Where to stay in Dublin! A guide to the best neighborhoods, things to do, and the best accommodation options no matter what your budget is.
It's hard not to be stunned by Dublin. Craggy cliffs, wildflowers, and rolling green hills perfectly set the backdrop for Ireland's gorgeous capital. Dublin's rich history and majestic landscapes make the city a must-visit if you're planning a trip to Europe. There's a reason why Dublin is considered the best place to live in Ireland by many.
As for where to stay in Dublin, the city has plenty of accommodation options suited for any travel style, whether that is traveling solo, with friends, or with family. From staying local in the suburbs, to central B&Bs and grand hotels, there's a little something for everyone in this Irish city.
Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.
Where to Stay in Dublin, Ireland: The Best Neighborhoods
As the high-spirited capital of Ireland, Dublin charms visitors with its "craic" – a mixture of friendliness, humor, and intelligence with a delightful bite.
While it maintains a sense of grandeur (just take a look at Trinity College and St. Patricks Cathedral), Dublin is much more laidback than its other European counterparts.
Additionally, its rising prominence in the global economy makes Dublin an attractive place to visit and live – young professionals and families are already flocking to the city and contributing their energy to what makes Dublin great in the first place.
Merrion Square is a throwback to Dublin's emphasis on beautiful city planning. Originally conceptualized during the 1700s, Merrion Square and the surrounding redbrick townhouses were completed by the 19th century.
Originally home to many aristocratic and wealthy families, Merrion Square became more famous for being the location where famed poets and politicians such as Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, and Daniel O'Connell lived. This is the best area to stay in Dublin if you want to walk in the footsteps of these famous icons.
As is expected of a neighborhood of impeccable taste, the restaurants near Merrion Square aren't to be missed. Enjoy locally sourced fare at Michelin Bib Gourmand The Pig's Ear or BANG Restaurant and Bar. Wine enthusiasts will be especially thrilled with the selection of over 30,000 bottles at the elegant Restaurant Patrick Guilbad.
Where to Stay in Merrion Square
The Draper Rooms - Although pricier than most budget stays in Dublin, the Draper Rooms is impeccably furnished and plush with soft pillows and carpet. A short stroll from Merrion Park and close to the Little Museum of Dublin and National Museum of Ireland – Archaeology, the Draper Rooms will usually go for as little as $150/night for a small double room.
The Davenport - Boasting 4 stars and a recent redesign, the Davenport is within convenient distance of the National Gallery and Trinity College. The Davenport will stun you with the sheer amount of marble in the hotel, elegantly decorated with streamlined furniture and a tasteful palette.
Don't forget to stop by the restaurant – a testament to how well the hotel serves both local and international guests. A twin room will cost as little as $200/night.
The Merrion Hotel - Truly fit for a noble, The Merrion Hotel harkens back to a time of historic luxury and affluence with its crystal chandeliers and rich fabrics. It's easily considered one of the best hotels in Dublin.
Several of the many amazing features you can find at the Merrion Hotel include a 2-star Michelin Restaurant, an infinity pool, and Italian marble bathrooms. Even though rooms are on the pricier side, it's hard to surpass The Merrion Hotel in terms of location, luxury, and looks.
Temple Bar Area
Quite possibly the most famous neighborhood in Dublin, Temple Bar is known as the city's "cultural quarter" and the center of Dublin nightlife.
Residents and visitors aren't kidding. Head over to Temple Bar on any important holiday (none as important as St. Patrick's Day), and you'll find the streets packed with both locals and tourists having a great and rowdy time.
Temple Bar is also home to several important institutions, including the Irish Photography Centre, Irish Stock Exchange, and the Temple Bar Food Market.
Craving some classic Irish fare? Quays will impress you with its wide selection of dishes, including Irish Stew, Famous Wicklow Lamb Steak, and Cottage Pie. You can also go to local cafe and favorite, Gallagher's Boxty House, for its dumplings or Italian gem Rosa Madre.
After a delicious meal, you and your friends can head on out to one of the many bars the neighborhood has to offer – Porterhouse Temple Bar, Bad Bobs Temple Bar, and, of course, the iconic Temple Bar itself.
