Our Dublin City Guide Update comes to us from two Dublin-based bloggers, Alexia Golez and Emily Westbrooks. Alexia is an Ireland native and a software engineer and blogger living in Dublin since 2005. When Alexia isn’t working or cooking insanely spicy food, she loves to photowalk, write and craft. Emily is a writer and blogger based in Dublin via Maine. She writes about her life and adventures in Dublin on her website, From China Village. Emily also writes a series about design and craft in Dublin for Poppytalk as well as a column about marriage for Snippet & Ink, and she is the DIY contributor for the Irish wedding magazine, One Fab Day.
Today these ladies take us on an incredible tour of Dublin’s many eclectic neighborhoods, each making personal recommendations for the best dining, shopping and entertainment this city has to offer. This is one of the most robust Dublin guides I’ve ever seen, so I hope you enjoy! — Stephanie
Read the full guide after the jump . . .
Most people (including me, before I moved here) think they have a general idea of what to expect when they’re planning a trip to Dublin: Guinness, pubs, maybe a few castles. Yes, we’ve got all that, but there’s so much more.
I believe the best way to visit this city is to do certain touristy things (after all, there’s a reason all those people travel so far to do them!) and a good chunk of things that most tourists don’t do but should. One of my favorite parts of living in Dublin has been helping our visitors figure out that good mix.
Today, I’m excited to share a combination of those historical places I think you shouldn’t miss, as well as some off-the-beaten-path spots that will give you a feel for the real Ireland. The last few years of recession have been tough on the Irish, but they have made Ireland a much more affordable place to visit — prices have come down, and value has gone up all around. You can find cheap deals on hotels and restaurants, and you’ll find a surge of great artisan products and shops that have sprung up as the impersonal boom-time places have packed up shop.
I hope you enjoy this little tour through Dublin and around its edges! If you’re ever visiting, give me a shout — I love to show off the city I now proudly call home!
Say you’re from Dublin, and probably the first thing people will talk about is Guinness. And while Dublin is still the home of the black stuff and the current economic turmoil has been painful, the city is going through an undeniable cultural and foodie revival. A revival powered by the spirit of young Dubliners or recent migrants bringing the customs, tastes and colours from around the world.
Dublin has always been a city of letters, and the very long list of famous Dublin authors includes such illustrious names as Shaw, Swift, Joyce, Yeats and Synge. I could go on! In 2010, the city was named a UNESCO City of Literature, one of four permanent title holders.
What’s great about Dublin is that it is always changing. A Viking settlement. A booming trading town in the Georgian world. A modern European city. Situated in a very small country on the edge of Europe, Dublin is always looking out and welcoming people in.
Eat & Drink
The Bull and Castle
Check out the Bull and Castle for good music, Irish microbrews and a vast selection of beers from around the world.
At any given time, the Fumbally is filled with locals, businesspeople, artists, musicians and even an actor or two. Serving reasonably priced, delicious Mediterranean food and specialty coffee in a cool, lofty space with rough-hewn tables and an open kitchen.
The Brazen Head
The Brazen Head is Ireland’s oldest pub, built in 1198! You can order a pint, or even book in for the storytelling and folklore evening, which gives you a wonderful evening of Irish history.
The Cake Cafe
At the back of Daintree Paper is a door that leads through a bamboo-lined terrace to the Cake Cafe. It’s practically legendary with locals and serves sandwiches, soups and an array of cakes and other treats. You’ll likely love the Cake Cafe so much you’ll have to pick up a copy of their cookbook to re-create the treats when you return home.
Jam Art Factory
On chilly winter afternoons, the Jam Art Factory lights a fire in the woodstove of the small space to warm customers. They’ve even been known to serve a glass of mulled wine or two around the holidays. The shop features work from lots of independent Irish artists, like Keep Going Sure It’s Grand and Karo Art.
Dublin Flea Market (The Co-op on Newmarket square, Dublin 8)
On the last Sunday of each month, the Dublin Flea Market sets up shop in Newmarket Square. It’s packed with stalls full of hand-crafted jewellery, vintage furniture and lots of odds and ends. For each month, the organizers commission an artist to do their promotional poster, and they sell the posters at the flea market. They make great souvenirs!
Dublin Castle, Dame Street, Dublin 2
Now used for state receptions and presidential inaugurations, Dublin Castle is another wealth of information about Ireland’s and Dublin’s history. With rotating exhibits, as well as state apartments, a chapel and a heritage center, it’s a crash course in Irish history.
