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St. Patrick's Day Holiday, Dublin, christa thompson

Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Dublin for the First Time

If you’re planning on visiting Dublin, then kudos to you. This might be the best trip of your life. Dublin is one of my favorite cities in the world, and that’s saying a lot. Maybe it’s the Guinness, St. Patricks’ Day, pubs? Literary legends like W.B. Yeats, Jonathan Swift? Or maybe it’s the folklore and legends. No matter what, Dublin is a place to be. So if you’re planning a trip, then here’s everything you need to know about visiting Dublin.


visiting dublin


Visiting Dublin, Be in the Know


Ireland’s capital and largest city definitely has all of the above and some more, but there’s so much more to this city that is located on the east coast at the mouth of River Liffey. If you are visiting Dublin for the first time, buckle up as I’m about to share information that will help you see more, know how to get from Dublin airport to the city center, decide when is the best time to visit Dublin, delve deeper into the city’s history and culture and make sure you saw all the best sights in Ireland.


And who knows, maybe after reading this, you might start planning your trip to Dublin!


How to Get from Dublin Airport to Dublin


The Dublin airport is located approximately 10 km of Dublin city center, near a large suburban area called Swords. Upon arrival at the airport, a visitor will find there is no train or subway service into the city center, but you need not to worry as you have access to a large number of buses, coaches and taxis allowing you to get to and from the airport with ease.


However, if you happen to be four people, choosing a taxi provider might be the best cost-effective way to get to the city center, especially if you have to go to a specific location, and you have luggage.


Tip: You are not required to tip the taxi driver, but if you had good taxi service and want to tip, make sure you leave 10% or more.


St. Patrick's Day Holiday, Dublin, visiting dublin
Photo courtesy Tourism Ireland 2015


The Best Time to Visit Dublin


Many visitors worry about the Irish rain and usually don’t plan their trips until summer, but the best time to visit Dublin is actually in April or May when the spring weather arrives.  Or maybe October, just before the cold temperatures arrive.


Certain holidays, such as St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) and the weeks leading up to Christmas (December 25), are also great times to be in the Irish capital in order to experience a festive, although rainy, atmosphere.


Bottom line?


There is never a dry season in Dublin, so it’s up you to decide when would be the best time to visit Dublin. That being said, you might want to continue reading and learn about all the places worth visiting during your first time in Dublin.


St. Patrick's Day Holiday, Dublin, visiting dublin
Irish Whiskey Museum


Discover the Best of the Irish Capital


There are lots of places to see in Dublin but my advice would be to enjoy the city above all for its relaxing atmosphere, the many gastronomic opportunities it offers and its incredible architecture and impressive literary history.


Dublin is a city with many museums where you can learn about Dublin’s literary past. The first place to start is the National Library of Ireland, with its fantastic interactive exhibit on the Nobel-prize winning poet W.B. Yeats. If you’re interested in art, make sure you visit the National Gallery of Ireland or the Irish Museum of Modern Art. To indulge your historical side, you will want to arrive at Trinity College to see the Book of Kells and the huge library with over 20,000 books.


Dublin is also well known for another great export: Guinness. The Guinness Storehouse is the most visited attraction in Ireland and Europe. It’s always packed with visitors from all over the world, which is why I recommend to skip the ticket line, get a complimentary pint and save 10% by purchasing your tickets on their website ahead of time.


And if you want to discover a multicultural, artistic city with gastronomic opportunities and great gigs then make sure you visit Temple Bar, one of Dublin’s most famous areas. I recommend to do that during the day, as you’ll have the chance to appreciate the artisan shops, the museums, and, yes, the pubs — but in their less frenetic aspects.


Should You Bring Cash or Card?


If you’re headed on a trip to the Irish capital, you can expect to be able to use most international debit and credit cards. However, it’s always a good idea to have at least a little bit of cash on hand, just in case you run into a shop or restaurant that won’t take your card.


Luckily, most US, UK and Australian debit and credit cards should be usable in Ireland. Visa, Mastercard (Cirrus and Maestro) and American Express are all widely accepted. However, you may have a little more trouble using a Diner’s Club card, and Discover isn’t often accepted in Ireland. If these are your preferred cards, you might need to bring another with you.


To find the closest ATM that’s compatible with your card, try using these locators:


What is the Best Part of Town to Stay in (based on travel taste)


Thankfully, Dublin is awash with outstanding places to stay. So, let’s explore where to stay in Dublin so you can start planning your Irish adventure.


With more than 200 hotels and hostels, it can be overwhelming to know which neighbourhood to choose. So whether you want to have a few drinks, see the top sights, or explore the coolest neighbourhoods, my guide will share everything you need to know about backpacking in Dublin.


Where to stay in Dublin first time – City Centre

Where to stay in Dublin on a budget – Trinity

Best neighbourhood in Dublin for families – Portobello

The best area to stay in Dublin for nightlife – Temple Bar

The coolest place to stay in Dublin – Phibsborough


Getting Around the City (When Taxis are pricey)


Getting around the Dublin area is easy. You can jump on its coastal train, the DART, to discover the beautiful towns and villages dotted along the coast, or use their extensive public bus network to travel the city and suburbs. There’s the Luas tram system to get you out to the suburbs too as well as bicycle hire throughout the city! If you are here for a few days then the best value across bus and rail options is the Leap Visitor Card.


And of course, you can always download the official Transport for Ireland Journey Planner to view all Dublin’s transport options. It’s completely free and covers bus, Luas, taxis, ferries and even walking!


So, how does that sound to you?


I sure hope I got you hooked on Dublin as there is so much more to see and do in this city. It’s definitely a place you’d want to go more than once! Beyond these points of interest, you will find that Dublin has a lot of stories to share. Like fairy legends at the Brazen Head and even a much darker side of Dublin where haunts and mummies come to life. 


Visiting Dublin is addictive. And I’m sure with one visit you’ll be as hooked as I was when I went for the first time. With its rich history, culture, amazing restaurants, shopping and Dubliners (who are the best), you’re sure to have a grand time. 


Christa Thompson

Christa Thompson is the Founder and Chief Editor of The Fairytale Traveler. She started traveling the world in 2003 when she attended a summer abroad study at the University of Cambridge in England. Since then, her wanderlust has been fierce. Her three passions in life are her son, traveling, and being creative. The Fairytale Traveler brand gives Christa the opportunity to do all of these things and to live intentionally every day. "It's never too late to believe in what you love and to pursue your dreams." -Christa Thompson

4 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know About Visiting Dublin for the First Time

  1. To enjoy your cultural side, explore the amazing street paintings of Icon Walk, visit Gallery of Photography or watch the show at the Project Arts Center. After sunset, catch a performance at the Button factory or go to one of the many pubs. Temple Bar can be more expensive than other areas, but unusual places like Classic Cocktail Club or a big pub like the Palace deserve your time and money.

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