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Solo Travel Dublin: Guide to Ireland’s Capital
Welcome to my “Solo Travel Dublin Guide!” If you’re planning a solo trip to Ireland, then you’re probably spending a couple days in the capital city of Dublin at the start of your trip.
After all, Dublin is one of the most popular places for tourists first coming into Ireland even if they’ll spend most of their time in other locations. Which makes total sense because this city is home to a huge international airport. The vast majority of the flights land in Dublin and U.S. Customs is even based here.
As for me, way back in 2014, I traveled alone throughout Ireland – including Dublin. At the time, I was still a relatively new solo traveler. I’d feel a lot more anxiety about going to a far off place with no one standing besides me. Shudders.
To tell you the truth, I always felt like a “fish out of water” to use a very cliche expression. I never wanted to eat alone or take public transportation too far from my hostel. My, how times have changed.
However, despite my jumbled nerves, I absolutely fell in love with Dublin!
What did I love so much? Everything. The pubs, museums, literary history, and friendly people all created several meaningful experiences for me. Now that I’m a more mature person, I would love to revisit Dublin and see everything that I missed on my previous visit.
All in all, Dublin has a great deal to offer.
So, if you want to travel alone, consider Dublin as part of your great European adventure.
Why Choose Solo Travel in Dublin?
Oh man. There are a lot of great reasons to choose solo travel in Dublin. As always, I could write an entire novel hyping up a destination, haha.
To be honest, I had a hard time consolidating a few points for why you should choose solo travel in Dublin, but for simplicity’s sake, I broke down my top six reasons below for you.
1. Dublin is Statistically Safe
You won’t have to worry too much about your physical safety in Dublin. In all truthfulness, Dublin might be safer than your hometown.
Honestly, you’re more likely to get hit by a car than attacked by a random stranger. Make sure to look the proper way prior to crossing the street. And please, please, please remember that they drive on the left in Ireland, including Dublin. I saw a lot of tourists almost get hit by cars and buses.
Of course, basic common sense applies here, too. You don’t want to wander in an intoxicated state throughout an unfamiliar neighborhood at three in the morning, for instance. I’ll talk more about specific safety tips later in this post.
2. Flights are (Relatively) Short from the USA
Sorry to be USA-centric, but since a huge chunk of my readers are American, I figured it’d be worth pointing out that Dublin is one of the shortest European flights that you can take from the United States.
For example, if you depart from Newark Liberty (close to New York), then you’ll reach Dublin in six hours or less! That’s the same amount of time it takes to fly to some parts of California.
Furthermore, if you’re not a great flyer (haha, like me) and want to go to Europe for the first time, Dublin is an excellent choice for you.
3. Locals are Friendly and Speak English
I think Dublin is a great destination for anxious travelers, because wow, the locals are so welcoming and awesome.
Plus, if you’re an English speaker, you’ll have zero problems in Dublin due to the fact that English is the native language. You won’t encounter any barriers.
As for the locals, Dublin is a city very used to tourists and is able to accommodate their needs well. They’re also quite friendly. I found a lot of people on Couchsurfing.org to go on shopping trips with me, as well as try a variety of restaurants in the city. Dublin was, without a doubt, the place that Couchsurfing worked the best for me with regards to meeting locals.
However, if you’re reluctant to use the internet to meet others, then I’d suggest going to the local pub for a meal. I guarantee someone will strike a conversation with you.
4. Learn About Your Family’s Heritage
Do you have ancestors that came from the Emerald Isle? There’s a good chance you do!
Sure, Ireland’s a pretty small country geographically, but as many as 80 million people worldwide claim Irish heritage. If you’re able to trace your family to Ireland, then Dublin might be a spiritual and inspiring solo visit for you. It’s a good place to start reconnecting with your roots.
5. You Don’t Need a Car in Dublin
Next you’ll be happy to learn that Dublin’s an easily walkable city. Even though it’s the capital, most attractions are reachable using your own two feet. Most days I strolled around the city, wandering from site to site, and taking in all the colorful doors. I never felt too burnt out from walking.
So there’s no need to rent an expensive car here, although it’s recommended to have a car outside of Dublin for venturing into the Irish countryside. Actually it’s smart not to have a car in Dublin. There’s a lot of traffic, and if you’re not used to driving on the left, you will probably get frustrated quickly.
Ditch the car and embrace walking!
6. You’ll Learn a Great Deal of History
Finally you’ll learn a ton of history when visiting Dublin as a solo traveler. And it will tug at your heartstrings.
For example, I felt profound sadness upon seeing the Famine Memorial on the Dublin City Docklands. I knew the Potato Famine was bad (obviously), with 1 million people dying of starvation, but to actually see this artistic representation broke my heart.
Similar sites can be found all over the city.
Ultimately and without a doubt, you’ll gain a true understanding of the Irish struggle for independence in Dublin. This is doubly true if you take a walking tour throughout the capital city (which I recommend you do).
Practical Tips for Traveling Alone in Dublin
Time to break out the practicalities. Like I already said, I personally think solo travel in Ireland is super safe and tons of fun! But having a plan is still a good idea.
So I have a couple of suggestions to make your trip even better. Take notes.
1. Watch Your Alcohol Intake
First and foremost, you need to know your limits as a solo traveler. I’m not trying to act like the Morality Police, I swear, but as a solo traveler, you’re responsible for yourself and stuff, and alcohol (obviously) lowers you inhibitions.
Why am I talking about alcohol right away? Dublin is a bit of a “party destination.”
