Foodie City Guide: Dublin Edition
Ah, Dublin. It’s been awhile since I wandered this iconic, pub-crawling city. Now that I have kids in tow, I wondered if I’d be able to experience the true essence of Dublin. I needn’t have worried.
Dublin is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world for a reason.
Pubs aren’t just for the tourists. They’re an oasis in the midst of a busy city where families can pull up a table and pass an afternoon with a pint. If you’ve hesitated to go to Dublin because your kids are still underage, don’t. If there’s one thing the Irish understand, it’s big, boisterous families. And they’re eager to roll out the red carpet to help ease you into enjoying the city the way it was intended.
Here are the must-dos, must-eats, and must-drinks in the fair city that is bustling, urban heart of the Emerald Isle.
DO IN DUBLIN
The Guinness Tour
You might assume that touring the Guinness factory is gonna be a little ho hum for the kiddos, but it’s quite the opposite. Spread across several floors of this gigantic building is a museum with interactive exhibits and tasting rooms on every floor. Every hour there’s a floor show in one of the venues and once you reach the top, there’s a chance to cluster around the glass windows for unparalleled 360 degree views of Dublin. Horse and carriages stand ready outside the factory gates to take tourists on iconic rides through this corner of Dublin which seems as if it’s still caught in another century.
Trinity College Library
If I never do or see another thing in my lifetime, standing in the library at Trinity College has made it all worth it. Once I stepped into the long room, I was utterly overwhelmed and started weeping. This is as close to a scared space as I will ever experience. Even the kids suddenly hush, as if they know they are standing on hallowed ground. You’ll want to purchase tickets well in advance because spots fill up pretty quickly and this is definitely going to be the highlight of Dublin for my fellow bibliophiles.
EAT IN DUBLIN
Temple Bar Food Market
There are a ton of really fabulous eats in Dublin, but if you want to experience the true flavor of the fair city on a budget, head to the Temple Bar Food Market. Tucked into an alley just off the iconic pub crawl is a cluster of food stalls. You’ll need cash and an very empty stomach to eat your way through this stunning array of ethnic food, gorgeous baked goods, and incredible sandwiches but it’ll be worth every penny.
Murphy’s Ice Cream
Our family are ice cream connoisseurs and it takes a lot to impress us. Murphy’s was so good we came back for more every night we were in Dublin. My favorite flavor was Dingle Sea Salt accompanied by a healthy scoop of caramelized brown bread ice cream. You’ve been warned.
DRINK IN DUBLIN
Guinness at Doheny & Nesbitt
Of course you have to drink at a pub in Dublin. It’s a rule. But I’d recommend getting off the beaten path and visiting one of the oldest bars in the city, Doheny & Nesbitt. It’s a quiet, gorgeous slice of pub heaven where you can admire the original bar and gawk a bit at the locals who still frequent this historic site.
Hot Chocolate at Brother Hubbard
This breakfast eatery is one of the most popular in the city, and once we sat down to a sample of the hot chocolate, we understood why. When it comes with it’s own pitcher of thick, drinking chocolate and fresh, warm cream it’s hard to argue you’ll be able to find a better cup of cocoa anywhere.
STAY IN DUBLIN
The digs in Dublin are expensive, so I was pleased to snag an Airbnb at the last minute after everything below $200 a night had been booked. It had a questionable elevator in which I held my breath every time we used it and a fire alarm incident at 11 pm that left us standing on the street for nearly half an hour, but the charm was worth it. After all, hotels don’t have the iconic Dublin doors the city is famous for.
TALK OF THE TOWN
When I think about the fact that I almost missed seeing this library altogether, my heart skips a beat. Marsh’s Library has some of the oldest books in the world and sits just behind St. Patrick’s Cathedral. It’s an incredibly well preserved, intimate library that most tourists don’t know about. You’re not allowed to photograph most of the interior, but you’ll feel like one of the luckiest people in the world to simply wander the ancient stacks and breath in the vicinity of these ancient books.
So that’s Dublin in a nutshell, although what you’ve glimpsed is just a tiny fraction of what the fair city has to offer. Next stop is Dublin’s northern neighbor, Belfast and the gorgeous gems it hides.