Halfpenny Bridge3 Dublin
Halfpenny Bridge3 Dublin

7 Ways to Save Money in Dublin Any Time of Year

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.

One of its current exhibitions is called GAA: People, Objects & Stories.

The exhibition includes objects from the 15th century right through to the present.

Expect to see artifacts such as a medieval mether, a ceremonial drinking vessel that has influenced modern-day GAA competition cups; a 10-carat gold medal made in New York and said to have been presented to one of the players from the County Cavan football team, a handwoven tweed camogie dress from the 1960s, and much more.

The medieval mether that is part of the latest exhibition at the National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts & History. Photo: Tourism Ireland.

Camogie is the female version of the popular hurling game.

The Natural History and Archaeology museums along with the Irish Museum of Modern Art are also free.

Photo copyright of the Trustees of the Chester Beatty Library.

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.

Read more: Dublin’s Free Museums and Galleries


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.

a bar overlooking a city 7 ways to save money in Dublin
The Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse. Photo courtesy of Diageo for Tourism Ireland.

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.

The pass covers admission to The Guinness Storehouse, the Dublin Hop On Hop Off tour, EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum, the Jameson Distillery and much more.

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.

a sign 7 ways to save money in Dublin
The entrance to Dublin Zoo. Prepaying for tickets to the zoo is just one of 7 ways to save money in Dublin while on a vacation or even if you live in Ireland's capital. Photo: Rory Parle (Rparle at English Wikipedia) – Self-photographed, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=116291593

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.

large flowers lit up outside 7 ways to save money in Dublin
The Wild Lights display at Dublin Zoo, which goes on view each year around the holidays. Photo: Courtesy Fionn Davenport for Failte Ireland.

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.

Get your 15% discount on tickets to the Dublin Zoo

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?

The Leap Card. Photo: , Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=57515782

The card is available for travel on Dublin Bus, the Luas, and the DART.

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 the Dublin Traditional Pub Tour.

a group of people standing in front of a church 7 ways to save money in Dublin
A group of visitors on the Dublin Free Walking Tour. Availing of free walking tours is just one of 7 ways to save money in Dublin. Photo courtesy of Dublin Free Walking Tour Facebook.

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 Dublin Northside Tour: Irish Independence, Dublin Folklore Tours, Generation Tours, the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, its Pub Crawl Tours, and more.

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.

Included in the itinerary are many Dublin landmarks, including Trinity College, Viking Dublin sites, Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin Castle, and much more.

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.

Read More: Dublin's Top 10 Guided Tours

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.

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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 some restaurants offer.

Here are a few 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 2- and 3-course early bird special Monday through Friday from 5 to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m.

The interior of The FIRE Steakhouse & Bar in Dublin's city center. Photo courtesy of FIRE Steakhouse & Bar Facebook.

Expect Dingle gin cured Irish salmon, Connemara rock oysters, sea bream, and Irish sirloin and rib eye steaks, among other dishes.

The cost is €39 per person for the two-course special and $45 per person for the 3-course meal. 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 pre-theater dinner special for €35.95 per person.

The exterior of the Toscana restaurant, which offers an early bird special most days, one of 7 ways to save money in Dublin. Photo courtesy of Toscana City Center Dublin 2 Italian Restaurant Facebook.

You’ll find Italian favorites like bruschetta, lasagna, and pizza on the menu.

The offer is available daily until 6:15 p.m., but not from Nov. 27th through Jan. 7th.

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 2 or 3-course early bird special, you won’t be disappointed.

the inside of a restaurant 7 ways to save money in Dublin
The interior of the Sole Seafood & Grill restaurant in Dublin's city center. Photo courtesy of SOLE Seafood & Grill Facebook.

Expect to spend €39 per person for the 2-course meal and €45 per person for the 3-course meal, which is available Monday through Friday from 5 to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from from 1-5 p.m.

Be sure to mention “early evening” when booking.

Red Torch Ginger – this Thai restaurant on St. Andrew’s Street offers a good early bird dinner special for €29.99 per person.

The meal is available every day from 3 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.

Gallagher's Boxty House – if you find yourself in the Temple Bar area, don’t hesitate to pop into Gallagher’s Boxty House, which takes its name from the traditional Irish dish, “boxty.”

Here you’ll find interesting variations of the original humble dish, including on its special boxty menu.

Photo courtesy of The Boxty House Facebook.

The pub’s version of early bird special is available every day from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

During that time, you can get a beer and boxty special for €25, which is great value considering pints of beer in Dublin can run up to €6 each.

Choose from the Gaelic Boxty, the Chicken Boxty, the Spice Bag Boxty, the Salmon Boxty and much more.

Its range of Jack Smyth beers come from the pub’s own house brew.

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 €25.95.

roasted potatoes in a dish 7 ways to save money in Dublin
You'll find classic Irish food at the Quays Irish Restaurant in Dublin. Photo courtesy of Quays Irish Restaurant Facebook.

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. The special is available all day from Sunday through Thursday until 7 p.m. and on Friday and Saturday until 6 p.m.

Read More: Affordable Hotels and Guest Houses in Dublin: 8 You Should Know About

Are you planning a visit to Dublin in 2024? 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.


Colette is a County Sligo native who created Ireland on a Budget to provide her readers with money-saving tips on how to get to Ireland and then save even more when they're there. She's a professional copywriter who lives in the New York area with her husband and two children.

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