Explore Dublin for Free!

10422071_10155114758470696_1015926901053171302_nPlanning on visiting Dublin on a budget? Despite its expensive reputation, there are plenty of things you can do in Dublin for free!

Here are my favorite FREE Dublin activities:

Free Museums and Galleries

10968356_10155243148430121_2711691825690700122_nDublin is packed full of great free museums and art galleries. Housed in fantastic historic buildings, most are worth a visit just to marvel at the architecture!

A few of my favorites are the IMMA (Irish Museum of Modern Art – pictured above), the National Museum of Ireland and Dublin City Gallery.

Trinity College

1610874_10155114746380696_6178443380766117798_nA wander around Trinity College is completely free. Soak in the buzzing atmosphere of this inspiring campus and be taken back to the days when Oscar Wilde and Jonathan Swift used to drift over the cobbles.

Take a Stroll in the Park

St Stephens Green DublinDublin has lots of gorgeous parks and green spaces. Picnic, take a stroll and admire the local wildlife in these peaceful pockets of calm.

For the best picnic spots visit quaint St Stephen’s Green and get lost in the mammoth Phoenix Park.

 

Check out Dublin’s Literary History

Oscar Wilde Statue DublinDublin in steeped in literary history. From Beckett to Joyce, there’s no escaping the literary legacy which runs through the veins of the city.

Literary buffs are spoiled for choice but start with the quirky Sweny’s Pharmacy (featured in Joyce’s Ulysses) at Lincolns Place. Volunteers at the pharmacy perform free readings of Joyce’s work in a variety of languages. Finnegan’s Wake in French anyone?

 

Listen to Live Music

Tradfest Concert Dublin Temple BarI was lucky enough to accidentally time my visit with TradFest 2015, meaning that live music was in abundance. Regardless of when you visit, you will always be able to stumble across a man with a fiddle.

Watch the buskers at Temple Bar or find a cosy corner in a local pub to watch some traditional performers. Head to the Cobblestone Pub for cheap pints and guaranteed Irish music every night.

Walk!

Explore Dublin For FreeDublin is a great city for amblers like myself. I managed to avoid taking any public transport during my 3 days in the city as everything is easily reachable on foot.

Stroll along the Liffey by night to see the lights dance on the water, and explore Dublin’s cobbled back streets during the day. Dublin also runs a fantastic free walking tour, which I’m always a big fan of. Find out more here.

Have you visited Dublin? What were your favorite free activities? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages. 

Want to know more about my time in Dublin? Follow the links here, here and here.

Finally, don’t forget to keep me company on Bloglovin’ and give me a follow!

Ha'penny Bridge Dublin

The Dublin Highlights

Ha'penny Bridge DublinMy time in Dublin whizzed past. A long weekend is never enough for the adventurer in me.

Just as I scratch the surface, I’m dragged back to reality – kicking and screaming all the way.

Even after a short 72 hours in Dublin, I came away with quite a list of highlights and plenty of things to go back for.

My Dublin Highlights

St Stephens Green

St Stephens Green Dublin

As much as I love the buzz of the city, it’s always nice to have somewhere to escape to.

Dublin’s answer is St Stephens Green, the quaintest of parks with perfectly manicured gardens, trickling fountains and the cutest pond frequented by brawling ducks and the occasional heron.

If only it didn’t feel as nippy as it did on our trip. There’s major picnic-potential here.

Coffee at Bewley’s

Bewleys Coffee Dublin

Bewley’s is a Dublin institution. Established on Grafton Street in 1927, the decadent cafe has served steaming cups of coffee to the likes of James Joyce and Bob Geldof.

Bewleys Dublin

Although Bewley’s looks too posh to be attainable on my meagre budget, the price of a cuppa is reasonable and they are really good too!

Cake at Queen of Tarts

Queen of Tarts DublinIt would be very easy to dedicate a whole blog post to places to indulge in foamy cappuccinos and tasty cakes in Dublin. But the highlight of them all has to be Queen of Tarts.

With two locations close to vibrant Temple Bar, Queen of Tarts is a perfect place to rest your weary feet and devour a gorgeous cupcake or three…

Meeting my Literary Icons

Oscar Wilde Statue DublinDublin makes the Literature graduate inside of me giddy. It is the one time that all those weeks slaving away over Ulysses finally pays off.

