Why Do I Love Dublin So Much?

by on March 16, 2014 · 33 comments

in Aer Lingus, airbnb, British Airways, Sunday Reader Questions, Video Blog Post

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I’m a world traveler who’s seen some beautiful places – like the Maldives and other amazing spots in Asia, Europe and South America. But I keep coming back to Dublin. In fact, I’ve been to Dublin four times just in the last year or so! So, family members and friends often ask me:

“Why do you love Dublin so much?”

Well, aside from being Irish (my name is, after all, Brian Kelly), there are a lot of reasons that I love Dublin.

Unlike London or Paris, it’s a “little-big” city, like a large version of a small town. People are really friendly – even taxi drivers open up to you like you’re family. You can just sit down somewhere for a coffee or a beer – or just a park bench – and you’re bound to meet locals. I’ve amassed a group of fun Irish friends with very little effort!

The people here seem happy, and proud of both their city and their country. This was my experience of the city even back during the recession, when Ireland’s economy was in truly horrible shape. Luckily the economy is doing better these days, but Dublin is still a bit less expensive than a lot of European capitals. For instance, you can go out and get a beer for the equivalent of $5 or less.

Irish food isn’t renowned for being the best, but I find Irish food to be great! In fact, one of my favorite restaurants in the world, Pichet, is here in Dublin. If you’re planning a trip to the city, I highly recommend having a meal there, but there are also tons of new restaurants opening up all the time.

The nightlife is pretty good, too. The Temple Bar area is known for attracting drunken, rowdy tourists, but there are plenty of other, quieter neighborhoods that might just become your favorite spots. To get the lay of the land, check out our Destination of the Week write-up on Dublin.

On this particular trip to Dublin, I’m staying in an Airbnb house rental. Normally I stay at The Westin Dublin or one of the Radisson Blu properties in town, but a bunch of friends are here with me, and we all wanted to stay together so we decided to rent a house right in the heart of town that will give us really fantastic views of the St. Patrick’s Parade. We can hardly wait!

The view from my Airbnb house ain't too shabby!

The view of Dublin from my Airbnb house ain’t too shabby!

But it’s not just about Dublin for me. Ireland is not a huge country and it has a great train system, making it easy to take quick, beautiful side trips from Dublin. Just this weekend – probably while you’re watching this video on Sunday – I’m taking a two-hour train ride to Belfast, my first trip to Northern Ireland. It’s simple to check out a bunch of tiny little towns, like I did over a long weekend with my parents a couple of years ago.

The other great thing about traveling here? Dublin is really close to the US. From New York, it’s only about 5.5 hours, especially with these crazy tailwinds we’ve been experiencing lately. And it’s easy to get here using British Airways Avios since Aer Lingus is a British Airways partner airline, and booking a flight on Aer Lingus with Avios only incurs $2.50 in fees each way – a great way to avoid British Airways’ high fuel surcharges.

Make sure to check out the review of my Airbnb property, but there you have it – why I love Dublin so much. Now I’m off to have a pint!

Let me know if you have any other questions by messaging me on FacebookTweeting me or emailing me at [email protected]

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

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  • Justin

    I’ll be there in August/Sept for Penn State’s game at Croke Park vs Central Florida so I’m psyched to see it for the first time (also being Irish.) We’re staying in Dublin a few days after spending the first part of the trip on our own in Scotland (Glasgow/Edinburgh.) Do you have a recommendation on short haul from Edinburgh to Dublin? I’ve been looking around and have plenty of UR, MR and Avios if need be. Thanks Bri.

  • Kyle Duren

    My wife and I went to Ireland (few nights in Dublin) and we had a wonderful time, even though it was in December! We snagged a heck of a deal with the Wideroe mistake fares. Hardly anyone around and weather really wasn’t too bad.

    We def loved the small shops/restaurants in Dublin, like Queen of Tarts.

    We stayed at the Trinity Capital Hotel, was a decent price and seemed like a good location, we were able to walk to quite a few attractions every day, not too far away from Temple Bar for dinner/drinks either.

    One complaint is about how they use the bus card (Leap Card), they make it impossible to get a refund if you don’t plan on coming back anytime soon. Its not like the Oyster card in London which you can easily return for your 5£.

  • Jonathan

    In the past, Ireland has had a reputation for being homophobic, and recent national news stories have just solidified that reputation. What are your thoughts?

  • dee seiffer

    We were there last fall and did the tour walking around the top of Croke Park. I highly recommend it! They only do the tours on days when there are no competitions.

  • dee seiffer

    Hubby and I went to Dublin last fall for the first time and loved every minute of it. I can see why you go over and over again. We found great food (I usually rely on Chowhound for recommendations. They never let me down.) The best part of Temple Bar was the street musicians. We left town several times, too to see more of the countryside… a bus tour to the West Coast through Limerick, a city bus to Trim Castle and a relative took us to Howthe and Malehide Castle. We were there for SkyFest which was fun.
    Hubby got to be one of the “chosen” to taste different whiskeys on the Jameson tour. BTW – The private reserve Jameson is worth the $60/bottle.

    Have a great time. Will you post some video of the parade?

