Dublin – The Reason For The Season

If’ you’re of an Airbnb aficionado like me, you’ll love keeping tabs on the news about how cities around the world take to the service. While it is meant to provide a cheaper alternative to hotels, some places like New Orleans, Paris, Barcelona and Santa Monica have a real crackdown on lettings. In the case of New Orleans, there’s a great episode of the Planet Money podcast that explains the good and bad of it all.

Dublin is one such city where lots of apartments are being used as Airbnb lettings right now. Hotels in the city are quite dear. So this alternative option is great for budget travellers who are big on planning out their trips.

If you’re in the midst of planning a big trip to Dublin around a big event or time of year, don’t get stung overpaying for something you don’t have to. I’m here to help guide you through some savvy tips to save on everything from a St. Patrick’s Day bash to a romantic getaway.

Reason for the Trip 1: Romantic Getaway

Dublin, in my opinion, is massively underrated as a romantic getaway destination. It has the ambience of London without the cramped feeling and the magic of Paris. Only you’re swapping the Eiffel Tower and River Seine for the Guinness Factory and River Liffey.

I always recommend Dublin as a little midweek romantic getaway for couples who have the chance. Unique spots to visit include:

  • Guinness Storehouse – Everyone recommends it, and it can be a tourist trap. But during the week it will be quiet. The panoramic bar is also incredible when no one else is around
  • The Dean – A trend boutique hotel just south of St. Stephen’s Green. It’s located above a few of the city’s most well-known nightclubs, but the rooms are quiet enough. You have your own Marshall amp to play music, and they leave earplugs in too.
  • Pearl Brasserie – If you want to impress, book a table here. The underground restaurant is incredibly intimate and offers a fancy take on Irish cuisine.

Reason for the Trip 2: Stag Do

Dublin city centre turns in to Stag central every weekend. Of the dozens of flights coming from the UK, a big percentage are stag parties who are looking for a mad weekend out. If you’re struggling for ideas of what to do during the day in Dublin with a stag group, my suggestions would be:

  • Jameson Tour – Class things up with a gentleman’s tour of the famous whisky distillery. You can see how it’s all made and sample whiskies like distinguished men.
  • Raft on the River Liffey – Head west of the city centre and some deeper parts of the river beside Phoenix Park are where you can try this truly unique activity, especially when you see how tame the river looks in the middle of town.
  • Manly steak at Tomahawk – A properly cooked steak isn’t easy to come by. Tomahawk take group bookings where you can try 21-day aged T-bones, Filet Mignon and pan-fried Foie Gras topped steak.

In the middle of planning a stag do around Dublin’s famous Temple Bar? You can hire out space at Bad Bobs to experience a proper lad’s night out in Dublin.

Reason for the Trip 3: Girl’s Weekend

Let’s hear it for the girls, especially those who can’t help themselves from going “WOO” and making sure another round of shots is always on the horizon. For ladies who can’t tolerate Guinness, don’t worry. I have some hotspots that are ideal for a girly weekend away:

  • Gin Bus Tour – We’ve all seen beer bikes popping up in cities, but what about a more sophisticated approach to taking a tour with a tipple? Vintage Tea Tours is a gin-based tour on a converted double-decker bus.
  • The Dean – I did mention it as a hotel spot for couples, but the hotel also has a cocktail lobby bar and a rooftop restaurant that is a popular boozy brunch and pre-club meetup spot.
  • Ned O’Sheas – It might look like any other Dublin pub on the outside but make a stop here if you’re looking for that Instagram spot to get a photo taken while pouring a pint of Guinness. You might have to pay a little extra, but the bar staff are nice.

Reason for the Trip 4: IT’S SAINT PATRICK’S DAY!

Getting around Dublin on St. Patrick’s Day can be a nightmare. There is the main parade that goes through the city, making it almost impossible to get anywhere. Temple Bar is so cramped with tourists you’ll feel like you can’t move anywhere. 

If you want that authentic Dublin pub experience on the day, I recommend:

  • Doyle’s – just beside Trinity College, it somehow manages to avoid being a tourist trap and is beloved by students
  • The Bernard Shaw – a truly hip bar with a massive beer garden that attracts artsy types
  • The Bar with No Name – a barebones bar where, if you’re early enough on the day, you’ll be able to brunch before partying

Reason for the Trip 5: You’re going to Croker

Croke Park is Dublin’s biggest stadium on the north side of the river. Every summer it plays to massive shows with the likes of Taylor Swift, Bruce Springsteen, the Spice Girls and Westlife taking up 2-4 night residencies there (Irish people love pop music).

Some of the closest bars nearby really ramp up the price close to gig time, so act savvy when going for a pre-show drink at:

  • McGowans – a charming 70-year-old neighbourhood that will let you book parts of their cocktail lounge (most info here) before and after shows 
  • Porterhouse Whitworth – you may have noticed the craft beer chain has a few locations in the middle of town. This is the same, only quieter and more inclined to attract locals
  • Doyle’s Corner – Not to be confused with Doyle’s in town, it’s a great place to grab dinner beforehand, rather than buying an overpriced burger at Croke Park.

Looking to travel and not blow your budget?

Read my recent post on 8 Ways You Can Afford to Travel to Cities on a Budget.


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