DUBLIN

 

I go back and forth on how I feel about Dublin.

 

Once upon a time, 

I even wrote that I didn't care for Dublin on my blog

and, to this day, have to defend myself from some people for this,

I'll tell you that I think everyone connects with cities in different ways,

and for me- Dublin wasn't really it.

 

Until lately... I'm coming around on this charming and gritty city, 

and these are the places that are making me change my tune.

 

DUBLIN

 

EAT

FALLON & BYRNEAfter reading a comment recommending this stop for eats, I was keen to keep my eye out for it. Luckily, I didn't have to strain my eyes too hard... as it was next to our hotel. The first night we had dinner in the restaurant upstairs. Delicious. Tyler left with the baby a few minutes early as I settled up the bill and ordered a coffee. The amazingly sweet waitress talked me into embracing the moment alone and trying their signature dessert, the Knickerbocker Glory. Imagine a big sundae glass layered with berries, ice cream, cheesecake, whipped cream, & digestive cookie crumble. Yum.

Try their three course pre-theatre dinner menu for a real treat at a great price, available at any time during on a weekday, or selected times on Friday & Saturday. Reservations recommended.

WILDE: This is a spot that is so Instagram perfect, it's hard to attempt with words. If you don't believe me, check out my post on it here. The setting isn't the only pretty part of going to Wilde, the food is actually fantastic, too. So you can have you gorgeously perfect main course and cake... and eat it, too.

THE WOOLEN MILLS: Just at the foot of Ha'Penny Bridge is the cool newish spot, The Woolen Mills. With cosmopolitan options quinoa and tofu mixed in with local Irish ingredients- you'll feel a good mix of old meets new. Plus, they have daily donut flavours, like Strawberry Matcha, that are ridiculously good. Not really buggy friendly, but otherwise would be fine for kids. Also, you can sit in the front in the small shared table space for a coffee/sweet if you're not looking for a long meal.

QUEEN OF TARTS: Definitely my favorite place to grab an easy lunch or spend the afternoon for tea. With savoury tarts and mouth-watering desserts, you'll be glad you came here. (Well, men may not get so revved about quiches and lemon tarts, but... that's their loss.) 

MURPHY'S ICE CREAM: This family owned ice creamery is actually from Dingle, where their original store is located. However, the popularity of their ice cream has spread enough to warrant a location for them on Wicklow Street- right near all the action. Try their signature Sea Salt flavor for a really nice treat... or the cinnamon, or the strawberry, or the Keirnan's Cookies made from homemade Oreos. Okay, you get the idea... you can't go wrong with choosing a flavor. (And fortunately, the small offers a choice of two flavors!)

BEWLEY'S: All over Ireland, you'll see small shops boasting that they sell Bewley's Coffee. Go straight to the source at Bewley's Oriental Cafe in the middle of bustling Grafton Street while you're in town for a classic cup and a great view.

Whether you eat inside or score one of the balcony seats on a nice day, it's a stop that, with it's stained-glass windows & constant buzz- will add a little character to your day without stripping your wallet.

THE ROLLING DONUT: Just by the Spire, you'll find Rolling Donut. To be honest, it is one of many donut shops now gracing the streets of Dublin. However, Rolling Donut is really good. The vanilla glazed with flaked almonds is fantastic, and at €3 a pop, that's a good thing. The staff is a bit broody, but it's worth the hipster aura to stop by and grab one... or two.

KAPH: It would be sad to mention a great place to get a donut without also chiming in with a really great coffee recommendation, so here it is. Kaph, located in central Dublin on Drury Street, is that hip, third generation coffee shop that you're looking for in the city. The lattes are good, the interiors are minimal, and the clientele are a good representation of the cool club of Dubliners.

THE INTERNATIONAL BAR: This, admittedly, grotty pub is the closest thing you'll find in Central Dublin to a local pub. While the offerings are miles away from any glossy gastro pub you'll encounter around the UK, you'll be a fool to miss going for a bowl of the homemade lamb stew at lunch. At €6.95 you get a huge bowl of homemade Irish stew with soda bread & butter.... plus some great people watching in this quietly normal pub.

PEACOCK GREEN: This chic tea shop sells more than just fantastic teas. Go for lunch for a curious mix of sandwiches (that all somehow really work) and a great ambiance. Despite the blatant tea focus of the shop, they also make some great coffee, too. Also, for those with dietary issues, they also have some gluten free options available. With four locations around town, I'd recommend staying central and trying the location on Lord Edward Street, near Christ Church Cathedral. Its open 7 days a week.

