If you are visiting Dublin then paying for accommodation may well be your biggest expense. However, in recent times, given the onset of the economic crisis and financial bail-out, the hotels in Dublin have experienced a dramatic fall in the price they have been able to demand for hotel rooms compared to the heady days of the peak of the boom in 2007.
A room in the best hotels in Dublin can now be had for around €200 and a bed or bunk in one of the many hostels in Dublin can be had for as little as €13. In between these two options at the top and bottom of the Dublin accommodation market there is a wide selection of possibilities from the characterless room of a standard business hotel chain to a superbly finished room in an converted Georgian townhouse. This type of room can be had for somewhere between €80 and €100 a night. If you are willing to put up with a bit of travel time either by taxi, bus or the tram service in Dublin known as the Luas, then the hotels both on the north side of Dublin or those in the suburbs to the south of the Grand Canal will get you more fizz for your buck.
Although Dublin is always expanding out into the suburbs, the city centre is often defined as those parts of the city that lie between two canals, one to the North called the Royal Canal and the other in the south called the Grand Canal. The river Liffey runs through the middle of Dublin bisecting the city into two neat halves known as the “north side” and the “south side”. This divide also reflects the traditional social divide of Dublin with the north side being home to the working classes and the poor and the south side being populated by the wealthy. The south side is home to many of the main attractions in Dublin and would be where many visitors would spend the majority of their time in the city.
Hotels in the Grafton Street area
Immediately south of the river Liffey, the streets and green spaces in the immediate vicinity of Grafton Street, is what most visitors and locals think of when they refer to Dublin ‘city centre’. The area is bordered in the south by the Grand Canal, to the north by Temple Bar, to the west by the Liberties and to the east by St Stephen’s Green. This area will be the focus of most visits to Dublin. Grafton Street itself is a pedestrianised street that runs through the middle of this part of Dublin. The street is called after the 17th Century Duke of Grafton and nowadays is home to many Georgian buildings which house international retail outlets and chic local stores alike. Grafton Street is a must for any serious shopping trip to Dublin. We provide descriptions of the main hotels in the Grafton Street area in our Hotels in Grafton Street area page. In this area you will also find quite a few of the main attractions of Dublin like Trinity College, where the famous Book of Kells is kept in the Library, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin Castle, City Hall, the Mansion House, the Bank of Ireland and the Chester Beatty Library.
Hotels in the Merrion Square Area
Many of the buildings in and around Merrion Square in Dublin are of the archetypal neo-classical Georgian design that were constructed during the 18th Century when Dublin was in its prime and became the second city of the British Empire. This area of Dublin is made up of an elegant mix of public buildings, museums and private offices and residences. It is in this area where many of the well-heeled of Dublin work and play in the sophisticated and genteel surroundings. In this part of Dublin we find Leinster House, the former residence of the Duke of Leinster, which has served as the Parliament building of the Irish Republic since 1922 and is now the epicentre of Georgian Dublin. The streets running off the square contain the offices of many of the most important businesses in Dublin and in the evening many office workers stop off for a pint on their way home adding atmosphere to many many of the most historical and traditional pubs in Dublin. Many of the best restaurants in Dublin can also be found in this part of town. The area around Kildare Street contains a core of offices of the public administration as well as some of the main museums in Dublin like the National Museum and the National Gallery. So, if you fancy staying in this sophisticated area, once the haunt of the likes of Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeates you can check out our page that highlights many of the best hotels in Merrion Square.
Hotels in Ballsbridge
Visitors who move south from the Merrion Square area of Dublin city centre along Lower Baggot Street or Lower Mount Street will soon come to the Grand Canal and when the canal is crossed visitors are likely to enter Upper Baggot Street which leads to Pembroke Road or Nothumberland Road and they are then out of Dublin city centre and into the suburbs. This first area south of the Grand Canal is known as Ballsbridge and it is without doubt the most exclusive suburb of Dublin. Ballsbridge is a great place to base yourself during a visit to Dublin as the area is only a thirty minute walk or a ten minute bus run from the city centre. There are some wonderful restaurants and great pubs in the area and some of the most beautiful townhouse hotels in Dublin. Ailesbury Road and Shrewsbury Road are the most expensive streets in Dublin in the Irish edition of Monopoly and Ballsbridge is home to many of the foreign embassies in Dublin including the distinctive American Embassy building. The Royal Dublin Society Showgrounds, or RDS, is also located in Ballsbridge and is used for various exhibitions and concerts throughout the year including the Dublin Horse Show that takes place annually in August. Ballsbridge is also home to the Irish Rugby Football Union’s headquarters in Lansdowne Road. Tickets for home games at the new Aviva Stadium (previously simply known as Lansdowne Road) during the Six Nations rugby tournament held every every year between February and March are the hottest tickets in town. The hotels in Ballsbridge and the bars around the stadium are usually filled to capacity for all home games. You can check our hotels in Ballsbridge page for descriptions of some of the better-known hotels in this most exclusive Dublin suburb.