Chester Beatty Library
The Chester Beatty Library is located in Dublin Castle and is one of the best museums in Dublin. It’s free to enter, and it has great exhibits with manuscripts, art from around the world and even pages from the Bible from 150 AD that are fascinating, no matter what your religion. The best tip for the Chester Beatty is to make sure you climb up to their rooftop garden — it has a beautiful view of the city and the grounds of Dublin Castle and is nearly always free of tourists.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Patrick’s Close, Dublin 8
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is an imposing, grand building that just begs you to come inside. The gardens are beautifully manicured, and the enormous stained-glass windows are awe-inspiring. The building dates back to 1220 and is still used for weekly worship and many local college graduations.
Christ Church Cathedral, Christchurch Place, Dublin 8
Just up the hill from St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the Christ Church Cathedral, an equally imposing structure, built even earlier, in 1030. Make sure you take a visit down to the crypt in the basement for fascinating (and slightly creepy) exhibits about the museum.
Whelan’s, Wexford Street, Dublin 2
When you’re looking for live (more contemporary) music, check out Whelan’s. They have gigs every day of the week with established as well as up-and-coming acts. Some more well-known acts sell out quickly, but tickets are typically around 10 euro per person.
Itsa at Imma
There are a few Itsa cafes around Dublin — owned by local celebrity chefs Domini and Peaches Kemp — that specialize in bagels. One of these cafes is the basement of the Irish Museum of Modern Art. On a dry day, grab some bagel sandwiches and a slice of their chocolate cake, and take it out to the beautiful landscaped gardens of the museum to enjoy a delicious picnic.
During the lunch rush, you won’t be able to get a table at Wuff without a reservation; the restaurant is a favorite for the local barristers and solicitors working nearby at the Four Courts building. But come during off-hours. Their burgers and sandwiches are yummy.
Whenever I can’t get a spot at Wuff, I sneak across the road to Seven Social. It’s less formal, but their turnover is faster, and the sandwiches are equally yummy.
KM Evans is one of the largest art and craft stores in Dublin. It’s about one-twentieth the size of Hobby Lobby or Michael’s, but it has a lovely selection of pastels and paints, just in case you forgot your sketchbook or a few good pens.
Capel Street Antique Stores
Along Capel Street, you’ll find a handful of small antique stores that are often worth a browse.
The Irish Museum of Modern Art is currently undergoing a renovation that has the main gallery closed until autumn 2013. That said, some of the smaller galleries are still open, and the building and grounds are worth a visit. Grab lunch from the cafe downstairs and eat it outside in the beautiful garden.
Kilmainham Gaol, Inchicore Road, Kilmainham, Dublin 8
Kilmainham Gaol is one of the largest unoccupied jails in the world. Take the guided tour to learn all about the history of Ireland and its struggle for independence against the British. During the famine, the jail housed over twice its capacity, including many women and children who committed petty crimes simply to have a warm place to stay and hot meals. Unoccupied since the 1920s, the jail has been the scene of many movies and even a famous U2 music video. (My favorite part is always seeing where the revolutionary Robert Emmet was held — my grandfather was named after him!)
Light House Cinema
Dublin’s independent movie theatre, Light House Cinema shows a range of films, new and old. They’re known for showing documentaries and feature films, as well as bringing back old favorites, like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Groundhog Day.
Glasnevin Cemetery and Museum
The Glasnevin Cemetery is the final resting place for many of Dublin’s most notable historical figures. The cemetery offers a tour at 2pm each day for 5 euro per person.
Dublin’s Botanic Gardens are a hidden gem. With acres of gardens that change with the seasons, as well as enormous greenhouses, it’s perfect for a Sunday afternoon stroll.
TEMPLE BAR/NORTH OF LIFFEY
Skinflint and its sister restaurants Joburger, Crackbird and Bear, might be the most hipster restaurants in Dublin. Skinflint specializes in pizza, which they typically pair with celeriac slaw. They serve only Irish craft beer (their partial to 8 Degrees Brewing) and source as much of their produce as possible from farmers around Ireland. Try a pizza or their rack of ribs.
Pablo Picante does burritos with fresh ingredients and Baja California flair. They have two other locations on the south side of the city, as well.
The Pie Man
The Pie Man is a great little spot to stop for a lunch, and you can take a stroll through Temple Bar. Choose from their savory pies served with mushy peas or an Irish craft beer.
