Last week I visited Dublin, somewhere I’ve visited numerous times, and a city that I absolutely love. It’s friendly, lively, easy to get around, plus their’s plenty to see and do, which is obviously why over 3 million people visit Ireland’s fair city every year. Up until recently most of my trips to Dublin have been booze fuelled weekends involving an obligatory trip to the Guinness Storehouse and far too many pints in the pubs of Temple bar, dancing to the same 4 “trad” Irish songs on loop. I’m sure I’m not the only one who sometimes get lured into the tourist vortex and with far more to the Irish capital than these usual tourist haunts, I wanted to share with you my tried and tested “alternative” guide to Dublin.
Kaph – 31 Drury Street, Dublin 2
Kaph on Drury street is achingly hipster. Nestled in Dublin’s creative quarter Kaph showcases minimalist Skandi style and pumps out folk/electronica music. The asthetic is cool and simple, and they even offer a free creative space upstairs. They take their coffee very seriously too, serving award-winning coffee on site, and bags to take home as well. I had the most delicious flat white and chocolate brownie I’ve had in a long time, and it looked like they had some super tasty soups and wraps on the menu. Kaph also gets added bonus points for free WiFi, this is a coffee geek/freelancers paradise, well worth a visit.
Monty’s of Kathmandu – 28 Eustace Street, Dublin 2
You maybe surprised to hear that Dublin has a significant Nepalese community, I certainly was. And with immigrants comes tasty tasty food. Monty’s of Kathmandu is on the fringes of Temple Bar, just off Dame street and is an award-winning Nepalese restaurant. You can’t help but notice all of their accolades in the window, which is what drew us in. If you haven’t tasted Nepalese cuisine before it’s a lot like northern Indian food blended with hint of Chinese. To start we shared the Momo, little steamed dumplings filled with chicken and heady with herbs and spices. Followed by the traditional Dal Bhat, which is a tasting plate centred around rice with little brass pots of lentils, meat curry, barbecued meat, vegetables and roti, similar to an Indian thali. Not only is the food in Monty’s delicious, the staff are warm, welcoming and hilarious.
Pygmalion – Powerscourt townhouse, South William Street, Dublin 2
Pygmalion, or Pyg, as the locals know it is a cool bar/restaurant/gig space. During the day you can find people lounging outside on the comfy sofas with a
coffee beer and the papers. And at night it turns into a lively bar/club which attracts some international DJs and hosts up and coming local talent. Service can be slow but the atmosphere is buzzing.
P. Macs – Stephen’s Street Lower, Dublin 2
George’s Street Arcade – Dublin 2
The first shopping centre in Dublin, this Victorian arcade is a little treasure trove of vintage vinyl, clothing, jewellery and trinkets all housed in a beautiful building in Dublin’s creative quarter. A few minutes walk from temple bar, and flanked with some excellent cafe-bars, the arcade makes for a lovely little pit stop.
Smithfield is an area on the north side of Dublin that houses the Jameson’s old distillery and the High court. It is easily reached on foot or by Luas (Tram). Once a very working class area, it has recently been rejuvenated and is now a bustling hub of artist studios, cafes and bars. Every month the Generator plays host to The Market fair, which is a pop-up event with art, food and music. Along with neighbouring Stoneybatter (AKA the Batter!) this area of Dublin is fast becoming a popular hipster hangout.
I’d never been outside of the city until recently, and really I’ve no idea why, because it’s easy peasy to reach all the picturesque coastal towns and villages on the Dart (light rail). It took a mere 25 minutes from Pearse station (Trinity Collage area of central Dublin) to reach Dalkey, a beautiful, chic seaside village. Daly is rather an exclusive area, and walking around marvelling at the very grand houses and beautiful sea views can easily take up a whole weekend, and you may spot a celeb or two!
On the week I visited, Dublin was experiencing a 5 day long heat wave (by Irish standards anyway) and the coast was buzzing with locals and tourists making the most of the sunshine. This was perfect weather to tackle the Bray to Greystones cliff walk. Jump on the Dart to Bray (30mins from centre of Dublin, or 5 from Dalkey) and walk the 7km along the beautiful cliff edge trail, watching the turquoise water lap at the cliffs and little sailing boats bob along the shimmering sea.
The Happy Pear – Church Road, Greystones
Refuel after your walk with lunch at The Happy Pear Cafe, a vegan eatery run by the Flynn twins. Some what of a celebrity pair in Ireland with a number of cook books and a range of healthy snacks, this place is very popular with locals and can get incredibly busy on a sunny weekend.
Have you visited any of these places in Dublin? Are there any must sees I should add to my list, let me know in the comments.