Prepare for Trouble and Make it Dublin
October 5, 2016
I’ve really put off writing about Dublin, it’s just hard to describe all my feelings there. Dublin was so many things for me. It was full of beauty, sadness, good friends, and good beer. I guess I’ll just jump in at the beginning and hope it makes sense.
To start, we had our first negative experience with Airbnb in Dublin. It was unfortunate. Through a series of unfortunate events, mostly a host that really didn’t care about our convenience, we ended up with a really mediocre apartment that was OK enough, but unfinished and weirdly full of spiders. Our stay there even included one abrupt intrusion by a stranger. Despite how much we like to go out of the house and explore the city, it’s just so important to have a home base to feel comfortable and safe in. Sadly, we just didn’t have that in Dublin.
Thankfully we ended up in a really cool neighbourhood which made the icky apartment a bit more tolerable.
First, let’s talk about this neighbourhood that I fell in love with. We stayed in the Rathmines area just next to the canals. It was a super cool area that felt more like where people live and not just full of tourists, but it was only a 20-30 min walk from all the crazy tourist stuff like the Temple Bar area.
I went on a long walk every day just exploring the side streets, the canals, and the pubs. Occasionally I would remember to grab my good camera and take nice pictures, but usually I would just take crappy phone pics because I’m the worst.
Door to our first shitty apartment (not where we stayed the whole time).
I loved the street art and the old buildings. This area of Dublin is a bit rough around the edges, but has a lot of character.
This bee graffiti was everywhere in the neighbourhood. I kept spotting them in new places everyday.
The canals aren’t actively used for much boat traffic, although I saw a boat restaurant along the way once.
The village market moves around everyday and it’s mostly food trucks and food stands. A great spot for lunch.
I found Dartmouth!
I found the brick row houses endlessly pretty with brightly coloured doors. The red against the often grey days was a nice pick me up.
I didn’t make it into this pub, but I like its style.
COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE
On my many walks I would also like to stop for a coffee. I ended up making a project of it, to find the best coffee with 30 min walking radius of my home. I found a lot of really amazing coffee, and I did find a favourite.
I rated my coffee in three ways:
1. Distance/pleasantness of walk to the cafe.
2. Environment in the cafe. Is it comfortable to sit in and are the staff nice? Could I even read a book there?
3. Coffee quality. I wouldn’t describe myself as a coffee snob by any means. Sometimes I’ll take any brown liquid to get the job done… that came out weird, but I mean I’m very much addicted to caffeine and nothing will taste better than a cup of joe when your body really needs it. Yes, even instant if necessary. With that said, I do know a bad taste from a good one and I can tell when a place cares about their product – which usually results in a damn fine cup of coffee.
3fe is a really neat hip cafe that is super popular amongst the locals. It was about a 30 min walk from my place, but it was direct if I followed the canals. I basically got to walk through a cute park the whole way. If it happens to be a slow time it’s a comfy place to hang out, but most of the time it’s super busy and you won’t find a seat. Dat coffee is p good tho. I only tried their flat whites because they were perfect. They do a neat thing where they do a tasting tray which includes an espresso and a flat white so you can taste all the bits. They seem to care about what they’re doing which I like and admire.
Another fav is Clement & Pekoe which is closer to the downtown. For me it was a 20 min walk along a busier street or I could detour through a park if I wanted. C&P gets points for having a cool hangout area. The chairs aren’t the most comfortable, but you can usually find a free place to sit and they have great books around to browse through. They serve their flat whites in a classic white coffee mug and instead of an order number or something they give you a country name. I even got Canada once.
Wall & Keogh is another noteworthy spot. When you get a coffee they ask if you want sweet or savoury! At first I thought it was just too hip for me, but then I realized they serve a different “sweet coffee” daily as a special and the savoury coffee is the regular coffee. The sweet coffee was also neat because they mixed different flavours with the beans rather than just a syrup. I tried the coconut one once… it didn’t end up being my favourite but I still thought it was a cool idea.
After some honourable mentions here is my fav spot: Two Fifty Square. It was just two blocks from my house and a little off the main street so a bit quieter. Two fifty or 2 fiddy sq is also a coffee roasters. I really liked how chill the place was, the cafe was big but still cosy. I went and worked on my computer there and everyone was cool. The coffee was also super good. There was nothing special about it, it was just yummy.
You can look at all the other cafes I went to on my map below (the red pins are all cafes). I enjoyed all the coffee I had at these places. I think I’d have to go out of my way to find a bad cup.
Note from John: My favourite coffee place was Grove Road! But I did not try nearly as many as Brittney. I do highly recommend trying oatmeal/porridge from every cafe in Ireland/UK you go by, as every place has their own twist.
I have so much more to share about Dublin, but you’re going to have to wait because I’m a slow poke on the blog train lately. Sorry! I’ve been busy visiting Canada and things.