Navigating a new city can be an adventure in and of itself. Getting around Dublin is no exception. A typical evening trying to cross the street in Dublin goes something like this: The cars are going the wrong way, crossing the street when the street sign says “walk” is your number one safety risk, and there’s bubble bath overflowing from a nearby fountain.
Once you get the hang of things, this city is enchanting and full of places to discover. I’ve already been (and possibly gotten lost at one point) so in this post, I’ll pass on my hard-learned wisdom for getting around. You can focus on taking in the sights.
These tips will take you deep in to the city centre and surrounding area, and save you some money!
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- Public Transportation in Dublin
- Navigating the Streets of Dublin
- Where to Find…
- Accessing Attractions
- Dining Out
Public Transportation in Dublin
Leap Visitor Card
One of Dublin’s best-kept transportation secrets is the Leap Visitor Card. The card comes in 1, 3, and 7 day increments. No more trying to load exactly the right amount of cash on to your card to get around Dublin during your visit, or trying to calculate how many zones you’ll cross each day. I think there’s still money on my Oyster Card from London!
Where to buy a Leap Visitor Card: the easiest way is to pick up a Leap Visitor Card in the airport on arrival. You will be all set to ride the bus, DART, rail, and Luas around Dublin. Check out the Dublin Bus website before you travel and map out a few key roots from wherever you’re staying to hubs like O’Connell Street and Trinity College.
- 1 day (24 hours) – €10.00
- 3 days (72 hours) – €19.50
- 7 days (168 hours) – €40.00
How to a Get Taxi in Dublin
There’s an app for that, but it’s not Uber in Dublin. If you want to skip public transport, you will have to call a taxi. The taxi services in Dublin do have their own apps, that allow you to instantly request a taxi, or to book one for a upcoming date and time.
I order a taxi a day in advance using the NRC Taxi App and, happily, the driver pulled up 5 minutes before the specified time!
When to Take the Hop on and Off Bus
While most of the things that you want to see in Dublin are with in one area, some are a little further away. The majority of the tourist attractions are within walking distance of Trinity College, with some exceptions. Glasnevin cemetery, the zoo, the Guiness Storehouse, and Kilmainham Gaol are out of the way, and too far to walk. Public transit is definitely an option, but it’s even easier to get between these sites with a Hop on and Off Bus pass. The Hop and Off Bus pass can be purchase on it’s own, or as part of the Dublin Pass.
The street signs, or lack thereof, was one of the first things that I noticed in Dublin. Streets names are often painted on the sides of buildings, so they fade overtime or get covered by plants or construction. If you’re used to looking for street signs out by the road, like I am, you might find you’re just not quick enough to spot the streets that are labelled.
A valuable strategy for finding your way around Dublin is landmarking and pubs. This is what many locals suggest themselves on forums like Reddit, and it did help me find my way around!
Crossing the Street in Dublin
You’re an adult, you know how to cross a street. Stand at the corner, wait for the walking man to light up, and cross, right? Wrong. If you wait for the walking man and cross at the proper light in Dublin, it is somehow, inexplicably, more dangerous than jay-walking. It doesn’t make sense, but that’s the way it is.
When you jay-walk along with the Irish, you arrive safely at the other side. When you wait for the walking man to cross the street like a good Canadian, you find yourself sprinting for the curb as a truck lurches towards you. Trust the locals. They have a sixth sense specifically for crossing the street. You will feel most comfortable if you go with the flow of pedestrians.
Where to Find…
Adapters: successfully forgot all of your international outlet adapters at home, or brought the wrong one? The tourism centre on O’Connell Street has you covered.
Wifi: if you’re really in need of wifi, buses and Starbucks are a couple of the easiest ways to get online. Dublin City buses are all equipped with free wifi, so even standing near a few buses can get you online for long enough to figure out your next move. For longer stretches, make your way to a Starbucks location. Within the touristy areas, there’s one just down the street from the main entrance of Trinity College.
The Heritage Pass
Get access to all Office of Public Works attractions in Ireland with the Heritage Pass. It’s one of the most affordable entry passes there is. Student and family pricing is available, and it gives you access to historical sites all over the country. Dublin Castle, Kilmainham Gaol, Phoenic Park, and the Botanical Gardens are just a few of the sites included in the pass. You can purchase the Heritage Pass in Dublin, at various pass locations.
The Dublin Pass
The Dublin Pass includes entry to many of Dublin’s iconic attractions, and free use of the Hop on and Off bus to get around. The pass goes on sale frequently, so buy online in advance if you think you’ll make good use of your pass. The Dublin Pass includes the Guiness Storehouse, the Jeannie Johnston Tallship (highly recommend), the Glasnevin Cemetery, and multiple castles and museums. I love including a city pass + hop on and off bus tour in any city I visit, because it lets you get around easily and see a lot!
Dublin is a wonderfully environment-oriented compared to Canada and the United States. On my visit, I quickly noticed a “shortage” of things like napkins and straws. While this seemed inconvenient at first, you will also notice relatively little trash and litter. That said, if you eat a crumbly muffin with a gooey centre, you will want to clean your hands. Pack some hand wipes or napkins and keep them in your bag.
Vegetables / Cheap meals
Dublin is famous for it’s beer and all things potato based. Believe it or not, you might just find yourself craving vegetables while you’re here. The best (and cheapest) place to get your leafy greens and vitamin D on the go is Chopped. Pay €4.50 for a smoothie packed full of fruit, vegetables, or both, or try a salad or wrap for around €6.50. There is a Chopped location just down the street from Trinity College and the Bank of Ireland, on Westmoreland street and you will find many other locations around the city.
Tipping exists and is welcome in Ireland, but it’s not a major tipping culture. The staff you encounter on your visit are not dependent on tips for their wages. It’s appropriate to leave a tip for good service, around 10% according to my experience and what I’ve found online.