Hotels in Temple Bar
Since the early 1990s Temple Bar has been the main party area of Dublin. Just as the Celtic Tiger era began to kick in developers began to create the identity for which the Temple Bar area is now most known. The dilapidated streets and buildings were given a major make-over and all the trappings of a Bohemian district were added like the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, the Project Arts Centre and the Irish Film Institute. In addition many bars, pubs, restaurants, cafés, boutiques and Dublin hotels were opened in this part of the city and the area has become a magnet for weekend revellers from all over Ireland, the United Kingdom and beyond. It has become a weekend Mecca for stag parties and hen parties and will sure to be on the list of places to see or indeed stay in for many visitors to Dublin. For places to stay in the entertainment heart of Dublin see our page on the hotels in Temple Bar.
Hotels in the O’Connell Street area
At the beginning of the Georgian period the north side of Dublin was the residential area of choice. However, the introduction of the Penal Code system heralded a mass movement of homeless peasants away from the countryside to Dublin in search of employment. The aristocracy then began migrating away from the masses to the south side of the Liffey and moved into the area surrounding Leinster House. Nevertheless, both Parnell and Mountjoy squares north of O’Connell Street retain elements of their grand past and are currently undergoing some restoration. The area is also home to several museums and public buildings including the Dublin City Gallery, Dublin Writer’s Museum and the Garden of Remembrance. The main street in the northside of Dublin is O’Connell Street which became Dublin’s main thoroughfare in 1794 with the construction of O’Connell bridge. O’Connell Street has been the scene of many important events in the history of both Dublin and indeed the Irish nation, the most famous of which was the Easter Rising of 1916 when the Proclamation of the Republic was read from the General Post Office. The GPO remains on O’Connell Street and the scars of the 1916 Rising can be seen to this day in the form of bullet holes in the colonnades of the building. At the top of O’Connell Street is Parnell Street and off this is Moore Street. When Ireland’s tiger economy was roaring many immigrants settled in this area and on the street market on Moore Street you will find many traders from the new immigrant communities selling products from areas as distinct as Eastern Europe and Nigeria, although the area retains much of its gritty ‘auld Dublin’ feel.
Hotels in Dublin Docklands
You will arrive in the Dublin Docklands by moving east along the Liffey away from Dublin city centre on the many quays that straddle the river starting with Eden Quay on the northside at the bottom of O’Connell Street and Burgh Quay running east from Westmoreland Street and D-Olier Street on the southside of the river. Like the London Docklands this part of Dublin had for many years been run down and since the 19th Century had been the location of some of the worst slums in Dublin. With the arrival of the Celtic Tiger developers turned their eyes to this part of Dublin as it was ripe for regeneration and the Dublin Docklands Developemt Authority (DDDA) was established by Act of Parliament in 1997 to redevelop this part of Dublin both north and south of the river Liffey. Imbibed with the ‘can-do’ attitude that defined the Celtic Tiger era the area has received a major makeover and is now home to an impressive mix of commercial and residential property including contemporary office blocks, deluxe apartments, impressive public spaces, and trendy restaurants, cafés and bars. The area is home to the International Financial Services Centre (IFSC), the new National Convention Centre , Grand Canal Square, Grand Canal Theatre and the O2 Arena (formerly the Point Depot) which is the premier indoor concert venue in Dublin. If you are in Dublin on business or at a concert and want to stay in the area you can check out our hotels in Dublin Docklands page.
Hotels beyond the Royal Canal
The Royal Canal marks the northern boundary of what we consider Dublin city centre and to the north of the canal lie the suburbs of Drumcondra, Fairview, Marino and Glasnevin. There are just a few sites of interest in this part of Dublin as these areas are mainly filled with streets of terraced and semi-detached dwellings in what were traditionally working – and lower middle-calss areas. The main attractions that could be of interest in this part of Dublin include the National Botanical Gardens, which provide a soothing environment away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, Glasnevin Cemetry, where many prominent Irish people from all walks of life from famous Republicans to authors are buried including Michael Collins, Brendan Behan and Daniel O’Connell. There is also the Casino at Marino finished around 1775. This casino is not a gambling establishment but takes its name from the Italian for ‘little house’ and is considered as the most important Neo-Classical building in Ireland. This part of Dublin is also home to Croke Park, which is the headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). The stadium has a capacity of over 82,000 making it the third largest in Europe and hosts all the major hurling and gaelic football matches including the two all-Ireland finals in September. The stadium is also home to a magnificent museum offering a unique insight into the history of the organisation and the passion for the sports. If we continue north along the Drumcondra road we come to the Swords Road and M1 Motorway which lead us directly to Dublin airport. So, it is likely that anyone arriving in Dublin from the airport will pass through this area to the north of the Royal Canal on their way into Dublin city centre. For hotels in this part of Dublin you can check our hotels north of the Royal canal page and if you are considering staying overnight at the airport if you have a really early morning flight check our hotels in Dublin airport page.