I read somewhere that the Irish would give you the shirt off their back, and having met a fair few I reckon they’d probably give you their kidney and first-born child, too. In other words, they are, quite simply, lovely people. If the Irish weren’t already reason enough to go to the Emerald Isle, then it’s just as well that Dublin is a fantastic city, no matter what your interests happen to be.
We unashamedly embraced the tourist lifestyle during our three day stay in the capital, visiting as many of the commonly recommended places as we could, and consuming our body-weights in, well, everything. So brace yourself for photos of #architecture (hashtag compulsory) and all-round great craic.
Venturing west on foot on our first day in Dublin took us to Kilmainham Gaol, a former prison in which many prominent Irish revolutionaries were imprisoned before being executed after the Easter Rising of 1916. Unfortunately, the most famous area of Kilmainham was shut for maintenance work during our visit, but walking through other parts of the gaol on a guided tour (which is the only way to see Kilmainham, you can’t wander alone) is still enough to give visitors an impression of the sometimes cramped or otherwise solitary conditions in which the prisoners served their final days.
From Kilmainham we made our way back towards the city centre to the famous Guinness Storehouse, which, although expensive, is the perfect experience for satisfying your inner tourist. You can discover everything from the extensive brewing process to the history of Guinness advertising before claiming your free pint of the black stuff from the Gravity Bar on the 7th floor of the building, which offers panoramic views across Dublin. It’s just as well I’m better at stomaching heights than I am the taste of Guinness.
Now to the food.
For breakfast on our first morning, we stumbled across Three Young Mugs. The cafe is right on the river Liffey and their selection of breakfast options is amazing. From a Full Irish to French Toast or Smashed Avocado, Poached Eggs and Feta on Rye, which you can see below, everything is delicious, and the staff were absolutely lovely. You can check Three Young Mugs out on their Facebook page here.
Food really was high on our travel agenda in Dublin, and we were keen to give a Full Irish a try during our stay. It’s essentially a Full English with a twist or two, including black pudding and the Irish charm only the person serving you can give. We stayed at Avalon House hostel on Aungier Street, and we headed to The Bald Barista cafe on the same street to give this Irish special a try. Now, The Bald Barista isn’t just a name. There is an actual bald barista himself. He’s exactly what you’d expect (yes, a bald barista), who has his nickname tattooed across the back of his head in an arty font. Free advertising space and all that.
Anyway, if you’re looking for food to keep you fueled for the rest of the day, look no further than a Full Irish.
Not only is the food in the cafe delicious, but the bald barista himself is also incredibly kind and offered us help with directions when we had our giant tourist map splayed across the table after the remnants of our Full Irish had been cleared away. This did happen a few times, both to us and to other tourists, where locals see you trying to work out where you’re going with a huge map and approach you to offer help or advice. I can’t help but think that this wouldn’t happen in England. Just another aspect of the Irish kindness and charm!
Speaking of charm, you couldn’t get much more of it at The Cake Cafe. We have Instagram to thank for this find, as Lauren had spotted it on there, and we went in search of it down Aungier Street. It’s tucked away on a side street, so if you think you’re getting lost, don’t worry, you’re probably still on the right track. From the teabags which they fill themselves to the mismatch shabby chic crockery and the absolutely delicious selection of cake, you’re sure to love this little hidden gem as much as we did. You can check out their website and dribble over your keyboard, here.
I’d recommend the gunpowder green tea with mint and the lemon, raspberry and yoghurt cake, as you can see below.
We had a few coffee stops during our trip, including this stop at Cafe Tri Via. You can find the cafe’s Facebook page here.
We found the cafe as it’s just around the corner from Oscar Wilde’s house and also his memorial, which was high on my personal list of places to visit given that The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my favourite books, and that there’s a sassy/witty Wilde quotation to match almost every situation.
Oh how I wish I had nothing to declare but my genius.
If you’re a book worm or indeed literary soft-bodied invertebrate animal of any kind, then you might be as happy as I was to also spot the house of Bram Stoker, of Dracula fame, just down from the beautiful national library.
So, for part 1 of Craic-ing Dublin we’ve seen food, drink, the legacy of Irish literary geniuses, gaols and Guinness, which is only a small part of what we loved about Dublin. In part 2 it’ll be more #architecture, a touch of graffiti and a little bit of university envy.
Oh, Dublin really is grand.