L. Mulligan Grocer
Just a five-minute walk from the Lighthouse Cinema or Collins Barracks Museum, L. Mulligan Grocer is loved by local foodies for their delicious food and great whiskey selection.
Gravedigger’s Pub, 1 Prospect Square, Glasnevin, Dublin 9
It doesn’t get any grittier than Gravedigger’s. Nestled in a housing estate, it’s best to have a taxi driver bring you there or you’ll most definitely get lost. The scene of many Irish movies, order a pint of Guinness (and never, ever ask for a drinks menu in a pub — ever), and soak up the local feel.
There are few places with wilder decor in Dublin than the Foam Cafe. Their salads are enormous and perfect for sharing.
Queen of Tarts, Cow’s Lane, (01) 633 4681
If you are in the mood for something sweet while exploring the cobbled streets of Temple Bar, head to the Queen of Tarts. A larger, younger sister café to its namesake on Dame Street, the Queen of Tarts on Cow’s Lane is a sweet coffee shop. The menu is devilishly good. Particular favourites are the zesty lemon meringue tart and New York cheesecake.
Joy of Cha, 10 Essex Street East, (01) 677 5121
Right across from the Project Arts Centre, you’ll find the Joy of Cha, a charming little tea shop. And by little, I mean tiny, but so warm and sweet. The interior is warm and eclectic, and the staff really cool. The café specializes in loose tea, and they make a mean breakfast for the morning after the night before!
Zaytoon, 14/15 Parliament St, (01) 677 3595
A mecca for snacks after a night of pubcrawling, Zaytoon is a one of those “you have to go after the pub” places. The menu is standard Persian donner kebab fare, if a little on the larger side, and is tasty and fun.
The Larder, 8 Parliament St, (01) 633 3581
Facing City Hall, the Larder is one great brunch spot in Temple Bar. The menu is classic bistro, the tables are cozy and the ambience is relaxed.
Temple Bar Food Market, Meeting House Square, Dublin 2
Held every Saturday afternoon under a special retractable canopy high above Meeting House Square, the Temple Bar Food Market is a Dublin institution. Artisan cheese sits beside sea-fresh oysters, crusty breads and garden fruits and juices. Street food vendors sell a wide range of bites for those on the go — think crepes, noodles, burritos and sushi.
The Porterhouse Temple Bar, 16-18 Parliament Street, (01) 679 8847
One of the first indie brewpubs in Dublin, the Porterhouse is one of the nicer pubs in Temple Bar. Stocking their own brews and other small craft beers over the large InternationalConglomerateCorp beers, the Porterhouse’s beer menu is wide and interesting. The pub hosts live music every night, so if it’s not your thing, best to grab that beer early!
Bull and Castle, 5-7 Lord Edward Street, (01) 475 1122
Located right across from Christ Church Cathedral, the Bull and Castle is a hidden gem of a pub. Don’t judge the Bull and Castle by its interior! Yes, it’s a tad cheesy, but the bar stocks a massive list of craft beers and whiskeys. Owned by local butchers FXB, the meaty fare on the menu is top notch. The pub also has a beer hall — very Teutonic!
Thunder Solas sells beautiful leather wallets, cuffs and other accessories handmade right on the premises.
Reasonably priced vintage clothing and accessories in the heart of Temple Bar. The owners frequently run fundraising days to benefit the local SPCA.
Kling is a Spanish chain, and this is their first store in Ireland. They have really pretty clothing, shoes and accessories at very reasonable prices. Their spring collection is lovely — pretty pastel hues and feminine trims.
The Gutter Bookshop, Cow’s Lane, (01) 679 9206
Named for the infamous Oscar Wilde quote, “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars,” the Gutter Bookshop has real personality. It’s a small bookshop in the very best ways — staff recommendations, a children’s corner and occasional book readings.
Industry, 5 Essex Street West, (01) 613 9111
Located in the Old City part of Temple Bar, Industry is an indie home store that stocks upcycled and industrial wares. I especially love their curated set of clocks, lamps and smaller decorative items.
Ubode, 3-4 Smock Alley Court, (01) 775 5251
Located near Industry is Ubode, a quirky homewares store and café. This store carries a small but carefully curated selection of kitchen gadgets and homewares. They make a nice slice of French toast, too!
