So you've left the shticks behind, only to brave the Big Shmoke, the glorious capital of the island of Ireland. Mammy's a wee bit sad to see you go but she's afraid for you more than anything. Sure what could you be getting up to up there? How will you get home in the dark? Where will you shop for your five-a-day?
Dublin, the fair city, is fairly busy, fairly expensive and fairly smoky, so not very fair at all? But there's a few tips and tricks we can part with you in order to make your move a little easier.
Here's the definitive guide to everything you need to know if you are moving to Dublin. Keep your Mammy calm and carry on... to the pub!
True happiness is availing of a free coffee when you've filled your loyalty card with stamps.
Loyalty cards are where it's at. Almost every coffee shop and restaurant has them.
Insomnia's are particularly good as on top of receiving the odd free drink of whatever size you wish, they will also email you a newsletter with extra deals. Boojum will give you a free t-shirt after 40 burritos. Yes, it can be done.
Most establishments will have their cards on display at the cash desk but if not, don't be afraid to ask.
There are a few deals knocking around the city centre that you definitely need to know about.
If you want to just grab lunch during work or college there are many places around the Grafton Street area, in particular Dawson Street, most of which are generously priced.
For curing a hangover, look no further than Dicey's carvery which is served between 12pm and 2pm Monday to Friday and will cost you only a fiver if you're a student.
Mongolian Barbeque in Temple Bar do a killer lunch deal for €6.90 before 4:30pm every day as well.
Just had a full carvery for a fiver in Dicey's. Unbelievable!!!! #dealoftheyear— Stephen Costello (@Costsea77) December 3, 2013
The Apps You Need
Be sure to download Vipsy, InForFree and Guestlist to your smartphone. If you're planning your night out in advance then you can receive either guestlist or cheaplist for a wide range of club nights.
Society Membership Cards
If you're a student who's moving to Dublin then the societies in your college will have membership cards with a whole world of discounts and deals on the back of them.
Some of the best I've seen include cinema tickets for a fiver, free into certain nightclubs and 20% at Hodges & Figgus so even if you don't plan on becoming a society hack maybe think twice about the deals you could be availing of!
The Clubs You Should Be Aware Of
Dublin offers a varied and lively nightlife and many other social scenes. There are plenty of club nights to choose from which won't break the bank too.
The Harcourt street area is infamous for its pubs and clubs and is very accessible via the Luas green line. For example, here's a classic student week of nights out:
- Monday - Dicey's Garden, Harcourt St.
- Tuesday - Copper Face Jack's, Harcourt St.
- Wednesday - The Workman's Club, Wellington Quay
- Thursday - Everleigh Garden, Harcourt St.
- Friday - Hangar, St. Andrew's Lane
- Saturday - Circus @ The Academy, Abbey St.
- Sunday - The George, George's St.
Other popular spots include DTwo, District 8, Prhomo @ The Hub, The Czech Inn, The Turk's Head, The Grand Social, The Opium Rooms, Doyle's, Sweeney's and O' Reilly's.
If you plan on taking public transport at any point during your time in Dublin then a Leap Card is an essential.
For those of you who are unaware as to what a Leap Card is, it is a travel card that you can load with travel credit and then scan when you board the bus, Luas or DART. It saves you the hassle of keeping the right amount of change on your person and all of the fares are at a discounted rate.
You can purchase a Leap Card online here or at any Students' Union shop.
Top tip: order your card online as the queues for the express stations are around the corner and down the street around this time of year!
Dublin Bikes was set up in 2009 and is a self-service bike rental scheme with many stations located around the city. You can sign up for a year for €20 which allows you to rent any of their bikes. You'll be given a password which you can enter to take a bike out.
The first half hour is free and after that different prices apply depending on how long the bike has been out of a station.
While cycling is a very healthy and environmentally conscious means of transport, it is also quite dangerous in the city with the masses of buses and taxis which pass through it everyday. Be sure to wear an appropriate cycling helmet and obey the rules of the road!
Sign up here.
Ramblers and Monthly Tickets
A Rambler is a ticket for a time period between 5 to 30 days on Dublin Bus. If you plan on taking the bus in and out of college every day then investing in a rambler is probably a good idea as you are guaranteed to save money even when using a Leap Card.
You can load a rambler ticket onto your Leap Card at any shops which display the Leap Card sign. The ticket doesn't even have to be for 30 consecutive days which is useful if you plan on heading home for the weekend.
Luas also offer a similar deal which is amazing value for students. For example, a 30-day ticket for 2 zones is just €50 as opposed to €4.10 a return ticket for just one day!
Make sure you look at all of your travel options as there are plenty of savings to be made!
The Postcode System
Dublin is divided into into areas based upon their distance north and south of the Liffey. All of the odd numbers (1-17) are north of the river and the even numbers (2-24) are located south. There are of course a couple of exceptions such as Phoenix Park being in Dublin 8.
And the higher the number, the further from the city centre the district is.
Areas To Know
Everyone finds it difficult trying to scope their way around a new city. Dublin city, while sizeable, is also very manageable from a geography point of view. Here are some areas that you should be aware of when you're moving up to Dublin:
O' Connell Street, Henry Street, Abbey Street - These three streets mark the true centre of Dublin. Use the spire to your advantage. You can spot it from most places around the city if you get lost.
