Weekend in Dublin: What We Learned

Dublin What We Learned by Natalie Parker

On our last night in Dublin, we lingered over tea after dinner. While heading to a pub after dinner sounded great in theory, we both couldn’t stomach another fermented beverage. As we sat, we talked about what we learned on this trip.

I started What we Learned when we were passing the time at the end of our Christmas trip to Europe. It’s officially a blog-thing now that I’ll share after every trip. It’s a fun way to talk about those bits and pieces that don’t get blog posts on their own.

What we Learned, in No Particular Order

Sometimes there’s a service charge, sometimes not. Look at the receipt and tip 10-15% if there isn’t one. 10% is standard, 15% is generous.

Charging for tap water at a restaurant is normal.. Expect to pay around one euro.

We got really really lucky with the weather. I think we have weather karma stored up after that awful cold trip to Paris a couple years ago.

Coors Light with ice is a thing. If you order it, it comes with a glass of ice (isn’t it like drinking just water at this point?). We saw quite a few locals imbibe this way.

Dublin is a backpacker’s paradise. Tons of lodging options and cheap eats.

There’s free wifi everywhere, including pubs, public buses, the airport, tourist attractions, and even some restaurants.

Grafton Street isn’t worth your time. Shop the Creative Quarter.

Even we can get tired of going to pubs. And that’s really saying something.

Our T-Mobile international data plan is still the best thing in the history of ever. Like ever.

American bar food is really popular, especially wings. We saw wings on the menu at lots of pubs and even at a nice restaurant!

We might be okay with eBooks. Real books are heavy.

The River Liffey is extremely tidal. It was amusing to see how much it would rise and fall during the day.

The beers in Dublin have much more flavor than those in London.  We have no idea why.

There is a surprising lack of coat hooks for a country where people need to wear coats.  We miss the ubiquitous coat hooks inside restaurants and bars in Germany and Austria.

Even if we can fit all of our things in one suitcase, it’s not the end of the world to pack in two small suitcases and enjoy the extra room.  I got to bring a second jacket and another pair of shoes as a result!

And that about wraps it up for our weekend trip to Dublin!  I hope you take a trip to Dublin soon!

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here


Tasting Whiskey and Clearing Customs at the Dublin Airport

Dublin Airport
Tasting whiskey and clearing customs:  two things that don’t have much in common.  Both, however, occur at the Dublin Airport, so off we go!

Tasting Whiskey at the Airport

We were told that the best place to do a whiskey tasting is at the airport.  We allowed ourselves extra time to grab a bite and look around.

After security, there was a huge whiskey shop with three whiskeys available to taste.  Mr. P tried some stuff he’d never heard of and made a purchase.  After the Customs Preclearance, there was a tasting of some smaller Jameson labels.  Bottles of all sizes are available, including small variety packs that are great as gifts.

There was a huge variety, including stuff not sold outside of Ireland.  Jameson even had a label that is only sold at the airport!

Whiskey Tasting

US Customs Preclearance in Dublin

The Dublin Airport has a US Customs Preclearance Facility.  Translation: you clear customs before boarding your flight.  When you land in the US, you collect your bags and exit like it was a domestic flight.

A few thoughts about the Dublin Preclearance

The order of operations is this: check-in, security, food + duty free, preclearance (including another bag x-ray), tiny duty free, gate.  There was no passport checkpoint to leave Ireland as there sometimes is in other countries.  If you’d like to eat something or shop, do it before going to preclearance.  Check out the departure board — it will say when to head over.

There is Global Entry at the Preclearance Facility.  Don’t bother taking a customs declaration form if you have Global Entry.  But, you may have to remind people you have Global Entry as you move through the lines.  Our Preclearance experience with Global Entry took about 10 minutes total including the security check.

