So this post is a little late coming. I had a European Thanksgiving excursion and promised I would share my trip with y’all. I did Dublin to Budapest to Prague and back to Dublin to catch my flight home in 12 days. Four of those days were spent in Dublin and they were lovely! Dublin is a pretty modern city with roots of interesting history. Ireland itself is a beautiful country and so easy to travel! I’ve shared all my recommendations for what to eat, things to do, where to shop and where to stay.
Eat & Drink Dublin
There is no shortage of good food and drink, especially beer, in Dublin. I found breakfast to be my favorite Irish meal.
Coffeeangel: A cute local coffee chain with six locations around Dublin. A good quick stop for a caffeine pick-me-up that also serves baked goods and sandwiches. Must try the Anzac Biscuits, kind of like the cross between an oatmeal cookie and a scone.
Beanhive Coffee: A solid coffee shop with a few food offerings located in central Dublin.
Hatch & Sons: Let’s talk about brunch. Located in St. Stephens Green, this little gem serves breakfast all day, cheese boards and supper. My sister and I went for brunch and loved it. Try the double baked eggs.
Kilkenny Cafe and Restaurant: A must for breakfast/brunch. This cafe is located on the top floor of a local design and department store right by Trinity College. They serve a full Irish breakfast cafeteria style for around eight euro. The food was seriously good and filling for a long day of site-seeing.
Queen of Tarts: For your sweet tooth fix. Two locations in central Dublin, stop here for an afternoon treat.
Butlers Chocolate Cafe: Dublin can get chilly, and you’ll definitely need a hot chocolate to perk you up. Good thing Butlers has ten+ hot chocolates on their menu in addition to coffee, tea and chocolate treats. Plus with every drink you get a free piece of chocolate! There are several locations in Dublin.
Umi Falafel: I love falafel, and actually tried it for the first time in Europe. I always try to track it down while traveling, and Umi Falafel was one of the better one’s I’ve tried. This casual eatery is great for lunch or a simple dinner.
The Temple Bar: Probably the most well known bar in Dublin, but it’s not to be missed. I’m usually wary of tourist traps, but was pleasantly surprised by The Temple Bar. There are multiple rooms and live music and since I was there during the holidays the walls were covered in Christmas decor. Definitely stop in for a pint!
An Irish Pub: Pubs are such an essential part of Irish culture. I experienced plenty of that when I studied in Oxford, England, in college. It’s not just the drinking culture that you would assume, although there’s plenty of that. The pub is the center of social life, whether it’s meeting friends after work or family gatherings. And pub food is not to be missed! I’m certainly not qualified to tell you the best pubs in Dublin, but I used this list from Food Republic and this list from Thrillist as research myself.
All my recommendations for what to do while you’re in Dublin! I like a nice balance between touristy attractions and getting a little off the beaten path.
Guinness Storehouse: Obviously an Irish institution, the Guinness storehouse was pretty interesting and I don’t even like Guinness! The tour is well done; it’s interactive and ends with a free beer at the 360 degree bar that has all glass windows. The view alone is worth the tour.
Pearse Lyons Distillery: As a Kentuckian, I had to visit the sister distillery to Town Branch. The distillery is brand new in a converted church and it’s stunning. There is a graveyard outside where Pearse Lyons’ grandfather is buried. The staff were so welcoming and obviously passionate about what they were doing, making for an awesome experience even if whiskey isn’t your thing.
Trinity College: Founded in the 1500’s the campus is beautiful and you should at least walk through. The university houses the Book of Kells, a highly-decorated manuscript from 300AD of the four gospels. You do have to pay to see the book, but I think getting to see the library is so worth it – major Hogwarts vibes.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral: If you’ve traveled in Europe, you know that there are stunning and historical churches all over. Maybe you love it, maybe it’s not your thing. St. Patrick’s was beautiful, but don’t feel like you’re missing out if you can’t make it there. Christ Church Cathedral is also renowned in Dublin.
Day Trip: While there is certainly plenty to see in Dublin, Ireland is small enough that you can also use Dublin as your home base and take a day trip or two to see more of the country. My sister and I went to the Cliffs of Moher and the coastal town of Galway through Wild Rover Tours. The cliffs are breathtaking and Galway was a cute little town. If you go make sure to stop by Coffeewerk & Press. I also stayed in Malahide, north of Dublin, for one night and it was the cutest little coastal village. Lots of good food, the ocean right there and a historic castle and garden nearby. Make sure to eat at Jaipur and The Greenery if you go.
One of my favorite ways to see a city is to just wander and discover little local shops and bakeries and restaurants. We spent a full day wandering and stumbled across several great finds.
April and the Bear: The cutest little home and lifestyle store, complete with Gilmore Girls prints.
Folkster: It’s like the Irish version on Anthropologie with some bridal/bridesmaids dresses added in.
Grafton Street: Know as Dublin’s “shopping street” right by St. Stephen’s Green, it can be a bit crowded and touristy, but worth a stroll. A lot of chains that don’t necessarily interest me, but also some European brands that may spark your interest like COS, Marks & Spencer and Cath Kidston.
Hodges Figgis: Ireland’s oldest bookstore. I love finding local bookstores wherever I travel. Even if you don’t find a book, pick up a postcard as a souvenir.
The Kitchen Whisk: Bright kitchen supply store. Maybe not the most practical to pack things home with you, but I always love to look!
The Library Project: The coolest book and print store in Temple Bar area.
Powerscourt Centre: The most European way to do a shopping mall.. forty shops and restaurants including antiques, vintage stores, local clothing designers and home design stores. Make sure to check out Jean Cronin Vintage & Contemporary and Article home store.
Siopaella Designer Exchange: Cool vintage and high-end designer consignment.
We stayed at the Mespil Hotel near Merrion Square. While the hotel was lovely with a clean modern atmosphere and super helpful staff, I would recommend staying a little closer into town. It was close enough to walk most places, but being in St. Stephens Green or Temple Bar area would have been a bit more convenient. If you’re looking to stay outside of the city, I stayed one night in Malahide at The Grand Hotel and it was amazing! A super nice hotel for reasonable rates (especially when you compare to rates in the city) right on the beach and a short walk to the quaint little town.
Have you ever been to Dublin? If you have any places to add to my list, please share in the comments below! Stay tuned for more guides and travel recommendations coming soon. If you’re interested in my travels, read about my trip to Thailand here or check out my Denver Travel Guide here.
Biscuits & blessings,