I can nod knowingly in conversations about Joyce, hang out with my pal Oscar whilst quoting The Importance of Being Earnest and pour over moody portraits of Beckett.

Oscar Wilde Quote

The Oscar Wilde statue in Merrion Square was my favorite literary sojourn. He’s an all time favorite of mine and a Dublin legend.

Hunting out Street Art

Street Art DublinDublin is rapidly becoming home to some fantastic street art. The highlight of it all must be Tivoli Car Park, hidden down a back street in a nondescript part of town.

I’ve written about its decorative walls here. Since I first discovered this hidden gem, it has morphed and changed, becoming unrecognizable from my first visit. Street Art Dublin

It’s still just as impressive and a must visit if you’re in this part of Dublin.

Drinking

Guinness in Dublin

Well, it is Ireland after all! A trip to Dublin wouldn’t be the same without a creamy pint of Guinness in your hand. On my first trip as a WKD drinking 18-year old, I had turned my nose up at this unique pint.

This time was a very different story. Guinness is surprisingly moreish and doesn’t leave you feeling too worse for wear the next morning. If it wasn’t for the catastrophic number of calories and 5 euro price tag I’d have it on tap!

For more on my Dublin trip check out my previous post here.

Have you been to Dublin? What were your Dublin highlights? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media links.

 

Temple Bar Dublin

Dublin TradFest 2015

This weekend I got lucky.

I was in Dublin and had somehow managed to time my trip perfectly with the annual TradFest.

TradFest is celebrating its tenth year entertaining Guinness-fuelled crowds across venues in Dublin’s iconic Temple Bar.

The festival brings the best of live traditional and folk music to the heart of Dublin’s city centre, celebrating the talents of Irish and international musicians alike.

Tradfest DublinRealising this happy coincidence hours before I was due to jet off to the city (despite incessantly googling ‘Dublin’ all week-long), we had missed out on securing tickets to many of the free and paid events.

Turns out that you don’t need tickets to enjoy TradFest. It had well and truly taken over the city, Temple Bar especially.

Following the TradFest Music Trail, we hit the bars along the main street, topping up on Guinness as we went.

Guinness DublinThe pubs and bars of Temple Bar were offering top-notch traditional and folk performances.

We were treated to tin whistle recitals and hearty Irish sing-a-longs which became increasingly raucous as the crowds became more acquainted with Dublin’s famous tipple.

Guinness in Dublin

Prices of the famous pint vary ridiculously. The cheapest pint we found in Temple Bar was €5.50 at The Old Storehouse off the main street, but the price crept up to over €6.50 just down the road.

Stocking up on the cheaper pints, we sat back and stretched our vocal chords to versions of ‘Old Rover’ and ‘Belle of Belfast City’.

Tradfest Concert Dublin

The next night was a real treat.

Hidden down a cobbled side street by the waterside is the back entrance of The Merchants Arch. After climbing a winding stone staircase you are greeted by a hidden Beer Hall with high vaulted ceilings and a bar crowded with locals and tourists alike.

Tradfest Concert Dublin Temple BarWe had managed to find ourselves in the audience of a concert hosting an array of the countries brightest musical talents from across the Emerald Isle.

We tapped our feet to harpists, flutists and even Breton vocalists.

Not your standard night out on the town.

Temple Bar Dublin

The festival made our nights out so perfectly Irish! The only downside being that I have now been humming ‘Old Rover’ for 3 days solid…

I came away with a new-found appreciation of Gaelic music and a taste for delicious creamy Guinness.

I love when cities run events like this and let us budget-defined folk in for a mosey.

It made our trip and I would recommend a visit next year!

Check out more information on the festival here.

Have you been to TradFest or are you a fan of traditional music? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages!

Temple Bar Dublin

Coming up on The Student Travels…

Temple Bar DublinExciting new plans and travel adventures have been keeping me busy lately – hence the sporadic blog posts (soz!).

I have some ridiculously exciting ‘gap life’ news in the pipeline and it has been keeping me – and my dwindling bank balance – very busy!

I will be letting you in on my latest plan for my ‘gap life’ soon, so make sure you stick around so I can share my excitement with you.

