Where to stay in Dublin

written by
Lottie Gross

updated 12.12.2022

The Irish capital has an infectious frivolity about it. There’s the wild nightlife of Temple Bar, the glorious Victorian park that is St Stephen’s Green and the River Liffey. By its banks, bars and restaurants overlook the water and watersports happen right in the city centre. Here is the Rough Guide to where to stay in Dublin.

The information in this article is inspired by The Mini Rough Guide to Dublin, your essential guide for visiting Dublin.

Dublin is a thrusting, dynamic place. Despite its size, the city remains utterly beguiling and an essential part of any visit to the country. Most of Dublin’s attractions are found within a compact area, spreading either side of the many-bridged River Liffey, which divides the city between its Northside and Southside.

These have very distinct characters, defined by the city’s historical development. Stereotypically, the South is known for its gentility while the North is seen as brash and working class, home of the true Dub accent.

Then there’s the sober, historical charm. There are two great cathedrals, a world-renowned university with fascinating exhibits, and museums aplenty exploring everything from leprechauns to Ireland’s past. Pre-eminent among the city’s historic sights is Trinity College, whose main draw for visitors is the glorious Book of Kells.

From here, the city’s main commercial street, Grafton Street, marches off towards St Stephen’s Green, home to the rococo splendours of Newman House. Among the stylish Georgian streets to the east of Grafton Street, meanwhile, you’ll find the compelling displays of the National Gallery and the National Museum.

Take the weekend to discover Ireland’s most spectacular corners visit the beautiful city of Dublin and Belfast with our weekend-long tailor-made trip.

Streets of Dublin, Ireland  © massimofusaro/Shutterstock

Streets of Dublin © Shutterstock

Whatever you want to do while you’re in the city, there’s somewhere to stay for every type of traveller. Plan your trip with our guide on the best areas and top places to stay in Dublin.

St Stephen’s Green: where to stay in Dublin for fascinating sights

The huge parkland that makes up St Stephen’s Green is Dublin’s biggest, and there are some fascinating sights in and around it. The elegant houses that surround the Green are mainly Georgian, with arched doorways and ornate balconies. Inside the park, you’ll find a bandstand, an arboretum and a small lake with a bridge.

Among many bronze sculptures, there’s a statue of Arthur Guinness – the famous brewer of Ireland’s favourite drink – and a moving memorial to the Great Famine. Nearby, the fabulous stuccowork of the University-owned Newman House is well worth a visit.

Termed in the eighteenth-century “Beau Walk”, St Stephen’s Green North is still the most fashionable side of the square. The Shelbourne Hotel here claims to have been “the best address in Dublin” since its establishment in 1824 (see The Inner Southside). This is one of the best free things to do in Dublin.

    Where to stay in St Stephen’s Green:

  • Best for Georgian grandeur: Stauntons on the Green. Situated right next door to Newman House, and almost as attractive. With classic decor and antiques throughout, it really gives you a sense of regal, Georgian Dublin.
  • Best on a budget: Staycity Aparthotels. With city views, Staycity Aparthotels Dublin City Centre is set in Dublin and has a restaurant and a 24-hour front desk. Free WiFi is offered throughout the property.
  • Best for the address: The Shelbourne Dublin, Autograph Collection. The Shelbourne Hotel Dublin is a historic, landmark hotel located on St Stephen's Green. Dining options at the Shelbourne include a steak and seafood restaurant with classic touches, the No.27 Bar & Lounge and the Lord Mayor’s Lounge, where afternoon tea is served daily.

Find more accommodation options in St Stephen’s Green


Bandstand in St Stephen's Green © Conor Phelan / Shutterstock

Temple Bar: where to stay in Dublin for pubs and nightlife

When most people think of Dublin they’re imagining Temple Bar. Here you'll find cosy, low-ceilinged pubs with dark beams and jolly Irish tunes blaring out, cobbled streets and – of course – free-flowing Guinness. This area of Dublin is where all the action happens after dark. The Auld Dubliner and The Temple Bar are two of the most popular places for a night out, with live music and craic aplenty.

It’s equally fun by day, mind. There's a healthy smattering of galleries and arts centres, and plenty of restaurants for a hearty Irish lunch. Its transformation into the city’s main cultural and entertainment district came about after a 1960s plan for a new central bus terminal here was abandoned after much procrastination.

Instead, the area’s narrow cobbled streets and old warehouses, by now occupied by short-lease studios, workshops and boutiques, began to be sensitively redeveloped as an artistic quarter in the 1980s. If you don't mind the noise, Temple Bar is a great place to stay in Dublin.

Also, check out our list of outstanding Irish pubs in Ireland for traditional music.

