Just because you are on a budget, doesn’t mean you have to miss out. Here are 10 things to do for €10 or less.
Enjoy a Jam (Free)
Dublin is famous for its music, and there is a ton you can listen to for free. Skip the tourist traps in the Temple Bar region and head down to where the locals go. Try Whelans on Camden Street, Sweeney’s on Dame street or Doyles near to Trinity College. Listen to lots of great up and coming musicians. If you’re a musician yourself, watch for ‘open sessions.’ All levels of musicians get together for impromptu jam sessions in many Dublin pubs. Even if you’re not a musician, you’ll want to catch one of these gigs. It’s all about the music, and there’s fantastic comradery. The jams are free, but spring for a pint for the full experience. Live music can be head every day of the week all over Dublin. Check out Dublin Sessions to find music around the city.
Pack a Picnic (Free)
Three kilometers North of the city center, you’ll find the serene oasis of the National Botanic Gardens. A highly regarded scientific institution, the NBG also contains the National Herbarium. Stroll through several historical wrought iron glasshouses constructed by the Dubliner Richard Turner, who also designed the glasshouses at Kew Gardens. The beautifully manicured gardens provide a heavenly escape from the hustle of the city. The gardens are located right next to Glasnevin cemetery if you have an opportunity check it out too. Free guided tours of the garden are available on Sundays at 12p and 2.30p. Pre-booked guided tours are available for a small fee. Check the National Botanic Garden website for exhibitions and up to date opening times,
Walk On The Wild Side (Free)
Sure, you can go to the zoo just down the road and visit the animals, but for a fee. For free, you can see 300+ wild deer in their parkland. Phoenix Park covers 1,750 acres and is more than twice the size of New York’s Central Park. Famous faces have visited Phoenix Park including Bono and the Pope. Stroll down the picturesque tree-lined avenues. A herd of wild deer has made the park their home since the 17th century. Pack a picnic and enjoy the wide open spaces.
Get Cultured (Free)
Royal Hospital Kilmainham, a 17th-century structure, is home to the Irish Museum of Modern Art. You’ll be welcomed by a giant sculpture of a hare banging a drum. In the 20th Century, the building and grounds became neglected, but it was restored by the State in 1984. By its 300th Anniversary, it had become the home of IMMA. Wander down the avenues and through ancient chestnut trees. The impeccably groomed gardens are extraordinary, and the wisteria is intoxicating. Explore the whimsical and weird sculptures from IMMA’s collection.
See Saint’s Shrines (Free)
Dublin has a plethora of churches and cathedrals. The usual tourist haunts are Christchurch and St. Patrick’s, but they charge for admission. The Carmelite church on Whitefriar St is not a tourist attraction, but worth visiting. The stained glass windows are breathtaking, and the church houses some unusual shrines. If you have a thing for the gothic and romance, you might like to see the shrine to St. Valentine. Be respectful as this is a house of worship and not a usual stop for tourists.
Storm the Castle (€10)
Built almost 800 years ago, in the city center, you will find Dublin Castle. Don’t expect typical ‘castle.’ The Anglo-Normans built their castle on the site of a 9th century Viking fortress. Dublin Castle served as the seat of British rule in Ireland until 1922. In 1921, at the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the complex was turned over to Michael Collins and the Provisional Government. Today, the castle is a favorite tourist sight and used for the inauguration of Irish presidents and state dinners. While a tour is €10, you can walk around the Upper Castle Yard and see the Record Tower (the last surviving tower of the medieval castle) for free. You can also enjoy views of the castle from nearby Dubh Linn gardens.
Watch a Play (Free)
Over 100 years old, the Abbey Theatre first opened its doors to the public on December, 27th 1904. The National Theatre of Ireland has been home to acts from all over the world. If you want to see a show at this legendary venue (for free), plan ahead. Through a series of Free First Previews, they give away thousands of free tickets. They are extending this series in 2018 to include performances on both their Abbey and Peacock Stages. Join their Free First Preview Facebook events here.
Breakfast at O’Neill’s (€7.50+)
O’Neill’s serves traditional Irish breakfast all day. For a tasty morning meal order the ‘Really Good’ Mini Irish Breakfast. Tuck into a Crowe’s Farm sausage, Irish maple smoked bacon, a fried free range egg, and Kelly’s award winning black pudding. Served with wholemeal toast, Lady G’s homemade jam, and a cuppa. If you want lunch instead, try an Open Oak Salmon for €8.90, oak smoked salmon, red onion, capers, cream chive cheese served on Irish soda bread. Lonely Planet rate them as one of the top 5 places to find ´Real Irish food in Dublin´.
