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Emergency Dublin help!

Hi, and apologies in advance - have skim read some of the Dublin posts from before, but need some additional help.

My other half has just been given a mega interview in Dublin next Friday so my son and I are flying out after school on Friday to join him and make a weekend of it. We're staying at Clontarf and probably won't get in till late so will just grab a sandwich there for dinner.

But we're free all Saturday...can anyone suggest a nice authentic Dublin day, including some pubs (my son's 17, worry not), non touristy lunch, he'd like to see Trinity College, and we have a dinner booking at Pig's Ear at 7.30...so nice lunch place (if that's a pub, all to the good), afternoon pitstop, pub before Pig's Ear?

Sorry, am normally so much better prepared than this!!! I don't even know what sights we're meant to be seeing apart from the College!

Then on Sunday, guess we'll have breakfast at the hotel, but flght isn't till 4.30...is there anywhere between Clontarf and the hotel for a nice lunch?? Or any sites?

Thanks so much guys!!!


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  1. Helen, one of my best friends lives in Dublin and should know some names for you. He's away on business, but always looks at his email, so I'll inquire. I stayed near Trinity about 2 years ago but our dinner was elsewhere out of that area and nothing special. Tom will know where Clontarf is but I don't know it.

    I'd suggest taking the tour bus that goes all around the city. It's a good way to see lots of sights, including the Guinness tour which is very interesting, plus everyone gets a free brew or soft drink at the end in an amazing 360 degree room up top. The Book of Kells at Trinity is also worthwhile.

    1. Wagamama on Grafton Street is always fun and delicious. Not exactly "Irish," though!

      1. My friend Tom had a few suggestions and comments. He's from London but has worked in Dublin for quite awhile now. He said that you should be near the DART rail system at Clontarf (staying at the castle?) and that line hugs the coast and is an easy way to get around... particularly to Howth which is very worthwhile.  it's a harbour town and worth a trip. The opposite direction is Dalkey and also Dun Laoghaire - these are probably the best destinations for a Saturday.

        Tom says Ragazzi in Dalkey is a fantastic Italian - "do not be deceived by it's looks. The focaccia is fab, the pasta is sublime and the dessert of lemon tort - fantastic! The Pigs Ear is great.  Temple Bar one evening is worth a visit."

        Hope this helps...

        1. If you want "authentic" Irish, go to Gallagher's in Temple Bar. It's touristy, but they serve boxties and bread pudding and keep a peat fire going...Speaking of touristy, listening to the trads at Oliver St. John Gogarty's across the street afterwards is a must-do. It's nothing like the authentic trads you'll get if you go out West, but it's tons of fun and they serve good beers on tap.

          If you're a foodie -and if you're here you are =) - go to Sheridan's Cheesemongers off Grafton Street (I think Anna St?) and get a selection, then go to Bewley's or Dunnes for some brown bread or scones (but if anyone has a better bakery suggestion, jump in - they're just on Grafton and convenient) and have a wee picnic in St. Stephen's Green. Top it off with whiskey and/or champagne truffles from Butler's on the corner near the entrance to the green. My favorite way to spend an afternoon in Dublin!

          3 Replies
          1. re: thursday

            I think Butler's chocolate is one of the best I've ever tasted! I've never looked for it in London, but I guess it's sold somewhere.

            1. re: zuriga1

              They'll ship to the states as well- I've been tempted many times, but since I live on the West Coast, shipping is just too much of a killer. East Coast people, however, may find it worth it...

              1. re: thursday

                Thanks thursday. I'll have to find their website since England is a lot closer than the East Coast U.S. I don't much like shipping anything to the States these days. It took a month for my grandkids in Redmond to get their holiday gifts - they arrived last weekend. :-)

          2. Not strictly Irish at all, and it is stuck down one end of Temple Bar, but would be a great spot for breakfast/brunch or lunch. My last visit was about 4 years ago, so cannot vouch for what it is like now, but have recommended it to friends and they have liked it. Certainly a great place for a Sunday morning, post-Guiness brunch before you head home. The buffalo chicken wings are the best I have ever had! http://www.elephantandcastle.ie/index...

            1. Clontarf is about three miles from the Dublin city center but convenient in terms of transport. If you want a wonderful Irish pub experience near Trinity College, I would suggest either of the following:

              The Bailey, featured in James Joyce's "Ulysses. It's where Leopold goes for lunch of Gorgonzola and a glass of Burgundy during his Dublin peregrinations on Bloomsday, 1904.

              The Bailey
              2 Upper Duke Lane
              Dublin 2, Co. Dublin
              01 6773055

              Another popular pub (among many of them!) in this area is O'Neills on Suffolk Street. Suffolk street is a continuation of Nassau Street which, in turn, marks the southern boundary of Trinity College. It's excellent for both food and atmosphere.


              Both are very near The Pig’s Ear. On Sunday, why not check out the seafront in Clontarf as there are at least two decent bistro-type establishments there.

              5 Replies
              1. re: scoopG

                Depending on when you're going, I'd both recommend and be wary of O'Neills - it's popular with a lot of the Trinity kids and can get quite packed and rowdy as the night waxes. On the other hand, it's a great pub with a lot of nooks and crannies to have a couple of pints.

