Well top-o’-the-mornin to ya! (Where ever you are!) Back from 5 days in Dublin and ready to report! And all I can say is…what a fantastic city! Vibrant, loads to do and a good ‘craic’ (or ‘fun’ to us non-Irish folks) – hurrah!
Arriving in the city extremely early (pre-9am) thanks to a very early but cheaper flight from Ryanair, me and my roommate Tracey, were a bit bleary-eyed. But after getting some great and very friendly assistance from the tourist information desk at the airport, we got the airbus into the city. It’s really worth with checking with tourist information desks before you head out, because you can often get better deals. As a result of us doing that, we managed to get a day bus pass for 6.20 Euros, which we could use on any bus all day! You don’t want to miss great deals like that, especially in a pricey city like Dublin.
We got off at Trinity College – right in the centre of the city, and stumbled across Pacino’s on Suffolk Street (http://www.pacinos.ie/) for a delicious breakfast. It was really quite somethin’, the atmosphere and décor was inviting and our service was unusual but fun (I do believe our waiter may have been a little hungover but nonetheless very chirpy – and I applaud him for that!).
However, after beginning our travels at 4am we were pretty darn tired, so it was back to bed for us before hitting the town once more for dinner at my new favourite 50s diner – Eddie Rockets. http://www.eddierockets.ie/
Irish born Eddie, set up the American themed diner to celebrate his love for all things 1950s imported from the USA. And he has hit the nail on the head – it provides fun, appealing and mouth-watering feel-good American fun in Dublin. It is pretty much my new favourite place to be!
The décor, the music and especially the food – had us so transfixed in fact, we had to make a few visits. Especially to try the Pineapple Melt Burger (pineapple rings, Irish beef patty, salad, tomato, pickles, dressing – needless to say it was HUGE) and the Mozzarella Bella burger (Irish beef patty, salad, pesto mayonnaise, melted mozzarella, tomato). I also tried the mint aero milkshake and fries. Just delicious. Shame there was no room for puddings, on either occasion (oh well, just means I’ll just have to go back!)
Dublin itself really is gorgeous, with it’s beautiful architecture, gorgeous boutiques and so much history – from vikings to vampires (yup, Bram Stoker, author of Dracula was born there). PAWS UP!
Shopping is great – indeed it is pricey but if you have the money, then go for it! I fell in love with all the hidden little side-streets, full of fantastic boutiques. As when I go to new cities, I am only interested in visiting the shops/areas unique to that place. No high street stores for me (seriously what is the point?! You can visit those places anytime back at home right? RIGHT!).
These shops particularly caught my eye:
- Brown Thomas (fabulous department store with EVERY designer you could dream of – chic, chic, chic! http://brownthomas.com)
- A Brief History (it’s an appointment only vintage store, but I drooled at the 1940s window and I shall return to this place! It looked amazing! http://www.facebook.com/ABriefHistory?v=info)
- Retro at St George’s St Arcade (as recommended by Irish rockabilly starlet Imelda May & stockists of the AMAZING Stop Staring dresses *swoon* http://www.georgesstreetarcade.ie/retro/index.php)
- M&S – I’ve gotta say it. M&S in Dublin looks more like Louis Vuitton – I was quite taken aback. Go-go M&S!
After a bit of retail therapy, we found ourselves continuing the American-Irish vibe in Bar/Restaurant/Venue Captain Americas. (http://captainamericas.com/) Vanilla Coke cocktails for 3 Euros made it a cheap spot to hang out in, for a while. It very much has a Planet Hollywood vibe with all it’s Music/Film memorabilia decorating the walls. The food looked great, the décor was fun, the waiters were cute to boot – a definite recommendation.
But with all this Americana-influenced dining, I was almost mistaking where I was. That soon changed when we then went on the hunt for the most authentic Irish pub we could find, for my FIRST proper Guinness.
It is 100% true that Guinness tastes 10x better in its native Ireland – it is so creamy and smooth you could mistake it for a perfectly crafted cup of coffee. Delicious…and good for you. So good for you in fact, we made a pilgrimage to the Guinness factory just to sample some more.
The Guinness Storehouse is a certified must-see. It’s interesting, interactive and you get a a pint and a half included in the price – haha! Admittedly, not everything was my cup of tea (including the free full pint of Guinness that day – unfortunately I was feeling a tad bit delicate after the rest of the weekend’s drinking, so I only managed the half) but it is interesting. I was particularly interested in the company’s advertising/marketing techniques over the years and I definitely learnt some unknown facts about the famous Irish black stuff.
We did have to rush through it a bit, due to time constraints, which was a shame so it would be good to go when you’re not concerned about getting somewhere afterwards. Especially as the gift shop is very good and there is a café and bar at the top which offers amazing views of the city – so take your time and just take it all in.
We also got to go to beautiful countryside of County Kildaire and to the grounds of spectacular Carton House – a beautiful stately home/hotel/golf club/spa.
And excitedly got to sneak over the River Rye and golf courses, to see the famous shell cottage, as part of the grounds there. Built for Lady Emily Fitzgerald and once rented out by Marianne Faithful, the interior of the house is covered head to toe in shells – it was so unique and intriguing (also a little bit spooky at the same time – so I loved it even more).
But a big part of our weekend was to take time out and PARTY HARD, as you can imagine. And naturally that is exactly what we did. Freya, my Irish Emerald flatmate and her lovely friends, showed us the sights of Dublin by night. It’s busy, bustling and a lot of fun. Lots of great bars, clubs and late night eateries like the fabulous Ray’s Pizza on Harcourt Road. Mmmm.
But the real party hard dance moves were saved for Forbidden Fruit festival at Kilmainham. Dancing to the wonder that is Scroobius Pip & Dan Le Sac, Spank Rock and Caribou – it was just so much fun! Lots of laughs, thanks to my awesome friends Freya, Tracey, Becca & Sophie (oh and to the half asleep/half naked guy who had us in stitches there haha!)
Ireland you (sham)rock! (hehe…bad I know!)
Leprechaun love to ya! (Tell me YOUR lucky Irish tales Gohos!)
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