Where to Stay in Dublin: 9 Best Areas

In today’s article, we will be going over all the best areas to stay in Dublin. If you are planning a visit to the Irish capital but can’t quite decide where to stay in Dublin for first-time tourists, this post will help you make up your mind. By the end of the post, you will feel more familiar with the best places for nightlife, family, budget, one night, and the best hotels in the city center and near the airport.

With over a thousand years of history and culture, there is tons to see and do in Dublin to suit every vacation. Whether you just want to wander around the ancient sights or prefer a lively break spent crawling between the cosy pubs and bustling bars, you can find everything you could want in Dublin.

See more: 7 Best Areas to Stay in Belfast

As the capital city of the Republic of Ireland, Dublin offers all the best aspects that the Emerald Isle is known for. Before we get into the details of the best places to stay in Dublin Ireland, I have a few quick comments on Dublin as a whole. 

Firstly, currency. It is easy for foreigners to confuse the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Make sure that you bring euros with you to Dublin, not pounds.

Dublin is overall a very safe city, so that is not something you will really have to worry about. If it is still your top concern though, consider staying in the more affluent areas like the Docklands, statistically the safest in the city.

Whilst Dublin is the biggest city in Ireland, with a population of just under a million people, it is still pretty compact compared to other capitals around the world. As such, no matter which area you decide to stay in you will still be able to visit all the sights with ease. 

Do not worry too much if your favourite area doesn’t match to your budget or other needs. You will still be able to comfortably explore your favourite districts with ease. Dublin has a super reliable and comprehensive bus, tram, and rail network that will have you zipping around the city in no time. 

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Where To Stay in Dublin: 9 Best Areas to stay in Dublin

To help you come to a final decision on where to stay in Ireland’s capital city, I have handpicked the nine best Dublin neighbourhoods for visitors to consider basing their trip.

For each neighbourhood I have provided a detailed breakdown of the nearby attractions, what kind of budget it is best for, and the general atmosphere. If you are in a hurry, I have included bullet points of the main features so you can easily identify which areas best suit you.

1. O’Connell Street, the best area where to stay in Dublin

O’Connell Street is the most central part of Dublin. The street runs right through the heart of the city centre, through both the north and south, thanks to the O’Connell Bridge river crossing. If staying as close to the centre of the city as possible is your top priority, then O’Connell Street is the place to go. 

The General Post Office, considered the absolute centre point for the city, is located along O’Connell Street. If you choose a hotel within walking distance of this landmark, you know you are staying as central as you can get. With its grand columned façade, you will definitely know when you see it. 

The area itself is a hub of shopping and hospitality. O’Connell Street and the roads leading off from it are lined with numerous well-known brands. This includes the pedestrian Henry Street, one of the oldest and most famous shopping areas in Dublin, second only to Grafton Street in the south.

In amongst the shops and boutiques you will find plenty of restaurants and traditional Irish pubs to take a cosy break. In the evenings the street comes alive with live music venues hosting various local artists. 

It’s not just shopping and dining to be found here though. Most of Dublin’s main attractions are a short walk across the river Liffey, while there are plenty of things to see and do in the immediate area too. 

Several statues and monuments line O’Connell Street which are worth keeping an eye out for. O’Connell Street is named for the nationalist politician Daniel O’Connell and so it is fitting that one of these monuments, right by the north end of O’Connell Bridge would be dedicated to him. 

One of the most notable sculptures along O’Connell Street is the Spire of Dublin. Also known as the Monument of Light, at 120m tall, the spire is one of the world’s tallest sculptures. 

For a more historical landmark, head to St Mary’s Pro Cathedral, just around the corner from the Spire. Bedecked both inside and out with statues and sculptures, the grand columned building is unlike the mostly spired cathedrals you may have seen before.

No visit to Ireland would be complete without a visit to the National Leprechaun Museum. Just a short walk to the west of O’Connell Street, the museum offers fanciful exhibits of Ireland’s numerous myths and legends. 

If you are visiting Dublin for a romantic break, you will definitely want to pay a visit to Ha’penny Bridge. The quaint iron bridge, with its curving arches and glowing lanterns, is one of the most beautiful spots in Dublin, especially at sunset. 