    Where to stay in Temple Bar:

  • Best for staying in the heart of Dublin: Temple Bar Hotel. The hotel has clean, modern rooms, a brilliant gin bar and a ping pong table for fun nights in. It’s just a few minutes walk from Temple Bar’s many pubs and restaurants.
  • Best for saving your pennies for pints: Temple Bar Inn. Located in Dublin, the chic Temple Bar Inn offers free WiFi access throughout and a 24-hour front desk. The popular O'Connell Street and Trinity College are both a 3-minute walk away.
  • Best for boutique style: The Clarence. Dublin’s original rock'n'roll hotel located right in the heart of Dublin. This boutique hotel offers rooms with super king-size, wrought-iron beds and velvet drapes.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Temple Bar


Colourful street art in the Temple Bar - best area to stay in Dublin © Shutterstock

Christ Church & St Patrick’s: peaceful area in Dublin

Just west of Temple Bar, the area around Christ Church and St Patrick’s cathedrals is a more peaceful central stay. There are still plenty of bars and restaurants, but there’s far less of the Friday night Irish craic you’ll get in Temple Bar. If you are thinking about where to stay in Dublin but want to avoid the noise of the city life - this is the area you should choose.

The cathedrals themselves are well worth exploring too. St Patrick’s dates back to AD 890 and sits on the site on an ancient well, apparently used by the patron saint himself. Christ Church was founded in 1028 and has some intriguing tombs and chapels. Take a guided tour to make the most of your visit.

    Where to stay near Christ Church & St Patrick’s:

  • Best for flexibility: Staycity Aparthotels Dublin Castle. Offers the best of both worlds. You’ll get your own kitchenette for cooking meals, but have the option to eat at the in-house café which serves pizzas, paninis and other snacks.
  • Best for frugal travellers: Garden Lane Backpackers Hostel. This hostel is an excellent-value stay in Dublin and is one of the most highly rated hostels in town. There are clean dorms, modern shared bathrooms and a stylish social space at its centre.
  • Best for views of the city: Aloft Dublin City. Set 1,300ft from St Patrick's Cathedral, Aloft Dublin City offers a rooftop bar, restaurant and panoramic views of the city.

Find more accomodation options to stay near Christ Church & St Patrick’s


St Patrick's Cathedral — where to stay in Dublin if looking for somewhere peaceful © Shutterstock

Stoneybatter & Smithfield: where to stay in Dublin for trendy life

This is where Dublin’s well-to-do trendy types live. Northwest of the city centre, Smithfield is centred around the Plaza, which has cool restaurants and cafés and an independent cinema. Further north, Stoneybatter is red-brick buildings housing arts centres and hot yoga clubs. This is gentrification, Ireland style. If flat whites and fancy restaurants are your thing, this is the best area to stay in Dublin.

Adjacent from the Smithfield plaza are the Old Jameson Distillery buildings, where John Jameson set up his whiskey company. They have long been turned over to a somewhat touristy shrine to “the hard stuff”. Guided tours are available to see the full distillery process, with plenty of tastings on offer.

    Where to stay in Stoneybatter & Smithfield:

  • Best for the cool kids: Generator Dublin. The Irish capital’s arm of the renowned worldwide hostel group. Known for their cool decor, brilliant social spaces and playful, party vibes, Generators are a solid choice in any city, and this one happens to be in the heart of hipster town.
  • Best for value: The Hendrick Smithfield. Rooms include a desk, a flat-screen TV and a private bathroom. Popular points of interest nearby include St Michan's Church, Jameson Distillery and The City Hall.
  • Best for something fancier: Ashling Hotel Dublin. This beautiful hotel is a five-star property to the west of Smithfield Square. Known for its fabulous breakfasts, there’s also a great bar serving reasonably priced snacks and cocktails.

Find more accommodation options to stay in Stoneybatter & Smithfield


Old Jameson Distillery © Zack Yarnall / Shutterstock

Ireland is one of the best places to travel alone. To find more solo-travel destinations read our detailed guide about the best places to travel alone.

O’Connell Street: a cluster of historic monuments in Dublin

O’Connell Street is a grand boulevard with a wide central section, studded with monuments and statues. It runs in a straight line north from O’Connell Bridge, and the best way to view it is to walk down the central island, making excursions to the left and right at the pedestrian crossings.

In the centre of O’Connell Street is the General Post Office. Built between 1815 and 1818, it is one of the last great buildings to come out of Dublin’s Georgian boom, and is renowned for its imposing Ionic portico with six fluted columns, and figures sculpted by Edward Smyth.

It was here, in 1916, that James Connolly and Padraig Pearse barricaded themselves inside and proclaimed the Irish Republic. The post office was virtually destroyed in the fighting but has since been restored. The Rising is commemorated in the main hall by a beautiful bronze statue of the mythic folk hero Cúchulainn and by ten paintings illustrating various scenes of the rebellion.

