Visiting Ireland's capital city and not too sure where to stay in Dublin? Dublin is a city that needs no introduction. It is the most visited destination in Ireland, greatly favoured by over 10 million tourists who visit the country every year.
As the capital city, Dublin is lively yet intimate at the same time. The local Irish pubs are the highlight of your visit to the city – you must not miss one while you are there. The general atmosphere in Dublin is that of a warm and friendly village, despite being a modern city. Aside from its famous social scene (thanks to the rich Irish pub culture), it is also a natural playground as Dublin is home to beautiful natural landscapes that many from across the world travel to see.
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Where to stay in Dublin [2020 Guide For First Time Visitors] - Contents
Where to Stay in Dublin?
The seamless blend of culture, food, history, and natural beauty makes Dublin well worth the visit. You can explore the charming villages on foot or join tours. Either way, Dublin has lots of surprises in store. As one of the friendliest cities in Europe, you will feel right at home. In fact, you may never want to leave!
When it comes to places to stay, you’ve got plenty of options. It all depends on what you want to accomplish and enjoy during your holiday. Do you want to unwind and be away from the crowd? Perhaps you want to stay in a place with easy access to the pubs and other entertainment spots that Dublin has to offer? Or maybe you want to be near the restaurants serving exquisite local dishes?
To help you find where to stay in Dublin, we outline below the various areas in the city where you can find great accommodations depending on your preferences, budget, and itinerary.
Creative Quarter - Cute coffees and artsy history
Why Stay in the Creative Quarter?
The Creative Quarter lives up to its name as it is a place where you can literally find creativity everywhere. It is home to quaint cafes and shops, as well as artisan restaurants, boutiques, and bars. It boasts a rich history of design dating back to the 18th century, mixed with innovation--which will leave you in awe of its architectural marvels.
This beautiful place, which is right at the City Centre, will complete your Irish experience. Here you will surely find something to do ranging from finding unique pieces for souvenirs, shopping for gourmet finds and rare wines, or just people watching while enjoying genuine Irish coffee.
Why Avoid the Creative Quarter?
If you are seeking a less touristy spot, and if you want a location with more modern architecture, then you may want to look for another place to stay. Albeit recently developed, and with business establishments newly added, several other areas in Ireland are already becoming more popular with tourists, so you can have your pick of options. You should also avoid the Creative Quarter if you are seeking a tech hub.
Where to stay in the Creative Quarter
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O’Connell Street - the lively heart of Dublin
Why Stay in O’Connell Street?
If you aim to be in the heart of Dublin and find pleasure in walking around the city, then O’Connell Street is the best place for you. It is Dublin’s main thoroughfare and, though may not be the longest, it is certainly the widest street in the country. Different retail stores line up along the pathways and commemorative Irish hero statues fill the middle of the road. The historical GPO serves as a main feature of the street and the Spire still holds the record for being the tallest sculpture in the world, standing at 133 meters.
Why Avoid O’Connell Street?
O’Connell Street is a very busy place that doesn’t seem to stop. Everything is constantly on the move, and even at night, the street is still bustling. There is a possibility of having a negative encounter with people at night. The only day and time of the week that the street calms down is on a Sunday morning, but just up until 11 AM. Shopping weekends before the holidays are especially hectic with a great number of people and vehicles on the street.
Where to stay in O’Connell Street
Temple Bar - Electrifying Dublin nightlife
Why Stay Around Temple Bar?
Referred to as the cultural heart and tourist hub of Dublin, Temple Bar is the right place for you if you seek to bask in Irish culture, broaden your cultural and artistic perspectives, and experience a guaranteed fun party night. Located at the south bank of River Liffey, this popular spot is filled with different boutiques, galleries, cafes, restaurants, and pubs that you can enjoy visiting. It is also the centre of Dublin’s cultural events, as well as the first and main destination of party-goers for an exciting and fun nightlife.
Why Avoid Temple Bar?
As a popular destination in Dublin, Temple Bar can be too loud, crowded, and quite expensive. The spot can be filled with a lot of drinkers and party-seekers, which can invite trouble if you’re not careful, especially on weekend nights. Since Temple Bar is a popular tourist hub, price hikes are not uncommon and you can find over-pricing on anything from food to souvenir items. You may also get caught up in incidents like drunken arguments and other public disturbances.
Where to stay around Temple Bar
The Docklands - Where history meets architecture
Why Stay in the Docklands?
A trip to Dublin won't be complete if you don't include the Docklands in your itinerary. It has everything for every traveller--historic buildings, modern architecture, art galleries, and even river cruises.
You can stop by one of the most famous tourist attractions in Dublin, the Jeanie Johnston Famine Ship Museum. You can also check out the diving bell, which was used in building the port's quay walls since the Victorian era. In the mood for a cruise? Dublin offers the Liffey River Cruise to tourists who want a different way of sightseeing.
Making your way through the area, you will also find interesting and captivating works of art displayed publicly. Transportation to and from the Docklands is not an issue since it is located close to the city centre. Travellers can take advantage of Dublin's extensive public transportation system, rent a bicycle, or simply take a stroll. Since it is also a business hub, several establishments for food and lodging can be found within the premises. Booking a room or eating out will not be an issue for the weary traveller.
Why Avoid the Docklands?
One disadvantage of the Docklands being a business hub is that prices for accommodation and food can be quite expensive. There are some low-cost lodgings within the area, but these might not be readily available since the demand for them is high, especially during peak season. This may not also be the right place for the traveller who wants to be close to nature since it is filled with buildings and establishments.
Where to stay around the Docklands
Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square - The perfect place to relax
Why Stay Around Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square?
