Dublin, the capital of Ireland, has something for everyone. That’s probably why it attracts so many visitors — nearly 6 million international visitors arrive each year.
Lovers of history will admire important sites such as Trinity College, which has the medieval Book of Kells, the many museums, and sites important to Irish independence such as Kilmainham Gaol.
More hedonistic travelers will get a kick out of famous nightlife area Temple Bar and the Guinness Storehouse. Those interested in Irish culture should take in some live music in one of the city’s many venues or visit an independent bookstore for some Irish literature.
There is so much to do that you might be tempted to book your trip as soon as possible. However, traveling to a big city always comes with the possibility that you might have an unpleasant experience.
But don’t worry — our travel experts have done the hard work for you. We’ll show you the most common crimes and safety concerns, how to avoid them, and more. Let us be your guide!
Is Dublin Safe to Visit in 2023?
Yes. Dublin is one of the safest big cities that you can visit in Europe. It has a fairly low crime rate and few other factors that might affect your trip.
While you might run into petty theft or substance-related crimes, most tourists make it through their visit without any negative experiences. The city routinely ranks high in lists analyzing the safest cities in the world.
In a recent list compiled by Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Dublin is the 18th safest city in the world and has the 23rd best quality of life.
Dublin has similar rankings in many other lists, so clearly there is some truth to those rankings. Of course, it still has its problems. However, most problems affect locals more than visitors.
However, you might witness problems such as:
- Bag snatching
- Tourist scams
- Substance abuse
- Verbal harassment
Most incidents affecting tourists are petty and minor in nature. Violent crime in Dublin is fairly rare and almost never affects visitors.
According to a document put out by Irish tourism association Failte Ireland, 98% of visitors feel safe when visiting the country, including Dublin. The city is so safe because Ireland as a country is overall a safe place to visit.
Most governments such as the United States only put Ireland under a Level One travel advisory. That means that you only need to think about the same normal precautions that you would at home.
If the country is so safe, then even the capital and biggest city will be safe. Besides crime, other potential threats to your safety in Dublin are hardly present.
There are sometimes protests as this is the capital city after all, but demonstrations rarely turn violent. The risk of terrorism is also low and there have been no recent terrorist attacks. Even natural disasters are not a factor in Dublin.
Although Ireland’s famous rain may put a damper on your vacation, it shouldn’t cause any serious problems, especially if you pack a raincoat and sturdy shoes.
Crime in Dublin
Crime is definitely the primary concern for visitors to Dublin. While the city feels safe for visitors, it has many of the same problems that plague big cities throughout the world.
Although the photos may be picturesque, Dublin is a real city, not a dollhouse. It has somewhat of a crime problem, especially with property crime.
According to Numbeo, which collects crime data via surveys, it scores a 58.03 out of 100 on the crime index score, which is a moderate value.
This shows that locals are somewhat frustrated with the level of crime, especially with crimes such as drug abuse, vandalism, and theft. The perceptions are somewhat backed up by crime statistics.
According to the Central Statistics Office, the robbery rate is 131 crimes per 100,000 people. Burglary rates (including other property crimes such as theft) are also high, at 560 incidents per 100,000 people.
To the frustration of Dubliners, the crime rates in the city are far higher than they are in other parts of Ireland. The risk of getting robbed or mugged is a whopping five times more than anywhere else in Ireland.
The likelihood of getting your things back is also far lower in Dublin than in other parts of the country as the local police have the lowest detection rate in the country.
However, there is a simple explanation for why Dublin’s crime rate is so high compared to the rest of Ireland. It is the biggest and densest city in Ireland by far.
The second-biggest city on the island, Belfast, is not even part of the country of Ireland but part of Northern Ireland. Where there are dense populations, of course crime rates will be higher.
Local residents also perceive the crime problem as worse than it is because many of them are comparing their experience in Dublin to other parts of Ireland, which are safer and often more rural. To foreign visitors, Dublin is an unusually safe capital city.
The city also experiences more social factors that lead to crime than other parts of Ireland. The drug abuse rate in Dublin is concerning, and drug overdoses and addiction rates are increasing, according to local activists.
Most drug users are people struggling with the illness of addiction and are not interested in causing problems for others, but street drug use affects the safety of a whole city.
Some crime statistics are optimistic. For example, the homicide rateis actually lower than it is in the rest of Ireland, at 1.3 incidents per 100,000 people.
That shows that although Dublin has its problems, violent crime is not as much of an issue (except for assault). What can a visitor interpret from these statistics? It is a mistake to completely let go of precautions on a visit, as there is a lot of property crime.
However, the rate of violent crime is low, so your physical safety probably won’t be threatened. Just make sure you take the right steps to protect your possessions.
The most common crime you might encounter is petty theft. It is common in the city in all forms, including pickpocketing, bag snatching, scams, and theft from vehicles.