Tour Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (€7.00)
Founded in 1191, St. Patrick’s Cathedral is one of the oldest functioning churches in Ireland. The 800-year-old building was constructed on the site of an ancient well supposedly used by Saint Patrick himself. The early wooden church was replaced by limestone. From 1219-1260, Archbishop Luke built a Gothic cathedral in a cruciform shape. It includes the Nave, Choir, and Transepts. The Gothic architecture, stunning stained glass windows, and lush gardens are all reasons to make your list of stops. For tickets, click here.
Go to Market (Free)
If you want to kick around Dublin’s markets, head to the Honest2Goodness market on a Saturday. Taste an array of delicious chutneys and jams. Chat with the knowledgeable wine sellers, or check out the Mediterranean olives. Free samples abound! You’ll also find food trucks and a cafe. If you find yourself in the touristy area of Temple Bar on a Saturday, enjoy some fresh oysters for lunch (with complimentary wine!). Pick up bread, cheese, and produce at the Temple Bar Food Market, from 10a to 4p. The Moore Street Market is the oldest street market in Dublin and is another great place to pick up fresh goods.
Here are five additional things that might make your visit to Dublin complete. Try to find room in your budget to get to Trinity College and tour Guinness.
Check Out Street Art (Free)
Dublin has a terrific scattering of street art throughout the city. You will see the work of local street artists, from murals of Bill O’Herlihy to several caricatures of MMA legend, Conor McGregor, the streets of Dublin are splashed with colorful images and skillful graffiti.
Trinity College & The Book of Kells (€14)
Trinity College is steeped colorful, rich history. Take a guided tour, it includes admission to the library and Book of Kells which is €14 by itself! Learned how the college paid for its striking architecture. Visit the “Long Room” where books are put to order by length and weight. It houses over 200,000 books just in that room alone. The Long Room is arguably one of the most fascinating rooms in Ireland with hundreds of ancient books, including The Book of Kells, written around 800 AD on calfskin paper. The Book of Kells is extraordinarily gorgeous, intricately written and illustrated. Wandering around the grounds of Ireland’s oldest University can be for free, but the tour is worth the money. Famous Alumni include Oscar Wilde, Samuel Beckett, and Jonathan Swift. If you are visiting in the summer, wait-times can be long so book your tickets in advance. Visits after 4:30p are half price!
Chow down at Govindas (€8.75)
Govindas offers a big bang for your…euro. Vegetarians and vegans rejoice! €8.75 will get you a heap of vegetarian food. The vegetables are skillfully prepared and served with the basmati rice. The Govindas Special may also include a generous serving of tofu in a tomato sauce and the dish of the day. Don’t order the “xlarge” plate unless you are going to share it with someone. Govindas also offer some other dishes like Indian stews or Samosas served with aromatically spiced potato and pea filling for €5. Even if you are not a vegetarian or vegan, you are going to love Govindas. There are two locations, and they are within walking distance of each other.
Tour Guinness (€14)
What trip to Dublin would be complete without a visit to Guinness? It’s quintessential Ireland. Enjoy an interactive experience and learn how Guinness is made. One of the best views of Dublin can be found on the top floor. Tour of the storehouse and have a pint of Ireland’s “black gold”.
Pig Out in Dublin (€6.00+)
There are dozens of budget-friendly places Dublin to grab lunch or dinner. The cafe culture is thriving. Brother Hubbard, The Fumbally, Foam Cafe, and Oxmantown are all the examples of the modern Dublin cafe scene. Grab a Falafel for €6.00 at Zaytoon Persian Cuisine, Parmigiana Paulista for €8.50 at the ethnically diverse, Epicurean Food Hall. What about The Conn for €10.95 (a beef burger with sweet corn relish, Dubliner cheese, cured smoked bacon, and a BBQ & Mayonnaise sauce) at Bobo’s Burgers? Burritos & Blues offers burrito bowls for under €10. If you are hankering for curries or rice dishes… for around €11, you can grab a meal at Neon Asian Street Food. Vegetarians should check out Cornucopia on Wicklow Street.
What are your favorite places to visit Dublin on a budget? Tell me in the comments below! If you liked these suggestions, please give me a “like” and follow my blog.