The Best Neighbourhoods To Stay In And Around In Dublin City Centre

best neighbourhoods to stay in dublin
Photo Provided By Devin McGloin – Unsplash

Dublin is ever-evolving. Its popularity means that there are an increasing number of districts competing to be among the best neighbourhoods to stay in and around the city centre. Its population now exceeds half a million, with a million more in the metropolitan area as a whole. That represents almost 30% of the national total.

Ireland’s capital has a good transport infrastructure, including the Dublin Area Rapid Transit (DART) system. As a result, it is relatively easy to get around the city. Everywhere is accessible.  

The centre of the city is an extremely popular area to book among tourists, but it is the district in Dublin with the most expensive accommodation. The DART’s comprehensive timetable covers the centre and the coastal parts of Dublin. Its coverage stretches from Malahide in the north to places like Greystones in the south. You should take this into account when deciding where to stay in Dublin, whether it’s for a family stay or a weekend away with your friends. That is a decision that all 10 million annual visitors to Dublin have to make.

Here are 10 candidates for the best neighbourhoods to stay in and around Dublin city centre.

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best neighbourhoods to stay in dublin

The Best Locations To Stay In Dublin

The North Inner City

best neighbourhoods to stay in dublin
Photo Provided By Gregory DALLEAU – Unsplash

Staying in the city centre may not be for everyone, but it definitely scores for convenience if you want access to the best bars and restaurants. You’ll have more of a chance of finding budget-friendly accommodations on the north side compared to the south side since the north isn’t as popular. The River Liffey flows through Dublin, and on its north side, D1, everything you need is on your doorstep.

This is where your choice of restaurants is extensive. It is also where you find a few of Dublin’s tourist attractions. These include two famous museums: the Irish Emigration Museum and the National Leprechaun Museum. This neighbourhood stretches along the Liffey until it reaches the Irish Sea.

Stoneybatter, D7, is just to the west and is one of the districts where regeneration is ongoing. While it has yet to become as busy as D1, it may just be a matter of time.

Hotel recommendation around the north inner city: Jurys Inn Parnell Street

The South Inner City

best neighbourhoods to stay in dublin
Photo Provided By Ptrabattoni – Pixabay

Directly over the Liffey from D1, you remain in a district where the nightlife is almost non-stop. Dublin 2 is a wealthy neighbourhood that is slightly more expensive than Dublin 1. It’s a relatively small neighbourhood with plenty of demand for accommodations and lodging, both from tourists and residents. First timers tend to stay here because it’s close to everything.

Most tourists have Temple Bar on their itineraries, and D2 is where you will find it. It is Dublin’s top nightlife neighbourhood with plenty of bars, music, and restaurants. In addition, there is Dublin Castle, the National Archaeology Museum, and the Book of Kells. The Book, in the Trinity College Library, is an ancient Latin manuscript dating back to around 800 AD. It includes four gospels from the New Testament and gets its name from the Abbey of Kells in Meath, which was its home for centuries.

Hotel recommendation around the south inner city: Trinity City Hotel


best neighbourhoods to stay in dublin
Photo Provided By Infomatique – “LA TOUCHE BRIDGE ACROSS THE GRAND CANAL [PORTOBELLO AREA OF DUBLIN] A-121519” – Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Portobello borders D2. The obvious advantage of Portobello, Dublin 8, is its proximity to the city centre at a lower cost. An adjective that best describes Portobello is trendy. You will find craft beers, bookshops, eateries with interesting menus, and plenty of opportunities to practise yoga. 

Many of the locals come from the younger generation, often bohemians looking for the unconventional. The proximity of Trinity College results in a significant student population. On weekends when the weather is nice, crowds line the canal in outdoor drinking establishments. Portobello is an excellent choice for a base because it is slightly quieter than the true heart of the city.

Nearby attractions that appeal to tourists include the Irish Jewish Museum, Christchurch Cathedral, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

Hotel recommendation around Portobello: The Portobello Hotel


Photo Provided By Infomatique – “RANELAGH Ref-1141” – Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Ranelagh is southeast of Portobello, which many people tend to overlook, outside of Dublin’s main city centre, across the Grand Canal, and within D6. It has a diverse population of locals, expats and young couples who enjoy a neighbourhood that is both residential and fairly central. It’s also one of the cheaper and arguably best places to stay in and around Dublin’s city centre.

The good transport infrastructure means that the attractions in the centre are easily accessible, yet it has the feel of a separate small village with leafy avenues and plenty of fine homes. The houses, both Victorian and Edwardian, are impressive and even a tourist attraction in themselves.

Hotel recommendation around Ranelagh: The Devlin Hotel

The Docklands


The Docklands deserve separate consideration despite being within the neighbourhoods already mentioned. This neighbourhood, on either side of the Liffey, is one where regeneration has produced modern architecture alongside the classical. 

Historical structures stand alongside others where glass seems to be the predominant material. Sympathetic development means that the Docklands has lost none of its original atmospheres. As locals seek a place slightly away from the bustle of the centre, the Docklands is a choice many are making.

