There are a lot of preconceived ideas about the Irish and the country itself. From its love of Guinness, its sense of humor, and St. Patrick’s Day. But Dublin goes back to the 9th century and its history rivals that of any city in Europe.
It’s a delightful place to travel, where the famed local hospitality comes to the floor and the city’s fascinating history comes to light. Much may have changed over the last 150 years, but Dublin’s incredible Georgian architecture and its quirky doors still remain.
Travelers will have a memorable time walking down the same cobblestone roads as Yeats and Oscar Wilde before trying their best to tame the whiskey-soaked streets of Temple Bar. To help you make the most of your Dublin experience, read on to discover not just where to stay in Dublin, but the best hotels in the nation’s capital.
Where to stay in Dublin By Area of Interest
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Are you in a hurry and want to know where to stay in Dublin right now? These are the best hotels and vacation rentals to suit every budget.
The Best Hotels in Dublin
First time to Dublin? You’ll love O’Connell Street thanks to its central location. Have your pick of public transport to get around, or simply explore the nearby streets teeming with delightful sights, bars, and shops.
We wanted to make things easy for you so we have broken down the best places to stay in Dublin as well as our recommendations for the best hotels for every budget level. This is a quick reference you can use when you are choosing where to stay in Dublin:
- Where to Stay in Dublin for Luxury: O’Connell Street
- Best Place to Stay in Dublin for Shopping: Grafton Street
- Where to stay in Dublin for Nightlife: Temple Bar
- Best Area for Familes: Portobello
- Best Area to Stay in Dublin for Sightseeing: Merrion
However, you have to remember, each of the seven neighborhoods below brings something unique to the table. Whether that be access to endless museums and galleries or nightlife that runs into the early hours. Other areas are great for families with beautiful parks and modern architecture, while others are known for luxury hotels and Georgian townhouses. Let’s dive in.
Best Luxury Hotel in Dublin: The Merrion
A five-star hotel featuring a Michelin Star restaurant in a breathtaking Georgian building, the Merrion, is how you live luxuriously in Dublin.
Each guest room features sparkling Italian marble bathrooms, cozy bathrobes, and high-end toiletries, leaving you perfectly content after a big day of exploring the city. From each suite, guests will either have expansive city or lush garden views to go with their cable flat-screen TV.
With a cozy double bed as a minimum, you’ll wake up with a hit of joie de vivre. Before heading out, dive into the on-site swimming pool or make your way to the fitness center. After enjoying the hotel’s delicious breakfast, the Merrion’s position in Dublin will place a buffet of exciting attractions within walking distance.
Return to dine at the renowned Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud or enjoy authentic Irish cuisine at the Cellar Restaurant.
Best Luxury Hotels in Dublin:
Best Mid-Range Hotel in Dublin: Drury Court Hotel
In Dublin’s cultural quarter, which includes Temple Bar and Grafton Street, Drury Court Hotel is the perfect base to explore Dublin while enjoying spacious and comfortable rooms.
Drury court offers a very convenient location. From the lobby, visitors will be only 650 feet from some of the best shopping in the city on Grafton Street. Shop till you drop while buskers and street performers create a lively atmosphere along the thoroughfare.
From there, you’ll be able to get about on foot to explore nearby St Stephen’s Green, Trinity College, and the Dublin Castle before checking out the famed nightlife in Temple Bar.
Each of the beautiful rooms comes with coffee and tea makers, free Wi-Fi with apartment options for families. Some suites come with a private balcony to take in the sights and sounds. While a great breakfast awaits in the morning at the on-site restaurant and bar.
More Mid-Range Hotels in Dublin:
Best Budget Hotel in Dublin: Kildare Street Hotel
Travelers wondering where to stay in Dublin on a budget should turn their eye to the Kildare Street Hotel. The hotel has been open for a few years now, since 1837, to be exact. Its charm and hospitality haven’t wavered from the days of yore and continue to offer a wonderful budget-friendly stay.
The Kildare hotel may be historic, but you’ll be glad to know that the rooms have kept up with the times offering more modern amenities from free Wi-Fi, along with a TV and coffee/tea making in each room. Some rooms enjoy ensuites with others sharing bathrooms to save you a few extra pennies.
The highlight of your stay at the Kildare Street Hotel will be the on-site bar. Not just any old bar, it’s the famed Blarney Inn Pub. Enjoy traditional music and dance with a pint of Guinness while the food always hits the spot. From the hotel, enjoy a quick stroll to Trinity College, Dublin Castle, the National Gallery, and Merrion Square.
