Summer can be tough on your bank account at times; whilst the majority of people who stay in Ireland for summer are working to save money, it’s general knowledge that the day after payday can be a harrowing experience. You try to justify your outrageous spending habits to yourself: last night was your only night out of the week, and it would be rude not to have a few cocktails in PYG. Surely it would be shameful to bypass the Zara sale? Waking up the following morning you realise you have less money now than you had prior to payday.
However, your summer of saving or accidental splurging doesn’t have to end in you binge watching Netflix every day to pass the time. Dublin has an abundance of attractions that will keep you entertained day in day out, without costing a cent.
Alternative walking tour of Dublin
You consider yourself a true Dub from doing the standard twenty minute walk from your Luas stop/bus stop/house to College alone. In truth, it’s arguable that you don’t really know Dublin until you’ve done this tour. They aim to “hunt the edgy and underground cultures of Dublin” by visiting some of the capital’s kookiest and quirkiest eateries, strolling past street art and exploring Temple Bar’s hidden gems; a far cry from the usual tourist traps that dominate the area. It’s definitely a unique way to see Dublin from a different perspective and maybe even make a friend along the way.
Tours start at 11am, operate on a daily basis and last around two to three hours. You can to book beforehand via https://free-dublin-tours.com/tours/free-original-dublin-alternative-tour/
Gallery of Photography
Located in Meeting House Square in Temple Bar, this gallery provides an insight into Irish contemporary photography. Current exhibition, “Engage”, features seven selected artists from around the island of Ireland, with each photographer exploring unique themes. Exhibitions change approximately every two months, with Engage running until August 13th. Free tours of the Gallery can be arranged by calling in advance. If you do have cash to splash, workshops run on a regular basis and can be booked on their website.
If you’ve got cabin fever from being stuck inside at work all day, or just fancy a bit of fresh air, hop on the Dart and tackle the popular Howth cliff walk. This 6 km meander will keep you on edge as you walk the cliff path out to Howth head. Bring your iPhone and expect to snap stunning views of the Irish Sea and southwards towards the Dublin mountains. Feeling adventurous? Take the longer purple loop that takes you past the Baily Lighthouse and down the other side, but if you want to double back, we won’t judge you. Once you’ve finished your hike, treat yourself to some of Beshoff’s finest fish and chips in Howth village.
Science Gallery Dublin
Conveniently located on campus but sometimes overlooked by the wider student population, the gallery is a good place to wander if you’re feeling curious. They have free exhibitions running all year, an ideal way to entertain yourself while still exercising the brain you’ve turned off since exams finished. The current exhibition, Sound Check, runs until the end of September and is an interactive experience centered around the making of sounds and noises. Bonus points to the Science Gallery for playing host to a cool café and a gadget gift shop.
Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA)
Located ten minutes from the Heuston Luas stop, IMMA is a great place to go for a wander. Whether you wish to explore the vast gardens or pretend you know exactly what the artist was expressing through their medium of rocks on the floor, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Kilmainham is the perfect way to soak up a bit of culture without opening your purse. Special exhibitions, like the current Freud display, are also free as long as you have your student card.
National Gallery of Ireland
Having recently reopened its ornate doors, the National Gallery on Merrion Square has been refurbished to its former glory. Free admission means you can come and go as you please. Whether it’s to see Graham Norton in still life or the chandeliers in the Great Hall, wandering through the gallery for a few hours isn’t the worst way to spend your day. You don’t have to be a fine art expert to appreciate this one – take a few friends and interpret the paintings whichever way you choose.
The current Vermeer exhibition is particularly worth visiting, featuring masterpieces such as Woman with a Pearl Necklace. However, it will cost €5 for a student ticket.
People’s Park Market
Hop back on the Dart line and head south from the city, as on Sundays from 11am to 4pm the People’s Park in Dun Laoghaire turns itself into a compact but delightful market. If you’ve been eyeing up the Thai hand rolled ice cream featuring in many Facebook videos, catch Ireland’s own Arctic Stone rolling up fresh tubs! For a more savoury treat, find the stall selling the sweet potato and rosemary fries, while not free they’re definitely worth the money. If you really don’t want to spend your hard earned cash, pack a picnic and laze on the grass by the Victorian fountain or take a stroll down Dun Laoghaire pier and enjoy your free lunch there instead.