Grafton Street, Nassau Street, Dawson Street - The centre of the city south of the Liffey, these streets boast great cafés and retail.
Dame Street, Christchurch, Templebar - These bustling areas are good for socialising and contain the older Medieval regions of the city.
Talbot Street, Connolly Station, IFSC - The IFSC (International Financial Services Centre) is exactly what it says on the tin and sprung up during the Celtic Tiger times. Talbot Street is great for discount shops and Connolly has links to coastal north Dublin and the north west of Ireland such as Sligo.
St Stephen's Green, Harcourt Street, Merrion Square - Just south of Grafton Street is St. Stephen's Green which is a popular spot for a picnic lunch. Merrion Square frequently holds food markets for the working professionals and Harcourt Street, as mentioned earlier, is the centre of all things sesh.
Westmoreland Street, D'Olier Street, Pearse Street - These three streets branch off College Green where Trinity College is located. Most of the city's bus routes stop on one of these three streets so they're very useful to know about.
South Great George's Street, Aungier Street, Camden Street - These are basically the same street which stretch from the city centre to the south of the city. There are copious amounts of bars and restaurants along these streets.
The Quays - If you want to get a bus out of Dublin then it most likely leaves from the quays. There's Batchelors Walk, Eden Quay, Custom House Quay, Aston Quay, Ormond Quay Lower and Wellington Quay.
Lidl and Aldi are your go-to supermarkets if you want the cheapest weekly shop out there. Hone in on Moore Street market stalls and grocers like Top's In Pop's for fresh, good value fruit and veg.
There is a Lidl and an Aldi located on Parnell Street which is perpendicular to Moore Street (just off Henry Street). This is probably the best district for a weekly food shop on a budget.
If you have just moved in and are in desperate need of a wardrobe then Ikea is your best bet. It is located outside the city but you can take the 140 bus from Dame, Westmoreland or O' Connell Street, which will drop you right outside the door. They have cushions for 20c. Yes, 20c.
Penney's and Guiney's are also ideal for homeware if you don't want to trek out to Dublin 11 for a duvet.
Free Activities (or almost!)
Dublin has some fantastic city centre parks.
Phoenix Park is Europe's largest walled park and includes Áras an Uachtaráin, the residence of the President. The 707 hectares are home to many flora and fauna, in particular, the Furry Glen, a managed conservation area.
You can rent bikes at the main entrance the park and enjoy leisurely cycles along the miles of bike lanes. It's €5 for one hour, €10 for three and €15 for a whole day. You can even rent tandems of you're feeling a little silly. More information can be found here.
Other great parks to check out include Merrion Square which is quite open in comparison to St. Stephen's Green. The Blessington Basin, north of O' Connell Street, is 80% water but is also stunning and a must-visit.
Museums and Galleries
These are probably overlooked as one of the best ways to spend a rainy day in Dublin.
Irish Museum of Modern Art, Royal Hospital Kilmainham / mostly free exhibitions.
The Hugh Lane, Parnell Square North / free.
National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square West / free.
Science Gallery, Pearse Street / free.
The Natural History Museum, Merrion Square / free.
National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology, Kildare Street / free.
Coastal Day Trips
The DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transport) travels along the coast north and south of the city and provides links to beautiful coastal towns. Take the DART from city centre stations such as Pearse or Tara Street and sit back and relax as you watch the buildings turn to masses of water.
Malahide, Howth, Clontarf - enjoy plenty of fish and chips in these towns! You can explore Malahide castle or stroll along the pier in Howth.
Dún Laoghaire, Bray, Greystones - Dig into some of Dún Laoghaire's many iconicice cream parlours or hike up the Bray Head for stunning views of the county. If you're feeling adventurous, you can attempt the cliff walk between Bray and Greystones which takes between forty minutes and an hour to complete.
The Abbey Theatre, Dublin's most famous theatre, offers an amazing deal of being able to join the Cameo Club. If you're a student or under the age of 26 then you can join the club and avail of €10 theatre tickets, half price previews and free into talks for a whole year.
More information on the club here!
- Beware of pickpockets, particularly at traffic lights in areas like O' Connell Bridge, Dame Street and Pearse Street
- Don't walk around with your phone on display
- Try to use indoor ATMS wherever possible
And Then There's The Things You'll Probably Learn The Hard Way
- Don't stop dead in the middle of Grafton Street to chat to your mates - everyone will hate you for it
- Maybe just avoid Grafton Street altogether - it's pretty grim
- The Real Time Information at the bus stops isn't always correct - 1 min could mean ten
- Finding a place to cross the road can be a bitch whilst the Luas works are ongoing
- Taxi drivers can be unforgiving when it comes to pedestrians crossing the road
- Penney's on Mary Street/Henry Street is almost too big
- Don't tell anyone about the secret coffee shops you found that sell coffee for like €2 - they'll raise their prices once they see how popular they've become
- Decent lunches for under €5 are few and far between
- Rent will eat up all of your income
- Tourists are nightmares to navigate around on Dame Street
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