Dublin is a city full of cultural attractions and nice places to visit, even if you are on a tight budget! Many attractions in the city have no entrance fee and can be enjoyed without spending any of your euros, isn’t it THE traveler’s dream? Here is a list of 8 places you can go while visiting Dublin on a budget and enjoy the Irish capital like a local:
1. Take a free walking tour around Dublin
It's always nice to know more about the place you are visiting, especially in a place with so much history like Dublin. I recently took the Generation free walking tour that leaves from The Old Storehouse pub (3 Crown Alley, Temple Bar) every day at 11a.m. The tour is totally free, but you can contribute with whatever amount you want at the end. During the walk, you will go to Dublin Castle and its gardens, the Trinity College, the Molly Malone statue, and a few other cool spots, like places used as movie locations or related to the years before Ireland’s independence. Throughout the walk, the tour guide explains the story of the places you are visiting and it is amazing to learn about how much has happened in Dublin in the past. You will definitely end the tour seeing the city from a different perspective.
2. Spend some time at Stephen's Greens
Stephen’s Greens park is one of the most famous attractions in Dublin and has lots of special spots to explore. During the summer and spring the place is perfect for enjoying a sunny day, taking some snacks from home with you, and spending the whole afternoon on Stephen's Greens grasses, always filled with locals and tourists doing the same. Even during autumn and winter, the park is worth a visit, the landscape gets a whole new aesthetic and it's beautiful for taking photos and strolling around, just make sure to get a nice hot chocolate from Butlers - the best in the city and with a shop just outside the park’s gates.
3. Go visit the Trinity College Dublin
The famous Irish university is one of my favorite places in Dublin and there you will find many things to do, some of them being totally free! The campus of the university is open for everyone, so you can go there to walk around and see the beautiful buildings and landscape, grab a pint from the campus’ only pub, and even watch some cricket matches that happen there during the semester.
You can go visit the Science Gallery while there - the institution aims to explain science in a more fun and easy way for non-scientists, applying it to our everyday life. There are no fees for visiting and you can easily spend a whole hour there to check everything. If you feel like spending a bit, you can pay to visit the Book of Kells, the famous library in Trinity College, tickets are around 18 euros.
4. Spend an afternoon at the National Botanical Gardens
Many people don’t know this, but the National Botanical Gardens has free entrance and opens every day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm - during the week, and from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm, on Saturdays and Sundays. The place is not in the city center (Glasnevin, Botanic, Dublin 9), but to get there you just need to take one bus from town (83 or 83A leaving from Temple Bar) or go cycling. There you can walk through the gardens and go check the greenhouses - there are several and they are all very cool. If you are lucky you might see some squirrels and other cute animals hanging around the place.
5. Check out the National Gallery
Dublin’s National Gallery is one of the coolest museums I have visited to this day. I love going there during the year to check out their new exhibitions, go visit my favorite pieces, and just be amazed by all the beautiful rooms in the place. There you can see incredible works from sundry artists around the world, the famous Caravaggio is definitely worth a visit, as well as the “Still Life with a Mandolin'' by Pablo Picasso. As you probably already guessed at this point, the gallery has no entrance fee and you can spend as much time there as you like. Want to make it even better? It is located in the heart of Dublin City, just across the road from Merrion Square and The Trinity College (Merrion Square W, Dublin 2, Ireland).
6. Explore the beautiful Phoenix Park
Dublin’s Phoenix Park is just a walk or bike-ride away from the city center and can be visited at any time of the day. It’s one of the largest parks in Europe, with more than seven kilometers in length, and has different sights to explore during your visit. One of the coolest things you'll find at Phoenix Park is the deer, which usually are spread around the area in big groups, eating the grass and interacting with the visitors. The landscape changes a lot during the year, so it is worth visiting in all seasons - perhaps get a warm coach and hot drink if visiting it during winter.
7. Take a stroll to the Poolbeg Lighthouse
If you feel like enjoying a nice walk with gorgeous views my suggestion is to visit the Poolbeg Lighthouse, which can only be accessed by an 800 meters stroll throughout the Great South Wall. The red lighthouse is located on the southside of Dublin Bay, and during the walk, you will be able to see the north side of the city across the sea. My favorite time to visit the place is around sunrise (that in winter can happen quite late, at around 8 AM), and sunset.
8. Visit the Temple Bar Food Market
Every Saturday at Meeting House Square 10.30am to 4pm you can find the Temple Bar Food Market, filled with food trucks with the most varied options. It costs nothing to check it out, and many of the stalls often offer samples for free, you can also try some local treasures such as the Irish oysters. It is definitely a nice way to save some money you would probably spend in a restaurant, and get a chance to enjoy a truly Dubliner experience when visiting the city.
Now you just have to plan your days in the city and decide which of these places you will want to visit first. Enjoy!!