Where to Stay in the Temple Bar Area
Abigail's Hostel - Want to save money on accommodation so you can spend more on drinks?
Abigail's Hostel and its bright pops of cherry red is a welcoming choice for backpackers and young visitors looking to make friends. Right by the Liffey River, you can easily stroll into Temple Bar and start off your day (or night) with a bang. You can either share a dorm with other travelers for as little as $20/night or pay a little more for a private room at around $40/night.
Blooms Hotel - The gorgeously painted exterior will immediately attract your eye as you approach the Blooms Hotel. Located close to Trinity College and Dublin Castle, Blooms Hotel also has a nightclub, the traditional Irish pub VAT House Bar, and cozy earth-toned rooms. A double room will typically cost you around $200/night.
The Westbury Hotel - Located on Dublin's Grafton Street, The Westbury Hotel is proof that you can revel in style while staying in Temple Bar. This 5-star hotel will delight your eyes with ivy trellises, stunning afternoon tea sets, and immaculately adorned rooms. For the price of $350/night, you can enjoy a room equipped with a full Sealy bed, Lissadell linen, and high-end toiletries.
Quite possibly the busiest street in Dublin, O'Connell Street possesses immeasurable significance in the city's history as one of the best spots to hop from one neighborhood to another in Dublin. This is another one of the best places to stay in Dublin if you want to be in the middle of it all.
As the main thoroughfare of Dublin, O'Connell runs through the city and ends at City Hall and Dublin Castle. Some of O'Connell's biggest attractions are the impressive monuments scattered along the street, including the world's tallest public art installation – the Spire.
O'Connell Street really loves its burgers and brunch, with stalwarts SOMA at the Spire, Madigan's, and Flannagans Restaurant serving everything you need to leave full and happy. If you want a taste of traditional Irish food and tunes, Murray's Bar and Grill is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a cozy night with your family and friends.
Where to Stay in O'Connell Street
Abbey Court Hostel - Lovingly painted with flowers on the outside, Abbey Court Hostel is hard to miss with its modern flair. With an all-you-can-eat breakfast, airport shuttle bus stops, nightly-hosted pub crawls, Abbey Court Hostel is hard to beat in terms of day/nighttime activities and convenience.
A bed in a shared dorm room will typically cost you $20-30/night, although you have the option of staying in a more expensive private room.
Wynn's Hotel - Don't let the Wynn's Hotel's attention to heritage and detail fool you. Equipped with modern amenities such as flat-screen TVs and safes, this luxe 19th-century hotel will impress you with its fitness center as well.
Particular highlights of Wynn's Hotel are the Playwright Restaurant, decorated with period furniture, and the mahogany countertop of the Saint's & Scholar's Bar.
Room prices will usually set you back $225/night for either a double room with a full bed or a twin room with two twin beds.
RIU Plaza The Gresham Dublin - One of the best hotels to stay at in Ireland, the one word that comes to mind when arriving at The Gresham Dublin is "stately." This hotel might have an intimidatingly magnificent exterior, but the interior is adorned with fresh swathes of color and impossibly plush furnishings.
Aside from the usual amenities and its own mini gym, the Gresham Dublin has an even bigger fitness facility a short 5-minute walk away as well as the grand Gallery Restaurant and more intimate Toddys Bar and Brasserie and Writers Lounge.
Although prices only go as low as $250/night, it's honestly a great bargain for the luxurious experience the Gresham Dublin can offer you.
Trinity College, more informally known as Trinity, is one of the seven ancient universities of England and Ireland and considered Ireland's most prestigious university. As soon as you walk onto the campus, it's not difficult to see why.
The grand campus features some of Ireland's most stunning architecture (including the iconic Campanile) and is home to the country's greatest treasures – mainly, the Book of Kells. The Library is also a must-visit while you're on campus, as it houses approximately five million texts in a grand hall.
Since Trinity College is located in one of the busiest parts of Dublin, the surrounding area is a wonderful place to check out tasty and affordable eats. Trendy lunch can be had at Lemon Crepe & Coffee Company and Avoca Cafe.
