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Since the 1980's the number of tourists visiting Dublin has more than doubled. Sometimes it seems as though there are more tourists than Dubliners. This has driven up the price of food and accommodation, and Dublin is now one of the most expensive cities in Europe. Seeing it on $25 dollars a day is a real challenge. Well, here it goes.

There are about twenty hostels within a few minutes walk of O'Connell Street in the heart of Dublin. Most of these are in Gardiner Street and prices are between £9 and £13 (at the moment £1 is about $1.22). Some of the hostels include breakfast and some have private rooms (many of them are called guesthouses, even though they have hostel type accommodation). Well, there goes about $14. But don't try camping in one of the many parks. Any city with over 1 million inhabitants has a criminal element, and Dublin is no exception. It's not worth the risk.

Here is a helpful hint. Traditionally the Irish eat a large breakfast. You should eat whatever you can get in the guesthouse or hostel. If it isn't included, buy food in the local supermarket and make it yourself. Then, around lunchtime, have a sandwich or roll from any of the sandwich bars dotted around the city. These cost £2.50 to £3.00 ($3.20 - $3.80). There is a wide selection in these food bars so you should get something that you like.

It's important to eat early, because eating out at night is expensive. The meal that cost $7 at lunchtime could cost $14 that night. If you still feel peckish after 5 PM, well, buy in the supermarket and cook it back at home base. Otherwise you'll never keep within your budget.

You're not going to have much change left for shopping, but maybe you brought some extra cash especially for gifts. If you want to window-shop, go to Grafton Street on the Southside. You could try the maze of market stalls centred on the Powerscourt Centre (between Grafton Street and George's Street) to get a bargain in old music tapes or bric-a-brac. However, the Northside is generally less expensive. The main shopping area on this side is along Henry Street and Mary Street, with market stalls on Parnell Street (a favourite with Spanish students because the shoes there cost about $25-50 and are much cheaper than in Spain).

Dublin is ideal for walking (which is lucky, because you can't afford to pay for transport!). It is very flat and there is lots to see within easy reach of the city centre. For example, within a mile of the hostels, you can take a route to bring you by the General Post Office (scene of the fight for independence in 1916), the statue of Daniel O' Connell, the old parliament buildings (now a bank) Trinity College (including the Book of Kells), Dublin Castle, Christchurch Cathedral and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Most of these cost nothing, and even the two fabulous cathedrals cost less than $1 to visit. On the way back you can go see the old city wall and walk through the centre of Temple Bar, which is teeming with revellers every night. The next day you could go past Trinity College again and up through the main shopping area to St. Stephen's Green, an oasis in the city centre. Double back then down Kildare Street to see the National Museum, Brahm Stoker's house (author of Dracula), the National Parliament and the National Library. Go around the block and you will see the National Art Gallery (some great collections in a beautiful building), Merrion Square with its beautiful Georgian doors on every house, and the Natural History Museum. This entire walk is about 1.5 miles (one way, about a mile going directly back to base) and all of the places mentioned are free to visit.

If you enjoy walking, you could walk the two or three miles to the Phoenix Park, which is the largest enclosed park in Western Europe. It includes the Wellington monument (2nd highest obelisk in the world after the one in Washington), Dublin zoo (about $6 entrance fee), the President's house, the American Ambassador's residence, Ashtown Castle, and several lovely walks. One the way back you can visit another part of the National Museum, which is housed in a former army barracks just outside the park.

Two other inexpensive trips: Take the train to Howth and the connecting bus to the top of the hill (total cost about $2 each way). There is a fabulous panoramic view of Dublin across the bay from the hill. You can walk back down via the cliffs and explore the scenic fishing village, which is also where many of Dublin's richer residents keep their yachts. The second trip would be by bus to the foot of the Dublin mountains (cost about $1.50 each way). From there you can walk through forests taking in some breathtaking scenery and more spectacular views of the city.

Well, that's it. You can eat and sleep for about $17, leaving you about $8 for visiting sites or drinking some Guinness. There's lots to see and do, so enjoy it for less than you thought.