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Natalie’s Guide to Dublin

Natalie

Natalie’s Guide to Dublin

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Don't rent a car for Dublin, just walk everywhere!
You don't need to rent a car for Dublin city, as it's so compact. I would recommend renting one after check-out to explore rural Ireland. There's a Hertz car hire company on The South Circular Road that you could go with (15 min walk).
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Try to get to a 'Candlelit Tales' event
'Candlelit Tales' is a night of Irish storytelling with harp/guitar music. It runs for 1/2 hours and they hold the event in different locations and pubs around Dublin city (check Facebook for dates). This is a really authentic, fascinating and intimate experience, which highlights our culture of storytelling - all while learning about Irish myths and legends.
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Check the weather before you go to Cliffs of Moher
The weather in Ireland is extremely fickle and often times it will be rainy, foggy, sunny and cloudy... All at the same time. Before you get on a long bus to The Cliffs of Moher, make sure to check the weather for visibility. The journey is just not worthwhile during bad mist and fog. (On days with good weather, it is spectacular though).
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Book ahead for the trendy & popular restaurants
A lot of trendy and popular restaurants have started to not accept walk-ins, especially during peak weekend hours. They normally have an online booking system you can select in advance. This definitely applies to places like Mister S, The Lucky Tortoise, Locks, Franks, Uno Mas, Hang Dai and Sophies.
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Clink your glasses together and say "Sláinte!"
Sláinte (pronounced "slawn-cha") is an Irish word that means "health", and it's used in place of "cheers" when drinking.
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Don't confuse Ireland for England in conversation!
There is a misconception that the Republic of Ireland is governed by, or a part of, The United Kingdom. The north of Ireland is, but the south isn't. Both countries have a deep history and it can be a very touchy subject for some Irish people... So to avoid dirty looks, probably best to avoid that conversation altogether! Phew!
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Restaurant tipping: 10% or less - best to leave it in cash
It's standard practice to leave a 10% tip in restaurants. Fancier places usually include the service charge. Always leave the tip in cash rather than card, because otherwise it goes straight to management and not servers. If you are ordering food, €1 is fine to the delivery driver.
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Taxi tipping: Round the fare up to an even number
E.g. If a taxi costs €9.70, just leave the driver with €10. If it's an even number, no need to tip (unless he was really nice and helpful, then €1 is appreciated).
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Walk around Temple Bar but don't buy drinks there
It's a charming place to walk around, but I wouldn't waste my money there. The area is good for vintage clothing though, so that is where money could be best spent.
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Overpriced & inauthentic food areas to avoid
You have to venture out into neighbourhoods for the best food in Dublin. Try the areas of: Portobello, Smithfield and Ranelagh. Additionally, if you are looking for Italian food - the Italian quarter on Ormond quay is not where the best Italian restaurants are. The best Italian food is ‘La Caverna’ and ‘Rosa Madre’ in Temple Bar, and also 'I Monelli' just outside our apartment. The best Asian foods are on Capel Street and Camden Street near us. General areas to avoid for food: O'Connell Street, streets surrounding Stephen's Green and most places on Dame Street.
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You can only pay with coins on Dublin Bus (no notes)
Make sure to have some loose change for Dublin bus journeys, as they don't accept notes as payment. The minimum fare is €2.15, but you can also buy 3 day tourist "leap cards" for contactless payment. Leap cards can be bought at any newsagents around the city, or in the airport arrivals hall.
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Places to find traditional Irish music
Try the following pubs: O'Donoghues, The Celt, Devitts, and Peadar Kearney's. They normally have live music every night of the week. Other places with great live (Indie/rock) music are: Whelans, The Mezz, Merchant's Arch, The Porterhouse in Temple Bar, Grafton Street and Temple Bar streets.
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Bring both winter and summer clothes for sporadic weather
Probably obvious advice when visiting Ireland, but be sure to pack warm and waterproof clothes during your visit (no matter what season). In this era of climate change, we're also randomly experiencing sunny weather in short spurts.. So just pack for every occasion. Winterwise, we provide an umbrella for the room, but you'll need to bring your own jackets, waterproof shoes, plenty of socks, gloves, etc... Then for summer attire, it would be useful to pack sunglasses, beachwear and tshirts.
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Try these free things to do in Dublin city
You can do a free walking tour (look for the guides with yellow umbrellas under The Spire). You can also go to The Natural History Museum (dead zoo), The National Photography Archive, The Science Gallery, parts of The National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin Castle, RHA Gallery, Hugh Lane Gallery, browse antique shops on Francis Street... Go to The Botanic Gardens, stroll grounds of Trinity College, do cliff walk in Howth, walk the pier at Poolbeg lighthouse, walk through Stephen's Green park, Merrion Square and Iveagh gardens... listen to the buskers, feed the swans in Portobello...
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Liquor stores/ off-licences stop serving alcohol at 10pm
The opening hours for buying wines, beers and spirits are: 10:30am to 10pm Monday to Saturday, and 12:30 to 10pm on Sundays.
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Download 'Dublin Walking Tour' Podcast from Soundcloud
This is the podcast of historian and author, Donal Fallon. Download the podcast to whatever device you like, hit ‘play’ and Donal will take you on a 30-minute tour of the historical highlights of the city centre.
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The word "grand"
If you are talking with a local and ask their advice on something, they will usually say it's "grand" if it's average. The word "grand" is used a lot in everyday Irish slang. It means something is fine, with no problems. If you need to apologize to a local and they reply: "ah, it's grand, don't be worryin", it means you are forgiven.
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The word "craic"
"Craic" (pronounced "crack") is an Irish word and you'll hear it everywhere. It literally translates as "fun," but it's more of a lifestyle. You either ‘are the craic’, or you ‘have the craic’ with others. It's a type of fun that's focused on being mischievous and witty, with good tolerance of the drink... If you can do that, you are "good craic." If a pub is very lively and has a great atmosphere, then "the craic is mighty."
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"Fáilte"
"Fáilte" (pronounced "fall-che") is an Irish word that translates as "welcome." You'll see it on every sign as you enter a village. "Cead mile fáilte" means "100 thousand welcomes."
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"Gardai"
"Gardai" is the Irish word for police and you will see this everywhere instead of "police." A singular policeman is a "garda" and the plural is "gardai." "Gardai Síochaná" is the full name, which means "guardians of the peace."