More Budget Hotels in Dublin:
The 7 Best Areas to Stay in Dublin
Even though Dublin is a fairly easy city to navigate once you understand it most first-time visitors to Dublin have a hard time finding the city center. The city is split in half by the Liffey River and has a north side and a south side. Both have different neighborhoods that come with their own charm but if you want to stay as close to the center of it all then you should base yourself as close to O’Connel Street (Main street of Dublin) as you can.
The good thing about Dublin is that is a fairly small city so even if you choose to stay in Merrion Square or a little further afoot like Phibsborough you will never be very far from all the highlights.
1. O’Connell Street (Dublin City Center)
Featuring the widest thoroughfare in all of Ireland, O’Connell Street in Dublin central. On the north side of the River Liffey, the street and the surrounding blocks are your gateway to Dublin’s North Bank.
Along the always hectic street (by Dublin standards), you’ll find the quintessential Irish pubs straight out of your dreams. In addition to the pubs, there are rows of restaurants, boutique shops, and several live music venues.
O’Connell Street is more than just food, drinks, and clothes. It’s a convenient location serviced with several forms of public transportation, including the city’s bus network and light rail system. Running the length of O’Connell Street and dispersing around Dublin are the brightly colored double-decker buses. The Luas, which is Irish for speed, is Dublin’s light rail system. Both of the lines stop along O’Connell Street before reading further north or back over the river.
Staying in the Dublin city center makes sense for first-timers and those who wish to enjoy easy access to Dublin’s main attractions. But there’s plenty to see in this area, including the highest sculpture in the world. The Spire of Dublin is just shy of 400 feet tall and represents Dublin’s march towards an ever-prosperous future.
O’Connell Street is also where you’ll find the famed General Post Office. The GPO officially marks the center of town. It first opened in 1818 and is a significant piece of architecture. The post office has been the backdrop of many historic events in Ireland, including the War of Independence, towards the beginning of the 20th century.
The only drawback to O’Connell Street’s central location is how busy it stays through the day and into the evening. The shops, restaurants, and bars stay open and it can be tricky to get away from the action. If you’d rather have a more quaint location, make use of the city’s public transport and explore O’Connell Street during the day.
Top Rated Hotels near O’Connell Street (Dublin City Centre):
2. Temple Bar & Grafton Street
Hugging the south banks of the River Liffey, Temple Bar and Grafton Street is the place to stay for those seeking nightlife, river views, and great eats. From Temple Bar, you’ll have envious proximity to some of the best attractions, parks, and charming bridges in town. It’s the tourist hub of Dublin and in peak season, you’ll stumble upon as many travelers as locals.
However, this doesn’t diminish this part of town, it only serves to strengthen it. But it wasn’t always like this. The story of Temple Bar’s ascension into a nightlife hub and the most exciting place in town begins in the 1990s. Rundown and shady, Temple Bar was revitalized into Dublin’s “cultural quarter”. It picked up ahead of steam and not long after became that place in Dublin to drink the “black stuff” (Guinness).
The shops, restaurants, and Irish pubs that are also seen on O’Connell Street ascend to the next level in a district that boasts an exciting atmosphere at all hours of the day. Far from just a popular gathering spot, Temple Bar and Grafton Street are prominent hosts of many cultural events. These can include markets, festivals, and live music events, providing the area with an extra burst of energy throughout the year. Grafton Street is also renowned for its high-end shopping.
If you’ve gained an affinity for Guinness outside of Ireland, you’ll be excited to try some in the homeland. Arguably Ireland’s most famous export, international Guinness isn’t the same as the local drink. In fact, you’ll quickly see why many Irish refuse to drink it outside of their native country. It’s just not the same. Head into a local pub in Temple Bar and try the real thing to appreciate its fine creamy finish.
While you’re at it, take a quick trip to the nearby Guinness Storehouse. Another place to visit in Temple Bar is Temple Bar itself. The bar was established in 1840 and features 450 rare whiskeys, the largest collection in Ireland.
From Temple Bar, you can walk across the beautiful Ha’penny Bridge to the Northside. Or enjoy a pleasant stroll to St. Stephen’s Green, Trinity, and the Dublin Castle.
