Home in Dublin

November 8, 2011

This week, I’m celebrating my third anniversary of moving to Dublin by sharing lots of stories with you! From how I ended up here, to what were the hardest adjustments and biggest surprises – check back here all week for the inside scoop!

Good morning, everyone! I thought it might be fun to share a peek at our apartment, along with everything I can think of to tell you about Irish homes that might surprise you. How about that?

We live in a neighborhood on the north side of Dublin. It’s actually on the same street where Michael went to primary school!

Here’s what we love about our little spot:

It’s close to the Dart – only 6 minutes walking takes you to the train station, then a 20 minute ride and you’re in the City Centre!

Our street is full of friendly families and the cars drive slow – pretty safe for our less-than-quick kitty.

In barely ten minutes walking, we can get to the sea. One of my absolute favorite things about living in Dublin is how close we are to the open water. Even though we’re so close to the city, we also get lots of fresh sea air.

Along the seafront is a biking and walking path that stretches all the way down to the City Centre. It’s such a luxury coming from little China Village where there aren’t even any sidewalks!

Our apartment is cheery and bright and has its very own back garden, fenced in by walls so it feels very private.

We have a shed that fits our American-style dryer and my art studio!

And the more challenging bits:

No closets. Some Irish apartments and houses have closets, but for the most part, no closets. We have dressers and wardrobes, but that doesn’t leave much space for size 14 basketball sneakers! The lack of storage space for clothes quickly curbed any shopping habit I may have had.

Older Irish homes have hot water heaters called The Immersion, which you need to turn on to heat the water before you have a shower or do the dishes. An Irish-American comedian does a hilarious skit about moving to Ireland and learning about The Immersion. It’s a killer when you need to grab a quick shower and you’ve forgotten to turn it on!

Most Irish homes have a combination washing machine and dryer. They fit about half of what a load would be in America, and they take forever. We’re talking well over an hour to wash a load. And forget about the dryer. Three hours later, you’d still have wrinkly, damp clothes. In fact, most Irish people just hang their clothes on the radiators to get them dry!

For Christmas last year, Michael’s parents gave us an American-style dryer that fits in our back shed. It’s a lifesaver with all of Michael’s basketball uniforms that seem to need washing every other day!

Now, for the tour.

Come on in! I made that little welcome sign from a piece of driftwood, a little like this one.

This sideboard hides all the basketball bags and sheets and towels. I found it for 11 euro on Ebay when I first moved here. Such a steal!

From the front room, you can look all the way to the back of our house – it’s long and narrow like a boat! Through this door on the right is one of the bathrooms, and another is attached to the bedroom.

Here’s our little kitchen nook! It has tons more cabinets than our last apartment, and there’s a skylight in the ceiling so it stays pretty bright. My only complaint? It doesn’t allow for someone to keep you company while you’re cooking! Well, the kitty sleeps on the rug, but he’s more of a nuisance since you trip over him!

This is kind of an odd photo, but I wanted to show you our cool chalkboards (made from pieces of plywood I found in the shed) that we have on either side of the kitchen cabinets. They’re so useful. Oh, and some garland that I put up at Christmas and couldn’t bring myself to take down.

See that door to the left? That’s the bedroom.

The bedroom is cozy, for sure, but we’ve been pretty creative with the space.

And see? On the opposite wall is my lovely sea glass art! It’s the nicest thing to look at when you wake up in the morning. That is, if you wake up once the sun is up – for me that’s only on the weekend!

Just one extra shot of the bedroom so you can see my favorite part – this mirror was a gift from my grandparents for our wedding. It’s made with a frame that hung over their bed for fifty years. It used to have a painting, but they changed it to a mirror and I just love it. Now they’re going on 60 years, so I think it’s good luck!

Now, the back room of the house is the living room. It has two very squishy, very reclinable couches. They wouldn’t be my pick, but in Ireland, rental properties usually come with couches, beds, and some other miscellaneous furniture that you have to stick with. I do admit, though, they are very comfy.

