Dublin was the city of choice to catch up with 10 of my oldest friends from school. Friendships that have lasted over 30 years.
We booked a house through Trip Advisor. It was a 30 minute ( €25 ) cab journey from the airport and it was right in the centre of the city – five-minute walk through St Stephens Green to Grafton Street. It was modern, beautifully decorated, hi-spec kitchen and bathrooms and a great communal area. Crisp clean linen on all the beds, fluffy towels and a welcome pack which included homemade scones and jam, a nice touch.
The majority of the weekend was spent catching up over coffee, food, the odd glass of wine and a bit of shopping. We spent most of our time in Dublin 2 which is Grafton Street and St William Street (The Creative Quarter). Here are my recommendations for places to hang out, chill out and catch up….
Try the “green eggs” at Busy Feet cafe for breakfast, not a Dr Seuss reference but eggs and guacamole on posh toast.
I love a mid-morning coffee, it is for me one of life’s daily treats and I am a coffee snob. I’m fussy about the type of coffee I drink and I’m very fussy about where I choose to take my daily hit. Dublin came up trumps, I found the coolest coffee shop I have ever visited Clement and Pekoe. A cross between a coffee shop and library, purveyors of fine coffee, teas and cakes. I’m tempted to move to Dublin just so I can hang out here. It was filled with people writing and reading. The music was just perfect for thinking and I romantically thought I could sit there on a daily basis, pen my first novel and destiny would have me lock eyes with a handsome writer over a pile of books. Our future would be sealed, a life together filled with words and coffee …… #dreamer
If you fancy a more lively place to have a coffee and a slice of cake or a green juice pop into Fallon & Byrne reminiscent of Dean and Deluca in New York. It’s a restaurant on the top floor, a coffee bar, deli and fresh veg market at street level and wine bar in the basement. A pretty good one stop shop.
You can’t beat a glass of wine and a couple of plates of Tapas for lunch and we were lucky enough to get a seat outside The Port House. I wasn’t expecting to eat Tapas in Dublin, but then again I wasn’t expecting to have a pint of Guinness in an Irish bar when I visited Madrid.
If you are going to have an elegant cocktail it has to be at the infamous Horseshoe Bar in the Selbourne Hotel now the setting for a “fly on the wall” TV show. If you don’t want classy but want authentic, then a pint of “the black stuff” in the smokey but atmospheric O’Donoghues is a must, as is a drink at Mary’s Bar & Hardware Shop, yes, it is a bar and hardware shop in one…. Open All Hours meets The Rovers Return.
Food highlight of the weekend was by far the unexpected Fade Street Social. The way the menu was designed made it look like a cheap Tex-Mex, but OMG! It was far from that. The chef/owner Dylan McGrath is the holder of a Michelin star and a TV star in Ireland and his food is EXCEPTIONAL.
Large tapas style dishes, they recommend you have 2 to 3 each and share. The soft shell crab and parmesan leeks with soft boiled duck egg were the standouts for me, but the tuna loin with fennel and a crab toastie with hollandaise were also awesome.
If you want to burn off some of the calories that you can’t help but consume in Dublin – did I mention Butlers Chocolate shop and cafe – then a good way to build some cardio activity into your visit is a good walk around Brown Thomas, Irelands answer to Selfridges. It’s wall to ceiling luxury goods and very stylish. Another great workout is to be had browsing around Powerscourt. An eclectic mix of gifts, jewellery, vintage clothing, antiques and MORE restaurants and bars, it’s a beautiful space and well worth a visit.
All in all, I had a thoroughly wonderful weekend in Dublin. But it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s who you are with and you can’t beat a weekend away with your girlfriends. As one of them said “laughter is the best therapy” and in hindsight we needn’t have worried about all the cake calories, every fifteen minutes of laughing burns around 40 calories, job done.