Top Rated Hotels in Temple Bar:
On Dublin’s south bank, Trinity is home to Trinity College and some of the best budget accommodation in the city. Within walking distance of the city center and the happening Temple Bar area right across the O’Connell Street Bridge, Trinity is another neighborhood in a great location to explore.
Trinity has preserved much of its historic buildings, making your morning coffee run a pleasant experience on the eyes. Trinity takes up a large portion of downtown Dublin and is packed with leafy quadrangles and stone facades, befitting of such a renowned university.
Besides its striking beauty, Trinity has the youthful flair you would expect from a college town. There is a vibrancy that floats through the air, down the old streets, and into the local delis and cafes. It has the perfect balance of green space, culture, and nightlife thanks to the neighboring Temple Bar area. This allows visitors to explore the city by day before picking when they want to let their hair down on the rowdy nearby streets.
From Trinity, those visiting Dublin will have access to the Luas, several bus stops, and the DART, the city’s urban train network that connects to rural and coastal towns. But getting about on foot is a dream in Dublin. Its storied streets are an architect’s dream and the flat landscape means you can walk all day long.
The campus of Trinity College itself is teeming with green spaces and a communal atmosphere. Loading up the picnic basket on a beautiful Irish day has never been more rewarding. Around the college are several large parks. Have your choice of the beautiful St. Stephen’s Green, Merrion Square, and even the up-and-coming “Silicon Docks” (Docklands).
St. Stephen’s Green is Dublin’s Central Park. Miles of walking paths will guide you around many ornate gardens, past waterfalls, and a gorgeous lake. Horse-drawn carriages create pleasant background noise as you lay down the picnic rug or simply dive into a book under the shady trees.
Minutes from Trinity, you’ll reach the Dublin Docks. After crossing the River Liffey on the Samuel Beckett Bridge, you’ll find the high-tech office buildings of Google and Meta among the old warehouses and quaint cottages. It’s a lovely mix that showcases the city’s burgeoning international economy.
Best Places to Stay in Trinity:
South of Temple Square, Portobello is one of the best places to stay in Dublin for families. But solo travelers and couples shouldn’t keep scrolling as the town known as Little Jerusalem is a hub of culture with a growing nightlife district.
Portobello has a stronger residential vibe than the other neighborhoods mentioned so far. The quaint village environment soothes you as you wake up in the morning. From wherever you choose to stay in Portobello, you’ll enjoy the hip local cafes. Where you can admire the cute local homes on a gloomy day or take your order to go and sunbathe in the many bench-laden parks.
Brunch addicts will eventually find their way to Portobello, regardless of the location of their hotel. From Bibi’s Cafe to Lennox Cafe, enjoy your delectable mid-morning meal without breaking the bank.
As for families, Portobello is a quiet neighborhood that provides easy access to central Dublin. It may look further on the map, but those who stay here will only have a beautiful 15-minute walk to the River Liffey, the city center. While Portobello may not offer the same striking Georgian architecture as Southern Georgian and Merrion Square, the town has its own fascinating history as a Jewish neighborhood in the 19th century. You can learn all about this period of Dublin history at the Irish Jewish Museum within an old synagogue.
Like the other southside neighborhoods, you’ll have plenty of relaxing parks to enjoy, including St. Stephen’s Green along with Iveagh Gardens. Visitors will also be within excellent proximity of the Grand Canal, which sweeps through the southern neighborhoods.
When you’re up for a pint, wander down to Camden Street, which is quickly growing into a fun, but more relaxing alternative to Temple Bar.
Top Rated Hotels in Portobello:
Just like Portobello, those looking to enjoy some time outside of the inner city will enjoy Phibsborough. On the north side of the River Liffey, Phibsborough is the most chill town in our Dublin neighborhood guide. A mix of residential and commercial, the town has all you need to be comfortable when you aren’t exploring central Dublin.
Just over a mile from the Grand Post Office, visitors will remain close to all the action while having access to one of the more underrated parts of the city. Phibsborough mixes old-school charm with a contemporary edge. You’ll find dozens of independent bars, odd and delightful cafes, and delicious cuisine that all display the area’s artsy personality.
While many travelers will spend their time exploring the historic architecture south of the river, Phibsborough has a few highlights of its own. These include the 19th century St. Peter’s Catholic Church, a storied flour mill, and the beautiful facade at Broadstone Station. To the north of town, you’ll also find the Royal Canal and the National Botanical Garden.
