As a keen explorer, I love travelling to new places but I have to admit I’ve not been to Scotland, Wales or a lot of places in England so I knew that had to change.

Ireland has also been on my list of places to travel to so I decided to take a trip with my family to Dublin as I’ve heard good things and I know a few people who have visited.

One thing I was unsure about was how much it would cost once we were there because people had said it was an expensive city to visit.

But, we went in March and stayed there for a long weekend (Friday to Monday) and I thought most of the food we ate was reasonably priced as well as the attractions we visited.

@uktoday_ What I spent during a weekend in Dublin - read more and see my tips for visiting the Irish capital in the comments🇮🇪 #citybreak #dublin #whatispent #travel ♬ Coffee Talk (Extended) - BLVKSHP

Having visited now, there are a few tips I’d share with anyone thinking about going in the future.

How much I spent in Dublin for a weekend trip

Every morning, we had a full English breakfast in the hotel before going exploring – this kept us full for a good while.

Then we snacked during the day if needed and ate bigger meals out at restaurants in the evenings.

Fujiyama Restaurant

Location: Upper O’Connell Street

This Is Local London: I found the food portions in Dublin very generousI found the food portions in Dublin very generous (Image: Newsquest)

On Friday night, I had the Salmon Bowl from Fujiyama Restaurant which cost €17.80 (£15.23) and I was so impressed with it.

Not only was it tasty but it was huge as were the dishes the others had.

I shared some fried noodles (€5/£4.28) and Japanese curry sauce (€3/£2.57) and if I’m honest I didn’t need to share some noodles because the portions were so big but they were nice nonetheless.

I opted for an apple juice (€3.50/£3) – pretty standard for a soft drink.

Sharing the noodles and sauce meant I also shared the cost of them so my total cost for this meal, including the drinks, was £21.65 (roughly as the dishes shared didn’t halve evenly).

Murray’s Bar

Location: Upper O’Connell Street

This Is Local London: Live Irish music is on every night at Murray's BarLive Irish music is on every night at Murray's Bar (Image: Newsquest)

Murray’s Bar was next to our hotel so it was very easy to get to and again the portions were generous.

I shared a starter of Open Smoked Salmon & Prawn which came on bread and cost €14.95 (£12.79) which is a bit more expensive than what I’d usually pay for a starter in the UK but the portion size and taste made it worthwhile. Again, sharing the starter meant I could split the cost so it was actually around £6.40 each.

I had fish and chips for my main meal and this set me back €21.95 (£18.78) but the portion was very big.

On this night, I enjoyed a pink vodka and two lots of Sprite, costing €14.50/£12.41.

Xian Street Food

Location: North Earl Street

This Is Local London: While in Dublin, I tried a Spice BagWhile in Dublin, I tried a Spice Bag (Image: Newsquest)

When researching where to eat, we found that Irish Spice Bags (chicken and chips in a spice mix) are a popular cuisine in Ireland and we decided to give them a try.

We bought two Xian Famous Spice Bags to share between the four of us. They cost €8.95 (£7.66) each or €12.50 (£10.70) for one plus one dipping sauce and one drink.

I opted for the €12.50 option so shared between the two I spent £5.35 which I think was good value for money, considering I had plenty of food plus some of the sauce and drink.

I’m so glad we got to try these for a late lunch because they were simple but so tasty and it was good to try a popular dish over there.

Boeuf & Frites

Location: Crow Street

This Is Local London: The food at Boeuf & Frites was deliciousThe food at Boeuf & Frites was delicious (Image: Newsquest)

On our final night, we decided to go to Boeuf & Frites to try their unique menu which was a choice of steak or chicken with a sauce, garlic bread, a side salad and bottomless fries plus profiteroles and chocolate sauce for dessert all for €29.95 (£25.63) each.

I loved eating here because it was a set price menu and you could choose between two steak cuts and two half chicken dishes.

The food was delicious and I’d recommend booking so you can try it out for yourself.

With my meal I had a cocktail which cost €12.95 (£11.08) so altogether I spent £36.71 on a lovely meal that definitely filled me up.

Bambino Pizza

Location: Stephen Street

This Is Local London: Bambino Pizza is a great place to go for lunchBambino Pizza is a great place to go for lunch (Image: Newsquest)

This is more of a takeaway place as there are only a few stools to sit down at.

The pizza slices here are huge and you can get whole pizzas if you want to – the slices of pizza we got cost €6.50/£5.56 and €6.25/£5.35 but we added a drink since two slices and a soft drink cost €13/£11.13 altogether - €6.50/£5.56 each.

There was a lot to choose from and I didn’t realise how popular it was but by the time it opened at 12pm, there was a queue down the street. We got there around 11.45am as we hadn’t realised it wasn’t quite open but this meant we were first in the queue so that was a bonus.

Is Dublin as expensive as people make out?

Overall, I didn’t think Dublin was too expensive but I can see how it could be if you don’t keep an eye on what you’re spending. 

I was expecting to spend over the odds for each meal but I don't feel like I did.

This Is Local London: We enjoyed a stroll around the Trinity College campusWe enjoyed a stroll around the Trinity College campus (Image: Newsquest)

When going on holiday I always expect to spend a decent amount of money and although I like to treat myself when away, I also try to limit it so I think that could help if you visit Dublin.

The Guinness Storehouse is worth a visit and costs €26/£22.21 for an adult ticket which includes a taster of Guinness plus a voucher to get either a pint or a soft drink once on the top floor.

We visited Trinity College and walked around the campus which was free to do. We didn’t pay the fee to see the Book of Kells so we saved some money there but it’s up to you.

We also visited Dublin Castle and were given complimentary tickets as a nice gesture from a staff member so we saved money here – it’s usually €8 (£6.85) for an adult to do a self-guided tour.

This Is Local London: There is a lot to see inside Dublin CastleThere is a lot to see inside Dublin Castle (Image: Newsquest)

Tips for anyone travelling to Dublin for the weekend

I thought I’d share some tips to help anyone who might be visiting Dublin for the first time like me.

Take food with you

To help cut costs in the day, I packed some pain au chocolates from home so I could have a snack whenever I felt like it without delving into my purse.

Research before you go

Researching helped me know where I wanted to go and how much money it would roughly cost if I saw a restaurant that I fancied trying.

I used TikTok and Google to find recommendations and also asked friends who had already been for their suggestions on where to eat.

This tip can be applied to attractions too – I booked some in advance which helped spread the cost of the trip.

Recommended reading:

Look for alternatives

If you’ve been thinking about visiting Dublin, you’ve probably heard of Temple Bar – a popular bar with live music.

Since I’d heard how busy it gets and thought it may be a bit more expensive (I’m not sure if it is), I was happy to just go and see it and take pictures outside and opt for other Irish bars.

For example, we had food at Murray’s Bar on Upper O’Connell Street and as we were finishing our meals, they began setting up the stage for some live music so although we didn’t stay to watch, there are other options if you’re looking for somewhere to eat and listen to music.

Book restaurants in advance

Restaurants do fill up in cities so I’d recommend booking in advance as soon as you can to guarantee your spot and cut out the waiting times.

We waited around 20 minutes to get into Fujiyama Restaurant on the first night and while it was worth it, we were glad we’d booked other things because we didn't have to wait for a table.