My friends from work showed me some pictures that they took this week when they visited the jail in Dublin. The ‘Kilmainham Gaol’.
‘The Name of The Father’ – my favourite film incidentally – was filmed here. I knew this from one glance at their pictures!
I had absolutely no idea that the backdrop for this iconic and wonderful film, was just down the road from a city I have spent so much time in over the last few years! That worryingly shows how much I know about Dublin potentially, but here is my own guide to it, for people who are perhaps visiting and don’t know it at all – all the little places that I love.
This very central Thai and Vietnamese restaurant has a fabulous atmosphere. Always busy so it is best to book in advance, I am very upset when I crave a Saba and can’t get a reservation!! They do great cocktails – I always go here with the girls. I love to start with the black pepper squid, followed by the Wok dish ‘Xao Hao Lo’ – chicken with asparagus, oyster mushrooms, and cashew nuts.
26-28 Clarendon Street,
Tel – 00353 1 679 2000 http://www.sabadublin.com
They also have a ‘Saba To Go’ shop in Rathmines – for delivery details and menu see below…
Tel – 00353 1 40 60 200 http://www.sabatogo.com
Ask to be seated out the back of the Palace Street restaurant – it is so intimate and lovely. Fabulous French food and an even better atmosphere. It’s a perfect dinner location before going to The Olympia Theatre. I love their Boeuf Bourguignon – €15.50, and when they are doing it – their French Onion Soup – I don’t think I have ever been when they aren’t doing French Onion soup!
1 Palace Street
Tel: 00353 1 633 7215 http://www.chezmax.ie/palace
Steakhouse in Ranelagh. Opened as a ‘sister’ restaurant to Dillinger’s which is also in the lovely village of Ranelagh – minutes from the city centre. Their menu is at the website below – I love their side dishes – particularly their ‘Cheesy Cauliflower’. It isn’t cheap, but if you love good steak, give it a try. They also do ribs, burgers and fish.
92 Ranelagh Village,
Tel: 00353 1 498 1805 http://www.butchersgrill.ie
Fairly small – definitely book. Only open for dinner, from 6pm, the owners original cafe – ‘Juniors’ is literally around the corner if you are looking for an earlier meal in this area. Gorgeous food and a very cozy restaurant. The last time that I ate in here was in August. I shared Rigatoni Bolognese, a pizza, and a salad. We all shared starters – the arancini and mozzarella starers are magnificent.
Upper Grand Canal Street,
Tel: 00353 1 664 3658 http://www.pauliespizza.ie
There is an indoor section to this fish restaurant, and an outdoor section too. In the winter the outdoor section is covered and heaters are on – ideal if you happen to be a smoker. Very much a place to have dinner, and then to stay on and have a few drinks. They suggest that they are a place to have ‘Fish and Chips, and Cocktails’. They are open Tuesday – Sunday. I particularly like their truffle and parmesan chips, and their ‘Raspberry Collins’ cocktail. Central restaurant.
29 South Frederick Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 00353 1 679 7000 http://www.bitedublin.com
Sunday Food/Brunch –
Pre-order your roast for the best possible value. Chicken that serves 4 people and arrives accompanied by roast potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and stuffing – as well as a bottle of wine costs €49.95. The beef option for 4 people is €59.95. It is so delicious – and is a truly fabulous way to spend a Sunday afternoon. I always finish my meal with a jar of their jelly and ice cream (picture at the top)! A rib of beef, a whole chicken with all of the sides, two bottles of wine, two bottles of large sparkling waters, a fanta and two jelly and ice creams cost five of us €30 each including tip.
3-5 Exchequer Street,
Tel: 00353 1 670 6787 http://www.theexchequer.ie
Not exclusively for Sundays by any means. Everybody loves Lennox. Go for breakfast, lunch, coffee, or cake. One day last year eight of us sat there for pretty much an entire Sunday. Hidden in a residential street – with a small outside seating area – as well as two floors. It is intimate and cosy. They do gorgeous chai lattes, and french toast.