Cow’s Lane Designer Studio, 2 Pudding Row, Essex Street West, (01) 524 0001
Chocked full of Irish design goods, the Cow’s Lane Designer Studio has a little bit of everything — furniture, hats, jewelry and gifts. One of the best things about the store is that it is run by the designers who make the goods on sale, so you get to meet the makers in person.
Lucy’s Lounge, 11 Fownes Street, (01) 677 4779
Situated in Temple Bar near the Central Bank, Lucy’s Lounge is a tiny but jam-packed vintage shop. Housed in the basement, the store stocks vintage clothes, shoes, china and jewelry. Lucy and her staff are terribly nice and total one-offs.
St. Mary’s Abbey, Meetinghouse Lane, Off Capel Street, Dublin 1
St. Mary’s Abbey was built in 1139 and only two rooms remain of the original structure, where there is now an exhibit about the history of the abbey. The abbey is only open at certain times during the week, so check opening hours before you visit.
Christ Church Cathedral, Christchurch Place, (01) 677 8099
Sometimes it’s hard to believe that a cathedral has sat on the site of Christchurch for almost a thousand years. The first cathedral was founded around 1028 near the old medieval heart of Dublin. The current cathedral is a hodge-podge of construction and renovation, with most of the rebuilding taking place during the late 19th century. The crypt, which houses a café, was built in the 1100s and is one of the largest medieval crypts in the British Isles.
Sunlight Chambers, 21 Parliament Street, Dublin 8
Designed and built at the beginning of the twentieth century as the Dublin headquarters of detergent maker Lever Brothers, Sunlight Chambers is a curious and rare example of Italianate style in the city. Although it’s a private building now, one can’t help but stop to grab a photo of the wonderful multicoloured terracotta friezes on the exterior.
Irish Film Institute, 6 Eustace Street, Temple Bar, (01) 679 5744
The Irish Film Institute is a charming independent cinema-café located along the cobbled environs of Eustace Street, in the former Quarker Meeting House. Part funded by the Arts Council of Ireland, the IFI runs a diverse catalogue of international and Irish films. Recent highlights included a Hitchcock season, the French Film Festival and an ongoing education program aimed at school-going children. The IFI’s sweet café is located off the belly of the cinema’s main brick atrium and serves tasty salads, sandwiches and a pre-movie tipple or two. The IFI shop stocks a wide range of indie DVDs, posters and books.
The Morrison Hotel — set on the north side of the Liffey, a few blocks from the Haypenny Bridge — recently underwent a massive renovation. Recently reopened, it’s one of the city’s most modern, contemporary hotels.
The Clarence, 6-8 Wellington Quay, (01) 407 0800
Sitting on the quays and backing out onto the cobbled streets of Temple Bar, The Clarence is a swish place to stay. The hotel is famously owned by U2’s Bono and The Edge, and its bar is one of those celeb-spotting places. The hotel’s cocktail lounge has a mean menu, and it’s well worth a visit, even if you’re not staying in the hotel!
Jury’s Inn Christchurch, Christchurch Place, (01) 454 0000
Right across from Christchurch, Jury’s Inn is a great value option near the Old City of Temple Bar. Rooms are comfy and utilitarian, but ask for a room on a higher floor, as it can get a little noisy at night!
NORTH GEORGIAN QUARTER
The Bake House Cafe
If you’re looking for lunch that will fill you up and give you enough energy to spend the day walking, stop at the Bake House for one of their delicious baked potatoes with all the trimmings.
The Winding Stair Restaurant and Bookshop
The Winding Stair is often recommended by Dublin foodies as a sure bet for delicious food with a bonus view of the river Liffey.
Butler’s Chocolate Cafe
Butler’s motto is “Purveyors of Happiness,” and the Irish chain of chocolate cafes does just that. On a cold day, try one of their decadent hot chocolates to warm you up. There is a cafe just steps from the Haypenny Bridge as well as several sprinkled throughout the city.
Paris Bakery, 18-19 Moore Street, (01) 804 4112
The Paris Bakery on Moore Street serves up classic French fare — mussels in garlic and white wine, French onion soup, plaice and langoustines. What sets this bakery apart is how good the produce is, especially the bread baked in house. Try the sourdough in sandwich/takeaway and pick up a few madeleines.
