When visiting a city it’s too easy to get fixated on the main attractions and simply eat on the hoof. If you like your food, why not identify some great places to eat and plan visits around these.
Dublin is spread over 115 kilometres so grab yourself a three-day Leap Visitor Card at around €20 (only available at the airport) to take you to and from the airport and around the city districts by bus, tram and Dart. The city is quite compact and can be divided into key areas for visitors.
Dublin has a vibrant food culture with many good restaurants, a few great ones and, like any city, some more touristy such as in Temple Bar, a busy neighbourhood which the locals tend to avoid.
A good way to get a feel for the city and where to eat is to take a food tour. Some simply take you to popular high street restaurants which can feel a little like a time share experience. Instead, look for someone who has gastronomy experience such as French native Ketty Quigley and a graduate of Ballymaloe Cookery School.
If you have overindulged the velvet brew and feel in need of a good hearty cooked breakfast Beehive is a tiny café with Formica tables. Don’t be fooled by the basic decor, though, as the food is good and the staff super friendly.
Other destinations in the city centre include gourmet grocery shop Falllon & Bryne featuring a New York Style wine bar and food hall and Neary’s a traditional pub for Guinness and a UNESCO City of Literature Bar.
After eating visit: Dublin Castle or Trinity College.
St Stephens Green and Georgian Dublin
Dublin is particularly famous for seafood so start as you mean to go on and book yourself a table at Cliff Townhouse which represents Dublin cuisine at its best. This is where Dubliners drop in pre-theatre to the stylish Champagne (or Guinness) & Oyster Bar. While the decoration and service is five star it is nonetheless all about the food. Dine on Irish Lobsters and Yawl Bay Crabs and enjoy the excellent wine list which represents Dublin cuisine at its best. If you should get a little carried away the boutique hotel offers nine interior designed rooms in this lovingly maintained 18th century house and the Aircoach stop to Dublin airport is close by.
After eating visit: The Little Museum of Dublin, a few doors up, is another beautiful Georgian townhouse. Run independently by ‘the people’ it tells the story of the city through a collection of quirky photographs and memorabilia. There is even a room dedicated to Irish rock band U2. A tour last only around an hour and the guide is entertaining and full of Irish humour.
Buses are very regular so hop on a number 13 or 40 out to The Liberties, the centuries-old neighbourhood and home to pubs, attractions and markets. The indoor Green Door Market is a co-operative of local producers offering organic and wholefoods from charcuterie to seafood to vegetables. This is where locals shop and is a good place to grab a bite to eat or supplies for a picnic.
The Guinness Storehouse is also located in The Liberties. Don’t be deterred if you are not a lover of the black velvet brew as you’ll still enjoy this incredible space. Inside high-tech displays and industrial architecture, spread over seven floors of a converted grain store, tell the story of 250 years of brewing history. Guinness is renowned for its ground-breaking marketing campaigns like the 1996 fish on a bicycle TV Ad. In the tasting room, naturally, someone is on hand to guide you through the best way to drink a sample brew to savour the hops. Best of all is the finest panoramic view of Dublin from the Gravity Bar on the top floor where your entry ticket can be cashed in for a perfectly drawn pint of Guinness.
After eating visit: further attractions in this quarter include the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin Zoo, Kilmainham Jail and more.
Sandycove & Glasthule District
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by city life, ride the little electric Dart train a few stops down the coast to Sandycove & Glasthule, one stop on from Dún Laoghaire. Explore the independent shops and don’t miss Cavistons Food Emporium to fest your eyes on displays of fresh seafood, butchery, fruit and vegetables, breads, chocolate and more. This is how shopping used to before hypermarkets and online shopping. The menu at next door Cavistons Seafood Restaurant changes daily depending upon the catch from the fishing fleet.
After eating visit: The James Joyce Museum housed in a tiny tower housing a miniature collection of works including James Joyce’s death mask.
Don’t worry about putting on a few pounds during your visit all that walking will soon sort that out.