If you’re planning a trip to Dublin or live here and want to explore the city more, I have lots of tips for you. Dublin is a wonderful city full of great museums, galleries, shops and restaurants. Here’s where to start!

I write a regular series called One Day in Dublin – detailing whole days full of Dublin adventures. Check back every few weeks for a new installment! You can view the first Day in Dublin here.

I also write a regular column for Poppytalk called Dispatches from Dublin, about the craft and design world in our great city. I share the stories behind great shops, initiatives, tours and workshops.

Getting around Dublin is pretty easy. Here’s what you need to know about public transportation and Dublin Bikes. And here a few more links to get you started here on FCV!

I wrote a City Guide for Design*Sponge about Dublin.

Like ice cream? Check out Murphy’s.

Everything you need to know to blend in at the pub.

Romantic Grafton Street.

*** Need a little more help? I also give custom tours of Dublin through Vayable. Whatever your interests, I can put together a three-hour tour that will help you learn about the makers, bakers, artists and creators that make this city tick. Click here to learn more about my Made in Dublin tours.

Delightful Design / Blas Cafe at the Chocolate Factory

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When Michael was on school break last week, we took a little field trip to the Blas Cafe in the Chocolate Factory. I had been meaning to check it out – it’s always great to hear about a new northside spot!  chocolate_factory_cafe_dublin

I was a big fan of their giant tall ceilings and mix of natural, grey and turquoise-y green chairs. And Michael and I decided that someday we will have hanging lights that twinkle like these (mostly I decided, let’s be honest). They were a little daintier than typical industrial lights so they seemed more glittery than bare.

It’s also just nice to have more space to move around in a cafe. Most Dublin cafes are quite small, so the Blas Cafe felt enormous!  chocolate_factory_dublin_blas_cafe

We only ordered coffee and they were having a problem with their machine so it took forever on the day we were there. When the coffee finally materialized it was yummy, so we’ll be back to give it another shot soon.

Blas Cafe / 26 King’s Inns Street, Dublin 1

How Dublin Bikes Took Over the City

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This infographic on Dublin Bikes, our city’s public bike system, arrived in my inbox last week and I thought it would be fun to share with you. I get a lot of infographics in my inbox but I usually delete them because they are cheesy and confirm every stereotype about Ireland that I work so hard to change! But this one was interesting, especially becuase it arrived in my inbox about ten minutes after I made one of those thirteen minute journeys on one of our fifteen hundred Dublin Bikes!

I have to admit, I had a Dublin Bikes card for two years before I got up the guts to use it! Two years! That means I renewed it after not having used it for a whole year! Luckily Dublin Bikes cards are so cheap when you subscribe annually – just €20! And I’ve gotten my money’s worth out of them in the last few years. Sometimes it’s the fastest way to get from A to B, but sometimes it’s just the most fun. I’ve pulled over so many times to take a photo that I wouldn’t have been able to snap if I was on the train or a bus. That said, I’ve also cursed Irish weather on those bikes – there was a stretch when I swear it was only raining on me as I cycled across the city!

Here are a few tips from a regular Dublin Bikes user:

  • Obey the traffic signs and lights
  • Watch out for pot holes, they can be lethal on Dublin streets!
  • Cars often run red lights, so don’t go without making sure all the cars have stopped
  • Don’t wear earphones while you’re cycling, it’s my biggest pet peeve – so dangerous!

You can see the full infographic with lots more Dublin Bikes info right here.

All Over the World with Conde Nast Traveler

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about places all over the world for Conde Nast Traveler. I thought I’d send you on a little journey through those articles today!

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10 Best Free Things to Do in Dublin – I love directing people to the free things to do in Dublin, like stroll through the many beautiful parks, or visit the Chester Beatty Library. These are ten of the best things to do in Dublin that won’t cost you a cent!

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The Restaurant Guide to Portland, Maine – I had such a fun time writing about my home state, especially because there are so many great places to eat. The image above is from Slab, where food writer and photographer Ted Axelrod describes the Sicilian pizza as a pizza pillow and he couldn’t be more right. Special thanks to Ted for snapping the photos for this story!

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The Best Cities for Chocolate Lovers – This was one of the harder stories to write simply because I wanted to be munching on chocolate continuously, chomping with every word! This girl with a sweet tooth has her eye on Brussels soon!

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Scenic Day Trips from Dublin – I can’t wait for the weather to warm up just enough to go out for a few day trips. We tried to brave Howth pier for a walk this weekend and it was just too cold and windy. Time for spring!