Allow time for preclearance, especially if you don’t have Global Entry.  What irks me about the preclearance thing is that it’s not well advertised.  Things in Dublin ran pretty smoothly, but I’ve heard horror stories from other countries where flights were delayed by hours because of passengers stuck in preclearance.

Bottom Line

It was a pretty interesting and entertaining airport experience in Dublin!  We loved spending our weekend in Dublin and think you should too!

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

Photos by Stefan Krasowski and Nico Kaiser via Creative Commons license.

Dublin: Day Trip to Howth

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Mr. P and I decided to spend our last day of the Dublin weekend on a day trip outside the city.  Most people I talked to and most articles I read recommended it.

Why we decided on Howth.  We had a few choices.  We could have gone to the Cliffs of Moher, but that would have been a grueling day and a drive literally to the other side of the country.  Looking at options nearer Dublin, Howth was the easiest to get to:  we could get there directly on the DART train.

What we did.  We slept in, ate breakfast, then meandered our way to Howth.  We walked out to the pier, around the waterfront, up the hill a bit to town, ate lunch, then walked a bit toward the cliff walk.  At that point, it was 5pm and we wanted to get the train home to pack and rest a bit before our dinner reservation back in town.

Where we ate.  We looked at a bunch of the restaurants on the pier and decided to go with the Brass Monkey (all chuckling about the Beastie Boys aside).  It had some of the best online reviews and was very busy.  The food was absolutely fantastic, if a tad expensive.

Tips for Visiting Howth

It’s pronounced “Howth” with an O like “both.”  Just so you can sound like a local.

Get there early, earlier than we did.  I don’t regret sleeping in, but we could have used more time to explore the cliff walk.

Make time for the cliff walk.  The cliffs are beautiful and doing the loop takes about two hours.  Get there in the morning and do the loop before heading back to down for lunch.

Because it’s easy to get to, lots of people go.  Another reason why we probably should have gone earlier.

Get a DART Train before Connolly Station.  We got on at Tara Station and got seats for the ride.  Connolly Station is a major transfer station and a ton of people got on there and didn’t get seats.  The train takes about 30 minutes.  More tips on Dublin public transit here.

Buy a return fare for DART.  This is a general rule for mass transit — buy your return fare before you leave the station so it’s a breeze to get on the train to go home.

There are food options for every budget.  Even though we had a sit-down lunch, there were a few take away options, including a fish and chips stand that was very popular.

Have you been to Howth?  Share your tips below!

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

Map of My Dublin Places

My geographer extraordinaire husband just finished putting together this awesome map of Dublin!  Any Dublin place I’ve posted about is on the map with a link to its website and a link to my post about it.

Click here to see the map by itself in a new tab.

Super cool!  I hope you enjoy using it!

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

The Day I Bought All the Neon in Dublin

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

All. the. neon.

Or at least it felt that way.

During our trip to Dublin, I spent a morning shopping the Creative Quarter.  Apparently I’m really into neon at the moment because I bought a lot of it.

So very neon: these cute tiny “Merci” cards with little craft envelopes.  These are too small to mail in the US, but that didn’t stop me.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

They’re made by Belgian printer le typographe.  I can’t wait for my next trip to Brussels to check them out in person.  Mr. P’s already been warned.

I swooned (almost) over these letterpress cards from Nineteen Seventy-Three.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

Seriously.  I scooped up every one available at Article.  They are high quality and the colors are very vivid in person.

Since one can never have too many notecards or washi tape, I bought this pad of notecards, also by le typographe.  They are heavy duty stock with a neon pink paperclip printed in the corner.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

The neon orange washi is by Mark’s Inc.

Okay, so not everything was neon.  I couldn’t resist this laser cut card with an Irish postbox.  Love.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

And finally, a birthday card with an Irish greeting, which I’ve already earmarked for a friend of ours.

Dublin Paper Goods by Natalie Parker

Pro trip: if you see cards you like in Dublin, buy them.  Several items I saw a couple weeks later when I was paper shopping in London and they were much more expensive (even before accounting for the awful exchange rate with the sterling).  Dublin had really reasonable prices!

