Like other large cities, Dublin can be expensive.
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But if you plan it correctly, a trip to Dublin doesn’t have to bust your wallet.
Here are 7 ways to save money in Dublin.
1. Visit Dublin's Museums and Galleries for Free
Yes, that’s right. Dublin has an abundance of free museums that are well worth exploring.
The National Museum of Ireland’s chain of museums are all free include the following:
The Decorative Arts & History Museum at Colllins Barracks – this wonderful museum (one of my favorites) features several historical and contemporary collections related to military history and decorative arts.
Its current exhibitions include Studio & State, which features the paintings of Sir John Lavery who captured the political negotiations in London prior to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty between Ireland and Great Britain. The exhibition ends on Jan. 8, 2023.
Other free museums and galleries to visit in Dublin include The Hugh Lane Gallery, the first known public gallery of art in the world, The Chester Beatty, which houses an amazing collection of 20,000 manuscripts, rare books, miniature paintings, clay tablets, costumes, and more, as well as the National Gallery of Ireland.
2. See Dublin’s Popular Attractions with the Go City Dublin Pass
If you plan to see a lot of popular attractions over several days, the Go City Dublin Pass will be your best friend.
First, you’ll need to figure out how much you want to see with the pass.
Do you want to experience as much of Dublin as possible or is seeing a few bucket list items part of your itinerary?
Choose from the All-Inclusive Pass or the Explorer Pass.
3. Save on Tickets to the Dublin Zoo
Did you know that you can save up to 15% when you prebook your tickets for the Dublin Zoo?
The zoo, located in Phoenix Park, opened its doors on Sept. 1st, 1831.
Initially, the fee to enter the zoo was one shilling, a princely sum for many ordinary people of the time.
However, that admission price was reduced to a penny for patrons on Sundays, which made it stand out from other attractions of the time and was as a result, available for the less wealthy to enjoy.
At the time of its opening, the zoo housed 46 mammals and 72 birds, which were donated by London Zoo and the Royal Menagerie of the Tower of London.
Today, the Dublin Zoo is home to over 400 animals from across the globe.
The zoo, which is the third most popular attraction in Ireland, is focused on conservation efforts with other zoos worldwide.
4. Get the Leap Visitor Card for Travel Across the City
Dublin has a pretty good public transportation system, but did you know that you can save on train and bus rides if you get the Leap Visitor Card?
Tickets are available for 1 day/24 hours, €8; for 3 days (72 hours), €16; and 7 days (168 hours), €32.
You can also use it when traveling from the airport to your accommodation elsewhere in the city.
At Dublin Airport, you can purchase the Leap Visitor Card at the Spar store in Terminal 2 and at the WH Smith bookstore in Terminal 1.
You can also find it in the city center at Dublin Bus, 59 Upper O’Connell Street, at Mullins Newsagent, Unit 1B, Heuston Station, and at the Newsrail store in Connolly Station.
5. Book a Free Walking Tour of Dublin
If you want to get to know Dublin and its people, why not take a walking tour?
I find that it’s the best way to become acquainted with any large metropolitan area.
Here are a few free walking tours that you can sign up for.
The Dublin Free Walking Tour company, also known as Yellow Umbrella – the company offers several free tours each day focused on the north and south sides of the city, in addition to a pub tour and the Macabre Dublin Tour, which includes stops at the Dublin Debtor’s Prison, The Gates of Hell, the Hangman’s Corner, and other dark places.
Tours are also offered in Spanish. All tours must be booked online in advance.
Free Tours by Foot – the most popular free tours offered by this company include ones that focus on the history of the city.
Choose from the Folklore & Fables tour, the Intro to Dublin and the Dublin Pub Crawls tours.
A self-guided tour of Dublin’s architecture is also available, with stops at the Viking Longboat Statue, the stone arch that marks the entrance to the New Music Hall, where Handel’s Messiah was first performed in 1742, Dublin Castle, City Hall, and more.
Original Dublin – while this tour company offers several fee-paying tours, if you're really watching your wallet, the Free/Original Walking Tour of Dublin will give you a good introduction to the city.
Their Spanish-speaking tour is also free.
While all the above tours are essentially free, participants are encouraged to give whatever they think the tour is worth at the end.
6. Visit Heritage Sites the First Wednesday of the Month
You can visit three heritage sites in Dublin on the first Wednesday of each month completely free.
They include the Casino Marino, a miniature architectural masterpiece that looks small from the outside but actually contains 16 rooms; Farmleigh House and Estate in Dublin’s Phoenix Park; as well as Rathfarnham Castle.
7. Eat Dinner Early in Dublin
Like any city, eating out in Dublin can be expensive.
But you can get around that by availing of early bird specials, which many restaurants offer.
Here are some that you might want to check out.
The FIRE Steakhouse & Bar – located on Dawson Street in the heart of the city. This eatery offers a 3-course early bird special for two Monday through Friday from 5 to 6:30 p.m., on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 1 to 6:30 p.m.
Expect tiger prawns, sea bream, steak and pan roast, among other dishes.
The cost is €80 for two. Mention “early bird” when booking.
Toscana Restaurant – located on Dame Street in the city center. This popular Italian restaurant serves up a 3-course early bird special for €30.95 per person.
You’ll find favorites like bruschetta, lasagna, and pizza on the menu.
The offer is available daily until 6:30 p.m., but not during the month of December.
Booking online is encouraged.
Sole Seafood & Grill – the award-winning Sole Seafood & Grill restaurant is squarely in the luxury category given its recent nomination as “Europe’s Best Luxury Seafood Restaurant,” but if you can snag its 3-course early bird special, you won’t be disappointed.
Expect to spend €40 each on the offer, which is available Monday through Thursday from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and again on Fridays from 4 to 6:30 p.m., Saturdays from 4 to 5 p.m., and on Sundays from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
Be sure to mention “early evening” when booking.
Red Torch Ginger – this Thai restaurant on St. Andrew’s Street offers a very good early bird special for less than €35.95 per person.
The meal is available every day from 3 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.
The restaurant also has set dinner and lunch menus.
Its dinner menu costs €44.95 per person and is available from 6 p.m. daily.
It includes prawn crackers, a starter, main course, dessert, as well as tea or coffee.
Its set lunch menu costs €26.95 per person and is available until 2:45 p.m. each day, with the same offerings as dinner.
Dada Moroccan Restaurant – known for serving up an eclectic menu, this Moroccan eatery offers an early bird Halal menu on Monday through Friday (5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.) and on Saturday and Sunday from 2 p.m. to 6:15 p.m.
Choose from either two courses for €25.95 per person or three courses for €29.95.
The restaurant uses 100% prime certified Irish lamb.
Quays Irish Restaurant – located in the heart of the city’s Temple Bar section, you can get two courses at Quays Irish Restaurant for just €24.95.
The slow cooked beef and Guinness stew along with the restaurant’s bangers and mash special are two items on the restaurant’s early bird menu.
Are you planning a visit to Dublin in 2023? Did these 7 ways to save money in Dublin give you some ideas for seeing the city on a budget? Let me know in the comments below.