Ah Dublin, the upbeat traditional capital of the famous green Isle. From the trendy muraled streets of Portobello to the cobbled alleys of Temple Bar, Dublin is full of excitement and secrets far beyond the usual traveller experiences. But where’s the best area to stay in Dublin?
Dublin is known for its grand history, creamy Guinness straight from the source and rich culture, with patriotic vibes felt in every street, shop, bar and restaurant. The culture and traditions of Ireland are felt throughout the city; overhead voices on public transport are first spoken in Irish and then English, street signs are written in both languages and talented street musicians sing their hearts out up and down Grafton Street in their lovely local accents.
While Dublin is hardly short of culture and entertainment, it can be easy to get caught up in the wonder that is Temple Bar. Temple Bar is not only the famous red pub that seems to have taken social media by storm, but also the name of the entire district of traditional Irish pubs lining the cobblestone streets. The place where jolly Irish musicians hype up excited visitors with our favourite classic singalong songs and some proper Irish “trad” music (remember the term ‘trad’ is used widely and in reference to anything old or even semi old in Ireland). However, there’s a whole city out there and lots of great areas to stay to explore Dublin from! Imagine incredibly friendly locals, cheaper pints, beautiful parks, trendy markets and lively bars blasting 80s and 90s tunes until the wee hours of the morning (that local Dubliners flock to).
Dublin is a very traditional city, with narrow streets and single lane traffic that can make getting around by car a bit of a hassle. Luckily, Dublin Bus can take you pretty much anywhere you want to go and is easy to navigate. If you’re arriving by way of the airport, you’ll get to learn bus routes 16 and 41 very well, but beyond the bus there’s a glorious thing called the Luas. The Luas (pronounced like Lewis) will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go in the city centre. Lucky for us, in 2017 the Luas opened their newly expanded blue line, which crosses the green and red lines and can take you across the River Liffey and to all corners of the city.
Dublin is sure to welcome you with open arms, a cold Guinness and plenty of memories. Slainte! BTW, that’s cheers in Irish 😉 Read on to discover where to stay in this wonderful city!
- 1 Jump Straight to:
- 2 1. Temple Bar: the best area to stay in Dublin for culture
- 3 2. Portobello: the best area to stay in Dublin for bars and pubs
- 4 3. Smithfield: the best area to stay in Dublin to get off the beaten path
- 5 4. North Side Dublin: the best area to stay in Dublin on a backpacker’s budget
- 6 5. Dun Laoghaire: the best area to stay in Dublin for a romantic getaway
- 7 Keep reading:
- 8 About the author:
Jump Straight to:
Temple Bar: the best area to stay in Dublin for culture
- What to do in Temple Bar
- Places to eat in Temple Bar
- Best hostels in Temple Bar
Portobello: the best area to stay in Dublin for bars and pubs
- What to do in Portobello
- Places to eat in Portobello
- Best hostels in Portobello
Smithfield: the best area to stay in Dublin to get off the beaten path
- What to do in Smithfield
- Places to eat in Smithfield
- Best hostels in Smithfield
North Side Dublin: the best area to stay in Dublin on a backpacker’s budget
- What to do in North Side Dublin
- Places to eat in North Side Dublin
- Best hostels in North Side Dublin
Dun Laoghaire: the best area to stay in Dublin for a romantic getaway
- What to do in Dun Laoghaire
- Places to eat in Dun Laoghaire
1. Temple Bar: the best area to stay in Dublin for culture
No trip to Dublin is complete without wandering the iconic alleys of Temple Bar. Temple Bar is the district that never sleeps, and if there’s one thing we know about Ireland it’s that it loves its Guinness and Jameson! No matter what hour of the day you’ll find locals and visitors alike exploring the streets, either lining up for the pubs to open or rummaging through the vintage shops in search of a funky retro jacket. Temple bar has endless restaurants, pop-up shops, creative studios and beautiful street art, but it’s primarily a nightlife district filled with trad pubs, buzzing bars and late-night clubs. Yet calling this a nightlife district doesn’t quite fit, as in Dublin nightlife starts as early as 12 noon (especially on a sunny day), when the streets fill with locals and visitors, bar hopping and trying to find the best priced Guinness.