Mr. P stood by as I said “excuse me, I’m going to buy all the cards.”

Click here to read about the shops in the Creative Quarter where I bought these items.

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

Dublin: Using Public Transit + Airport Transportation

Dublin Ireland Public Transit by Natalie Parker

We didn’t take a single taxi in Dublin.  Not a single one!

Transit in Dublin was very easy and everyone was super nice.  When we got off the bus near the Guinness Storehouse and weren’t sure where to go, we just started walking.  The bus honked at us and the driver pointed us in the right direction.

Transit To/From the Airport

We used the 747 Airport Bus.  We followed the signs out of the airport and it was easy to find.  Even better, there was a real human at the stop who sold us tickets, explained how the bus worked, and gave us a map.

Dublin Ireland Public Transit by Natalie Parker

The 787 stops at several main areas in town.  It took us just a few minutes to walk to our apartment from the stop.  Our host let us know which stop to use and the guy who sold us the tickets showed us on the map.

Tickets are €6 one way, €10 round trip.  We bought a round trip ticket and held onto it for the ride back.

Dublin Ireland Public Transit by Natalie Parker

Transit Around Town

We bought a Leap Card and used the buses.  Similar to other transit cards in major cities, you buy this card and put money on it to use transit.  Leap cards are sold at small grocery and drugstores around the city.  We Googled “Leap Card” in Google Maps from our phone when we were there and found a nearby retailer.  Learn more about Leap Cards here.

Dublin Ireland Public Transit by Natalie Parker

Google Maps has the bus, tram, and train lines.  You can easily use your phone or computer to plot your route and not have to worry about bus maps and schedules.

Dublin Ireland Public Transit by Natalie Parker (7)

Know the name of your stop and tell the driver.  The fare is different depending on how far you are going.  If you tell the driver where you are going, he’ll adjust the card reader so you are charged the correct amount when you tap your Leap card.  Stop names are listed in Google Maps.

Many stops in town have electronic signs with wait times.  Bonus!  And really really helpful.

Dublin Ireland Public Transit by Natalie Parker

Did I mention the buses are yellow double deckers?  Totally awesome.

We used the DART train to get to/from Howth.  We took a day trip out to Howth and used the DART.  Leap Cards work on DART and the system is pretty easy to figure out.  Again, Google Maps will give DART directions.

Dublin Ireland Public Transit by Natalie Parker

The Hop-On/Hop-Off Bus is very popular, but . . . it just wasn’t for us.  The buses worked just fine and we’d rather use regular public transit.  Plus, the Hop-On/Hop-Off didn’t run late in the evening.  We were surprised at how early it stopped running.

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

Dublin: the Long Room at Trinity College (and the Book of Kells)

Long Room Library Trinity College Dublin by Natalie Parker

Mr. P and I had a loose “we’ll see what we see” philosophy for our weekend in Dublin.  We had some things we wanted to see, but we didn’t tick off the top 10 list of most popular sites in Dublin.

One of Dublin’s top attractions is the Book of Kells at Trinity College.  The Book of Kells is an illuminated manuscript (very old illustrated book).  You’d be amazed, but I, as a bibliophile, wasn’t chomping at the bit to go see it.  I’ve seen a lot of really old books before, plus I wasn’t enthused about waiting in line.*

The Long Room > The Book of Kells

A couple of days before we left, I read about the Long Room at Trinity College.  Now we’re talking!  The Long Room is the main chamber of the Old Library and contains thousands of the oldest books at the College.

Long Room Library Trinity College Dublin by Natalie Parker

One old book, fine.  Thousands of old books in a beautiful library?  Sign me up!

In order to visit the Long Room, you need a Book of Kells ticket.  The Long Room is upstairs from the Book of Kells exhibit and you proceed through the exhibit to get there.