There is also the GPO Museum Witness History, Famine Memorial an interactive visitor centre which documents the 1916 Easter Rising and modern Irish history.

O’Connell Street has benefited from a renovation programme that created a pedestrian plaza with trees, street furniture, and special lighting in front of the GPO.

    Where to stay near the O’Connell Street:

  • Best for location: Beresford Hotel. Beresford Hotel is located in Dublin's city centre, just 10 minutes’ walk from the Temple Bar area. It offers free Wi-Fi and an award-winning restaurant and bar. Beresford Hotel is just 5 minutes’ walk from O'Connell Street and Dublin's bars, restaurants and shops. The IFSC (International Financial Services Centre) and Croke Park are a 10-minute walk away.
  • Best for comfort: Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin. Situated in the heart of Dublin city centre in a historic building, The Gresham Hotel benefits from its own restaurant 'Toddy's', and a bar. The hotel offers free WiFi and spacious rooms overlooking O’Connell Street. Dublin 3Arena is 1.6 km away.
  • Best for elegance: Castle Hotel. This elegant Georgian hotel in Dublin city centre is just 2 minutes' walk from O' Connell Street and very close to Temple Bar, it offers rooms with en suite bathrooms, a restaurant/bar with evening entertainment, and free Wi-Fi.

Find more accommodation options near the O’Connell Street

Monument of Daniel O'Connell in Dublin © AdobeStock

Monument of Daniel O'Connell in Dublin © AdobeStock

The Docklands: a neighbourhood with a unique charm

In the past, there was little contact between areas on either side of the river in this part of Dublin. In the past, there was little contact between areas on either side of the river in this part of Dublin. Before Butt Bridge opened, the nearest crossing was Sackville Bridge (now O'Connell Bridge), so people crossed by ferry.

Until 1930 the area of Ringsend, home to some of Dublin's most influential families, was part of the township of Pembroke. In 1930 it became part of Dublin City.

Ringsend was the only part of the area that was developed. The rest of the land was wasteland, which was divided up into lots. As the port expanded downriver, these lands became increasingly valuable. The lots of undeveloped land attracted people who hoped to get jobs here and businesses who expected to open offices here.

Today, the Docklands area is fast becoming an attractive destination on any sightseeing trip through the capital. The area is just minutes from the city centre and offers everything from stunning modern architecture to historic buildings, from art galleries to river walks. There are also plenty of hotels to choose from, from luxurious five-star hotels to budget yet comfortable and well-equipped business hotels.

    Where to stay in the Docklands:

  • Best for couples: The Gibson Hotel. With panoramic views across Dublin Port, The Gibson Hotel is next to the 3Arena. It boasts bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, a 24-hour gym, a fine restaurant, and secure private parking.
  • Best for river views: Clayton Hotel Cardiff Lane. Next to the river, this 4-star hotel overlooks the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. Guests can enjoy its spacious rooms, 22 m swimming pool, and health club, just 10 minutes’ walk from the 3 Arena.
  • Best for boutique stays: Trinity City Hotel. The boutique Trinity City Hotel is a 2-minute walk from Trinity College. With high-speed WiFi throughout, it offers an informal restaurant and bar. The large stylish rooms at the Trinity City Hotel include a flat-screen TV, a laptop safe, full-length mirror, and tea and coffee making facilities. The en-suite bathrooms are equipped with complimentary luxury toiletries. Some rooms have panoramic city views.
Docklands of Dublin City, Ireland © AdobeStock

Docklands of Dublin City, Ireland © AdobeStock

Merrion Square & Fitzwilliam Square: area of the finest houses in Dublin

Georgian architecture is found all over the city; however, the harmonious streets and squares lying to the southeast of Nassau Street truly deserve the title. In addition to superb buildings, there are several important museums and galleries to visit, and the banks of the Grand Canal provide leafy, shaded walks.

Clare Street, at the eastern end of Nassau Street, runs into Merrion Square North, where you will find some of the area’s finest houses. The square dates from 1762 – houses here were the homes of high society, including many members of parliament, famous artists, and writers. Look for individual details – the painted doors, the fanlights, and the doorknockers, some in the form of a fish or a human hand.

Take the time to stroll down the streets around Merrion Square, which were laid out at the same time. At the eastern end of Mount Street Upper, you will notice the distinctive shape of the Greekrevival St Stephen’s Church, which dates back to 1824. For obvious reasons it is known universally as the ‘Pepper Canister Church’. Occasional events and concerts are held here.

The street crosses Lower Baggot Street and leads on to Fitzwilliam Square, which has a park open to residents only. The last Georgian square built in Dublin, it was laid out in 1792 and the centre was enclosed in 1813. Here, as elsewhere in Georgian Dublin, there is exquisite detail in the doorways, fanlights, and the ironwork of the balconies.

