36 Hours in Dublin

Dublin Temple Bar

Let me start by answering the question everyone is looking for the answer to. Can Dublin be explored on a budget? Now, I consider myself a budget savvy traveller. I’ve been to many European countries and always found I’ve been able to stretch my Euros as far as humanly possible. It’s probably one of the most common traits of every frequent traveller actually. So in answer to the question; Can Dublin be done on a budget? My answer is no. Absolutely not, and I feel like I’ve almost failed myself as a proud budget traveller by admitting that.



Here’s how to spend 36 hours (and a lot more money than expected) in Dublin, Ireland

36 Hours in Dublin


Remember when Ryanair went crazy and did all those £2 flights? Well, I managed to snap up a bargain and grab two returns to Dublin from my home city of Liverpool for the glorious price of £8. Another city and country to explore and Dublin would officially become my shortest but probably most expensive trip to date.

Flying visit? What if you only have 36 hours in Dublin. Here’s how the make the most out of a short trip to Ireland.


Dublin is an absolute joy. If you haven’t been imagine live music in every bar you visit, merry tourists, the famous Temple Bar Street, all the Guinness you’ll allow yourself and lots to do, see and experience packed into one small but truly great city. It’s everything you would expect from a city as hyped over as Dublin. But… and this is the deal breaker for me. Dublin comes with a killer price tag.

Although Dublin is only a 25 minute flight from Liverpool it’s my first time visiting Ireland. And I can tell you now that I genuinely know that the price tag in Dublin does not accurately reflect the rest of Ireland. The inflated economy in Dublin is something that us happy little tourists have caused and we’ve almost set ourselves up for an exploitation. Silly really and although most people visiting Dublin know this prior to touch down we still all flock to The Emerald Isle to experience that charming Irish worldwind P.S I love you style.

36 Hours in Dublin, Ireland
By day and by night. Dublin, Ireland


While some of you may think paying 17 Euros for a round of drinks is sustainable I don’t and upon returning to Liverpool from Dublin on my 25 minute £4 Ryanair bargain flight I felt  my trip had left a sour taste in my mouth. How can it be possible to spend such a significant amount of money in such a short space of time? That, I am still asking myself. My head is still spinning.

Dublin is London, and I know the tourist game in London. It’s about to suck you in and spit you out with an empty wallet. And thats why the capital of Ireland is so similar to London. It’s the classic tourist trap. Now, without getting too negative, I knew from the second I paid 10 Euros for an airport bus that I had really landed in Ireland’s beautifully over inflated capital. I know you probably think I’m slamming Dublin here but in this case I have to be honest. Dublin broke my bank.

36 Hours in Dublin
The black stuff


The scene is set, traditional eateries, Irish pubs, typical bars with live music singing only the best Ireland has to offer. The best fish and chips in all of Dublin complete with list of top celebrity customers on its wall. A simple meal will set you back 15 Euros (and that’s without the fish). Now, I don’t want you to take my pessimism too literally, because I loved Dublin. I have no negative memories of the overall experience that do not relate to the financials.

Our stay in Dublin was my first hostel experience since South America and we couldn’t have stayed in a better hostel in a better location. We genuinely couldn’t have visited any better bars or had a more fun time. It’s the cost that I keep coming back to. We were there for one night if you subtract the sleeping hours from our time spent there well. We were well and truly tourist-ed by Dublin.

36 Hours in Dublin



We hit the streets of Temple bar known originally barr as in sandbank, before tourism and time dropped the second r. The heart and soul of Dublin and a first stop for many eager tourists. World renowned for its infamous stag dos, hen parties, overpriced drinks and the tipsy echo of Galway Girl over the worn cobbles. We laughed because the area very much reminded us of Concert Square in Liverpool – an area we usually try to avoid. Yet, we found ourselves engrossed in the madness and as touristy as a tourist can be in Dublin’s heartland.

The river Liffey behind us and the cold night outside we found ourselves reluctant to leave every traditionally decorated, cosy bar we found, regardless of the price. There isn’t one place in the whole of Dublin we didn’t feel welcome, that’s the whole charm. And I guess part of the bigger problem. You’re almost happy to handover your cash to the grinning bar man with the nice accent.

