DUBLIN EXPRESS GUIDE
By: Caroline Federer – find her on Instagram: @CFederer
Shamrocks, Guinness, Leprechauns & St. Paddy’s Day are only a few of the things we attribute to the great city of Dublin, Ireland, but take a deeper look inside city centre, and you’ll see that this Irish capital has much more to offer. This European island merely the size of the U.S. state of Indiana, but boy does it punch above its weight when it comes to attractiveness among tourists, businesses and investors alike. Voted 1 of the top 20 “friendliest cities in the world” by Conde Nast Traveler, continuously written up as a “city one must visit,” among travel magazines worldwide, and a hub for up and coming start-up companies and fin-tech companies, I think it is safe to say this city is just reaching its peak in popularity around the world. Dublin has so much to offer including its rich history and colorful culture which you can see on every corner. Let me give you a bit of a taste of what is to come during your trip to this Irish epicenter.
- The Market Bar
- Fade Street Social
- Sophie’s Rooftop Bar & Restaurant
About Irish Food
Dublin has recently become a city of world-class food – this can be confirmed personally, of course, as well as by my family & friends living here in Dublin. You will not be disappointed with the selection of restaurants and gastro-pubs available within the city, that provide various cuisines from all over the world. Because we are a small island in the North Atlantic, the seafood is of mouth watering quality. Some visitors overlook the seafood simply because they invest their time seeking out the corn beef & cabbage (with a side of potatoes, please). But it truly wouldn’t be a successful trip to Dublin without trying the delicacies like Monkfish, Seabream, or Dublin Bay Prawns. Yum. Fade Street Social & Dobbin’s Restaurant will give you a taste of what this Irish seafood is like. With all of that said, if you are visiting Dublin for the first time, you will obviously want to try one or two traditional Irish meals. A typical Irish breakfast would include, rashers (bacon), sausages, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms, & black and white pudding, and a typical dinner would likely have corn beef, lots of vegetables and even more potatoes. You can find a traditional Irish meal at any of the pubs around town, and in many restaurants as well. My favorite spots would include, O’Neills Pub, Bewleys, Kilkenny Shop, and Storehouse Pub & Restaurant (really any pub in the Temple Bar District), but the options are endless. You won’t be disappointed with this meal in the least. Oh, and remember — all Irish meals go best with a cold, creamy, Guinness 🙂
The Marker Rooftop Bar – the swankiest hot spot on the weekends with the best views of Dublin hands down.
P Macs – fancy playing a board game while putting back your Pints? This is the place for you. Features over 50 craft beers from all over the world as well.
Pygmalion – located in the heart of the city, this hip hangout is the place to be on any night of the week. And great drink specials
Bernard Shaw – very eclectic & eccentric bar with homemade pizza as good as their drink specials Whelan’s Pub – great Irish pub popular among locals. Known for their live music in which names like Adele, U2, and Ed Sheeran have played.
Irish Drinking Habits
The Irish LOVE their drink, that is no lie. Rain or shine, there is always a time and place to enjoy a creamy Guinness, a fruity Hop House, or an ice cold G&T. Every weekend, most bars in the city center will be packed with Dubliners alike enjoying their favorite alcoholic beverage, so the only decision you need to make is which pub you would like to become your home for the evening.
Temple Bar District is an incredible way to diffuse your way into the Irish nightlife scene. Now, this is a zone of about 40 pubs in 4 blocks, that will be full of hen & stag parties (bachelorette & bachelor parties), as well as lots of Americans, Aussies, and Brits, BUT you will have the best time, guaranteed. The live music in every bar along with those singing along creates the most vibrant atmosphere that anyone would approve of.
If you want more of the local Irish pub experience, head North of the river – try Madigan’s Earl Street or Flanagan’s Pub for a truly authentic pub experience. This is where you will find cheap pints and even better music sessions filled with locals just looking to hear their favorite jig or reel, without being taken over by tourists.
Tip 1: Join in on the Traditional Irish Music Pub Crawl – this will give you a good idea about the Irish drinking & music culture. They will give you the inside scoop on top spots to hit up in Dublin.
