Dublin city guide

Where to go, what to do...

article-banner


PUBS & BARS

Against the Grain (Craft)

Located on a stretch of Dublin street you won’t starve or go thirsty on, Against the Grain is one of a growing number of bars owned by our friends over at Galway Bay Brewery. Snatch a bench on the street to enjoy an impressive selection of craft beers with a full view of Camden Street’s madness – this is a corner of Dublin that heaves and pulses in good weather, so definitely check it out if you’re visiting in the summer. 

Photo: Against the Grain

BAR 1661 (Poitín/Cocktail)

BAR 1661 describes itself as “Staunchly Irish”, a descriptor it’s hard to argue with given its celebration of Poitín’s place in the Irish cocktail cannon. The bar itself is named after the year the infamous spirit was banned and driven underground in Ireland; an historical moment that the venue’s interior and general aesthetic speaks to in interesting and elegant ways. Drinks here are not made, but curated, fashioned slowly, in dim light, with a quiet, coy confidence you’re going to enjoy the end product. Shine your shoes and let this be the first stop on your evening’s adventures. 

Photo: Bar 1661

The Globe (Late Night)

One of few late night bars that keeps it classy while preserving the opportunity for misadventure, The Globe is the perfect place to park nights that you don’t want to end. Equipped with exceptional tunes and comfortable couches, The Globe facilitates the seamless transition between intimate chat and shameless boogie. 

Photo: The Globe

Whelan’s (Live Music)

Famed as a small venue for intimate gigs by big names and up and coming artists alike, Whelan’s is a great place for an easy-going evening of live music and good company. If not for the pint glasses lining the building’s many mantelpieces, a photo taken inside would place you in the front room of any Irish grandmother’s house. In cold weather, coal fires light the bar, and in warmer months, open air areas fill with people drinking sweet ciders and ginger beer. It’s worth checking out what gigs will coincide with your visit. 

Photo: Whelan's

Kehoe’s Heritage Pub (Best Guinness in Town)

You haven’t tried Guinness until you’ve had one at Kehoe’s; the on-street seating really brings out the malt character, while the chat you get from friendly staff really compliments the perfectly creamy head. Forget about getting a seat, or even somewhere to stand when the rugby’s on. 

Photo: Kehoe's Heritage Pub

FOOD

Brother Hubbard (Breakfast)

Opened in 2012 amidst the pangs of recession and austerity, Brother Hubbard set out to bring the people of Dublin delicious food that they could feel good for having eaten. Now, ten years later, the restaurant’s mission to produce fresh, nourishing, feel-good food has spilled into an additional three venues, and continues to offer an outstanding lunch and brunch served between 9 and 4. Anchored in cuisine from the Middle Eastern and southern Mediterranean, Brother Hubbard’s menu has a wonderful selection for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike. 

Photo: Brother Hubbard

Bunsen (Lunch) 

There are only three items on Bunsen’s menu; a hamburger/cheeseburger, thick, thin or sweet potato fries, and a trio of milkshakes. But to call Bunsen a no-nonsense lunch would be to do a great disservice to the time, energy and resources spent on sourcing the freshest local ingredients, a testament to which has been the scale of the business’s success. Since 2013 Bunsen has opened a total of nine restaurants in Dublin, Cork and Belfast. Stop by for an impressive yet inexpensive lunch; it could not be less suitable for vegetarians. 

Photo: Bunsen

Bastible (Dinner)

Picking this was a hard one; where has consistently good reviews without being wildly expensive? Where’s stylish and relaxed without being the latest obsession of a celebrity chef? Where makes the best of seasonal Irish ingredients while showcasing the culinary talent and innovation that thrives in the nation’s capital? Bastible, that’s where. It’s so renowned among Dubliners that we don’t often talk about it, for fear of future difficulty booking a table. This unassuming little restaurant on the outskirts of the city centre should be the event that foodies plan their day around. 

Photo: Bastible

WHAT TO DO IN DUBLIN:

Hugh Lane Gallery (Art)

In addition to curating a truly stunning array of modern and Irish art, the Hugh Lane Gallery acquired the London studio and archive of Francis Bacon in 1998; opening the relocated studio in all its 7,000 component parts (including the dust, not joking) to the public in 2001. The Francis Bacon Studio Database is the first computerised archive of the entire contents of a world ranking artist’s studio. 

Photo: Wiki/Rwxrwxrwx (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Abbey Theatre (Theatre)

Co-founded in 1904 by WB Yeats and Lady Gregory, The Abbey has been a cultural crucible in Irish society ever since. The best way to describe the caliber of theatre being produced here is perhaps to use the theatre’s own words; “Inspired by the revolutionary ideals of our founders and our rich canon of Irish dramatic writing, our mission is to imaginatively engage with all of Irish society through the production of ambitious, courageous and new theatre in all its forms.” Check out what’s being performed in Ireland’s National theatre during your visit. 

Photo: Flickr/bjaglin (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Museum of Literature Ireland (MoLI) (Literature)

Named after Joyce’s iconic Molly Bloom, MoLI is a truly breathtaking space dedicated to the preservation and exhibition of Irish literature. If Ulysses tells the story of a day in Dublin, then MoLI tells the story of its author’s relationship with the city, the nation’s literary history, and the many figures Joyce influenced and was influenced by. This exquisite 10,000ft2 exhibition space, is home to the first copy of Ulysses ever produced and has a further array of spaces celebrating the work of Samuel Beckett, Maeve Binchy, WB Yeats and Edna O’ Brien among many others. The museum is fully accessible and an essential stop for anyone interested in literature. 2022 marks the Centenary of the publication of Ulysses, so this is a great year to visit if you can!

Photo: MoLI (Facebook)

Glasnevin Cemetery (History)

Visiting this beautiful and expansive Victorian Cemetery should be a priority if your aim is to get better acquainted with Irish history. The final resting place of poets and presidents, singers and suffragettes, Glasnevin chronicles the lives of those who made Ireland what it is today. If you make this the first cultural stop on your journey through Dublin, you’ll find that most other historical and artistic reference points harken back to the people and events outlined in the cemetery’s tours and visitor’s centre. 

Photo: Glasnevin Cemetery Museum (Facebook)

Share this article