Twisted Pepper, 54 Middle Abbey St, 1 Dublin
The Twisted Pepper houses a small but serious coffee shop called 3FE by day and a rum bar by night. The baristas at 3FE are very serious about coffee. Deadly serious. 3FE’s coffee menu includes tasting sets and trios, as well as fresh pastries. The rum bar in the evening is a lot of fun, the cocktail menu has just about every rum concoction imaginable and they serve wonderful rum-tasting platters!
Brother Hubbard, 153 Capel Street, (01) 441 1112
A recent addition to the Capel Street on the north side, Brother Hubbard is a lovely spot to grab lunch. They make some of the best scones in Dublin and accompany them with a lovely orange blossom butter. Brother Hubbard serves up delicious soups and fresh, healthy salads for eat-in or takeaway.
Hop House, 160-161 Parnell Street, (01) 872 8318
My favourite spot to grab a bite in Dublin, the Hop House is a small, cozy Korean restaurant just off O’Connell Street. The décor is a bit meh, but the staff are lovely, and the food is oh-so-great. The menu offers stews, soups, dumplings and really great sushi, too. Top tip: arrive before 5pm for the early bird menu!
Chapters Bookstore has a great selection of used and rare books and a wonderfully friendly staff who will help you find exactly what you’re looking for.
Counter Propaganda has two shops, one in the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre, and one on the north side of the Liffey. They sell a range of skater-type clothes, including their own brand of t-shirts, designed in Dublin.
Arnotts, 12 Henry Street, (01) 805 0400
A Dublin institution, Arnotts is the granddaddy department store in the city centre. Established in 1843, Arnotts is Dublin’s oldest department store. The shop offers the usual department store mix, but what makes it stand out is the designer furniture floor that houses a great mix of lighting, soft furnishings and small gifts.
Hugh Lane Gallery
One of the most interesting parts of the Hugh Lane is the Francis Bacon studio. The artist’s entire studio relocated to the museum. It’s an incredible way to see how Bacon worked — in a sea of papers and paint splatters perhaps only he could make sense of.
Dublin Writers Museum
Just north of the City Centre, the Dublin Writers Museum is home to the letters, books and personal items of some of Ireland’s most famous literary figures: Joyce, Yeats and Wilde among them.
Garden of Remembrance
Just outside the Dublin Writers Museum and the Hugh Lane Gallery is the Garden of Remembrance, commemorating the lives lost in the fight for Irish freedom.
National Museum of Decorative Art & History, Collins Barracks, Benburb Street, (01) 677 7444
One of Dublin’s most interesting social history museums, the National Museum of Decorative Art & History houses a permanent collection of furniture, clothing, Asian art and Irish silver. The furniture ranges from pieces from the 17th century to modern pieces, including a special permanent exhibition highlighting the work of Eileen Gray. You can get to the museum by jumping on the Red Luas to the Museum stop.
Gibson Hotel, Point Village, (01) 681 5000
Located on the north quays near the O2 concert venue, the Gibson Hotel is a mid-priced indie hotel. The décor is simple and clean throughout. Free wifi is available throughout the hotel. If you book a room, be sure to ask for a room with a view.
Herb Street Restaurant
The Docklands area is where Google, Facebook and other companies have their headquarters, and the city is benefitting from restaurants popping up in their shadows. Herb Street is nestled in the docklands and is a great spot for breakfast, as it opens at 8:30am each morning.
KC Peaches + Wine Cave
KC Peaches is a cafe upstairs and a wine cafe downstairs. During the week, stop in for one of their fresh salads and decadent baked goods. At the weekend, head down to their wine cave for their jazz dinner.
37 Dawson Street
Restaurant by day and hip dancey bar by night. Try their sliders for a yummy snack and then mosey into their Whiskey Bar, where you’ll be served your choice of tipple in cut-glass tumblers.
Bite + Bite Canteen
Specializing in “fish and chips and cocktails,” Bite and their newly opened basement Bite Canteen do fish with a bit of flair and a mean chocolate burger for dessert.
The Design Tower is located on the edge of the grand canal in an old sugar refinery. It is home to many Irish designers and artists and is open to the public, though you’ll want to reach out to artists ahead of time so you can stop by their studio space. I loved visiting Seamus Gill, a silversmith who designs beautiful candle holders as well as trophies for many of Ireland’s sporting prizes.
National Gallery of Ireland, Merrion Square West, Dublin 2
In addition to the range of artworks housed here, I like it for the café, which serves lovely coffees and hot chocolate — perfect if it’s a little chilly out!