Come here to watch the sun go down over the River Liffey and leave your own love lock on the railings.

Between the crowds of shoppers during the day and the flocks of partygoers that come out at night, O’Connell Street is rarely quiet. Whilst this is great if you are looking for a lively area that never sleeps, it is not ideal for anyone looking for a quiet, laid-back vacation. 

One thing worth noting if you are flying into Dublin airport, O’Connell Street is where many of the buses and coaches shuttling passengers from the airport to central Dublin terminate. If you are not hiring a car and don’t want to shell out for a taxi, you will likely find yourself being dropped off along here. 

O’Connell Street is also the best area to stay if you are looking for where to stay in Dublin for one night. It’s in central locations and offers easy access to other parts of the city and the airport.

That means it will make your journey to and from your hotel easier if you book accommodation close by. Less effort spent lugging your bags between bus connections. 

Stay In O’Connell Street If You are looking for the best area where to stay in Dublin for first-time tourists and want to stay right at the heart of Dublin’s city centre; Hitting the shops is one of your favourite vacation activities; You want to stay somewhere where there is always something to do, no matter the time of day or night.

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🎬 Check out my virtual tour about the best places to stay in in this video or continue reading:

Where to stay in Dublin: Best Areas to stay in Dublin, Ireland

2. Temple Bar, where to stay in Dublin for nightlife

Just across the River Liffey from O’Connell Street, Temple bar is the best place to stay if you want fantastic nightlife right at the heart of Dublin city centre. Home to many of Dublin’s top attractions, this is a great location to stay if you want plenty to do both day and night.

Often dubbed ‘Dublin’s cultural quarter,’ Temple Bar is heaving with packed pubs and bars. It is also where you will find tons of live music venues, where you can listen to performances by local artists and bands. 

This is also the centre of Dublin’s LGBT nightlife and community. If having plenty of LGBT friendly bars and nightclubs on your doorstep is a priority for you, then this is the best area to stay.

As well as enjoying the performances of Dublin’s up and coming musicians, you can also visit the Irish Rock ‘n’ Roll Museum to gain some fresh insights into the numerous world-famous acts that hail from Ireland.

It is not just Ireland’s musical heritage that is celebrated in Temple Bar either. The Irish Film Institute is a great venue that celebrates independent films in their three theatres. There is even an on-site bar and café where you can relax and discuss your film. 

If you prefer your film arts of the static variety, the Irish Gallery of Photography is just around the corner. More than just an exhibition of Ireland’s finest photographic works, the gallery also houses its own dark rooms and processing facilities.

In keeping with being Dublin’s cultural quarter, Temple bar is within walking distance of the home of one of Ireland’s most famous culinary exports, Guinness. The Guinness Storehouse is located at the St James’ Gate Brewery and boasts seven floors of exhibits and bars dedicated to the stout. 

Even if you are not the biggest fan of Guinness, the Guinness storehouse is worth visiting for the rooftop bar alone. Offering 360° views over Dublin, this is one of the best places in the city to relax with a drink. 

If you are wondering where to stay in Dublin to take in as many of the main attractions as possible, then the Temple Bar area is a great one to consider. You will find some of the city’s top sights in the neighbourhood or within walking distance of it. 

Dublin Castle is one of the oldest structures in the city, with its original features dating back to 1204. Visitors can tour the state rooms and grounds or browse the two attached museums. Dublin Castle is right behind City Hall, which is also open for tours.

Just around the corner from the castle is St Patrick’s Cathedral. Built around the same time as the castle, this is a magnificent building and one of the top tourist attractions in Dublin. The grand atmosphere of the ancient church is compounded by the daily musical recitals held here. 

St Patrick’s is not the only notable cathedral in Temple Bar. Christ Church Cathedral is just a two-minute walk away towards the river. Even older than St Patricks, the current Christ Church building was built in the late 12th century.

Visitors can enjoy various tours of the cathedral, either by yourself or with a guide. Whilst the cathedral interior is lovely, the true treasures lay within the crypts. Home to royal artefacts and historic documents, make sure to also visit the mummified cat and rat on display. 

