BUDGET ideas from SHAWN POGATCHNIK
Dublin isn’t cheap. But the compact Irish capital is exceptionally walkable, with a wide range of free attractions easily reached on foot from any downtown hotel. Live music might cost no more than the pint that’s probably in your hand. Exhilarating seaside hikes with a salty breeze are just a 15-minute train trip away. Here are five pointers for free fun in Ireland.
Urban hikes Dublin Tourism offers free downloadable podcasts and maps to explore Dublin’s urban heart, castles and coastlines. The most popular is the guide from Trinity College to the Guinness brewery. Dublin City Council has just launched a network of free Wi-Fi hotspots.
Pub music There’s zero chance you’ll complete these wanderings without stopping in numerous public houses. And no, the beverages inside are never free. But traditional Irish music often is, and there’s no obligation to imbibe while you listen. The most famous pub for live “trad” performances is O’Donoghue’s.
Parks No visitor escapes Dublin without walking through its heart, St. Stephen’s Green, where in summertime there are frequent music performances.
But don’t miss Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square, both surrounded by Georgian-era properties. Merrion has a new statue of Oscar Wilde lounging on a boulder. Phoenix Park is the biggest urban park in Europe.
Museums All of Ireland’s state-funded museums are free and most are next to each other. Try the National Library (with exhibits on James Joyce and W.B. Yeats), the Archaeology Museum or the Natural History Museum.
Coastal hikes You’re going to want to see a bit of the rest of Ireland, so pack hiking boots and rain gear.
The DART rail service hugs the coastline and drops you at popular trailheads with ocean views.
The mud is a free souvenir!