Where to Stay in Dublin

Top Tips

DublinÅsa K from Pixabay

Our detailed guide to Dublin’s best neighbourhoods is full of useful details about some of the best places to stay in Dublin, aimed at helping you choose the best part of Dublin to stay in, whether you’re visiting Dublin to see her historic sights, and beautifully mismatched architecture, or to experience her live music scene, or her cuisine, and her wonderfully warming pub atmosphere.

Guide to Dublin's Neighbourhoods

Dublin Neighbourhoods© OpenStreetMap contributors

Dublin has many pleasures to entice the visitor with, it’s known for its friendly, slightly hedonistic warmth, and for its history and historic sights, starting with the Vikings, then progressing through an impressive, castle-and-cathedral-filled medieval period, into a handsome Georgian one. And there are some proper monstrosities as well, to really add character to this most characterful of cities. But everywhere you look, and stroll, you’ll find a pub, some super traditional, some super multicultural, and some super contemporary.

Dublin is outsized, considering the size of Ireland as a whole, but its centre, and the bit most visitors spend all their time within, is walkable. It’s arranged around the river Liffey, with O’Connell Street, which is the main thoroughfare, on the north side (with numerous intersecting shopping streets); and St. Patrick;s Cathedral, Grafton Street, Trinity College and St. Stephen’s Green, and many other main sites, on the south side. Dublin has a raft of public transport options on offer, which include a light rail/tram service, suburban trains, and lots of buses. But most visitors will find it possible to get to everywhere they want to go on foot. And it’s very easy to get a taxi if you need one.

Central Dublin

Central DublinImage by papagnoc from Pixabay

The centre of Dublin is packed with historic landmarks, cultural institutions, shopping districts, entertainment districts, and eating and drinking districts. Central Dublin is also quite green, with elegant parks and pedestrianised pockets. O’Connell and Henry Streets are known for their shops, including many high street brands and some big Irish department stores, but just off Henry Street is Moore Street, which has a fresh produce market. The Liberties area, which is around Thomas Street, is a bit more traditional, and several weekly markets are run here too. It’s also where you’ll find the Guinness Storehouse.

We’ve broken up the central area into smaller neighbourhoods below: Trinity and Grafton Street, Around Dublin Castle, Kilmainham and the Liberties, and Temple Bar, because these popular neighbourhoods all have their own character and major attractions worth detailing.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, major attractions, great pubs and restaurants, great shopping opportunities
  • Cons: touristy, can be expensive
  • Ideal For: sight-seers, first time visitors, shoppers, night-owls, fun-seekers

Trinity, and Around Trinity College

Trinity CollegeRudy and Peter Skitterians fro

Fantastically central, the Trinity area is the bit with Trinity College and College Green, Grafton Street and St. Stephen’s Green. It’s a lively and colourful warren of cobbled streets and greens, with an excellent collection of pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants, plus pedestrianised Grafton Street (probably Dublin’s best known shopping street). This is where you’ll find Brown Thomas, the city’s most famous, and luxurious, department store, and many rows of shops beside. There are great vintage finds to be had in the Loft Market or the Market Arcade, which is also good for fabrics. Nassau Street is where you’ll find local boutiques and Irish brands, and it’s excellent for Belleek Pottery, Waterford crystal and Aran sweaters.

Trinity College itself is much renowned academically, but also lauded for its 18th century architecture. Its Old Library is home to the Book of Kells, an ancient, and staggeringly intricate book, created around 800AD, and top of many modern visitors' to-do list. The College also has an impressive theatre, and there are a couple of interesting galleries close by.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: charming, central location, major landmarks, great shopping, great choice of places to eat and drink
  • Cons: can be touristy
  • Ideal For: shoppers, history-buffs, first time visitors, couples, sight-seers

