Dublin is the peculiar, but utterly charming capital city of Ireland. With over 1000 pubs and bars, old Georgian architecture, cobbled streets, and an air of merriment all year round, Dublin is a city you won’t be able to help but fall in love with. It is one of the most iconic cities in the world where locals are always up for a good time. But despite its old buildings and streets, Dublin is a modern and cosmopolitan city bursting at the seams with artisanal food markets and trendy streets where musicians strum guitars on side walks. If you want to experience the odd charm of the Irish, Dublin is one of the best cities in the world for it. South Africans don’t need a visa for Dublin or anywhere else in Ireland. You will just need a passport that is valid for at least six months and has two empty pages for entry stamps.
Many of the cool attractions in Dublin are centred around booze. Ireland is the home of Guinness and great whiskey, so drinking and having a good time is woven deeply into the fabric of Irish culture. But there are also other interesting attractions in Dublin that should definitely be on your to do list while visiting the cheery capital of Ireland. Temple Bar is one of the most iconic pubs in Dublin and should be the first place you visit after stepping off the plane. Other famous bars in Dublin are PantiBar, The Long Hall, The Cobblestone, Drop Dead Twice, The Palace Bar, and Mulligan’s. If whiskey is more your scene, a tour of the Old Jameson Distillery offers a fascinating glimpse into whiskey making and a whiskey tasting at the end of it. But there is obviously more to Dublin than just bars. The Old Library at Trinity College is mesmerising treasure trove of enormous bookshelves and the Book of Kells, an ornate ninth century manuscript that was decorated by Celtic monks. Other great attractions in Dublin are Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and Kilmainham Gaol. If you plan to travel to Dublin in March, St. Patrick’s Day is a wild experience and will be the highlight of your trip to Dublin.
Dublin can be expensive if you eat out at nice restaurants every night and splurge on shopping and lush hotels. But it is pretty much the same as any other city in Europe. You will be able to find vintage boutiques, fancy department stores, book shops, and open air markets within walking distance of each other in the city centre. Some of the best places for shopping in Dublin are Henry Street, Moore Street, George’s Street Arcade, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, Grafton Street, and the Temple Bar markets. In terms of costs in Dublin: if you are on a budget, the cheapest hostels or backpackers go for about R400 per night, mid-range guest houses average about R1500 per night, and a nice hotel starts from about R2000 per night. Drinking in the nightlife districts like Temple Bar is not particularly cheap. A pint of beer ranges between R70 - R100 and a decent bottle of wine will set you back about R200. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant averages about R200, a meal at a nice restaurant averages about R400, and fast food is averages R100.
Most of the attractions and bars in Dublin are concentrated around the central city and are quite close to each other, so walking is the best way to get around Dublin and explore the nooks and crannies, and maybe have a pint along the way. But public transport in Dublin are efficient and go to every part of the city, so hopping on a bus, train, or tram is easy and reliable. Taxis are also widely available. A number of car rental agencies operate within Dublin if you want to rent a car and venture further out of the city.
You will find simple, but good hotels in Dublin from hotels and grand old hotels, modern self-catering apartments, and cute little bed and breakfasts. They are plentiful and scattered around the city. If you want to be close to the nightlife, Temple Bar district is where you should stay in Dublin. It is often described as the ‘bohemian quarter’ and is where all the musicians and artists gather to hang out and have a good time. Hostels and hotels are aplenty in this part of Dublin. Hotels in Ranelagh and Rathmines are more expensive but close to the gourmet food shops, restaurants, and bars. If you want simple and cheap hotels in Dublin, stay in Drumcondra. It is an up and coming area that is popular with young people. If you want to stay in a quiet village, Malahide and Dalkey are small villages along the coast.
There are currently no direct flights to Dublin, but connecting flights to Dublin are available from the major cities and towns in South Africa. Connecting flights to Dublin are about 14 hours from Cape Town and Johannesburg, and about 15 hours from Durban. Flights to Dublin land at Dublin International Airport (DUB) and are available on most airlines, such as Aer Lingus, British Airways, Lufthansa, and Turkish Airlines.
You can’t go to Dublin and not have Guinness, the dark stout stout that Ireland is famous for. Go on a brewery tour and have an obligatory pint at the Guinness Storehouse, the home of Guinness. The storehouse offers a tasting experience and even an academy where you can learn how to pour the perfect pint. It is the most popular attraction in Dublin and one of the best experiences in the city. Head to one of the many Irish pubs afterwards and drink a pint with the good-natured locals for the full Dublin experience.