Edited by Matthew Wears
Even though Dublin is one of the smallest European capitals, the city still has lots of different neighborhoods to visit, each with its own distinctly unique character. I think the best area to stay in Dublin depends on what you’re looking for, but I’ve managed to narrow it down to a few of my favorites for this Dublin neighborhood guide. For me, the south side of the city is where my heart’s at, so that’s where you’re going to find most of the areas on this list. It’s also worth mentioning that one of the main reasons I love Dublin so much is for the beautiful countryside that surrounds the city - it’s actually one of the biggest reasons why I moved here from Germany two years ago. So there are also a few outer suburbs that I think are well worth checking out if you get the chance. These little villages often have a totally different feel from inner-city Dublin, and it could make your trip to see somewhere a little bit different. There’ll be this and much more, so read on to find out exactly where to stay in Dublin, I promise there’s a spot that’s going to be just right for you!
City Center - Dublin One
Now, if I had a friend come over to see me, I’d almost definitely tell them to stay in the center of town on the north side of the river. To many people, this is the beating heart of Dublin, it’s where everything comes together to make the Dublin you’re all probably familiar with! There’s plenty to see and do, and of course there’s a fair share of bars for to explore here too. I’d say this is the best area to stay in Dublin if it’s your first time in the city, just because everything that you really have to see is all within walking distance to you. You’ve got most of the must-see attractions right on your doorstep really, such as the General Post Office, O’Connell Street and famous Dublin Spire. In terms of where to stay in Dublin city center, you’ll find it’s mostly mid-range and budget hotels on the northern side of the Liffey, so it’s just right if you’re trying to find out where to stay in Dublin with kids.
City Center - Dublin Two
Most people know that Dublin is a city of two fairly distinct halves, separated by the river Liffey that acts as the boundary between north and south. Dublin Two sits opposite Dublin One and makes up the south side city center. If you really want to know where to stay in Dublin for nightlife, then I think most people would agree that the south side of the city center is the place to be. You’ve got some of the most authentic Dublin bars in the whole city down here, not to mention the iconic Temple Bar which has become one of the most popular tourist bars in Ireland. For places to stay, it’s pretty much the same as Dublin One. There’s a good selection of hotels to choose from, as well as a few more quirky and traditional Airbnb's.
One of the reasons I love Dublin so much isn’t so much for the city itself, but the beautiful places that surround it, and Dalkey is one of these places for me. It’s a suburb in the very south-east of Dublin that’s home to pretty much all of the local celebrities, so expect lots of posh restaurants and fancy bars. As you might expect for the home of U2’s Bono, there’s a really classy atmosphere in Dalkey. It’s still got that quirky small village feeling that is unique to Ireland though, which I think makes it one of the best places to stay in Dublin for couples because it’s just so pretty. As well as vibrant bars, there’s so much amazing scenery down in the south of Dublin too. The coastline is pretty incredible, but the best part has to be the sweeping panoramic views from the top of Killiney Hill. As you might expect, the hotels here are just as fancy as everything else, so maybe save it for a special occasion.
If you want to find somewhere that’s a little bit off the beaten track, then I’d definitely recommend staying in Dún Laoghaire. This is actually just outside of the city center, but again it’s kind of almost like its own little village which makes it the best area to stay in Dublin if you want a bit of peace from the city. The village is famous for its really pretty harbor area, which is best experienced on a warm summer afternoon, just after lunch. It’s also got lots of bars, restaurants and shops for you to visit, far more than you might expect from a place this size. The Victorian style high-street is full of independent shops and quirky little boutique places for you to explore until your heart's content. If you’re looking for where to stay in Dublin that has less chain hotels and a bit more independent accommodation, then Dún Laoghaire is definitely your best bet.
Rathmines – Dublin Six
Dublin Six is another part of the city that I think could earn itself the title of best area to stay in Dublin. It’s just south of the city center, roughly about fifteen minutes’ walk away from most of the main attractions. It’s a really unique part of the city with some beautiful architecture and again lots of really nice bars to spend the evenings in. It’s kind of become a really popular hipster part of the city over the years, but it’s beginning to get a lot more expensive as more and more people buy houses and flats here. Even still, there are lots of great Airbnb's for you to stay here. This is probably the one place on this Dublin neighborhood guide that gives tourists just the right blend of city life without being right in the center of town. There’s still a buzz around the Rathmines area, it’s just going to be a much less touristy one.
If you ever wanted to know what part of Dublin to stay in which will give you a taste of the beautiful Irish countryside, then this is really it. Howth is another little place that feels like it’s not really connected to Dublin at, even though it kind of is. This time it’s to the north of the city, right where the coastal cliffs start to become very dramatic, which makes for some spectacular walking opportunities. As well as this, you can take a ferry to different parts of the city or even go on a dolphin cruise, which can be great if you’re travelling with kids. The accommodation options in Howth are mostly pretty basic bed and breakfasts, but they’ve got a lot of quirky charm about them and most likely a great view of the sea! To reach Howth, all you have to do get on the DART from the center of Dublin and you’ll be there in just thirty minutes.
If you want to find yourself something a bit fancier, then the best place to stay in Dublin for you would have to be Dublin Four. This is on the south side of the Liffey, right next to Dublin Two and Six, and it’s basically where all the posh folk live! This is where you’ll get all of the really luxurious hotels that are probably going to cost quite a bit too, so maybe avoid this part if you’re on a tight budget. With that being said, there’s still a fair bit to do down in D4. The Sandymount area especially has lots of little restaurants and bars that would make it ideal if you’re looking for a taste of the local Irish food. There’s also a fair amount of independent shops such as cobblers and bookshops too, which can be very interesting to look around one afternoon.
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