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Dublin Recommendations

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Howdy comrades. I'm potentially visiting Dublin for a long weekend at the end of April, and although I have been before when I was touring my shitty noise, I never got the full opportunity to explore the city and find good bars and other places or activities of interest. I hate Diageo, so I am not interested in the Guinness brewery, but I plan to see the Book of Kells, go to Temple Bar food and book markets, and generally saunter around.

 

Any recommendations for good bars with craft beer and real ale are especially welcome, and also some clubs and bars that may veer towards alternative music or Northern Soul and Motown. All I found last time were bars serving Guinness or Harp. Restaurant and eatery recommendations would also be very useful; I know of one good gourmet burger joint beneath Whelan's, but apart from that I'm quite clueless.

 

Lucky Rathen, I am looking at you in particular.

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You should head to the jail, which was used for the jail scenes in The Italian Job. Oh the Jamieson(sp) museum and James Joyce house are worth a look as well.

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Temple Bar area is fucking brilliant. You can pretty much stop off anywhere and it's great fun for a drink and music and entertainment.

What I can recommend is the literary pub tour, taking you around the haunts of Joyce, O Brien, Wilde, etc, and the places where novels were set or inspired by. Amazing fun and dirt cheap too!

Went there for my Dad's 50th last year and had an incredible time. Only downside was that everything was bloody expensive!

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My mate runs the Workmans club next door to the U2 hotel. Its an excellent place with usually a couple of bands on every night and cracking Djs.

Edited by aka-ska
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Dublin is always a place that I've considered going to before thinking that it must be a shithole. Am I completely wrong? Is it worth a weekend visit?

Absolutely. It looks great btw, clean, beautiful architecture, world class food etc, but expensive. Dunno why you'd think it'd look like a dump.

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Lucky will meet you at the airport with your itinerary. 

 

I went in November for a long weekend. I quite liked it. Hooring busy. 

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Shamed into writing something magnificent by Ca_gere, Lucky has undertaken to write the best guide to Dublin there has ever been. Sadly it has consumed him and will be his life's obsession. He will die before it ever gets posted because he just couldn't decide which pub has the nicest beer mats.

Edited by Paranoid Android

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Rightio.


 

General points of interest.

 

Make a point of visiting Kilmainham jail. It's my favourite of all the touristy things. Not only do you get to walk around an old jail, which is kind of cool in it's own right, the focal point of the tour is the 1916 uprising when Ireland tried to claim the land back from the UK. It's really fascinating stuff, and they take you to the spot where all the leaders were executed and that. There's a museum dedicated to it in the prison as well. It's a bit out of the way though so you need to either take a city bus or pay for the hop-on hop-off.

 

Temple Bar food market and book market are pretty missable tbh. The book market is literally two stalls, and the food market is really small. There's always something happening in Temple Bar so it's worth spending some time there, a lot of hipstery shops and street art and that but I generally wouldn't eat or drink there. Dubliners avoid it because its full of tourists and and everything is way more expensive. There are a few "traditional" Dublin bars in there, The Temple Bar, The Auld Dubliner and Oliver St John Gogartys being the main ones that offer the "real Irish experience", but it's mostly pub singers doing The Wild Rover etc and playing up the Irishness x1000 for the tourists. Saturday afternoon pints maybe but get out before evening. It's been spoiled in the last 6 months with a Costa, a McDonalds and a Starbucks opening up there as well.

 

The Jeannie Johnson is worth a look, it's an old ship down on the Quays it's an old "coffin ship", one of hundreds which took starving Irish people to America in Canada during the potato famine in awful cramped conditions. Most people died before they got there. It's educational, though not particularly fun.

 

The Guinness Brewery eats total dick. Avoid.

 

St Patrick's Cathedral is worth a look, as is the art gallery, although the big museum is total shit.

 

Don't bother with the Jameson Distillery, total waste of time and money, costs about 15 quid to get in to see models and videos of how they make whiskey in their actual distillery which is in Cork.

 

If you want to go a bit off the wall head up to Camden Street (where Whelans is) on the Sunday where there's a bunch of little indoor markets, usually selling antiquey and vintage stuff. This one is the weirdest, expect to see people wearing top hats and goggles and dressed in Victorian clothing. http://theferociousminglemarcade.com/ A lot of them seem to open and close whenever they like though so you can't really plan around it, just wander up. On Saturday there's a really good flea market in a big pub on the Quays called The Grand Social. Lots of craft stuff and vintage stuff. Worth a look, and they have bands there in the evening.