Otherwise I may explode…

But for now I’ve been distracted by my upcoming trip to Dublin for the last weekend of January.

I have some very fond memories of this place (I’ve blogged about it here) and can’t wait to dig a little deeper (or just camp out in a pub for 3 days).

My Google search history consists of every variation of ‘free things to do in Dublin’ and an itinerary is slowly beginning to spring to life.

But please, please, please let me know if you have any suggestions! The cheaper the better of course!

 Keep an eye on my social media pages (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) for updates about my new and improved ‘gap life’ plans and Dublin shenanigans!

Guinness dublin

Corfu Town

The Budget Girls Weekend Destination Guide

Sometimes there’s nothing better than a weekend with the girls. Whether you’re exploring somewhere new, downing the local wine or hunting down the best cheese boards in town, girls weekends are the best time to wind down and relax.

These precious moments with your gal pals don’t need to cost the earth either. Make the most of your mates and check out these budget-busting destinations to get the most weekend for your money!

Berlin, Germany

Berlin ReichstaggIf you’re a culture-vulture by day and a hardcore raver by night, Berlin is for you. Check into an apartment with your friends (Airbnb has lots of choice), take to the streets and explore this vibrant and eccentric city.

Perfect for the budget conscious, Berlin has plenty of free museums and the free walking tour is a must!

Hvar, Croatia

Hvar CroatiaThis small slice of island paradise is easily accessible for a weekend getaway. Party hard in Hvar’s budget bars and wash away your sins in the crystal clear Adriatic sea.

 

Switzerland

Switzerland GrindelwaldGet out into the great outdoors and lose yourself in Switzerland’s rugged scenery. Head to the slopes in Winter or visit in Spring to see the mountains in bloom.

Keep an eye on EasyJet for cheap flights to Switzerland’s cities.

Brussels, Belgium

Belgian Waffles BrusselsFoodie heaven. Wash down your sweet treats with local Jupiler beer, admire the architecture at Grand Place and have a laugh at the Manneken Pis.

It’s worth parting with 4 euros for entry into the Museum of the City at Grand Place. The Manneken Pis exhibition is probably the most hilarious thing I have seen.

 

Canterbury

Canterbury Cathedral I have made my love for this Kentish city (and my University town) quite clear on this blog!

Just because I’ve graduated doesn’t mean I’ll be letting my Canterbury addiction go any time soon…

Canterbury is a great place for a girly break, catch-up in one of the city’s many bars, coffee shops or restaurants (here are my faves) and soak up the history of this quaint medieval town.

If you’re visiting in the Uni holidays, bag some cheap accommodation in the University halls. Find out how here.

 

Corfu Town, Greece

Corfu Town Beautifully undiscovered, as far as girls-only weekends go, Corfu Town is a hidden gem. Hit the shops, relax on the beach and eat as much Tzatziki as is humanly possible!

Come back home bronzed and refreshed.

 

Dublin, Ireland

Dublin PubOne of the ultimate girly escapes and the first one I took. Dublin is conveniently close to home and cheap to get to with airlines such as Ryan Air.

When you’re there, avoid the expensive pubs in touristy Temple Bar and instead follow the locals into one of the hundreds of other drinking holes. Grab and Guinness and prepare yourself for a sing-along!

Have you been on a girly weekend? What is your favourite destination? Let me know in the comments below or via my social media pages!

 

Street Art in Dublin

Dublin Street ArtI love turning a corner and stumbling upon something completely unexpected.

A hidden Catholic church (like on my recent London trip), a pretty park or a quirky shop, anything that makes you stop for a minute and think, wow.

Irish Street ArtThis place in Dublin was just that.  Hidden down a back road and discovered on our way back from the local Tesco, an otherwise nondescript car park had become a secret gallery for hundreds of doodlers and street artists.

Dublin GraffitiThis little plot of land was splattered in colour which exploded on the dull, imposing concrete. Liberating its own patch of the city.

Street Art Car ParkEvery carefully crafted piece had a story, its own reason for being. It infuriated me that I would never learn them. Instead I amused myself walking around and snapping my favourite pieces, like this weird and wonderful gem below.

Funny Street artNeedless to say, the ice cream I had bought from Tescos was beyond help when we finally made it home!

What has made you stop and think ‘wow’ recently?