31 Lennox Street, Dublin 8
Tel: 00353 1 478 9966 http://www.lennoxcafe.ie
I absolutely adore this rather alternative restaurant, it could fit into the lunch, dinner, or Sunday Food category. Down an alleyway – literally. Incredibly cool. Ribs are a popular choice, and the last time I was there I had tremendous bowl of ‘Sunday’ lasagne, which is served only on a Sunday – filled with meat, spinach and many things that one shouldn’t be eating. It was so huge I actually asked if I could take half of it away with me. Their homemade lemonade is served in jars. I recommended Skinflint to my friends from work – and they all thanked me.
19 Crane Lane, Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Tel: 00353 1 670 9719 http://www.skinflint.joburger.ie
The cafe on the top floor of their Suffolk Street store is large and yet it’s rare not to have to battle for a table. Queue or no queue I would happily visit Avoca daily! Homemade lemonade, delicious soups, calamari, brightly coloured salads, fish pie, and the cakes are unbeatable.
11-13 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 00353 1 677 4215 http://www.avoca.ie
Central, casual and cosy. I prefer to sit outside to inside . I have a chai latte – which is absolutely superb here – beans on toast with grated cheese, or a tuna salad sandwich. Very relaxed.
41- 42 South William Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 00353 1 671 9514
Weekday breakfasts are served until 11.30am, and if you want a really good deal that is more filling than it sounds – bacon roll or porridge with fruit compote, and a tea or coffee for €5. They do a lovely brunch at weekends – I would highly recommend the chocolate chip pancakes. For midweek lunch I have a cup of soup and quiche with salad. In the summer Herb Street is ideal because of the large seating area at the front – in the winter they provide blankets! Very close to the Grand Canal Theatre.
Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2
Tel: 00353 1 675 3875 http://www.herbstreet.ie
There is a small high up balcony – that if you can get a seat out on on a summer’s day looks right down on Grafton Street. Have a hot chocolate and sit and people watch. Very old school – it is in the very centre of Dublin’s busiest street. They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Salads, toasted sandwiches and pasta are all on their menu – as well as full Irish breakfast.
78-79 Grafton Street, Dublin 2
Tel: 00353 1 635 5470 http://www.bewleyscafe.ie
Er Buchetto, Italian Cafe
A tiny charming purple cafe in the heart of Ranelagh village. They serve fresh orange juice, coffee, pastries, soup, and paninis. Open until 5pm every day of the week. Can be difficult to get a table at busier times.
71 Ranelagh Village, Dublin 6
Tel: 00353 1 496 7584
Dolls Boutique and Bibi’s Cafe
This is my friend Katie’s very favourite cafe. Homemade granola served with berries and yogurt, poached eggs on toast with chorizo, pan toasted cheese sandwiches, homemade lemonade, coffees, cakes, french toast, soups. Open for breakfast, lunch or brunch at the weekend – attached to Doll’s Boutique.
14b Emorville Avenue, Dublin 8
Tel: 00353 1 473 6256
I absolutely love this jewellery boutique. I wear primarily gold jewellery and next to beauty products and cosmetics – jewellery is a passion of mine. Not diamonds or the extremely expensive types of jewellery – simple, beautiful gold pieces. For anyone not in Ireland, and not planning to visit, do have a look at http://www.shopbop.com – I love their selection. In fact I love their whole website- it’s quite dangerous for me!
14b Chatham Street, Dublin 2
Tel: +353-1-6724024 http://www.loulerie.com
Brown Thomas is a department store in Dublin. I love the beauty hall on the ground floor, and particularly their top floor Christmas Market at the correct time of year. They also do extremely good sales, my friends from London were rather taken aback in the shoe department! I bought a beautiful Isabel Marant jumper last December in the sale, for a better price than it was on sale in London – unusual for anything to be cheaper in Ireland. Brown Thomas is the only place in Ireland that the MAC Cosmetics pro card can be used – it is usually just accepted in free standing MAC stores.
88-95 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: 00353 1 605 6666 http://www.brownthomas.com
There are two Seagreen boutiques – one in Ranelagh Village and one in Monkstown Village. Ranelagh is closer to the city centre but Monkstown has a bigger shop! Clothes, jewellery, fragrance – including Molecule I noticed – which I recently blogged about. Great gifts – candles, books, perfume, and Liberty London stationary. Clothing brands stocked by Seagreen include JBrand, Vince, Koral, Shosannah, and GOAT.