 

There's so much to see and do around the Southside at the weekend. I spend whole days just walking around, stopping for a coffee from time to time. If you're in explore mode, walk around Stephen's Green, Merrion Square (both public parks), lovely parks with impressive Georgian surroundings. Most of the Southside of the city centre is lovely. I also like walking around the Quays and the IFSC which is a really odd mix of old and new Dublin. It used to be a total disaster of an industrial area, in the boom they started ripping it all down and putting up luxury flats and offices and now there's are huge impressive glass buildings and lovely flats, but when the crash happened it was abandoned, so you still have all these old factories and sheds and stuff in amongst the bank HQs and shiny hotels and theatres, which is quite funny, and there are a lot of buildings which were halfway built when the crash happened and they've just been left to rot. I find stuff like that interesting but that's probably just me. It's lovely to walk through though, especially if the weather is nice, and especially as you're beside the water, plus there's nice little plazas dotted around with coffee shops and stuff. Oh and the U2 wall, walls covered in art inspired by U2 songs where people from all over the world come and write messages to U2. That's a bit weird but it's intersting. Part of what I love about Dublin is that aside from all the obvious stuff and the touristy stuff, there's so much amazing stuff hidden down side streets, loads of arty sort of stuff and amazing creative stuff, street art projects, literary festivals, theatre festivals and all manner of cool littles businesses and things like that. At least once a week I stick in my headphones and spend a whole afternoon walking around exploring, I've been here two and half years and I still find new stuff every time I go out. It's pretty much my favourite thing to do. You could stay for weeks and not see the half of it.

 

The best way to get around if you're exploring and to see as much of it as possible is to hire a Dublin Bike. They're just on stalls like Boris Bikes in London, you'll see them all over the city centre. I have a yearly subsricption but you can get a weekend pass for only a couple of quid. I'll lend you my card if you're careful.

 

Asides from bikes, if you want to do a lot of the touristy stuff you're better off getting on the Hop On Hop Off bus. It's expensive but you get a whole day's pass and you get picked up every ten or fifteen minutes.

 

Oh, and take a walk down Moore Street market, it's basically an outdoor fruit and veg market in the city centre, it's been there forever and it's a strange mix of real old fashioned Dublin stalls and Asian food shops, who pile all their fruit and veg outside as well, lots of fucking weird food you'll have never seen before. At one end there's a downstairs foodhall for hot Pakistani, Lebanese, Afghanistanian food, and a lot of other international foods, mainly run by Asian and Middle Eastern guys. I always feel like a total plum going in and looking at all the food going ....eh.....  I dunno what to have..... but they are super friendly and will steer you right. 

 

 

A few of my favourite pubs:

 

The Bull  & Castle, http://bull-and-castle.fxbuckley.ie/ opposite Christchurch on Dame Street. Downstairs is a restaurant owned by a very good butcher's chain, and the food is fucking excellent, especially the meat, and not too pricey by Dublin standards. Above it is probably my favourite pub, it's a beer hall and they sell craploads of Irish beers and craft ales on draught, a lot of interesting stuff in bottles too. No Heineken or Guinness or anything like that, and the guys are really knowledgable, friendly, more than happy to let you taste anything. I like the Galway Hooker. Friday night is the best time to go, between 7 and 8 they ring the bells on Christchurch Cathedral and it's lovely sitting there having a pint listening to the bells chime.

 

The Thomas House, Thomas Street. 10 minutes walk from Bull & Castle, this place is a little bar and venue with a punk & rockabilly theme. Usually the music is psychobilly, rockabilly, surf rock and stuff like that and the bar is full of guys with quiffs. I love it. On a Sunday afternoon they have an all day acoustic session called The Hangover Sessions, it's mostly country and it's always amazing. I've spent whole days in there. The beer selection isn't huge, but they have Brewdogs on draught and a few others. http://publin.ie/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/thomas1.jpg

 

Cassidy's Westmoreland Street. https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cassidys-Bar-27-Westmoreland-Street/132838413433519 Right in the city centre, it's hipster heaven but it's a great spot. All the furniture feels like junk shop shite, big armchairs and stuff, the music is usually a mix of indie, rock and alternative, they have some interesting beers, they sell Monster Munch and Refresher bars, have board games on the tables, and have World Cup USA 94 and Star Wars bunting hanging from the roof. All the windows are painted like Superman comics, and every surface is vandalised to bits. They actually encourage you to scribble all over everything and leave markers around for that purpose. All the walls, tables, everything. It's trendy and hipstery as fuck and it gets busy early, but it's got a great atmosphere.

