Where to stay in Dublin for first time: 7 Safe areas - Travel Hotel Expert (2024)

Hi guys, on my website, I already wrote an article about staying in Dublin without a car (I will put the links to it at the end of this article). In today’s article, I will help you to find the best places to stay in Dublin for first-time visitors and tourists.

I will share with you what I believe are the best and safe areas to stay in Dublin for first-timers and tourists, along with a helpful map and areas to avoid. I’ll also share where I stayed in Dublin and recommend some of the best hotels in Dublin for various budgets.

Before get into the detail of the main topic, let’s look at some facts about Dublin:

Dublin is the capital and largest city of Ireland, located at the mouth of the River Liffey. It has a rich history that dates back to Viking settlements in the 9th century. It later became an important medieval city and was the center of English rule in Ireland for several centuries.

Trinity College Dublin is one of the city’s most prestigious educational institutions. It is home to the Book of Kells, an illuminated manuscript Gospel book, which is a popular attraction for tourists.

Some must see attractions in Dublin are the Dublin Castle, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Guinness Storehouse where you can learn about the history of Ireland’s famous stout beer.

The city has several popular areas including Temple Bar, which is a lively cultural quarter in central Dublin, known for its vibrant nightlife, art galleries, and numerous restaurants and pubs.

Grafton Street is a popular shopping street lined with a variety of shops, boutiques, and cafes. One of Dublin’s main thoroughfares, O’Connell Street is home to important monuments, including the Spire of Dublin and General Post Office, which played a significant role in the Easter Rising of 1916.

Dublin offers several beautiful parks and gardens, including St. Stephen’s Green and Phoenix Park, which is one of the largest enclosed city parks in Europe.

Is Dublin safe to visit?

Dublin is generally a safe city for tourists with a relatively low violent crime rate. But, like any urban area, petty crimes such as pickpocketing and occasional instances of anti-social behavior can occur, particularly in crowded areas and at night.

It’s recommended to exercise common-sense precautions: keep an eye on your belongings, avoid poorly lit areas, and be cautious in busy tourist spots. If you go out to enjoy the nightlife, drink responsibly and be aware of your surroundings.

Table of Contents

  • Where to stay in Dublin for the first time?
  • 7 Safe areas to stay in Dublin for first-timers and tourists
    1. Stephen’s Green/Grafton Street
    2. Merrion Square
    3. Temple Bar
    4. O’Connell Street
    5. Smithfield
    6. The Docklands
    7. Ballsbridge

Where to stay in Dublin for the first time?

The best and safe areas to stay in Dublin for first-timers and tourists are Stephen’s Green/Grafton Street, Merrion Square, Temple Bar, O’Connell Street, Smithfield, Docklands, and Ballsbridge. While these areas are generally safe, it’s important to stay alert no matter where you stay.

If you want a central location with easy access to many of Dublin’s attractions, Stephen’s Green/Grafton Street, Merrion Square, or O’Connell Street are good choices.

If you’re looking for a more lively and eclectic atmosphere, Temple Bar or Smithfield might be more suitable. The Docklands and Ballsbridge are better for those who prefer a quieter, more upscale experience.

While Dublin is a vibrant city with many lovely neighborhoods, there are a few areas that some travelers might want to avoid, especially after dark. Sheriff Street and nearby areas have had a history of social and crime-related issues. It’s best to avoid this area, especially at night.

During my trip to Dublin, I stayed at the popular Stauntons on the Green Hotel. It is a good value for money according to nearly 2000 guests’ reviews. It is centrally located in the city center, so I was able to explore most sights on foot including the St Stephen’s Green, Trinity College, National Gallery, and Grafton Street shopping area. I had a great breakfast and a nice room.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Dublin for first-time travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Where to stay in Dublin for first time: 7 Safe areas - Travel Hotel Expert (1)

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Dublin, especially for first-time visitors. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget.

All hotels in Dublin have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

7 Safe areas to stay in Dublin for first-timers and tourists:

1. Stephen’s Green/Grafton Street

Stephen’s Green/Grafton Street is an excellent choice for first-time visitors to Dublin. This area offers a central and convenient location with easy access to numerous attractions and amenities.

You’ll be right next to St. Stephen’s Green Park, a beautiful and tranquil urban park where you can relax and escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

Grafton Street is one of Dublin’s premier shopping streets, lined with a variety of shops, boutiques, department stores, and street performers. It’s a perfect spot for shopping, people-watching, and enjoying the vibrant street atmosphere.

