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The Irish are renowned for being fun-loving, easy going and having a national penchant for a pint – basically all the ingredients you need for a great few days away.
£25.08 (per person) for two nights
£21.60 for three days
Flights to Dublin are normally pretty cheap – it’d probably cost you more to get a pair of shoes than to cross the Irish Sea. If you’re willing to be fairly flexible on dates you can get a return flights with Ryan Air for around £40. There doesn’t seem to be much of a pattern on which dates you can travel for cheaper, so just make sure you look through the flight times properly. We’re lucky in Lancaster that we’re quite close to a lot of airports – Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, even Blackpool. So the best advice would be to take a look around different airlines and airports to see who can give you the best deal.
In terms of transfers, a straight train from Lancaster to Manchester Airport with a railcard is £23.40. You can walk straight from the station into the airport, so it’s totally hassle free! Then from a taxi from Dublin Airport to the city centre should cost around £20. This does sound a little expensive but you only need 4 of you for it to be a fiver each. Or alternatively grab a bus from the airport to the centre! It takes a little longer and a bit more organising, but you can save quite a bit.
How about accommodation?
When I visited Dublin I stayed in a hostel just off O’Connell street called The Shinning (I kid you not). It was a cheap as chips – £12. And believe me, we paid for what we got. About 20 bunk beds in a huge room packed in very tightly, (my friends and I got a little too close for comfort with some burly Welsh men) with a very questionable shower. No it wasn’t a 5 star luxury hotel, but neither was it unbearable. It was right in the centre of Dublin, we were barely in our rooms anyway, and some of the funniest moments of our trip happened in that hostel. We also found that some of the smaller rooms (with 5 or 6 people to a room) were a lot nicer, and we soon discovered another bathroom where you could actually feel happy about removing your shoes. It had a lot of character and we met some hilarious people there (I’m thinking a 40 year old Moroccan life coach called Muphasa) that made our trip. If this doesn’t sound right for you then if you go to hostelbookers.com you can find some other great deals.
Getting around in Dublin
If you want to stay in Dublin city centre, and focus your trip on the main shopping streets and Temple Bar, then you won’t need to spend any money on public transport as they’re all in working distance. However, if you want to visit sites such as the Guinness Storehouse (which as a student, it is of course your obligation to go to) or Phoenix Park then you’ll need to get on a bus.
A good idea is to go on one of the hop on hop off tourist buses, as they’re a great way to see further out places of the city when you don’t have much time. These cost £11.70 for students per day. You can also get a 3-day Freedom Ticket, which includes a Dublin bus tour, public transport, airport transfers, a walking tour, and discounts on tourist attractions for 3 days for just £21.60.
What to do in Dublin?
One of the funnest things for me in Dublin was the Guinness Storehouse. No it’s not particularly historical or beautiful, but it is just so fun! You go on a huge tour of the factory, learning how Guinness is made, looking at the history of the infamous advertising campaigns and even getting the chance to pull your own pint. Then, at the end of the tour, you can enjoy a free pint (or soft drink) at the Gravity Bar right at the top of the building, giving you panoramic views of Dublin. It’s a relaxing and unusual way to view the city.
Another must in Dublin is taking a trip around Temple Bar at night. The place is infamous for a great night out, and for me it certainly did not disappoint. The people are lovely, so if you want to know the best bars and clubs to go to, just ask the bar stuff in one of the many, many bars, as they’re more than happy to help. The streets are lined with people having a great time, and buskers serenade you along your way. It’s got a great atmosphere and is a guaranteed good night.
My final must see is the more refined Trinity College Dublin just off Grafton Street, one of the main shopping streets in the city. TCD is a beautiful university, so at the very least is nice to have a stroll around the campus. However, the place attracts 500,000 visitors a year for being home to the Book of Kells, a medieval manuscript containing one of the earliest recordings of the four Gospels of the New Testament. Whether you’re particularly religious or not, seeing something so old and ornate is quite awe-inspiring (not to mention free!) and definitely worth a visit.
- Dublin is an eccentric and quirky place, so my best tip would be to talk to people. The making of my trip to Dublin was meeting some of the most hilarious and friendliest people I’ve ever met, and my best memories of the trip include them. It’s also a great place to people watch, so set yourself up in a café with a cup of tea, and watch the world go by.
- Have a pint of Guinness in the Porter House pub on Parliament Street just outside of Temple Bar. The pub was Dublin’s first micro-brewery with ten different beers brewed on the premises, with the added bonus of serving traditional Irish dishes with a twist. It’s four floors of music, food, drink and a great atmosphere.
- For history on the cheap visit Dublin’s National Art Gallery and National History Museum. You get to see some of Ireland’s national treasures for a grand total of £0. That’s right – admission free.