Temple Bar 📸:@diogopalhais
What to do in Temple Bar
Arrive to Temple Bar by way of Luas or bus from Westmorland street, and stroll down Fleet Street. This is the main street of Temple Bar where you’ll see all the famous pubs. You will know you’re in the right place just by looking down at the ground – anywhere in this area with cobbled streets is considered Temple Bar. Take a stroll through Merchant’s Arch with a quick walk there and back over the famous Ha’Penny Bridge (pronounced Hay Penny). This bridge is famous for being the first bridge to connect the north side of Dublin with the south, and it used to charge ½ a penny to cross!
Rock up to the Irish Rock n’ Roll Museum Experience and step inside the world of famous Irish bands and performers like U2, the Chieftains, The Cranberries, Van Morrison and more. After this, channel your inner 80’s rocker and go for a wee wander around some of Temple Bar’s famous vintage and second-hand stores. Lucy’s Lounge and Dublin Vintage Factory are an adventure all in their own. Be sure to check out some of the crazy costumes downstairs in Lucy’s and have some fun!
Finally, it’s time for a few well-deserved pints after a full day of sightseeing. Do a little bar hopping to hear some different live musicians!
Places to eat in Temple Bar
Love cheese? You absolutely must try some deep-fried brie at Merchant’s Arch. Served with a little cranberry sauce on the side, your taste buds will thank you for this cheesy goodness. They also serve more traditional pub grub like fish and chips, Irish stew, bangers and mash and Guinness pie, which are found in most pubs in this area!
Burrito and taco shops have taken Dublin by storm, and man do they do it well! If pub food sounds a bit heavy for a mid-afternoon meal, then head south from Merchants Arch and try El Grito. It’s a small taco shop that shares the building with a Cornish Pasty shop, but you do not want to miss this. El Grito does real Mexican street tacos that will only set you back 7-10 euro depending on what fillings you choose.
If you’re visiting from further afield than the UK, then you might not have tucked into a proper carvery before. O’Neil’s Pub is a MUST for a full meat and potato dinner that will only set you back 10 or 11 euro. At O’Neil’s you can expect a kind of buffet style line where you point to what you want, and they give you portions the size of your head. This is also a pub with trad music starting late upstairs, so if you’re feeling up to dancing a little jig after your meal then head up and enjoy!
Merchant’s Arch 📸:@ving_n
Best hostels in Temple Bar
Staying in Temple Bar means staying in the cultural heart of Dublin. You can fully expect to be socialising until the wee hours, meeting people from all corners of the world. If you choose to stay in Temple Bar you won’t meet so many locals, but there’s nowhere better to meet fellow travellers. You’ll also be very close to the jumping off point for tour buses, if you’re planning on any day trips like the Cliffs of Moher, and public transportation. You cannot stay more central than Temple Bar, but be prepared to pay over the odds for an alcoholic drink if you’re going to be bar hopping close to your hostel.
For location, location, location, Abigail’s Hostel is unbeatable. At an affordable price, this hostel is great for backpackers on a tight budget who want a clean and comfortable place to rest their head, while being in the ideal location for catching airport buses and the Luas. Abigail’s is a known favourite for its proximity to Temple Bar and lovely views overlooking the Liffey. It’s perfect for groups of travellers or digital nomads, as they have a large common room with tables, chairs and couches and offer a free breakfast.
Want to stay in the heart of it all? You cannot get deeper into the action than by staying at Abbey Court – it’s just a 2 minute walk to Temple Bar! Tag along on their famous nightly pub crawls or chill in their stunning terrace. You really can’t go wrong here if you’re looking for culture!
Ready to feel Fancy AF and stay in one of the most beautiful lodging you’ve ever seen?! Temple Bar Inn is GORGEOUS and will certainly appeal to those with a love for interior design. This is a great place to stay as a digital nomad, as the swanky interior hosts computer workstations and comfortable lounges to relax in, while still being central and in the heart of Temple Bar. Be prepared to pay a bit more here, but everyone deserves to splurge a bit now and then, right?
