From the markets of the Liberties and the broad sweep of Grafton Street, to the Guinness Brewery and the fine Georgian buildings of Merrion Square and St Stephen’s Green, Dublin is a beguiling city. Travelers taking cheap flights to Dublin may not find the show-stopping attractions of other European cities, but Dublin exudes charm and a local population who love to “have the craic”, that peculiarly Irish, fun-filled approach to life.
The capital city of Ireland is vibrant and cosmopolitan. What gives Dublin added oomph is the spirit of its people. It may be a modern city of glass and steel, a favorite with business people, conference goers and tourists, but Dubliners remain friendly to everyone.
Dublin’s long and stirring history goes back more than 1,000 years to the Vikings, the Danes and the English. Its “invaders” have left their mark, from its architecture – from Dublin Castle’s medieval tower to the stately Georgian public buildings – to its literary tradition and, perhaps even its pub culture. And there is no doubt that the Irish have a deep respect for their past. The city’s sights include the Chester Beatty Library, Marsh’s Library, the Parnell Museum, Kilmainham Gaol, Francis Bacon’s studio and, of course, the Guinness brewery at St. James’s Gate where the black stuff has been produced for more than 250 years. Take your pick from among the city’s cathedrals, including St. Patrick’s, which is the largest church in Ireland, and Christ Church Cathedral. The Dublin Castle will give you access to majestic government buildings, gardens, museums, and the historic library.
To have the craic, head to one of the city’s cozy pubs. There’s no shortage of decent watering holes in Dublin. Quiet during the day, with lone readers enjoying a drink, or lively at night when tired workers flood in, there’s no better place to sample Arthur Guinness’s finest creation. Dublin is as famous for its pub culture as it is for its artistic heritage. Dubliners revere the written word and the literary tradition stretches back millennia. Trinity College, Dublin houses the 7th-century Book of Durrow and 9th-century Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels, which dates from the 9th-century and can be viewed in Trinity College Library. The Dublin Writers Museum in Parnell Square brings to life literary figures from the past 300 years through their books and personal items. The city’s most famous pubs also have literary connections. Davy Byrne’s is immortalized in James Joyce’s epic Ulysses, McDaid’s was a favorite of Brendan Behan’s and other writers in the 1950’s, and The Palace served the likes of Flann O’Brien and Patrick Kavanagh.
Dublin’s streets are Georgian and elegant with some worthwhile shopping districts such as Grafton Street and Henry Street. The city offers a wide variety of theater, art, and music venues, and there’s no shortage of high-quality pubs and restaurants. As you explore the city, take in all the richness of its culture, including the beauty, wit, historical sorrow, and unflagging energy. There is so much to see and do in Dublin that you may end up sticking around longer than you planned for. No matter how long you are planning to stay in the city, here are some tips to help you plan and enjoy the smoothest possible trip.
The Irish climate is mild – it never gets too hot or too cold – and changeable. The temperatures in the summer in Dublin usually range in the high 50’s to low 60’s (Fahrenheit), with about eighteen hours of daylight in July and August. It will also rain a bit in the summer. Spring and autumn are mild, but unpredictable. A rain jacket is a must-pack item. Winters – December through February – are cooler and wetter with the temperature in the mid to low 40’s (Fahrenheit), but rarely going below freezing. Rain is typical, but there are occasional snow flurries. Although Dublin is in one of Ireland’s drier areas, it usually rains around 150 days a year, and quite consistently throughout the year.
Nobody ever takes cheap flights to Dublin for the weather. Temperatures are never scorching hot, or blistering, and it rains rather often throughout the year. However, the city is beautiful and a few rain drops never hurt anyone. Here are some details on when the best time to fly to this vibrant city is, and what periods you may want to avoid if you can.
There are a couple of peak tourist seasons. Summer is when most visitors arrive on their cheap flights to Dublin. This is when the weather is (generally) best and the festivals and summer schools are in full swing. July and August and school vacations are very crowded, as are Christmas and the New Year. You may have a hard time finding cheap flights during these times.
St Patrick’s Day, on March 17, is the day to embrace all things Irish and green and what place better to do this than Dublin, Irelands’ capital city? Watch an array of performers during the parade and continue the celebrations during a five-day festival which includes concerts, exhibitions, street theater, and fireworks. Expect bars and pubs to be packed at all times since St. Patrick’s Day is an exceptionally busy time. Book your flights and accommodations as far in advance as possible but don’t expect to find the cheapest flights.
The off season is mid-November through mid-March with the exception of Christmas/New Year. Flight prices will be lower in some cases, but fewer attractions and restaurants are open. The weather in the winter especially is unpredictable and festivals in short supply. However, bargain hunters could score cheap flights to Dublin and cheap hotel deals during the winter months.
Spring (March to May) and fall (September to November) are shoulder seasons and good times to visit. The weather is pretty good and the crowds of visitors have melted away meaning a more pleasant vacation. The seasonal hotels and restaurants open in the spring and usually do not close until November. There are often good deals on flights and accommodations to encourage tourism.
The best time of year for you to find the cheapest flights to Dublin is October/November time. You should book your flight tickets in advance if you’re planning to visit Dublin in the summer months or over Christmas. If you want to visit Dublin for St Patrick’s Day, make sure you book your flights as much in advance as possible, along with reserving hotels etc.
July and August see the most visitors, so if you want to enjoy pleasant outdoor weather while avoiding all the crowds, try visiting in May, June, or September as well. Flights may be cheaper during these periods.