5 Dublin Cafes for Tea Drinkers

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I must admit I rarely drink tea, despite living in a country that takes tea very seriously and despite growing up with a dad who drinks tea all day long. I love to drink tea when an Irish person makes it for me in their kitchen and it always tastes delicious, but when I make it in my house or order it in a cafe and it just isn’t the same and I can’t get through more than a few sips. I also like to drink one very specific kind of vanilla tea some afternoons when I think I shouldn’t have more caffeine. I always end up jittery, looking down at my shaking hands and remembering how much caffeine tea actually has!

But I’ve realized I’ve been neglecting the tea drinkers out there by talking about coffee so much (here, here, and here), and of all the places in the world to drink tea, Dublin is a pretty good one. So, I’ve compiled a list (with the help of a few tea-drinking friends) of lovely little spots to drink tea in the city.

First, I should mention that there are very few places you can’t get a cup of tea in Ireland. You can get regular tea in restaurants, cafes, hotels, even pubs at any hour of the day. And Irish people do order normal tea all day long, and they drink it with milk and sometimes sugar. When you see sugar packets on restaurant tables, typically brown sugar is for coffee and white sugar is for tea. Second, you should know that if ever you encounter a problem in Ireland, tea will likely fix it. It’s just the law of the land!

All that said, these are five spots in Dublin to find a special tea experience or fun, exotic teas. And all of the spots I’ve mentioned that are cosy cafes for coffee will serve you tea as well! Now, on with the show!

Bewley’s

Open since 1927, Bewley’s Cafe in the middle of busy Grafton Street is where James Joyce, Patrick Kavanagh and Samuel Beckett chatted and worked over cups of tea. The Bewley family has been importing tea into Ireland since 1835, and they now produce tea and coffee for a ton of restaurants and hotels around the country. The cafe on Grafton Street has incredible Harry Clarke stained glass windows at the very back

Wall & Keogh

Wall & Keogh is filled with big jars of their own tea mixes – even their chai tea is their own blend. Wall & Keogh supply a lot of the other cafes in town, so you’ll see their name on tea all over Dublin. The cafe on Camden Street also does brunch all day, and if that isn’t something to smile about, I don’t know what is!

Clement & Pekoe

I’m realizing that Clement & Pekoe makes all my lists! The little cafe on South William Street is great for coffee, people watching, hot chocolate and now tea! They serve their tea with little individual strainers in each mug. You take the lid off the strainer and set the strainer in it when it’s strong enough for you. They also sell so many kinds of bulk tea in lovely black tins that would make such a nice souvenir for a tea fan!

Sister Sadie

I was in Sister Sadie right at the beginning of our clean and lean eating plan, so I skipped my usual coffee and opted for their “Sassy Sadie” tea blend. I usually make a face at fruity tea, but this was just the right blend of sass in my tea. I was calling it Zany Sadie until I double checked with them, but Sassy Sadie is probably a safer bet! Imagine what Zany Sadie might taste like?!

Nelly’s

Nelly’s is a tiny cafe just up the block from Sister Sadie in Portobello, a slightly quieter option with a few little tables on the front stoop. I like Nelly’s because it feels like you’re having tea in your cool Irish older sister’s kitchen. They also have a pantry section where you can pick up teas and wholesome ingredients to bring back to your own kitchen!

Are you planning a visit to Dublin? These are great spots to try, whether you drink tea or not! If you’re looking for a place to stay, try Hotel Direct to find deals for hotels in Dublin.

How to Make Irish Hot Whiskey to Cure the Sniffles

how_to_make_hot_whiskey_title We’ve got a few sniffles in our house at the moment. Nothing severe, but Michael woke up with a bit of a cold. I hate to even call it a cold, since that could encourage them (the cold and the husband), but needless to say it was time to break out my signature hot Irish whiskey recipe.  irish_hot_whiskey

Michael and I met our senior year in college. Well, I like to call it our second senior years. We had both taken time off during our junior years (for very different reasons – I was working for a presidential campaign and Michael was encouraged to take a bit of a break), and we found ourselves meeting for the first time (or third, depending who you ask) when we returned.

