I had been wanting to write about Dublin since my earlier post about Montreal at the beginning of this year as I also spent a few days in Dublin that Christmas. Dublin is a special city to my heart since I consider it home. I decided to go for a long week end to Dublin last week to re-energise. Luck was on my side, I got a flight for less than a 100 euros with Aer Lingus with less than two weeks in advance. Great! I am on my way…
I arrived in Dublin at 22:10. I usually take the Airlink, the special Dublin City bus that goes from the airport to the city center. 6 Euros one way, 10 Euros return. It leaves you right in the center, it is cheap and fast. They also run until 23:30. In the city, I headed straight away to the Grand Social, a pub\bar to meet up with friends. It was busy but there was a nice buzz. We stayed for a drink then went home. I discovered a new found interest for Bulmers, the irish cider brand, known as Magners outside Ireland.. I never fancied it since I prefer French cider but for some reasons could not stop drinking it during the week end. It is one of those things that you don’t like while living in a country and that you suddenly crave for once you have left.
I was staying with friends in an amazing apartment in the heart of Temple Bar. So from the Grand Social to Temple Bar, we crossed the Ha Penny Bridge, a landmark in Dublin. It got its name from the fact that Dubliners had to pay half a penny to cross it. On the way home, we stopped for food at El Grito, a small mexican place in the alleyway and ordered one burrito and some tacos. Super tasty meat and I love mexican salsas so I generously pour them on my tacos. They were really nice although I am not a big fan of hard tacos. Then it was time for bed. It has been hard to sleep with all the people partying in Temple Bar, laughing out loud and chatting way too loud for 3 o’clock in the morning. I can tell you that some neighbourhoods in Barcelona would share my feelings here.
In the morning, we went for breakie to Caffe Italiano at 7 Crow Street, in Temple Bar. The first time I had been to this place, it was a tiny coffee shop. It is now a fully developed restaurant. I believe the success of the owner Luca lies in the quality and the deliciousness of the products he is offering. I remember a very yummy chocolate cake that apparently came directly from Sicily. Alas, his vendor is gone so no more chocolate cake for T!!! The breakfast here is nice and affordable for Dublin’s standards. Indeed the italian platter is 7 euros and it is huge. After breakie, we went for a walk in Grafton Street, the posh commercial street of Dublin. I love this street, the shops’windows especially Brown Thomas’ (they usually have a special xmas display that is converted in to an attraction in the street) and all the buskers. They are really talented. One of them, Ryan Sheridan, used to sing below my window (not for me haha) and became famous in Ireland. I can still hear him singing “oooh ooohoooh, your sex is on fiiiirreee!!!” from the Kings of Leon. I was happy he became famous, he could finally stop singing in my street. I could relax quietly.
Then it was time for my next meeting. I used to have marathon week ends were I was having non stop meetings one after the other. I stopped that. I came to a point when I was not enjoying anymore. I think everyone who lives abroad feel the same when going home. I met with my friend Iva for brunch. Yeah, I do eat a lot when I come to Dublin. The plan was to go to the VCC (Vintage Cocktail club). I like this place a lot, the decor is vintage indeed and glamorous and the cocktails are amazing, really!! And yeah, they do serve brunch. The menu is quite small and to be honest, I love the place for an evening out, I don’t recommend it for brunch. Food was so so and the restaurant was too dark. This intimate atmosphere is great in the night not at 1 pm.
Then it was time for some activity. I met with a group of friends to go to an escape room. It was outside the city so a car was required. The themes were interesting, we picked jailbreak since one of us had already done the Curse of the mummy, the most interesting one. I won’t talk too much about the escape room not to ruin it for you in case you want to try in the future!
In the evening, I met with more friends at a bar in Temple Bar, the Crow Bar. This is a new place for me. I like it. It is cosy and the music is great. Drinks are a bit expensive, 6 euros for a pint of Bulmers but this is Temple Bar. Pints prices are higher here. Everyone got their rounds in. This is an Irish custom I like a lot although it does not really work for me as I don’t drink much. But it is still a cool and convivial gesture.
On sunday, it was more of a “family” day. I went to visit my Irish families. I like a lot (as well) the importance Irish people give to the family. It is a nice feeling especially for me who is living abroad, far from mine. It also helped me feel more integrated in Ireland. So I am grateful for knowing them. I had Sunday lunch at Aqua (1 West Pier, Howth) in Howth. Howth is a small village 30 min away north of Dublin on the coastline. It is reachable by Dart, the return fare is around 6 euros. There are a lot of fish shops and fish restaurants like Aqua in Howth. Aqua is an elegant restaurant with a magnificent view on the sea. It has a very Irish style, not sure on how to describe it and it also has classics of Irish food like (crispy) fish cakes, fish and ships with a pea puree…The other interest of going to Howth beside the seafood is that you can do a cliff walk around Howth. You just need to ask around how to get to the walking path. There you get an amazing landscape with a rugged coastline.
Monday was not really a day off since I was working from home. I had a nice lunch at Musashi (15 Capel St, Dublin 1).with a friend though. Musashi is a very busy japanese restaurant in town. The food is nice and very cheap, perfect for a business lunch. After work, I went for a milkshake at Murphy’s ice cream (27 Wicklow St, Dublin 2). Yes it is November and cold but there is no season for a good ice cream, my favourite is the dingle sea salt flavour. A calorific treat but so worth it!
So that was my week end in Dublin. I have many many more addresses to share about Dublin as I lived there many years but it would be too long a post if I start listing them here. You can contact me for advices at firstname.lastname@example.org. As an insider tip, I recommend you to visit the Love Lane though, a lane full of street art with a “pink” wall dedicated to love on one side and murals on the other. The City Council decided to undertake this project to improve the state of some alleyways in Dublin that were used by drug addicts.
Airlink timetable: http://www.dublinbus.ie/en/Your-Journey1/Timetables/All-Timetables/7471/