I will be traveling to Ireland alone this spring. I will probably just stay in Dublin for 4-5 days, possibly rent a car and venture out, but I'm not 100% sure. Do you have any suggests on the best places for me to stay where I can see a lot of the best sites that the city has to offer and be pretty safe on my own?
Dublin is pretty compact and much of its center is relatively safe for a solo female traveler to walk around. I would not bother renting a car as the hassle and cost of parking it when you won't even need it makes it costly to keep a car with you in the city for 4 to 5 days just for a day trip, or two. Take one of the buses from the Airport to Dublin and if you want to take a day trip, just rent the car for that day. But there are plenty of options to take day trips on your own via public transit or by guided tours right from Dublin
About the only area in the center of Dublin I would avoid staying at would be the Temple Bar area - only because it's very popular with tourists who want to party (you'll see a lot of stag & hen parties on the weekends) and drunken tourists tend to be very noisy - especially when the pubs and bars close and everyone spills out onto the streets. It would help to know what kind of a budget you are looking to stay within for lodging and whether you are planning to go for a hotel, want a B&B/guesthouse style accommodation, or an apartment such as Airbnb. I would focus on the areas around Merrion Square, St. Stephen's Green, Christ Church or St. Patrick's Cathedral for lodging. You'll be within walking distance to many sightseeing options, except perhaps Kilmainham Gaol and Croke Park/GAA Museum.
When I was in Dublin alone, I stayed at the Glen Guesthouse on lower Gardiner St, behind the Custom House. It's just a couple of blocks from O'Connell St, easily walkable to everywhere (but you might want to take a bus to Kilmainham Gaol). I had no problems walking around at night. Their website is here. There are a number of hostels and guesthouses on the same block.
I can't speak to traveling as a single woman but I did travel around Ireland with my wife so I'm not immune to those concerns. None of Dublin felt dangerous although it is THE big city so it have its seedier areas and the usual big city problems. But even just wandering around the city we didn't run into any area we felt we needed to leave.
-Don't avoid Irish pubs. They are much more family friendly affairs and are not the same as bars in the states. Sitting at the counter opens you up for being drawn into conversations but that's probably desirable if you're traveling alone. The Irish friendliness is not exaggerated.
-Do not rent a car for Dublin. It will be an expensive albatross. The prison is the only outer area site and can easily be reached via public transport. Take the airport bus from into the city and then back to airport to rent a car if you want to.
-Do get out and see some countryside and small towns. Many people argue that Dublin is the least Irish place in the Republic and it may be true. You can do this with tours from Dublin and/or by renting a car. The economics of traveling alone may make tours more attractive.
-If you have any interest in history don't miss the Archeology Museum in the city and the Newgrange and Knowth sites just north of Dublin.
-I really enjoyed Christ Church Cathedral and don't miss the crypt downstairs if you go.
-My last tip applies to everyone. If you're not familiar with Irish history do some reading and movie watching before you go. Many of the "sights" in Dublin revolve either around the English wars or the revolution and without context the bullet marks on the Post Office have no significance.
Have a great trip,
In dublin, you really dont need a car. The local transit is great. Also the Hop-on-hop-off buses take you close to just about everything in town.
If youre a horsey type, theres a train close to the Irish National Stud and a local shuttle.
other than that youre on your own.
As far a lodging, i stayed near the Temple Bar area. The only drawback was Christchurch across the street that decided to ring the bells friday PM, but quit @ 1100. But it reminded me of my younger times when you could hear things like that on a daily basis. There is a bar in the basement, but i never heard it nor did i know it was there until later.
Thank you all very much. You all have been a great help.
I traveled in Dec 2013 for 2 weeks alone, I did not rent a car, only used train and buses, walked a lot. I stayed 3 days Dublin, 2 days Kilkenny, 2 days Cork (was uncomfortable in the evenings in Cork - didn't go out at night), 1 night Kenmare (no bus service on Sunday's to this town), 2 days Dingle, 3 days Ashford Castle, Cong. I found Rick's choice of B&B's very helpful, some were closed for the holiday season, but other hotels were great too. Dublin - Albany House great place close to Grafton Street, felt very safe at night in this area. Kilkenny - Club House Hotel, older and really quaint great pub in the hotel. First Wed of the month the Kilkenny Castle tour is free. Cork - Jury's Inn, Cork was not my favorite, although it was a good central location for Blarney Castle and Ring of Kerry (took a tour of these, tour company "Paddy Wagon" was great because they accommodated me to get me to Kenmare on Sunday. Kenmare - Brook Lane Hotel, upscale really nice - extremely sweet town, wish I had spent more time there. Dingle - Bambury B&B, great place to stay and they are very nice, awesome town. Ashford Castle was a special treat for me in Cong, County Mayo - totally pricey but worth every penny for a posh experience. Taxi from Galway to Ashford, driver was awesome because he had never been there and I had no address, his words of wisdom, know your directions, addresses and/or coordinates for all your destinations so no one takes advantage of you...I had a wonderful experience and totally recommend it to all. Just be aware of your surroundings and ask questions of the people where you stay. People on the street, trains and buses were always very nice and helpful. Have fun and enjoy every moment you are there, this was the best experience. I have never traveled out of the US before, and never traveled by myself...this was wonderful and I would do it again any day of the week.
i traveled to ireland in september, 2013. the middle of my trip was a coach tour (CIE), but before and after i spent time in Hosteling International hostels. if you are interested in very affordable rates (less than 20 euros/night) and don't mind sharing a room "dorm style," i recommend the Dublin HI hostel, about 2 blocks from the "Black Church." Lively and friendly, and they are very helpful. you can get tickets for tour buses at the hostel, and i think they arrange with some day-tour companies for their activities. i agree with those who say you don't need a car -- walking and busing and taking the train should be fine. the hop-on-hop-off bus is a great way to get to see many interesting places in dublin -- get discounted tickets at the hostel. i also took a one-day bus tour to Newgrange and the Hill of Tara: i highly recommend that adventure! enjoy your trip!
I traveled alone just about all of last year and 180 days of that was in Ireland (meet my now boyfriend in Dublin in a pub). I'd do a hostel, and I only say that so you feel like you have people to hangout with at night. The best setup I've found has been 4 bed female dorms w/bathroom (use hostelworld.com they also do B&B). I've stayed to many places in Dublin. I like going back to Avalon Hostel cause they have a great café below them. Templebar at night I don't care that much for, but during the day time it has wonderful cafés, shops, the Irish Film Institute which has great shows and a nice bar. Oh and an outdoor farmers market on the weekends. You don't need to rent a car, there is a lot to do in the city. If you'd like a list of pubs to visit let me know.