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With bucket loads of history, hilarious locals, and more excuses than normal to have a night out, you can’t go far wrong with a trip to the Irish capital of Dublin. Whether you’re a UK local and want a laughter filled weekend away, or come from overseas for a first glimpse of Irish countryside and Guinness, there’s plenty of fun in store for you.

It might not be the warmest city in the world, but what Dublin lacks in high temperature it makes up for in character. Get cosy in a traditional Irish pub, sample some delicious hearty meals in one of Dublin’s exciting restaurants, or explore the stunning coastlines and fishing towns just a short drive away from the city.

Although Dublin is a small city, exploring everything it has to offer can be a lot smoother, easier, and even cheaper if you plan in advance and book a rental car. With your own set of wheels, you have no need to stress over bus or train timetables, and you’re free to head on all the spontaneous road trips you like. Booking your rental car in Dublin with DriveNow makes all this even slicker, with a wide range of rental vehicles for you to choose from, ensuring you get yourself a ride that is right for you and your budget.

With access to Ireland’s top rental car companies including Avis, Hertz, Budget, SIXT and Europcar you have the widest choice of vehicles to compare and select from to help guarantee you find the best possible deal.

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How to Compare Car Rentals in Dublin with DriveNow

If you want a relaxing touch down and arrival into one of Europe’s most culturally rich and diverse cities make sure you organise your rental car for Dublin before you take off.

DriveNow has a free online booking system so you can compare Dublin Airport rental car rates before you leave home or on the road with your smart phone. There’s no deposit, no credit card details, and no booking or cancellation fees, simply book online and pay when you collect your car rental in Dublin.

DriveNow access all Ireland’s top rental car providers so you have the widest choice of vehicles to compare and select from to guarantee you will be getting a good deal.

There is no need to stand in a long queue to organise your car hire for Dublin. If you utilise DriveNow's service all you need to do is choose the car you want before you leave. With available depots throughout Ireland, you have the added convenience of being able to collect your car hire from the airport and across the country.

DriveNow searches the rates provided by the world’s top car rental companies so you get the best rate on a cheap car hire in Dublin.

Why Use DriveNow for Car Hire in Dublin?

Here are some other reasons to consider booking Dublin car hire with DriveNow:

  • Experience - DriveNow has been comparing car rental since 2003
  • Price - Our search engine constantly looks for the best available rental rates in Dublin and elsewhere in Ireland
  • Currency - Pricing is listed in Euros so you know exactly what to expect on arrival
  • 100% Free Service - No Booking, admin or agency fees to worry about
  • Need Help? - Our Reservations team are a phone call, chat or email away to help

Treat Yourself to Laid Back Luxury in a Top Dublin Hotel

As a bustling cosmopolitan capital city, it’s no surprise that there is an abundance of fantastic hotels in Dublin. Many of the best-located hotels do come with a price tag to match, so venture a little further out if you’re hoping to catch a bargain. If you’re looking for something extra special to complement your trip, check out some of these stylish stays.

The Dean Hotel

Dublin's Dean Hotel
Unique interiors and trendy additions are a hallmark of the Dean Hotel
Source: deandublin.ie

If you’re looking for a superb location without the corporate feel of many modern hotels, the Dean could be your answer. This quirky boutique hotel on Harcourt Street is bang in the centre of Dublin, just a stone’s throw away from Grafton Street, St Stephen’s Green, and many other shopping, restaurant, and bar areas. The charm of this relatively new hotel isn’t just limited to its location though. It’s the cool, carefully designed interiors, funky rooms, and glass topped rooftop restaurant that have earned its reputation, and landed it on the list of the 30 best hotels in Ireland. Expect remarkable food, charming additions to your room, plenty of space to park your Dublin car hire, and an overwhelming urge to book an extra week.

Kelly’s Hotel

Kelly Hotel Dublinl
Minimalism meets luxury at Kelly’s Boutique Hotel
Source: kellysdublin.com

Kelly’s Hotel in the creative quarter is another great option for those looking for a touch of luxury right in the centre of the action. Minimalist and trendy, this hotel is made up of only 16 rooms, connected by an impressive interior bridge. The unique feel of the interior is thanks to a combination of this minimalist look and the traditional materials of the 1870s building that it is housed in. A perfect spot for those after a great night out, Kelly’s is on George’s Street, right next to the hugely popular Temple Lane area brimming with bars and clubs.

