Top 10 Off The Beaten Track Places in Dublin
Henry Longden is a student and freelance journalist currently working in Dublin, Ireland. He is editor of TN2 Magazine which looks at local and international trends in culture, from design to drink. Check out Henry's list of top 10 off the beaten track places in Dublin...
Opposite the clawing Guinness skybar which hangs in the sky over Dublin’s city center, is one of the world’s largest urban parks. As the staff in the Guinness storehouse prepare for the swarms of tourists every day; in Phoenix Park, footsteps crunching the frost will send herds of wild deer scattering as they sense your approach. In between these two heights of Dublin, is a city open to exploration which will feed all interests. If you wish to look beyond the cliche, then there is much to be found.
With it being easier to wander than negotiate the bus system; take these 10 tips around a city that lays claim to the twentieth century’s most famous walking tour, James Joyce’s Ulysses.
1. Early walk through Smithfield and Moore Street
Get up early and join the fruit and flower merchants in Smithfield market. By 11am they’re sweeping up; so rise with the sun and let your bombarded senses wake you. On the first Sunday of September and March there is a horse fair in the square next to the Jameson Distillery. Moving on to Moore Street you’ll experience how different the north Dublin is compared to south of the Liffey. Street vendors vie for space with African food markets, Indian delis and the cities cheapest tobacco merchants!
2. Hugh Lane Gallery
The Hugh Lane Gallery is a small stroll away, just opposite the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square. It is free, quaint, and houses a reconstruction of Francis Bacon’s work studio. Visit before noon on a Sunday and get treated to a free piano recital in the beautiful Sculpture Gallery.
3. The Brew Dock, Amiens Street
If by this stage you’re ready for a pint, try something other than the Black Stuff that the country has become famous for. Ireland’s currently enjoying a surge in microbreweries and pubs are popping up to embrace this trend. The Brew Dock is currently serving one of the best selections in the city, and the food will keep you ticking over.
Set yourself straight with one of the best coffees in Europe. The beans change constantly and each time there seems to be an equally strange aftertaste. Colin Harmen has become a name at the global barista championships(repeatedly finishing top 5) and is constantly pushing this little cafe forward.
5. Secret Book and Record Store, Wicklow Street
Take a walk down the historic O’Connell Street and into the main shopping district. Just off Grafton Street you’ll find this shop full to the brim with second hand records and books. Browse, barter and ask for a few suggestions.
6. Fumbally Cafe
If by this time you fancy a sit down and a bite to eat head out to the bizarrely situated Fumbally Cafe by St Patrick’s Cathedral. A massive, open concrete space welcomes an eccentric crowd daily. Behind the chefs counter you’ll find some of Dublin most inventive chefs. The atmosphere is great and the brunch is (almost) better. Try the Ciabatta with slow roasted pork , caper mayo and spiced apple sauce.
7. Hacienda Bar, Little Mary Street
On the way back into town, waste away the afternoon hours in the Hacienda Bar. This place seems to have been set-up in the owner Shay’s living room. Ring the doorbell and he’ll probably let you in and you may well be chatting all night. The walls are a homage to Matthew McConaughey and his visits to the establishment while filming Reign of Fire.
8. Le Bon Crubeen, Talbot Street
Dublin’s restaurant scene is incredibly dense, and the quality is very high. Make sure you take a tip and mine is Le Bon Crubeen on Talbot Street. This place mixes experimental casual dining, with a pub atmosphere owing to its drinking hole next door. The oysters and scallops are invariably great, and the venison is the pick of the meat. The early-bird menu is the best in Dublin offering 3-courses for €22.
9. The Bernard Shaw
If you fancy drinking into the wee hours, the “Shaw” might be the place to go. Grab a couple of cocktails for a tenner and sit around the pool tables in the yard. If you haven’t eaten yet pop onto their resident blue double decker bus, for a pizza + pint (€10). Sets from some of the cities best DJs can be heard throughout the week.
10. A Trip to Howth
Feeling the effects of the previous day’s bar hopping? Take a short (30m) train ride out to Howth at the north peninsula of Dublin Bay. The sea air will catch you on a walk up to the top of Howth Head, which will give you a magnificent view over Dublin. It is also the spot where Leopold Bloom proposes to Molly in Ulysses (also being where they first had sex). Every Sunday there is a fish market running down the pier.
Can you add to Henry's list of great off the beaten path things to do in Dublin? Enlighten us with more Dublin discoveries...