Hidden gems in Dublin?
September 19, 2014 10:41 AM   Subscribe

You know when you get a recommendation on travel and you go in a place in a random city and there are locals there and they say something like "yeah, we love this place, but how did YOU know about it?" Well, do you have any current suggestions like that - food, drink, or other - for Dublin, Ireland, tonight through this weekend? Even the touristy places are great here but I'd love any insider info. Cheers and thank you in advance for any advice.
posted by ftm to Travel & Transportation around Dublin, Ireland (16 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Dublin is lovely and I would say that basically any pub off the main tourist drag could count as a hidden gem. But the one thing I did while I was there that really sticks with me is catch a bus tour out to Gledalough. It's about an hour and a half each way, so you need to budget half a day for it, but it's incredible.
posted by 256 at 10:52 AM on September 19, 2014 [5 favorites]

It's not quite hidden, but the Rock Bar at Bruxelles is a cool metal bar in the basement of a restaurant. It's definitely worth a visit.
posted by bedhead at 11:05 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: This will be my only threadsit: any and all suggestions welcome. No demerits for distance, popularity, or lack of cred, this night :)
posted by ftm at 11:07 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

There's a tiny donut stand about a third of the way up o'connell st that sells hot, fresh mini-donuts.

On Saturday, in the courtyard behind the Irish film Center in Temple Bar, there's a farmer's market with a stand which sells the best coffee in Dublin (good coffee is a rare treasure there). The farmer's market is a great place for brunch on the hoof in general --- plenty of bakers and international food stuff, and an oyster bar in season.

If "terribly executed amaturish portraits of Tom Waits" are just the kind if thing you want to see in the walls of your local dive, you'll want to try Grogan's near Powerscourt.

Out of season to see a game now, but the Pavilion bar overlooking the Trinity college cricket pitch is open to the public. On summer weekends the lawn in front is a popular hangout for students and profs alike.

The Library Bar at the central hotel is a cozy spot on a cold night --- fireplace, books, giant over-stuffed armchairs. Tucked away on the second floor.

Also, check out the Chester Beatty library and Dawson St., which has Hodges & Figgis and the Irish Whiskey Store.
posted by Diablevert at 11:23 AM on September 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Hop House / Kimchi is one half pub, one half restaurant and really good. I eat there all the time. Bonus: cheap by Dublin standards.

Dada is excellent Moroccan food. One of the most memorable meals I've had in the past 5 years. Ignore the photo of Bono; the people are very nice and kind.

Seconding the Chester Beatty. For more ideas of worthwhile ways to spend your days, see also.

Suggestion: stay out of Temple Bar at the weekend for food, drink, or anything else evening related. It's all tourists, all the time.

PS: People seem to like The Oval.
posted by DarlingBri at 11:58 AM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I also agree with the Chester Beatty Library.

I also love the Irish Natural History Museum, which is located right near Trinity College on Merrion St. Compared to other great modern natural history museums, this is NOT a very good museum. If you approach it looking for something like the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, then you will be very disappointed. However, when the museum opened in the early 19th Century, it was one of the greatest natural history museums in the world. So, if you approach this place thinking: this is a visit back in time to a great museum of the 19th century, then you will love this place. The museum is itself a museum of museums from by-gone eras.
posted by Flood at 12:13 PM on September 19, 2014 [4 favorites]

I've recommended it here before and I'll recommend it again:

The Winding Stair (specifically the restaurant, but the bookshop is nice, too).
posted by Betelgeuse at 12:39 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Heartily seconding Chester Beatty and the Natural History Museum (my absolute favorite). The Long Room at Trinity College is also incredible, if more crowded. If you're into craft beer, consider The Black Sheep. I'll leave it to the locals to list the other, less obvious gems, but those were some of the highlights (likewise courtesy of other Mefites!) of my own trip to Dublin this summer.
posted by cellar door at 12:42 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you like cheese, Sheridans in South Anne St. in center city, near both the Natural History Museum and the National Gallery of Art. In the National Gallery I especially like the landscapes of Paul Henry and the Yeats Collection.
posted by CheeseLouise at 1:36 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am by no means a hard rock person but I went to Fibber Magees in Parnell St on a Friday night and I had the time of my life, and when they realized we were around the metal band that was playing live gave a fantastic metal rendition of Sweet Home Alabama.
posted by cobain_angel at 2:20 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I had a really lovely dinner at The Pig's Ear that I still think fondly of sometimes. There's a lot of bad food in Dublin, definitely stick to the recommendations (there's good food too but it's not always obvious where it is).

The Chester Beatty Library is really surprisingly awesome.
posted by shelleycat at 2:58 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've eaten a lot in Dublin, if that counts. I do second The Pig's Ear. Also had a great lunch at Hatch and Sons.
posted by vacapinta at 3:10 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've recommended these here before, but: I love The Black Sheep. And if you are a reader, don't miss Chapters just up the street (used books upstairs).

The food at L. Mulligan Grocer is very good--in particular, try the veggie/meat/appetizer boards (when I ate there, we made a meal of them).

Nthing the Library Bar.

It can sometimes be hard to find a seat in a decent bar in the city center on a weekend, but two good places where I've never had that problem are JW Sweetman (for a more modern brewpub atmosphere) and The Swan (for a proper old Dublin pub feel).

Also, check out Glasnevin Cemetery and then stop off at nearby Gravediggers (more properly known as Kavanagh's) for a drink.
posted by tiger tiger at 4:56 PM on September 19, 2014 [2 favorites]

If you're near Grand Canal Dock and need a brunch-y bite, we really liked both Herbstreet and Lolly & Cooks.
posted by area.man at 8:55 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

No demerits for distance

OK! Look into the National Stud & Gardens You can take the train from Dublin. As the name implies it is a horse breeding facility set amongst public gardens and is quite lovely. Even if you are not interested in looking at the horses or the small but new and interesting horse museum the gardens are worth a visit if you like gardens. There is a traditional Japanese garden dating to 1900 or so and a newer garden based on native plants. Both gardens were designed as meditative spaces and the setting is very peaceful and lovely. Horses and gardens, two big Irish passions most tourists do not see much of.
posted by fshgrl at 10:22 PM on September 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Hi all - we are lazy travelers - and I had an especially draining work week - and so we didn't get to a lot of these excellent suggestions, and the especially nice restaurants were booked, but of the above, we did see fibbers, the library bar, winding stair, and the hop house. My wife is both a horse person and a garden person and so I made a bargain that we will go to the National Stud on the next trip.

We also saw the cemetery and botanical gardens and Gravediggers and it was such a highlight that tiger tiger will be getting a memail from me shortly.

Thanks y'all and I will try to pay it forward by contributing what I can to the next Dublin thread I see.
posted by ftm at 3:47 PM on September 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

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