Ahhh, lovely Dublin. It might be one of Europe’s more expensive cities, but it’s surprisingly easy to have a really good time here without spending a fortune.
There are enough free galleries and museums to keep you entertained for days on end, there’s plenty of budget accommodation and nice cheap food to be found, and what really makes Dublin special – its atmosphere – can’t be bought anyway.
If you’re planning a visit to the Irish capital, check out these ten great things to do in Dublin on a budget...
Despite being a fairly pricey city, Dublin does very well for its people and visitors in serving up really good food at prices that won’t make you roll up in a ball and cry.
Still, finding a really nice brunch place that has a decent menu of dishes for a tenner or less isn’t a complete doddle. It’s not impossible though, and one place that does it consistently well is Green 19.
The Full Irish here is a tenner, and it’s a fairly solid way to start the day – but if you’re there on a Sunday when the full brunch menu is on, give the Mexican hash or the salmon rosti a go (they’re both €9).
If you’re going exploring Dublin for a day, this is what you want in your stomach while you do it. You can thank me later. By taking me to Green 19 for brunch.
Again, we’re touting the good old free walking tour, and Dublin’s one is particularly good. It’s a three-hour baptism of fire into the city’s history and a great way to get your bearings – so do it at the start of your trip, and wear comfortable shoes or trainers.
You can do a south side tour in the morning (11am, meeting at the Spire on O’Connell Street) which takes you to Trinity, Temple Bar, Dublin Castle, the Dubh Linn Gardens and Christchurch Cathedral among other places.
If you’re hungry for more (or too hungover for the morning tour) there’s a northside tour starting from the same place at 3pm, during which you’ll walk in the footsteps of the Irish rebels and hear stories from Georgian Dublin right up to the Celtic Tiger days.
As always with the walking tours, don’t forget to tip your guides what you can afford.
This is one of my favourite things to do in Dublin on a budget. The Little Museum of Dublin has been open since 2011, exhibiting curios and artefacts that tell the story of Dublin beautifully.
This museum is a labour of love and it shows – everything in it was donated by members of the public, and the place has an intimate and personal vibe – you’ll feel a bit like you’re wandering round the house of the most interesting person you’ve ever met.
The rooms are filled with photos and letters, gold-plated monster munch, posters, gas masks, old ads and even a rare copy of the contentious 1921 Anglo Irish treaty.
Not only does a guided tour cost just €7 for adults if you buy them on the day, but you can get them online for a fiver, and even bring an entire family here – two adults and two kids – for just €8.
If you’re in Dublin, it’d be almost rude not to try a pint of plain. Now you might have heard that Guinness is an acquired taste so if you want to acquire it that bit quicker, you should probably start by making sure it’s a good pint, that’s been pulled properly in a great Irish pub.
Dublin has a lot of great Irish pubs, but if we had to choose one to send you to? Go to Kehoe’s – it’s just off Grafton Street, it’s proper Irish, it’s old school, the Guinness is great, and if it’s a sunny day you can stand outside with a couple of hundred other people, having the absolute craic while you drink it.
This is Dublin. Pints are a fiver. Have two, if you’re really committed to acquiring that taste.
The truth is that this one really is weather dependent, so you may have to disregard in winter. But if you’re in Dublin, and the day is warm and sun’s shining, you need to have a proper Dublin saunter – a stroll in the lovely Stephen’s Green.
On a good day, it’s one of Dublin’s loveliest places to be. It’ll be packed with people having lunch, chilling out, playing music, having the craic, and burning their poor, pale Irish skin to a violently red crisp.
Feed the ducks, smell the flowers, and go see the statue of Wolfe Tone on the Green’s northeastern corner. Spend your tenner on a picnic, if you want. Dublin can be heaven.
Kilmainham Gaol is the place to go to learn about Ireland’s history, and in particular its fight for freedom in 1916. During the guided tours you’ll see where so many Irish freedom fighters were imprisoned; you’ll even see the yard where the leaders of the rising were executed.
It’s chilling and fascinating, and it’s only four little euro to take a tour. The guides here really know their stuff, and their passion for the place and its history is clear as day.
Because it's one of the great things to do in Dublin on a budget, tours sell out quickly, so get there in the morning to avoid missing out or book online. It’s really worth the effort.
Have a little cake there too. Treat yourself. Kaph is a fairly small, very friendly and blessedly unpretentious little coffee shop that serves genuinely nice coffee and tasty little cakes and pastries (with Paleo friendly options for those who are so inclined).
They serve matcha lattes there too, which might also interest the paleo people. It’s on Drury Street, (just a few minutes’ walk from Grafton Street) and it’s a grand little haven to escape to if your feet are tired from a day traipsing around the city. Go here to refuel.
Yes, it’s a cemetery and no, it’s not creepy. It’s one of Dublin’s top attractions, and with good reason. Glasnevin cemetery is the resting place of many of the people who shaped Ireland’s history – Daniel O’Connell, Charles Stewart Parnell, and the big fella himself, Michael Collins, to name a few.
Take a self-guided MP3 tour of the cemetery and you’ll hear not just its history but the history of Ireland, as told by the cemetery’s genuinely excellent guides.
The museum goes into more detail about the people who are buried in the cemetery and their stories, and there’s a lovely little café on site too. If you prefer a guided tour, it’s €12 – and despite that being a little above our budget here, I reckon it’s an extra €2 very well spent.
Look, we could send you to somewhere trendy, a little pop-up restaurant where you get your drinks served in jars and your food served on anything except a plate. But not here. Not today. Today, we’re sending you to a Dublin institution, one that’s been serving gorgeous fish and chips to Dubliners for over 100 years.
They have a few different kinds of fish on the menu, and most of them come to under a tenner with chips. Oh and now that we think of it, at Burdock’s your drinks are served in aluminium cans and your dinner is wrapped up in paper.
So actually, they’re right up there with the trendiest spots in Dublin. Do yourself a favour, and ask for crispy bits with your dinner.
There are a number of reasons to go to Comedy Crunch (Monday nights at The Stag’s Head). It’s not just comedy, it’s decent comedy. It’s free decent comedy.
It’s free decent comedy in a great Dublin pub that serves equally great pints of Guinness (which is good news for those of you who are really committed to acquiring that taste we told you about earlier). And on top of all that, you get free ice cream. I mean, as if everything else wasn’t quite enough free fun, they threw in free ice cream too.
You don’t even have to be in Dublin on a budget to seriously appreciate this. I don’t even know what else to say. Actually, I do know what else to say; if they ask for donations, throw them a few euro. They’re doing the lord’s work, help them to keep on.
The Irish capital is a wonderful place to visit with so many great things to do in Dublin on a budget. Find out more about Dublin on Try Somewhere New.
- Dee Murray