Travel| Can You Visit Dublin on a Budget?

Note: This is in no way a sponsored post. All views are my own – I just really love the Dublin Pass!

Dublin is one of those destinations that is known for being quite expensive; it’s a capital city after all.

When I was younger, we used to go to Dublin (and the rest of Ireland) every summer as my dad’s family comes from there. I never really noticed the expense of it as I was lucky enough to be a child and only had my holiday spending money to worry about.

However, now that I’ve (finally!) got a passport, my first journey with it was back to the Emerald Isle and the city that I could easily call home. With a set budget in mind, we planned to make the most of the 5 days we were there (3 full days) without having to break the bank! Here’s my guide to exploring Dublin without having to worry about money:

Flights – £30 Return

We managed to get a great deal with Ryanair which meant that we only had to pay £30 to get from Manchester Aiport to Dublin and back again.

Yeah, it’s a budget flight, but it’s only 45-50 minutes, so you’re pretty much up and down before you know it.

Accommodation – £128 (+£21 Deposit each between 4 people)

We didn’t want to spend a massive amount on accommodation as we wouldn’t really be spending much time in our room except for sleeping.

We chose to stay at the Dublin Central Hostel which can be found on Blessington Street, right at the top of O’Connell Street. It was the perfect central hub for us as we were wanting to check out Temple Bar which is down O’Connell Street and across the river, as well as many other attractions which I will discuss in a minute.

Image from here. Copyright to Dublin Central Hostel

We initially thought that we would be sharing an apartment as we’d booked in for 4 people, but we managed to have two separate rooms, each with en-suite! We’d expected to have to share a bathroom between the four of us, so it was a nice surprise that, as two couples, we both had our own space. The image above is actually the room that Jordan and I stayed in!

The rooms were great and extremely clean and comfy and perfect for just passing out after a long day of exploring Dublin’s fair city! Towels were also provided and hair dryers and shower items were available to rent/purchase from reception.

Breakfast was included, too, which we took advantage of for the first morning. It consisted of cereals and toast with jams and marmalades, as well as fresh orange and apple juice and tea and coffee making facilities. We did go elsewhere for a cooked breakfast for the other days, but you can easily fill up enough at the hostel!

All in all, a great base for anyone who just wants to explore – we’ll definitely be back!

Attractions: Dublin Pass 3 Day £65

The attractions in Dublin were looking to be the most expensive thing for us until we found the Dublin Pass. This handy little card gets you into a lot of attractions for free, as well as give you discount and freebies in many other stores around the city.

The awesome Dublin Pass that saved us over £60!

Supported by Failte Ireland, we were able to pick our pass up right away with our confirmation emails, and we could have been using it right away. We were advised to wait to start using it as we had arrived mid afternoon so it would make sense to wait until the next day to get the full benefit of the three days – the staff at O’Connell Street Tourism Ireland branch couldn’t have been more helpful!

So, what did we get for our £65 spend? Prices they should have been without the pass are listed beside them:

Guinness Storehouse Tour:  €20.00
Jameson Whiskey Distillery Tour: €18.00
Teelings Whiskey Distillery Tour: €14.00
Hop On Hop Off Dublin Bus Tour: €19.00
Dublin Zoo:  €17.00
GPO Witness History Exhibit:  €10.00
Dublinia Museum: €8.50
Dublin Wax Work Museum:  €15.00
Rock and Roll Museum: €16.00

So, in total, we should have paid £120 for our trip around all the attractions, but with the pass being pre-paid and giving us free-entry to the above, we had only paid £65. It’s definitely worth buying as you really only pay half of what you will without it – a great little money saver, and definitely helped us enjoy and appreciate Dublin more – at least for me!

The curse of being small – you can’t see my happy face at pouring my own Guinness!

We purchased the pass before our trip and exchanged our confirmation email for our passes. The passes activate on the first attraction you use it on, so be careful if you’re wanting to get the most out of it and you arrive halfway through a day!

Airport Transfer: £9 Return

As we came out of the airport, we jumped on one of the airport buses, which offered an airport return for €10 which is about £8.79 or so.

We used the return to get back to the airport on the Friday and it was a regular service which runs through the city. As we were near O’Connell Street, we jumped on there.

Additional Holiday Spends: £250

We initially took around €400 with us as a maximun just in case we needed a lot of money for food or other attractions which weren’t included in the fantastic Dublin Pass.

However, food wasn’t as expensive as we thought – maybe a little more than we would spend on a daily basis back home but not much more. We even got a free drink at Hard Rock Cafe with our food because we had the Dublin Pass.

Eddie Rockets – I always go when I’m in Dublin – The ice cream milkshakes are amazing!

Alcohol wise, if you’re a spirit drinker, be prepared for a much higher cost. The measures seem to be more generous over in Ireland, but it’s also more expensive than buying back home in the UK.

Guinness and cider seemed to consistently be around €5-7, so a round of two drinks will set you back around £12 which, being a northerner in England) is around £5-ish more. We didn’t mind paying it though, and I’ve got a new favourite Cider that we can’t get over here – try Orchard Thieves if you get the chance!

Looking for a good ol’ Irish Session?

If you’re wanting a great Irish pub experience with cheap drinks, reasonable food and fantastic live music, head to O’Shea’s Merchants on Lower Bridge Street, on the opposite side of the river to the Four Courts. It’s a fantastic pub and has live music every day of the week – I was even encouraged to get up and do Irish Dancing and got a round of applause by the whole pub! We used to visit even back when it was just me and my parents as the manager owned the hotel across the river that we used to stay at! Great atmosphere and I know I’ll be back – you can’t keep me away!

All in all, our trip cost us £503 each – £100 a day, which is a lot less than I was initially expecting! I’m definitely going to head back very soon, so watch this space – there’s so much more I wanted to do, but simply couldn’t fit it into just 3 full days!

Do you have any holiday stories of destinations that are considered expensive, but that you managed to make cheaper? Let me know – I’m always on the lookout for new holiday destinations!


DISCLAIMER: Just a quick one about Dublin Zoo, as I know the animal rights readers of mine out there will be questioning my visit. The rest of my group wanted to visit, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to take a look at the conditions that the animals were living in without having to pay an entrance fee directly to the zoo as I don’t want to fund captivity. For the most part, many of the animals weren’t in their enclosures for “husbandry reasons” and the animals that I did see were either sleeping or playing with each other. I assure you that, had I actually had to pay directly and not had the pass, I wouldn’t have visited.

2 thoughts on “Travel| Can You Visit Dublin on a Budget?

  1. Who knew Dublin was so doable?! I find Ireland to be one of the cheapest places in Europe to visit (especially if coming form America). I’ve only been to Dublin for a day but I’ve been dying to plan another trip :)

    Liked by 1 person

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