London, Dublin, Cork, Here I come!
June 29, 2008 4:21 PM   Subscribe

TravelFilter: Things to do in London, Dublin, Cork. Places to stay in Dublin and Cork. Indian Restaurant recommendations in London. General restaurant recommendations for either London, Dublin, or Cork

I'll be going to London, Dublin, and Cork in August. Do you have any recommendations for things to do? Or places to stay in Dublin and Cork? I know that there is good Indian food to be eaten in London, but I don't want to just wander around trying to find food. Other restaurant recommendations also appreciated.
posted by majikstreet to Travel & Transportation (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Not sure what your accommodation budget is, but I stayed at a great hostel in Cork - the Bru Bar and Hostel. It's run by two very friendly ex-pat South African guys. The pub's nice and cozy too.
posted by jimmythefish at 4:34 PM on June 29, 2008

If you are a Joyce fan at all, don't miss the Martello Tower in which Joyce lived as a young writer. Very nifty Joycean art posters and T-shirts were available in the gift shop when I was last there.

The National Museum of Ireland has a great deal worth seeing, including ancient Irish gold.

I particularly recommend visiting St. Michan's Church and the mummies who were buried beneath it -- medieval people who were naturally preserved by the condition of the vaults. Your tour guide may even let you touch the hand of "the knight" for luck -- it's been worn shiny by generations of tourists doing this.

Good luck -- Ireland is tremendous fun, and the food is very good. As is, of course, the beer.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:06 PM on June 29, 2008

(I should add that all three of the places I mentioned are in Dublin; I've only seen Cork through car windows.)
posted by Countess Elena at 5:07 PM on June 29, 2008

When we were in Dublin in late 2005 we stayed at the Mont Clare hotel. It was lovely. They had a nice common area where we liked to take tea in the evenings.
We didn't spend long enough in Dublin to get much beyond the touristy things, but we had a delightful dinner at The Mermaid.

We also really enjoyed the town of Lismore. It's an hour and a half-ish west of Dublin, and we stopped there on a whim, and just kind of wandered around through the town. We had dinner at a placed called Barca Wine bar, and it was awesome.

You will love it.
posted by dpx.mfx at 8:57 PM on June 29, 2008

Avoid rooming any place that looks budget on Lower Gardener Street. Hotels are all much the same, but there are many a dodgy hostel.

Go to the Chester Beatty Library (which is really a gallery) if you like seeing beautiful stuff for free, and maybe having a nice lunch (not free).

Howth Head is a lovely cycle trip from the city. Either is Three Rock, or any hikes in Wicklow -- of which there are many a tourist bus which will take you.

Personally, I find Temple Bar kind of repulsive (but that's what you get for living there), with the exception of the lovely IFI.

Decent food can be few and far between. Yamamori on George's Street is good (a bit spendy) - I recommend the Tofu Steak! Indian restaurants are a fairly safe bet; and there are lots of cheap Chinese places around Moore Street.

Try to avoid getting stabbed if at all possible. Lonely Planet et al can tell you all you need to know for getting around. I really recommend taking the train to Cork if you can afford it -- Bus Eireann is a drag, and Iarnrod Eireann has toilets on the trains.
posted by tamarack at 10:59 PM on June 29, 2008

If you're on a budget (which I was), Globetrotters cannot be beat for price and comfort. It's over on Lower Gardiner St and accessible from the airport by bus line 41/41C. It's about a two block walk north to Dublin's main thoroughfare, O'Connell St.

As far as things to do, what isn't there to do? There's everything from hop-on/hop-off bus tours over to places like St. Patrick's Cathedral to the Guinness Storehouse. There's also a Ghost Bus Tour, which was quite fascinating and a good laugh. A trip over to Malahide Castle is a great way to spend a half day.
There's also the Dublin Writers Museum, if you're into that.

For walking around, I recommend strolling through Temple Bar (a 5 block walk and bridge cross over the Liffey River) and also heading over to Grafton Street. If you happen to get lost, feel free to ask any friendly-looking local. I did this my first time and was pleasantly surprised when the lad announced he had no pressing engagements and would be glad to show me the way personally. Not that everyone will be this lucky. But you'll at least be sent in the right direction.

Re: London. I had a great time heading to all the art museums (Victoria and Albert, Tate Modern, Sir John Soanes, National Portrait Gallery, London Design Museum). I also made a "pilgrimage" over to the Golders Green Crematorium to see Keith Moon, Peter Sellers, and Marc Bolan. My friend and I also spent one day on the Tube just getting off wherever struck our fancy. Walking along the banks of the Thames is also a very underrated experience.

That's all I can think of for now. If you would like to wrack my brain for more, feel free to MeFi Mail me. :-)
posted by arishaun at 11:40 PM on June 29, 2008

Indian food in London means Brick Lane. It's pretty central, just south of the City, not far from Liverpool Street station and Bishopsgate. I used to eat there quite regularly.

Head there and ye will be happy.
posted by nudar at 1:27 AM on June 30, 2008

Ahh bad nudar!! Disregard the link posted above.

Try this link instead.
posted by nudar at 1:31 AM on June 30, 2008

Forgive me nudar but Indian food in London also means Tooting and Southall. I especially recomend Tooting's Radha Krisha Bhavan.
posted by Dr.Pill at 3:44 AM on June 30, 2008

I can tell you where NOT to stay in Cork: Ardara House. That place was depressing. In fact, Cork was overall kind of depressing- if you don't have your heart set on it, I recommend Kinsale as an alternative. There is an excellent brew pub in Cork: The Franciscan Well.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 4:10 AM on June 30, 2008

Rather confusingly for those who've heard that Brick Lane is the centre of the curryverse, the best ethnic restaurants in the area are actually Pakistani, not Indian and are a short walk from Brick Lane itself. They are New Tayyab on Feldgate Street and the Lahore Kebab House on Umberston Street. Both are very good and ridiculously cheap; neither is licensed, but you can bring your own beer. Tayyab is buzzier and better located but can be a bit rushed; Lahore is a bit more relaxed and ever so slightly pricier. Try both.
posted by rhymer at 5:05 AM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oh man, I've just lost a huge comment by closing the tab accidentally. Short on time, but here is the concise version...