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2. Portobello: the best area to stay in Dublin for bars and pubs
If Instagram could pick a favourite neighbourhood in Dublin, you bet your bottom dollar that it would be Portobello! Trendy, hipster, up-and-coming, unique, artistic – these are all words that sum up Portobello in a nutshell!
Covering a large canal-side area in South Dublin, it’s sort of the last district of the inner city and is popular among college age locals and young adults. Portobello is fantastic, because not only can you get there via the Luas and direct airport buses easily, but if you fancy a walk it’s also only a 15-20-minute stroll from the city centre. In Dublin, many people think of Portobello as residential, but this is certainly not the case. Expanding along the canal and back towards the city centre, Portobello is filled with affordable local bars, nightclubs, quaint cafes, picturesque walks, street art, pop up shops, skateboarding and perfect spots for pints along the canal. You will not want to miss this!
River Liffey 📸:@ctareina
What to do in Portobello
Picture this: it’s 7pm on a Portobello Friday evening and you go for a stroll along the canal, spotting all the office workers of Dublin running towards the pub in search of that celebratory Friday pint. If you’re lucky enough to be in Dublin, or specifically Portobello on a sunny day, you will see the masses gathering around local hotspot The Barge. The Barge is a seemingly quaint pub on any non-sunny day, but take a walk past here when the sun is shining and you’re sure to see the masses surrounding it with their pints in plastic cups and feet dangling into the water. The Barge is a Dubliner’s little slice of heaven and has been known to turn into a bit of an outdoor rager on extremely warm days – in the past people have brought sound systems and started what could rival an American college fraternity party on the canal banks. The Guarda (Irish Police) have cracked down a bit on this since then, but you’re sure to enjoy this spot with a few friendly locals on a sunny day anyway.
Cold, rainy day in Dublin? Make your way up Camden Street to the most popular local bars and pubs in Dublin! The street is home to Whelan’s, made famous by Gerard Butler in the film “P.S. I Love You”. Most nights of the week you can watch live music acts here, so prepare to be blown away by local talent.
Beyond just a buzzing drinking district, Portobello is known as the home of Dublin’s hipster scene. You’ll rarely find tourists in this area, as it’s a bit outside of the main hub and doesn’t offer much in the way of attractions, but if you’re in search of making some Irish friends, enjoying a cheap pint in the local’s favourite pubs and want to try some unreal street food, look no further!
Grantham Street, Portobello 📸:William Murphy
Places to eat in Portobello
When you think of Ireland, food isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. But it should be if you’re visiting Portobello. Fan of food trucks? Look no further than Eat Yard. This funky little garden outside of the popular Bernard Shaw pub hosts some of the best food in all of Dublin for affordable prices. It’s a host of ever-changing food trucks serving everything from loaded vegan cauliflower wings to legendary “Box Burger” hamburgers that rival any mainstream burger joint. Set at affordable prices in this lovely little covered garden, you can stop by for lunch or dinner. Beware there is limited seating, but the locals are friendly and will surely make space on their bench for you.
If nothing outside suits your fancy, pop into the Bernard Shaw itself – you do not want to miss the best pizza in all of Dublin in their beer garden. The Blue Bus Pizza is legendary; you can eat inside the bus on the upper deck or take your pizza outside into the covered beer garden and enjoy! Grab a cheap pint from inside, find a spot under the heat lamps and get ready to stuff your face.
Be wowed by Wow Burger on Camden Street (across the street from Whelan’s), just a 5-10-minute walk from the centre of Portobello! Whether this area is classed as Portobello is debated by many, but that doesn’t even matter when you’ve tasted the garlic butter fries at Wow Burger – they’re something to write home about and only 2 to 4 euro depending on how many you’re ready to inhale.
Sophie’s restaurant and bar (inside The Dean on Harcourt street) is NOT to be missed. This popular brunch spot offers moderately priced food and drinks with the best views in the city. Deliciously unique cocktails and pancakes to send you through the roof, and even a fun indoor swing to hop on while you’re waiting for the lift. Make it a point to visit here, even if for the views alone!