Was it worth it? Absolutely.  We sped through the Kells exhibit, took a look at the book, then went upstairs.  The Long Room is a dream.  Old books from floor to ceiling.  Old ladders and spiral staircases.  Busts of famous minds.  Everything you would want as Belle if the Beast were giving you a library.  Book swoon.

Long Room Library Trinity College Dublin by Natalie Parker

*You can buy advance tickets online for €3 extra per person, but since it wasn’t a must-see, we opted not to.

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

Dublin: Shopping the Creative Quarter

Dublin Creative Quarter

Looking up places to shop in Dublin, Grafton Street is the top recommendation of many guidebooks.  Every city has one of these — I think of it like San Francisco’s Pier 39.

Do yourself a favor if you travel to Dublin and skip Grafton Street.  There are lots of chain stores  you can find anywhere and we hardly saw any of the famed street performers.

No, you should visit the Creative Quarter.  The Creative Quarter is near Temple Bar and is a concentration of restaurants, boutiques, and other design-led shops.  As a creative looking for neat places to shop, this was perfect!

We spent one morning visiting all the shops on my list.  All of the shops below are walking distance from each other.  All are independently run and feature lovely curated products.  By the end of the shopping trip I was bouncing around, so pleased with myself that I hit so may creative stores.

I focused on homeware, craft, art, and stationary-type stores.  We passed a few independent fashion boutiques that we didn’t have time to check out.

What I love about all of the shops we visited is that even though they are design-focused, they are unpretentious and cater toward normal people.


Hands down my favorite shop of the trip.  Article has a nice mixture of homeware, books, and paper.

Dublin Creative Quarter

The card selection was fantastic.  I found some beautiful neon letterpress cards!

Dublin Creative Quarter

I had to talk myself out of buying random bowls and containers I didn’t need.  I walked out with a stack of greeting cards, notecards, and washi tape!

Dublin Creative Quarter

Article, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, 59 S William Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map

Irish Design Shop

Such a cute little store selling a little bit of everything including books, pillows, cards, jewelry, art prints, homeware, and more.

Dublin Creative Quarter

Everything is designed and made in Ireland and the shop has some maker spaces upstairs.  I had to stop myself from buying a few handmade zippered pouches without having a clue what I’d put in them . . .

Dublin Creative Quarter

Irish Design Shop, 41 Drury Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map


Designist is a gift and homeware store that focuses on bringing good design to customers in Dublin for reasonable prices.  Out of the group, this is the only place that had a big selection of items for kids and had the most eclectic selection overall.  I bought some cards for myself and a gift for a cute toddler in my life.

Dublin Creative Quarter

Designist, 68 S Great Georges Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map


Industry focuses mostly on homewares (of the group, they had a furniture selection) but they do have a selection of paper goods.  It’s a beautiful shop and I wish I lived closer so I could buy the red floor lamp!

Dublin Creative Quarter

Industry, 41 a/b Drury Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map

A. Rubanesque

A. Rubanesque sells ribbon and other cute handmade items.  It is definitely the least gifty of the group of shops I visited — there were several people in there buying ribbon for projects.

Dublin Creative Quarter

I really really wanted to buy the triangle table runner.  Look at it — so cute!

Dublin Creative Quarter

A. Rubanesque, Powerscourt Townhouse Centre, 59 S William Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map

Jam Art Factory

The Jam Art Factory is an Irish design and art shop.  There are two locations — we visited the shop in Temple Bar.  It sells mostly art prints but also a few cards.

Dublin Creative Quarter

At this point toward the end of the day, I decided I needed a new place to decorate because I loved the prints!

Jam Art Factory, 14 Crown Alley, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 | Click here for map

The Pen Corner

Just a tad further away from the rest of the shops and nearer Trinity College is The Pen Corner, specializing in, you guessed it, pens!  It’s not technically design-led like the rest of the shops but pens + stationary = sign me up.

