Dublin City Guide 2
Hey y’all! My first Dublin City Guide proved to be quite popular, so I thought that I would provide a second one. This will give you even more options now that you have two guides to pick and choose from. I also appreciate updated guides because it can be annoying to read city guides that were written 4 years ago. How am I to know if the places mentioned are still even open or as good as they were when the guide was written?
A few things before we dive in:
If you are a prissy pants about where you stay I would say skip my accommodation recommendations most of the time. I am not fussy about where I stay if it is safe, and I have my own space. My recommendations are based off what I think are nicer and safer locations in Dublin than others. I am trying to recommend places that would suit a solo traveler, couples, or a group of friends.
In terms of food, I have not chosen any of the recommended options based on dietary restrictions or allergies. I (thankfully) do not suffer from any allergies or have any restrictions but if you would like for me to investigate this more, please let me know and I am happy to do so!
Now that that is out of the way, read on!
Abbey Court Hostel- I walk by this hostel quite a bit and originally jotted it down due to the amazing location and safety of the area. Once I did some research for y’all this place earned its spot on the list. I always look for places with 24-hour reception and Abbey Court has it. Check! The reviews on the staff across multiple websites was phenomenal They have free breakfast (hello, saving more money!) which from what I have read is good. They have private rooms too so if you are a couple or just want your own space, this affordable hostel should be on your list.
Ashfield Hostel – The location of Ashfield Hostel is the main reason for being included on the list. If you are coming to Dublin for the craic, then I would say this is your spot. Ashfield offer private rooms (starting at €18 a night – deal!) or beds in dorms. Being less than a 5-minute walk away from Temple Bar, Trinity, and O’Connell Bridge more than makes up for the not modern furniture.
The Alex – I found out about The Alex on Instagram. Their feed was so dreamy, so I started following them…. that and the name of course! They came to mind to include on this list mainly because I need someone to stay here and tell me it is as amazing as I think it is. With Dublin’s insane rent I cannot justify a staycation, even for a night - so please someone stay here! The Alex seems to have four rooms to choose from so there is something for everyone. This is most definitely the priciest option on the list but like I said, I am not prissy pants, but some people are. If you are prissy pants, this one is for you!
Travelodge Dublin City Rathmines – Cheap and cheerful is how I would describe this Travelodge. Rathmines is a really cool part of town with a lot of hipster pubs and restaurants right at your front (hotel) door. There are a number of bus lines that run straight to town from here. You can also walk to town from here and I would recommend doing that if you are able to/it isn’t raining. You’ll see a lot more this way! Another perk - if you’re like me and go to a grocery store (trying to save some money!) while on holidays there is literally an Aldi right next door to the hotel. If you aren’t familiar with Aldi it is an extremely affordable grocery store in parts of Europe and now the USA!
Ballsbridge Hotel – For some reason I always thought this hotel was much more expensive than it is. From my research rooms range from about €90-€120 per night (obviously dependent on the time of year). Ballsbridge is nice area of Dublin with plenty of pubs in the vicinity as well as a number of buses that will take you directly into town. If you are looking for a more traditional hotel that isn’t right in the centre of town this would be a good spot to look into.
Lemon – If you are looking for a sweet or savoury crepe and a good cup of coffee, look no further than Lemon. Lemon has 2 locations, both within a 5-minute walk of each other and in my experience both locations tend to be full anytime I go. It isn’t full to the point that you can’t find a seat for you and another person but maybe skip peak hours if you’re coming in a big group. I usually choose sweet over savoury, but my recommendation here is the savoury Power Plus. My mouth is watering right now thinking about this crepe. UPDATE: April 2019 - There is now only one Lemon location at 66 William St S, Dublin, D02 FT51
Cornucopia – Calling all vegetarians! If you are veggie (or even if you’re not), Cornucopia should be on the top of your list of where to eat in Dublin. I originally visited here because I was with a friend who is vegetarian, but the food is unreal, and the portions are more than fair for the price you pay. I couldn’t finish my entire dinner, so I brought it home and had it for lunch the next day – 2 meals for the price of 1 is fine by me. Splitting could be a good option too if you’re on a budget! Cornucopia also offer vegan options if that’s your thing.
Nelly’s – I don’t have too many north-side options on here or my original Dublin City Guide, but Nelly’s is somewhere I am willing to trek across town for. Before P and I moved in together he used to live in walking distance from here and it was our absolute favourite place for a lazy weekend brunch. I have had their lunch and no doubt it is amazing, but the brunch is where it is at. You can’t go wrong with Nelly’s Breakfast and an Americano.
The Noodle House – I’m going to be straight up with you – this place is a hole in the wall. But those always have the best food! The portions are massive, affordable, and so dang tasty! If you Google The Noodle House the ratings are quite low but I promise you, if you go you will not regret it. I always get the Chicken Satay Box and P gets the Beef & Black Bean. I pretty much always burn my mouth when eating here because like a child I cannot wait to eat my meal.
Mad Egg - This is a relatively new place in Dublin, and I believe they’ve recently opened a second location. I cannot fault anything I’ve tried here. The chicken is high quality, the sides are delicious and the cheesecake….just listen to me when I say you need to order it. Mad Egg is one to not miss while in town. If you go get the Wild Thing burger - yum!