Best hostels in Portobello
Hipsters, partygoers and artists alike will love staying in Portobello for its location, beauty and nearby nightlife. In Portobello you’ll meet some lovely locals and get a taste of what living in Dublin is like. Get your camera ready and be sure to get some snaps of the street murals and political slogans painted across the walls!
ATTENTION PARTY PEOPLE. The Times Hostel Camden Place is now proudly presenting the most lit stay in all of Dublin. If you’re ready to embrace true Dublin nightlife in all its Irish glory, this is the party hostel for you. Located directly next to the most popular bars and clubs in Portobello, you’ll be within rolling distance of your bed and will even wake up to FREE pancakes on Saturday morning. With no curfew, 24/7 reception, free hotdogs on Wednesdays and free drinks on Fridays, you’ve found your place if you’re ready to party like the Irish.
Avalon House is a 5–10 minute walk to Temple Bar one way and 5 minutes to the local bars the opposite way, and it also offers free breakfast! This hostel is very close to Dublin’s favourite central park, St. Stephen’s Green, as well as atmospheric Grafton Street. A great option for those wanting to explore Dublin’s mainstream attractions yet still within walking distance of some local gems.
The Times Hostel Camden Place
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3. Smithfield: the best area to stay in Dublin to get off the beaten path
Home to the legendary Guinness Storehouse and Jameson Distillery, Smithfield and the Western Quays are often overlooked beyond its famous boozy headquarters. Where history meets modernity, in Smithfield you’ll find striking new architecture next to some of the oldest buildings in Dublin. This area has recently undergone many changes, transforming from an old market square into a modern plaza where huge events take place throughout the year, including Dublin Pride and seasonal pop up events. Cross the river and step back in time to Ireland’s oldest pub, as well as the Guinness Storehouse.
Smithfield is an ideal base if you’re gonna be traveling around the rest of Ireland by train, as it’s a short walk to the train station where you can jump lines to Galway, Cork and Belfast. Not far from the Guinness Storehouse is Ireland’s famous Museum of Modern Art (IMMA – eeema as the locals call it), where you can spend hours exploring the galleries. Maybe art isn’t your thing? Nearby is also the famous Kilmainham Gaol (Jail). Not to be missed, this jail tour is like no other. It’s rich with Irish history from the rebels of the early 1900’s fighting for freedom, to some haunting ghost stories.
Guinness Storehouse 📸:@danielacapato
What to do in Smithfield
When spending the day in Smithfield, you’ll surely wander around Smithfield Square for a bit, just getting some awesome shots of the architecture and unique modern art that’s all around. On the west side of the square be sure to check out the Lighthouse Cinema, a popular spot in Dublin for movie premieres and film buffs alike. A truly quirky and colourful cinema that hosts events, is home to some famous movie memorabilia and shows new independent Irish films alongside the latest box office hits.
While in Smithfield, be sure to check out the Jameson Whiskey Distillery! A tour of the distillery includes a few wee samples to try. It costs around 17 euro depending on what time you go, but you can also settle for a few cheaper options by just doing a tasting and no tour or taking part in a cocktail making class.
About a 10-15 minute walk from here you’ll run into Phoenix Park, one of the largest urban parks in Europe. Take a wander around here and don’t forget to bring some carrots with you, as there are herds of deer that run through the park – they’re very friendly with their human visitors and will eat right out of your hand!
Finally, directly across the river from here you’ll feast your eyes on some historic smoke stacks and brick walled buildings with a massive “GUINNESS” sign plastered along the outer wall. The streets immediately surrounding the St. James Gate Guinness Storehouse are a sight to behold themselves. As horses pulling buggies trot down the cobbled streets, you’ll feel as if you’ve been transported back to the 1800s. The building itself is like a giant pint glass, as you make your way up seven floors of boozy wonder. Extremely hands-on and interactive, this tour suits all ages and even teaches you to pour your own Guinness. Even if beer isn’t really your thing, you’ll love the impressive views. Make your way up to the top floor at the Gravity Bar for a 360-degree view of County Dublin. It’s one of the best views in all of Ireland!
