Visiting Dublin A Beginners Guide


visiting Dublin
Image by papagnoc at Pixabay

 Whether it’s your first time visiting Dublin, second, or maybe you know a friend who wants to go, we have made a guide for you. There are three main things you need to know – accommodation, transport and things to do. We’ve broken them down into this easy guide. 


The first thing you look for before visiting any city is accommodation. For anyone visiting Dublin, we have a wide variety of accommodations that suit the needs and budgets of everyone. Here are the differences in some of them.


Hotels are the traditional accommodation for any traveller. In Dublin, we have an extensive selection of them in the city centre and on the outskirts. They all have different prices so they are available for nearly any budget. Most of them also have bars, restaurants, indoor pools, free wife and a fitness room for you to enjoy. You can browse for hotels using the usual sites such as


The favoured accommodation of students, there are plenty of hostels in Dublin. Cheaper than hotels, hostels have recently risen in popularity. Most hostels will use multiple bunk beds in the same room to accommodate as many people as they can which allows large groups to travel together. Some will offer guides around the city or fun activities to do.

Find a list of hostels in Dublin here 

Bed and Breakfast (B&Bs)

There are a variety of B&Bs in and around Dubin. A B&B is a house that the owner rents out. It has all the amenities of a regular house, but there will be extra bedrooms. Sometimes the owner will serve breakfast, other times it will be up to the person renting to provide and cook most of their food.

Most of the B&Bs can be found on the outskirts of Dublin City Centre. These are good for those in large groups, or those looking for accommodation with a chance of socialising.

Check here for a list of B&Bs in Dublin.

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Image by Picography at Pixabay.


In Dublin, there is a large variety of public transport available. If you are visiting Dublin for the first time it may be confusing. We’ve broken down the main ones here for you.

Dublin Bus

This is Dublin’s main mode of public transportation. The Dublin Bus services the whole of Dublin County and a little part of Bray. Most of the routes pass through the City Centre, although some you will have to transfer to. 

You can search a route from their website, or download the TFI app. All of the Dublin bus stops have a number on them; you can use this to look up the time on the app or website for that specific bus stop. Note that Dublin buses only accept coin change for their cash fair, not notes.

Bus Eireann

This is a coach service that runs from Dublin out to the other counties and vice versa. The terminal is located opposite Connolly Station, so if you are only passing through it is an easy walk. 

Dart and Commuter Rail

Many people get confused when we talk about the Dart vs the Train. The Dart is a Dublin central train service that goes from Bray or Greystones to Howth or Malahide. It is the most frequent train service in Dublin and the fastest route to get from one end of Dublin to the other.
Commuter Rail on the other hand will go all over Ireland. Most of the trains leave from Connolly station (this serves the Dart lines also) or Heuston station (which doesn’t serve Dart Lines). 

Now, one of the confusing things is the Short Hop Zone. This is the zone that the Dart operates in and some of the Commuter Lines. Most leap cards will work in this zone until it reaches the stops on the outskirts of Dublin, which are the Kilcoole, Balbriggan, Sallins and Naas and Kilcock stops on the Dart and Commuter Rail lines. If you intend to travel out of Dublin, or past these stops, you will need to buy a train ticket.


The Luas is Dublin’s inner city tramline. There are two main lines; the Red Line and the Green Line. The Red Line has two starting and end points, Connolly Station or The Point. It ends at either Tallaght or Saggart. The Green Line goes between Broombridge to Brides Glen. It is the easiest way to travel around Dublin city if you aren’t travelling outside of it.

New Cycling Initiatives

In Dublin, you will see bike racks full of blue bikes labelled Just Eat Dublin Bikes. These bikes were implemented across Dublin City in 2009 and have grown in popularity. They work by finding  a bike station and, for visitors, you can buy a 3 day ticket for €5 to rent the bike at the terminal. The first 30 minutes are free, then you are charged per hour. You can check the pricing here.

A couple of new schemes have also popped up since 2009. One is the Bleeper Bike. This works slightly differently to Dublin Bikes. The bikes are unlocked by scanning a QR code on the bike with the app. The app then records the journey, and you are charged €1 for every ride up to 60 minutes. Every time you stop, you lock the bike, and this pauses the time on the app.  

Leap Card

All of the major city public transport systems use Leap Cards as well as cash. For those who have been to London, it is similar to their Oyster Card. If you plan on returning to Dublin frequently it is worth investing in one. For those visiting Dublin for a short time only, we recommend the Leap Visitor Card. This card is valid on the following services:

  • Airlink 747 & 757 airport bus services
  • All Dublin Bus scheduled services (not valid on the Hop On Hop Off tours)
  • Go-Ahead Ireland services in Dublin
  • All Luas (services
  • DART and Commuter Rail in the Short Hop Zone (all of Dublin city and county)

You can find a more in depth breakdown of all of these transport systems here at Transport

Things to Do

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Image by LNLNLN at Pixabay

Of course, when you are visiting Dublin, you think of the many places you want to explore. Fortunately, there are many things you can do.

Guided Tours 

There are multiple different types of guided tours, from walking to day trips. See here for a list of ones you can book. 

Bus Tours 

If walking isn’t your thing, why not try one of the bus tours? The Hop On Hop Off bus tour offers multiple stops along which you can get off at to explore, or stay on the bus to see all the sights! Check here for tickets

Museums and Galleries

Dublin  is chock full of museums for those who love learning! From the Hugh Lane Art Gallery, to the National History Museum to Kilmainham Gaol, there is something for everyone! Check here for a directory to Dublin’s museums and check them out!


What would a guide to visiting Dublin be without pubs? There are no shortage of them here in Dublin, so you’ll not be left wanting! Of course we have the famous The Temple Bar in Temple Bar, Mulligans on Poolbeg Street and many more!


Dublin has multiple theatre venues for you to check out some of our famous plays and musicals being performed!  There’s the Abbey Theatre on Lower Abbey Street, The Olympia and the Gaiety Theatre, home to some of Ireland’s best pantos at Christmas! And, if you are more musically inclined, we have the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre in Grand Canal Dock

For more ideas on things to do check out the To Do section here at Babylon

We hope that this basic guide to visiting Dublin will be helpful for you when you come! For more information on any of these topics, check out the ‘Visiting’ and ‘To Do’ sections here at the top of Babylon’s website.

Michaela Moriarty
Michaela Moriarty

Michaela is a writer and editor based in Dublin. Dabbles in fiction writing on the side, also likes to game and bake for fun.

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