Dublin’s compact city centre is mostly flat, with a few cobblestoned areas and a relatively accessible public-transport network, making it an attractive destination for people with disabilities. While most DART stations are disability-friendly, DART and train services require 24 hours’ notice before boarding with a wheelchair. All city buses are wheelchair-accessible, but Luas is the way to go for maximum accessibility.
Download Lonely Planet's free Accessible Travel guides from http://lptravel.to/AccessibleTravel.
Accessible Ireland (www.accessibleireland.com) Reviews, plus short introductions to public transport.
Ireland.com (www.ireland.com/en-us/accommodation/articles/accessibility) Informative article with links to accessibility information for transport and tourist attractions.
Irish Wheelchair Association Useful national association.
Mobility Mojo (www.mobilitymojo.com) More than 500 reviews of establishments in a searchable database, mostly in the Dublin and Galway areas but expanding all the time.
Trip-Ability (www.trip-ability.com) Review site that should soon feature a booking facility.
Dangers & Annoyances
Dublin is a safe city by any standards, except maybe those set by the Swiss. Basically, act as you would at home.
- Don't leave anything visible in your car when you park.
- Skimming at ATMs is an ongoing problem; be sure to cover the keypad with your hand when you input your PIN.
- Take care around the western edge of Thomas St (onto James St), where drug addicts are often present.
- The northern end of Gardiner St and the areas northeast of there have crime-related problems.
Senior citizens are entitled to discounts on public transport and museum fees. Students and under-26s also get discounts with the appropriate student or youth card. Local discount passes include the following:
- Dublin Pass (adult/child one-day €62/33, three-day €92/49) For heavy-duty sightseeing, the Dublin Pass will save you a packet. It provides free entry to over 25 attractions (including the Guinness Storehouse), discounts at 20 others and guaranteed fast-track entry to some of the busiest sights. To avail of the free Aircoach transfer to and from the airport, download the app before you arrive. Otherwise, it's available from any Discover Ireland Dublin Tourism Centre.
- Heritage Card (adult/child and student €40/10) This card entitles you to free access to all sights in and around Dublin managed by the Office of Public Works (OPW). You can buy it at OPW sites or Dublin Tourism offices.
Embassies & Consulates
Emergency & Important Numbers
|Ambulance, Fire, Police (gardaí), Boat or Coastal Rescue||999 or 112|
|Rape Crisis Centre||1800 778 888|
|International Access Code||00|
Crime Victims Helpline (116006; 24hr) The gardaí's network of liaison services for victims of racial abuse or attacks as well as victims of homophobic attacks.
Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Investigation Unit In the event of any kind of sexually related crime, call, or visit any garda station.
Entry & Exit Formalities
Getting into the country is easy, so long as you have the right documentation. Immigration channels at airports are divided between holders of EU and non-EU passports. The former usually results in a cursory glance at your passport, while visitors in the latter category are scrutinised a little more.
Ireland has a two-tier customs system: one for goods bought duty-free outside the European Union (EU); the other for goods bought in another EU country where tax and duty is paid. There is technically no limit to the amount of goods transportable within the EU, but customs will use certain guidelines to distinguish personal use from commercial purpose.
For duty-free goods from outside the EU, limits include 200 cigarettes, 1L of spirits or 2L of wine, 60mL of perfume and 250mL of eau de toilette.
Tax & Duty Paid
Amounts that officially constitute personal use include 3200 cigarettes (or 400 cigarillos, 200 cigars or 3kg of tobacco) and either 10L of spirits, 20L of fortified wine, 60L of sparkling wine, 90L of still wine or 110L of beer.
Not required for citizens of Australia, New Zealand, the USA or Canada, or citizens of European nations that belong to the European Economic Area (EEA).
If you're an EEA national, you don't need a visa to visit (or work in) the Republic of Ireland. Citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa and the USA can visit Ireland for up to three months without a visa. They are not allowed to work unless sponsored by an employer. To stay longer in the Republic, contact a local garda station or the Garda National Immigration Bureau.
Although you don’t need an onward or return ticket to enter Ireland, it may help if there’s any doubt that you have sufficient funds to support yourself while here.
- Greetings Shake hands with both men and women when meeting for the first time. Female friends are greeted with a single kiss on the cheek.
- Queues Dubliners can be a little lax about proper queuing etiquette, but are not shy about confronting queue-skippers who jump in front of them.
- Polite requests Dubliners often use 'Sorry' instead of 'Excuse me' when asking for something; they're not really apologising for anything.
Comprehensive travel insurance to cover theft, loss and medical problems is highly recommended. Worldwide travel insurance is available at www.lonelyplanet.com/travel-insurance. You can buy, extend and claim online anytime – even if you’re already on the road.