National Museum of Ireland
One of the highlights of the National Museum on Kildare Street is the collection of “Bog men,” or men who were mummified in the peat bogs preserving their hair and even some of their clothes.
Douglas Hyde Gallery
The Douglas Hyde Gallery is inside the walls of Trinity College and holds exhibits of up-and-coming Irish artists as well as more well-known contemporary artists.
A trip to Dublin without visiting Trinity College is completely unthinkable. Established in 1592, the library is the center of the college, housing some five million books. The Science Gallery located in the northeast part of the campus is like a museum crossed with science.
SOUTH GEORGIAN QUARTER
Coppinger Row does Mediterranean-inspired dishes in a cozy space that’s perfect for a lingering brunch or even an afternoon snack.
In the mood for meat? Bear is your spot. They specialize in steak, with a list of sauces you’ll have a tough time choosing from.
Murphy’s Ice Cream
Incredible ice cream made with milk from Kerry cows. Try the brown bread ice cream paired with Dingle sea salt.
The Exchecquer won my heart years ago with their chocolate platter, a decadent array of chocolate desserts perfect for sharing with your sweetie. But their dinner is just as delicious. Make sure to book in advance as it’s often packed.
Blazing Salads, 42 Drury Street, Dublin 2
If you’re in need of a few vegetables, try Blazing Salads. It’s a great option for vegans or those with food allergies.
Another option for vegetarians and vegans that’s also popular with meat-eaters is Cornucopia. If you stop by for dinner on the weekend, you’ll be treated to live harp music in addition to warm and healthy dinner options.
Hatch & Son
Another new addition to Dublin is Hatch & Sons, just beneath the Little Museum of Dublin near Stephen’s Green. Sweet, homey decor and yummy food with a focus on Irish produce wherever possible.
Fade Street Social
Fade Street Social is the newest venture by Dublin restaurateur Dylan McGrath, housing two restaurants under one roof. Try their innovative tapas or enjoy their lobster hot dog and complex pastries.
The Port House/Bar Pinxto
The Port House and Bar Pinxto serve Spanish tapas in cozy exposed-stone spaces in Dublin. Try their cheese board to share. If you can’t get a table at the always-packed Port House, head to Bar Pinxto, just five minutes away, and you’re more likely to get a seat.
Clement & Pekoe
Clement & Pekoe serves delicious coffee and a range of specialty teas. If the sun is shining, take your tea to their front stoop for great people watching.
Whitefriar Grill, 16 Aungier Street, (01) 475 9003
One of my favourite brunch places in Dublin is Whitefriar Grill, a lovely little eatery on Augnier Street. Eggs done too many ways, and if eggs aren’t your thing, they make a mean pulled pork sandwich. Be sure to book ahead, as they are always busy. A DJ also plays during brunch! They serve dinner, too.
Little Ass Burrito, 32a Dawson Street, (01) 764 5908
Little Ass Burrito is a cute burrito bar off the main shopping thoroughfare serving up fresh tortillas, quesadillas and churros. Seating is limited, but it’s perfect for a quick pit stop.
Wall & Keogh, 45 Richmond Street, (01) 475 9052
My favourite tea shop in Dublin, Wall & Keogh is located a little to the south of the main shopping areas of Grafton Street, in Portobello. The café serves up a massive selection of tea for drinking there or to take away. Jars of the tea sit in the café, so you can check out the ingredients and country of origin and give them a sniff before ordering. The menu is filled with pastries, sandwiches and Korean kimbap. They also regularly host an in-store movie club in the evenings.
Restaurant Patrick Guilbaud, 21 Upper Merrion Street, (01) 676 4192
Ireland’s only two-star Michelin restaurant is never going to be cheap, but RPG offers affordable lunch menus for that something special during the day. A good stop for the foodie.
The Secret Bar, 3 Fade Street, (01) 648 0010
Also known by the locals as the No Name Bar, The Secret Bar is lovely, if sometimes a little hipster-heavy, spot. You’ll find it by looking for the snail sign outside the bar. The vibe is great in here, and they make an excellent mojito.
The Pig’s Ear, 4 Nassau St, (01) 670 3865
Recently awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand, The Pig’s Ear is a nice eatery located right beside Trinity College. The restaurant offers classic Irish comfort food with a menu that includes roast fish, risotto and duck pie. The restaurant is a walk-up, so you’ll have some steps to climb before getting to the dining room.