If you’re searching for the perfect place to relax and escape the busy city life without actually leaving the city, then Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square are the right spots for you. Considered as one of the best-preserved Georgian squares in Dublin, Merrion Square has a beautiful history showcased in its striking architecture. In fact, Oscar Wilde was one of its residents. Fitzwilliam Square, meanwhile, is the smallest of all the Georgian Squares, yet you can still have a delightful and relaxing time as you walk around the area.
Why Avoid Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square?
Fitzwilliam Square, among all the Georgian Squares in Dublin, is the only one with a private park that is exclusive to its residents. Guests or tourists are not given access to the park, except on special rare occasions when it is open to the public. Also, only a few residents live in the Georgian Squares area, and by night time, the place quiets down and isn’t as vibrant as other spots in Dublin.
Where to stay around Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square
Portobello - great for couples who love cafes and brunch
Why Stay in Portobello?
For those of you who love strolls and sunbathing, then Portobello is a great place to be. It is mainly a residential area, located in a prime location near the City Centre and the Grand Canal. It is a lively neighbourhood, and its proximity to the Grand Canal makes it an ideal location for strolls and just de-stressing on the benches.
Portobello is also home to cafes that are popular for their brunch. Here you will find the best spots for mid-morning and mid-afternoon meals at reasonable prices. Head to popular cafes like Bibi’s Café and Lennox Café, and you will surely get a satisfying Irish meal.
Why Avoid Portobello?
Generally, Portobello has a young and cool vibe to it, being home to hipster cafes and street art. But if you are looking for a more upscale location, then there are other places in Dublin which offer this. Also, if you want to be at the centre of partying and nightlife, Portobello is not the place for you. It’s also not the ideal location if you want to see more of traditional Ireland attractions
Where to stay in Portobello?
Stoneybatter - The red-brick charm of the inner-city Dublin
Why Stay in Stoneybatter?
Stoneybatter offers you the “red-brick charm of the inner-city Dublin”, a long list of options to get yourself a drink, and a great opportunity to enjoy a view of herds of deer roaming around the city park. If you love books or any kind of literature, then you’ll definitely have a lovely time as the place has become a centre of a literary renaissance.
An endless variety of food options from coffee and pastries to Asian cuisines are available at the different cafes and restaurants around the area. Stoneybatter also offers a fun night out with a lot of pubs to choose from, and it is accessible from the city centre with just a 30-minute walk at most.
Why Avoid Stoneybatter?
A rise in the prices around the area is one of the downsides of Stoneybatter. You may find some difficulty in finding cheap items or souvenirs. Since it is the home to some of the city’s finest pubs, you can expect to be in the thick of the drink-loving crowds. If you’re after a more subdued, cultural experience, then this would not be the spot for you.
Where to stay in Stoneybatter
Trinity - for student life
Why Stay in Trinity?
Safe and secure, the Trinity College area has an excellent security system with campus police guarding the grounds. The people are also welcoming and nice. Large courtyards and green fields surround the campus, giving you the opportunity to enjoy peaceful leisure time. Since Trinity College is in the centre of Dublin City, it is well-located for everything and everywhere is accessible. The rooms in the campus dorms are reasonably priced and are full of character and history. Several cafes and pubs can be found outside the campus as well. If you want a Dublin City experience like no other, then this is your best choice.
Why Avoid Trinity?
If you like complete peace and quiet while spending time in the campus, then staying in and around Trinity College may not be the best idea. The noise of the busy streets of the city outside the walls of the campus can be heard inside. As it is in the city centre, you should expect quite a number of people when walking outside the campus. Also, the rooms can be basic and may need some renovation.
Where to stay around Trinity College
Phibsborough - for a chilled vibe
Why Stay in Phibsborough?
Want to stay away from the chaos of the city life yet still want to be a part of Dublin city? Phibsborough offers you just that opportunity. Also known as “Phibsboro”, the area is just a few minutes away from the city centre and is a mixture of a residential and commercial neighbourhood. The place gives you a young and vibrant vibe, and it has several spots where you can enjoy a peaceful time and easily remove yourself from the city madness. So, if a relaxing trip is your ideal, then definitely stay within the Phibsborough area.
Why Avoid Phibsborough?
Phibsborough, unfortunately, is a place not necessarily built for cars. Most of the properties in the area don’t have driveways and so the parking is on the side of the street. If you plan to rent a car for your holiday, then this can cause you some problems. Since not all of the on-street parking is metered, most of the residents park their cars on the street which can take up most of the area of the road.
Where to stay in Phibsborough?
Southern Georgian - The perfect district for culture lovers
Why Stay in Southern Georgian Dublin?
A place steeped in history, culture, and architecture, Southern Georgian Dublin is perfect for culture vultures, history lovers, families, and older travellers.
It's where you go when you want to escape the modern urban lifestyle without going off the grid entirely or going deep into a forest. It spans from St. Stephens Green to Merrion Square, with plenty of stunning landmarks and attractions in between and beyond. Some of its notable landmarks are the Oscar Wilde House, the National Concert Hall, the National Gallery, and the Natural History Museum. South of Butt Bridge, you will find some of the best-preserved architecture that makes a good background for photos.
There's no shortage of places to dine, drink, have fun, and relax, too.
Want more culture, adventure and fun? Check out this 10 day Ireland itinerary.
Why Avoid Southern Georgian Dublin?
Southern Georgian Dublin can be harsh during the winter. Not surprising, really.
But a tourist should be especially careful when venturing out on frozen lakes and other surfaces. Better not risk it without knowing which area has thin ice or not. If you insist, be super prepared for any eventuality. Bring ice picks, a floater suit, and a throw line with you.