36 Hours in Dublin
The Brazen Head, Dublin, Ireland
36 Hours in Dublin, Ireland



The Oak – A 1920’s style speakeasy themed bar attached to the hotel next door is a cosy escape from the cold and the world. Expect the staff to be dressed in three piece suits.
The Auld Dubliner – In the heart of Temple Bar, an absolute must Some of the best live music we managed to catch in the perfect christmas setting.
Temple Bar – Obviously. Stick it in the top of your list and get there before lunch time for a seat. The christmas decorations are enough to impress even the biggest of scrooges.
The Lotts Cafe Bar – Head over Ha’penny bridge and then a walk straight until you spot the sign. The main bar isn’t anything special but head round into the restaurant and feel like you’ve entered a scene from an early 90’s Christmas Movie set in New York City.
The Brazen Head – The oldest pub in Dublin. Very traditional and much much more chilled than the standard Temple Bar pub.


36 Hours in Dublin
Temple fun – Dublin, Ireland
Trinity College was a must visit for us, we arrived at dusk to check out this prestigious establishment and we definitely weren’t the only tourists around. The Brazen Head – the oldest pub in Dublin was on the top of our list too. With limited time we headed to the Dublin stample early to have ‘Breakfast drinks’ something that apparently is okay in Dublin. Cosy, warm and certainly welcoming we shared Guinness and watched the other tourists sample the local tipple. This became a theme of our short time in Ireland.


36 Hours in Dublin, Ireland
Trinity College at night (well 6pm in Winter)

Dublin Castle is another must see, head early and explore the gardens. Always expect tourists taking photos or the odd tour group hanging about. Time it correctly so you beat the crowds and grab the perfect tourist free picture. The weather was perfect during our visit. Cold and crisp with a bright Winter sun illuminating the castles features.

36 Hours in Dublin
Dublin Castle

Christmas was in full swing when we arrived in Ireland and we were able to visit Arnotts department store which reminded us of an old time favourite Christmas movie. If you haven’t seen The Greatest Store in the World then I suggest you watch it this second. If we hadn’t spent so much on Guinness we maybe would have been able to do some christmas shopping. Oh well, maybe next time.


36 Hours in Dublin


36 Hours in Dublin
Would highly recommend this hostel for a short stay in Dublin


Generator Hostel is a giant building with an industrial exterior. A large chimney-like-structure to the centre towers over Smithfield Square. Generator Hostel is an edgy, spacious, modern and clean hostel with large dorms, small dorms and privates available. There’s plenty of accommodations to choose from but if you’re budget conscious check out the backpacker hostels in town. Generator hostel has all the amenities you would hope for from a hostel plus the extras you always pray for. Friendly staff, a fun bar, vending machines, lockers and round the clock tour operators in the reception area.


36 Hours in Dublin


36 Hours in Dublin, Ireland
A couple of Guinness infused selfies


36 Hours in Dublin


Overall 36 hours in Dublin took me by surprise in many ways, I was almost Dublined out by the time I left and I know it’s due to the cost. Be prepared if you decide to visit and understand that Dublin isn’t your standard Eurotrip destination. Dublin is a seriously fun city to immerse yourself in and it’s hard to be bored in a city filled with so much fun. If you can grab a bargain flight I would reccommend you do so, maybe just take out a small loan before you arrive. If you managed to have a budget experience in Dublin I need to know.



Whatever you’re hoping to spend. Double it, then take your bank card. Especially if like me, you become spontaneous after a couple of Guinness. Budget between 7 and 9 Euros for a pint. Food can be cheaper but still over the average. Expect your average daily budget to be more than double of what you expect. Budget travel in Dublin isn’t very doable but there are ways of keeping the cost down, such as airport transport and accomodation.


Generator Hostel I would recommend. Located in the Smithfield Square area just set back from the river the hostel is quirky, clean, large and I can only imagine filled with several hundred backpackers in the high season. There are other great hostels to choose from in Dublin and many closer to the Temple Bar area. If you’re new to hostels don’t be put off by the stereotype. Many of Dublin’s hostels put the budget B&Bs to shame.


Return bus tickets to and from Dublin are available from Dublin airport. Its a pretty straightforward affair and something I noticed all the tourists were doing. Find the Airlink Express counter just inside the arrivals section and speak to someone. We gave our hostel address and the girl at the desk kindly told us which stop to get off at.

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