For example, on Fridays and Saturdays, it’s common to see groups of crazily dressed friends roaming the streets for their hen and stag parties. I’m not knocking people for having fun, I promise, but the lively atmosphere is something to be aware of so you’re not caught by surprise.
Take care of yourself. And don’t feel pressured to drink a lot either.
2. Purchase Travel Insurance
Although Dublin is safe, a travel insurance policy is very important especially when you’re traveling alone. For instance, if you get sick or seriously hurt in Dublin, you’ll have to pay for all of your care 100% out of pocket unless you have credible travel insurance.
As for me, I have used World Nomads throughout my years of solo traveling. Their prices are reasonable, and I’ve never had any issues with them at all.
Travel insurance provides a brilliant sense of peace. You don’t need additional stress on your travels in Dublin.
All Set to Go? Purchase a World Nomads Insurance Policy
3. Venture Outside of Dublin
Don’t get me wrong. I adored Dublin. I mean, why else would I take a few hours to write this post for you?
However, as great as Dublin is, you still want to make time for the incredible day trip opportunities located in this part of Ireland.
You can stay close to the city or go for a two hour drive to Western Ireland. After all, Ireland isn’t a huge country geographically so you can see a lot in a single day. For example, with a guided tour, you’re even able to venture out to legendary natural wonders such as Cliffs of Moher or Giant’s Causeway.
My own favorite day trip was seeing Newgrange and Hill of Tara and learning everything about both these beautiful places. I still want to learn all about the mysteries of Newgrange, which is a prehistoric site and on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
4. Be Careful if You’re On a Budget
Time to break out some bad news. Dublin isn’t the most budget-friendly place on the planet.
I mean, think about it. Dublin is a big capital city that draws tons of tourists. It would make sense that costs are higher than other places.
If you’re staying in Ireland, you’ll notice a drop in prices as soon as you leave the capital. Try and watch your spending in Dublin to the best of your ability.
My Favorite Things to Do Alone in Dublin
Last but not least, there are a lot of wonderful things to do alone in Dublin.
As always, do your own research in addition to the ideas I present in this solo travel guide. You want to consider your own personal interests along with my suggestions.
1. Relax at Trinity & See the Book of Kells
Firstly, going to Trinity College is something you must do, especially on your first trip to Dublin. This university’s magical atmosphere made me want to return to my graduate-level classes.
Most importantly, you’re able to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College. This gorgeous illuminated manuscript of the Gospels dates way back to the 9th century. You can’t take pictures so simply take in the manuscript and enjoy its beauty.
2. Listen to Live Music at a Local Pub
Find a local pub and see what live music is playing on any night of the week. Ireland’s known for some incredible music. Don’t feel afraid to go to a pub alone! It’s perfectly safe to do so. You’ll talk to strangers, dance, and feel festive. Do it!
3. Discover Literary Greatness Throughout the City
Dublin is home to some literary giants. If you adore books, then traveling alone in Dublin almost feels like a rite of passage. Oscar Wilde, James Joyce, Bram Stoker, and more all had residences in Dublin. Go walk in their steps. Another one of the best things to do as literary (and solo) travelers is joining a Dublin Literary Pub Crawl. You’ll learn all about these famous authors and have a few drinks.
4. Enjoy a Beer at the Top of Guinness Storehouse
The Guinness Store is a Dublin Classic. Is it touristic? Sure! But the entire experience is a lot of fun. Plus you’ve the chance to drink a perfectly poured Guinness inside a rooftop bar, which offers spectacular views of the city.
Obviously, the Guinness Storehouse is very popular, so it might be worth buying an entrance ticket to skip the line entirely.
5. Learn Dark History at Kilmainham Gaol
This former prison is another place to learn all about the struggles of the Irish people. Several revolutionaries, seeking independence from England, were imprisoned here. For example, the leaders of the 1916 Easter Riot were imprisoned here and then executed. I actually thought going to the gaol alone was a more poignant experience than if I had gone with friends or family.
Get Going Now: Read My 7 Day Ireland Itinerary & Plan Your Trip
Is Dublin Safe to Travel Alone?
All in all, it is safe to travel alone in Dublin. I spent about four days in Dublin and never once did I feel under immediate threat.
Like most European cities, the biggest threats that will face you in Dublin will come in the form of petty pickpocketing. However, in my own personal experience, I never felt like I desperately needed to keep a close eye on my purse. If you’re really protective of your belongings, then invest in a Pacsafe anti-theft crossbody bag to ward off roaming hands.
Another thing to watch out for are out of control stag parties. If you ever feel uncomfortable, do what you can to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible. Don’t worry about being rude. As a solo traveler, you don’t owe strangers anything.
Just because Dublin’s safe doesn’t mean complacency is a smart move. In the event of an emergency, the Dublin police (Gardai) are honest and reliable. They can be reached by dialing 112 or 999.
Solo Travel Dublin & Where to Stay
Dublin has an abundance of great accommodation available for you as a solo traveler. Since it’s such a popular place, you have your pick of hostels if you want a cheap place with ample opportunities to meet other people.
On my own stay, I booked a dorm at Times Hostel in Camden Place which is located close to St. Stephen’s Green. It was cosy and in a central yet quiet part of the city.
However, if you’re not a fan of hostels, you’re also able to find good deals on AirBnb when visiting Dublin. If you use my referral link, you’ll save $40 on your first qualifying visit.
Ready to Go? Book Your Accommodation in Dublin
I hope you all enjoyed my “Solo Travel Dublin Guide!” Honestly, Ireland is amazing for solo travel and you’ll have a great trip. What advice would you give to anyone traveling to Dublin alone?
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