ARLINGTON HOTEL: Ok, this is kinda cheesy to recommend but you're in Ireland and it's actually kind of fun... Go to the Arlington Hotel for their Irish dinner show. It's €30 per person but you get dinner (a really decent 3-course meal) and you can watch some fun Irish music & dancing. I've been twice. It's totally touristy, but hey, you are a tourist, aren't you?

KC PEACHES: When you've had your fix of pub grub and Irish stew, this fresh shop has wraps, salads and other food that will let you feel a bit lighter. The design is pretty adorable, too, so you won't feel like you're loosing out on a fun meal while on vacation. It's still a good one... just a less-heavy one. Check out their menu for a glimpse at their seasonal salads and tasty fresh options to get a feel for what they have in store.

GOOD TO GO: On the note of healthy eating, Good to Go is seriously good. It's my Deliveroo of choice in Dublin- the chicken salad is so tasty and the chickpea & peanut butter curry is so oddly addicting. If you go/order, you must not forget to order a side of the sweet potato wedges. You're welcome. This is a budget/diet friendly place that feels decadent on flavour. YUM.

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DO

EASTER UPRISING: Take a tour with Lorcan Collins. This guide is always one of my students favorite guides of the semester- hands down. His tours aren't just walking tours of the city, but are tours that explain the Easter Uprising of 1916. {Think Tom Branson from Downton Abbey.} He's completely Irish, incredibly smart, alarmingly sarcastic... but really a sweet guy. The tours run every day from 11:30 (1pm on Sundays) from March 1 - October 31 for €12 per person.

TRINITY COLLEGE + BOOK OF KELLS: Visit Trinity College and see the famous Book of Kells- gorgeous hand-written copies of the first Celtic Bible. After you've worked through the exhibit, you'll be routed through the famous library that you've probably pinned on your Pinterest travel board.

GUINNESS TOUR: Tour the Guinness Factory... Okay, so I'll be honest: I've never done this myself but I've heard it's amazing and a must. So therefore, you must do it and tell me all about it.

TEMPLE BAR: Not an actual bar, per say, but an area of town that is pretty touristy but full of endless pubs that will make your visit seem all the more authentic.

BROWN THOMAS: I think there is something really special about visiting the main department store of a city. Not just one that is part of a chain, but one that stands alone as an icon for the city's style. In Paris, you visit Printemps or Galleries LaFayette. In London, Liberty or Harvey Nichols. In New York, Henri Bendel or Barney's. In Dallas, you go to the first Neiman's downtown. And in Dublin, you visit Brown Thomas.

The windows are gorgeous, the departments are curated perfectly, and the prices... well, they're high.(It's fancy!) But it's worth stopping through and buying something pretty for yourself.

POWERSCOURT CENTRE: When you're in Central Dublin, tuck off the main drag of Grafton Street and head to Powerscourt Centre. Once the expansive home of an English aristocratic family, this is now the home to 40+ shops. The whole setup is really unique and special, as are the independent designers and shops within its walls. Head to the top floor to Atrium for really cool, modern Irish design.

INDUSTRY: This little shop on Drury Street is Parisian-esque concept shop selling modern wares- from seasonal Christmas cards to minimalist desk accessories to larger home furnishings and fixtures. If you don't actually find anything to buy, you can always grab a latte from their cool in-shop cafe or grab a bite to eat. Either way, you'll definitely want to make time to wander through the store and cafe for a taste of the modern-edge that has cut through the city.

 

 

STAY

CENTRAL HOTEL: This hotel is in a great location. Not only is it a stone's throw from Fallon & Byrne, but it sits just a few steps from everywhere you want to see during your time in Dublin. (Trust me, it's a decent place.) The rooms aren't anything fancy, but the prices are great, the staff was really kind & gracious, the location is great, and it will more than get the job done. Check it out here.

BROOKS HOTEL: This hotel feels a bit dated, but its killer location on Drury Street gives it prime real estate for exploring Dublin. The rooms are cosy, the breakfast is really good, and the staff... oh man, talk about above and beyond. They won me over with their endless help and smiles. I'll be back, for sure.

TRINITY COLLEGEIf you're on the cheap... You can book a room at Trinity College. Like, an actual dorm room. The rooms are affordable, centrally located, right near the airport shuttle- but only available when students aren't living in them.

WYNN'S HOTELThis is a historic hotel that often offers some affordable rates. The breakfast is entirely Irish- complete with Irish oats & soda bread, but the rooms, while slightly basic, are comfortable and have everything you'll need. Plus, the front desk staff is so nice- I swear you'll want to hug them before your stay is over. Located right off O'Connell Street- right off the River Liffey.