The capital of Ireland and the biggest city on the green isle, Dublin has a worldwide reputation for being one of the best cities to live and visit.
With a population of nearly 2 million inhabitants, Dublin is a lively city made up of different quarters, including the historic medieval quarter and the ultra-modern tech quarter.
This modern, vibrant and historical city has lots to offer, including antique emporiums, delicious eateries and an energetic party scene.
Famed for its diversity and home to gay author Oscar Wilde, you’ll find Dublin hosts the main hub of the Irish gay community. The area has been increasingly popular since Ireland voted to become the first country in the world to pass same-sex marriage through a public referendum in 2015.
The gay scene is located in the city centre, primarily located along the River Liffey. Prominent bars include Panti Bar, home to the ‘Queen of Ireland’ Panti Bliss. There are several dance parties and saunas too which are well worth a visit.
The annual Dublin LGBTQ Pride event, running over 10-days, is one of the city’s biggest celebrations and attracts thousands of visitors each year.
Dublin Airport, located to the north of the city, is a major international hub flying to domestic, European and international destinations.
There is currently no direct rail link from the city to the airport, however several bus companies operate to and from the city, including Aircoach, Airline and Dublin Bus. Prices start from as little as €6 one-way.
Taxis are another option, although these are more expensive as they charge by the meter.
Heuston and Connolly are the two main rail stations serving Dublin, with connections all over Ireland and Northern Ireland to towns and cities including Cork, Belfast and Londonderry.
You can also take a bus from outside Dublin Connolly and travel to Dublin Port for ferry connections to Holyhead in Wales, where you can hop on a train to London and other parts of the UK. Connections to the Isle of Man by boat are also available from the port.
It’s easy to explore the different quarters of Dublin by foot. Take one of the city’s numerous walking tours to see the different sights.
Should you wish to rest your legs, the city’s extensive bus system (Dublin Bus) will get you from A to B. Stay on the bus if you wish to check out either the inner or outer suburbs, or hop on the Luas, the city’s tram system, an experience in itself.
Jump on the DART coastal train for an adventure along the sea to visit some of the pretty towns and villages on the outskirts of the city.
Another option is riding a bike – Dublin has been voted one of the top 10 bicyle-friendly cities in the world – with public and private hire companies operating across the city.
If you’re staying for a few days, we’d recommend buying the Leap Visitor Card to use on public transport. It saves you carrying change and is usually 20% cheaper than buying a single ticket.
In the past Dublin has been branded an expensive city, however increasing hotel options have helped lower prices. Thus, the city has an array of accommodation options to offer, from cute B&Bs to upmarket apartments.
For easy access to the gay area, opt for a hotel in the Temple Bar region. Cheaper options are available on the outskirts of the city.
For our full list of hotel options, visit the Gay Dublin Hotels page.
Dublin Castle – situated in the heart of Dublin’s historic quarter, the castle offers many secrets to Dublin’s rich and colourful past. The city itself gets its name from the Black Pool, ‘Dubh Linn’, which was once on the site of the castle’s current garden.
Standing on an important ridge between River Liffey and its tributary the Poddle, the castle’s roots trace back to Gaelic times, where the site is believed to have been home to a Gaelic ring fort, and later a viking fortress. The State Apartments, Medieval Undercroft and Chapel Royal are all open to guests, and there’s a delicious tea room on site too.
National Museum of Ireland, Natural History – shortly after the publication of Charles Darwin’s most famous work ‘The Origin of Species’, Ireland’s natural history museum opened in 1857. Famed for its Victorian-style display cabinets and collection of over 2 million species, this prized museum is one of the world’s finest.
Freemasons Hall – one of the city’s iconic Victorian buildings, this beautiful hall is worth a visit (and a selfie). Each room inside is decorated to a different theme, with room styles including Gothic and Egyptian. Tours are available in the summer months at just €2.
Dublin Zoo – based centrally in the gorgeous Phoenix Park, this zoo is Ireland’s most popular family tourist attraction, boasting more than 600 animals across 70 acres. Lions, gorillas and Sumatran tigers are just some of the star guests making an appearance here.
National Botanic Gardens – holding an impressive 15,000 plant species, this glorious park located in Glasnevin, County Dublin is a must-see, particularly the spectacular glasshouses. Free admission.
Skerries Mills – located in the small coastal town of Skerries, 30km north of Dublin and easily accessible by train, the two windmills and watermill here are a symbol of Ireland’s industrial heritage. The delicious on-site Windmill Cafe and award-winning craft shop are also worth checking out.
And finally, for booze fans don’t forget to check out the iconic Guinness Storehouse to sample the authentic Irish brew at St James’s Gate Brewery. Other tourist highlights include the National Gallery of Ireland and St Patrick’s Cathedral.
Like most European cities, the hot summer months of May, June, July and August are popular times for sightseers, and are typically the months where hotel prices will be more expensive. The Dublin Festival during the months of July and August are crowdpleasers. It will remain sunny here till 10pm, great for sightseeing late into the night.
Temperatures drop to a low 7C in the winter months, so wrap up warmly if you’re planning a visit. Prices are usually cheaper in winter.
The world famous St Patrick’s Day falls on the 17th March. It’s a national holiday so expect to pay high prices for accommodation, but be rewarded with a festival atmosphere like no other!
Other popular times to visit include September (Dublin Fringe Festival) and October (Oktoberfest Dublin). Dublin’s LGBTQ Pride Festival takes place towards the end of June each year.
Ireland is not part of Schengen, however if you’re an EU citizen you don’t need a visa to travel through Ireland, or if you’re a citizen from Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
The Irish Short Stay Visa Waiver programme is available for citizens from 17 different countries who have a visa to travel in the UK and Northern Ireland and wish to visit Ireland. Check details at your nearest Irish Embassy.
Ireland is a member of the Eurozone. You can find cash dispensers dotted around the city.
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