In “5 Things,” I’ll ask some of my favorite bloggers in cities all over to share insider travel tips on where to eat, shop, stay, and play in their neighborhoods (plus, what to pack to make the adventure complete). This week, Emily Westbrooks of From China Village and Delightful Dublin guides us on a tour of Dublin’s best.
After growing up in small town Maine, I met my Irish husband during my senior year in college only ten miles away from my house. We got married and I agreed to spend one year in Dublin before settling down in America for good. Seven years in, Dublin has stolen my heart and we’ve finally broken it to my family that we’ll be probably spending only summers in Maine from here on out!
The perfect way to sum up my adopted city is to say it’s a constant exercise in contradictions. In the same block, you’ll have a pub that’s been around since James Joyce was sipping pints, next to a new cafe serving up the local artisan roasted coffee with the best organic Irish milk. In each neighborhood, there are thousand-year-old tourists sights, standing alongside some of the coolest restaurants or hippest shops. While you feel like you’re in an urban, modern city, you’re constantly reminded of the history of the city, whether it’s the cobblestones you spy beneath the pavement or the chiseled stone covered in street art.
Ashley already hit up my favorite restaurant in the city, The Winding Stair, on her visit a few years ago (you can read more in her travelogue here!), but the good news is that The Winding Stair has gotten a sibling! The Woollen Mills opened last year and serves an equally fresh and seasonal menu but in a slightly more casual environment. Another northside favorite, Brother Hubbard, is my favorite stop for breakfast and lunch, serving really healthy salads and sandwiches with a Middle Eastern twist.
For coffee, Clement and Pekoe has the best to-go cups with doodles of the city as well as the best front stoop for people watching. Coppa Cafe in the Royal Hibernian Academy gallery serves delicious salads and sandwiches, which are perfect after browsing one of the city’s best contemporary art galleries. If you visit in the summer, the gallery’s annual exhibition is a great slice of Irish art, both amateur and accomplished.
The Winding Stair, 40 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1, (01) 872 7320
The Woollen Mills, 42 Lower Ormond Quay, Dublin 1, (01) 828 0835
Clement and Pekoe, 50 South William St, Dublin 2
Coppa Cafe, 15 Ely Place, Dublin 2, (01) 661 8411
For souvenirs (and lovely housewares for locals), make sure you visit the lovely ladies at the Irish Design Shop. They stock only products that are made and designed in Dublin, so you know you’re supporting local artists. Jam Art Factory is another great shop for locally made prints with a more modern feel.
And for the best picnic spot, head to Merrion Square. It’s a little quieter than the city’s most popular park, Stephen’s Green, and has a great lunchtime market on Thursdays.
An umbrella AND sunglasses. You just never know what the Irish weather is going to do. Well, actually, you can be nearly guaranteed it’s going to do all the things all in one day! One minute it’s sunny, the next minute you’re trying to find cover from rain. But those are the best moments to keep your eyes peeled for rainbows!
P.S. You should also pack a good guide. Emily has written a wonderful guide, Delightful Dublin, and has generously offered that readers can use the code HITHER to download it for 25% off! It’s really beautiful and I look forward to using it—and this five things list on our next visit. We loved Ireland, and can’t wait to go back.
Thank you, Emily!
[Photos by Julie Matkin and Emily Westbrooks]