Where to Stay in Trinity
The Times Hostel - Literally located right across the street from Trinity College, the brightly-colored Times Hostel is a great place to meet other young travelers looking to party. While it costs $20/night to stay in mixed dorm rooms, female dorms and private suites are also available for a bit more (roughly $30-40/night).
O'Neills Victorian Pub & Townhouse - A family-owned business since 1885, this quaint pub and townhouse is just a short walk away from Trinity College and Grafton Street – excellent for shopping. This is one of the best Dublin hotels to stay at if you're looking for a cozy stay and more local experience.
All rooms come equipped with private bathrooms, with computers available for an extra charge. If you're ever in the mood for a nightcap, enjoy the wide selection of Irish beers, whiskeys, and wines downstairs at the pub. Private twin and double/single rooms usually go for $180 - $210/night.
Westin Dublin - Formerly a bank, the glamorous Westin Dublin now provides 5-star accommodation to anyone looking to stay close to Trinity College. Each room offers Westin Heavenly Beds, 32-inch HD TVs, and plush bathrobes for you to unwind in after a long day of exploring the city.
The glass Atrium will take your breath away as you take your afternoon tea, or you can opt for a more intimate meal at the Mint Bar.
The bustling tourist district of Temple Bar and the Olympia Theater are both a five-minute walk from The Westin. The vibrant and central O’Connell Street is also a five-minute walk away, and the hotel is located at the end of Grafton Street, with its numerous shops.
Unlike the other Dublin neighborhoods mentioned in this post, Howth is a beautifully quaint suburb located on the outskirts of Dublin. Once a small fishing village, Howth has evolved into a popular getaway for visitors and locals to visit the seaside and dine on delicious seafood.
Surprisingly, Howth does not have any hotels anymore – instead, bed & breakfasts rule this neighborhood, making it a great spot for a romantic getaway.
Looking for a scenic view and a romantic seaside dinner? AQUA Restaurant will serve you a divine prawn risotto and seafood platter filled with lobster, oysters, and smoked fish.
If you want a meal that's more low-key, grab some fish & chips at Beshoff Bros or family-friendly seafood at The Brass Monkey. Although the name sounds at odds with peaceful Howth, The Bloody Stream delights all those who are fortunate to come across its Meditteranean-style beer garden and live music venue.
Where to Stay in Howth
Sweet Inn - Howth - Only really a budget stay if you manage to max your group out for this stay, Sweet Inn has a gorgeous and family-friendly property stationed in Howth.
Featuring a private garden, this seaside retreat will give you the quiet intimacy and front-row seats to some of Ireland's stunning scenery. With the addition of the fully equipped kitchen, free street parking, and premium amenities, this house is ideal for your family vacation or couples' retreat.
King Sitric - A peaceful guesthouse located right on the waterfront, King Sitrick charms its guests with its marine-themed quirks and sleek modern decor. Seaview rooms are available for $225/night and come with a seating area and free tea/coffee.
If you're craving fresh seafood, King Sitric's seafood restaurant features locally caught lobster and an extensive wine menu. As for activities, you can either stroll along the pier, go sailing, or play a game of golf.
Tara Hall - A self-described "boutique guest house," Tara Hall is more akin to an aristocratic mansion with its luxe furnishings. Not only does Tara Hall have a terrace and bar, but its lushly-decorated rooms will have you feeling transported back to a period drama.
Enjoy a continental breakfast in Tara Hall's Victorian-style dining room before embarking on your Howth Cliff Walk. A night in Tara Hall's deluxe double room (with a seaside view!) will cost approximately $290/night.
How to Get Around Dublin
One of the many charms of Dublin is that at any given point, you can wander off on some idyllic-looking road to experience more of the city's local delights.
However, the winding roads make it somewhat difficult for travelers to navigate independently using personal transport, such as a rental car. In fact, due to the number of commuters and narrow roads in the city, driving a car around the city can be a frustrating experience (especially if you're not used to driving on the left).