This area offers easy access to The National Museum of Ireland and the National Gallery of Ireland are nearby, offering a chance to explore the country’s rich history and art.

You’re within walking distance of Trinity College, home to the Book of Kells and the Long Room Library. It’s a must-visit for history and literature enthusiasts.

The area is filled with restaurants, cafes, and pubs offering a variety of culinary experiences, from traditional Irish dishes to international cuisine. You’ll also find numerous entertainment options, including theaters and live music venues.

Many of Dublin’s other attractions, such as Temple Bar, Dublin Castle, and Christ Church Cathedral, are within walking distance or easily accessible by public transportation from this area.

The Stephen’s Green/Grafton Street area is well-connected with public transportation, including buses and the LUAS tram system, making it easy to explore other parts of the city.

Best places to stay in Dublin in Stephen’s Green/Grafton Street for first-timers:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Fitzwilliam Hotel, great 5-star hotel that has a prime location, short distance from major sights and points of interest such as the Temple Bar, Grafton shopping street, and Trinity College. Easy access to public transportation for further exploration. It has very good breakfast, private parking, and 24-hour front desk.
  • Mid-range ($$): Marlin Hotel Stephens Green, popular 4-star hotel, conveniently located within short distance from major sights such as the Dublin Castle, St. Stephen’s Green, and St Patrick’s Cathedral. Easy access to the Stephens Green tram stop. It has parking, Family rooms, and a fitness center.
  • Budget ($): Trinity Townhouse Hotel, 3-star accommodation located in a quiet area of the city’s historic quarter, between St. Stephen’s Green and Trinity College. Close to the Air Coach, the city tour bus stops, and the LUAS station at Stephens Green.


2. Merrion Square

Merrion Square is a historic and picturesque neighborhood in Dublin, and it is a great base for first-time visitors who prefer a quieter, more upscale atmosphere while still having access to Dublin’s cultural and city center attractions.

Merrion Square is renowned for its beautifully preserved Georgian architecture, featuring colorful townhouses with elegant facades. The area’s architecture and charm make it a pleasant place for leisurely walks and photo opportunities.

The central feature of the neighborhood is Merrion Square Park, a large green space with sculptures, walking paths, and a relaxing atmosphere. It’s a lovely place to unwind and enjoy the outdoors.

You’ll be close to some of Dublin’s cultural attractions, including the National Gallery of Ireland and the Hugh Lane Gallery. These institutions house impressive art collections, and the Hugh Lane Gallery is known for its connection to Francis Bacon.

Merrion Square is also home to the famous Oscar Wilde statue, a tribute to the renowned Irish writer and poet. It’s a popular spot for photos and a unique point of interest.

While it may not have the same level of shopping and dining options as areas like Grafton Street or Temple Bar, you’ll still find charming cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops in the vicinity.

Merrion Square is within walking distance of the city center, so you can easily explore other areas of Dublin, including Trinity College and St. Stephen’s Green.

Best places to stay in Dublin in Merrion Square for first-time visitors:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Merrion Hotel, 5-star hotel, that features 2 Michelin stars restaurant. Easy access to major sights such as Merrion Square, St. Stephen’s Green,Trinity College Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, Grafton Street, and Temple Bar.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Mont, 4-star hotel, that has a quite good location, next to Merrion Square Park, in a quiet area but close to the action. Close to the bus/train station and the LUAS tram.
  • Budget ($): Baggot Court Townhouse, popular 3-star Georgian town house located in Dublin city center and an easy walking distance from St. Stephen’s Green, Merrion Square, and Trinity College. It has Fabulous breakfast and free car parking for guests.


3. Temple Bar

Temple Bar is one of the most famous and vibrant neighborhoods in Dublin, making it a fantastic choice for first-time visitors who are looking for a lively and energetic atmosphere.

Temple Bar is Dublin’s cultural and nightlife hub. You’ll find numerous pubs, clubs, and live music venues, making it a great choice if you want to experience Dublin’s renowned nightlife. The area comes alive in the evenings with music, dancing, and a lively atmosphere.

Temple Bar is home to the Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, the Irish Film Institute, and the Project Arts Centre. You can explore contemporary art, independent films, and cultural events.

The neighborhood is known for its street art and colorful murals, which add to its creative and artistic atmosphere. You’ll find galleries and art shops showcasing local talent.