Discover our recommended hotels in Trinity, and close to Trinity College, Dublin

Temple Bar

Temple BarRudy and Peter Skitterians fro

Temple Bar is a compact neighbourhood of picturesque, 17th century buildings, lining narrow, cobbled streets, running alongside the River Liffey. It’s also one of Dublin’s best known neighbourhoods, famed for its pubs and lively vibe. Yes, Temple Bar is a very famous place to have a drink, and thus you won’t find the best prices in local taverns, but you will find a great atmosphere. Temple Bar Square holds a Saturday food market, and there are some great restaurants nearby too, and the odd gallery. The area is also a good spot for vintage and boutique shopping, and there’s a design market on Cow’s Lane.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: lively atmosphere, great pubs, central, traditional architecture and cobbled streets, lots of places to eat and drink
  • Cons: might be too lively of an evening
  • Ideal For: fun-seekers, pub-lovers, night-owls, sight-seers

Discover our recommended hotels in Temple Bar, Dublin.

Around Dublin Castle

Dublin Castlepapagnoc from Pixabay

The area around Dublin Castle is an obvious focal point for the city, and it’s one of Dublin’s major historic attractions, so there’s a good choice of accommodation around here. The castle itself is impressive looking; inside are two excellent museum, and outside are numerous shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants, and some lovely green spaces.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, historic, good choice of places to eat and drink, great public transport links
  • Cons: busy with tourists
  • Ideal For: families, sight-seers, history-buffs

Discover our recommended hotels close to Dublin Castle, Dubin.

Kilmainham and the Liberties

KilmainhamNakNakNak from Pixabay

These are some of Dublin’s oldest neighbourhoods, but they’re really best known today for the Guinness Storehouse: Dublin’s best known attraction, and it’s most visited museum. Kilmainham Gaol is another very important museum to anyone who wants to understand Irish history. This area is also home to St. Patrick’s Cathedral and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

The Liberties are known for their regular weekly markets, with different wares on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and for their ye olde atmosphere.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, major sights, great pubs and distilleries
  • Cons: can be touristy
  • Ideal For: pub-lovers, history-buffs, distillery-aficionados, couples, sight-seers

Discover our recommended hotels in Kilmainham and the Liberties.

Merrion Square

Merrion SqaureNicole Pankalla from Pixabay

While Dublin is awash with architectural landmarks, the very best of her Georgian elegance is located around Merrion and Fitzwilliam Squares. This leafy, wealthy part of town is also where you’ll find the National Gallery, the National Museum of Ireland, the Museum of Natural History, the National Library of Ireland, and the Irish Parliament. Merrion Square itself is a place of neat lawns and tended flower beds, surrounded by red-brick townhouses, with their colourful doors and ornamental door knockers etc.. And on the square’s northwest corner is a statue of Oscar Wilde in multihued marble. Fitzwilliam Square is smaller, but equally beautiful and prestigious, and its garden is still private.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, elegant, major sights, luxurious, culturally rich
  • Cons: expensive
  • Ideal For: romance, a special occasion

Discover our recommended hotels in Merrion Square, Dublin.

Dublin’s Creative Quarter

DublinBy Flickr user William Murphy

With a hint in the name, the Creative Quarter is great if you want to visit galleries and independent boutiques, and try out innovative bars and restaurants. This part of town, with its red brick architecture, quite a bit of it Victorian, runs from South William Street to George’s Street, and from Lower Stephen’s Street to Exchequer Street, and it’s well loved by artists and makers.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: arty atmosphere, great independent galleries, great boutiques, innovative restaurants and cafes
  • Cons: hipster
  • Ideal For: art-lovers, great value, couples

Discover our recommended hotels in Dublin’s Creative Quarter.

Donnybrook and Ballsbridge

BallsbridgeBy Flickr user William Murphy

South of central Dublin, on the southern bank of the Grand Canal, Donnybrook and Ballsbridge are leafy, affluent, picturesque neighbourhoods, with a residential feel, and a great collection of places to eat and drink. This is where many of Dublin’s embassies can be found, and grand celebrity houses too. These are a great place to stay if you’re looking for somewhere a bit quieter and romantic. The abundance of local parks and gardens make this a great choice for families too.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: luxurious, elegant, great places to dine and drink
  • Cons: expensive, residential
  • Ideal For: families, romantics, luxury-lovers

Discover our recommended hotels in Donnybrook and Ballsbridge.

