College Tourist Student Guide To Dublin, Ireland
The land of Guinness, leprechauns and amazing hospitality
Dublin is the capital and most populous city of the Republic of Ireland, located on the eastern coast of the country. It is called Baile Atha Cliath in Gaelic, the traditional language of Ireland. Although this language is rarely spoken anymore and has been widely replaced with English, government signage still reads Dublin’s traditional Gaelic name.
The River Liffey runs through the center of the city, dividing Dublin into two parts: Dublin 1 and Dublin 2. There are numerous bridges running across the river, making the entire city easily accessible.
There’s a common stereotype that it always rains in Ireland, and this is fairly accurate. Although the sun makes regular appearances, it could easily start raining in ten minutes time. Don’t forget to bring your umbrella while visiting Dublin.
Dublin is a historically rich city with history dating back to Viking times. It has since been ruled by numerous kingdoms and governments, but finally achieved independence in 1922. The Irish War of Independence took a toll on the city of Dublin and caused great destruction.
The War of Independence was fought for independence from Great Britain. It began with the 1916 Easter Rising, one of the most famous events in Dublin’s history. The Rising took place outside the General Post Office on O’Connell Street in Dublin and fighting spread destruction throughout the city. The newly independent government had to rebuild the city in the bloody aftermath of the war.
Just as Dublin is historically rich, it is also culturally rich. The city is home to countless pubs, often with live traditional Irish music and dancing. This pub culture creates a warm and friendly atmosphere in the city, and Dubliners and tourists alike frequently stop in for a pint and some infamous Irish banter.
Dublin is famous for its nightlife, but it is not uncommon to find a crowded pub at any hour of the day. Guinness is practically considered a food group in Ireland, and is a major part of the pub culture in Dublin, especially since it is brewed right down the street.
Dubliners are some of the friendliest people you’ll ever encounter, and they’re always looking for good “craic.” This is a commonly used term in Ireland that loosely translates to “fun” or “a good time.” It’s all about the craic in Dublin, and this guide will help you find good craic during your time there.
. The Guinness Storehouse: One of the most visited tourist attractions in Dublin, the Guinness Storehouse is a must-see. Visitors can learn how the beer is brewed and enjoy a complimentary pint at the Gravity Bar, overlooking the entire city and providing breathtaking views.
. The Temple Bar: This area is the heart of nightlife in Dublin, named after the Temple Bar pub which is located in its center. After a tiring day of exploring the city, this is the perfect place to relax at a pub, enjoy a pint and meet people from all over the world.
. Grafton Street: The center of shopping in Dublin, Grafton Street offers stores for every price range. This is a great place for shopping and people watching, and a must-see for any visit to Dublin.
. Dublin Castle: This castle was built during the period of Norman rule in Ireland, and served as the center of rule in Ireland for over 700 years. It is now open to visitors, and this beautiful castle is a great way to escape the busy city and learn more about its history.
. Trinity College: Even if you’re studying at another university in Dublin, this campus is definitely worth a visit. Check out the Book of Kells, the illuminated manuscript Gospel book which is housed in the Trinity College library.
OFF THE BEATEN PATH:
While Dublin is a beautiful and culturally rich city, when many people think of Ireland they think of rolling green pastures instead of a bustling city. Take a day to venture into the Wicklow Mountains, which are just about a 40 minute drive from Dublin. Many tour companies offer day trips which depart from Dublin each morning, or you can rent a car and explore for yourself. Wicklow is a perfect place to experience the beautiful Irish countryside and venture off the beaten path for a nice break. Take a hike through the mountains or visit the old monastic site at Glendalough, but no matter what, don’t forget your camera!
FUN FOR FREE:
Living or staying in Dublin for a long period of time can become very expensive very quickly. Free walking tours are a great way to explore your new city and learn more about its history without breaking the bank. Sandeman’s New Europe tour is a great option in Dublin. Although it’s free, you are usually expected to tip the tour guide at the end.
Dublin is home to lots of green space, including Phoenix Park and St. Stephen’s Green. Exploring these parks is a great way to spend a day in Dublin without spending any money, just as long as the rain holds off!
The National Museum of Ireland has three locations in Dublin: museums of archaeology, natural history, decorative arts & history – all for free! Visit any of these three museums for a culturally rich and completely free experience.
EAT AND DRINK:
The Irish are not known for their cuisine, but they do have some traditional dishes that are worth a try. You can find pub food like fish and chips or beef and Guinness pie just about anywhere in Dublin, and these dishes are part of the pub experience. A traditional Irish breakfast is another immensely popular dish, and it can be served all day long at many places. An Irish breakfast is a large meal consisting of eggs, bacon, sausage, black pudding and toast, and you can’t leave Dublin without trying it at least once.