Temple Bar Food Market is a great place to sample a variety of local and international cuisines. It’s held on weekends and offers a unique culinary experience.

Dublin Castle is nearby, and you can visit this historic site to learn about the city’s history and explore its beautiful gardens.

Temple Bar is situated along the River Liffey, providing scenic views and a pleasant walk along the riverbanks.

Temple Bar is centrally located, and you can easily walk to other Dublin attractions such as Trinity College, Christ Church Cathedral, and O’Connell Street.

You’ll find a mix of vintage shops, boutiques, and unique stores in Temple Bar, making it a good place to shop for unique souvenirs and gifts.

Keep in mind that Temple Bar is a lively and sometimes noisy neighborhood, especially at night. If you’re looking for a more tranquil experience, you might want to consider other areas.

Best places to stay in Dublin in Temple Bar for first-time travelers:

  • Luxury ($$$): The Merchant House, this 5-star hotel has a convenient location in the Temple Bar area of Dublin, near the Button Factory venue. Easy access to many pubs, fine dining establishments and bakeries.
  • Mid-range ($$): Hard Rock Hotel Dublin, popular 4-star accommodation located in the central area of Dublin, just a few steps from The City Hall. Also close to Dublin Castle, Chester Beatty Library and St Patrick’s Cathedral. It has a 24-hour front desk and fabulous breakfast.
  • Budget ($): Harding Hotel, great 3-star hotel located in Fishamble Street, next to the Temple Bar district, offering views of the Christ Church Cathedral. 10 mins walk from Dublin Castle, Guinness Storehouse, and Henry Street. Close to the stops of Airlink bus number 747 and the Hop-On Hop-Off buses.


4. O’Connell Street

O’Connell Street is one of the most iconic and centrally located areas in Dublin. It’s an excellent choice for first-time visitors who want to be in the heart of the city and have easy access to many of Dublin’s key attractions.

O’Connell Street is home to the General Post Office, a historic building that played a central role in the 1916 Easter Rising. Visitors can explore its museum and learn about this important event in Irish history.

At the heart of O’Connell Street stands the Spire of Dublin, a modern and distinctive landmark that’s often used as a meeting point. It’s also a symbol of the city.

O’Connell Street is a major shopping thoroughfare, with a range of shops, department stores, and retail outlets. It’s a great place for shopping and picking up souvenirs.

Parallel to O’Connell Street, Henry Street is another bustling shopping street with even more retail options, including the Ilac Shopping Centre and Jervis Shopping Centre.

A short walk from O’Connell Street, you’ll find the Molly Malone statue, which is a popular photo spot and a symbol of Dublin. You can also easily reach the Hugh Lane Gallery from O’Connell Street.

O’Connell Street is just a short walk from the River Liffey, where you can enjoy scenic riverfront views and explore attractions like the Ha’penny Bridge.

The area is well-served by public transportation, including buses and the LUAS tram system, making it easy to access other parts of the city.

Just off O’Connell Street, you’ll find the Garden of Remembrance, a tranquil park with a memorial to those who gave their lives for Irish freedom.

Best places to stay in Dublin in O’Connell Street for first-timers:

  • Mid-range ($$): Riu Plaza The Gresham Dublin, extremely popular 4-star hotel located in Upper O’Connell Street, short distance from popular points of interests. It is close to the aircoach express bus and the hop on hop off tour bus. 15 mins walk from Connolly Street Train Station.
  • Budget ($): Holiday Inn Express Dublin City Centre, 3-star hotel, situated in the heart of O’Connell Street, easily accessible from the airport by Aircoach, Airlink or 747 bus. Also a short walk from Luas light rail system to explore the rest of the city and its surrounding areas.
  • Budget ($): Wynn’s Hotel, popular 3-star hotel located in the city center of Dublin, an easy walk from the Ha’Penny Bridge on the River Liffey. Close to O’Connell Street, Abbey Theatre, and Grafton Street. Super convenient location to bus and train stations. Easy access to the bus to the airport and the Luas.


5. Smithfield

Smithfield is a trendy and up-and-coming neighborhood in Dublin that has undergone significant revitalization in recent years. It’s a great area for those who appreciate a more laid-back atmosphere while still being close to the heart of the city.

One of the main attractions in Smithfield is the Old Jameson Distillery, where you can take a tour to learn about the whiskey-making process and taste them.