The gauzy curtains came with the apartment as well, but I’ve grown to love them. They add some privacy but let the light stream in. I found the corner TV unit and the coffee table for free here. I’ve debated painting them, but I think I’ll wait until we move. I’d love to paint them white, but we’ve got so many different browns going on I’m surrendering for the moment.

The big windows run across two full walls. Here’s the view from the couch by the window!

Our back garden gets sun in the morning and early afternoon. The walls keep the breezes to a minimum, so it gets quite warm back there. And check out my sunflowers! They got so big!

And there’s our little house from the back garden!

How’s that for a house tour? Of course, what I really need is one of those wide-angle lenses that make everything look huge. But that wouldn’t be nearly as honest.


  • Reply Robin November 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Fascinating, Emily! I love the garden, what a treat for an urban home. And the long and narrow lay out (maybe because I like living on boats? Or because it reminds me of my city apartments?).

    I may need to put a chalk board in my life.

    • Reply emily November 8, 2011 at 7:14 pm

      Thanks, Robin! We use our garden so much in the summer time. I even had raised beds this year and managed to grow potatoes, onions, lettuce and carrots! Not bad considering how teeny most European homes are!

  • Reply Rachael November 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Oh wow Emily, your apartment is beautiful! You’ve made it into such a home, it looks really peaceful and welcoming. You’ve done a really great job, and I’m so jealous you live so close to the sea!

    Ps – the new anti-spam question is a great idea, but jeepers, I had no idea I was so bad at maths – it took me a minute or two to answer! *Cringe*

    • Reply emily November 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm

      Oh no! I didn’t even know the anti-spam question involves math now! I think I’m morally opposed…must look into asap! 😉

  • Reply Torry November 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Adorable! And the immersion thing cracked me up – I moved here ten years ago and suffered through lukewarm showers until we moved into our own house with solar panels and an enormous hot water tank 🙂 you can take the girl out of America…!

    • Reply emily November 10, 2011 at 1:31 pm

      That immersion bit makes me chuckle every time I watch it. Des Bishop is so clever when it comes to the Irish things that make you wonder!

  • Reply Katie November 9, 2011 at 12:06 am

    Lovely photos!

    By the way, did you see the feature about Liberty Tool on Etsy? (http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/theres-no-place-like-here-liberty-tool/?ref=fp_blog_title)

    • Reply emily November 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      I loved that video! Thanks for sharing! Makes me SO ready to get home on Saturday 🙂

  • Reply Brandi {not your average ordinary} November 10, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Emily, your home is so incredibly beautiful! And only a short commute to the city centre and a few minutes to the sea? That sounds like heaven! Also, when I finally get to Ireland (hopefully by next autumn), I just may have to insist on tea in that gorgeous little outdoor space of yours. Lucky!

    P.S. I don’t know if it’s just me, but your captcha hates me. It always tells me I have the wrong answer when I know it’s right and forces me to write my comment again. It seriously took me a dozen times just now to get my comment through.

    • Reply emily November 10, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      Oh no! So sorry about my over-protective anti-spam guy! Trying to sort that out!
      And yes, open invitation for tea in the back garden! Anytime! 🙂

  • Reply Need a Dublin Vacation? | From China Village April 16, 2013 at 9:37 am

    […] Send me an email for more details. And check out the rest of the photos of the house in this little tour here! […]

  • Reply althea lathrop April 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    Hi Emily, my daughter Seven Starr Grenier works at Colby and talked with your dad about renting your home while you are in Maine. He was also going to forward his and my texts referring to that. We are both Colby alums. We have talked about going to Ireland for a long time and this could be ideal for us. Seven Starr and I would like to talk to you about committing to renting for the whole time you are in Maine next summer. We would like to discuss your pricing etc with you at your earliest convenience.

  • Reply Landing Strip Makeover - From China VillageFrom China Village March 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    […] You can see the before photos here! […]

  • Leave a Reply