Summer savin’, give it a blast: ways to cut costs

From picnics to apps, sun screen to free days out, here are eight ideas for a frugal season

Mon, May 12, 2014, 01:00

Here comes the summer, but with the sun (if it appears) come extra cost. There are many ways to save – some old-school and some new – here are just eight of them.

1 Have more picnics

The restaurants of Ireland won’t thank us for saying this, but one of the best ways to cut the

summertime costs in Ireland is by having more picnics.

During the boom years, the sight of families stuffing their faces with mediocre food in mid-priced restaurants became normal. The only people seen eating home-made sandwiches in public places were those who had come up to Dublin “from the country” for Croke Park Sundays. They could be found picnicking on “hang sangwiches” and flasks of tay standing next to parked cars on Drumcondra side roads.

Just find a bit of green space and you’re all set. An average lunch for an average family of two adults and two children will cost about €40. The makings of a picnic for all four will cost a tenner. And flasks are in again. Just so you know.

2 Free attractions
We moan about the high cost of many things in Ireland, but we are well served by free attractions. The National Gallery of Ireland was ranked as the fifth most popular tourist attraction in Ireland last year, with about 660,000 visitors walking through its doors, and none of them were asked to pay a penny.

The National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin was eighth, with 544,000 visitors strolling through its wrought-iron gates. It is beautiful on a sunny summer’s day – a real national treasure. Parking will set you back €2 but it is money well spent. Then there is the Dead Zoo – or the National Museum of Ireland: Archaeology, to give it its stuffy real name. Throw in a trip to Farmleigh and the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin and you’ll have three free days out for starters.

3 Free event guide
If you are looking for more free stuff to do, visit and sign up to the free event guide, written by Joerg Steegmueller. For almost seven years, he has been writing a weekly guide to free events. About 15,000 people receive it and he has 20,000 fans on Facebook.

4 Join the zoo
While it is brilliant, Dublin Zoo is not cheap to visit – particularly if you are paying for a bunch of people. The price of admission for an adult is €16.50, while a children’s ticket costs €11.80 – a family ticket covering two adults and two children will set you back €46.50. However, if you live within easy striking distance of the place, there is wonderful value to be found in the annual family membership. The annual family pass costs €168, but for that you get unlimited access for 12 months. It will allow the pass-holder and three adults to visit, or the pass holder and two adults and two children, or the pass holder and six children – mind you, if you’re the only adult going to the zoo with six kids, we applaud your bravery.

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