Film enthusiasts will appreciate the Light House Cinema, an independent cinema that screens a diverse range of movies, from arthouse films to classics.

Smithfield Market historical market square has been rejuvenated and now hosts various events, including food markets and cultural festivals. It’s a great place to soak in the local atmosphere.

Smithfield Plaza is a hub of activity with restaurants, cafes, and green spaces. It’s a popular spot for both locals and visitors to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

Smithfield retains elements of its historic character, with cobblestone streets and old red brick buildings. It provides a unique atmosphere that combines the old and the new.

While Smithfield itself offers plenty to see and do, it’s also within a short distance of Dublin’s city center, making it easy to explore other parts of the city. You can walk to attractions like the Guinness Storehouse and the James Joyce Centre.

Best places to stay in Dublin in Smithfield for tourists:

  • Mid-range ($$): Maldron Hotel Smithfield, popular 4-star hotel situated only 3 LUAS tram stops from O’Connell Street. Short walk/tram ride to the vibrant Temple bar district, Smithfield LUAS station, and the Old Jameson Distillery.
  • Budget ($): Hampton By Hilton Dublin City Centre, great 3-star hotel located on Chancery Street Smithfield, close to St. Michan’s Church, and is well-connected to public transportation to explore the city nightlife and attractions.
  • Luxury ($$$): The Morrison Dublin, Curio Collection by Hilton, 5-star accommodation located close to Smithfield, within walking distance from the bars and restaurants in Temple bar, as well as the O’Connell Street and Henry Street. Also close to Guinness Storehouse and Luas station.


6. The Docklands

The Docklands is a modern and rapidly developing area in Dublin, known for its sleek architecture, tech companies, and waterfront views. It can be an excellent choice for first-time visitors who want to experience a more modern side of the city and waterfront locations.

The Docklands is home to some of Dublin’s most cutting-edge architectural designs, including the Convention Centre Dublin and the Samuel Beckett Bridge.

The Docklands is a major business and technology hub in Dublin, housing the European headquarters of several multinational companies. If you’re visiting for work or a conference, this area may be particularly convenient.

You can Check the schedule for entertainment options at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre which hosts a variety of performances, including musicals, plays, and concerts.

This area is home to the EPIC Irish Emigration Museum, an interactive museum tells the story of the Irish diaspora and is located in The Docklands. It’s an informative and engaging cultural attraction.

While The Docklands is a more modern and business-oriented area, it’s not far from the city center. You can easily reach attractions like Trinity College, Temple Bar, and the Grafton Street shopping district.

Best places to stay in The Docklands for first-time travelers:


7. Ballsbridge

Ballsbridge is an upscale and predominantly residential neighborhood. It’s particularly suitable for those attending events at the Aviva Stadium or the RDS Arena or for visitors looking to experience a quieter side of Dublin while still having easy access to the city’s attractions.

Ballsbridge is known for its leafy, tree-lined streets and elegant Georgian architecture, giving it a peaceful and charming ambiance. It’s an ideal neighborhood for leisurely walks and taking in the surroundings.

If you’re a sports fan or attending an event, Ballsbridge is right next to the Aviva Stadium, a major sports and concert venue in Dublin.

The Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Arena, located in Ballsbridge, hosts various events, including concerts and exhibitions. Check the schedule for any events during your visit.

Ballsbridge is home to several embassies and diplomatic residences, contributing to the neighborhood’s upscale feel.

Herbert Park is a lovely green space with walking paths and a lake, providing a peaceful retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle.

While Ballsbridge is quieter than some other Dublin neighborhoods, you’ll find a selection of high-end restaurants, cafes, and traditional Irish pubs. It’s a great area for a relaxed dining experience.

Best places to stay in Dublin in Ballsbridge for tourists:


In conclusion, Stephen’s Green/Grafton Street, Merrion Square, Temple Bar, O’Connell Street, Smithfield, The Docklands, Ballsbridge are the best places to stay in Dublin for first-timers and tourists. These are generally safe areas for tourists that provide a variety of accommodations for all budgets.

You can continue reading about Dublin and other destinations in Ireland in these articles:

  • Best areas to stay in Dublin without a car
  • Best areas to stay in Galway without a car

There you have it, my recommendations for the most popular and safest neighborhoods that you can stay during your first trip to Dublin. I hope you enjoyed my article and find it both informative and helpful.

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

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Where to stay in Dublin for first time: 7 Safe areas - Travel Hotel Expert (2024)
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