If you’ve been meaning to watch some Gaelic football, make your way to the nearby Croke Park. The stadium is one of the biggest in Europe, home to the Hall of Fame and the interactive Games Zone where you can put your skills to the test.
If you choose to stay in Phibsborough, you’ll have your pick of cheap hotels, vacation rentals, and up-scale accommodation. The Luas also runs through town, providing a simple journey into the city core and to enjoy Dublin’s nightlife.
It should be noted that travelers thinking about hiring a rental car may have a tricky time in Phibsborough. Most homes, including vacation rentals, don’t have driveways. This leads to a scarcity of street parking and you may have to resort to using the metered parking sections.
Top Rated Hotels in Phibsborough:
6. Southern Georgian Dublin
Surrounded by the towns of Trinity, Temple Bar, Portobello, and Merrion Square, Southern Georgian Dublin is lathered in history. Travelers wanting to experience culture, stunning architecture, and the city’s best museums should set up shop right here.
The charming old streets harbor secrets and tales as old as the city itself. As you explore on foot, beautiful Georgian townhouses dot the landscape with their ornate designs and colorful doors. The breathtaking brick homes add an aura of timelessness to the neighborhood. When the sun is out, the buildings sparkle. The townhouses lathered in Boston Ivy turn fiery red in the fall, with the leaves holding dear the memories of Dublin before the rebellion.
The doors of these homes have also taken on a life of their own. It began as an open objection to British rule. Upon the death of Queen Victoria, all locals had to paint their doors black. Instead, they painted them using every color of the rainbow. As you explore Southern Georgian, keep an eye out for the embellished archways and vibrant doors. Legend has it that some were also painted bright colors to help people get home after a night of classic Irish drinking.
While the town is a wonderful place to explore on a whim, Southern Georgian is also home to some of the top museums and art galleries in Dublin. This includes the Natural History Museum, which still features some of its original exhibits from back in the 1850s.
Also in the area is the National Concert Hall and the National Gallery, where you’ll find the most complete collection of Irish and international art in the country. You can also add in the National Concert Hall for a night of high culture and classical music.
Along with the gorgeous 18th-century townhouses, the local cultural experiences add up to make Southern Georgian one of the best places to stay in Dublin.
Best Places to Stay in Southern Georgian Dublin:
7. Merrion Square
Also featuring her fair share of Georgian architecture is the neighboring Merrion Square. Arguably the most famous of the Georgian squares in Dublin, the park itself is lush and shady. The paths guide you through the beautiful trees to monuments dedicated to famous writers and views of the surrounding townhouses.
Despite its proximity to Trinity and Temple Bar, life in Merrion Square continues at a peaceful pace. Being largely a residential part of town, you’ll have to go elsewhere in search of vibrant nightlife. But much like Southern Georgian, you can explore the beautiful surrounding streets away from lingering crowds.
The Square was established in the 1700s when much of the surrounding area was countryside. It grew in popularity with the well-to-do and was quickly enveloped by redbrick homes. As you walk around the neighborhood, keep an eye out for metal circles, where coal was poured so servants could heat the homes.
Dublin has long been a literature hub, playing host to some of the world’s greatest authors and poets. Famous former residents of Merrion Square include W.B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde, whose interesting statue stands prominently in the park.
Aside from history, those after stunning surroundings, easy access to the city center of Dublin, and cultural attractions will be well pleased with Merrion Square. Just a brief stroll away is the Grand Canal Dock, which marks the beginning of the waterway. The canal makes for a delightful stroll through some of the lesser-traveled areas in Dublin and also connects to the Liffey.
Foodies will also have a blast in and around Merrion Square. Here, you’ll find two of Dublin’s Michelin Star restaurants along with plenty of casual and up-scale restaurants to suit both taste and budget. In typical Irish fashion, many have amazing names, from the Pig’s Ear to Dolce Sicily.
The Luas and the DART don’t directly make their way to Merrion Square, but visitors will have just a short walk to Kildare Street and Trinity to get into town or to the Dublin airport via the bus network.
Where to Stay in Dublin near Merrion Square:
Best Vacation Rentals in Dublin
One of the best ways to get a real feel for Dublin is to look at staying in an apartment rental. There are a ton of them on VRBO and you could search for hours, I know because we have!
So, below we have selected what we feel are the best vacation rentals in Dublin’s City Centre.
- Modern 3 Bedroom Penthouse Near Temple Bar: This beautiful apartment is close to everything and offers stunning views over the Temple Bar Area. If you want to splurge a little this is the place for you.