  • UrbanPhoenixInjunCAM

    Awesome House Music Party Friday Nights in the Morgan Hotel at 10 Fleet Street. Sometimes they have a Lady playing the Saxophone, walking the crowd and jammin to the mix.

    Rays slice of New York Pizza Beside the Central Bank is delicious late night food!

  • jjflysalot

    Just don’t drive! Dublin traffic notoriously horrific. Brian’s got it right–use the taxis.

  • Danny

    I’m not sure how accurate that is – that article is about a handful of people squawking. Ireland is generally very tolerant.

    73% of Irish people support same-sex marriage in the constitution. 84% support either same-sex marriage or some form of civil union. Ireland does not yet have gay marriage but they have had civil partnerships since 2011, supported by all major Irish political parties.

    Bottom line – literally every country on earth still has some homophobes, but Ireland is one of the better countries. Sounds perfectly LGBT friendly to me.

  • GAM

    I’m not that big of a fan of Dublin (neither are my Irish friends living around Europe). Head to Cork.

  • JustSaying

    When you book Air Lingus using Avios where do you go to see availability?

  • Patrick Folger

    A place I’ve never been to and always wanted to visit. Since I’m card shopping right now may have to look at way to benefit a R/T First or Business class ticket there. Nice write up TPG

  • Justin

    Thanks dee. We’re excited to see the park.

  • Kim

    Just love Ireland too. If you have the time, make it over to the Galway area and even the Aran Islands. The train ride itself is worth it!

  • MissChele

    We have the Avios but cannot get an award flight for June. No points
    with any other airline. If we have to pay outright, what do you
    recommend? From SDF but willing to drive a few hours if it is worth our
    while economically. One senior, one regular and one 9 year old

  • -

    Love me some house music, I’ve made a note for my trip. ;)

  • Erik

    How do you get Aer Lingus flights using Avios for only $2.50 in fees? I booked earlier this year and it was still about $120 in fees round trip…

  • thepointsguy

    Yep- and Hailo is a great app for car service. Dublin has Uber, but the wait times can be 15+ mins

  • thepointsguy

    Are Lingus starts flying SFO to Dublin soon- that could be a good option. You need to call British Airways to book Aer Lingus flights, but shows the same availability

  • thepointsguy

    I had booked a one way and fees only priced out to $2.50. I think roundtrips have taxes so will be higher, but still didn’t think they’d be $120

  • thepointsguy

    I did Galway when I went to Ireland 10 years ago.. loved it! Need to make it to the islands….

  • thepointsguy, but then you need to call BA to book

  • thepointsguy

    Whisky tasting.. I can see why you husband had a grew time! Ha… I have some video from the parade..w ills end

  • thepointsguy

    As a country the people couldn’t be nicer and there is a thriving gay community. I’d go as far to say they’re far less homophobic than most places in the US

  • thepointsguy

    I guess you’ll just need to return to use the remaining portion!

  • thepointsguy

    You can use BA to book Aer Lingus to Edinburgh, but sometimes those flights are really cheap. Aer Lingus and RyanAir both fly the route

    My hotel review

  • Justin

    Thanks Bri! We’ll be spending the time between Galway, Kerry and Dublin (Four Seasons in Dublin, G hotel in Galway and Hotel Europe in Kerry/Killarney) as part of the university’s tour group. Scotland though is wide open so we booked 3 nights in Edinburgh at the Glasshouse with Marriott Points (I have Gold status with Marriott) and we’re planning on using the HIlton certificates for 2 nights in Glasgow. I just need to find a one way back from Dublin in early Sept for the two of us and that short haul from Edinburgh to Dublin. Thanks for the help!

  • MissChele

    Actually, it is SDF (Louisville) We have enough Avios for the BOS-DUB route but no availability. We are willing suck it up and pay if we have to. I have not flown since 2002, so I am researching now. Is one airline more kid-friendly or senior-friendly? We could fly out of another airport if it saves us a significant amount (and we love road trips)

  • TheMadBrewer

    I blame you :)

    I also love Dublin but had resigned myself to not making it this year. Then I read your post and I could’t stop thinking about it and finally broke down and book a trip in early April.

    It will also let me do “research” for a new project of mine: — check it out if you are interested in Irish Beer brewed by Irish Breweries :)



  • JustSaying

    That answer is giving me a cold headache……..I need more ice I think……

  • Corinne Sweet

    I agree with you. I visited once Dublin and there are so lovely people and they are absolutely sooo friendly. And helpful.

  • Lori

    Can you possibly send the link of your airbnb rental in dublin? I am going with a group of friends in Aug/Sept also for the penn state game and we are looking for a rental.


  • Jack Ryan

    I just read your review and being Dublin born & living in the city, it’s always nice to hear when people have a good time

    I am very curious about your picture from your airbnb “house”. From what I know of the city, looks like that view is from an office block..??, love to see the link to the property, as I have some friends visiting shorty and would love to recommend that location for them to stay in

  • Colm

    Thanks for the tip with the Avios. I’m in Canada and lived in Dublin for 4 years in my 20′s. And have used BOS-DUB with avios to visit a couple times. BUF-BOS is a cheap connector. I also paid about $120 in fees roundtrip though.

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