This July I visited Ireland for the very first time with one of my best friends. It ended up being a really lovely weekend and definitely a nice escape from work. This post is some of the highlights of my trip and advice for a not too expensive Dublin long weekend.
Travel and transport
We flew with Aerlingus. A 10kg cabin bag and handheld item is included in the ticket price, which was £174 each. This is more than enough luggage space. Plus you don’t want to pack too heavy. A late check in time might mean carrying your suitcase around most of the first day.
On arrival in Dublin airport the first thing you want to do is purchase a Leap card. The three day option gave us unlimited use of the Dublin bus services, trams and all DART trains. All our internal travel costs for the whole Dublin long weekend at 19.99 euros! The 747 service is the one you want between the City Centre and the airport.
If you are staying a few days I really recommend an Airbnb outside of the City in one of the surroundng areas. We stayed with a really welcoming host family in Sutton, a 20 minute direct train journey on the DART from Connolly station (platform 6), Dublin City Centre.
TIP: Station names are in both Gaelic and English. If the destination on the front of the train is not what you are expectng, that’s probably why.
The beautiful thing about our location is that we were a 10 minute walk from the train station, and close to the stunning Burrow beach. There were cheaper Airbnb options but for the sake of £10 or so I do not regret having the sea view and stunning scenery.
Recommendations For Sutton/Howth:
- Take the 30 minute walk along Burrow Beach to the Harbour village of Howth. Absolutely stunning. Make sure to check the tide timtable online and go around low tide. Otherwise it is just a two minute train ride.
- Look around the Howth market. Just right of where you enter Howth via the beach or train, it is open all weekends. Not massive but a good twenty stalls, cheaper coffee and worth a visit.
- From Howth station walk straight along the harbour front and keep going for a stunning cliff walk. Go on clear days to appreciate the view.
- Try seafood in Howth. Food in Dublin is pricey and it turns out Howth is no exception. However the absolutely amazing Octopussy tapas bar is worth it. One individual dish is enough for lunch. I had a spicy seafood broth with homemade bread for 10 euros. A waiting list formed by 1pm so I reccommend an early lunch, particularly on sunny days.
Dublin City During the day:
- The Tourist information centre! Dotted around the City, the free map they gave us was an absolute lifesaver and heavily depended on for where to spend our Dublin long weekend.
- If museums are your thing then you’re in luck. In Dublin all the major museums are free. We did not visit any, focusing instead on wandering the streets, but they have amazing reviews.
- Christchurch and St Patrick’s cathedral are located close to eachother a short walk from the buzzing area of Temple Bar. You can wander around the outside for free, or pay 8 euro entry.
- Our last couple of hours in Dublin were spent asleep in St Stephen’s Green, at the end of Grafton Street. Walk beyond the park’s busy entrance and find a space on the grass.
- North of the river is the busiest shoppng area. From the spire (you can’t miss it), walk along Henry Street. It was nice browsing stores I don’t see often, like Forever 21 and Pull n Bear.
- South of the River Liffey also has plenty of clothes stores, including the largest H&M I have ever seen on Church Lane.
- Also south of the river give the Avoca Store on Suffolk Street a visit. High quality and found only in Ireland. Fun to browse but crazzzzy expensive. They also have a cafe on the top floor.
Dublin City Eat and drink:
- I found my home on Suffolk Street with all the wholefood restaurants. I cannot recommend Concuocopia and Fallon and Byrne highly enough.
- Fallon and Byrne was a deli/indoor food market. Choose from amazing sandwiches or pick a main meal (curry/stew/chilli) served with two salads for 10 euro!
- Freshly Chopped can be found throughout Dublin including Grafton Street. Expect to pay between 7-10 euro for a nutritious filling salad or wrap. Also smoothies and raw vegan treats.
- For a cheap meal go to one of the SPAR outlets throughout Dublin for a freshly made sandwich with good ingredients. A ham, egg and cucumber sandwich cost me just 3.60 euros.
- Coffee in Dublin is not cheap. However Bewley’s cafe, Grafton Street is ridiculous. It is a stunning building inside and out with tempting pastries, but 3.70 euros for a black americano!
TIP: To try and reduce the cost of your Dublin long weekend, stick to one cafe/restaurant meal per day, and buy breakfast and lunch from the Supervalu, Tescos or a SPAR.
- The Saturday night destination for tourists is Temple Bar, which is south of the River Liffey. This is a buzzing, lively area of restaurants and pubs which wasn’t overly crowded at 7-9pm.
- The Temple Bar pub itself is almost impossible to get inside even at 8pm. Take your instagram photos outside and visit the ice cream shop directly opposite instead.
- Save on alcohol and live music hop. We visited three different pubs in Temple Bar. Wild Rover by Pogues was by far my favourite song of the night. If you do drink, be prepared for the prices.
- North of the river make sure to visit the Church bar on the junction of Mervy and Jarvis streets. It is a stunning building and unlikely surroundings to be drinking, with a slightly smarter feel.
RECOMMENDING A DUBLIN LONG WEEKEND
I absolutely loved Dublin. I definitely do think that what made our weekend was the contrast between the stunning Sutton scenery and livliness of the City. Even if you have accomodation in the centre, take a trip out to one of the stunning coastal areas and spend a morning cliff walking.
Every local person we met was unbelievably friendly. It was an atmosphere very unlike London. Everyone from cashiers to market stall holders were so chatty and willing to share information and advice on what to visit. I can’t recommend Dublin highly enough!
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