Wi-fi and 3G/4G networks are making internet cafes largely redundant (except to gamers); the few that are left will charge around €6 per hour. Most accommodation has wi-fi service, either free or for a daily charge (up to €10 per day).
The possession of small quantities of marijuana attracts a fine or warning, but harder drugs are treated more seriously. Public drunkenness is illegal but commonplace – the police will usually ignore it unless you're causing trouble. If you need legal assistance, contact the Legal Aid Board.
Dublin is a pretty good place to be LGBTIQ+. Being gay or lesbian in the city is completely unremarkable, while in recent years members of the trans community have also found greater acceptance. However, LGBTIQ+ people can still be harrassed or worse, so if you do encounter any sort of trouble, call the Crime Victims Helpline or the Sexual Assault Investigation Unit.
Resources include the following:
Gaire (www.gaire.com) Online message board and resource centre.
Gay Men’s Health Project Practical advice on men’s health issues.
National LGBT Federation Publishers of Gay Community News.
Outhouse Top LGBTIQ+ resource centre, and a great stop-off point to see what's on, check noticeboards and meet people. It publishes the free Ireland's Pink Pages, a directory of gay-centric services, which is also accessible on the website.
- Newspapers Irish Independent (www.independent.ie), Irish Times (www.irishtimes.com), Irish Examiner (www.examiner.ie), The Herald (www.herald.ie).
- Radio RTE Radio 1 (88-90MHz), RTE Radio 2 (90-92MHz), Today FM (100-103MHz), Newstalk 106-108 (106-108MHz).
ATMs are widespread. Credit cards (with PIN) are widely accepted in restaurants, hotels and shops.
Most banks have ATMs that are linked to international money systems such as Cirrus, Maestro or Plus. Each transaction incurs a currency conversion fee, and credit cards can incur immediate and exorbitant cash-advance interest-rate charges. Also it is strongly recommend that if you’re staying in the city centre, you get your money out early on a Friday to avoid the long queues that can form after 8pm.
The best exchange rates are at banks, although bureaux de change and other exchange facilities usually open for more hours. There’s a cluster of banks located around College Green opposite Trinity College and all have exchange facilities.
Visa and MasterCard credit and debit cards are widely accepted in Dublin. Smaller businesses prefer debit cards (and will charge a fee for credit cards). Nearly all credit and debit cards use the chip-and-PIN system, and an increasing number of places will not accept your card if you don't have your PIN.
You're not obliged to tip if the service or food was unsatisfactory.
- Hotels Only for bellhops who carry luggage, then €1 per bag.
- Pubs Not expected unless table service is provided, then €1 for a round of drinks.
- Restaurants Tip 10% for decent service, up to 15% in more expensive places.
- Taxis Tip 10% or round up to the nearest euro.
- Toilet attendants Tip €0.50.
Standard opening hours in relatively late-rising Dublin are as follows:
Banks 10am–4pm Monday to Wednesday and Friday, 10am–5pm Thursday
Offices 9am–5pm Monday to Friday
Post Offices 9am–6pm Monday to Friday, 9am–1pm Saturday
Restaurants noon–10pm (or midnight); food service generally ends around 9pm; top-end restaurants often close 3–6pm; restaurants serving brunch open around 11am
Shops 9.30am–6pm Monday to Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9.30am–8pm Thursday (to 9pm for bigger shopping centres and supermarkets), noon–6pm Sunday
The Irish postal service, An Post, is reliable, efficient and generally on time. Postboxes in Dublin are usually green and have two slots: one for ‘Dublin only’, the other for ‘All Other Places’. There are a couple of post offices in the city centre, including An Post and the General Post Office.
Postal codes on letters and parcels in Dublin (presented as ‘Dublin + number’) are fairly straightforward. Their main feature is that all odd numbers refer to areas north of the Liffey and all even ones to areas south of the Liffey. They fan out numerically from the city centre, so the city centre to the north of the river is Dublin 1 and its southern equivalent is Dublin 2.
2015 saw the introduction of a new Eircode system for all addresses. Similar to the UK postcode system, all addresses now have a seven-character alpha-numeric code split into two parts, eg A65 F4E2. Dubliners have been slow to use it, however, and still use the old system.
Good Friday and Christmas Day are the only two days in the year when all pubs close. Otherwise, the half-dozen or so bank holidays (most of which fall on a Monday) mean just that – the banks are closed, along with about half the shops. St Patrick’s Day and St Stephen’s Day holidays are taken on the following Monday should they fall on a weekend.
