50 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Dublin
Tips and tricks picked up from a semester abroad in Dublin.
1. The city is almost busier on weeknights than it is on the weekends, since a lot of locals only work or study there and go home when the have any time off.
2. The aircoach or the airlink are the two cheapest and easiest ways to get from the airport to city centre.
3. The Irish are passionate about their rugby. Rightly so – they are the current holders of the Six Nations cup and are ranked third in the world. Their home turf is Avivva Stadium in Dublin but if you want to cheer them on live, you’ll have to buy your ticket months in advance.
4. Irish people are pretty accepting and friendly. Gay marriage was legalized by popular vote last month and you can’t take a cab ride without having deep life chats with the driver.
5. Abigail’s Hostel and Sky Backpackers are 2 of the most centrally located hostels in the city.
6. Everybody speaks English. Though all of the signs are in both English and Irish and it’s a mandatory class until the end of high school, hardly anyone speaks Irish anymore except some parts of rural Ireland.
7. Always check the weather since it can change in a heartbeat. Though the temperatures are relatively mild, ranging from about 40°F in the winter and 60°F in the summer, it rains quite often and doesn’t always give much warning. Make sure you bring a good jacket.
8. There’s a lot of smoking in Dublin. Though smoking in pubs is illegal, all of them have outdoor smoking areas.
9. Founded by Queen Elizabeth I, Trinity College Dublin has a history dating back to 1592 and offers walking tours guided by students. You have to purchase tickets in person and can only buy them for the next available tour, not in advance.
10. A student leap card works for all public transit (the bus, the LUAS and the DART) AND gets you discounts.
11. Transport Ireland is a great app for getting around with public transport. The system is pretty comprehensive, but you can also walk or bike almost anywhere.
12. The Brazen Head, located in Dublin, is said to be the oldest pub in Ireland. They make a mean chilli.
13. The drinking age is 18 and you can’t buy alcohol from the store after 10:00.
14. An Irish breakfast is big enough to qualify as all three meals for a day, so only order it if you’re fully committed.
15. Mama’s Revenge makes the best burritos in existence.
16. Ireland is known as the emerald isle for a reason. Two of the best green spaces near the city centre are St. Stephen’s Green (often busy but still nice) and Pheonix Park, which is twice the size of Central Park.
17. You can get in to see the Book of Kells and the Trinity College long room for free if you’re with a Trinity student.
18. A night watching Irish dancing is not to be missed. There are live performers at the Church pub every night.
19. Dublin has some of the best nightlife anywhere. Temple bar is known as the big party area, though it can be a bit of a tourist trap. There are some spots that are still authentic though.
20. Every other building is a pub, so you’ll have no trouble finding one. It’s basically impossible to avoid them.
21. Ryan air is headquartered in Dublin, so they offer a pretty wide range of flights to and from there.
22. Three (3) offers pay as you go SIM cards with all you can eat data for 20 euro a month.
23. But free wifi is pretty widely available.
24. The 3 Arena is where any big name musical acts perform.
25. But you can see trads (traditional music) on any given night, especially in the streets of Temple bar.
26. Apache pizza makes the only decent slice in the city.
27. Murphy’s caramelized brown bread ice cream is to die for and it’s made with cream from the Irish Kerry cow.
28. Henry Street and Grafton Street have the best shopping.
29. But there are no good shopping malls.
30. You can get to anywhere else in Ireland within a few hours.
31. There’s a boardwalk by the water about 5 minutes away by DART.
32. Lidl usually gets you the cheapest groceries.
33. Whelan’s pub was featured in P.S. I Love You and always has great live music.
More: Places to stay in Dublin
34. St. Patrick’s day in its homeland is epic.
35. But the night before is when all the locals party.
36. An average pint costs around 5 euro.
37. But it’s nearly impossible to find a cocktail for less than 7 euro. A rare exception, Bad Bob’s has 2 for 10 euro cocktails every night.
38. Buy your ticket for the Guinness Storehouse online to skip the cues. The tour is self-guided, but the 360 view from the skybar is the best part.
39. If you not the biggest fan of beer, try the old Jameson distillery instead. The tour is just as, if not more, interesting.
40. 6-inch platform heels are the norm when going dancing (even on cobblestones), while boots are the uniform everywhere else. And every guy owns a pair of burgundy pants.
41. A cross between a pub and a club, Dicey’s is busy every night of the week and drinks are as cheap as 2 euro on Sundays.
42. Cornucopia is a good choice for anyone with special dietary requirements.
43. You can’t go to Ireland and not indulge in their potatoes. Stew with potatoes and fish and chips are definite musts. Garlic cheese fries and curry fries are the go-to late night food.
44. The Queen of Tarts knows their brunch.
45. If you forgot to pack something, Penney’s offers clothes, shoes, accessories, beauty products and homewares that fit a student budget.
46. Trinity Ball, a yearly music festival and prom cross taking place in April, is the largest private party in Europe. You have to know a student to get a ticket. It’s nearly impossible to sneak in nowadays, but you can hear some crazy stories from those who’ve tried.
47. Dublin can also be super windy, so always carry a scarf or extra layers. If you want to go full Irish, pick up a knit Aran sweater.
48. Dublin was the home of many famous writers, such as James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde. If you’re an English major, a literary pub tour would be right up your alley. (Read more about that here)
49. Sandeman New Dublin offers a great walking tour of the city. Plus payment is by tip, so guides are forced to try their hardest to give you the best possible experience.
50. Make the most of it!