We utilize the Dublin Pass so often that it has become one of my top Dublin travel tips.
Nearly every visit we have made to Dublin, way back to our first family trip in 2005 to our most recent couples getaway in 2019, we have purchased a Dublin Pass.
Flashing this little green card has saved us both time and money as we explored Ireland's capital city.
Dublin Travel Tips: Buy a Dublin Pass
You have two options when purchasing a Dublin Pass- buy it online, in advance of your trip, or purchase it in Dublin.
I recommend purchasing the pass online, prior to your trip, as any sales or discounts are only available to online purchases.
Like this one- exclusive to readers of Ireland Family Vacations
use code FAMILYVACATIONS
to save 15% off 5 day passes and 5% off 3 day passes at Dublin Pass
Offer expires 31st December 2019
You may also find flash sales on the Dublin Pass website.
Now that you have purchased the Dublin Pass you need to choose how you will receive it.
3 Ways to Get Your Dublin Pass
If you prefer the physical Dublin Pass card and booklet you can have these shipped to you (additional charges apply) or you can pick up the pass at two Dublin locations after arrival in the city.
If you plan to use the handy Dublin Pass booklet to plan your time in Dublin, I recommend paying for shipping.
The booklet includes an attractions map, so you can see what sites are near each other, as well as more complete descriptions of each attraction and what the pass covers at each location. It's very handy for planning your time in Dublin.
If you don't need a physical book to plan your Dublin itinerary you can download the Dublin Pass guidebook at no charge and pick up your Dublin Pass when you arrive in the city.
Opt for the mobile ticket if you don't need or want a physical guide. Apps are available for iOS and Android and offer instant download of the Dublin Pass on purchase.
Is a Dublin Pass a good deal for you? Here's how to figure it out.
What You Need to Understand Before Using Your Dublin Pass
The Dublin Pass is very easy to use, but there are a few things you should understand before activating it.
The Dublin Pass activates on first use. And is then active for the number of days you purchased.
One day is a single calendar day, not a 24 hour period. To make the most of your Dublin Pass begin using it in the morning.
The Dublin Pass is to be used over consecutive days. If you activate a 3 day pass on a Friday the pass is good for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. You can not pause your Dublin Pass.
Dublin Pass purchases made online are valid for one year. Just use your email confirmation for collection.
The Dublin Pass allows for one entry into each featured attraction. Sorry, no multiple trips through the Guinness Storehouse for a complimentary pint.
How to Use Your Dublin Pass to Save Time & Money
With entry into over 30 of Dublin's top attractions, you can feel a bit overwhelmed by the options you have available to you during your time in Dublin.
So let me begin with a quick disclaimer- you won't be able to visit every site.
While 30 attractions doesn't seem like a lot, it really is when you factor in time spent at each site.
I recommend doing a bit of research to know which attractions you simply must experience, which sites you would like to see, and which places aren't of interest to you.
Traveling with Kids? See the Best Dublin Pass Attractions With Children
Dublin Travel Tips to Make the Most of Your Dublin Pass
Hop on the Bus
To quickly get your bearing in Dublin you can't do better than the Hop-on Hop-off bus. The Dublin Pass is accepted on the red City Sightseeing buses.
Your Dublin Pass Hop-on Hop-off bus ticket is good for 24 hours, but for best use I would begin in the morning and dedicate a day to utilizing this ticket.
Because Dublin is a compact and walkable city, I would utilize the hop-off feature along the two routes for the sites located at the edges of the city centre.
- Dublin Zoo, Phoenix Park, and Guinness Storehouse on the red line
- EPIC the Irish Emigration Museum, the Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship, and Teelings Whiskey Distillery on the blue line
Group Your Attractions
When you look at the Dublin Pass attractions map you'll see that many are near to each other. Study the groupings and plan to do all the sites in that area at the same time.
- Dublin Castle, City Hall, Chester Beatty Library
- Museum of Ireland Archaeology, Little Museum of Dublin, National Gallery of Ireland, Museum of Ireland Natural History (aka Dead Zoo)
Get In Fast
Fast Track entry, the ability to skip the queues, is available at most attractions.
Look in your guide under the facilities section for the arrow.
Be Realistic with Your Tour Times
You can expect to visit 3, maybe 4, of these attractions per day. Any more and you will find yourself incredibly rushed.
EPIC alone can take 2.5 hours, at a minimum, I recommend allowing 4 hours to truly complete this incredible museum.
Both the National Museum of Ireland Archaeology and Natural History can keep you enthralled for a couple hours.
And Guinness Storehouse can take 2-3 hours depending on how long you savor your pint and enjoy the view.
Remember that Some Attractions are Always Free
Many of the museums are already free to visit; your Dublin Pass adds a ‘premium', often a free guidebook or cafe discount. Keep this is mind when planning your Dublin Pass use if these gifts aren't of interest you you.
Stay in the City
The Dublin Pass includes some incredible spots outside the city, including Malahide Castle, Skerries Mill, and Glasnevin Cemetery Museum.
While these are fabulous places to visit, they can take time to travel to, decreasing the time you can use to visit city centre sights.
To maximize your Dublin Pass usage stay in the city centre, and only venture out to these if you have time remaining.
Take Advantage of Special Offers
Your Dublin Pass comes with special offers on dining, tours, and shopping. Be sure to take a look at what is on offer and use your pass!
You will need to book tours in advance as they can fill up fast.
And be sure to utilize your Dublin Pass purchase receipt to take advantage of Aircoach transport to and from Dublin Airport!
A few of my favorite Special Offers from Dublin Pass:
- Discounted tickets for An Evening of Folklore and Fairies at The Brazen Head
- Free Irish Coffee with entree at The Boxty House
- Free whiskey glass at the Celtic Whiskey Shop with purchase of €70+
- Discount tickets for Irish Food Trail tour (YUM!)
- Discounted tour with Shane's Howth Hikes
Which Dublin Pass is Right for You?
The Dublin Pass is available in 1, 2, 3, and 5 day denominations.
Child cards are for ages 5-15.
As you are studying the sites you can visit with the Dublin Pass, two of Dublin's most popular attractions are conspicuously absent.
The Book of Kells at Trinity College and Kilmainham Gaol.
These are two very popular Dublin attractions, and in the high season tour times can fill weeks in advance. While not confirmed, my suspicion is that these sites would not be available to handle additional tourists hoping to avail of a Fast Track entry and prebooking with the Dublin Pass just isn't available at this time.
KIlmainham Gaol and Book of Kells/ Long Room at Trinty College can fill a couple hours each, at minimum, so if they are on your ‘must see in Dublin' list, purchase a Dublin Pass that is at least one day less than your time in the city.
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Looking for more tips? Visit my County Dublin Travel Tips page!