dublin at a minimum to explore the highlights.

Find out the top things to do in Wicklow Ireland by top family travel blog Marcie in Mommyland. Image of Marcie Cheung taking a selfie at the Wicklow mountains
The Wicklow Mountains are a gorgeous day trip! Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

If you’re visiting Dublin on a city break, three or four days is the sweet spot. You can spend the fourth day on a day trip to the Wicklow Mountains or a nearby coastal town like Howth

Accommodation in Dublin

Hotels are the best type of accommodation to book in Dublin. If you’re driving to Dublin, find one with onsite parking as not all of them offer spaces.

If you’re traveling with young kids or a big family then you might be more comfortable in a short-term rental apartment. There are ApartHotels in the city center and larger Airbnbs with parking spaces on the outskirts of the city.

But, there are also lots of great Dublin hotels for families that are within walking distance of tons of Dublin attractions.

Unlike other European cities like Barcelona and Rome, there is no tourist tax on accommodation in Dublin.

Public Transportation in Dublin

Some attractions are a little too far for those with low mobility to walk between. Luckily, Dublin has an extensive public transport network with buses and trams. 

Use Google Maps to figure out which buses you need and how often they run. If you’re unsure, ask your accommodation or local tourist office for an up-to-date timetable.

Image of a tram in Dublin Ireland
These trams are all over Dublin. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

For trams, pay for a ticket at the machine on the platform. You can usually buy single or return tickets. For buses, tap your contactless credit card on the machine when you board. Single tickets, no matter where you are going, are always the same price.

If you plan on using different types of public transport a lot, consider the Leap Visitor Card. It can cover trams, buses, and commuter trains in 24 hours from €8. 

You can use Dublin Express buses to travel from Dublin Airport to Dublin City Center (and vice versa) as well as to travel from Dublin to Belfast.

Taxis and Ubers

Lyft isn’t available in Dublin and while technically Uber does exist, it’s not what the locals use. You’ll be lucky to find many drivers on the app!

FreeNow is the taxi app most used by locals in Dublin and the rest of Ireland. 

It can be a little bit on the pricey side. For example, a taxi ride from Dublin city center to Dublin Airport is around €30 for a 20-minute journey. But it’s fairly reliable and has the largest number of drivers.

Money in Dublin

Ireland uses the Euro currency and credit cards are the best form of payment in Dublin. If American Express is your preferred method of payment, bring a Mastercard or Visa as a backup. AMEX isn’t widely accepted in Dublin.

Euro-Money-960x640.jpg
Make sure to have at least a few Euro on hand.

Having a small amount of Euros in cash on you is one of the smartest Dublin travel tips. Some small businesses prefer cash for smaller purchases. But, I just used my credit card the entire time and had no issues.

Use bank ATMs to avoid fraud and scams. Head to a Bank of Ireland or Scotiabank branch. Supermarkets like Tesco and Centra also have reliable (and free to use) ATMs.

Dining in Dublin Tips

Dublin is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with non-Irish people accounting for 17% of the population. Polish, Italian, Indian, Vietnamese… You can find great cuisine from all over the world here!

Image of bruschetta on a plate with arugula
The bruschetta at Toscana was one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Traditional Irish food is filling and hearty. It mostly consists of meat and vegetable stews with potatoes, savory pies, and seafood. Irish fried breakfasts are similar to English breakfasts with the addition of soda bread.

Of course, dining in Dublin usually goes hand-in-hand with drinking alcohol. Guinness and Irish whiskey are the local tipples, but there are lots of local craft beers and gins too.

Tipping in Dublin is usually reserved only for restaurants. Leaving 10-15% of your bill is ideal, anything more is unheard of unless you’re a big group. 

If you’re in a bar or café and would like to show your appreciation for excellent service, round up your bill or leave a euro or two.

Consider the Dublin Travel Pass

The Dublin travel card is known as the Go City Dublin All-Inclusive Pass. It starts from €84 for a 24-hour adult pass and includes dozens of the top attractions in the city.

For instance, it covers the Hop-On and Hop-Off buses, the Guinness Storehouse, the Christ Church Cathedral Museum, the EPIC Museum, and the Jameson Whiskey Tour.

It might surprise you to find out it even includes food tours!

Take Advantage of Free Museums and Activities

Most of the main attractions in Dublin have a ticket price, but there are some free attractions to help spare your budget.

The National Botanic Gardens of Ireland are free, as are all of the national museums and galleries. These are the Natural History Museum, Decorative Arts & History, Archaeology, and the Irish Museum of Modern Art all have free entrance.

