Dublin, a tourist board official may inform you, is closer than you think. Flights from Scotland take less than an hour. Ryanair fly from Prestwick to Dublin Airport multiple times a day and if booked sufficiently in advance at ludicrously cheap prices. If you prefer to drive or cycle, ferrys cross regularly from Liverpool.
Dublin should be easy when it comes to finding accommodation, the number of hotels you pass on a quick stroll around the city’s streets is staggering. As a result cheap accommodation is plentiful on both sides of the river close to the city centre. However be wary – a plethora of 2-3 star “hotels” populate the area around O’Connell street . This star system appears to reward at least three stars to hotels which are capable of keeping human excrement off their walls. Where possible stay south of the river.
Food & Drink
Good, if not great, food and drink abounds in Dublin. For the hokey Irish bar atmosphere the northern most section of Temple Bar will satisfy most. The Porterhouse on Parliament Street is a brewery come bar in this part of the city which is light on shamrock decorations, serves quality lagers and ales and hearty meals; all at an affordable price.
If you head south the Temple bar area continues with trendier and more expensive bars and the clientele begins a shift from tourists to native Dubliners.
A word of warning – despite the city’s fearsome reputation for drinking the cost of alcohol in Dublin is higher than you may expect, with cheapest pints of filth coming to at least €4 and anything worth drinking costing substantially more.
A highlight has to be the chain of Eddie Rockets diners dotted throughout the city. This chain recreates the hyper idealised 1950s American diner experience perfectly, with a good range of very tasty and affordable burgers, hot dogs and sides. They also provide free wi-fi in a city severely lacking in public Internet access points.
The Guinness Storehouse is popular and expensive so too is the Jameson distillery. Don’t miss the Book of Kells or the walk around Trinity College – especially if it is a sunny afternoon.
Dublin is a city very proud of its literary heritage – ignoring the fact that Wilde, Joyce and its other favoured sons wrote their best work far far away from Dublin – so literary heritage sites are popular. Avoid the literary pub crawl unless you want to spend an evening semi-literate drunkards talking about the movie adaptation of Dorian Grey. The Writers Museum, Wilde’s house and the Joyce Centre are all worth a visit for the fans of the literary arts.
The National Gallery of Ireland is free and holds an impressive collection of Irish and European talent. At the time of writing it was also playing host to a collection of satirical etchings and a Hoggarth exhibition which is a must see.