If you’re an au pair based in Dublin, you’ll find this article very helpful. At first sight Dublin may look like an expensive city to live in, but if you spend some time researching what this welcoming city has to offer, you’ll find out that Dublin can be enjoyed on a low budget too.
Here are a few of our recommendations for enjoying Dublin on a low budget.
Most families in Dublin are located just outside the city centre, so if you live too far to just walk into town, you will have to take public transport. Both Dublin Bus and Irish rail offer discounted fares for students. If you usually take the bus to travel in the city, we suggest you get a Student Leap Card with which your spend on Dublin Bus will be capped at a student rate of €5 per day or €20 per week (Monday to Sunday). Once you hit the cap, you can travel on Dublin Bus for free.
Explore the city
At weekends you’ll probably want to discover Dublin city and its tourist attractions. Most of these attractions offer free entry or good reductions for students. Here’s our top 5 tourist attractions you can’t miss if you’re in Dublin:
On a sunny day you could visit the grounds of Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and its buildings and catch some rays of sun on the balcony of The Pavilion Bar or just lie down on the grass. This is one of the favourite spots in town for many students and young people who want to meet up with their friends right in the city centre. You and your English classmates could go there and spend some time together after your English classes. Why not sit in the lawn and have a picnic!
If you’re into arts, you can’t miss the National Gallery of Ireland in Merrion Square West, just a 5 minute walk from Trinity College. This amazing gallery hosts over 2,500 paintings from Caravaggio, Picasso, Van Gogh, Monet and much more. It has a permanent collection and holds temporary exhibitions and events too. Most importantly, the entrance to the museum is free!
If you love nature, Dublin offers loads of options for you. Apart from admiring one of its spectacular city parks like St Stephen’s Green or Phoenix Park, you can also visit the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin for free. These beautiful gardens offer many attractive features like an arboretum, a sensory garden, a rock garden, a large pond and loads of different species of plants. Perfect for a peaceful regenerating stroll.
If you’re a science geek, then you might enjoy visiting Dublin’s Science Gallery in Pearse Street, just beside Trinity College. It’s free in and it doesn’t have a permanent collection which means every couple of weeks you can enjoy some new creative exhibition. There is also a lovely cafe which is well worth checking out if you'd like to treat yourself!
If you want to get to learn a little history of Ireland and want to visit a building that is symbolic of the Irish revolution, you should visit Kilmainham Gaol. Students’ entrance fee is only €2 and it includes a guided tour where all most important facts about the revolution will be explained to you and where you’ll get the chance to take a tour in this famous jail. Many movies have been filmed here, you might recognise it! While here why not check out the magnificent Kilmainham Hospital. No longer a hospital, this amazing building houses the Irish Museum of Modern Art and also has beautiful gardens.
Go shopping in the markets
For some cheap shopping, you could visit one of the many markets that are held in the city centre every weekend. If you fancy some vintage clothes, vinyl records, retro furniture, bric a brac and more, you could pay a visit to the Ha’Penny Flea Market that takes place at The Grand Social on Lower Liffey Street every Saturday. For some delicious food, the Temple Bar Food Market is what you’re looking for. It’s held every Saturday from 10am to 4.30pm and it offers food specialties from Ireland and typical foods from other countries across Europe and further a field. For a taste of a really old and traditional food market, you should visit the Moore Street Market which is held every day from Monday to Saturday in Moore Street, just off Henry Street.
Eating Out in Dublin
Dublin has a huge range of cafes and restaurants and has something for every taste. If you want to eat a bite out in a nice spot without spending too much, Dublin offers you a wide range of options. For Chinese food, Parnell St has an array of good value, good quality food. For a delicious hamburger or milkshake, Eddie Rockets is delicious! Milanos have a number of Italian restaurants throughout the city. They serve delicious pizzas and don't forget to try their infamous 'doughballs'. Travelling from Dame Street, up South Great George's Street, Aungier Street, Wexford Street and up Camden Street you will find an array of low budget restaurants. We particularly love the Asian food in Neon, not to mention making your own 99 ice-cream from their ice-cream machine.
Going to the Cinema
Most cinemas in Dublin are free and cinemas usually have a discounted student price. For example, the Irish Film Institute in Temple Bar has a student annual membership of only €15 a year and you can go to watch as many movies as you want!
Plan a trip out of town
One of Dublin’s great features is its beautiful bay. One of Dublin’s most popular seaside villages is Howth, just 20-30 minutes away from the city centre on the Dart Line. Paying a visit to Howth is a must if you’re living in Dublin. Go and feed the lovely seals at the harbour, walk from the harbour to Howth’s famous Baily Lighthouse taking one of the walking trails that follow the coastline and then reward yourself with a traditional Irish fish & chips at Beshoff’s, one of the oldest fish & chips shops in Dublin.
We at Kangaroo Au Pair hope you enjoy your stay in Dublin!
For more information on things to see and do in Dublin, visit Dublin's official tourist website.