Dublin: bars and pubs

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When I visited Dublin last year I had the perfect tour guide; my Irish friend Sinead who lives there. After brunch, shopping and a mid-shopping coffee on the Saturday, we were ready for some vino in the afternoon. The first place we went to was the cute The Bailey Bar with stripy canopies and pastel colours. We managed to snag one of the outdoor tables and spent an hour or so chatting and people-watching. What a treat at the end of October!

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Next we went to one of the most famous pubs in town; Kehoes (try pronouncing that!), and I realised I had been there when I last visited Dublin. It’s a great mix of tourists and locals here, and it still feels genuine. Plus it has the prettiest ladies room I’ve ever seen in a pub!

The Bailey Bar, 2 Duke St, Dublin, Ireland

Kehoes, 9 South Anne Street, Dublin, Ireland

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Dublin: brunch at Dillinger’s

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For Halloween last year I went to Dublin for the weekend to visit my friend Sinead and the city was bustling to say the least; in part because of Halloween but it was also the Dublin Marathon that weekend and of course there was a big rugby game on (like most weekends in Ireland).

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I arrived late on the Friday night so we only had time to catch up over a bottle of wine, but spent the next day out on the town. We started with a delicious brunch at Dillinger’s in the cosy Ranelagh area.

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The place was packed when we arrived but we got a nice table (can’t remember if you can book or not) and started to read to menu. For a brunch menu, this was one of the best I’ve seen; I wanted to eat everything!  In the end I decided on the hash brown with guacemole, poached egg and smoked salmon while Sinead had the waffles with fried chicken and maple syrup. Both dishes were really nice (just a tad too big for us).

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We also had bellinis drink (appropriate when on holiday) and coffee.

Our lovely Saturday continued with some shopping, both in Ranelagh and central Dublin, and some drinks outside before going home to change and then on to dinner.

Dillinger’s, 47 Ranelagh, Dublin 6, Ireland

Dublin part II: Fallon & Byrne, the Exchequer and Bewley’s

After walking around in a grey, rainy and windy Dublin during the day, we were pleased when the rain stopped towards the evening.

We started our evening out at Fallon & Byrne, a wine cellar, food hall and restaurant, all under the same roof. The wine cellar was (of course) placed in the cellar, the food hall on the ground floor and the restaurant was upstairs.

The restaurant felt very cosy and was packed with people sitting around lots of small and a few larger tables covered with white tablecloths. There was a bar at the far end of the room and even the stools there were full. We arrived at 7pm, and in London it is very unusual to find a restaurant full at that time. But even though it was full that early, they relayed tables a couple of times through the evening, so it was obviously a popular place.

The menu and the ambiance was very similar; cosy but with some finesse! The service was efficient and professional; drinks, bread and butter appeared quickly on our table.

Karin’s starter was thinly sliced beetroots, marinated artichokes, rocket and a divine mild goat’s cheese.

My choice was celeriac soup with parsley foam. It was really nice, but not far off my own version, although the foam added another dimension. The bread was lovely too; crusty on the outside and lovely and soft within.

The starters were rather too large, so when it was time for our maincourses we were already quite full.

Karin chose pan-fried duck breast with potato fondant, pickled red cabbage and red wine jus. I chose herbcrusted halibut with perfect Pommes Anna, grapes and green beans. Both mains were lovely and had good combinations of flavours, but the portions were very really large.

We were too full to be tempted by the dessert menu, but Karin had a coffee, although a bit weak.

Afterwards we stepped onto the street and I realised we were on the corner from a bar my Irish friend Sineas had recommended; the Exchequer (on Exchequer Street).

It was a popular gastro pub/cocktail bar with some wonderful creations. I was too full for anything sweet, although I was very temped by the cocktails. Karin chose a Kir Royal and received a glass of bubbly with a pink cassis foam on top. A clever take on the classic!

After two drinks here we proceeded towards Temple Bar, the area where mosts pubs and bars are and we just chose a place at random, stayed there for a short while and then procedded onto a different one and so on.

Next day we were quite tired and wandered around Trinity College but felt after a while we needed to sit down and have a rest and some lunch. We just walked across the street to Bewley’s, a café on Grafton Street.

To be honest, the maincourses (pizzas and pasta dishes) didn’t look very appealing, but the sandwiches looked good and were exactly what we needed. I chose a toasted bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese and Karin chose a toasted ham and cheese ciabatta. We also got salad and lovely crisps on pur plates.

Fallon & Byrne, 17 Exchequer Street  Ranelagh, Dublin 2, Ireland

The Exchequer, 3-5 Exchequer Street, Dublin 2 Ireland  Ireland

Bewley’s Café, 78/79 Grafton Street, Dublin 2, Ireland

 

 

Dublin, part I: Guiness store house and Trinity College

On Saturday I met up with Karin at Dublin Airport; she arrived from Liverpool and I from Gatwick. Before I headed over to the other terminal to meet her, I went to the washrooms and this Irish lady started talking to me instantly. It turned all the Irish people we met during our stay in Dublin were just as friendly as she was.

After having left our bags at the hotel and had some breakfast we walked in the rain to the Guiness store house were we enjoyed the educational but sometimes a bit slow, exhibition. It was interesting to learn how Guiness is made and what gives it the distinctive dark colour (roasted barley).

Karin outside the Guiness store house

Included in the ticket was both a little taster of Guiness and also a whole pint at the top floor bar. Before we headed up there we stopped at the floor beneath to have lunch.

Seafood soup with samphire

The menu sounded really nice, but the execution wasn’t really there unfortunately. Our soup tasted quite nice, but some of the seafood looked a bit sad and it was obvious it came from a supermarket counter and not a proper fishmonger.

The was also not hot enough. We loved the dark soft bread though. We also stopped at the shop on our way out for some Guiness toffee and chocolate.

Afterwards we wanted to see Marsh’s Library, the first public library in Ireland with books dating back to the 1500s. Unfortunarely it closed early in the afternoon so we didn’t have time to visit. Walking back to the town centre the sky really opened and we had to run into a department store to escape the rain.

We found some lovely looking cupcakes there. And the store itself was an amazing building, too bad they only had boring shops like Argos inside it. It had such potential!

Trinty College

On the Sunday we went to Trinity College in the town centre and it was nice and all, but both Cambridge and my old univeristy in Sweden is a lot prettier. The sign posting was also lacking a lot and it took us a while to find the Science Gallery but it was closed because they were putting up a new exhibition. So we went to another exhibition instead; the Book of Kells. It was fairly interesting but could have been displayed in a better way. The best part however, was that on our way out we had to go upstairs to the long room, which indeed was a long room with a wonderful rounded ceiling and lots and lots of old leather bound book and statues if famous authours. That was wonderful to see!