Some travel insurance companies actually rank Dublin as one of the worst places in Europe for pickpocketing (although this isn’t always supported by evidence on the ground).
According to the Australian government travel advisory for Ireland, the Dublin city center is one of the most common areas in the country for petty theft.
Be careful around popular tourist attractions such as Temple Bar as those areas are prime locations for thieves, who take advantage of the crowds to hide their activities and who like to target tourists in town.
The official Dublin city website admits that there is some property crime in the city. It offers important safety tips for visitors. Make sure that your valuables are secure at all times and never leave them unattended.
For example, never place your purse at your feet on public transportation or off the back of your chair at a restaurant as that makes it much easier for someone to snatch it.
Keep your bag in your lap instead.
Thefts and other property crimes increase at night, so take precautions after dark. Don’t carry around a lot of cash or flash valuable items such as jewelry that might single you out to thieves.
Avoid poorly lit side streets where a robber might be lurking. Another common property crime is theft from vehicles. Thieves often target rental vehicles as they know travelers are more likely to have their possessions in their car.
The best way to avoid this crime is to not have a car in Dublin. The city has great public transportation, and the center is compact and walkable. If you are renting a car to explore the rest of Ireland, pick it up when your stay in Dublin is over.
Dublin unfortunately has a high substance abuse rate. As mentioned above, the rate of street drug abuse is increasing, and drug abuse often leads to other crimes such as theft.
However, alcohol is the substance that is far more concerning to your safety. Many visitors come to the city with the goal of partying in areas such as Temple Bar, and tourists often get rowdy.
The local drinking culture is one of binge drinking, which leads to reckless behavior such as bar fights. It is best to avoid nightlife areas around closing time, especially if you are alone.
It is common for drunk patrons to become belligerent when staff try to kick them out for closing time, leading to altercations. You don’t want to get caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and get assaulted in a bar fight.
Women traveling alone should be particularly careful of alcohol-related crimes.
Drunk patrons often verbally harass women or escalate the situation further. If you are going to the bars yourself, make sure that you keep a close eye on your drink and leave if you notice a situation escalating.
Avoiding Bad Areas
Like any city, Dublin has its sketchy areas. Luckily, most of them are located towards the outskirts of town where tourists rarely need to venture. Avoid the neighborhood of Tallaght due to high rates of crime, including assault.
The situation is so dangerous that delivery drivers and taxi drivers often refuse to go there.
Pearse Street, Blanchardstown, and Dublin West are other parts of town that have high crime rates. Most are residential areas where you’re unlikely to venture during a visit.
Things to Consider
Here are a few additional safety tips to make your trip to Dublin even better:
- Ireland’s emergency number is 999. If you are the victim of a crime or need urgent assistance, call this number as response times within Dublin are very quick. You can report a non-violent crime at the local police station. In Dublin, they are called the Gardai.
- Don’t refer to Dublin as part of the “British Isles.” Ireland got its independence from the UK just over a century ago, but memories of British occupation are still a sore topic for many locals. Irish people don’t consider themselves British at all.
- Be mindful of cyclists. There are many people riding bicycles in Dublin, and it is a great way to see the city and get some exercise. However, be sure that you follow traffic rules when you do so.
- Avoid parks at night. Many of Dublin’s most popular parks become destinations for drug abuse and other crimes at night. Even if there are no substance issues, parks are poorly lit and anything could happen, so it’s best to take the long way around and avoid cutting through the park.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few common questions you might want answered about visiting Dublin:
Is Dublin friendly to tourists?
Yes, Dublin is friendly to tourists and most locals are very welcoming. Be sure to respect their hospitality by being polite and not getting too rowdy, especially on your nights out.
Is it safe for English people to visit Dublin?
Due to the animosity many Irish people hold towards the British Empire, some English people are worried about visiting Dublin. However, today it is safe for English people to visit Dublin, and many people visit and even live in the city. Locals know to separate history from the present.
Is Dublin safer than London?
Dublin is far safer than London. It has a lower crime rate overall and a much lower violent crime rate. It helps that it is a much smaller, less dense city.
How safe is Ireland for tourists?
If you decide to venture beyond Dublin during your exploration of Ireland, you can feel safe doing so. The rest of Ireland is perfectly safe for tourists, and probably even safer than Dublin due to the lower crime rate.
Is it safe to go out at night in Dublin?
It is safe to go out at night in Dublin and you shouldn’t leave without checking out the nightlife. However, use precautions such as sticking to well-lit streets and steering clear of very inebriated people.
So, Should You Take a Trip to Dublin?
Dublin is a very safe European capital for visitors. It has its problems, such as high rates of substance abuse and moderate rates of petty theft, but you can avoid these issues with some precautions.
So, with so much to see and do and a relatively safe atmosphere, what are you waiting for — book your trip today to experience for yourself all that this picturesque city has to offer. Happy travels!