Dublin Creative Quarter

There are two floors — the first floor for pens and I mean the kind that are displayed under glass.  Downstairs from that, they have paper pads, stationary, planners, and a card selection.  The card selection was a bit more mainstream,  but we still found a couple cute ones to pick up.

The Pen Corner, 12 College Green, Dublin 2 | Click here for map

This was one of my favorite afternoons!  Normally when we travel, it’s difficult to visit more than one design-type shop because they’re rarely so close to each other.  If you’re in Dublin, skip Grafton Street and take some time in the Creative Quarter!

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

Dublin: Where to Eat

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

Hear this: good food all around in Dublin.  Really really good and really easy to access.

Dublin is a smallish city with a population of just over 500,000 as opposed to London’s 8 million.  Everything is very well contained and we walked to most of our meals.

I hate to think we have to maximize our meal opportunities on trips (it leads to a big letdown if we have a bad meal), but we totally did here.  We did not have even a mediocre meal!

Note: everything was a great value.  I was shocked sometimes at how much we got for the price.  It certainly helped that the euro was tanking during our trip, but even that aside, the food was a better value in Dublin than back home in Oakland.

Breakfast and Brunch


I’d read about this a few places and our apartment was next door!  No excuse not to go.  It was very busy and I can see why: the food is excellent.  I had the semolina pancakes with ricotta and berries (at the top of this post), while Mr. P had the beans and pulled pork.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

It’s a little small inside.  If you have more than two people, get there early.  While you wait for a table, you can get coffee next door (see below).  They also have a second location called Sister Sadie on Harrington Street.

Brother Hubbard, 153 Capel Street, Dublin 1 | Click here for map


Next door to Brother Hubbard and owned by the same folks is Little Brother.   They have a few counter seats and serve the pastries, drinks, and other quick breakfast items from the restaurant.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

We dropped in for some tea and pastries before our Jameson tour — it’s about a 10 minute walk from there to the Old Jameson Distillery.

Little Brother, 153 Capel Street, Dublin 1 | Click here for map


Instead of sitting for brunch, we decided to check out the Meeting House Square Market and it did not disappoint.  It’s a Saturday market and fit really nicely in our schedule!

The market is mostly prepared foods with a small bit of produce.  Not that I’m complaining — it’s small but everything looked excellent!

I started with a hot chocolate which could have been a meal in and of itself.  This is the way hot chocolate should be done: made from chocolate hand chopped on the spot and thick enough to double as a dipping sauce.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

Mr. P had a sausage roll (not pictured) and I had a vegetarian Indian dish (or 2 dishes, she let me get half of each): paneer with a tomato based sauce and a chickpea and veggie curry.  I had her go light on the rice since it was a ton of food.  Even with Mr. P helping, I couldn’t finish it and took it back to the apartment to finish later.  I think it was 6-ish euros for the whole thing — a bargain!

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

A big attraction at the market were the oysters.  The oyster vendor had a long table set up for people to sit and enjoy oysters and wine.

Meeting House Square Farmer’s Market, Meeting House Square (Temple Bar), Dublin; Saturdays 10am – 4:30pm | Click here for map



Picture this: just landed, need food.  We walked across the river to Temple Bar and looked around.  This cafe is located in tourist/bar central, but was very good and just what we needed.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

It’s a cute quick eats place — they serve up the pies warm and hand them right over the counter.  I had the steak & Guinness pie with mushy peas and Mr. P had the chicken & whiskey with mash.  I think we spent just over €20 for two pies, sides, and two beers.

The Pie Man Cafe, 14A Crown Alley, Dublin 2 | Click here for map


Fallon & Bryne is a food hall plus a restaurant.  They have a prepared food counter inside the food hall and we popped in there for lunch on our second day.  The food counter is kind of like the prepared food counters at Whole Foods.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

The food hall wasn’t quite as big as others that I’m used to, but it was cute.  I wouldn’t make a special trip to the food counter (unless you are going for dessert, which looked amazing), but it was worth it to stop in before we headed to Guinness.