Temple Bar is one of the most popular and touristy areas of the city. Super central and with tons to do, it is easy to see why. However, that does come with the caveat of higher rates for everything from nights out to accommodation. 

With such high demand in the area, there are tons of options to choose from, including some of the best hotels in the city. There are some more affordable options to be found if you know where to look, but generally this is not the best area if to stay if you are trying to keep to a strict budget. 

Stay In Temple Bar If It is your first-time visiting Dublin, and you want to see all the main attractions; You are visiting for a shorter stay and want to fit in as much as possible; Staying close to vibrant nightlife is a top priority; Being close to LGBT friendly nightlife is a plus.

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3. Trinity, Grafton Street, and St Stephen’s Green, where to stay in Dublin on budget

Just to the east of Temple Bar, the Trinity area is another vibrant neighbourhood at the heart of Dublin city centre. Stretching along the south bank of the River Liffey, right where O’Connell Street crosses the water, this is a super central location, perfect for exploring the sights of Dublin. 

This area is home to the prestigious Trinity College and so has a big student population. This is reflected in the vibrant nightlife scene you can find in the area. Being so close to Temple Bay, the two districts’ nightlife scenes blend into one another. 

The nightlife around Trinity college is generally catered more towards the younger, student population. If you want to get away from the more touristy Temple Bar scene, this is a great alternative. 

Trinity College itself is also worth a visit. 

The Book of Kells is the most popular tourist attraction in Trinity College, and one of the top attractions of Dublin. An illustrated copy of the new testament dating back to the 9th century, the Book of Kells is significant for its intricate illuminations and impeccable preservation.

Being so popular with students, and those visiting said students, there is plenty of demand for affordable accommodation in the Trinity area. If you want to stay right at the heart of central Dublin without breaking the bank, then this is the best area to consider. 

Being so close to the city centre, you will be within comfortable walking distance of many exciting attractions. However, there are also plenty of interesting things to see and do in the area around Trinity College.

In keeping with the academic atmosphere, the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology & National Museum of Ireland Natural History are both just a short walk from the university campus.

If you love history, you should definitely pay a visit to both, which is super easy considering they are in adjacent buildings. 

If you prefer appreciating art over stuffy history artefacts, The National Gallery is right next door to the Natural History Museum. The National Gallery is home to some of the finest artwork in Ireland and is definitely worth visiting to complete your dark academia adventure. 

Alternatively, perhaps you want a reprieve from all the academia in general. In that case, consider appreciating another aspect of Ireland’s cultural significance with a visit to the Irish Whiskey Museum.

In contrast to the affordable student district of trinity, Grafton Street is one of the top places to go in Dublin for high-end shopping. With an excellent mix of independent boutiques and well-known luxury brands, if you love indulgent shopping sprees then you must visit Grafton Street.

In amongst all of Grafton Street’s fancy boutiques, you can also find a number of small art galleries. If you want to pick up some pieces by local Dublin artists, you will have plenty of opportunity to find something you love along Grafton Street.

St Stephen’s Green marks the west end of the Southern Georgian Dublin area. Around here you can find lots of charming historic buildings and red brick houses. 

St Stephen’s Green itself is a lovely public park. With manicured lawns and gardens, a lake with a waterfall, and numerous statues and monuments, St Stephen’s Green is a lovely place to enjoy a picnic and take a break from the inner-city crowds. 

The northwest corner of St Stephen’s Park is marked by Fusilier’s arch. A monument to those who died at war, it still bears the bullet holes from a 1916 uprising against British rule. Another landmark to add to your historical tour of the area. 

The lovely National Concert Hall is immediately south of St Stephen’s Green. Even if you can’t find the time to see a show here, it is still worth passing by. The building itself is a wonderful example of the historic architecture of the area. 

Stay In Trinity, Grafton Street, And St Stephen’s Green If you’re looking for where to stay in Dublin on a budget; You are hoping to find affordable accommodation close to the city centre; You have a love of the academic atmosphere; Having plenty of nightlife options nearby is ideal; You are visiting Trinity College or a student studying there.

