While planning my Sept. trip to Dublin I researched tourist sights and attractions I was interested in seeing and in doing so found The Dublin Pass, a prepaid admission card valid for 1, 2, 3 or 6 days allowing admission into 33 attractions sights around the Irish capital. I’d used similar city passes elsewhere including New York so understood the concept but did a little more research to find out what the benefits of using this one were and the advantages I found were:
- Convenience. It’s easy to budget your spending money when you’ve prepaid for the card which allows quicker entry into the sights as you may skip the lines at all but the Kilmainham Gaol, Old Jameson Distillery or Dublinia.
- Value. Prepaying offers savings over paying in person at each sight however this advantage only really adds up if you are prepared to visit as many of the participating sights as you can over the pass validity.
I opted for the 3 day pass which with a discount shown right on the Dublin Pass website was EUR60.35 and I calculated that visiting the Guinness Storehouse, Jameson Distillery, Little Museum of Dublin, Dublinia, Christchurch Cathedral, Kilmainham Gaol, Dublin Writer’s Museum and taking the arrival Aircoach airport transfer would all cost me EUR71.50 if bought separately so it made sense -or cents- to prepay for the sights I was going to visit anyway. This chart helps highlight the savings:
- Free Guidebook and map. This pocket size has details of all the attractions along with several city maps to help you navigate from one attraction to another.
- Extra benefits & discounts. Dublin Pass purchasers are also given discount offers to city restaurants and walking tours including a free coffee at Bewley’s Café, 20% off Liffey River Cruises and 25% off Dublin Literary Pub Crawl.
- Discount on Leap Card. When purchasing a Dublin Pass online you’re given the option to include a EUR10 Leap Card which may be used on all the Dublin Bus, DART (Dublin Area Rapid Transit) and Luas, Dublin’s light rail tram system, and Commuter Rail services. The normal cost would be EUR15 but the EUR5 deposit is waived for Dublin Pass holders if they buy the two cards together in the same transaction.
One way to look at it was that by purchasing the Dublin Pass and savings just over EUR10 with the discount code provided you can receive a transit card free! Note however that unlike other city passes which include unlimited transportation this one does not but that shouldn’t pose too much of a concern as Dublin city centre is extremely compact and walkable.
Having the preloaded Leap Card came in handy and there was no activation required so could use it immediately which I did on the Luas tram that ran right outside my hotel, the gibson hotel. You must remember however to touch your card to one of the validators on the platform before boarding and after exiting the tram. Note that should you opt note to go with the Dublin Pass I’d recommend buying a Leap Visitor Card for as it includes airport shuttle, local bus, Luas as well as Dart and Commuter Rail services in Dublin city & outlying areas in Dublin county.
As with all things travel the onus is on the traveller to do their own research to determine whether programs such as the Dublin Pass work well for them but for me I found it was a good fit and so have ordered the card which can either be shipped out for a small S&H fee or picked-up Discover Ireland tourist information offices including one in the arrivals hall of Dublin Airport. The office hours are posted and since my flight landed on the emerald isle at 9 AM stopping by the airport office to collect my Dublin Pass was easily done.
I used the pass at 15 attractions and adding all the numbers up came out a few Euro ahead of paying admission at each sight individually but liked the ease of having one card to be swiped instead of fumbling for cash or using credit or debit cards each time. I could see having the pass in high season being a bigger bonus as it allows holders to bypass many admission lines but as early October was a quieter season I encountered few line-ups at any of the attractions including the more popular ones like Jameson’s and the Guinness Storehouse.
One other thought is to watch when you validate the card as many sights are closed on Mondays so if you activated your card upon landing on a Monday morning for example fewer of the attractions would be open so waiting until the following day to begin the validity might be worth considering.
Overall I was quite happy with the way the card worked and the ease of pick-up and use at each sight. I likely wouldn’t buy another one were I to return to Dublin but I found it especially useful for first time visitors like myself who want to visit as many attractions in a short period of time as they are able.