Dublin is Gorgeous- but not what I expected. I’m Irish and have been dreaming about visiting Ireland 5ever, and the place in my head was just different than what I found when I hopped off the bus at Dublin station.
It’s more modernized than I expected. The old-cobblestone-street and almost-falling-over-old-buildings area of Dublin is pretty small, however beautiful. It’s one main strip along the river that runs through the city, and is covered in pubs, tourist shops, restaurants that’ll take you right back to the good-ole-days.
But, if you venture out far enough into the residential areas and nearby towns (I recommend Howth in this post) you’ll see more areas that resemble that rather than a city.
Here’s how I did Dublin– I found that one day was plenty for me because I was able to fit so much in, but I will say that takes a bit of planning so you’re not wasting time wandering around between meals or activities.
Getting There- $46 Round Trip
I took a National Express bus, but there are a ton of other companies you can choose from. Because I was coming from London, I was able to do an overnight that left around 9:00pm and got in around 7:00am. I had planned to sleep on the bus, however two stops at customs and a ferry-transfer got in the way of that. I probably slept a total of 5 hours that night, which left me feeling less-than-pumped to take the bus back 20 hours later.
If you can find tickets for cheap, or if you have the $$, I recommend flying. Learn from my mistakes, the bus ride sucked. However, I was balling on a budget and the money I saved on the bus went to food and a train ticket to another sweet little town, so maybe it was worth it.
The Morning- $15
Because I did two back-to-back overnight bus rides, I didn’t have to pay for a hostel. Nice. What did I do with my things, you ask? I found the closest hostel to where I got dumped by my kind bus driver and payed 1 Euro to have them keep my things for the day.
- This took me about 20 minutes
Next, I boarded a train for 7 Euro round trip to the Port of Howth, which is a breathtaking little fishing town 20 minutes outside of Dublin. Here my and my friends hiked up to the Howth Cliff Walk and drank coffee and ate scones, which cost us 4 euro.
- This mini-trip took me about 2.5 hours
The Afternoon- $35
Because we skipped breakfast for Howth, we were starving by the time we got back to the train station in Dublin. We went to the _____ cafe where we got crepes and eggs that were delicious and cost us 10 Euro.
Next we decided to walk around the town a bit, which was FREE (my favorite word).
- We did this for about an hour, then started walking to our next destination:
Then, as all 20-somethings should do, we paid 17 Euro to visit the Guinness Storehouse. You get to take a tour and see how their beer is made, and at the end, your ticket acts as a voucher to get drinks in their Sky Bar. Here you’ll get a panoramic view of Dublin, and if you’re lucky and get nice weather (we did!) you can step out onto the balcony and see all of Dublin.
- This took us 2.5 hours. About an hour to get through the museum, an hour to drink our beer and enjoy the view in the Sky Bar, and half an hour to grab a snack and look through the gift shop.
By this time it was 3:00pm
The Evening- $50
By 6:00pm we were STARVING. You’ll walk so much getting to and from places and it’ll really work up an appetite. This is where we sort of splurged and went to Celtic Nights, an Irish dance show and restaurant inside of a restaurant by the water. You get to watch the show while you eat a three course meal, which was a little much for me, but you have to buy the package. This cost us 30 Euro which yeah, is a lot of money. But it was really worth it. It’s so entertaining and the food was really delicious.
Around 8:00pm we headed to O’Donoghue’s, an old fashioned Irish Pub with live music and great beer, and got a drink which cost us 4 Euro
At about 10:00 we went to a second bar called Mulligan’s and got a drink which cost us 5 Euro. This place is described as having “good beer and Irish cheer” which I thought was cute and fun.
Then, around 11:30 we sadly started the walk back to the bus station, said goodbye to Dublin, and got back to London 10 hours later.
And the Grand Total is… $150 !!!
My fourth grade teacher is rolling over in her classroom at the header for this but I didn’t know how else to tie it up and I’m not getting graded on this blog post.
I spent a total of $150 on this trip, which is what I had budgeted. I was perfectly happy spending just the day in Dublin, but if you want to do the Cliffs of Moher/Galway/other touristey things then you’ll need more time.
I sort of regret not seeing the cliffs, however those who I know that did it said it was so cool and windy they were hardly able to get off of their tour bus. I think the timing of my visit (February) just wasn’t ideal for that, which was a bummer, but it would’ve tacked on another $50 to the trip (get a bus to take you out there, stay another day and spend the night in a hostel).
So there it is! Dublin on a budget! $150 is definitely on the cheaper end to see Dublin, especially if you want to do Guinness and a dinner show. If not, you can save yourself a good amount of money. I will caution that for me, Dublin wasn’t a place I could wander around endlessly for an entire day, so having some planned activities was pretty necessary, but it’s totally personal preference.