Long story short, we spent our second senior years together, me wooing him with ham sandwiches and him wooing me with his Irish phrases that I later realized meant teacher, can I go to the bathroom? During that first winter together in Maine, Michael came down with a few colds and I tried my best to impress him with my Irish hot whiskey skills. I’ve honed this recipe over the years, and every time Michael comes down with a cold he asks for a hot whiskey. Magically, it always seems to perk him up a little!  how_to_make_irish_hot_whiskey

Irish whiskey is such a simple drink to make and takes about two minutes to whip up. Here’s what you need: honey, lemons, cloves (they’re optional), whiskey and water. It’s this simple. Put a slice of lemon, a teaspoon of honey, and a few cloves in a mug. Add a shot of whiskey. Mush that all together with a spoon and make sure the honey has dissolved. Finally, add 1/4 cup of just-boiled water and stir to combine.  kilbeggan_irish_whiskey

You can add a little more water or a little more honey if it’s too strong or too tart.  hot_whiskey_ireland

Do you have colds creeping into your house yet? I’ve managed to escape so far, but we’ve got another few months of cold season to go!

Bright Dublin Coffee Shop / Two Fifty Square

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I met a new friend for coffee in Two Fifty Square last week, and since I had my camera with me I thought I’d snap a few photos to share the airy cafe with you. Between the tall ceilings, skylights and white subway tile, it’s a bright spot even on a grey day.  dublin_coffee_roaster_250_square

This was my first visit to Two Fifty Square since Rathmines is just about the opposite end of the world from where we live. But I was in the neighborhood and I’m so glad I stopped in. The owner (I think?) suggested a long black with cold soy milk and it was the most delicious non-milky coffee I’ve ever had. They roast their own coffee in the back, just through that door in the back. I still have no idea what a long black is, but it was delish. When did coffee get so complicated?  250_square_coffee_dublin Oh! Lest I forget, I also had a big bowl of light-but-flavorful butternut squash and chipotle soup. Also delicious.

250 Square / Williams Park, Lower Rathmines Road, Dublin 6

How to Say I Love You in Irish

How to say I love you in Irish

Happy Friday, everyone! I wanted to put together a little DIY Valentine in case you’re the last minute type, and in case your Valentine is particularly enamored of all things Irish. This will be such a hit and won’t take more than a few minutes to put together! That is, if you can find a bunch of pink tulips this late in the game!

Inspired by the I Love You sign in Appassionata Flowers, I wrapped up a little bouquet of pink tulips and made a card to say I Love You in Irish!  Irish Valentine with I Love You

I think the key to making nearly any flower look a little special is to wrap it in some craft paper, tape it up with some washi tape, and tie it with a fancy fabric ribbon. Add a sweet little tag and voila! An instantly impressive yet inexpensive bouquet for any occasion.

How to say I love you in Irish Happy Valentine’s Day, friends. I hope you feel loved tomorrow (and every day!), and you should know that if you come here and read these words, I love you! And I’m so grateful that you spend a few moments here. Is breá liom tú from Dublin!

 

Dublin Flower Shops / Appassionata Flowers

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Welcome to round two of our pre-Valentine’s Day virtual flower shop tours! This time, we’re visiting Appassionata Flowers on Drury Street, sandwiched right in between George’s Street Arcade and Cocoa Atelier. (And now that Cocoa Atelier has gone from charcoal to orange, it’s like a little Irish flag between those three buildings! Probably not what they were shooting for, but it’s happening nonetheless!)

I’ve worked with Ruth, the owner, on a few different styling projects and I just love following the Appassionata Instagram for all the latest from their studio and the shop. They’re always working on weddings, commercial projects, bouquets and rumor has it they’ve got a big flower wall installation happening this week (maybe Kanye/Kardashian wedding meets Dior flower wall) and I’m hoping for a peek! flower_shop_dublin_appassionata_ireland

Now on with the tour! Appassionata is small but packed with flowers and plants. I’ve picked up a few plants here – mostly because it’s so hard to walk by their little corner without falling in love with one of them. I picked up a beautiful maidenhair fern there a few months ago, which I am sadly now nursing back to health after leaving it in Michael’s hands over Christmas. i_love_you_sign_appassionata_florist

I’ve also fallen in love with their love sign, made by a friend of our family who works in their studio (hi ultra-talented Sally!), it’s a collection of I love you’s in all the languages their staff speaks! You might get a little dose of the Irish version here tomorrow!  appassionata_flowers_dublin_ireland

While I was taking photos, Lynn was working on this giant bouquet right on the counter and telling me all about the shop and the flowers and how to keep my succulents from growing into ugly little mini trees (less water!).

