This was the advice of our taxi driver; Tom as we made our way across the River Liffey. He wasn’t wrong.
Here’s how to taste some of the best of Dublin in 24 hours.
12:00 pm Saturday A safe place to spend the night
Nudging up next to Dublin’s main shopping precinct is The Westbury on Grafton Street. The rooms are modern; with flat screen televisions and large postered beds. There are chandeliers in the lobby and there’s even a padded seat in the elevator. At night they’re kind enough to lay out some slippers out for you and leave a chocolate on your pillow.
12:30 pm A jaunt through Trinity College and a viewing of the book of Kells
If you wander down Grafton street towards the river you’ll come upon the impressive stone arches and cobbled paths of Trinity College. It’s the alma mater of Jonathan Swift and Oscar Wilde. The Old Library is also home to the illustrated Book of Kells; an Irish treasure that dates back to 800 AD. A quick taste of some culture and let the smell of old and precious books in the Long Room upstairs should help you work up an appetite.
Book of Kells
Trinity College, College Green, Dublin 2
Mon-Sat 9.30am-5pm; Sun noon-4.30pm; adults €9
13:30 A taste of shepherd’s pie and rabbit stew
If you cross over the river at the Ha’penny Bridge and you’ll soon come across The Winding Stair. Literature and libation have a cosy friendship in Dublin. So what better place for lunch than above a cherished book store? The green fronted shop downstairs has been a much loved gathering place for Irish writers and artists since the 1970′s. The walls of the revamped bistro upstairs are lined with both wine and books, but there’s plenty of interesting things to read on the menu. Here you’ll get classic Irish dishes made with organic and local produce. Order a rabbit stew and you’ll discover a bowl nurturing as a Beatrix Potter tale. A shepherd’s pie brings a robust base of mince and peas, topped with a rich and cheesey mound of mashed potato. For those who are drinking, there are some intriguing ales and the wine list is thoughtfully divided into themes, rather than just grape varieties.
The Winding Stair
40, Lower Ormond Quay
Dublin 1 Dublin City
Lunch and dinner served daily, 12-3pm, 6-10.30pm (to 9.30pm Sun). Set 2/3 course lunch €17.95/22.95.
14:00 A different kind of Irish coffee at 3rd Floor Espresso
If you think an Irish coffee is made with cream and a nip of something stern, you’re partly right. But coffee in Dublin has come a long way with the advent of baristas like Colin Harmon. Two streets back from the river on the north side is 3rd Floor Espresso. It’s not on the 3rd floor; it’s in the ground floor foyer of The Twisted Pepper, which moonlights as a live music venue when the sun goes down. Here the latte art is impressive, they’re the only place in Europe to have their own uber boiler for filter coffees and they do espresso tastings which let you make an educated choice about your favoured blend. This is serious coffee, made by people who really care about what they do.
Third Floor Espresso
54 Middle Abbey Street, Dublin 1
Open:Mon – Fri: 10 – 6, Sat: 12 – 5
15:00 Guinness and whiskey ice cream at Murphy’s
If you want a gentle introduction to the heady flavour of Guinness, this is it. Combining the national beverage with milk from Kerry cows, this ice cream is perfect when paired with a scoop of fudgy chocolate. Murphy’s Ice Cream hails from Dingle on the west coast of Ireland. At the new Dublin outpost they have 16 flavours on offer at a time. If you’re lucky you’ll find Guinness as well as Kilbeggan whiskey- which when matched with their Sea Salt flavour has all the fun of boozy salted caramel.
Murphy’s Ice Cream
27 Wicklow Street,
Dublin 2 Co. Dublin, Ireland
15:30 A proper pint of Guinness at the Guinness Storehouse
Guinness tastes better in Dublin. This is a life affirming drink that’s made even more if you’re sipping it on the seventh floor of The Guinness Storehouse, with its 360 degree view over all of Dublin. A tour of the Storehouse includes a potted history of the famed Guinness Book of World Records (created by the company to settle disputes of fact in pubs all across the world) and a free pint at the end. Guinness can be an acquired taste. But if you’re going to drink a full pint anywhere in the world, it should be here.
The Guinness Storehouse
St James’s Gate
Dublin 8, Co. Dublin, Ireland
17:00 One more pint at Ireland’s Oldest pub; The Brazen Head
There’s nothing like drinking in history. Have just one more before dinner at Ireland’s oldest pub, which dates back to 1198. The ceilings at The Brazen Head are low. There’s live music after 9.30 pm (and on Sunday afternoons). Literary luminaries like James Joyce and revolutionaries like Michael Collins were known to have frequented the very same bar. NB, you can rest assured that the staff here pour a mean pint.
The Brazen Head
20 Lower Bridge St
Dublin 8, Co. Dublin, Ireland
19:30 Champ and wild salmon at The Pig’s Ear
It might feel wrong not to order something porcine at a place called The Pig’s Ear, but if you go in for the organic salmon then you’ll also get to sample samphire and a solid serving of the Irish classic, champ (mashed potato brightened with scallions). Overlooking the training fields of Trinity College The Pig’s Ear is a cosy nook of a place with a sure hand guiding what goes on the plate. They also do a mean ‘Gur cake’ with brown bread ice cream for dessert.
The Pig’s Ear
4 Nassau St
Dublin 2, Co. Dublin, Ireland
9.30 A Full Irish breakfast at Bewley’s Cafe
The heavy lifting in your breakfast will comes courtesy of a slice of potato farl; a flat griddled bread made by combining mashed potato with flour. Next to that you’ll find slices of both black and white pudding. sausages, bacon, mushroom and a poached egg. Add a mug of Irish breakfast tea and some orange juice and you’ll be well on your way to shaking off any shadows from last night’s liquid indulgences.
78/79 Grafton Street
Dublin 2, Co. Dublin, Ireland
11:00 am The Irish Potato Famine and Yeats’ memorials at St Stephen’s Green
This is the largest of the parks in Dublin’s main Georgian squares. There are ducks to feed, bridges to amble across and memorials to the Irish potato famine and WB Yeats’ to visit.
12:00 pm Oysters and a final tipple at The Cliff Town House
The clean cold waters of the Atlantic mean good things for Irish oysters. Pull up a perch at the oyster bar at The Cliff Town House and one of their delightful staff will don a chain-mail glove and shuck a dozen fresh ones for you. Eat them with their home made warm nutty soda bread with thickly spread butter. Feel free to skip dessert in favour of a nip of Jameson’s whiskey to steel you for your journey home.
Oyster Bar at The Cliff Town House on St Stephen’s Green
22 St Stephens Green,