5 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Dublin

photo: Gregory Dalleau

Words by Conor Ward
June 24th, 2019

Planning on visiting Ireland soon? The first place you’ll most likely visit is Dublin; it is the nation’s capital city after all and a town filled with history, culture, and beauty (if we do say so ourselves).

With over 1,000 years of history, the city has seen some significant changes in the last few decades, helping to cultivate an incredible and diverse culture and unique atmosphere that locals and visitors alike can experience and enjoy.

Located right on the east coast, excursions and day trips to the surrounding cliff sides, seaside and mountains are just a bus ride away from the city, offering you a taste of both worlds in one small county, which is just one of the many reasons why Dublin attracts millions of tourists from all over the world every year. If you’re planning on joining us, here are five things you should know before visiting Dublin, to help make the most of your trip.

photo: Gregory Dalleau

1. Get Out of the City

This might sound counterintuitive but remember that Dublin is a small city compared to neighbouring cities like Berlin or London. You can visit all of the major sights such as the Spire, Phoenix Park and Trinity College in two or three days as they’re all within walking distance of the city centre. Therefore, you will have likely some time on your hands. To get out of the city, you can take advantage of tour guides, such as Dublin Tour Company, who can arrange to take you to historical mansions like Powerscourt House, fishing villages like Howth, and the Wicklow Mountains. All of these unmissable sights are less than an hour away from the city centre so get out there and explore!

photo: Adam Markon
Howth

2. Want to visit Guinness Storehouse? Go early!

No trip to Dublin is complete without trying an authentic pint of Guinness. It really is true what they say — Guinness tastes better in Ireland. As the home of Ireland’s most famous drink, the Guinness Storehouse is the number one tourist attraction in the country, and thousands of people visit the place every day. In 2017, it attracted more than 1.7 million visitors! But you know what that means: queues. You can find yourself waiting in line for up to an hour at popular times of the year like St. Patrick’s Day. However, it is worth visiting just for that pint with a view and some background history of the city too. Moreover, it is one of very few tall buildings in the city centre where you can get such a view so go early and more importantly, book your advance ticket and jump to the top.

photo: Louis Hansel
Guinness Storehouse

3. Don’t Underestimate the Weather

Some cities experience monsoon season; most receive a sprinkle of rain every now and again; others get snow and skip rain altogether. You can have all of the above in one weekend in Dublin. In a matter of hours or even minutes, the weather can change dramatically. So, our best advice is to dress in layers, bring your go-to pair of trainers that can handle rain, hail or shine and stash an umbrella in your bag “just in case”.

4. Free and Fantastic Museums

Visitors pay excessively for their culture hit in most other European capitals. This isn’t the case in Dublin. The city has some superb, free museums that are open seven days a week. You can find the works of Picasso, Vermeer, and Monet in The National Gallery; The National Museum has exquisite Celtic jewellery collections (among several treasures) and 3,000-year-old bog bodies, while the Chester Beatty Library is one of the best museums in Europe and holds free workshops regularly. Best of all, you won’t spend a penny to view magnificent things in any of these museums so make the most of them.

photo: Matteo Grando
The Long Room, Trinity College Dublin

5. Financial Services

The national currency of Ireland is the Euro but for those of you who prefer to go cashless, you’ll find that VISA and MasterCard are widely accepted throughout Dublin while a handful of places also accept American Express. Debit and credit card transactions are completely safe and efficient thanks to the city-wide use of the “chip and pin” system but you can also use credit cards to withdraw cash from ATMs and to buy goods and services for ease. If you’re visiting from the States or Canada, you can even use the ATMs of some banks in Ireland without fees if your US or Canadian bank has an arrangement with the bank. Find out before you arrive.