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Where to Stay in Dublin
The most tourist-friendly area of Dublin is small, walkable and home to several hotels spread evenly across a few distinct neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are divided into the north and south ends of town by the River Lilly, which bisects the city across its center. The south side is Dublin’s older and more traditional tourist area, with many better luxury hotels, while the north side is newer and a good place to look for truly cheap hotel deals in Dublin. Still, a few of the north side’s newer hotels are quite upscale and much more affordable than their south-side equivalents.
To the south, the St. Stephen’s Green area is where you’ll find the most exclusive hotel properties and picturesque garden settings. Just to the east, the Merrion Square area also has a variety of the finer hotels, but because it’s not as centrally located, its rates can be a bit cheaper. North of these neighborhoods but south of the river is the area of Trinity College, also called Temple Bar. Its perfectly centralized location is convenient and its hotels are within walking distance of the city’s best nightlife.
North of the river, most of the hotels are situated in the O’Connell Street area, which is also home to a trendy restaurant, pub and boutique shopping district.
Dublin Hotel Tips
Within the city limits of Dublin, many hotels embody various levels of luxury, and virtually all are on the somewhat pricey side of accommodations throughout Ireland. However, by making reservations early, booking online and taking advantage of off-season discounts, even the classic luxury of St. Stephen’s Green can be yours for an affordable price.
More modest discount rooms are available in some districts, particularly on the outskirts of the O’Connell Street area, but don’t assume simple accommodations will automatically mean low rates. Some few-frills hotels are located in the popular Temple Bar neighborhood, where their location justifies rates on par with finer hotels just a few blocks away.
Dublin Hotel Recommendations
If your idea of the perfect Dublin escape is something peaceful, green and luxurious, the Fitzwilliam Hotel is likely your best fit. Its rooms are incredibly modern and dramatically lit, many with views overlooking the expansive gardens of St. Stephen’s Green. The hotel has won several awards, as has its signature restaurant, Thornton’s, which may serve Dublin’s finest local cuisine.
A nearby hotel with a similar level of luxury but more classic styling is the Merrion Hotel, just a short block from Merrion Square. Enchanting from its sweeping marble lobby to its private gardens, the Merrion Hotel tempts guests with full-service spa treatments and first-class fine dining at Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, the only two-star Michelin Restaurant on the Emerald Isle.
Closer to the nightlife and urban attractions of the city, The Morgan in the Temple Bar neighborhood is more affordable than the top luxury options but swanky in its own way. A fashionable boutique property marketed toward the younger set, you’ll love this refined hotel if you like finding funny little details in every room.
If you’d rather be out exploring the city during the day and touring the pubs at night, you might be more interested in the simpler accommodations of the small Abbott Lodge. Clean and comfortable, this north side guest house makes for an affordable home base.
There are several ways to get around in Dublin, but the all-around best method may simply be to walk. The city is so geographically compact, safe for pedestrians and scenic that traveling by foot is favored by many tourists. While the temperatures usually accommodate this approach year-round, Dublin can be rainy, so it’s important to bring an umbrella along.
If your feet get tired, public transportation options include Dublin Bus’ fleet of double-decker buses and smaller wheeled trolleys, a Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) train that runs along the coast, and the Luas, an electric tram that runs through the city and out to its surrounding suburbs. Bus fare is paid upon boarding, and fare card machines are available at all stops for the trains. System maps, schedules and other information is available on the websites of each transit authority, though most train stops have information kiosks and bus stops have route signs.
After your flight to Dublin lands, you can get to town from the airport by shuttle or taxi. Taking taxis in the city isn’t difficult, though it’s easiest to line up near hotel taxi stands rather than try to flag one down on the street.
Several car rental agencies operate both at the airport and in town, but between Dublin’s tempting pubs and shortage of convenient parking, renting a car can be a liability to your vacation. It’s best to forego a rental in favor of public transport, and if you’re planning a day trip away from Dublin, consider renting a vehicle for just the one day.