45 Ranelagh Village, Dublin 6 Tel: 00353 1 497 7937
6 The Crescent, Monkstown, Co Dublin Tel: 00353 1 202 0130
Avoca has to get another mention here – and this time for its shop. Avoca stores are dotted around Ireland – I love their Rathcoole store which is about 30 minutes outside of Dublin – I visited it when I was on the way to the Lyons Estate. The Suffolk Street Avoca, is in central Dublin, as I have mentioned in the cafes/lunches above. Three floors are dedicated to the shop – blankets, childrens toys, gifts, cookbooks, and downstairs is where you will find freshly baked cakes and soups to buy and take home.
City Centre Store – 11-13 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2
Rathcoole Store – N7 Naas Road, Dublin
Traditional and atmospheric pub in the centre of Dublin – just off Grafton Street. Two floors – John Kehoe the original owner used to live upstairs – but it has been transformed into a bar and drinking area. It’s kind of musty and full of charm.
9 Anne Street South, Dublin 2
Tel: 00353 1 677 8312
The Long Hall
This pub really is a long hall! Candy striped exterior, old school – a perfect Dublin pub. If you are looking for a pub to drink with the locals, try The Long Hall. It can get very busy, it’s popular. Until 1951 this pub was ‘men only’! Lovely!
51 South Great George’s St
Tel: 00353 1 475 1590
37 Dawson Street
The cool bar in town that opened earlier this year. Not just a bar – also a restaurant – possible to book online. Quirky decor. Food at the bar includes – ribs, ‘crispy calamari’, sliders, and buttermilk onion rings. The soup of the day is served with Guinness and treacle bread. 37 is also open for brunch at the weekend from midday. There is a whiskey bar – serving every type of whiskey – in any way that you desire it! Have dinner here and make a night of it – open until late.
37 Dawson Street
Tel: 00353 1 902 2908 http://www.37dawsonstreet.ie (fabulous website)
Where to stay
I loved staying at this hotel when I was over in Dublin for work a couple of years ago. Modern, central – very clean. It is in the Temple Bar area of Dublin – the heart of the fun. There is a bar in The Morgan – tapas and cocktails. You really are in the centre of town if that’s the part of town that you want to see.
This is the first hotel that I stayed in when I went to Dublin with my friend Sarah. We absolutely loved it! It isn’t quite in the centre of town – it is perfect for the Aviva stadium or the RDS. It is in a wonderful part of town. The Espresso Bar is opposite – it does wonderful breakfasts. The Dylan has its own bar – and a patio outside for food and drinks. Stylish, very modern.
Top Secret Hotels
The top secret hotels on lastminute.com mean that you get a cut price four or five star hotel, and aren’t told which one until after you pay. The area and description is viewable before you pay so read that bit carefully to check that it is what you are looking for! I have booked one many times and have never been disappointed
Beauty in Town
Blow Dry? Spray Tan?
I thought that this suggestion may be ideal for hen parties in Dublin, or anyone visiting for that matter. This fearsome blow drier will come to you for €20 euros for a blow dry – and for €15 each – if it is for 4 people or more.
Spray tans are €15. And threading is €9.
Olivia Byrne has been recommended to me by my friend Hayley – whose hair looks permanently lovely!
Olivia – +353 85 779 8926
Two other salons in town that I would recommend are Therapie which is just off Dawson Street – they do very good eyelash extensions as well as hair, and Brown Sugar – who stock Kohl make up – I love their ‘Nude Pink’ lipstick.
http://www.therapie.ie (I have just noticed that their website is predominately ‘laser hair removal’ but they do everything – they have a full hair salon, massage, waxing everything!)
http://www.brownsugar.ie (I really do love this make up range)
British Airways and Aer Lingus both offer many flights daily from the UK – booking in advance can be really very reasonable. Ryan Air also fly to there from Stanstead, Luton, Manchester and Gatwick – but if you can get a decent rate at BA it is much better value for money – with no hidden charges at all.
And then of course, if you happen not to have seen it, here is that film….