Fortunately for most residents and visitors, Dublin is walkable and bike friendly! Dublin is rated amongst the top ten bike-friendly cities in the world. If you're not afraid to figure out how public transit and taxis work, you can easily get around the city with a combination of walking, biking, and taking the bus/rail.
If you're planning to only spend a couple of days in Dublin, your best option is to get a Leap Visitor Card (valid for 24 hours, 72 hours, or 1 week for $40).
The card grants you unlimited travel over your selected time period on Airlink, Dublin Bus, Go-Ahead Ireland routes in Dublin, Luas, DART, and Commuter Rail. If you purchase the Leap Visitor Card online, it will be delivered to your postal address. Otherwise, you can purchase the card from a select number of agents throughout the city.
For travelers looking to use Dublin's public transit, you'll mainly want to check out:
Dublin Bus: Dublin's bus network is extensive and can take you through the city center and the inner/outer suburbs. You can also take the AirLink Express as part of this bus network to get yourself from the city to the airport.
Tram (Luas): The Luas is Dublin's light-rail transit service, operating on two lines that will allow you to zip through the city. You can either buy tickets at street vending machines or use the Leap Visitor Card.
According to VisitDublin.com, "the Luas Red Line (32 stops) runs from Tallaght in the west through the city centre to Point Village, or Saggart to Connolly Station. The Green Line (35 stops) runs from Broombridge out through Ranelagh and Dundrum to Brides’ Glen in the south."
DART Rail Line: The coastal Dublin Area Rapid Transit rail isn't just an efficient way of traveling through the city, but it hugs the sea coast and treats you to stunning views on your trip. Ideal for day trips from Dublin to explore the outskirts of the city, DART can take you to small villages/towns along the coast and cliffs.
Top 10 Sights to See in Dublin
As Ireland's capital city, Dublin has over a thousand years worth of history and culture to immerse yourself in. Influences of the Gaels, Vikings, and England run deep in Dublin's DNA, which you can sense in all the landmarks and attractions in the city.
The unique combination of natural scenery and ancient history will have you believe that Dublin is unlike any other place in the world. These are the places you can't miss during your Dublin sightseeing.
Built in the early 1200s, Dublin Castle has long served as the seat of the British government until the property was handed over to the Irish Provisional Government in 1921.
Built by the dark pool and the city's namesake "Dubh Linn," Dublin Castle is proudly open for tourists to visit and explore the majority of the complex, including the Chapel Royal crypt and the Chester Beatty Library. This is a must do in Ireland and considered one of the best castles to visit in Ireland.
Irish War Memorial Gardens
Dedicated to the Irish soldiers who died serving in World War I, this breathtaking tribute was designed by memorialist Sir Edwin Luytens, famed for his landscape designs in other parts of Ireland.
The Irish War Memorial Gardens' main centerpiece is the Circular Sunken Rose Garden, its pond, and dozens of rose bushes lovingly tended to by a committee of horticulturists. It also features the Sunken Garden of Remembrance and the solemn Stone of Remembrance.
This is also a good attraction for the kiddos if you're traveling in Dublin with kids and looking for a family-friendly outdoor activity.
The crown jewel of Ireland's higher education system, Trinity College ranks high on this list of must-visits. When you step onto its campus, you are immediately struck with a sense of awe at how much knowledge and history has passed through its doors. If you're a bibliophile, the Library at Trinity College and the Book of Kells exhibit are worth making a detour on your jam-packed Ireland itinerary.
Old Jameson Distillery
Ireland is famous for its signature smoky whiskey, which means that the Old Jameson Distillery is a required destination for anybody who wants a sip of the amber liquor. It used to be the original site where Jameson Irish Whiskey was brewed until 1971, but visitors are now free to go on a tour and tasting at the distillery to learn how its famous whiskey is produced.
George's Street Arcade
Ireland's first shopping center, George's Street Arcade is a charming red-bricked market lined with approximately 50 stalls and small shops. Pick up a delicious meat pie or take a "healthy" shot at the Juicery while browsing what the local vendors have to offer.