                1. re: thursday

                  What pub near Trinity would not be packed and not rowdy at late night? That said, students are invariably tight for cash and with the added pressure of the very severe recession in Ireland I'm sure that Trinity students are no exception. That whole area is always busy because it's in the very heart of Dublin, surrounded by so many historical locations. 

                  1. re: scoopG

                    Mulligan's? http://www.stay.com/dublin/bar-pub/44...

                    Apologies tho' it's been many years (20+) since I studied at Trinity! Locals please weigh in

                    Last trip to Dublin (2009) had nice late pint in Long Hall + two in afternoon in Stag's Head (wouldn't go near Temple Bar now in evening - crappy hen parties galore


                    Someone mentioned the Bailey - it was considered "poncey" in 1987 dunno what it's like now - yes of course it's in Ulysseys

                    Kehoe's prob remains my favourite then and now

                    1. re: themags

                      True, ScoopG -

                      And a +1 for Kehoe's. There was a great place round the corner from Trinty that wasn't so popular with the students because it was more old school...quite small and dark, but poured a great pint...I'll see if looking through a map jars my memory.

                      1. re: themags

                        Kehoes is very 'authentic' but not for the fainthearted unless one likes musty and untidy pubs with dodgy sandwiches IMO. But as the saying goes: one person's meat is another person's poison.

                2. We were in Dublin two weekends ago and had a fabulous time. We ate at the Pig's Ear one night and really enjoyed it. The other night we ate at Chapter One and liked it as well, although not as much as Pig's Ear.

                  We had traditonal Irish stew one day for lunch at The Stags Head. Good food, good beer, and a mixture of locals and tourists made it the perfect stop. We enjoyed several pubs including The Cobblestone and O' Donghuges. O'Donghues had live traditonal Irish music which was nice to experience.

                  We took the DART late morning to Howth. It took about 30 minutes and was well worth the seaside/countryside view. We explored Howth and had a lovely seafood lunch at Aqua. It was pricey but fresh. There were several other fish houses that were more casual and less expensive but we preferred to eat over the water.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: jenniferjones

                    Thank you SO much for all your suggestions. Really kind. Will post back with my verdict! And a cheesey picnic is a GENIUS idea btw :)

                  2. Temple Bar District is a lot like the New Orleans French Quarter. I went to many places and was never disappointed. We stayed at the Clarence on wellington quay. The back entrance of the hotel was in temple bar. Everything you are mentioning is within walking distance, so be sure to look to the right as you cross the streets. St Stephens Green is a great respite if you have time to chill. The churches are all beautiful architecture. There are double decker tour buses that will take you to Guinness. Party at ClubM, Morning coffee at TheJoyof Coffee!!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: conOsewer

                      We had a lovely time, so thanks all. Was quick through the airport so went out for dinner on Friday to the Winding Stair. The first and second floors of a tall town house by the water, atmosphere was bistro buzzy - only complaint was tables slightly too close together. Potted Dingle crab with the most GORGEOUS treacly soda bread, then venison with a plum sauce, expertly cooked. A decent lookiing fish pie on the other side of the table and local lamb chops. Then a Fat Duck inspired bag of sweets to close - flying saucers, cola bottles and chocolate mice! Dirty martini (or two) at the Morrison and home.

                      Next morning was brunch at the Elephant and Castle - nice place, slow service, despite the delights promised by the full page in the menu of eggs dishes...so so. I had Eggs Idaho which was meant to be fried eggs (OK) with potato pancakes (they were actually just mash cakes, had expected farls) - roast tomatoes and grilled ham were nice enough, as was the OJ. But pint of the black stuff at Kehoes later was much better.

                      That evening, went to have a martini at the Sherbourne but it was a) packed and b) smelt of wee...not a winning combination when you're expecting grande dame excellence. Instead our cabbie sent us to Ely's, a brilliant wine bar just up the road, which we returned to after dinner too. Brilliant service, nice cosy basement, and a well chosen list (the Tin Pot pinot noir was lush).

                      Then dinner at the Pig's Ear. Hm. Had been really looking forward to it. Similar set up to the Winding Stair but with more table space. Black pudding and potato salad - OK, underseasoned, bit forgettable. I made a 'doh' mains choice. Had salmon as had been seduced by promise of a potted shrimp and caper brown butter with samphire. All 3 of which ingredients I love. Salmon was nicely cooked, but the potted shrimps were normal prawns, counted 3 capers, and 3 strands (not even 3 branches) of samphire.

                      Tragic, a lot of it was my poor menu choice, as the other side of the table had a nicely cooked pork belly with a mini sausage roll. But. So then went back to the wine bar for cheese :)

                      Went to Howth for a walk this morning - beautiful fishing village just north of Dublin (20 mins on the train). There were some beautiful looking places for lunch so do research it if you're visiting, it's lovely walking out along the harbour wall and in summer you can get a boat to the handsome looking island. We were too full after breakfast sadly! Fish place called King Sensric (sic?)

                      1. re: helen b

                        Oh, and forgot - went to the Bailey in the centre of town. Fine - but deserted, and at 10pm on a Saturday night!

                    2. hi Helen, I am pretty new to Dublin myself, so not sure where Pig's Ear is in relation....however Seapoint Restaurant in Monkstown is delicious and you can go for a walk on the pier after http://www.seapointrestaurant.com/ If you look into the DART or there are buses out there from the city centre. Hope this helps! Aimee