Dublin Airport connects the country of Ireland to the rest of the world with regular flights to and from the rest of Europe, the U.S. and beyond. Many American and international carriers fly direct to Dublin from the U.S. A direct flight from New York takes just under six and a half hours. Direct flights from LA and those with short layovers in U.S. or Canadian airports take around fourteen hours, while a flight with a layover in European cities or Reykjavik in Iceland can take a few hours longer. Flying from Austin with one stop in Boston, Chicago or New York, takes around fifteen to seventeen hours depending on the length of the layover. A direct flight from Chicago takes just over seven hours, and from Boston it takes between 5 and 6 hours.
United Airlines, Aer Lingus, British Airways, American Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue are among the many U.S. and international carriers that fly to Dublin from the U.S. If you’re traveling from an international location, check available flights from Lufthansa, KLM and Air France. Irish carriers Ryanair and Aer Lingus operate regular flights from the U.K. and other European destinations to Dublin.
The Dublin climate is pleasantly mild all year round and avoids extremes of temperatures. Summer temperatures generally stay around the high 50’s to low 60’s (Fahrenheit). Take a waterproof jacket as it rains 150 days a year on average. If you’re visiting in winter take some warm outerwear as the city experiences occasional snow flurries in winter, though temperatures generally stay in the 40’s from December through February and rarely go below freezing. With the city best seen on foot, be sure to take comfortable shoes, and remember to pack a camera to capture those special moments.
The Dublin Airport (DUB) is only 6 or so miles north of the city center and there are a number of convenient travel options to get you there after your flight to Dublin. There are about 10 or so different bus companies you can travel with, all of which can take you to the city and the surrounding areas. You can also take a bus to the nearby central train station and continue your travel from there. Another option is to take a taxi from directly outside the arrivals hall in the airport and go to your hotel easily, just be sure to agree upon your fare in advance.
Once you’ve settled in to your hotel and are ready to explore the city, you will discover that Dublin is easy to get around and is best seen by foot. However, there’s plenty of public transportation too. Apart from taxis, which are abundant in the city, the public transit system is very reliable and convenient. The rapid transit train, DART, is best to go out to the suburbs and seaside towns, following the coast, from Malahide and Howth north of the city to Bray and Greystones to the south.
Dublin Bus has an extensive network. Buses run between 6 AM and approximately 11:30 PM. The bus system covers the city and has a small Nitelink service as well. The LUAS is a light rail tram service with two lines that access the main attractions; the Green Line that runs from St. Stephen’s Green to Sandyford (south County Dublin), and the Red Line, from Connolly railway station to Tallaght (southwest of County Dublin). Trams run between 5am until half-past midnight.
Driving in the city can be very frustrating. All the traffic and parking problems, combined with expensive car rental rates, make it not really worth your time. If you want to rent a bike to get around, there are plenty of bike lanes around Dublin, but heavy traffic and few bike rental shops make it less than ideal.
Dublin’s city center is relatively compact and best navigated on foot. The river Liffey offers charming riverside walks and picturesque bridges. A walking tour with a local guide can make sure you don’t miss out on the city’s highlights and hidden corners. For a self-guided tour, download the Dublin Discovery Trails App for iOS and Android devices. This useful app provides a choice of engaging walking trails that bring the city’s heritage to life thanks to personal accounts and images. The Rebellion trail takes you to the buildings and battlegrounds of the 1916 Easter Rising while the Empire trail invites you to explore Dublin Castle, Leinster House and Trinity College while learning about Dublin during the time of the British Empire. Trinity College library houses the magnificent Book of Kells – a 9th century illuminated manuscript of the Gospels.
If you prefer a faster pace, purchase a three-day Dublin Bikes ticket and pickup/drop off bikes from locations across the city. Also, invest in a Dublin Pass to save waiting in line at top visitor attractions. The number one attraction is the Guinness Storehouse. Tour this seven-story building to learn about this famous black beer and sip your free pint in the Gravity Bar while enjoying amazing 360-degrees views across the city. If you’re on a budget, free attractions include the Irish Museum of Modern Art where you can enjoy wandering around the beautiful gardens and exhibition rooms of the 17th century former Royal Hospital. You can also take in some fine art at the National Gallery of Ireland and view the dodo skeleton at the Natural History Museum.
Wildlife enthusiasts love visiting the Dublin Zoo where you can stroll from the African Savannah where giraffes and zebras roam, to the Kaziranga Forest to see the Asian elephants. If you want to explore more than the city, the Dublin Mountains provide a great escape for hiking and cycling with some fabulous views across Dublin. Get a Dublin Bus Rambler ticket, pack a picnic and set off. Make sure you take your camera. If you’re visiting in summer, consider taking swimwear to enjoy the charming seaside villages with sandy beaches located just a 30-minute trip from the city center on the Dublin Area Rapid Transit electric rail system (DART).
If you time your visit to coincide with the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations on the 17th of March, expect several days of fun with parades, live music and street theatre. Be sure to book flights and accommodations well in advance as the city’s celebrations attract visitors from around the world. For a great night out at any time of year, explore Dublin’s Temple Bar area. Steeped in culture and full of bars, restaurants and lively music venues, this vibrant area is also the place to find hip boutiques and thrift stores.
If you plan to visit more of Europe after visiting Dublin, it’s a short hop to London or Edinburgh in the U.K. and not much farther to cities such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, London and Paris. You can also find flights from Dublin to many other locations across the globe. Flights are available from carriers such as Aer Lingus and Ryanair, as well as other European airlines, and many more. Visit https://www.cheapflights.co.uk for the top flight deals for routes out of Dublin.
Dublin Airport (DUB) sits around six miles north of the city center and links to the city and beyond through several bus and coach companies. The Airline Express runs between the airport, Dublin city center, and Heuston and Connolly rail stations. The Dublin Bus service offers a range of routes to and from destinations throughout Dublin. Alternatively, there are plenty of taxis in the city that can take you to the airport.
Once you choose a destination, be sure to check out our Dublin airport guides for more detailed travel information and helpful tips.