Clontarf Castle Hotel

Clontarf Castle Hotel
Treat yourself to a slice of tradition at the Clontarf Castle Hotel
Source: contarfcastle.ie

If you’re looking for something a bit different, the 4-star Clontarf Castle Hotel could be right up your street. As the name suggests, it resides inside a 12th century castle building and is full of fascinating history of the families who have lived there. Inside the magnificent building is a modern, refurbished interior with comfortable rooms and luxurious food. Clontarf is a great place to explore popular local attractions like St. Anne's Park and Rose Gardens or Dollymouth Beach. But at just a 10 minute drive in your hire car from Dublin city centre, you can escape to your own slice of history without being too far away from the hustle and bustle of town.

Number 31 B&B

Number 31  - Bed and breakfast in Dublin
You’ll get world class hospitality at Number 31 B&B
Source: number31.ie

Number 31 B&B is situated in another hugely convenient spot, between Trinity College and St Stephen’s Green, allowing you to soak up some of the magnificent architecture and culture of this area. Number 31 is no ordinary B&B, and the fact that it was awarded Guesthouse of the Year in 2017 certainly attests to that. This B&B is famed for its outstanding hospitality, comfortable, attractive rooms, and one of the best breakfasts in Ireland. Extra features like freshly baked bread, car parking for your Dublin rental car, and local knowledge from the hosts make this B&B stand out from the crowd.

Where to Eat and Drink in Dublin

Irish food has traditionally embraced both the land and sea, keeping it simple, hearty, and wholesome. These days staples such as stews, fish & chips, and pies still feature regularly on menus, but you can also expect modern retakes and upgrades on old favourites. Ireland’s proximity to the sea also means that trying fresh fish, mussels, oysters, and prawns is a must.

While the old classics have always been a hit, " food has never been known to be hugely adventurous. However, that’s all changed in recent years and is more apparent than anywhere in Dublin. Chefs from all over the globe have either set up or returned to the city with new ideas and innovative techniques, meaning the capital is buzzing with exciting, creative cooking from all around the world.

The Irish are world renowned for their great relationship with alcohol, and it would be rude to come all the way to Ireland and not join them for a pint or two in the pub. Many looking for a big night come to Dublin to soak up the fantastic " atmosphere, and there will be plenty of brides and grooms-to-be running around on a Saturday night. But if it’s just a quiet pint of Guinness you’re after, fear not. With more than 1000 bars in Dublin, there’s more than enough for everybody!

Temple Bar

Temple Bar in Dublin
You’ll find music, food, and a great atmosphere in the streets of Temple Ba
Source: dublinpubs.com

Temple Bar is actually both an area and a pub. The name is given to what has become a famous cluster of bars, pubs, and taverns on the south bank of the River Diffey. The area once had a colourful reputation, but is now one of the busiest areas of the city and a huge hit with tourists. The wide range of venues in Temple Bar offers everything from traditional " music to club nights. The Temple Bar itself is one of the most popular in the area, with a traditional " pub atmosphere. As it’s such a hot spot for visitors, this pub isn’t one for a quiet night in!

Coppinger Row

Coppinger Row Restauarant
Grab a hearty meal for any time of day at Coppinger Row
Source: coppingerrow.com

This Mediterranean inspired restaurant is a great spot for brunch, lunch, or dinner. Located right in the centre of Dublin just off Clarendon Street, you can enjoy people watching from the outdoor seating area if you’re lucky enough to catch a sunny day. The menu features well priced, well portioned plates, with a special focus on seafood. If it’s the drinks list you are more interested in, you’ll find a bold selection of wines and even a full menu dedicated to gin and tonic.

Cake Cafe

Sometimes the highlight of a trip isn’t the most expensive restaurant or the fanciest bar. Sometimes all it takes is a slice of phenomenal cake and a great cup of tea. The perfect venue for this job is the aptly named Cake Café in the Dublin 8 district. This charming little spot serves a wide variety of cakes, tarts, and pastries in a leafy courtyard setting with mismatched crockery and colourful designs. It’s not just for afternoon tea though, as they also do a great brunch or lunch, complimented by a tasty drinks list. This café has also been highly commended for its dedication to using local " produce, so it’s definitely worth a visit.

P. Mac’s Bar

P. Mac’s is relatively new on the bar block, opening as a sister bar to the award winning Cassidy’s. Perfect for a casual weeknight drink and snack from their food menu, this bar is a cross between a traditional " pub and a modern hipster hangout. Expect unique decor, candlelit tables, and a lively atmosphere, particularly on the weekends.

Soak up Some Culture with the Top Attractions in Dublin

Part of Dublin’s charm for visitors is that there’s something for everyone. Those looking for a step back in time will marvel at the historic buildings, stories, and architecture, but there are plenty of options for those who prefer to discover the culture of today, too. Here are some highlights of things to check out during your trip.

