Is it possible to fly to Dublin and stay two nights for less than £100? On a budget stag-party weekend, I put that theory to the test – and discovered ways of saving money in the Irish capital as well
Fly from London Luton or Stansted with Ryanair, the low-frills Irish carrier that has its main headquarters in Dublin. Play around with dates and times, and you can easily find flights for less than £40 return, including taxes and charges. Remember to book the flights on a Solo card, saving £10 each on card charges.
Where to stay
Dublin is pretty expensive when it comes to accommodation. After searching high and low, however, I found an absolute bargain – the Shaw Court Serviced Apartments. Each flat accommodates up to six people for as little as £115 per night. Work out the maths, and that is less than £20 per night per person... a real bargain. I defy you to find cheaper. What's more, the apartments are run by the Harcourt Hotel (just two to three minutes' walk away) where Shaw Court guests are entitled to free nightclub entry (worth €20 per night), making the hotel almost free. From here, it is a brisk 10-minute walk into town and the Temple Bar area.
Where to drink
In this respect, too, Dublin is not cheap – and due to the euro-sterling exchange rate, your wallet can take a pounding. We found the cheapest place was TGI Fridays (€4 a pint). You can easily tank up for pre-club action here – and in fact, you will pass it on the way to town from your apartment. All bars in Dublin offer free entry, so don't be persuaded to pay specialist stag companies for guaranteed admission. Make sure you get there early (7-8pm). Most will have happy-hour drink promotions, so stick to them. In my view, Capitol Lounge was the best, with nice women of a more mature age. The music was mixed, but mainly house.
Where to go clubbing
If you are into RNB or Hip hop, look no further than Sin Theatre nightclub in Temple. It is doing a bargain – €50 for VIP entry (to an area with a bar and lavatory facilities), which includes free unlimited drinks all night. Yes, you read that right! However, the deal excludes shots and Champagne. Open from 10pm.
Where to go for lap-dancing
Dublin is pretty poor for this, I'm afraid. However, there is a central venue called Cappello – which is where we headed. It's a fairly grim place, and it costs €30 for a private dance. However, entry is free and you don't have to buy drinks – which is good, because the prices are ridiculous.
What to visit
The Guinness Brewery is well worth seeing; it takes about two hours to go round the whole place – and you get one free pint of Guinness at the top of the building. Also worth a visit is the Jameson Irish Whiskey Distillery – again not cheap, but with a tour that can be done in about an hour. I would recommend coming here first, before the Guinness brewery, because this one is a guided tour and they talk you through the whole process. This will help you understand better the Guinness tour, with is not guided.
Two top tips
First, walk and save on taxi fares – which are high. Dublin isn't a big city, and everything is within easy walking distance. The Guinness brewery is the furthest you will walk – about 20 minutes from the hotel.
Second, the Shaw Court apartments have fridges – so you can either stock up on duty-free booze and keep it cold here, or buy it at the nearby Tesco. The same applies to food and snacks.
The bottom line
A two-night stay in Dublin, including flights, accommodation, tours and spending, cost me £400 – not bad, considering the price also included clubbing on both nights, plus unlimited drinks.