Where To Stay In Dublin Ireland: A Dubliners Guide To 6 Of The Best Areas

A No-BS Guide that'll help you discover the best areas

where to stay in Dublin Ireland

Deciding where to stay in Dublin can be a pain. In this guide, we’ll help you discover the best areas to stay in Dublin during your visit. We’ll also offer some very honest advice.

I’ve lived in Dublin for 30 years.

In that time, I’ve watched as areas that were once no-go parts of the city and wider county transformed into ‘hip’ spots where everyone wants to live and where funky pubs and cafes seem to spring up every other week.

Personally, I always find getting local advice on where to stay useful, as it tends to help you avoid the dodgy spots.

In the guide below, I’ll help you find where to stay in Dublin, regardless of your budget.

Christ Church cathedral dublin
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Where to stay in Dublin: Honest advice first

OK – I’m going to sound a little ranty over the next couple of paragraphs, but it’s for good reason.

In many of the guides on where to stay in Dublin that currently appear nice and high in Google, you’ll notice the same areas appearing time and time again.

You’ll also notice that few of the writers have visited all (if any, in some cases) of the areas they’re recommending. In the guide below, I’m recommending the best areas in Dublin that I know you’ll enjoy staying in, based on personal experience.

Translation? This is a bollox-free guide, as always!

I’m going to show you Dublin neighbourhoods that I’d happily recommend to a friend. Places that I’ve been to a hundred times over the years.

howth in dublin
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

The best area to stay in Dublin

  1. Dublin City Centre
  2. Portobello
  3. Howth
  4. Skerries
  5. Clontarf
  6. Phibsborough
  7. Stoneybatter
  8. Malahide
  9. Ballsbridge
  10. Temple Bar

Deciding where to stay in Dublin will be completely subjective, and should reflect your itinerary, i.e. if you’re in Dublin for a day, stay central; if you’re here for a week, find a base and explore the county.

However, your decision is going to also be influenced by the amount of cash you have to spend.

Below, you’ll find 7 of the best areas to stay in Dublin, in my opinion, along with commentary on cost of accommodation and advantages and disadvantages. 

Related read: Check out our guide to 11 of the most unique Airbnbs in Dublin (there’s some weird ones in there!).

1. Dublin city centre: For those looking to be nice and central

hapenny bridge dublin city
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

If you’re looking to be at the heart of the action, cast your net no further than Dublin city centre. 

You’ll be a stone’s throw from many of Dublin’s main tourist attractions, along with hundreds of bars and restaurants.

Where exactly should you stay in Dublin City? 9 times out of 10, this is going to boil down to budget.

There’s plenty of very swanky hotels in Dublin (like the historic Shelbourne Hotel) which will charge you an arm and a leg for a night. 

Where to stay in Dublin city (when you’re on a budget)

If I was on a budget, I wouldn’t look at Hotels or Guesthouses. After having a glance at the price of private rooms in hostels, I’d dodge them, also (unless you’re happy with a bed in a big-ass dorm).

If it was me, I’d go straight to Airbnb as you tend to get better bang for your buck there. 

Where to stay if you’re happy to splash the cash

2. Portobello: For nightlife (and great restaurants)

portobello

In my opinion, Portobello is one of the best areas in Dublin to plonk yourself for a few nights if you’re in Dublin for the nightlife.

It’s here that George Bernard Shaw was born and James Joyce, along with many others, had their fair share of tipples.

Portobello is home to (and close to) an almost endless number of bars and restaurants. It’s also right beside Camden Street, which boasts a heap of nightclubs and late-night bars.

It’ll take you around 20 minutes to walk from Portobello into the city centre, which is pretty handy.

Other essential info

  • Perfect for: Those looking to dive into Dublin’s nightlife
  • Advantages: You’ll be close to an endless number of restaurants, bars and nightclubs
  • Disadvantages: Accommodation here isn’t that reasonable

Where to stay

3 – 5. Howth, Skerries and Clontarf: For those looking to stay a bit outside the city (and near the sea) 

Howth skerries and clontarf on a map

If you’re visiting Dublin and you’re looking to stay outside of the city but within reasonable commuting distance, then get yourself to:

  • Howth (25 minutes on the train)
  • Skerries (37 minutes on the train)
  • Clontarf (10 minutes on the train).

These are three gorgeous areas in Dublin (Howth and Skerries are little fishing villages).

There’s an endless number of great bars, restaurants, and cafes in all three areas, and there’s also lots of lovely walks by the sea (there’s also a great cliff walk in Howth).

Other essential info

  • Perfect for: people who don’t mind staying a little outside the city
  • Advantages: You’re by the sea and each area is serviced by the DART (train)
  • Disadvantages: You’re not central (this isn’t the end of the world if you’re in Dublin for a long weekend or longer)

Where to stay

6 + 7. Phibsborough and Stoneybatter: For those looking to stay somewhere ‘hip’

best area to stay in dublin

While I hate using the words ‘hip’ and ‘hipster’, both are applicable to our next two Dublin neighbourhoods. 

Phibsborough and Stoneybatter are two buzzy Dublin neighbourhoods that in recent years have become hotspots for young wans and young fellas with wads of cash to buy houses.

Randombly enough, Phibsborough was named ‘one of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world’ by Time Out magazine. According to Time Out, the revival of Phibsborough’s Victorian buildings is one of the reasons that it should be a ‘go-to’ spot for those visiting Dublin. 

