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Travel Planner: Dublin

By:
Joanna Hall
 

Need to Know

Location: Ireland.

Language: English. 

Money: Euro. There are plenty of ATM’s, and banks tend to offer better exchange rates than currency exchange bureaus, but you may need to have your passport on hand. Credit cards are accepted but check any surcharges before signing or pin punching. 

Time Difference: GMT.

Getting around: The centre of Dublin is easily walkable, as it's just two kilometres from one end to the other, but if you enjoy cycling you can opt to participate in the rent-and-ride Dublinbikes scheme to cover more ground, more quickly. Options for getting to the west side and the outer suburbs include the bus, while the Luas is a two-line light-rail system which links the city to the southern suburbs, and the DART is a suburban rail network which runs along the eastern part of the city south. Taxis are also available.

When To Go: The European summer from June-August has the warmest weather and the longest days, but naturally there are generally more visitors at this time of year. April-May and September-October are more of a “shoulder season” with fewer tourists, while the winters are cold with shorter days and more rainfall.

Tipping: You’re not obliged to tip in Dublin, even if it’s automatically added to your bill, but most people leave around 10 per cent if the service is good. The basic rule of thumb is if someone provides great service, add a bit more to the bill and it will be appreciated.

In spite of its Georgian elegance, Dublin doesn’t always strike you as exotic compared to other European capitals, but what it lacks in bells, whistles and drama, it more than makes up for when it comes to personality. It’s also a compact city which is easy to get around and explore at your leisure, and don’t worry if you get lost as plenty of help and recommendations will be on offer from the friendly locals. The city has a long history dating back to the Vikings, and where architecture is concerned it boasts a medieval castle, two cathedrals, and some beautifully preserved Georgian buildings. Besides photographing its icons and landmarks you also need time to spend time in a pub, even if you don’t drink. A night out in a pub is a must for anyone visiting Ireland, and there are over 1,000 to choose from in this fair city.

Where To Stay 

Hotels can be quite pricey in Dublin, as they are in the rest of Europe, but one option for stays of more than three days is to search for an apartment rental through a service such as Airbnb or Roomarama. At the top end of the scale, hotels to check out include the classic The Marker Hotel or The Shelbourne DublinThe Westbury Hotel Dublin, Sir Terrance Conran’s Fitzwilliam HotelThe Conrad, and the city’s premier boutique hotel, The Clarence. There are also some chain hotels represented for frequent travellers or anyone on a loyalty card, including the InterContinental Hotel Dublin, and the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin.

Sightseeing Essentials

*  The Guinness Storehouse is one of the most popular sights and tours in Dublin. The converted grain storehouse has seven floors where you can learn everything you need to know about the famous black and gold that is Guinness, and you’ll finish off at the top floor in the Gravity Bar with a tasting and panoramic views of the city. Pre-book your tickets though as it’s popular. 

*  Dublin’s two cathedrals are worth a visit for the architecture alone. St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which dates back to 1191 is Ireland’s largest church, while Christ Church Cathedral enjoys a hilltop position. 

*  St. Stephen’s Green is Dublin’s most popular green lung, beautifully landscaped and flanked by buildings dating mainly from the 18th century Georgian period. 

*  Pick of the museums and galleries includes the National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts and History, the Chester Beatty Library, the National Museum of Ireland - Archaeology, the National Gallery, and the Museum of Natural History. A top pick for anyone who wishes to understand Irish history in relation to British rule is Kilmainham Gaol

*  Trinity College is Ireland’s most prestigious university, a Georgian masterpiece packed with gorgeous buildings, cobbled and grassy squares, and statues. 

Tours

* For first timers, a City Sightseeing Dublin Hop-on-Hop-off Tour is a great way to get to know Dublin. You can opt for a one or two-day ticket and there are two routes to choose from, which explore the city’s historic buildings, sights shopping and nightlife.