The Rolling Donut – This is kind of a 2-for-1 on something sweet for you! Visit the original Rolling Donut kiosk on O’Connell Street. There are 3 flavours of donuts – sugar, chocolate frosting, and cinnamon sugar. If you have ever had funnel cake, these taste just like that but somehow better. Cinnamon sugar is my favourite! In the time I have lived in Dublin, The Rolling Donut has expanded into 6 locations that offer artisan donuts. There are plenty of shops doing this in Dublin now, but I think The Rolling Donut does it best. An occasional Banoffee Pie donut from here is good for the soul. I say occasional because I could eat one every single day, but my body would not appreciate that. (Vegan options available here)
The Foggy Dew – If you are in Dublin on a Sunday you must go The Foggy Dew. I don’t get to do this as much as I would like because I have work early on Monday morning but a few pints with the live reggae/ska is perfection. It is as close as I am going to get to my college Sunday afternoons spent at The Conch House in St. Augustine, Florida. Not as warm but just as fun.
Frank Ryan’s – Frank Ryan’s was one of the first pubs I ever went to when I moved to Dublin. It looks a little dingy, but I promise you it isn’t. If you’re up for a game of pool they have you covered. They have regular live music sessions and some really yummy toasties. There are 2 entrances so don’t be confused – one on Queen Street and the one I always use, Coke Lane. Frank Ryan’s is in Smithfield, so it is a great stop after doing a tour at Jameson. If you want to go on a little pub crawl hit up Cobblestone too while you’re out that way.
The Celt – The Celt is one of my favourite places to take visitors. It is a traditional Irish pub right in city centre. I have never actually eaten in here, but they offer traditional Irish food and it always looks delicious and so cozy when I have seen the meals being delivered. You will find visitors and locals in The Celt drinking and listening to some of the live music that is on each night from 9pm.
37 Dawson Street – If you can’t tell, I love traditional Irish pubs. I have never been one for cocktail bars, but 37 Dawson Street is one I do like and would recommend to you if you are looking for a cocktail in Dublin’s Fair City. Order a classic cocktail or you can tell the bartender flavours and spirits you like, and they’ll whip you up something custom! This is definitely one to check out with your girlfriends for a night of dancing and cocktails.
Kehoe’s – Back to traditional Irish pubs! Grab a Guinness and a seat in a snug and relax. If it is sunny make sure you get a Bulmer’s and head outside. I love to head here after work in the summer if the sun is shining for a pint outside. We don’t get many days to do it in Ireland, so I have to take advantage when we do! Kehoe’s is off Grafton Street (on South Anne Street) so make sure you pop in after a bit of shopping or watching buskers on the busy shopping street.
Mary’s Bar & Hardware – Why not throw a hipster pub on here while I’m at it? Mary’s is also located off Grafton Street so if you’re sick of my traditional pub recommendations Mary’s might just be the place for you. The Guinness here is extremely creamy. I wouldn’t regularly order a Guinness, but I would here. If you’re feeling hungry there is a WOWBURGER downstairs. They aren’t bad burgers but if I were you I would take a stroll to Bunsen for the best burger in Dublin. I think Mary’s is best enjoyed mid-day when it is quiet to enjoy your pint of the black stuff!
Jameson Distillery Bow St. – Unlike the Guinness Storehouse, I have not done the Jameson tour 5 times. I did it one time with my parents and we all had a great time, even my dad who doesn’t drink. Word of advice – if you do this tour with someone who doesn’t drink that means you get more booze from them, win! In all seriousness though, this is a great tour, especially if you like distillery tours (like me!). I would highly suggest booking in advance and being on time for your scheduled tour. Understandably the tour is popular, so walk-ins and late-comers cannot always be accommodated.
St. Stephen’s Green – Want to see a bit of that famous green you’ve heard of Ireland having in the city? St. Stephen’s Green is tucked away but it is the perfect little oasis to people watch, have a Rolling Donut (there is one outside the park!), or, if you’re lucky and the sun is out, have a picnic or enjoy the warmth.
The Book of Kells & the “Long Room” – You might be thinking – um, what is this? The Book of Kells is Ireland’s “greatest cultural treasure and the world’s most famous medieval manuscript”, or so the internet says. If you’re into history, you’ll like this. Even if you’re not, it is cool to see something so old, so well preserved. As for the Long Room, do you know that one picture everyone seems to take in Dublin in a room that looks like it is from Harry Potter? That is the Long Room. Go and get your tourist picture! That, and marvel in the beauty of the room and all the books.
National Gallery of Ireland - The National Gallery of Ireland is open 361 days a year, closing only on Good Friday, and from 24-26 December. The hours are subject to change so make sure you check before you go! The gallery is less than a ten-minute walk from Grafton Street, Stephen’s Green, and Trinity College (where you should visit the Book of Kells & the Old Library Exhibition!). There is free admission to the permanent collection. The building has recently been renovated and to say it is stunning is an understatement.
The Little Museum of Dublin – The Little Museum is, well, little. But the saying goes good things come in small packages. Here you’ll discover the intriguing history of Dublin in the form of a guided tour. I don’t love guided tours but this one was short and sweet, and you are then left to your own devices. Book your ticket in advance to learn more about Baile Átha Cliath!
National Botanic Gardens – If you go to Stephen’s Green and liked it, then you will love the National Botanic Gardens. This is a free attraction that is perfect for a lazy sunny day. It is only 3 kilometres from city centre. You’ll feel like you are in an oasis without leaving Dublin. Perfect to get a few Instagram shots too!