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Getting around Dublin

Public transport

Bus, train (DART) and Luas (tram) form the main transport infrastructure in Dublin, though only the bus makes its way out to the airport.

The Luas (tel: 1850 300 604, in Ireland only; www.luas.ie) is quick and modern, but best for commuting and short city-centre hops.

Dublin Bus (tel: +353 1 873 4222; www.dublinbus.ie) is far more extensive, and easy to use thanks to sign upgrades and the handy Dublin Bus app.

For travel to the coast, local train services via the DART (tel: +353 1 836 6222; www.irishrail.ie/about-us/dart-commuter) are frequent and efficient.

Most public transport options don’t run late at night, bar limited, infrequent night buses, so you need to make alternative arrangements after midnight.

You can pay for bus, Luas, DART and suburban rail services using a Leap Card, available online (www.leapcard.ie) or at 400 Payzone outlets across the city. You load the smartcard with money and the fare is deducted each time you travel, with daily and weekly caps and savings on cash fares. A Rambler card (which you can also load onto a Leap Card) allows five or 30 days of unlimited bus travel.

Taxis

Taxis sit on almost every street corner in Dublin. Well-established companies like Eight Twenty Cabs (+353 1 820 2020) and NRC (+353 1 677 2222) are safe bets, while the Hailo app (www.hailoapp.com) is a popular option. A nightlife 'rush hour' at around 3am invariable leads to long, expensive rides at weekends. Tips are typically in the 10% range.

Driving

While driving in the city is generally safe, rush hour traffic (0830-0930 and 1645-1800) can see aggressive driving. Dublin features a somewhat confusing one-way system, based around single-direction traffic along the quays. Outside the city centre though, driving is relaxing and comfortable.

The city's ring road, the M50, has a camera-based toll that requires online payment within 24 hours (www.eflow.ie).

Street parking is limited in the city centre. The city's main car parks, with various hourly rates, are Arnotts, Middle Abbey Street, and Brown Thomas, Clarendon Street. For street parking, kerbside pay-and-display meters are standard.

Car hire

Car hire has an age minimum of 21, and insurance costs are high for younger drivers. Generally speaking, tourists can use their licences when visiting, but non-EU drivers will face complications when staying over a year. Automatics can be hard to come by.

Hertz (tel: +353 1 668 7566; www.hertz.ie), Budget (tel: +353 1 837 9611; www.budget.ie), Europcar (tel: +353 1 812 2880; www.europcar.ie) and Enterprise (tel: +353 1 836 6577; www.enterprise.ie) are all reliable operators with city and airport outlets.

Bicycle hire

While busy times of day can be less than pleasant for nervous riders, cycling is a great way to get around. Dublin Bikes (tel: 1850 777 070, in Ireland only; www.dublinbikes.ie) offer a city-wide bikeshare scheme with lots of central hubs to collect and deposit bikes.

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The Shelbourne

A veritable Dublin institution immortalised in James Joyce's epic Ulysses, and now something of a hub for the Ireland rugby team, the 5-star Shelbourne Hotel has been home to the rich and famous (and even royalty) since its opening in the 18th century. Centrally located beside St Stephen's Green, with 265 opulent rooms, celebrated bars and restaurants, and a smart health club, it remains one of Dublin's most distinguished hotels.

The Merrion Hotel

Dublin's most sumptuous 142-room hotel looks like a standard Georgian block of houses, but behind its modest façade, it has been sensitively restored to combine period elegance with 5-star modern facilities. There's a classy restaurant, sizeable pool, gym and spa, but also magnificent formal, landscaped gardens, forming a serene haven far removed from the frenetic city centre.

The Fitzwilliam Hotel

Luxurious and ultra-modern, The Fitzwilliam commands a striking central location with the calm and tranquillity of St Stephen's Green to one side and Grafton Street to the other. Theirs is a stark, minimalist interpretation of typical country house features, using chrome, frosted glass, large leather sofas and dramatic down lighting. Its large roof garden is great for summer sunshine.

The Dylan

Located in the western canal belt, this small boutique hotel is the epitome of style and sophistication. It's housed in a former 17th-century theatre, which in its heyday staged concerts conducted by Antonio Vivaldi. Today, the minimalist east-meets-west designer décor of the 40 individually designed guest rooms, combined with an intimate courtyard garden, spectacular canal views, efficient staff and an excellent restaurant, ensures a luxurious stay.

Morrison Hotel

Enjoying a great location on the north bank of the River Liffey, the recently expanded Morrison Hotel is not only an oasis of tranquillity but also a showcase for the talent of Ireland's internationally renowned designer John Rocha. The interior is unashamedly chic, with a minimalist theme of East meets West. All 138 bedrooms are equipped with high-tech gadgets and the various bars, restaurants and the nightclub are popular with the local style brigade.

Central Hotel

This cheap, city centre hotel harks back almost 200 years. It is very old school Dublin and as such boasts some impressive period features in its façade and public areas. The rooms have been recently refurbished, with free Wi-Fi available in most of them, though snuggle up in the Library Bar and the years still drift away.