Kehoe’s, 9 South Anne’s Street, (01) 677 8312
Kehoe’s is one of those classic traditional Irish pubs not far from the hustle-bustle of Grafton Street. It’s a very big pub sprawling multiple levels. The pub gets very busy with the nine-to-five crowd on Thursday and Friday evenings, so keep it in mind if you’re part of a big group. (Beware: the site auto plays music!)
Against the Grain, 11 Wexford Street, (01) 470 5100
This charming little craft beer pub is located on Wexford Street. You won’t find Guinness here, but you will find small interesting indie stouts and beers from Ireland and around the world. The pub also serves up a nice pub grub menu.
Project 51 is a boutique filled with fashion and accessories designed in Ireland. The store also has studio space in the back where several of their artists work every day.
Irish Design Shop
The Irish Design Shop (with locations in the Royal Hibernian Gallery as well as Bow Lane behind the Stephen’s Green Shopping Centre) is always my top recommendation for picking up souvenirs. The shop is a beautifully curated collection of home furnishings, jewellery and accessories from Irish designers. And the Irish Design Shop is also home to about fifteen designers in the attached studio space.
Fallon & Byrne
Fallon & Byrne is a food hall and specialty grocery store (with a wine bar downstairs and restaurant upstairs). It’s a good spot for picking up Irish food to bring home — try the Irish Atlantic Sea Salt from the Beara Peninsula.
The Cloth Shop
The Cloth Shop has a beautiful selection of fabrics in a really sweet space. If nothing else, check out the amazing custom cutting table in the centre of the store. You might want one for your own house!
Another great spot to find Irish designed clothing and accessories is Bow Boutique in the Powerscourt House. The boutique sells really beautiful and current pieces, like Eilis Boyle’s beautiful cashmere snoods.
Brown Thomas is Dublin’s fanciest department store. You’ll be greeted at the entrance by a doorman with a top hat!
George’s Arcade, South Great George’s Street, (01) 283 6077
Situated in a fabulously red-bricked Victorian passageway, George’s Arcade houses a group of small indie sellers and stores. The arcade includes vintage record sellers, a goldsmith, a coin shop, hat shops, a belly dancing clothes shop and a cupcake stand.
Powerscourt Centre, 59 South William Street, (01) 679 4144
I was tempted to list the individual shops in the Powerscourt Centre that you should visit, but there are too many there, and it’s easier to just suggest you visit the centre. Particular favourites of mine include homewares from Article, ribbons and trimmings from A. Rubanesque, wool from This is Knit and designer clothes from Loft Market.
The Powerscourt Centre is housed in a fine Georgian house with accompanying buildings just off Grafton Street. The centre of the building itself is a wonderful atrium, which houses a number of lovely cafés. A standout is The Pepper Pot, which specializes in organic seasonal fare. If coffee’s not your thing, you could grab a quick drink at Lost Society.
Designist, 68 South Great George’s Street, (01) 475 8534
A short walk from Grafton Street is Designist. A nice store for picking up gifts or small incidentals in central Dublin, this shop stocks trendy lightshades, textiles and glassware. Lots of local designers sell their goods through Designist, so it’s a fun place to pick up something made nearby.
Avoca, 11-13 Suffolk Street, (01)677 4215
There’s a lot to love about Avoca. The shop itself is spread across seven levels and stocks homewares, toys, clothes, jewelry and gifts. There’s a vintage market store that stocks old china and furniture that harks way back. The basement houses a café that’s famous for its salads and pastries.
Kilkenny Design Shop, 6-15 Nassau Street, (01) 677 7066
Kilkenny is a legendary Irish store devoted to Irish homewares, fashion and gifts. Fifty years old this year, Kilkenny champions designers who make wool goods, linen, ceramics, crystal and silverware. There’s also a very cute café on the first floor, overlooking the Trinity campus, that’s popular for a quick snack after shopping yourself out.
Daintree Paper Shop, 61 Camden Street, (01) 475 7500
Nestled away on Camden Street is Daintree, an entire store dedicated to paper. Paper of all sorts. Handmade paper from the Himalayas, Indian Cotton, linen, Japanese grass paper and sealing wax, as well as ribbons and wrapping accoutrements.
Stock, 33-34 South King Street, Dublin 2, (01) 679 4317
When I’m on a baking bender, I like to visit Stock to pick up kitchen utensils and tins. The store specializes in kitchen gadgets, with a nod to textiles and gifts upstairs.