New Year’s Day 1 January
St Patrick’s Day 17 March
Easter (Good Friday to Easter Monday inclusive) March/April
May Bank Holiday First Monday in May
June Bank Holiday First Monday in June
August Bank Holiday First Monday in August
October Bank Holiday Last Monday in October
Christmas Day 25 December
St Stephen’s Day 26 December
- Smoking It is illegal to smoke indoors everywhere except private residences and prisons.
Taxes & Refunds
A standard value-added tax (VAT) rate of 23% is applied to all goods sold in Dublin excluding books, children's clothing and educational items. Non-EU residents can claim the VAT back so long as the store operates either the Cashback or Taxback refund programme. You'll get a voucher with your purchase that must be stamped at the last point of exit from the EU.
When calling Dublin from abroad, dial your international access code, followed by 353 and 1 (dropping the 0 that precedes it). To make international calls from Dublin, first dial 00, then the country code, followed by the local area code and number.
|International Access Code||00|
|Directory Enquiries||11811 or 11850|
|International Directory Enquiries||11818|
All European and Australasian mobile phones work in Dublin, as do North American phones not locked to a local network. Check with your provider. Prepaid SIM cards start from €20.
- Pay-as-you-go mobile-phone packages with any of the main providers start at around €40 and usually include a basic handset and credit of around €20.
- SIM-only packages are also available, but make sure your phone is compatible with the local provider.
Virtually every newsagent sells a range of different phonecards, which can be used to make cut-rate international calls. Cards come in €7, €15 or €20 values and give you plenty of minutes to call abroad with.
In winter, Dublin (and the rest of Ireland) is on GMT, also known as Universal Time Coordinated (UTC); the same as Britain. In summer, the clock shifts to GMT plus one hour. When it’s noon in Dublin in summer, it’s 4am in Los Angeles and Vancouver, 7am in New York and Toronto, 1pm in Paris, 7pm in Singapore, and 9pm in Sydney.
- There are no on-street facilities in Dublin. All shopping centres have public toilets; if you’re stranded, go into any bar or hotel.
Visit Dublin Centre General visitor information on Dublin and Ireland, as well as an accommodation and booking service.
A handful of official-looking tourism offices on Grafton and O'Connell Sts are actually privately run enterprises for paying members.
Travel with Children
Kid-friendly? You bet. Dublin loves the little 'uns, and will enthusiastically 'ooh' and 'aah' at the cuteness of your progeny. But alas such admiration hasn't fully translated into child services such as widespread and accessible baby-changing facilities.
- Ark Children's Cultural Centre
If your kids are aged between three and 14, spend an afternoon at Ark Children's Cultural Centre, which runs activities aimed at stimulating participants' interests in science, the environment and the arts – but be sure to book well in advance.
Only five minutes’ walk from the Stillorgan stop on the Luas is Imaginosity, the country’s only designated interactive museum for kids. Over the course of two hours they can learn, have fun and get distracted by the museum’s exhibits and activities.
- Dublinia: Experience Viking & Medieval Dublin
There are loads of ways to discover Dublin's Viking past, but Dublinia, the city’s Viking and medieval museum, has interactive exhibits that are specifically designed to appeal to younger visitors.
- Dublin Zoo
A recommended mobile option is a hop-on, hop-off open-top bus tour, which helps you get your bearings and lets the kids enjoy a bit of Dublin from the top deck. You can use the bus to get to Dublin Zoo, where you can hop aboard the zoo train and visit the animals. There are roughly 400 creatures from 100 different species across eight different habitats, which range from an Asian jungle to a family farm, where kids get to meet the inhabitants up close.
Make a Splash
- Viking Splash Tours
Kids of all ages will love Viking Splash Tours, where you board an amphibious vehicle, put on a plastic Viking hat and roar at passers-by as you do a tour of the city before landing in the water at the Grand Canal basin.
- National Aquatic Centre
Only in Ireland
- National Leprechaun Museum
The National Leprechaun Museum, despite its high-sounding name, is really just a romper room for kids with a little bit of Irish folklore thrown in for good measure. The optical-illusion tunnel (which makes you appear smaller to those at the other end), the room full of oversized furniture, the wishing wells and, invariably, the pot of gold are especially appealing for little ones.
Wide, Open Spaces
Need to Know
- Transport Children under five travel free on all public transport.
- Pubs Unaccompanied minors are not allowed in pubs; accompanied children can remain until 9pm (until 10pm from May to September).
- Resources Parents with young children should check out www.everymum.ie. An excellent site about family-friendly accommodation is www.babygoes2.com.
Dublin should pose no problems for women travellers.
The morning-after pill is available without a prescription from pharmacies.
In the unlikely event of a sexual assault, get in touch with the gardaí (police) and the Rape Crisis Centre.