I used to go back and forth on how I felt 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've come around on this charming and gritty city, and these are the places that have made me change my tune.

If you’re planning a trip to Ireland, I would say that Dublin is surprisingly small. Plan to give yourself two nights to get a good feel for the city, and then plan to head out and explore the countryside.


Breakfast & Brunch

BIBI’S: One of the best neighbourhood spots that I’ve been to in Dublin, nestled quietly in the suburban area of Portobello. However, it’s worth the trek- especially on a sunny day. The cafe is flooded with natural light and the food is really good. If you’re lucky like I was, you’ll arrive in time for the six- week appearance of the French toast covered in bright pink rhubarb and mascarpone. It was a bright and cheery way to start the day. (Beware of the tricky entrance. It’s to the side, behind the wall and not at all obvious to a first-time visitor.) 
14b Emorville Avenue, Dublin 8 | +353 1 4547421

BROTHER HUBBARD: If you’re staying near St. Stephen’s Green and want to venture a bit out of the tourist zone and into a local area without a mega haul- hit up Brother Hubbard South (there are two locations) for a breakfast experience that is low key and excellent. Expect a menu with classic items with a slight Middle Eastern flavour- imagine pancakes with orange-flavoured mascarpone, dark cherries and chocolate shavings. Savoury eggs with warm spices and drinks like homemade milky chai dotted in the menu around the classic espresso and tea options. The dining room isn’t huge, but you could bring a family or friends or you can also grab a drink/freshly baked good from the front and take it with you.
46 Harrington St, Saint Kevin's, Dublin 8 | +353 1 441 6596

AVOCA: Just off Grafton Street near Trinity College, you’ll find the flagship AVOCA. With multiple floors of fabulous local gifts and wool items, you can more than film your suitcase with treasures. However you’d be somewhat missing the point if you don’t wander up to the second floor to their cafe. They serve great options- on the healthy side- for lunch and indulgent homemade cakes and treats all day, but the weekend brunch is really nice! With superfood bowls, macadamia & blueberry pancakes and smoothies- it’s a fun morning out mingling alongside Dubliners in the know. They’re nice to kids, too!
11-13 Suffolk St, Dublin 2 | +353 1 677 4215


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.
78- 79 Grafton Street, Dublin 2 | +353 1 564 0900

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.
31 Drury St, Dublin 2 | +353 1 613 9030

JOE'S COFFEE: Looking for a good independent coffee shop near St. Stephen’s Green? Check out Joe. It’s got what you want with flavour & aesthetic.. complete with a very cool alley/sidestreet location.
5 Leeson Street Lower, Saint Kevin's, Dublin 2, D02 KF84 | +353 1 661 9436


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.) 
Cow's Ln, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 | +353 1 633 4681

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.
24 Leeson Street Lower, Saint Kevin's, Dublin 2 | +353 1 642 4444

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. Read my full post on Wilde here.
WILDE Restaurant, Harry Street, Dublin, Dublin 2, D02 CH66 | +353 1 646 3352

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.
23 Wicklow St, Dublin 2, D02 VH59 | +353 1 677 9250

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.
42 Ormond Quay Lower, North City, Dublin 1 | +353 1 828 0835


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.
11-17 Exchequer Street (first floor), Dublin, DO2 RY63 | +353 1 472 1010

JERUSALEM: Another gem in the Camden Street crown, this restaurants offers food from, well you guessed it, Jerusalem. Think giant mezze platters, chicken schwarma plates piled high and fresh hummus all in a exotically decorated interior. You can make reservations here, and for dinner- I’d recommend it. Also, it was BYOB when we walked in one night, so maybe check when you make your reservation if that is a nightly offer?
77 Camden Street Lower, Saint Kevin's, Dublin | +353 1 424 4001

DEVITTS: When you come to Dublin, you kinda expect to be in a pub with some live music at some point in your trip. Devitts on Camden Street is a fabulous little pub that will tick all the boxes and stereotypes you may have had- without feeling cringe-y. On the weekends, the downstairs can be quite crowded with friends meeting up, so I’d recommend heading upstairs where you’ll find (a bit more) more room and local musicians singing their own version of “Galway Girl” (the original, of course) and random classics like “Jolene” that end up having those around you swaying and singing while they lift their Guinness to the air. It’s a good time and feels just like an Irish pub should.
78 Camden Street Lower, Saint Kevin's, Dublin 2, D02 C642 | +353 1 475 3414

MAD EGG: If you’re traveling from the U.S. and have been long without a fried chicken sandwich, this place will welcome you in with open arms. Mad Egg makes some really good, classic chicken sandwiches with all the classic accoutrements: pickles, ranch, melted cheese, etc. They don’t take reservations, so go before 7 on the weekends… or be prepared to hang by the tiny bar for a bit. 
2,3 Charlotte Way, Saint Kevin's, Dublin 2 | +353 1 558 5221

NEON: Head over to the young, fun street of Camden Street for a modern when you’re looking for a change of pace after a few days of pub food. This local favourite has young couple and families waiting for a while to grab a seat- but the wait is worth it as the well-priced food is delicious, the atmosphere is cool and relaxed and they include a free ice cream cone with every order…. So that when you’re finished you can help yourself to a free dessert by bellying up to the soft-serve machine. (Just so you know: after you’re seated and have a chance to look over the menu, you go up to order at the counter in the back. Learn from my mistakes!) No reservations taken. 
17 Camden Street Lower, Saint Kevin's, Dublin, D02 TX94 | +353 1 405 2222

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?
23-25 Bachelors Walk, O'Connell Bridge, North City, Dublin 1 | +353 1 804 9100

Sweets & Treats

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!)
27 Wicklow St, Dublin 2, D02 WN51 | +353 86 031 0726

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.
34 Bachelors Walk, North City, Dublin 1, D01 YN15 | +353 1 563 8415



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.
lorcan@1916rising.com | +353 868 583 847

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.
The University of Dublin Trinity College, College Green, Dublin | +353 1 896 2320

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.
88-95 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, D02 VF65 | +353 1 605 6666

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.
59 William St S, Dublin 2 | +353 1 679 4144

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.
41 A/B Drury St, Dublin 2 | +353 1 613 9111

GUINNESS FACTORY TOUR... 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.
St James's Gate, Ushers, Dublin 8 | +353 1 408 4800

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.

ST STEPHENS GREEN: On a sunny day, there's not much better than wandering through Dublin's prettiest plot of green and relaxing under a tree alongside many of the city's dwellers.


IVEAGH GARDEN HOTEL: The newly opened (as of April 18) hotel sits in a very cool setting just off St. Stephens Green. With Dublin’s beloved park just out its door and Camden Street 2 minutes away, this fresh and luxe hotel gives you all the access you want to Dublin’s finest… with plenty of space to unwind. I stayed in room 3117 and it was massive with a double bed, twin bed and a cot for my baby. Perfect for a traveling family. Another plus? The buffet breakfast is great.
72/74 Harcourt St, Saint Kevin's, Dublin | +353 1 568 5500

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.
1-5 Exchequer St, Dublin, D02 E044 | +353 1 679 7302

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.
62 Drury Street, Dublin 2, Dublin, D02 TV06 | +353 1 670 4000

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.
College Green, Dublin 2 | +353 1 896 1000

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.
35-39 Abbey Street Lower, North City, Dublin 1, D01 C9F8 | +353 1 874 5131