Places to eat in Smithfield
O’Shea’s Merchant is an absolute must-visit, not only for its delicious home style Irish cooking, but for the lively atmosphere, true Irish trad music and Monday night dancing. That’s right – pop by here on a Monday night for some Irish stew and soda bread and get ready to have a local pull you onto the dance floor and teach you the steps to some of their favourite dances, while the fiddle and accordion blast in the background.
Directly across the street from O’Shea’s Merchant is the Brazen Head Pub – Ireland’s oldest! Established in 1198, step back in time to this maze of a pub that’s been serving up pints since before our grandparents were born! The atmosphere in here is fantastic, appealing to locals and tourists alike. Much to everyone’s liking, the Brazen Head serves up calorific dishes like deep-fried brie and fantastic chicken wings, plus vegetarian options like kale and quinoa burgers. But the true winner here is the baked Bailey’s cheesecake. Warning: wear your stretchiest pants.
Vegetarians be warned, this next stop is not for you. My Meat Wagon is home to some of the best BBQ you’ll find in Dublin, heavily packed with meat, onion rings, slaw and fries that come to you in an adorable little shopping trolley. This place is a meat-lovers dream, located just off the main square in Smithfield.
Best hostels in Smithfield
You really cannot go wrong staying in the trendy but historic district of Smithfield. If you’re searching for something a bit more chill that’s away from the hustle and bustle of central Dublin, then Smithfield is for you! There are hostels here to accommodate everyone from partygoers to digital nomads.
The internationally popular Generator Hostel is the best place for solo travellers in Smithfield. As there aren’t too many hostels in this area, you’ll be sure to meet some fellow travellers at Generator’s events: karaoke nights, quizzes, drinking games, themed parties and more! Conveniently located near to the Luas Red Line, get your night started with your fellow hostellers in the on-site bar and prepare to explore Dublin by night.
4 Courts Hostel is the perfect balance for anyone wanting a bit of boozy evening entertainment, but still keen for some relaxing downtime and excellent facilities. This hostel is great for artistic minds and digital nomads, as the hostel boasts impressive murals throughout, as well as a book swap library and reading room. Perfect for those that enjoy a bit more peace and quiet while still being in central Dublin.
Who doesn’t love when breakfast is included?! Tipperary House offers breakfast with your stay, with a cosy homey feel right in the heart of Dublin. Perfectly situated near Heuston train station, this spot is perfect if you’re going to be travelling across Ireland by train and want to be near the station. Situated just a wee bit outside of central Smithfield, it’s perfect for travellers in groups looking for accommodation with all the comforts of home!
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4. North Side Dublin: the best area to stay in Dublin on a backpacker’s budget
As you’ll quickly learn in Dublin, there’s somewhat of a friendly rivalry between the North Side of the River Liffey and the South. So much so that there was even a North vs. South snowball fight in 2018 when some beastly snow fell upon Dublin! But just because the North Side isn’t as explored by travellers, this doesn’t mean you should skip it – the opposite in fact! North Side Dublin is filled with more affordable eating and drinking options, as well as some incredible museums. On this side of the river you’ll also find some less crowded (but still very traditional) pubs that rival those in Temple Bar, just with far more affordable prices.
The North Side is a great option if you want to be within walking distance of Temple Bar and the city centre but want to save a few pennies. It offers historical monuments, landmarks, museums, cathedrals and much more all within a short walk of each other. It’s easily accessible by bus from the airport, or the nearby ferry port if you’re coming by way of boat from the UK. The North Side is also the centre of the Luas, so you can hop on the red, green or blue line and be anywhere in Dublin in a matter of minutes.
What to do in North Side Dublin
Do you have Irish heritage? Maybe know of a great-grandparent or distant cousin that came from Ireland? Be sure not to miss EPIC, the Irish Immigration Museum where you might even be able to trace some of your family heritage. EPIC is located along the riverside, directly next to the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship. If you’ve never seen a 17th century galleon before, make sure to pop into this aquatic museum and see what life was like on those long voyages across the pond.
