When is the best time to fly?
Dublin tends to have mild weather throughout the year; in general, winter isn't brutally cold, and summer isn't marked by scorching temperatures. 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. Flights may be cheaper during these periods.
There are a couple of peak tourist seasons. Summers and school holidays are very crowded, as are Christmas and New Year.
St Patrick’s Day, on the 17th March, 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 theatre and fireworks. Expect bars and pubs to be packed at all times. St. Patrick’s is an exceptionally busy time. Book your flights and accommodation as far in advance as possible.
The Dublin Fringe Festival, during September, provides a platform for new as well as veteran companies who want to try out new material. Expect the unusual from this festival, not only from the performances but also from the venues. Previous performances have taken place in parked cars or even the city’s public toilets!
In the summer months, from June to August, enjoy the great outdoors accompanied by the cool sounds of jazz or a thought-provoking story told through opera. These free open-air concerts and recitals are at various venues throughout the city.
The off season is mid-November through mid-March or Easter with the exception of Christmas/New Year. Flight prices will be lower in some cases, but fewer attractions and restaurants are open.
Autumn (September to November) and spring (March to May) are good times to visit Dublin. The seasonal hotels and restaurants open in the spring and usually do not close until November. There are often good deals on flights and accommodation to encourage tourism.
Why visit Dublin?
Ireland's capital city 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 favourite with business people, conference goers and tourists, but Dubliners remain friendly and plain-speaking.
Dublin's streets are Georgian and elegant with shopping districts of Grafton Street, south of the Liffey and Henry Street on the north. The city offers a wide variety of theatre, 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.
The Irish have a deep respect for their past. The city's sights include the Chester Beatty Library, Christ Church Cathedral, Marsh's Library, Dublin Castle, 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 as well as the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels, which dates from the 9th century, and can be viewed in Trinity College Library.
Take your pick from among the city's cathedrals, including St. Patrick's, which is the largest church in Ireland. The Dublin Writers Museum will introduce you to famous Irish authors, and Dublin Castle will give you access to majestic government buildings, gardens, museums, and the historic library.
The temperatures in the summer are usually in the range of 15-18 degrees, with about 18 hours of daylight in July and August. Winters are mild and wet with the temperature in the 10s and 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 150 days a year.Getting from the Airport to the CityThe vast majority of travellers flying into Dublin arrive at Dublin Airport (DUB), located 6 miles from the city centre.Several bus services connect the airport to all parts of Dublin and the city's central train station both day and night. Taxis are available outside the arrivals hall, the fare is best agreed in advance.
Getting around Dublin
Between public transport, taxis and your own two feet, the city is easy to get around. Walking is the best option in the centre of town. If you get tired, you can always hop aboard the light rail, LUAS, which has two lines accessing the main attractions. The bus network is also a great way to get around. It covers the city and has a small Nitelink service as well. To get out to the suburbs and seaside towns, the rapid transit train, DART, is the way to go.
Taxis are abundant, but fill up quickly on nights and weekends. 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 around make it less than ideal.
Dublin insider information
- Dublin city is compact and the best way to see it is on foot. There are several walking tours available.
- The Phoenix Park is the largest urban enclosed park in Europe covering about 700 hectares (1,760 acres). It is just 2 miles west of the city centre and entrance is free. There are ornamental gardens, nature trails, lots and lots of grass and Áras an Uachtaráin, the President of Ireland’s residence, which is open to the public on Saturdays. The Phoenix Park Visitor Centre issues free admission tickets on the day.
- Take a tour around the Bank of Ireland located in College Green. The impressive building opposite Trinity College was the Parliament of Independent Ireland before 1801 (and the Act of Union). Marvel at the architecture, guard in a tailcoat and top hat and coal fire in the lobby area – all free. There are also regular free concerts in the Arts Centre.
- Explore “old” Dublin. While visiting the Guinness Storehouse, wander around the Liberties and see St Patrick’s Cathedral and Marsh's Library (Ireland’s oldest public library), St Werburghs Church, Dublin Castle, the street markets on Thomas Street and Meath Street. Enjoy some fish and chips (cooked in lard not oil) from Burdock's.
- Witty Dubliners love to rhyme their public art. Look out for Molly Malone’s statue at the bottom of Grafton Street – the tart with the cart. The women at the Ha’penny Bridge are known as "the hags with the bags". The spire on O’Connell Street is known as "the stiletto in the ghetto", and the chimney stack with lift in Smithfield Village is often called "the flue with the view".