Museums and Galleries

Irish Museum of Modern Art
See stunning gardens, architecture, and artworks at the Museum of Modern Art
Source: Travel and Leisure

For visitors to new cities, museums are often one of the first attractions to tick off. They're a great way to discover the history and culture and get a deeper understanding of what’s happening around you. The many museums in Dublin showcase the best of Irish history, arts, writing, and culture and are definitely worth a visit. The Irish Museum of Modern Art is a hugely popular museum with more than 400,000 visitors a year. The 17th century Royal Hospital building and Parisian style garden in which the museum resides are stunning. To get here, you can make use of your Dublin car rental, as it’s an easy 12 minute drive from the city centre. Other great museums and galleries include the National Museum of Ireland, The James Joyce Centre, and the Little Museum of Dublin.

Trinity College

Trinity College Dublin
Check out the beautiful Hamilton Mathematics building at Trinity College
Source:Trinity College Dublin

Despite being founded back in 1592, Trinity College is still a working university. It’s one of the seven ancient universities in Britain and Ireland, and a visit to the magnificent 16th and 17th century buildings and grounds offers a Harry Potter-esque trip back in time. Student-led guided tours are well worth joining to learn all about the fascinating past of the university and surrounding area. The buildings are situated on the College Green, which is a great place to have a stroll, and you can often watch students playing cricket at the nearby pitch.

St Stephens Green

St Stepehens Green park in Dublin
St Stephen’s Green is the perfect place for a summer stroll
Source:Tour Ireland

If you’ve spent your day exploring museums and sampling Guinness, the idea of a lazy afternoon in the park could be music to your ears. St Stephen’s Green is bang in the middle of Dublin and ideal for an escape from the busy streets and attractions. There are more than 3.5km of paths to wander along and admire the Victorian style gardens. Alternatively, if it’s a sunny day, you could park yourself up on a picnic blanket with an ice cream and watch the world go by.

The Guinness Storehouse

Guinness Storehouse
i>Discover some fascinating history and sample some pints at the Guinness Storehouse
Source: Fountain Resource Group

It may sound a bit cliché to come to Dublin and head straight to a Guinness museum. However, if ever you were going to learn how to pull a pint, it should really happen at the Guinness Storehouse. This distillery is definitely worth a visit, as it offers truly fascinating insight into the country’s famous tipple. Learn all about the history, distilling process, and sample your own freshly pulled pint at the end. The rooftop bar at the Storehouse makes this place extra special, as you can enjoy a couple more drinks with 360 degree views of the city.

Exploring Further Afield with Trips in Your Dublin Hire Car

Although it’s essential to discover the sights and sounds of the city itself, don’t forget there’s a whole lot of magnificent Irish scenery waiting to be explored just a few miles away. Take some time to escape the hustle and bustle and jump in your hire car to check out some of these impressive slices of Mother Nature or use our 7 day Ireland self-drive itinerary to help create your Irish adventure. Download a detailed version of this Irish driving itinerary.

Howth

Baily Lighthouse in Howth outside Dublin
Do some dramatic scenery and wildlife spotting at the seaside town of Howth
Source: Skibereen Eagle

Just a short drive north of Dublin in a hire car from Dublin Airport is the pretty little seaside town of Howth. Far from the noise of the city, this fishing village is a peaceful, scenic spot and perfect for a day trip. You can choose to stroll around the many fish cafes and restaurants sampling the local seafood, take a hike in the surrounding coastlines, or head to Howth Castle for some more sightseeing. You could be lucky and spot some seals from the harbor!

Glendalough

Glendalough Mountain Park
Find yourself on top of the world after one of the numerous hikes in Glendalough south of Dublin
Source: The Journal

For a real adventure out of the city, take your Dublin car rental to the mountains. Glendalough is a mountainous park area about an hour’s drive south of Dublin and is a beautiful place to head out for a scenic drive. There is a variety of walks and hikes ranging in difficulty, from lakeside strolls to proper mountain hikes. For your return trip, take your car rental back to Dublin via the scenic Sally’s Gap for stunning views of untouched landscape.

Galway

Galway Street View
Magical Medieval streets abound in Galway
Source: Trekking Tru Time

If you’re heading to Ireland for more than a few days, consider heading even further out of the city and across the mainland to the east coast. Here you’ll find the famous seaside city of Galway, known around the world for its traditional Irish charm and medieval roots. This city is often referred to as the most ‘Irish’ of the country, and it’s where you’ll be most likely to hear Irish spoken in the street or stumble across traditional music being played in the pubs. That's not to say that Galway isn't modern, as there is a fun student environment, a great art scene, and plenty of delicious bars and restaurants to sample, too. Wander around admiring the cathedrals, castles, and famous churches, but don’t forget to voyage to the stunning beaches and countryside in the surrounding area, too.

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