Take a stroll along the river, admiring the government buildings and beautiful architecture as you make your way over to O’Connell Bridge, the only bridge in Europe that is wider than it is long. This bridge will lead you up O’Connell street to the famous General Post Office of Dublin (GPO). This living historical building is monumental in Irish history, as this was the site of the 1916 Dublin uprising. Pop in here and learn the history of how Ireland gained its independence, and be sure to take a look at the pillars outside of the GPO. You can still see the bullet holes in the columns that stand in front of the building, from the British shooting at the Irish rebels from the opposite side of the street.
It will be hard to miss, but get a shot of the giant spike in the sky! This massive spike is called the Spire and marks the centre of Dublin. It is the tallest point (literally a point) in all of Dublin and can be seen from across the city. Think of this as your north star and get a photo with the 151 metre landmark which signifies the new Dublin meeting the old.
Maybe history isn’t so much your thing? Check out the National Leprechaun Museum of Ireland! Certainly unique, you won’t find a museum like this anywhere else. Insider tip, there are some great Instagram shots waiting to be taken here next to enormous oversized furniture.
Places to eat in North Side Dublin
Any young Dubliner, or anyone Irish for that matter, would agree that you can’t go wrong with the infamous Supermacs. A budget backpacker’s dream and drunk Irishman/woman’s delight. Cheap and delicious pizza, chips, chicken buckets… basically all the fried, greasy, quick food you can imagine at unbeatable prices. Meal A is a fan favourite which consists of a whole customisable freshly baked pizza with chips, a drink and a cookie all for 11 euro. This hub exists in nearly every Irish city and is generally busiest between 12-3am, but they’re open all day. You truly cannot beat their prices for a delicious hot meal.
Head up O’Connell Street a little further and you’ll see a beautiful fairy-lit building on your right called Murray’s. Murray’s is a trad pub with delicious food, but the real gem is its beer garden out back, a communal space that connects Murray’s, Fibber Magees and The Living Room. Out here you’ll have the choice between a food truck from Fibbers, serving up unreal pizza and nachos, or you can munch on some loaded fries and insanely cheap cocktails from The Living Room. The Living Room is a sports bar with a young crowd, Murray’s is a traditional pub and Fibber Magees is an alternative bar with a punk rock vibe, yet all three are connected by a common beer garden with a pull down screen that airs all the big sports matches.
Once you’ve been to Dublin, you’ll realise that it’s all about donuts and burritos. It seems that every 15 feet there’s a new donut shop or burrito Tex-Mex restaurant, but fear not, Dublin does both of these things exceptionally well. Ever heard of a donut ATM? The Rolling Donut at the bottom of O’Connell Street is basically that! A small hut popping out of a building, The Rolling Donut serves up hot and fresh donuts for next to nothing and will certainly satisfy that sweet tooth!
Issacs Hostel 📸:@4on5away
Best hostels in North Side Dublin
Dublin’s North Side has previously had a bit of a bad wrap, but young Dubliners and international visitors have turned the area into a cool hangout. Since this district is still a bit up-and-coming, be prepared for what may not be the cleanest streets in Dublin, but the prices and central location will keep you happy. This area is great for young solo travellers who want to explore on their own, as it’s located comfortably next to Conolly Train Station, yet it’s also good for exploring the North Side’s affordable bars and pubs.
Issacs Hostel is THE hostel for solo travellers on the North Side of Dublin. Set inside a gorgeous brick building, this hostel hosts free walking tours and music nights and has common areas with pool tables, so it’s certain to provide opportunities for making new friends and meeting people! It’s also very conveniently located next to Connolly Train Station and the Dublin Bus Station, with links to the airport and other cities in Ireland.
Clean and convenient, that’s what you get at Abraham’s Hostel! Being centrally located and hosting a big variety of rooms and bunks from private rooms to 12-person mixed dorms, Abraham’s is ideal for travellers visiting in groups. They also have an awesome outdoor space and insane murals.
The very recently renovated Jacob’s Inn will absolutely rock your socks off. A modern, clean hostel, right in the heart of the action of some of Dublin’s favourite North Side trad pubs. This hostel is outstanding for solo travellers and people who enjoy their privacy, as each bunk is in a little enclosed pod with a curtain, so you can shut yourself off from the world after a night of Guinness. They also offer free events like movie nights, Irish dancing nights and more to get you mingling and chatting away to your fellow travellers!
