Dublin on a Budget: A Student's Guide


Updated on Jan 08 • 4 minute read

If you’re even thinking about relocating to Ireland for your Erasmus or study abroad program, then Dublin is a fantastic city to consider. With its well-respected universities and vocational schools, you’ll be well on your way to a promising future.

But when it comes to deciding where to go for your international studies, your budget definitely comes into play. Some parts of the Emerald Isle, especially those that are quite tourist-driven, can be expensive. And you’re going to be doing more than just studying, so you have to take social and leisure activities into consideration.

However, if you have the right information, it’s easy to live in most cities and still enjoy yourself on any budget. Dublin is no exception. So, let’s take a peek at what you can see, do, eat and drink in Dublin, even on the tightest student budget.


This bustling capital of Ireland offers a plethora of fun activities, ensuring that you have something new and exciting to discover. If you don’t want to give even the loose change in your pocket, check out the Spire on O’Connell or put together an inexpensive picnic, and then head straight to Stephen’s Green.

However, where Dublin truly excels is with its world-renowned collection of national museums and galleries. And the best part is that a good portion of them offer free admission.

The Science Gallery, which is nestled on Trinity College’s campus, has dozens of fun, hands-on displays that even those without a love for science can appreciate. In fact, you could easily spend an entire rainy afternoon here, understanding the world and its innermost workings.

Another city favorite is the National Gallery in Merrion Square, sporting a large collection of classical and modern art. Additionally, the architecture of the building is a marvel all in itself, and on a sunny day, you can spend a nice afternoon wandering throughout the gardens outside.


If you really want to discover some of Dublin’s best green spaces, then Phoenix Park should be right at the top of your list. It’s not only one of the biggest parks in Ireland, but also in all of Europe. Plus, it can be easily accessed by the 46A, and it is close to plenty of student housing.

Teeming with a diverse array of wildlife (50% of mammals and 40% of the bird species found naturally in the country), it was originally set up as a deer sanctuary for the Royal family.

You’ll find dozens of things to do here. You can even rent a bike to ride around and “attempt” to see everything that the park has to offer its visitors.

Additionally, if you want to dig a little deeper, tours are offered of some of the facilities located at the park. For example, you can take a closer look at the president’s house, or you can explore the monuments that are scattered throughout the property. Phoenix Park is also home to the Dublin Zoo, with additional attractions and animal encounters.

Best of all, the park is always open 24/7, so it’s a wonderful place to rejuvenate at any time.


Since you’re an incoming international student on a budget, it’s important that you don’t splurge too much on expensive food in the most touristy areas of the city. There are tons of lower-priced options for fulfilling meals throughout the area, so you won’t have to watch your student savings go completely to meals.

Dublin’s most popular food for students is the classic burrito. It’s not that expensive of an option, and it’s a large, long-lasting meal. You’ll never be far from a burrito shop, but a couple of the best are Boojum and Tolteca.

Of course, if you’re looking for something else to satisfy your cravings, Dublin is also rather famous for its chicken fillet roll. This consists of a juicy fried chicken breast, stuffed into a flaky baguette with your choice of toppings. Prices on this sandwich may vary a bit from place to place, but Centra on Grafton Street in the city center offers their version for around €2.50.

But if what you need is a good jolt of caffeine, one of the city’s best-kept secrets is Accents Coffee & Tea Lounge. This establishment is very popular with the students and young people in the area, offering an unassuming vibe and numerous ways to get your caffeine fix. And if you want to give in to your sweet tooth, they also serve steaming hot chocolate, complete with a portion of chocolate chips that you can add in until you achieve your ideal preference of chocolate goodness. They also have pastries and several tasty vegan options, if you’re hungry.

Downstairs, you will also find a lounge with several super-comfy chairs and couches, offering an alternative to the traditional coffee cafe to sit and sip on your piping hot beverage. This is also a great place to find a quiet corner for your studies, especially if you’re working with a group on a project.


If you’re a student in Dublin, the chances are that you will be looking for a handful of cheap places to spend time with all of those new friends that you’ve been making. On Mondays, you should head to Dicey’s, a relaxed spot with a dance floor and a beer garden, where all pints and bottles are €2.50. Tuesday night is the time to visit Everleigh Garden, which has multiple dance floors and different genres of music. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays are big nights out in Dublin, so try The Palace, Opium Rooms or Copper’s.

Now that you know how to experience Dublin on a student’s budget be sure that you don’t extend yourself when finding housing. Start looking three to four months in advance, and be sure to use a housing platform like HousingAnywhere.com, where you can compare prices and receive alerts when properties matching your interests are posted.

And above all else, make the most of your time in Dublin. This nearly mythical destination will never cease to amaze you, so explore away!

Ready for your adventure?