I had a onion and goat cheese tart and Mr. P had sausages and mash.  The tart was excellent!

Fallon & Byrne, 11-17 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map


More on Bruxelles over in the drinking post, but Mr. P and I split an order of fish and chips there.  Two thumbs up on the whole plate, the mushy peas were done really well.  If you’re considering some classic pub food, go here!

Bruxelles, 7-8 Harry Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map



I made a reservation here for our first night in town.  The gastropub menu totally spoke to us — beer pairings for everything, including dessert!

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

Dinner was good and dessert was excellent.  I had the mussels and Mr. P had the burger — he loved the house-made chili ketchup (and the man usually hates ketchup).

The real reason the menu spoke to us was because there was a cheese plate for 1 for dessert.  I love sweets for dessert, he loves cheese.  It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a cheese plate for 1!  He was smitten.  He also got the recommended whiskey pairing.  We were both pleased as punch and at that point, I thought this is going to be an awesome weekend.  Fun how a dish will do that to you.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

We had a 7pm reservation and the place was not full yet.  It started picking up around 8 and had a nice buzz.

L. Mulligan Grocer, 18 Stoneybatter, Dublin 7 | Click here for map


We walked by this place after finishing at Guinness — such a gorgeous interior.  I didn’t get a picture of the massive flower arrangement in the window and am bummed about it.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

The Larder is a restaurant and a brewhouse (I know, sign us up!).  Mr. P imbibed in the excellent house beers.  Our favorite dish was actually the starter: jambalaya balls with gravy.

The Larder has two dinner seatings, one around 5-6pm and a second one at 8:15.  We were able to get a reservation for the 8:15pm seating when we popped in there at 6.  When we ate, the restaurant was full and abuzz, so I recommend booking if you can.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

The host gave us the excellent recommendation for the Porterhouse, which is just on the next block and a great place for pre-dinner drinks!

The Larder, 8 Parliament Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map


Tapas and Spanish food are big in Dublin.  I wasn’t planning on trying them, but after a couple of days of solid heavy food, tapas sounded perfect.

Port House Pinxto is another place with a beautiful interior.  But, it’s dark inside which doesn’t lend itself to food photography.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

I can’t remember everything we ordered but it was excellent.  What I do remember was that we ordered five tapas dishes plus split a bottle of cava and the bill was less than €80.  I’d expect to pay well over $100 at home for as much food as we got.

The Port House Pinxto, 12 Eustace Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map


This was on my radar before we left and I made a reservation for our last night.  It’s a huge space with a restaurant, a bar, a tapas bar, and more.  The bar was buzzing but there was plenty of room in the restaurant when we were there.

We shared the beef braise for two: it was amazing and everything a good beef stew should be.  It has a light parsnip puree on top, which is why it looks white in the picture.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

On the side we split fries drizzled with truffled goat cheese and some peas and carrots to balance it out.  Both were just as excellent as the stew!

Fade Street Social, 4 Fade Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map

Dessert & Snack


We went here after our tapas dinner and I’m so happy we had time for it.  Murphy’s is a small artisinal maker and uses fresh local ingredients.  You won’t see these flavors elsewhere!

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

I had the sea salt and the chocolate chip.  Mr. P had the caramelized brown bread.  Amazing.

Murphy’s Ice Cream, 27 Wicklow Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map


Sheridan’s is very close to Grafton Street – a great place to stop and get a snack!  Mr. P wanted to get some cheddar to snack on and keep back at the apartment.  It’s a cute little shop with excellent service.  I think we were in, sampled cheese, and had our cheese wrapped to go within 10 minutes.

Dublin Food by Natalie Parker

Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, 11 South Anne Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map

Let’s review: tons of excellent food, many walking distance from the center of town, and great values.  Go to Dublin!