Nash 19 on Prince's Street for incredible sandwiches, weirdly formal buffet-to-table service action, and the world's greatest cucumber pickle.

The UCC campus for a beautiful wander, with a stop at the Glucksman Gallery.

Victoria Road/Kennedy Quay for a great view across the river to Kent Station, to the island between the river branches (beware of these when trying to get your bearings!) where there are amazing bonded warehouses, and right beside you, some ridiculously great disused massive concrete grain silos.

The train to Cobh (from Kent Station, think it's about half an hour each way) is supposed to be extremely beautiful.

Wandering (again), take a walk through the residential streets in Shandon, where it's super-steep and, well, take a look (self-link to flickr).


I'm a museum nerd and London provides spectacularly, so this is not the most hip, exciting list.

The British Museum and the V&A are screamingly obvious, but the scale of the collections is also mindblowing. Don't try to see more than a tiny bit.

The Soane Museum is really special and worth a look. My other favourites are the Design Museum (not free, exhibition quality varies, gift shop is amazing), the Hayward Gallery (totally depends what's on), the Barbican (wander in for the architecture alone if you're nearby, even if there's nothing on that you want to see), and the Tate Modern, which has a great collection, an interesting way of grouping the work, and the Turbine Hall which is like an industrial cathedral given over to an artist to play with. The South Bank is a nice walk, and I love the streets in and around the stretch from Gabriel's Wharf to the Tate Modern.

Probably not of interest, but my favourite places to eat in London are the Food For Thought cafe on Neal St in Covent Garden, and Mildred's in Soho.


If you've specific interests, I can give some better suggestions, but here's a few general ones...

Not sure if you're interested in pubs (your previous AskMe suggests not) but if you're with someone who's over 18, go for a daytime drink in the Long Hall on George's Street, the Stag's Head off Dame Street, the Lord Edward opposite Christchurch (my Southside favourite) or the unpredictable but remarkable The Welcome Inn on Parnell Street (my Northside favourite) just to check out the interiors. They may smell in daytime...

For eating, you might like to check out the Chinese and Korean restaurants popping up around Parnell Street and Moore Street (which in itself is worth a visit to see the traders in full swing, roaring in Dublin accents against a backdrop of African and Asian shops selling phone cards out the front windows). I tread carefully here because I don't have the digestive constitution for risk, but my friends tend to enjoy the Hop House on Parnell Street, Jade on Little Mary Street (off Capel Street), Sichuan House on Parnell Street.

I second the recommendation for Yamamori and their tofu steak. Their whole menu is about 50% cheaper for lunch than dinner.

The Cake Cafe off Camden Street is unique and sweet and lovely, if you're nearby. Stuff-stuck-to-the-wall art and mismatched old cups and saucers, mmhmm.

Around Trinity (which is pretty and has the ever-popular Book of Kells) or if you're wandering up to the fantastic Chester Beatty, which has the pretty Serpentine garden beside it, a good but maybe unadventurous lunch option can be to grab a sandwich in Marks & Spencer's basement on Grafton Street and then eat it sitting out.

On the museum front, aside from the CBL, the National Museum has a bunch of branches, with my favourite being Collins' Barracks, and a short walk or LUAS journey from there is the Irish Museum of Modern Art, which also has beautiful grounds. IMMA is in a former military hospital, so the two of those have quite a bit in common in terms of the giant parade ground style courtyards. If you're around during its opening hours, check out the Jewish Museum in Portobello (small fee in), which is very quirky and ad hoc in its displays, as well as telling an interesting story. Oh, and the National Gallery on Merrion Square is beautiful, and check out the Yeats room if you're pressed for time. It's free aside from visiting exhibitions (but they encourage donations), like most of Dublin's museums. I like the Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar, too, which also links up to a big recent architectural history, which I can add information on if you're interested.

If you're looking for a break from the city, take the DART out to Dun Laoghaire and walk on the piers with an ice cream from Teddy's nearby. Seriously.
posted by carbide at 6:20 AM on June 30, 2008 [1 favorite]

Dublin first - I've stayed at the Bewley's hotel in Ballsbridge, Dublin, and been very happy with the facilities, service and price, but it's more into the embassy/business area of the city than the central, touristy part. They have another in Leopardstown, more central, which looks nice but I haven't stayed.

Seconding the recommendation for Malahide - you can get the DART out there and spend the day. There's a really nice restaurant in the harbour/marina there - it sits on stilts, so you get great views (especially on stormy days)! Here it is, it's called Cruzzo .

As for London, comments about Brick Lane, Tooting and Southall above should get you looking in the right areas. I'm a big fan of the Brilliant indian restaurant (yes, that's its name, not just a description) in Southall - run by two Indian brothers who emigrated from Kenya in the 70s.
There's also a little area of vegetarian indian restaurants in Little India: on and around Drummond Street near Euston station - cheap and cheerful, perfect for buffet lunch if you're nearby (and even if, like me, you're not vegetarian!). Chutney's is one, and the map at that link will point you towards more in the area.
posted by emtanner at 10:05 AM on July 2, 2008

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