Phibsborough

PhibsboroughBy Flickr user William Murphy

For Phibsborough you need to head north of the river. Phibsborough is a gentrified, hipster up-and-comer, with a growing number of trendy, independent boutiques, and cool bars and cafes. It’s newly accessible because of the Luas Cross City line, and its previously abandoned buildings are re-opening with both edge and hipster style. In addition to the great shopping and burgeoning foodie scenes, there’s also great nightlife and plenty of green spaces to explore, including the Botanical Gardens and the Royal Canal. It’s still not an obvious choice for visitors to Dublin, because it’s off centre, but if you’re looking for a cool, spot you haven’t stayed in before, then look no further!

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: hip, colourful, great for meeting locals, green spaces, great value, buzzing nightlife, boutique shopping
  • Cons: off centre, hipster
  • Ideal For: hipsters, night-owls, visitors looking for somewhere a bit different to stay

Discover our recommended hotels in Dublin’s Phibsborough.

Dublin’s Docklands

Dublin DocklandsBy Flickr user William Murphy

Dublin’s Docklands are just outside the city centre; a smart, fast-paced neighbourhood reclaimed from an industrial past. As well as river access the Docklands are by Grand Canal Square and Mayor Square, and this whole area offers a sultry mix of historic and contemporary architecture. And some spectacular bridges across the Liffey, including the Seán O'Casey Bridge, a pedestrian swing bridge. This is a great Dublin neighbourhood for anyone who wants to mix business and pleasure, it’s packed with galleries and museums, and home to some of the city’s best restaurants.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, exciting architectural mix, lively atmosphere, museums and galleries, great places to eat and drink
  • Cons: busy
  • Ideal For: sight-seers, history-buffs, fans of industrial style, foodies, couples.

Discover our recommended hotels in Dublin’s Docklands.

Portobello

PortobelloBy Flickr user William Murphy

Just outside the centre of town on the back of St. Stephen’s Green, Portobello is hip and laid-back, with a canal and quaint streets dotted with boutiques, bakeries, cafes, galleries and restaurants. On the weekend there’s a flea market, and the food market is open daily. This is where you’ll find Dublin’s Jewish Museum too. This is a great spot for families with its quiet village-like vibe, plus its easy access to all the major sights.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: central, relaxed, green spaces, food market, great choice of places to eat and drink
  • Cons: peaceful
  • Ideal For: families, visitors looking for a peaceful base

Discover our recommended hotels in Portobello, Dublin.

Croke Park

Croke Parkjmauremootoo from Pixabay

For many people the name Croke Park will be synonymous with sport, especially football and rugby, but it’s also the home of the Gaelic Athletic Association, so there are some pretty varied fixtures, including hurling! And of course it’s also regularly transformed into a music venue. The Croke Park neighbourhood is just north of the Royal Canal in Drumcondra. And there are facilities around the stadium to accommodate the big match days, so plenty of choice when it comes to pubs, bars and restaurants. If there’s an event on the hotels around are likely to be busy, but if there’s not there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find some great value accommodation here.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: major sports stadium, lively atmosphere when busy, great value
  • Cons: off-centre
  • Ideal For: value-hunters, families

Discover our recommended hotels in Dublin’s Croke Park.

Dublin’s Coast

Dublin Coastigorsoldic1 from Pixabay

Dublin is built on a bay, Dublin Bay, and there are plenty of opportunities for ocean views in this city. Howth is much more of a departure from city living, it's a fishing port and yacht harbour, with some really excellent restaurants, and an excellent weekend farmer’s market as well. This is a wonderful area to walk around, and the views of Dublin Bay are spectacular. Dalkey, on the opposite side of the harbour, was once Dublin’s major port, though its heyday was during the medieval period. Today it’s a more peaceful spot, known for its pleasant walking trails and views. The waters around Dalkey are popular with divers.

Pros and Cons

  • Pros: spectacular views, great walking trails, outdoor activities
  • Cons: quiet, off-centre
  • Ideal For: peace-seekers, history buffs, foodies, walkers, families

Discover our recommended hotels in Coastal Dublin.