I spent the last three months in Dublin, on an internship with Microsoft. The experience was great and I could recommend it to anybody, but that’s not what I wanted to talk about this time. Whenever you move from one place to another there’s a certain amount of know-how that makes your new life easier/better/more predictable and that knowledge usually comes with time. By the end of my internship I felt at home in Dublin and now I’d like to share some tips with you.
Getting to and from the airport
The airport is about 10 km north from the city centre, but travelling there and back is no hassle. As listed on the airport’s website, there are multiple bus services you could use. I have been using Aircoach‘s services – I don’t think they are the cheapest of the lot, but the buses come frequently, are really reliable, convenient, and hard to miss :) One-way ticket from the city centre costs €7, a return one €12. You don’t need to book the tickets in advance, there’s always a lot of room left. There are also multiple routes, so if you want to go straight from/to Microsoft building 3 or 4 in Sandyford it’s also possible. It takes 40 minutes to get from the airport to the city centre, and another 40 to get to Sandyford.
Taking the taxi is of course also an option and it costs about €60 to get from the airport to Sandyford and under €30 to get to the city center.
In Dublin you have buses, the Luas, the DART, and dublin bikes at your disposal. Luas and the buses are in the same “ecosystem”, so you can use same tickets for both. Apart from ordinary types of tickets (single, return, monthly etc.) you can also buy a leap card, which is a pre-paid card you can use both for Luas and the buses. You can buy most of the tickets (and top-up your leap card) in machines at Luas stations, but you have to buy the leap card wherever you can buy newspapers.
Sidenote: to be eligible for the student fares you have to get a Student Travel Card, your university ID isn’t enough! The travel card costs €15 and the easiest way to get it to go to Trinity College, house 6, just off the main entrance and have your university ID with you. You should be able to get your card in no more than 10 minutes.
Luas is a tram/S-Bahn hybrid in Dublin and it has two unconnected lines: the red and green. It is by far the best way to move around Dublin, so if the place you’ll be working at is relatively close to any of the Luas stations it’s really worth it to look for an apartment close to the Luas line as well. I was commuting from the Harcourt station to Central Park every day and it was as convenient as it gets.
If you feel tempted to risk and travel without a valid ticket – I wouldn’t recommend it. The ticket controls are really frequent and you are very likely to encounter one multiple times a day :)
I found the Dublin Bus website rather unhelpful – the connection finder doesn’t work too well and you have to know the city very well to determine where the buses of particular routes actually go, since they don’t give you the maps, just list the neighborhoods the routes cross. Additionally, the arrival times of the buses on particular stops (rather than the starting ones) are also impossible to find. To add insult to injury they don’t always stop on the bus stops – I once chased a bus (sober, in daytime) for 3 stops before I acknowledged the driver won’t stop to pick me up.
But when you figure out what route you want to use and finally catch a bus, you just tell the driver where you’re going (the fares differ depending on your destination) and pay with cash (coins only!) and find a nice seat at the upper level ;)
There are multiple Dublin Bikes rental stations in the city centre. In some of them you can get a 3-day temporary Dublin Bikes card using your debit or credit card. You can use the card to rent any bike from any of the stations – if you return it within 30 minutes, you won’t be charged any more if not, there is additional cost. You can also apply for a yearly card, all the details on the Dublin Bikes website.
I wouldn’t really recommend using Dublin Bikes for everyday commute to work – the stations are only downtown and they are all empty in the morning and full in the evening ;). But for running random errands or sightseeing they are convenient and fun to use – great stuff.
Renting an apartment
This is the biggest issue you (usually) have to face at the beginning of your internship. Your best bets for apartment hunting are daft.ie, adverts.ie and gumtree. Some of the adverts have a minimum lease time (which is more than 3 months, your standard summer internship), a preferred gender or even sexual preference (!) of the tenant. Combine this with the fact most of the apartments are overpriced and not in the area you are looking for and you’re in for a difficult mission. I started searching intensively a week and a half before my temporary hotel room run out and barely found something I liked in time.
When it comes to “good” and “bad” neighborhoods – I didn’t have much experience in that field, but there is some info local people gave me. Historically northern side of Dublin was the “working class” side, and southern was the more exclusive or modern and this still is reflected in the prices. There are also neighborhoods that aren’t always the safest, especially if you were to wave your smartphone around in the evening – I don’t know many details, but I remember the name “Tallaght” came up frequently ;)
If you wanted to live close to the green Luas line you would be looking for a place in any of the following districts: Dublin 2, Dublin 6, Dublin 14, Dublin 16, Dublin 18, but still make sure on the map – the districts aren’t too small.
When it comes to price: depending on the location, apartment’s condition and many other factors, the monthly lease could cost anywhere between €450 and €650 / month plus bills. Usually, when moving in, you have to pay a deposit equal to the month’s lease so it might be a good idea to make sure you have some money before you get your first paycheck or two.
You might want to think about sharing an apartment with other people, there are lots of ads for it, especially on adverts.ie. It’s usually a little cheaper than renting a place just for yourself. If you can find a 3 bedroom flat and share it with other interns you know from work – it’s even better ;)
I wouldn’t recommend renting an apartment to share with the landlords – I haven’t done it, but most of the people who did – didn’t recommend it.
If you can choose between UPC and eircom as internet providers – I would choose UPC without a second thought. Other living costs
The electricity doesn’t cost much and you can eat healthily for under €40/week. If I were to sort the common general stores from the least to most expensive it would be: Aldi < Tesco < Tesco Express < Spar < Dunnes. A beer in a pub costs €5 and it’s usually good ;) You can get a very nice burger or a doner for €6.
Places to go
Your fellow interns should fill you in on this one, but just to kickstart the pub/club life I would try anything in the Temple Bar area (especially the Porterhouse), South Great George’s Street, Dawson Street or the general area. There are more pubs than you might suspect and on Saturday evening they are all full and very lively – it’s a thing to experience.
That’s all that come’s to mind right now, if I remember something I’ll add it here. Feel free to ask questions if you have any!