These days I seem to be in Dublin as much as Sligo, ( the new five trains a day certainly help, most of which come with sockets for charging laptops and what not, and now with added free wifi) so this page will point you in the right direction for things to do in the capital. Dublin is a mess of good places to head for on a night out, fantastic little shops to buy food and clothes and music in, and an absolute endless list of great things to do, right now, right this second.
pubs + grubs
- good pubs worth checking out; anseo, solas or whelans on camden st and the Bernard Shaw for great tunes + dj sets, and occasional chilled out drinks, the long hall or grogans for quiet, no music pints in authentic surrounds, hogans and the no name bar, for dressed up playful nights, and secret favourite: the library bar at the central hotel.
- good grub can be found all over the place, but a quick hit of my favourite restaurant spots; Coppinger Row, L’Geuleton, The Winding Stair, The Chameleon, Bella Cuba, Odessa and Green 19 is a recession friendly star; read my blog on it here>
- grub on the go: Fallon & Byrne for breakfast and prime people watching, cornucopia for speedy, healthy veggie eats and fresh wheatgrass, and Butlers coffee shops for a free choccie with your coffee. Another fab new cafe is nelly’s on South Circular which I’ve blogged about here> and new kids on the block The Fumabally bringing some big city feel to Dublin 8. The Cake Cafe is hard to beat in the summer for quirky cakes and other eats, The Pepper Pot in Powerscourt turns out consistently beautiful lunches and cakes and Cafe Joly in the National Library is a bright, spacious, secret hideaway with great, fresh, irish food. I love he cafe in Tower Records too – Sound Bites.
- for music the quality independent options are, sadly, diminishing, with old favourites Road Records and All City long closed. There’s a great record shop in Twisted Pepper on Abbey Street called Elastic Witch , All City is still going strong in Temple Bar, and newbies Rage Records have taken over the old Road Records spot on Fade Street. Tower Records is consistently good, with a decent vinyl selection and great irish and independent artists on CD.
- for clothes there is almost too much choice. Obviously Dundrum is the high street mecca and horribly accessible on the luas, and like most financially challenged fashion fans I can’t pass Penny’s and Topshop without a peek in either. There are lots of little shops worth checking out though like Shotsy Vintage – one of many many vintage shops in Temple Bar, Carousel for pretty dresses, Dirty Fabulous for real vintage (both Exchequer Street) Harlequin (13 Castle Market) for more vintage goodness, Dolls (Portobello) all of The Georges Street Arcarde, and, despite it now being in Dundrum too and therefore being heavily utilised by ugg wearing teens, Urban Outfitters in Temple Bar is still worth a stroll, as is All Saints in Powerscourt; and while you’re there head upstairs for the Loft market. Speaking of markets; there is a brilliant new flea market in Dublin that started in ’09 and takes place in the Dublin Co-op near Francis Street on the last Sunday of the month.
gigs and shows and things to do
there are far far to many things in this category to list so here are some things worth a look (for everything else get to entertainment.ie or pick up Totally Dublin freezine or check out the excellent list of free dublin events )
- Whelans and the Village always have great gigs, as do Vicar Street and associated Aiken promotions gigs.
- The Workmans Club and The Grand Social tend to corner the market on smaller indie gigs. There are loads of great spaces that get used for occasional pop-up gigs too, so just keep your eye to the ground.
- Get to some galleries. Try not to be too scared, they are lovely quiet places to hide and get some space, physically and mentally. Being that they are free there really is no excuse. IMMA is the modern biggie of course, but exhibitions can be hit or miss, however they do have fab gardens and a great cafe in Itsa@IMMA so if the art is bad just head outside or for coffee. Other big ones include The Hugh Lane, the RHA and The National Gallery if you like your art historical.
- Monster Truck and Motherstankstation are far more progressive, also check out contemporary galleries Green on Red, the Kerlin, Temple Bar Gallery and Studios, Kevin Kavanagh, the often intriguing creative/art space Gallery Number 1, and the relative new kids on the blockThe Joinery in Smithfield.