A very pretty Trinity College

Despite a questionable landing (are planes meant to bounce?) and a distinct lack of Colin Farrell lookalikes, I love Dublin. The accents are sexy (if indecipherable), the cocktails are yummy and the flights are cheap. So now you have no excuse not to visit this year.

Getting there

Better value than train travel across the UK, Ryanair offers some cheap flights to Dublin. Be aware though, the advertised fares do increase when you add ‘optional extras’ such as a boarding pass or permission to breathe onboard. That said, I still only paid around £45 for a return flight in February which was pretty bargainous. Regarding airport food, unless a £250 toastie made from vulcanised rubber sounds like your idea of a gastronomic delight it’s much cheaper (and nicer) to bring your own little plane picnic.

Where to stay

If a rich old relative has recently died and left you loads of money

For a spot of luxury, the Fitzwilliam Hotel near Grafton Street is the way forward. As well as some terribly posh and scrummy looking restaurants, the property also has its own beauty and nail spa. So if the pressures of shopping and sightseeing become overwhelming you can chill out and get yourself a spray tan instead (it’s the only way to come back from Ireland brown.)

If you want to spend most of your money on shoes

The Temple Bar Hotel is an ideal spot for weekend breaks as you’re right on the main drag; a stone’s throw from the city’s best cocktails. Rooms are clean and rates start from around 34 EUR per person per night.

If you’re really poor and shouldn’t even be going on holiday in the first place

Luckily for you, Dublin’s a popular backpacker destination so there’s plenty of choice when it comes to hostels. Try The Four Courts Hostel for its proximity to nightlife or Kinlay House for its excellent chill out areas.

Cultural stuff

The Leprechaun Museum.

A leprechaun’s view

Alright so strictly a visit to the Leprechaun Museum isn’t exactly cultural. But you do get to learn about fairies and play on giant furniture which is (if I’m honest) more enjoyable. Entrance is a little steep for a short tour at 10EUR but you get to see leprechauns. Which obviously overrides all negatives.

Trinity College

Universities aren’t usually a tourism hotspot but this one is particularly spectacular. It’s open year round for the public to wander round the grounds though entry to the Book of Kells exhibition costs 8EUR. One of Dublin’s most popular exhibits, the intricately decorated document attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year.

Kilmainham Gaol

Situated away from the city centre but accessible by the LUAS train transport system, tours of the old jail are really good value at 6EUR . You’ll get a full run down on Irish political history- which is great if you’re as geeky as me.

Shopping

All the usual high street shops are located on Grafton Street or in the city’s shopping malls. But given the current pound to Euro exchange rate there’s not much point in stocking up on M&S pants in Ireland. Instead take a wander around the Designer Mart, which takes place every Saturday on Cow’s Lane. Full of magical gems and delights, the market is a place for local Irish designers to show case their talents. A strictly tack free zone, stalls are packed with glass jewellery, handmade cards and vintage style clothes.

Places to eat and drink too much

Cocktails and chips

Much of Dublin’s nightlife is centred around the Temple Bar district, with a mixture of traditional Irish pubs and fancy cocktail bars. (The kind with snazzy twirly chairs.) Whilst Dublin is generally expensive, meals in Temple Bar are quite affordable, with most pubs averaging around 10-15 EUR for a main course.

Saving cash: There’s a food market held in Temple Bar every Saturday, which is a great way to try local treats without the hefty price tag.

Splashing cash: For something a bit fancy the Merrion Hotel’s Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud  has two Michelin stars and an excellent reputation (with prices to match!)