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4. Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square

Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square are located in the Southern Georgian Dublin area. The city’s rich history is evident in the stunning historic architecture you will find throughout the area. With its quaint Cobblestone streets and charming brick houses, this is one of Dublin’s most romantic areas. 

It is a particularly great location if you are planning a honeymoon or romantic escape. The area has a wonderful atmosphere, with fewer tourists than the city centre, whilst still providing easy access to the main sights and attractions. 

Being quieter and less crowded, whilst also within a short walk of the city centre, this is a fabulous location to stay if you are visiting with children. There are several parks in the area to allow kids some space to roam and you won’t have too much trouble shepherding them to and from the sights. 

Any foodies visiting Dublin will definitely want to stop by the Merrion Square area. There are several Michelin starred restaurants in and around the area; perfect for date nights. 

There is also the Merrion Square Street food Market on Thursday afternoons. Visitors can browse a plethora of vendors selling a variety of cuisines and dishes. On a nice day, it is the perfect place to go for lunch and enjoy a picnic in the square.

Merrion Square is surrounded by popular attractions and facilities. The Natural History Museum, the National Museum of Archaeology, and the National Gallery are all right next to the square.

Literature lovers may know that Oscar Wilde once lived on the square. The house in which he resided has been converted into a museum. The Oscar Wilde House can be found by the northwest corner of Merrion Square and is furnished in the style that Oscar Wilde would have known. 

Like neighbouring Trinity, being just outside of the main city centre allows you to enjoy lower rates for accommodation, whilst still staying in a super convenient location. You can find plenty of quality affordable hotels within walking distance of top attractions. 

Of course, if you have a higher budget for accommodation, there are some really lovely hotels in the area too. If you are planning a honeymoon or romantic weekend, why not splurge on a room with views of one of the parks or grand museums?

Stay In Merrion Square and Fitzwilliam Square If you want to be immersed in Dublin’s historic atmosphere; you are planning a family vacation; you are planning a romantic getaway; you are hoping for affordable accommodation close to the city centre.

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5. Portobello, best area to stay in Dublin for family

To the south of Temple Bar, Portobello is a more residential area, just removed from the main city centre enough to be considerably less touristy. Portobello is an upmarket neighbourhood with a quieter, more relaxed atmosphere, which is ideal if you are hoping for a more laid-back vacation. 

Without the pressure to appeal to tourists, the shopping and hospitality in the Portobello area feels much more authentic. The neighbourhood has a comfortable village vibe, despite being just a fifteen-minute walk from the city centre.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the buzzing inner city, this is a great place to stay if you are planning a family vacation. There is more space for kids to spread out, without the fear of losing them in the crowds. 

Once home to Dublin’s Little Jerusalem, much of the Jewish presence in the area has dissipated. However, its legacy remains in the kosher delis and bakeries that can still be found around the South Circular road. 

If you need a break from the press of the city, you can head to Iveagh Gardens. The leafy Victorian park boasts manicured lawn gardens with a maze, fountains, and a beautiful waterfall. The perfect place to relax on a sunny afternoon.

The Grand Canal runs along the southern edge of Portobello. Lined with leafy pathways, the Grand Canal is a lovely place to enjoy a scenic walk on a pleasant afternoon. There are also several bars and cafes along the Grand Canal where you can enjoy dinner and drinks while watching the boats drift by. 

Being a more residential area, there are fewer hotels to be found here than in the more touristy locations. Mostly they are concentrated along the eastern edge of Portobello, close to Iveagh Gardens. 

Being further out of the city centre, and less in demand with tourists, the prices for accommodation here are very reasonable. If you are looking for affordable accommodation in a more upmarket area, this is a great place to look. 

Stay In Portobello If you are looking for where to stay in Dublin with family; you want to stay in a more laid-back area with a residential vibe; you are looking for a less touristy area that is still within a short walk of the city centre.

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6. Phibsborough, the coolest neighbourhoods in Dublin

Previously one of Dublin’s underdeveloped areas, the Phibsborough neighbourhood has been undergoing a transformation in recent years. Elevated from its neglected roots, this is now one of the coolest areas in the city. 