    Where to stay near Merrion Square & Fitzwilliam Square:

  • Best for luxury: The Merrion Hotel. Italian marble bathrooms, a restaurant with 2 Michelin stars, and an infinity pool are offered at this award-winning 5-star hotel. In Dublin’s centre, the Georgian building features beautiful landscaped gardens.
  • Best for modern stays: Arthaus Hotel. In a quiet position just off Grafton Street and St Stephen's Green, this small 3-star hotel can offer a peaceful night’s sleep close to Dublin’s vibrant city centre as well as free WiFi with unlimited data for all devices throughout the hotel.
  • Best for quieter location: Albany House. In the heart of the Georgian city of Dublin, this 3-star property features traditional dècor and furnishings. It was built in the 18th century, and was once part of the Earl of Clonmel’s estate.
National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square, Dublin © AdobeStock

National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square, Dublin © AdobeStock

Phibsborough: combination of old-school charm and modernity

A commercial and residential area located 2 km north of Dublin's Old Town. Here, on the banks of the Royal Canal you can see a linear park, the adjacent road is called the Royal Canal Bank. It consists of many houses of different periods, some dating back to the 1750s.

The pool on Blessington Street has become a public park in modern times, having previously been used for the town's water supply. The park is home to some species of wildlife.

Phibsborough is known for its Victorian architecture and plenty of artsy cafes, restaurants and pubs. Phibsborough combines old-school charm and history with modernity. This is best seen in the many quirky cafes, bars and pubs. There's a truly artistic atmosphere here, Phibsborough is the home of Phizzfest, and there are several informal theatre venues as well.

As Phibesborough is very close to the city centre it is easy to find places to eat and find things to do in the evening. It is a good place to start exploring Dublin and the surrounding coastline.

    Where to stay in Phibsborough:

  • Best for modern style: Dublin One. Conveniently situated in Dublin, Dublin One provides air-conditioned rooms, a restaurant and a bar. The property is close to several well-known attractions, 1.9 km from St. Michan's Church, 2 km from Jameson Distillery and 1.9 km from Glasnevin Cemetery Museum. The hotel offers city views, a terrace and a 24-hour front desk.
  • Best for comfort: Belvedere Hotel. In Central Dublin, the Belvedere Hotel is a 15-minute walk from Connolly Station, a 5-minute walk from Dublin's famous O'Connell Street and the Spire of Dublin which also has access to fantastic shopping on Henry Street. It offers spacious bedrooms with free WiFi in all areas of the hotel and traditional Irish food.
Blessington Street Basin, Dublin © AdobeStock

Blessington Street Basin, Dublin © AdobeStock

Portobello: the beautiful harbour of Dublin

Portobello literally means 'beautiful harbour', an area of Dublin in Ireland located in the southern part of the city centre. In the 18th century, Portobello was a tiny suburb to the south of the city. Over the next century, however, it underwent a complete transformation into a red-brick, middle-class Victorian housing estate.

As a rapidly developing area, Portobello attracted many families whose members would later play a role in the city's political, cultural and academic life.

Today Portobello is popular with young people and young at heart. Combining all the comforts of city life, Portobello is also filled with the charm of quiet terraced streets, it's at once vibrant and homely. There's also plenty to do in the area - museums, bars, parks and gardens, and great eateries.

    Where to stay in Portobello:

  • Best for beers: Grand Canal Hotel. The Grand Canal Hotel is a four-star hotel located in Dublin, opposite Grand Canal Dart Station and a 15-minute walk from the city centre. Guests can enjoy a selection of traditionally bottled beers and craft beers as well as meals in the Gasworks Bar.
  • Best for style: Iveagh Garden Hotel. Iveagh Garden Hotel is a 4-star sustainable eco-friendly hotel located in Dublin city centre. It is a 4-minute walk from St. Stephen's Green and Grafton street.
Portobelo canal with swan at sunrise, Dublin © Shutterstock

Portobelo canal with swan at sunrise, Dublin © Shutterstock

Dreaming of your trip to Ireland? You won't want to miss our guide to the best things to do in Ireland.

If you prefer to plan and book your trip to Dublin without any effort and hassle, use the expertise of our local travel experts to make sure your trip will be just like you dream it to be.

Ready for a trip to Dublin? Check out the snapshot The Mini Rough Guide to Dublin or The Rough Guide to Ireland. If you travel further in the Ireland, read more about the best time to go and the best places to visit in the Ireland. For inspiration use the itineraries from The Rough Guide to Ireland and our local travel experts. A bit more hands on, learn about getting there, getting around the country and where to stay once you are there.

We may earn commission from some of the external websites linked in this article, but this does not influence our editorial standards - we only recommend services that we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Top Image: The Samuel Beckett Bridge (the harp bridge) Dublin, Ireland © Peter Krocka / Shutterstock

Lottie Gross

written by
Lottie Gross

updated 12.12.2022

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