- Beautiful Apartment on the River Liffey: You can enjoy a little luxury without breaking the bank with this apartment in Dublin’s City Center overlooking the Liffey River. Perfect for a family or couple.
- Apartment in the Heart of the City: Do want to be close to Temple Bar and Trinity College. This vacation rental is newly refurbished and is right at the Ha’penny Bridge! Conviience for a great price.
- Luxury Apartment in the middle of it all: If you want to walk to almost anything and have a comfortable nights sleep, this place is perfect. It even includes parking!
Where to Stay in Dublin for the First Time
For first-time visitors to Dublin, O’Connell Street in the city center is the place to be. If you’re flying into Dublin, the bus will run you right into town, from where you can explore the entire city or jump on the light rail.
This layer of simplicity will take the stress out of getting your bearings and allow you a simple time getting to where you want to go. Around O’Connell Street, you’ll have plenty of nearby shops, eateries, and fun nightlife. On foot, you’re just steps from the riverfront and 15 minutes from Trinity College and Grafton Street.
Best Place to Stay in Dublin for Nightlife
Temple Bar is Dublin’s undisputed nightlife king. When the sun goes down, you’ll hear the revelry long before you step foot in the neighborhood. During the day, you can cure the hangover at one of the many local cafes, or simply laze by the river in the hopes it will fade.
For the rest, the night starts early. In Temple Bar, locals and travelers mix at the many pubs, cocktail bars, and clubs that run into the early hours. With this in mind, if you aren’t one to say no to another drink, then staying in nearby Trinity will give you a reason to end your night at a reasonable hour.
Where to Stay in Dublin for Families
Young and older families alike will love staying in Portobello. Just south of all the action in Trinity, Temple Bar, and Merrion Square, you’ll have plenty to do within walking distance.
Portobello is a pretty village that doesn’t force anything upon you. In the morning, you won’t feel the rush of the city, with plenty of time to enjoy the quiet local cafes before venturing further afield.
There is a range of well-priced hotels in Portobello to suit families, along with vacation rentals for those that need a little extra space.
Where to Stay in Dublin for Shopping
There are two major shopping streets in Dublin, Henry and Grafton. With both representing a different side of the River Liffey, you’ve got plenty of neighborhoods to choose from.
Grafton is arguably the most popular of the two thanks to a 20th-century rise on the back of mid and upmarket shopping. The lively street is popular with buskers, so you’ll hear plenty of live music as you make your way between each store.
The pedestrianized Henry Street has two expansive malls along with dozens of major retailers. It’s just off of O’Connell Street and is perfect for some retail therapy without breaking the bank.
Where to Stay in Dublin for Sightseeing
Southern Georgian Dublin and Merrion Square combine to offer some of the best sightseeing in Ireland’s capital city. Both are home to their fair share of elaborate Georgian architecture that unveils Dublin as it was in the 1700s.
The cobbled streets won’t just lead you to historic townhouses, but also to 18th-century parks that were established when much of Dublin was simple farmland. These two areas are also home to the bulk of the city’s major museums, including the National Museum, which comprises four museums, including the Natural Museum of History.
Our Money-Saving Tips for Dublin
Dublin’s growth as a city has led to it being less budget-friendly. However, there are still plenty of ways to save money and enjoy traditional Irish hospitality.
If you are looking to save money on attractions and transport we suggest getting the Dublin Pass. The passes can be purchased for 1-5 days and include discounted entrances and front-of-the-line access to most major attractions and are fully refundable. Grab your Dublin Pass here!
Begin by taking the Aircoach from the airport. Dublin is the only major European city not to have an airport train and the taxis aren’t cheap.
Getting around Dublin on foot is easy thanks to its flat layout and the proximity of the central neighborhoods. The public transport system is also inexpensive along with the city’s bike-share program, Dublin Bikes. When eating out, you can get early bird deals on dinners prior to the peak hours. While enjoying a half-pint of Guinness will go a long way to helping you stay on budget.
Getting Around Dublin
As we noted, walking in Dublin is a delight and it’s a very safe city. But our legs can only take us so far. Thankfully, the city’s bus network is extensive and connects all major neighborhoods, including the ones on this list.
One-off tickets can cost anywhere between $1.50usd and $3.50usd per ride. For the Luas, that cost ranges from $2.50usd to $4usd depending on the zones.