Both of these areas are within handy distance of Dublin City centre (Phibsborough is 15 minutes on the bus while Stoneybatter is 15-20).

Other essential info

  • Perfect for: people looking to experience some of Dublin’s buzzy neighbourhoods (that are still within spitting distance of town)
  • Advantages: You’ll be surrounded by heaps of funky pubs, restaurants, and cafes
  • Disadvantages: Accommodation isn’t overly cheap

Where to stay

8. Malahide: For those looking for a base to explore Dublin and Wicklow

malahide castle dublin
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Malahide is another gorgeous little seaside town in Dublin.

It’s also the perfect place to base yourself from if you’re here for a few days and you’re looking to explore Dublin City and the wider county. 

Malahide is a handy 25-minute drive from Dublin Airport and an even handier 25-minute train ride into Dublin City (when the trains are running on time…).

It’s also home to a castle, a gorgeous harbour, a beach, and an abundance of great restaurants and pubs.

Other essential info

  • Perfect for: people looking for a base to explore Dublin and Wicklow
  • Advantages: Plenty to do on your doorstep and a handy spin to the airport and the city
  • Disadvantages: Accommodation isn’t cheap

Where to stay

9. Ballsbridge: For reasonably priced hotels a stone’s throw from the city

ballsbridge dublin

So, when I went to write this guide, I never thought that I’d be including Ballsbridge.

If you’re not familiar with this part of Dublin, Ballsbridge is an affluent village where you’ll find embassies, offices, swanky boutiques and pubs. 

The reason that I didn’t think that I’d be including it is that I just assumed that the accommodation here would be extortionate, however, that isn’t the case.

Although it’s only 10 to 15 minutes on the bus or train from the city centre, accommodation is nice and reasonable (between 99 and 129 for a night in December).

Other essential info

  • Perfect for: People looking to stay near the city, but not smack bang in the middle
  • Advantages: Central location and surrounded by heaps of different walks and places to eat and drink
  • Disadvantages: None really!

Where to stay

10. In or near Temple Bar: For those looking to be among the mayhem

temple bar dublin
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

Right, so, just to be completely honest – I’d never recommend that anyone stays in Temple Bar when visiting Dublin.

The only reason that I’m popping it in here is that we receive so many questions about what it’s like to stay in.

Temple Bar is a tiny chunk of Dublin that’s known the world over, for some bizarre reason. The area tends to attract tourists by the boat-load, and while the bars here are buzzing, there’s nothing overly special about the place.

The only advantage (that I can see) of staying in Temple Bar is its location – it’s smack bang in the centre of the city.

There’s a travel blog with an article titled ‘Where to stay in Dublin for the best nightlife’, and it lists Temple Bar as the top spot.

These type of recommendations tend to come from people that have stayed in Dublin once, and that know a handful of areas outside of Temple Bar. Don’t believe them. There’s plenty of better spots to stay if you want to be close to the nightlife (see Portobello above).

Where to stay

Other essential info

  • Perfect for: People that want to stay central and admist a swarm of tourists
  • Advantages: You’ll be central
  • Disadvantages: Temple Bar can be messy (Hen and Stag parties frequent it) and is rarely not loud

Where to stay in Dublin: A final note

st patricks dublin
Photo © The Irish Road Trip

To wrap it all up, deciding where to stay in Dublin should generally be decided by your budget and your itinerary.

If you’re confused about the different areas of Dublin and want to ask a question, feel free to give me a shout in the comments section below.

I’ve done my best to tackle the most frequently asked questions that people have fired on about staying in Dublin below.

What is the best location to stay in Dublin?

The best location, according to many people that I speak to that are visiting Ireland, is the city centre, as it’s central, easy to get in and out of, for the most part, and close to all of the city’s main attractions.

Is Dublin City Centre safe?

The honest answer is yes and no. Dublin is like every other large city in the world; there’s a normal side to it where people obey the law and where people are friendly and courteous, and there’s a not so nice side. 

My advice would be to stay in one of the areas mentioned above and to be vigilant at all times. We have pickpockets in Dublin and we also have shitebags – aka undesirables that like to cause trouble.

Is it easy to walk around Dublin?

It’s easy to walk around Dublin city, yes. That being said, if you want to walk from O’Connell St. to the Papal Cross in the Phoenix Park, you’d want to have comfy footwear. 

County Dublin is a different story altogether. Dublin’s big. You’ll need to use public transport or a car if you want to go further afield.

We’re wondering where to stay in Dublin for one night?

Stay central, if possible. If you’re only in Dublin for one night and you’re looking to see the main attractions, you want to be as close to the action as possible.

Where to stay in Dublin for the first time?

If it’s your first time in Dublin, this visit is going to completely shape how you view the city. If you’re open to it, stay a little outside the city in a town on one of the train lines (like Howth or Malahide).

That way you can see a bit of county Dublin and explore some of the attractions outside of the city, while also being able to nip into the centre handily enough.

Have a question that I haven’t answered? Ask me below!

Howaya! Thanks for visiting the Irish road trip! This site exists to inspire and guide you on an Irish adventure that’ll give birth to a lifetime of memories (sounds very arsey altogether, I know!) You'll find everything from things to do in Ireland to where to stay in Ireland (unique and unusual places) if you have a nosey around!

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