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5. Dun Laoghaire: the best area to stay in Dublin for a romantic getaway
First of all, let’s get the pronunciation right so we don’t make the same mistake Hilary Swank did in “P.S. I Love You”. For the sake of those not knowing how to read words in Irish, it’s pronounced like “Dun Leary”. But, regardless of how you say it, this beachy town is NOT to be missed and can make a lovely little day trip for you from central Dublin, or even a weekend getaway. Dun Laoghaire is only a 20-30-minute train ride from Dublin – be sure to sit on the left side of the train for the best views of Dublin Bay. Dun Laoghaire is home to some incredibly gorgeous waterfront walks, popular swimming spots, seaside ice creams and a famous local gem of a restaurant! It’s also a great spot if you plan to do some more extensive hikes or exploring in the nearby Wicklow Mountains National Park.
What to do in Dun Laoghaire
When you arrive in Dun Laoghaire by train, you’ll hop out right in the centre of town. Now, if you’ve come this far, it’s likely you’re here for the refreshing sea breeze and views of the ocean, so you must take a walk out to the famous “Forty-Foot”. Walk along the waterfront through “The People’s Park” until you reach what looks like a small beach. Walk up the hill behind this beach and back down to the secret swimming spot called The Forty-Foot. If you fancy a dip in the Irish Sea, be sure to bring your swimming gear with you and join the locals that go for a daily dip! This area is full of swim ladders and jumping points where young and old alike love to jump in with the fishes.
Maybe the water’s a bit cold for you? Head back to town and enjoy the beautiful tree lined streets of Dun Laoghaire. A quaint little village with affordable pints and fairy lights in the trees, you won’t regret an afternoon of window shopping and ice cream licking in this dreamy small town.
If staying in Dun Laoghaire, be sure to take the train just a tad further to the last stop in county Dublin on the South side, Bray. From Bray you can do one of Dublin’s favourite hikes, the Bray to Greystones walk, which is a lovely cliff walk with crystal blue waters and expansive views over Dublin Bay. You may even spot some dolphins playing about in the nearby waves!
Places to eat in Dun Laoghaire
Hartley’s Restaurant is a fantastic place to take your sweetheart for some great food with a view. This is the perfect date night or ‘treat yourself’ spot for affordable fine dining. There’s an amazing view from their rooftop terrace overlooking Dun Laoghaire harbour, so pop out here, order a cheese board and a glass of wine and enjoy! They also have a great reputation for seafood, steak and vegan/vegetarian options. With something for everyone, this place is not to be missed!
Fancy a romantic picnic? Stop into a local shop and grab some crisps and sandwiches to take with you on your walk through The People’s Park, and over to the beach and forty-foot swimming hole. At the forty-foot there are plenty of smooth rocks and natural platforms to lounge out on and have a picnic with someone special, watching the sunset over Dublin and the water in front of you.
What trip to the seaside would be complete without a bit of seafood? Hop into the FishShack along the waterfront. The fish is fresh and hosts a lovely outdoor seating area where you can enjoy your shrimp or clam chowder without breaking the bank!
Anne Street 📸:@gregda
Now that you know some of the best kept secrets of Dublin and where to stay, we hope that you’re fully ready, excited and now properly prepared for your Dublin adventure! Let us know in the comments if you’ve stayed in any of our recommended neighbourhoods before, or if you have suggestions on other places in Dublin that are not to be missed. Safe travels and may Dublin be all you dreamed it would be – slainte!
For help finding your perfect hostel in Dublin, download the Hostelworld app and get ready to meet the world!
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Trying my hardest to be the female Indiana Jones. A PhD research student in sustainable travel, a freelance travel writer, photographer, and lover of all things cheese. Spreading good vibes across the world one adventure and blog post at a time. Favourite place on Earth: HaLong Bay Vietnam. Favourite Hostel: Greg and Tom’s Hostel, Kraków, Poland. Keep up with me on Instagram @two2onetravel. Check out my website at www.two2onetravel.com.