You can’t eat all this pub food without ordering a pint to accompany it. Embrace Guinness, Dublin’s drink of choice, while you’re there! If you can’t handle the distinct taste of Guinness, Bulmer’s cider is another hugely popular drink in Dublin’s pubs.
Here are some places worth eating and drinking at during your time in Dublin:
The Temple Bar: Arguably the most famous pub in Dublin, the Temple Bar will give you the traditional Irish pub experience. This is the perfect place to have some fish and chips and a pint and take some touristy pictures while you’re there.
The Elephant and Castle: This is another popular restaurant in the Temple Bar area, serving lighter fare like sandwiches and omelets. This is perfect when you’re looking for a break from all the pub food, but can be very busy. Consider calling ahead if you don’t want to wait hours to eat here.
O’Neills Pub: This is another great option for traditional Irish pub food, located on Suffolk Street across from the Dublin Tourism Centre. This is the place to go for cheap eats, massive portions and an impressive variety of beers on tap.
For some less touristy and cheaper places to grab a bite, consider the many coffee shop chains in Dublin including O’Brien’s, Costa Coffee and Bewley’s Café. These are all great places to grab soup and a sandwich and can be found in any part of the city. O’Brien’s often offers student discounts with a valid ID, making it even more affordable for a quick bite.
Dublin after dark is good craic no matter where you end up. The Temple Bar area is the heart of the city’s nightlife, and home to countless pubs and nightclubs. All of these nightclubs are great, but going out clubbing becomes very expensive in Ireland. One of the best options in Dublin, especially on a budget, is joining one of the city’s many pub crawls. This allows you to experience a variety of pubs and clubs, make some new friends, and gives you access to drink specials all night long. Most of the pub crawls offer student discounts and provide a free shot upon entry to each pub and half priced drinks at each. Pub crawls are extremely popular with backpackers and travelers because of all the discounts they offer, giving you the opportunity to meet people from all over the world.
Here’s a list of some great pub crawls offered in Dublin:
Hostels Pub Crawl: This pub crawl is offered every night of the week and includes a free beer upon arrival at the first pub, a free shot at each pub and free entry to a nightclub at the end. It is geared towards student travelers, and a great way to meet other young people from all over the world!
Dublin Literary Pub Crawl: Many famous authors came from Dublin, and what better way to learn about their history by visiting all their old drinking haunts? One of the most famous pub crawls in Dublin, this also offers a student discount and discounted drinks.
Sandeman’s New Europe Pub Crawl: Another option geared towards student travelers, this is offered by the same company that offers free walking tours. This also offers a student discount and free pint upon arrival!
Public transportation is easily accessible in Dublin, and the extensive Dublin Bus system will help you get anywhere you need to go. The Dublin Busses are blue and yellow double-decker busses that stop on just about every street in Dublin and extend far into the suburbs outside the city. You can download the Dublin Bus app to find the stop nearest you and calculate what time the next bus is coming. These busses stop running at midnight, but run a special Nitelink service on weekends with busses running until 4 a.m. These busses run less frequently, so be sure to plan ahead and avoid waiting an hour for the next bus. Major bonus: most of the busses have free Wi-Fi!
There is also a national railway called Iarnrod Eireann with two stations in Dublin. This is more expensive than the bus, but can take you anywhere else in Ireland.
Although Ireland is an English-speaking country, you may still experience a language barrier during your time there. Everyone is looking for “good craic,” but this doesn’t mean they are looking for drugs. The term “craic” is used excessively by the Irish, and it’s definitely something to familiarize yourself with before you go to avoid awkward confusion.
Gaelic is rarely spoken by Dubliners, but all government signage is in both Gaelic and English. Don’t panic, everyone will still speak English to you. This is just something to be aware of when trying to navigate your way around or read bus schedules.
Businesses typically close from 1-2 p.m. for a lunch break, but this applies to the small towns and suburbs of Dublin more than the actual city centre. Restaurants become increasingly crowded during this hour, so plan your lunch around it to avoid huge crowds.
The Irish drive on the opposite side of the road from America and many other European countries, so take caution when crossing the busy city streets.
Now that you have your guide, you are fully prepared to visit Dublin! Whether spending a semester there or planning a weekend trip, you’re sure to have a great time. Dublin offers a perfect combination of culture, nightlife, history and shopping, pleasing every type of traveler.
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The Irish are some of the friendliest people in the world and welcome visitors to Dublin with open arms. Prepare yourself to meet lots of people, drink lots of Guinness and have some good criac.