Guinness Storehouse Factory
If you're looking to imbibe on a good stout instead of whiskey, the Guinness Storehouse Factory is a great alternative to your libations-filled adventures.
The Guinness Storehouse is open seven days a week, serving as both a brewery, museum, and bar all included in the price of admission. The Storehouse is the perfect place to spend an afternoon – once you're done touring all seven floors, you can enjoy a free pint of Guinness at the top-floor Gravity Bar.
St. Patrick's Cathedral
The final destination of the St. Patrick's parade, St. Patrick's Cathedral is the tallest and largest church in Ireland – befitting a tribute to Ireland's patron saint.
Built in a grand Gothic style, St. Patrick's Cathedral and its 141-foot spire attracts over 300,000 visitors per year and welcomes everyone on its premises. They only request a small fee for those who want to explore the property rather than pray at its chapel.
St. Stephen's Green
The largest of Dublin's famed Georgian garden squares, St. Stephen's Green is 22 acres of lovingly maintained flora, play areas, waterscapes, and statues. As you wander through the Green, you might spot a bust of esteemed writer James Joyce or some of the many ducks relaxing by the lake.
If you're visiting in the spring, don't forget to make a stop and enjoy an afternoon with the gorgeous blooms of tulips and daffodils.
It might seem odd to visit a jail while you're on vacation, but the former prison of Kilmainham Gaol is now a museum run by the Office of Public Works.
The Gaol imprisoned and executed many Irish revolutionaries, including the leaders of the 1912 Easter Uprising. Its significance is mostly attributed to the struggle for Irish independence, which makes the Gaol a solemn reminder of the sacrifice that has gone into the making of modern Dublin.
Ideal for a warm day out, Phoenix Park lies north of River Liffey and encompasses even more land than the Georgian garden squares in the city center. Phoenix Park is the site of the Dublin Zoo - a popular thing to do if you're traveling in Ireland with kids.
The park has also hosted concerts featuring headliners such as Coldplay, Ed Sheeran, and Snoop Dogg and the Phoenix Park Motor Races. Its famous grasslands make a prominent feature in James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake and Ulysses.
Top 3 Day Trips from Dublin
While it's tempting to spend all day and night eating, drinking, and checking out cultural institutions in Dublin, you'll want to go outside of the city to really experience Ireland's natural wonders.
With something as simple as a day trip, you'll get to see the same views that have captivated and inspired the Vikings, Gaels, and Irish hundreds of years ago.
Cliffs of Moher
Stretching along the southwestern edge of Ireland, the sea Cliffs of Moher draw nearly a million visitors per year and it's not difficult to see why.
The dramatic imagery of the rugged cliffs and the glittering waves of the Atlantic Ocean crashing against them is something that can only be experienced. However, that hasn't stopped popular films like Harry Potter or The Princess Bride from trying to recreate that scenic magic.
You can book a day trip to the Cliffs of Moher here.
Northern Ireland's capital, Belfast, is a bustling city that boasts world-class cuisine and attractions. Most famously known for being the birthplace of the RMS Titanic and its launching point, Belfast now has a museum that has painstakingly documented the lifespan of a dream-turned-tragedy.
If you want something more light-hearted, the Black Taxi Tour will let you see the best of the city's street art, while the Botanic Gardens act as home to many exotic plants you can't find in native Ireland.
Imagine 40,000 interlocking columns of basalt pressed up against the sea's edge, supposedly built by a mythic giant. In reality, that's the Giant's Causeway, located on Ireland's northern coast.
The result of an ancient volcanic fissure eruption, the Giant's Causeway is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular place to hike. You can spend all day climbing over the rock formations and imagining you're part of the legends surrounding this area.
You can book a day trip to Giant's Causeway from Dublin here.
What to Pack for Dublin
Looking for more travel inspiration for Europe? Check out these related posts!
- 3 Outdoor Date Ideas in the Bay Area (To Enjoy During Quarantine) - September 16, 2020
- 11 Best Large Camping Tents (2020 Buying Guide) - September 10, 2020
- 64 Best Christmas Gifts for Parents | Ultimate Gift Guide for 2020 - August 20, 2020