Tip 2: A Pint will be around 3-4 euro cheaper than a mixed drink. I would go the beer route while in Dublin, if you can help it, to save a few euros. If you do decide to go the mixed drink route, you will be paying for a shot of liquor as well as the soda you get with it. Why they haven’t caught onto the fountain spray method of mixer, I don’t know. I should mention though that the Gin & Tonics here are incredible. Hendricks or Tanqueray with Slim Line Tonic will leave you as happy as the Dubliners in your company.
(Above: listed are favorite bars/pubs in general.
6. Sams & 37 Dawson Street are two other bars that lend its young trendy vibes on a Friday night.)
Favorite Irish Pubs: Kehoe’s, Porterhouse, Bad Bobs, or Temple Bar District (Any of those bars are worth going to – Merchant’s Arch, Quays Bar, Temple Bar bar) Oh yes, and if you want to visit a bar in Dublin that is sure to bring back the feels of your college days, stop by either Dicey’s Garden or Copper Face Jacks. With its 2 euro drink specials, it will surely be a night you won’t remember…
Traditional Irish: Typical day-to-day Irish wear
GO The style for more often than not can be summed up in just a few words: layers, wellies, & brellies. The essentials of every wardrobe. One is always prepared for clouds to race across the sky, and rain to fall at any moment. You truly can see all 4 seasons in just one day here in Ireland. I am a big fan of Kilkenny Shop for Irish Design because it showcases the best of all Irish design. Regardless of what you are looking for, Kilkenny Shop will have it all, and you’ll be fascinated with the various designs available in the shop.
GO: Within Dublin city centre:
1. Kilmanhem Gaol – one of the many stops on the hop-on, hop off bus in Dublin. Perfect for the history buff of the group who will have the chance to delve into the rich history of the Irish & their uprising against the British.
2. Little Museum of Dublin – a perfect stop for a short & sweet history of Dublin in the 20th century.
3. Christ Church & Crypts – Gaze in wonderment inside this incredible church which has been a part of Ireland’s history since 1030. The crypt’s are a fan favorite – be sure to spot the remains of a mummified cat and rat that was found in the 1830s….
4.Guinness Storehouse and/or Jameson Distillery – the pinnacle of every visit to Dublin – to taste & learn about the Dublin’s international drink specialties.
5. Trinity College Tour & Book of Kells – Be sure to buy the Trinity Tour/Book of Kells ticket combo. The tours are run by the students of Trinity, and they know their history. Pretty funny as well.
6. High Tea at the Shelbourne or The Merrion — for the girly girls of the group. Both of these hotels have spectacular varieties of teas, ranging from the original green & black to macha and the fan favorite, Whiskey cream tea. Perfect for a lovely, relaxing afternoon.
7. Picnic in St. Stephen’s Green — on a sunny and/or warm(er) day, St. Stephen’s Green is a total hot spot. Grab a sunny spot in the grass and enjoy the atmosphere here.
GO: within an hour so so from Dublin city centre
1. Howth Cliff Walk — dare I say almost as incredible as the Cliffs of Moher, but you don’t even need to drive 2+ hours! Make a day out of it, and grab some delicious seafood after at my favorite seafood tapas restaurant, Octopussy.
2. Wickow – Powerscourt – a delightful half day trip down to Powerscourt will fulfill your need to see a lovely castle and the most gorgeous rose gardens you’ve ever seen. Walking around this estate will make you feel as though you’re in an episode of Downton Abbey. (Although, Matthew Crowley spottings not guaranteed..)
3. Glendalough Walk – Another must-do half day trips to a relaxing nature walk indisputably the most beautiful part of Ireland. Be sure to stop in St. Andrew’s monastery ruins. Hauntingly beautiful.
4. Kilkenny – the sweetest fairy tale town just between Dublin & Cork, chalk full of history, shopping, food, and of course, beer. Smithwick’s brewery is located in Kilkenny and definitely worth a look.
5. Dun Laoghaire – take a ferry ride along the coast, hang out on the beach, or just pop into one of the many seafood restaurants on the seafront for a lovely time.
- The Dylan Hotel
- The Dean Hotel
- Fitzwilliam Hotel
- Buswells Hotel
- The Waterloo House
Dublin Express Guide
By: Caroline Federer – find her on Instagram: @CFederer