If you are looking for Dublin’s hipster crowd, this is where you will find them. Responsible for much of the area’s renovation, you can feel the hipster influence in the many cosy coffee shops and vintage boutiques throughout the area. 

One of the neatest quirks of Phibsborough’s regeneration lies in how much of its gritty past remains. You will find lots of cafes, pubs, restaurants, and bars proudly housed in abandoned buildings, converted just enough to meet safety regulations whilst preserving the dilapidated edge. 

If you love spotting street art, then you will have a great time in Phibsborough. Like many areas with rougher pasts, the streets here are often full of murals. You might have to sift through a fair few scribbled tags, but you are sure to spot a masterpiece or two on a walk about Phibsborough.

The Royal Canal runs along the north of Phibsborough. A lovely place to enjoy a walk, the tree lined canal offers a reprieve from the press of the city. 

You can spend a peaceful afternoon watching the river boats and barges drift by. There are a few pubs and bars close to the waterfront that are particularly lovely in the summer. 

Just the other side of the Royal Canal are the National Botanic Gardens. With a beautiful Victorian glasshouse, numerous gardens, and thousands of plants, this is a wonderful place to explore. There are also plenty of lakes, streams, and brilliant statues and ornaments to discover around every corner. 

Being further out from the city centre, and still in the process of being elevated from a less desirable neighbourhood, accommodation here is typically more affordable than the more touristy inner-city districts. 

Budget travellers who don’t mind not being right in the heart of the city can snag some great bargains here. In keeping with the hipster aesthetic, you can find some really interesting accommodation options around Phibsborough.

Stay In Phibsborough If You want to stay in one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Dublin; You do not mind being a little further out from the city centre; Sightseeing is not a top priority; It is not your first time visiting Dublin.

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7. The Docklands, an upscale and modern area to stay in Dublin

Also known as Silicon Docks, the Docklands are one of the most affluent areas in Dublin. If you are planning a luxury vacation, then this is certainly a top neighbourhood to consider. 

The heart of the city’s tech industry, the Docklands are the favourite of wealthy entrepreneurs and high-flying businesspeople. 

In contrast to the historic buildings you will find throughout Dublin, the Docklands area is a hub of modern architecture. Here you will find towering skyscrapers forming a sparkling hypermodern metropolis of metal and glass. 

For all that it is a bustling centre of innovation and business, the Docklands are still fairly underappreciated by tourists and so are actually reasonably quiet. At least compared to the city centre that is. 

Do not worry that you will be too far removed from the city centre though. The Docklands are just a short walk east of O’Connell Street, so you will still have easy access to all the top sights and attractions of Dublin.

Although it may be lacking the historic atmosphere you would find elsewhere in Dublin, there are still plenty of cultural attractions to enjoy within the Docklands. 

Some of the old warehouses lining the river have been converted into lively shopping and dining centres. You can enjoy a high-class wining and dining experience whilst also taking in the history of the area.

Other warehouses have been adapted into museums and cultural centres, as is the case with EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. EPIC houses various exhibits documenting the spread and influence of the Irish diaspora across the world. 

Just along the riverfront from EPIC is the Jeanie Johnson Replica ship. They make a great pair of attractions to visit as the Jeanie Johnson is a full size and boardable replica of a ship that took emigrating Irish people to America during the great famine in the 19th century.

In fact, there is quite a lot to see along the riverfront, such as the beautiful Samuel Beckett Bridge, often likened to a harp. If you would prefer to enjoy it from the water, companies offering river cruise tours can be found along this stretch of the riverbank. 

There are also numerous events venues in the Docklands area, so it is a popular place to stay for those attending conventions and shows. The Dublin Convention Centre is right by the waterfront, and, with over twenty-two events spaces, there is always something going on here. 

Meanwhile, the 3Arena is one of Dublin’s top live music venues. Between the convention centre and the 3Arena, this area can get pretty busy, and pricey, around big events, so take that into consideration when planning your trip. 

Being such an affluent area and popular with affluent businesspeople and luxury travellers, this is not the best place to go looking for affordable accommodation. However, if you have a more generous budget, you can choose from some of the best hotels in Dublin. 