Murphy Sheedy, 14 Castle Market, (01) 677 0316
Opened in the 1940s, Murphy Sheehy is a real go-to place for fabric in Dublin city centre. The store specializes in Irish wools and linens. I like shopping there, as it’s a real family-run store (third generation, I believe), and fabric is in their blood.
Hodges & Figgis, 56-58 Dawson Street, (01) 677 4754
Founded in the 18th century and famously mentioned by Joyce in Ulysses, Hodges & Figgis is the biggest and best bookshop in Dublin. The store is spread across multiple levels, with most of the ground floor dedicated to Irish literature. Chairs are helpfully spread throughout the shop. I’ve lost whole afternoons in the store.
National Print Museum, Garrison Chapel, Beggars Bush Barracks, Dublin 4
This museum will teach you all about the history of printmaking and all things paper in Ireland. If you time it right, you can also take workshops here on printmaking, bookmaking, calligraphy, linocutting and much more. Most workshops are two days, and the class size is limited to fewer than 10 students!
National History Museum
The National History Museum is a neat spot to visit, especially if you’ve got kids in tow. Known to some Dubliners (who would have visited on field trips in primary school) as the Dead Zoo, the National History Museum has taxidermy animals from all over Ireland as well as around the world.
St. Stephen’s Green
St. Stephen’s Green is set at the top of Grafton Street, the main shopping thoroughfare. On warm days, every spot of grass will be taken by a lounging student or workers taking their lunch break.
The Iveagh Gardens is a quieter park, just a stone’s throw from St. Stephen’s Green. During the summer months, you can join locals for a picnic or catch Shakespeare on the Green being performed by local actors.
The tourist office wouldn’t be that intriguing in any city, but in Dublin, it’s set in an enormous old church in the city centre. It’s a great place to find out about hop on-hop off bus tours, which I always recommend to visitors to get a good overview of the different neighborhoods and history of Dublin. It’s also a good bet for a bathroom break!
One of my favorite galleries in Dublin, the Kerlin Gallery always has interesting shows from contemporary artists. It’s a breath of fresh air just steps from the crowds of Grafton Street.
Kellys is a cute boutique hotel that also houses the Bar with No Name and restaurant L’Gueuleton. Their penthouse is a little apartment with mini kitchen and sleeps four for about 50 euro per person per night.
Pembroke Town House
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live in one of Dublin’s old Georgian town homes, the Pembroke Town House is the hotel for you.
The Merrion Hotel is one of Dublin’s fancier hotels. Even if you aren’t a guest, you can try their Art Tea, high tea consisting of miniature edible works of art served on the hotel’s beautiful china.
The Shelbourne, 27 St Stephen’s Green, (01) 663 4500
Recently reopening after a big renovation, The Shelbourne Hotel is probably one of the most central places to stay in the city centre. The Irish constitution was drafted in one of the rooms. It’s on the luxury side; it won’t be a cheap stay, but the rooms that overlook the Georgian square that is Stephen’s Green are really special.
Thin Lizzy (musicians)
The Script (musicians)
One Direction’s Niall Horan (singer)
Bob Geldof (singer)
Daphne Guinness (artist)
Sebastian Guinness (artist)
Amy Huberman (actress)
Aidan Gillen (actor)
Maeve Binchy (author)
Maureen O’Hara (actress)
Cillian Murphy (actor)
Liam Neeson (actor)
Pierce Brosnan (actor)
Jonathan Rhys Meyers (actor)
Saoirse Ronan (actress)
Des Bishop (comedian)
Katie Taylor (Olympic boxing champion, 2012 London)
Darina Allen (Ballymaloe Cookery School)
Amanda Pratt (Owner of Avoca)
Mary Ann O’Brien (Lily O’Brien Chocolates)
Francis Bacon (artist)
Louis le Brocquy (artist)
Harry Clarke (illustrator)
Paul Costelloe (fashion designer)
Colin Farrell (actor)
Brendan Gleeson (actor)
Glen Hansard (musician)
James Joyce (author)
Chris Judge (illustrator)
Orla Kiely (designer)
Lainey Keogh (knitwear designer)
Imelda May (musician)
Dermot Morgan (comedian)
Sinead O’Connor (musician)
George Bernard Shaw (playwright)
Jim Sheridan (filmmaker)
Bram Stoker (author)
Jonathan Swift (author)
J.M. Synge (author)
Jack Butler Yeats (artist)
William Butler Yeats (author)