Dublin on a Budget. But first…

James Joyce

James Joyce

Literature and politics.

These are the two themes that permeate Dublin.  The city’s legacy includes some of the English language’s greatest writers and the hard fought War of  Independence that ended British rule in most of Ireland in 1921.

I wasn’t off the 747 Airport bus (6 Euros) for five minutes before I wandered upon the statue of James Joyce – one of Dublin’s sons of letters. In the mall, Joyce stood alone but that certainly was not the case during his time. Few cities in the world can match the number of fine writers Dublin has, including:

  • Samuel Beckett
  • George Bernard Shaw
  • Jonathan Swift
  • W.B Yeats
  • Oscar Wilde

Not to mention more recent favorites like Roddy Doyle and Maeve Binchy.

And not a day had passed  before I learned of the bullet holes that could still be seen in the General Post Office building where the 1916 rebellion took place.

I went to have a look and spoke with the security guard who was on a smoke break outside.

“Ya, I’m a Derryman. From the bog side…

M’ mother, on her deathbed, told me she was glad I’d never joined the IRA. She didn’t know that my twin brother had.”

He told me of arguments he’d got into with his brother and his brother counting down the seconds on his wrist watch to when a bomb he was party to would go off in the north. Yes, I didn’t have to look far to speak with someone who had a connection with the past.

The statue is of Jim Larkin, a trade union leader. The post office is on the left - it was from here that the rebels declared Ireland a republic in 1916.

The statue is of Jim Larkin, a trade union leader. The post office is on the left – it was here that the rebels declared Ireland a republic in 1916.

And now, Dublin on a budget…

Of course, there is much more to Dublin than literature and politics. While I didn’t have much personal time, I was there at the invitation of Hostelworld (I was attending their annual conference), I did enjoy the “best” Guiness in the city at the Stag’s Head and loved wandering Trinity College.

To do Dublin inexpensively, stay at a Hostel. There are many in town. I stayed at Isaac’s Hostel which was very central. While there, check out what’s free. They were offering a free City tour and a free pub crawl when I was there. Also look at what the people at Visit Dublin have to say – they have links to free things to do and more.

And finally, check out these recommendations that members of the Solo Travel Society on Facebook gave me before leaving.

Shannon – I actually just moved to Dublin a couple months ago. The Guinness Tour is fun, if a bit touristy. And the Chester Beatty museum in Dublin Castle is free and supposed to be amazing. But of course, the best thing to do in Dublin with a bit a free time is to park yourself in the local pub and chat up some locals. Enjoy my city!

Sandy – Try to get to Avoca on Suffolk St. near the Molly Malone statue. The restaurant at the top is FAB as is the bakery in the basement. Depending on your time for a lunch try to get there by 11:30 to beat the local crowd. my favorite place in Dublin. The woven goods on the first floor are beautiful. The other spot is Cafe en Seine at 39 Dawson street. The most beautiful decor in all of Dublin. Very classy. Both better than any of the tourist sites. Then the national museum on Kildare street is excellent.

Mandy –  If you’re a history buff, don’t miss Kilmainham Jail. And there is an excellent restaurant called Farm a short walk from Trinity College. Fresh, fresh food and they can even arrange orders to go.

Christy – Walk the grounds of Trinity College.

Susan –  A walk in St. Stephens Green park.

Paul- Kilmainham Gaol….(Google it)…great…then ‘Rashers’ in Sundrive Rd for an Irish grill….Perfect…

Deb – Go to O’Neils and have a pint with a bowl of stew.

Patricia –  If you like books, Trinity College Library is a beautiful piece of history.

Michelle – Oh how I LOVED Ireland and Northern Ireland. Dublin’s Writer’s Museum and then a pint @ John Mulligan’s pub (est.1782) 8 Poolbeg St… Noel the barman has worked there 33 years and I chatted with him for hours … ask him the story about what’s in the bottom of the grandfather clock.

Kelley – Trinity college to see the Book of Kells. The National Museum. It’s a real treasure!! Oh and Dax is a fabulous restaurant. City center. Highly recommend!!


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  • Travelbug1

    I just noticed your query and glad Janice replied. I’ve mostly cruise Princess with dreaded single supp. I’ll have to try what Janice recommends, with princess at least I got to Platimum for more stuff like some free internet time. Yes web search is overwhelming! Good luck and happy travels!

  • Tamale624

    Im from Los Angeles and just subscribed. In late November, I will be in Coleraine attending my friend’s wedding . I am flying into Dublin on a Wednesday. I have 2 days before the wedding in the north, and 4 days getting back to Dublin. Is it easy to get around all this distance without a car? Can you recommend a restful but inexpensive hotel in Dublin that is walking distance to many sights? Thanks.

  • Helen

    I’ll print this off for my next trip there! I’m taking my 8 year old ‘back packing’ to the hostel I used a year or two ago because he wants to be ‘a real traveller’ too!

    The recommendations miss The Leprechaun Museum. This is great. An interesting mix of fun and learning, atmospheric and spell-binding without being cliquey or artificially sweet – the guides specifically say ‘These are NOT Disney fairies’, LOL!. A little mischief and a little magic …. as well as great architecture, decor and special effects.

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh

    Hi Pauline,

    I found the Isaac to be friendly, clean and secure but I did find it noisy. It’s a large hostel and there’s lots of activity. If this is what you’re looking for, it will be great. If you’d like something more quiet, please let me know and I’ll see if I can make a suggestion.

    Make sure that you get the Hostelworld Gold Card from the Solo Traveler Deals page and book through the Hostelworld booking engine on the right sidebar.

    Let me know, if you need some help,

  • Pauline

    How was your stay at the Isaac? I’ve booked there based only on the fact that you mentioned it in this blog had booked there. This is my first solo trip to Ireland and most of it will be with family in Cork with a few days stay in Dublin on my own. Is the 747 bus very close to the hostel?

  • http://solotravelerblog.com Janice Waugh


    I don’t have any specific suggestions but I would call Premier Cruise Lines (1 855 255 1200) and Gold Circle Cruise Line (1-800-248-3737) as both have quite a few excursions without a single supplement.

    Good luck,

  • NeeNee

    Travelbug1, I am trying to find a 10d plus cruise for travelling solo; have you any suggestions? The web search is overwhelming

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Donna-Cooley-Long/1512101805 Donna Cooley Long

    Great post! I am heading to Dublin for 5 days next month… it is the starting point of a 2 week trip. I will definitely use some of these tips! And, I already have my hostel booked.

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  • Michelle Sevigny

    Ah! I am so missing Ireland and seeing my comment above makes me want to go back and chat with Noel even more!! The day I most take to heart is walking alongside the locals in a commemoration march last Easter Sunday which started from the bog side in Derry, Northern Ireland and listening to their stories. Unbelievable. Can’t wait to re-visit.

  • http://twitter.com/RoniFaida Roni Faida

    I was in Dublin for 2 days in December. It was cold and rainy but lovely! The buses were easy to use and my favorite place to eat was Queen of Tarts. I don’t normally go to popular tourists spots but this one was worth it. Absolutely delicious!

  • Travelbug1

    Was in Dublin for a day off a cruise ship. Of course, not very long stay but I enjoyed it. Walked around the cobbled streets of Temple Bar, took a quick walk around Trinity College, wanted to go in St. Patrick’s Cathedral but was too many tour buses there so enjoyed the grounds in the back with benches, colourful Tulips. On Fleet St. I stopped in Palace Bar (established 1823) for a 1/2 pint and rested my feet. Not sure if I’ll get a chance to visit again, so many places in world to see but would be nice.