Take a Day Trip to the Wicklow Mountains

Wicklow Mountains National Park is one of the easiest and best day trips from Dublin you can take. It’s only an hour’s drive south of the city and there are lots of small group tour companies that organize full or half-day trips too.

Image of a church in Glendalough Ireland
Glendalough was really cool to explore. Photo credit: Marcie Cheung

Some of the top sights in the Wicklow Mountains are Glenmacnass Waterfall, Saint Kevin’s Pool, the Blessington Lakes, and Glendalough.

Many Dublin travel guides refer to Glendalough as the most beautiful lake in Ireland, and they just might be right. There’s an easy hiking path that loops around the lake and it just looks so serene.

Avoid the Temple Bar Neighborhood Late at Night

Ireland’s Temple Bar district is named after a legendary, bright red, 19th-century pub in the center of this historic area. It’s lined with some of the coziest, best pubs and restaurants in the city.

Many of the pubs open around noon and stay open until the early hours of the next day. This means it’s a fun place to visit for a mid-afternoon drink.

Image of Marcie Cheung in front of a Temple Bar neighborhood bar in Dublin, Ireland
The Temple Bar neighborhood is kid-friendly during the day. Photo credit: Tetiana in Dublin for Flytographer

It’s even a great place to visit with family during the day. Accompanied children (the drinking age is 18 in Dublin) are allowed in Temple Bar and other pubs until 9 pm, but it gets crowded with more unruly behavior at night.

Dublin is a popular city for bachelor and bachelorette parties who stay Around the Temple Bar area on the weekends. If you want to head to bars in the evening, check out the more laid-back neighborhoods of Stoneybatter or Smithfield.

Get a Travel Adapter

One of the most helpful Dublin, Ireland travel tips is to pay close attention to the electrical sockets in this country. Ireland uses Type G plugs, which have three rectangular prongs with 230V supply voltage and 50Hz.

These are the same sockets you’ll find in the UK, Malta, Cyprus, and Hong Kong. Pack a Dublin travel adapter with USB sockets so you only need one.

Safety and Awareness in Dublin

The 2021 Global Peace Index ranked Ireland as the 10th safest country in the world. The risk of war, terrorism, violent crime, and natural disasters is very slim. You won’t struggle to get travel insurance when visiting Ireland!

But Dublin is a capital city. And like any major, capital city, it has its fair share of crime. Use your common sense by keeping your valuables hidden and order a taxi instead of walking alone.

Travel Tips for Dublin FAQs

When is the best time to visit Dublin?

The shoulder season is the best time to travel to Dublin for an ideal mix of mild weather, fewer crowds, and more affordable accommodation. 

These are the months of May, June, and September.

Is Dublin a walkable city?

Dublin is a very walkable city, although some attractions like the Guinness Storehouse and Kilmainham Gaol are a little further away. Public transport and rideshare apps are available for the few instances where you can’t walk.

Wear comfortable shoes that can handle the cobblestones in some of Dublin’s older neighborhoods! 

Is Dublin expensive to visit?

Unfortunately, Dublin is expensive to visit! Its prices are similar to London prices.

Accommodation in the Irish capital can be double the price of an equivalent hotel elsewhere. Prepare to spend more on everything else (food, drinks, activities, transport, etc.) in Dublin too. 

Is Dublin safe for solo female travel?

Dublin is a relatively safe city for solo female travelers, especially during the day. It’s a generally welcoming and friendly city and women traveling alone here is common.

However, keep in mind that Dublin is known for its nightlife. There will be many inebriated people on the streets in the wee hours so follow these Dublin travel rules by taking taxis and sticking to well-lit areas.

Dublin Travel Tips Wrap-Up

That wraps up all of the top Dublin travel tips for first-timers!

The Irish capital city is so easy to reach and walkable. Along with the lack of a language barrier for English speakers and welcoming locals, it’s the perfect place for a European city break.

Follow these simple tips and you’re in for a fun vacation anytime you decide to travel to Dublin, Ireland.

Looking for more Ireland travel resources? Check out 10 Best Dublin Hotels for Families Worth Booking, 12 Best Day Trips From Dublin by Train, 13 Important Ireland Travel Tips for First-Timers, How To Plan a Trip to Ireland: Step-by-Step Guide, Ireland in Summer: Tips  + Things to Do, 19 Best Things To Do in Wicklow for Families Visiting Ireland, How to Plan a Budget-Friendly Photo Shoot in Dublin, and 21 Most Spectacular Hidden Gems in Ireland!

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