Behind Lynn there is this year’s Valentine’s installation, an awesome vintage neon LOVE sign Ruth has had for years and 3-D mesh clouds made from chicken wire. And this is exactly why I wanted to give you all a virtual tour of flower shops. They have the most creative decor and inspiring window displays.  flower_shop_dublin_appassionata dublin_flower_shop_appassionata

Scoopable lavender. hanging_raindrops_appassionata_flowers_dublin

And red rose rain drops hanging from another big mesh cloud in the front window. So cool. irish_flower_shop_appassionata appassionata_succulent_dublin

I discovered this new succulent but decided it was too precarious to lug him around town all afternoon. I’ll be back for you, buddy! appassionata_succulents_dublin_ireland irish_flower_shop_appassionata_florists

How can you not to love flowers in boots!

One more tidbit I learned while loitering in Appassionata oohing and aahing over the flowers? The price of red roses gets jacked up by Holland ahead of Valentine’s Day, and they can cost as much as €10 per stem! Isn’t that nuts? If I was in the market for a Valentine’s gift, I’d definitely hit up the succulent section instead!

Appassionata Flowers / 29 Drury Street / Dublin 2

Don’t forget to catch another lovely virtual flower shop tour of Les Fleurs Artisan Florist from yesterday! 

Dublin Flower Shops / Les Fleurs Artisan Florist

Les Fleurs Dublin Flower Shop

Welcome to today’s virtual flower shop tour! Because flowers are hot on everyone’s minds with Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d introduce you to a few of the lovely flower shops around Dublin. Whether you’re a local looking for blooms for a loved one (Valentine’s Day or otherwise), or a visitor looking for the best window displays in the city, I think you’ll enjoy these posts either way!

First up, Les Fleurs Artisan Florist in Harold’s Cross, where it currently feels like spring!  Les Fleurs Irish Florist Dublin

Les Fleurs is run by Olivier (you can see him below in the background on the phone!), who is French, hence the shop’s name. He was on the phone with someone who had just received a bouquet – he said the woman wanted to call and tell him the bouquet looked like a painting! What a lovely compliment.  Wedding Flowers from Les Fleurs Flower Shop

The only sign of Valentine’s Day at Les Fleurs is this fun graffiti on the front window. It’s perfectly subtle Valentine’s Day. Les Fleurs Pink Flowers Valentine's Day

Inside, there are a few lovely shades of pink mixed with some springy grape hyacinths and olive branches.  Les Fleurs Valentine's Flowers Les Fleurs Irish Flower Shop

Narcissus and perfectly pale pink tulips would make any Valentine smile. les_fleurs_dublin_flower_shop Dublin wedding flowers Les Fleurs Dublin Flower Shop Les Fleurs

And these cappuccino roses  – I love the red and pink doors across the street in the background, they worked out well for the holiday!  les_fleurs_dublin_flowers

Les Fleurs Terrarium Flower Shop

Or a succulent-filled terrarium for a slightly longer lasting option!

Les Fleurs Artisan Florist / 204 Harold’s Cross Road / Dublin 6

 

Dublin Chocolate Shop / Cocoa Atelier

Cocoa Atelier Chocolate Shop in Dublin

Why, happy Tuesday night, everyone! Let’s talk chocolate in Dublin (again), shall we? Last week, when I was having my happy little wander around the city looking for pink Georgian doors and flower shops (coming tomorrow!), I stopped into Cocoa Atelier. I did a double take, because Cocoa Atelier used to be charcoal grey on the outside, and now they are a very serious shade of orange (it’s growing on me, slowly), but it was the very same sweet shop on the inside.  luxury_chocolate_shop_dublin_ireland

Cocoa Atelier is a chocolate and sweet treats shop, a purveyor of delectable chocolates in flavors like Earl Grey and Bailey’s, macarons in many colorful flavors, and even ranges of ice cream and chocolate bars.  cocoa_atelier_chocolate_shop_dublin

But my very favorite thing about Cocoa Atelier is their light fixture, made of more wire whisks than you could count before your neck got sore staring up at the ceiling. Isn’t it spectacular?

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They have boxes of chocolates all wrapped up and ready to surprise your sweetie with this weekend. A little luxury and of course, all Irish made.  cocoa_atelier_chocolate_dublin I picked up a few of these tiny boxes made for two truffles to gift on Saturday. The perfect petite present to let a few friends know I’m thinking of them!

Cocoa Atelier / 30 Drury Street, Dublin 2

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