* If you fancy venturing further afield, and you have the time, a day tour to Wicklow from Dublin will take you to explore the ancient ruins of Glendalough, also Sally’s Gap where scenes from Braveheart were filmed, and you’ll also get a glimpse of some of the exclusive suburbs of the south there the rich and famous live including U2’s Bono.

Best Happy Snap 

Dublin is best explored on foot or by bike, and for photo enthusiasts there will be classic photos at every turn. Ones to put on your list include the famous Temple Bar Pub at dusk, just as the city starts to turn on its lights; the area packed with bars and restaurants is also great for people watching, particularly on a Saturday night. Another lovely scene is along the River Liffey next to Temple Bar, in particular the Samuel Beckett Bridge which resembles a harp and the iconic Ha’Penny Bridge.

Eating And Drinking

When it comes to places to drink you could be forgiven for believing that there’s a pub on every corner of this city, but there are over 1,000 to choose from so don’t expect to visit them all! There’s a concentration in the Temple Bar district, with a favourite being The Porterhouse, which not only has great beers but also live entertainment on weekends. A favourite of many Dubliners is Kehoe’s, close to Grafton Street, which is a traditional watering hole with a quirky atmosphere. When it comes to cuisine, Dublin’s reputation as a gourmet city has taken off in recent years. Top picks include Eamonn O’Reilly’s The Greenhouse, offering a gem of a tasting menu, Dax on Leeson Street, which serves a combination of tapas and fine dining across two floors, Locks Brasserie, a one-Michelin-starred restaurant in leafy Portobello specialising in French cuisine, and Forest Avenue on Sussex Terrace.

Shopping And Souvenirs

There is plenty on offer for shopaholics, with a top pick for newbies including the exclusive department store, Brown Thomas, or Weir & Sons, which is the largest jeweller in Ireland on Grafton Street. Hipsters can head to Cow’s Lane Designer Mart on the steps of Cow’s Lane, which as more than 60 stalls with clothing, accessories and more, and if you’re into arts and crafts, check out the Design Tower, which occupies a 19th century warehouse. 

Hot Tip 

If you want to venture to the beaches and southern suburbs, a quick and easy way to do it without touring is to take the DART. Also, Dublin has many free attractions to enjoy including the Temple Bar Markets on a weekend, the National Gallery of IrelandPhoenix Park, and Dublin Castle to name a few.

Got An Emergency? 

Police and emergency services: 112 or 999

Australian Embassy: +353 1 664 5300

Dublin: Take A Deep Breath 01:24

Take a deep breath before you start your adventure in Dublin. Dive into Dublin Bay, become an honourary Dubliner exploring the city and take in the breathtaking views from the Dublin mountains. Dublin: A Breath of Fresh Air. http://goo.gl/A47Hkk

  • Dublin: Take A Deep Breath
    Dublin: Take A...
    Take a deep breath before you start your adventure in Dublin. ...

To get to Ireland, fly Cathay Pacific from Sydney to London via Hong Kong. Cathay Pacific Airways is the 2014 Skytrax Airline of the Year and offers flights to over 190 destinations in 42 countries and territories. From Australia the airline has over 70 flights a week to Hong Kong from six major Australian cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Cairns and Perth - with a choice of flying in economy, premium economy or business class. 

There are four flights daily from Sydney, three flights a day from Melbourne, daily flights from Brisbane, four flights a week from Cairns and Adelaide, and ten flights from Perth. All flights provide connections over the Hong Kong hub to the airline’s worldwide network, including nine European destinations. From Hong Kong, Cathay Pacific offers five daily flights to London, offering a choice of flying in economy, premium economy, business class or first class. From London, onward connections to Dublin can be made with a oneworld partner airline, or a variety of local airlines including Aer Lingus and Ryanair. 

Visit Cathay Pacific at www.cathaypacific.com.au

Car rental options for touring Ireland include Hertz: www.hertz.com.au. 

For more information on Ireland visit www.ireland.com.

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