Stay In The Docklands If you are planning an indulgent, luxury break; you have a generous budget for accommodation; you want a less touristy area that is still lively and close to the city centre; you are attending an event at the Dublin Convention Centre.

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8. Smithfield, a trendy neighbourhood to stay in Dublin

Another of Dublin’s gentrified industrial districts, Smithfield is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the city. Many of the former warehouses and industrial buildings have been converted into hospitality venues. 

You will find lots of quirky cafes and fashionable bars housed in old factories and workhouses. As you can imagine, this is one of the most popular areas with Dublin’s hipster crowd, so you can find tons of cosy cafes and vintage stores to browse. 

The centre point of Smithfield is the charming, cobbled Smithfield Square. Throughout the year, the square hosts numerous markets, festivals, and public events. It is a lively area that is always worth swinging by to see what is going on. 

In addition to the occasional open-air concerts you can enjoy at Smithfield Square, Smithfield is also known for its many pubs and taprooms hosting frequent live music acts. If you prefer your nightlife a little less rowdy but no less lively, then this is a wonderful place to go for after-dark entertainment.

Just a comfortable walk from the more crowded nightlife of Temple Bar, you can easily pick and choose what kind of evening you want as you go. 

One of the top attractions in the Smithfield area is the Jameson Distillery. Located on Bow Street, here you can enjoy tastings of the world-famous whiskey, as well as sample food pairings and learn about the distilling process. 

Combine a visit to the Jameson Distillery with a trip to the Guinness Storehouse across the river and you have a perfectly themed day out.

One of the most affordable areas of the city, it is within easy walking distance of the city centre. If you are wondering where to stay in Dublin to enjoy the best of both budget friendly accommodation and convenient location, you should strongly consider Smithfield. 

Stay In Smithfield If You are working with a tighter budget; Staying right in the centre of the city is not a major priority; You want to stay in an edgy, up and coming neighbourhood.

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9. Stoneybatter, best area to stay in Dublin for young and quiet atmostphere

Stoneybatter is another of Dublin’s outer city areas that has seen a significant increase in popularity in recent years. Rising prices in the city centre have been pushing the younger population out into the suburbs, where they have been regenerating previously underappreciated neighbourhoods. 

Now home to a thriving population of students and young families, Stoneybatter is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Dublin. Here you can find numerous fashionable coffeeshops, bars, and restaurants. 

A little more removed from the city centre than some other districts in this neighbourhood guide, Stoneybatter has a much quieter atmosphere. Free from the crowds of tourists and much more residential, this area is ideal for anyone who wants to experience living like a local.

It is also perfect for anyone travelling with children. With fewer crowds to get lost in and plenty of open space and public parks, this is the perfect location for a family vacation. Even though it is not in the city centre, it is just a pleasant walk along the river to the main attractions of Dublin.

To the west of Stoneybatter is the massive Phoenix Park, one of the largest inner-city parks in the world. The park is full of historical landmarks including the Magazine Fort and various monuments. In addition to its massive fields, the park offers seemingly endless trails around lakes and through small woods. 

Several cafes and tea rooms surround the park. On a sunny day you can relax on the grass with a picnic, whilst on more overcast afternoons you can escape into a cosy café and enjoy the scenic view. 

Phoenix Park is also home to Dublin Zoo. With hundreds of species and habitats, along with cafes and educational activities, this is a perfect family friendly attraction. 

Being less popular with tourists than the city centre neighbourhoods, rates for accommodation here are much more competitive. If you are looking for affordable lodgings and being right in the heart of the city is not your top priority, then this is a great place to consider. 

Stay In Stoneybatter If You are happy to stay further outside of the city centre; You are planning a family vacation with children; It is not your first time visiting Dublin.

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By now, you should be feeling much more confident on where to stay in Dublin to get the most out of your vacation. Whether you are planning a family vacation, a romantic getaway, or a lively party weekend, there is sure to be a Dublin neighbourhood that suits you. 

Once you have decided on the perfect location for your vacation, it is time to look at booking your accommodation. I have also included plenty of suggestions of the best hotels in the city, so you are just a few clicks away from planning your ideal trip to Dublin.

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