A weekend in Dublin – Guest Blogger – @FionaHilliard

Dublin is one of my favourite cities in Europe, a short flight from London and perfect for a weekend. Compact yet stylish, I try to go back every 18 months. As we are getting close to that expiry date, I asked one of my favourite Dublin connoisseurs, Fiona Hilliard, who is also one of my favourite tweeps. Enjoy! Mrs. O

 

Friday night

 

 

Drop your bags in the plush surroundings of the Dylan Hotel or the boutique bliss of The Morgan and get ready to paint the town green

Paint the town Green!

Dining options

 

If elegant and exclusive are what you’re craving, try Chapter One on Parnell Square (advance bookings strongly recommended) Isabel’s on Baggot Street and Peploes at Stephen’s Green.


Stylish yet moderately priced restaurants within the centre of town include Pichet (Modern Bistro), St Andrew’s Lane, Yamamori (Sushi) on Georges Street  and The Green Hen (French Bistro) on Exchequer Street.

 

Meanwhile, a new wave of hipster-influenced restaurants are currently making a splash in the Dublin dining scene including 777 (Mexican), as well as the Twitter driven pop-up restaurant ventures of so-hot-right-now’ restauranteaur Joe Macken. Look out for Crackbird (Chicken) Skinflint (Pizza) and Bear (Grill) cropping up at a soon to be cool spot near you.

 

 

Entertainment

‘Ceoil agus craic’ is what makes Dublin tick. For the non-Gaelic speakers amongst us, that means music and good fun.

Grafton Street Musicians

Truthfully, I can appreciate just about any type of music, which is just as well, because like many Dubliners, my work commute takes me through Grafton Street every day (street performer central), but no matter what type you like, you can be assured that Dublin has got it covered.

 

Those looking for jigs, reels and Guinness will fall head over heels for The CobblestoneThe Brazen Head or O Donoghues on Merrion Row. Indie and alternative rock fans will feel at ease in bars and music venues such as Whelans and The Village in Wexford Street/Camden Street, but if you’re dressed to impress and ready to sip Mojitos, check out in the upmarket bars and lounges of South William Street including Dakota and the Lost Society. Due to the growing number of independent design stores, bars and cafés, the area encompassing South William Street and South Great George’s Street has been christened Dublin’s ‘Creative Quarter’ – there are lots of interesting bars to try in this area but it must be said, the sophisticated apartment vibe of The Bar with No Name (and sadly no website) at 3 Fade Street is hard to beat for cosy drinks or lively chats on the terrace. Oh, and they do a mean vodka, soda water and lime

Saturday Morning

Temple Bar Food Market

 

Uh oh. Missed breakfast?  Don’t worry, there’s no need to starve!  Just follow your nose to the weekly Saturday Temple Bar Food Market and before you know it, you’ll be seduced by the scent of oven fresh Irish soda bread and organic sausages sizzling on griddle pans, the sight of shiny apples and the chilled out sounds of outdoor jazz.

Delicious Irish produce at Temple Bar Food Market

The market can be found under the stylish new canopy of Meeting House Square between 10am and 4.30pm.

Be sure to try the local bread!

The Food Market is just one of three markets that take place in Temple Bar every Saturday. Got time to spare? Have a flick through the titles in The Temple Bar Book Market and a browse around the Designer Mart at Cow’s Lane where young designers showcase their latest fashion designs. You never know what originals you might find!

 

If the market stalls of Temple Bar have whetted your appetite for Irish produce and design, I recommend a visit to one of the most elegant shopping malls you’ll encounter in Dublin.  The Powerscourt Centre on South William Street is housed in a beautiful Georgian building and promotes the best of Irish design, from clothing to furniture, art and jewellery

Elegant: The Powerscourt Centre

 

Up in the attic, The Loft Market takes place every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, featuring clothing, jewellery and accessories from Dublin’s newest creative talents. 

New Irish designs in Powercourt's Loft Market

Chandeliers, winding staircases, exposed brickwork – at times the quirky decadence of Powerscourt almost makes you feel like you’re wandering around a fabulous dollhouseSo you can only imagine how appropriate it is that Dublin’s Doll’s Hospital and Museum of Teddy Bears has recently moved into the old ballroom – lucky dolls!

Originally known as 59 South William Street, Powerscourt House was once home to Richard Wingfield, the 3rd Viscount Powerscourt (1730-1788) and his wife Lady Amelia, who purchased the Townhouse as a party pad where they could throw soirees during Parliament season. The building still very much lives up to that reputation today, by regularly hosting invitation only events and fashion shows. After dark, electro beats from the resident Pygmalion bar echo around the rafters until the early hours.

Everything Fabulous Under One Roof at The Powerscourt Centre

From Powerscourt Townhouse, it is an easy stroll to Brown Thomas, Dublin’s premier department store on Grafton Street. This is designer label heaven so get your credit card ready for some serious damage.   But look out – across the street, the irresistible charms of Brown Thomas’ trendy sister store BT2 will further bruise your bank balance. You have been warned!

