We all know you must have deep pockets and long arms if you want to spend some time abroad.

And once the big decision has been made, you have to be prepared to live on bread and water while you are there.

But just because you have to pinch your pennies does not mean you have to stay at home all day. At many tourist attractions one has to pay entrance fees, but there is still much to do for those who have to watch their spending.

Go for a walk in a park

One of the things I appreciate most here in Ireland is that the parks are beautifully maintained. It is clean, it is safe and the lush green vegetation is unrivalled.

If you are lucky and the sun is shining, you will see many other people in the park: Many moms and babies, many joggers and also others who just want to take a break.

Three of my favourite parks here in Dublin are Bushy Park (the trees create a fairy-tale impression and one feels like Snow White strolling in the forest), St Stephen’s Green (if you want to watch people, this is the place for you) and Phoenix Park (not only is this the largest fenced park in Europe, but it is also a place where you feel kilometres away from the city – here you can take a deep breath and if you are lucky you may also come across a few relatively tame reindeer).

Visit a museum

Most of the museums here in Dublin may be visited free of charge. The National Gallery of Ireland really is a must when you are here (the gallery houses works of art dating from the 1400s!), as well as the National Museum of Natural History (a must if you are interested in archaeology and centuries-old animals and their development, and if you are feeling homesick, it is good to see an African lion or elephant – even if it is only the skeleton!)

Go for a stroll on the Trinity College campus

Trinity College is Ireland’s oldest university and has the most beautiful buildings. The oldest building dates from 1592. You can stroll about on campus marvelling at the buildings and statues.

If you do have some money to spend, you could have a look at one of the oldest books in the world, The Book of Kells (link: https://www.tcd.ie/library/manuscripts/book-of-kells.php), in the Long Room.

Hiking trails

Dublin is a beautiful city with lots of history, but if you want to see more of nature, the hiking trails are a must.

One of the most popular routes (about 11 km) is from Bray to Greystones, two small villages south of Dublin. This route could be muddy after it has rained but is not so bad that you cannot do it at all. It is a comfortable route, with a couple of stretches that are more challenging than the rest, but easy enough for anyone to hike comfortably.

If it is a perfect sunny day it could be possible to see a part of England far across the ocean!

Another pleasant hiking trail is in Howth, a small village north of Dublin. There are several distances, depending on the turn-offs you take. On a perfect day you can see far across the ocean and admire the scenery.

Graffiti and street art

Dublin itself has so many interesting attractions you could easily miss if you are not watchful enough.

Although graffiti is prohibited in most places, there are areas in Dublin where it is welcomed. Some of the artists are really talented.

A free tour on foot (link: https://free-dublin-tours.com/tours/free-original-dublin-alternative-tour/) will help you to see all the hidden artworks that ordinary tourists often do not see.

There are many other things you can do for free here in Dublin, but one thing is important, however: After your free adventures, be sure to always have at least some money in your pocket so you can enjoy a pint of Guinness at a proper Irish pub!

This post is also available in: Afrikaans

Elsje du Toit
Elsje du Toit
Elsje du Toit is a country girl from the Northern Cape who later work a journalist at Volksblad and Netwerk24 in Bloemfontein for five years. She and her husband, JJ, have been living in Dublin since January 2018. Although having lived there for a while, she has not yet become accustomed to the cold weather, but still enjoys every moment.

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