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here

Dublin: Where to Drink

Dublin Ireland Bars by Natalie Parker

I know, we only spent a weekend in Dublin and I have so much to tell you!  We hit some really fun watering holes, so get ready for some action!

The VAT House Bar

The VAT House is a hotel — the bar is connected to it but it doesn’t feel like a hotel bar.  We visited our first night in Dublin when we were on the hunt for live music.  It was perfect.

The bar itself wasn’t too full, but there were two musicians who played and sang Irish music (category 3 if you’re following my guide to live music in Dublin).  The music was easy to hear, the musicians were really engaging, and we had a great time.

Dublin Ireland Bars by Natalie Parker

We went back again the next night after the music at O’Neill’s finished (see below).  It’s not the “it” place that’s packed with people, but a great place to chill with a drink and listen to music.  You can sit close to the musicians and have a more “engaged” (I know, sounds weird) time with them or sit further back, enjoy the music, and relax.

The VAT House Bar, Anglesea Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 | Click here for map

Grogan’s Castle Lounge

We stopped here for a break after we visited the Jameson Distillery and Trinity College.  We were hoping for a bite to eat, but all they had were toasties (heated ham and cheese sandwiches) and I was hoping for something a bit more substantial.

This place is totally old school and definitely a locals hangout right in the middle of tourist central, which is pretty cool.

Dublin Ireland Bars by Natalie Parker

Grogan’s Castle Lounge, 15 South William Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map

The Porterhouse

This was recommended by the host at a restaurant when we asked for a place to grab a drink before dinner.  It’s a brewery with multiple floors to sit and hang out.  The Porterhouse has a full food menu and has live music (of the category 2 variety).  If we’d had more time, we definitely would have stopped back again.

The Porterhouse, 16-18 Parliament Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map


O’Donoghue’s is another old school neighborhood pub.  Near St. Stephen’s Green, we went to check it out because all the reviews I read said there was live Irish music nightly.  When we got there, I realized the music is more of the category 2 variety — hard to hear.

This was another cool place where you can go and feel like a local — it was filled to the brim.  However, we were looking for a different music experience so we stayed for one drink and moved on.

O’Donoghue’s, 15 Merrion Row, Dublin | Click here for map


Yessss.  Exactly what we were looking for with music and drinks!  There are multiple rooms and multiple floors.  Upstairs, there is a 3-person band with amplified sound.  They play and sing Irish music and both nights we were there (yes we went back a second night), they had a couple of dancers.

Dublin Ireland Bars by Natalie Parker

It can get crowded in the area around the band and difficult to find a place to stand, let alone sit.  The second night we were there, we made friends with some Germans and shared their table.  I absolutely loved this place.

Dublin Ireland Bars by Natalie Parker

O’Neill’s, 2 Suffolk Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map


We went to Bruxelles to watch the Six Nations Rugby Tournament and it was perfect.  The main bar area is traditional like other bars in the area and there are two rooms downstairs with extra seating.  They have a full menu of traditional bar food — Mr. P and I split the fish and chips.

Dublin Ireland Bars by Natalie Parker

Bruxelles, 7-8 Harry Street, Dublin 2 | Click here for map

The Church

This was one of the coolest places we went to.  The Church is a bar and restaurant inside what used to be a church (I know, catchy name).  The inside is airy and gorgeous.  We just went for drinks, but there is a restaurant upstairs and nightclub in the basement.

Dublin Ireland Bars by Natalie Parker

The Church, Jervis Street, Dublin 1 | Click here for map

There are a ton of options in Dublin and we didn’t dislike anywhere we went!  I can’t wait to go back and visit some of these again and see new places.

Dublin Ireland Bars by Natalie Parker

Click here to see a photo index for all my posts on Ireland

Mr. P and I traveled to Dublin for a long weekend in March.  Learn how to plan a trip to Europe for the weekend (even coming all the way from California) here