Worked up an appetite again? Mix food and fashionable interiors with a visit to Avocalocated not far from the Molly Malone statue on Suffolk Street.

Avoca, Suffolk Street

 

Avoca is an Irish-owned family run company famous for its woven throws and blankets, glassware, ceramics and perfumes. But that’s not all – their café is adored by critics and diners for its fresh and organic whole foods and healthy dishes.

 

Saturday Evening

 

Trip down to the cellar of Fallon and Byrne on Exchequer Street and sample a drop from the collection of 600 wines available in The Wine Bar.  Alternatively, hotfoot it across the street to Oleysa’s Wine Bar and drink in the laid back atmosphere or take a taxi to Dax Café on Pembroke Street and savour a glass or two with some light and tasty tapas.

 

Prefer beer to wine?  Make a dent in the hefty menu of craft beers in trendy Against the Grain on Wexford Street.

 

Later, catch a music gig in nearby Whelans or a live band and/or glam vintage movie screening in The Sugar Club on Leeson Street.

 

 

Sunday Morning

Weather permitting, enjoy a lazy breakfast or brunch al fresco at a sunny spot such as Metro Café on Chatham Row.

Metro Café, Chatham Row

Next, breathe in the fresh air of Dublin’s green lungs at St Stephen’s Green Park or the equally pretty Iveagh Gardens.

St Stephen's Green Park

Sunday Afternoon

 

Take advantage of the free entry to Dublin’s museums and galleries and immerse yourself in history, art and culture in The National Museum of IrelandThe National Gallery of Ireland and The Irish Museum of Modern Art.

 

Finally, there’s nothing like a journey along the dramatic Dublin coastline to make you fully appreciate the beauty of the Irish capital. Choose between Howth and Malahide on the northside and Dalkey and Killiney on the southside of the city. 

 

There are a number of ways to travel around these scenic routes including Dublin car hireDublin Bus Coastal Tours and Irish Rail. (Check timetables and rates before you go).

 

These coastal villages are regarded as the ‘Beverly Hills’ of Dublin.  Famous Dalkey residents include U2’s Bono, as well as Enya and Van Morrison.  

 

While you’re here, don’t miss your opportunity to enjoy a plate full of the famous Dublin Bay seafood in King Sitric restaurant in Howth or Guinea Pig in Dalkey village.

Who is Fiona Hilliard?

Fiona Hilliard

Fiona Hilliard is a travel writer and native Dubliner.  When not telling anyone who’ll listen how great her city is,  she loves visiting new destinations across Europe and beyond and sharing travel advice on her Travel Edits website as well as the Glove Box blog, the official blog of car rental site ArgusCarHire.com. 

A big thank you to Fiona Hilliard, who you can follow on twitter @FionaHilliard

Mrs. O


11 Comments

  1. This would be one of the best places to visit and you have really great description of which places to go to for food and shopping!

  2. Makes me want to return to Dublin again, if not just to eat and drink!

  3. @Leah, I meant to tell you to try the cocktails in the Octagon Bar in The Clarence (owned by Bono and The Edge of U2) and the cocktails in The Exchange in the Westin!

  4. Leah so glad you enjoyed the article!:) Yes, voda/soda water/lime in no 3 Fade St are a must! They actually crush the lime fresh so it makes all the difference. A little too easy to drink though!;) There are so many great cocktail bars to try as well, I’d really recommend The Octagon bar in The Westin Hotel, as well as Café Novo, next to the Westbury :)

  5. Hi Ana! So glad you asked about the pop-up restaurants!:) These trendy little restaurants are being launched all the time in spots around Dublin by Irish restaurant entrepreneur Joe Macken. Basically, he takes over a vacant premises for a few months at a time and creates these really cool concept restaurants. Nice features include abstract art, cloth napkins sewn by fashion design students from NCAD and unusual communal tables made from reclaimed doors.

    The one thing the restaurants all have in common is personality. In his ‘Skin Flint’ grilled pizza restaurant for example, all the pizzas are named after the mothers of the staff:)

    The demand is driven by Twitter and they offer special deals for people who use Twitter to book. Tweet them with date,time (12,2,4,6,8pm),no of ppl (max4) including #tweetseats in ur request & u eat for free if slot is available. 24hrs notice needed. Reservations are not possible any other wa, so it’s first come, first serve, otherwise. His yummy Crackbird chicken restaurant was formerly on South William Street but has recently “popped up” on Dame St.

    Next time you visit Dublin you will definitely have to check them out!

  6. Love this! It’s such a timely piece for me as I’ll be in Dublin in a few weeks. Thanks for all the great tips. Vodka/soda/lime is my drink of choice, so I’ll have to visit 3 Fade Street!

  7. Dublin is one of my favourite cities, too. Please, tell us more about the pop up restaurants…

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