Boats and water are always present in Dublin Bay, the region where the Liffey enters the sea, and its canals. Ferries run from here, through Dublin, to the United Kingdom and less frequently elsewhere.

Hotel recommendation around the Docklands: The Hilton Garden Inn

The Liberties

Photo Provided By Infomatique – “THOMAS STREET IN THE LIBERTIES OF DUBLIN” – Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0.

One of the oldest neighbourhoods in Dublin is The Liberties, a district with old churches and cathedrals. Its history dates back 800 years, and walking its ancient streets is a real experience. Today, traditional pubs and weekend markets attract significant numbers. Antique shops and art galleries add to the everyday attractions, but there is more.

Dublinia is a museum that demonstrates many aspects of Viking history. You are also close to Dublin Castle and Christ Church Cathedral. The Guinness Storehouse celebrates the beloved Irish beer, a drink every visitor to Dublin must sample. The Liberties Distillery Trail will test your stamina with breweries and distilleries along the route.

Hotel recommendation around the Liberties: The Hyatt Centric


Photo Provided By Infomatique – “DRUMCONDRA VILLAGE [UPPER DRUMCONDRA ROAD]-158657” – Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0.

One of the best suburbs for families in Dublin is Drumcondra. Its affordability for locals means that its population is a mix of young people, students, and working-class families. Despite the younger element, Drumcondra remains a tranquil neighbourhood. The proximity of parks and the National Botanic Gardens means that there is plenty of opportunity for outdoor activities.

There is plenty of choices when it comes to food and drink. While some of the pubs are no longer as authentic as previously, you will still find charming and traditional drinking places.

Hotel recommendation around Drumcondra: The Maples House Hotel


Photo Provided By Infomatique – “Ballsbridge In Dublin (Ireland)” – Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0.

One of central Dublin’s largest districts, home to professionals and high earners, is D4. It covers the districts that include Ballsbridge, Donnybrook, and Sandymount. It is east of D2 on the south side of the Liffey. The heart of the city is easily accessible, yet D4 does not have the bustle of the centre.

The Dublin 4 area is filled with expensive restaurants and places to stay, as well as some of the best bars that cater to the relatively wealthy people who have made their homes there. It remains a quiet neighbourhood with the advantage of open spaces and the shoreline of Sandymount Beach.

Hotel recommendation around Dublin 4: The Mespil Hotel


Photo Provided By Infomatique – “CHRISTMAS LIGHTS 2014 SMITHFIELD IN DUBLIN REF-100860” – Licensed Under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Smithfield in D7 runs north from the Liffey. It was originally a district with many warehouses, but today it has plenty of cafes, bistros, and craft beer establishments. Add the opportunity to listen to live music and the food fairs, as well as the flea markets in Smithfield Square, and you have one of the best neighbourhoods to stay in Dublin. 

If you are in Smithfield, you must go to the Jameson Distillery; you will be very welcome on an organised tour. You will be given a whiskey on the rocks and learn about the whole distilling process. There are elements of culture as well. The National Museum of Ireland Decorative Arts, housed in an old army barracks, does include much about military history alongside decorative items.

Hotel recommendation around Smithfield: The Hendrick Dublin


Photo Provided By Leandro’s World Tour – “Royal Hospital Kilmainham” – Licensed Under CC BY 2.0.

This emerging neighbourhood, also in D8 is south of the Liffey and west of the city centre. It could be described as the beginning of suburbia, yet it has many attractions. A few things stand out. They include the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Kilmainham Gaol, which was the prison used both for executions following the 1916 uprising and to house many who joined the struggle for Irish independence. Another is the Irish National War Memorial Gardens by the waterside, with its paths allowing you to stroll around and admire the landscaping. If you want refreshments, you will find plenty of trendy bistros and restaurants, as well as a good choice of traditional pubs.

Hotel recommendation around Kilmainham: The Hilton Dublin Kilmainham Hotel

Other Neighbourhoods You Can Stay In Outside Of Dublin’s City Centre

  • Howth
  • Dun Laoghaire
  • Killiney
  • Portmarnock
  • Clontarf
  • Glasnevin

And That’s Where You’ll Find The Best Accommodation In Dublin!

Many established cities in the world are undergoing regeneration, and Dublin is no exception. The appetite for regeneration comes from two different demands. The first category is residential housing for people moving to the city for work or for the younger generation looking for their first home. The second is the growth in tourism. COVID briefly halted that growth, but numbers are increasing once more.

Price is a significant factor in everyone’s decisions when visiting Dublin regardless if it’s for a 2-night stay or a 1-week holiday. It’s a matter of balancing price with a neighbourhood’s access to the services people require, and the city’s main attractions. The DART, as part of good transport infrastructure, means that neighbourhoods away from the city centre are developing all the time. 

Dublin is a city that never disappoints and is definitely worth visiting. If you want to enjoy its bustle, the heart of the city is for you. That said, within just a short distance from its very heart, you will find neighbourhoods where there are numerous attractions.

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