 

The Porterhouse. There's three of these, including one just at the edge of Temple Bar. They mainly sell their own delicious ales and other Irish craft beers, although it doesn't feel like a beer hall, you don't have the knowledgable staff and stuff, it's just a pub really, and the music is pretty ding but it's worth a visit to try some of their beers. Actually the one near Grafton Street is probably better, although the best one is way out in the Northside, right next to my house :)

 

Dice Bar - A good place to end the night, at its heart its a good scruffy rock bar that still manages to be trendy as hell, but they play everything from rock to motown to 80s electro. You never know quite what to expect. It's kind of an "anything goes" place and has some local Dublin beers on draught.

 

The Liquor Rooms - This is a Mrs Rathen recomendation, it's on the Quays and it's a super trendy basement cocktail bar, bedecked in "1920s luxury" crossed with old timey circus. Delicious cocktails at a very reasonable price, BUT bear in mind is owned by Bono so if you go there giving Bono money.

 

Similarly, The Bar With No Name on Fade Street. So trendy it doesn't need a name, or even a sign. Walk down Fade Street and you'll come to a door with a wooden snail above it. Go through the door and up the stairs where you feel like you're going up to someone's flat. Eventually you'll find yourself in one of Dublin's very coolest bars, all shiny modern decor, purple and pink light and chilled out beats. There's a cool rooftop bar as well, although it's covered up by a big-top style stripey tent.

 

Grogans - something of a Dublin institution, in that it's the last proper old man bar left in Dublin city centre, but its absolutely packed most evenings. Guinness or whiskey is pretty much the only drink you'll get, and you wont get more than a grunt from the bar staff, but it's a great spot with a lot of outside tables, and a lot of people claim its the best pint of Guinness in the city. Definitely needs to be on your list for one pint at least.

 

Cill Airne - nothing special in terms of selection, but it's another moored boat on the Quays turned into a floating bar and restaurant, and drinking on a boat is just fucking cool, especially on a hot day when you can go out and sit on the deck.

 

Unfortunately despite having an unbelievable amount of pubs the centre of Dublin on Friday night is a nightmare, everywhere is packed and you'll have to try really hard to find a seat. You'll have more chance in the beer hall type places but you'll still struggle. I saw the Workman's Club mentioned in the thread but avoid that at all costs as it's unbearable. It's on three floors, all of which you're crushed in like sardines, you're lucky if you can even find somewhere to stand with a foot of space around you. Absolute chaos.

 

If you want some authentic Irish music, The International and the Cobblestone both have that great old Irish tradition of people just turning up with instruments and jamming, and are worth checking out. Take care in The Cobblestone though, it's very much a "Dubliners only" bar, and there can be trouble if you stare at someone's IRA tattoo for too long. 

 

Avoid the Mezz at all costs. It's a big popular nightclub in Temple Bar and it's a fucking dive. 

 

A few of my favourite places to eat for cheap:

 

Govinda's on Abbey Street, it's a vegetarian restaurant downstairs and a yoga / spirituality centre upstairs so you kind of know what to expect. Lots of hippies, and the food isn't great but you get more food than you can reasonably eat for a fiver.

 

Dehli o'Deli. It's on Moore Street next to the outdoor market I mentioned above. It sells really delicious vegan Indian food, never had a bad meal from there and you can fill up for well under a tenner.

 

For a quick dinner there are three which are owned by the same guy, Crackbird (chicken), Jo'burger (burgers) and Skinflint (pizza). Good food that won't break the bank. Monstrous burgers. Skinflint do special offers if you hit them up on Twitter first and tell them you're coming. 

 

The Bull & Castle, which I mentioned above. 

 

TBH there's excellent restaurants on every corner on the Southside to suit all tastes. You won't go hungry (though you might end up spending a bit). 

 

Finally, have to mention Mezza on Parliament Street. The only place you should be going after the pub. From the outside it just looks like a kebab house but it's so much better than just dog-meat on bread. It's Lebanese food, everything is prepared and cooked from fresh, right down to the flatbreads they serve everything on, and you get it on a plate with cutlery, not wrapped up in paper. It's street food, but it's authentic, fresh, delicious street food. Absolutely top notch. Right next to the Porterhouse too.

 


I feel like I've missed out so much but this is getting seriously TL:DR so I'll cut it there. In short, Dublin is fucking ace and you'll have a great time. The only thing that lets it down is there's a lot of toerags but keep your wits about you and you'll be absolutely fine. And if you want to have a beer and talk about football one afternoon hit me up :up:

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Holy shit, Lucky, that is amazing! Thank you so much for putting all that thought into it - it was definitely worth the wait. I look forward to working some of this into my itinerary, and I will certainly give you a shout if it looks like I'll have a few hours for a pint and a natter. 

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