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.

Dublin in the Details

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On my way home from Dublin’s city centre today, the sky was blue and the sun was shining warmly (and unseasonably) on my back. I stopped to snap a photo of this black lamp post against the autumn-blue sky. They’re almost always silver, so I was surprised to see several of these black sheep all in a row behind Dublin Castle.

Then as I walked toward the train I couldn’t help but look a little closer at the details above my head and below my feet. Dublin’s architecture may not be as grand as continental cities like Paris and Rome, but we do have some lovely details when you look a little more closely.

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Grates with the Dublin crest.  dublin_castle_detail This guy spends his days overlooking the basement doorway to the chapel at Dublin Castle. door_knocker_dublin

Chester Beatty Library’s side door knocker.  chester_beatty_library_dublin And the swirly wrought iron panes at the Dublin Castle coach house gardens.

dublin_train_transportation Even the details at the train seemed lovely – I think the sunshine had gotten to my head by that point!

Six Super Reasons to Fall in Love with Dublin

Fall in Love with Dublin

Happy Friday, friends! If you’re in Dublin, I hope you’re out in the city enjoying one of my favorite nights of the year – Culture Night. It’s the best buzz the city has all year.

If you’re not, and you’re just dreaming of Dublin, I shared six of the best spots around the city that will make you fall in love with it for the first time or for the millionth time.

Huge thanks to my friend Pol for featuring my picks ahead of Culture Night – he’s really the nicest!

Have a lovely weekend, see you Monday!

September in St. Anne’s Park Rose Garden

rose_garden_dublin Several weeks ago, I realized I had never been to the rose garden in St. Anne’s Park before, so I put it in my calendar to remind me to go before the roses had all gone by. But with last minute work on Delightful Dublin taking up every spare minute, it took me until today to make it over there.

I waited until the sun was just starting to set before I threw my camera in a backpack and cycled over, winding my way through the park to the rose garden. I parked my bike and wandered around the rose garden, and managed to take 100 photos of roses in rapid succession.

And then I promptly came home and asked Michael why the heck haven’t we gone there before?! The roses were just about finished blooming for the season, but I’ve already put another reminder in my calendar for next year. I can’t even imagine what the rose garden would be like in full bloom. The smell of roses today was amazing, with only one out of ten beds still in bloom.

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Isn’t that tower covered in red ivy amazing? Just the beginning of fall here in Dublin.

rose_garden_park_dublin flowers_dublin_ireland_garden dublin_rose_garden Those yellow roses were like butter in the center. I may have taken just one home with me, tucked into the rack on my bicycle. I’m already planning for next year – can you imagine a picnic in the rose garden? Michael won’t even know what hit him! ;)

How to Survive Driving in Dublin

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I wrote this post in my head while I was sitting in traffic last week (and believe me, there were no rainbows in sight!). I almost always manage to avoid rush hour traffic in the city centre, but one day last week I had to pick up a few cumbersome things I couldn’t manage to take on the train. So I drove. And by the time I crawled all the way home in traffic, this post was pretty much written and I was about to abandon the car by the side of the road and walk. So, let’s talk driving in Dublin, shall we?

The first tip for driving in Dublin? Don’t. If you can avoid it, just don’t drive in Dublin.

I’m no driving wimp, and even I avoid driving in the city centre like the plague. I learned to drive when I was fifteen, got my license in a blizzard when I was sixteen, earned my fair share of speeding tickets (I like to consider myself an efficient driver and my mom is definitely rolling her eyes), and at the age of twenty planned motorcades for Senator John Kerry (now Secretary of State) as he ran for President. I’m generally a pretty happy camper behind the wheel. So my distaste for driving in Dublin has nothing to do with my ability or interest.

After moving to Dublin, it took me a few months to get up the nerve to learn to drive a manual car on the left hand side of the road, but once I did, I was back in action. Just so long as I don’t have to go into the city centre between the hours of 7am and 7pm. It’s just not worth it.

So if you can’t follow my first tip and avoid driving in Dublin*, you’d better read the rest of these tips!

Be Aggressive

I have a sneaking suspicion that this tip might get me in trouble, but drivers in Dublin drive pretty aggressively. They’re not wildly aggressive or dangerous (most of the time), but they’re pushy. If you want to turn into traffic and no one is letting you out? Stick your nose out there a little, then take heed of the next tip.

Be Polite

The one redeeming thing about driving in Dublin is that drivers are overall pretty polite. If you let someone in front of you, they’ll often flash their hazards at you to say thank you. And you can do the same thing – sometimes you need to nose your way into a lane you didn’t realize you need to be in to make a turn. So nose your way in, then say thank you by giving your hazard lights a few flashes.

Obey the Speed Limit

Says the girl who was nicknamed speed racer on the campaign trail, but even I obey the speed limit. Those navigation apps should give you the speed limit at any given time, because it can be hard to find marked speed limits. Know that most of the city centre is a 30 kilometer per hour zone. And yes, that’s basically the same speed as fast walking. I used to think it was outrageously slow, but then everybody and their mother got a bicycle and started cycling around the city and breaking every traffic law possible. So now I think the 30km zone is safer for everyone involved.

Watch Out for Bicycles and Motorcycles

They’re everywhere and they sneak up behind you. Watch when you’re opening you car doors and when you’re changing lanes. They do not stop for red lights, so you should really even watch out for them when you’re crossing at cross walks.

Watch Out for People

Dublin is a jay-walking city, and you never know when someone is going to try to squeeze between cars in traffic to get across the road. I’m telling you, that 30km zone is a blessing.

Watch for Bus and Taxi Lanes

Most streets in Dublin have bus lanes, and most of the time you’re not allowed in those. There will be signs that say what hours the bus lanes operate, but in the city centre, the bus lane could be 24 hours. During rush hour, a whole stretch around Trinity College is blocked to all traffic except for taxis and buses. Police officers will stop you and redirect you if you try to go through.

Beware of One Way Streets

They’re everywhere. When Michael and I first moved here, we got stuck driving in circles around Stephen’s Green trying to figure out how to get out of the one way system! Last week, I went about a mile out of my way trying to cycle from one side of the city to the other because I couldn’t turn right for block after block. Rely on those navigation apps – they almost always have a good handle on the one way roads. Keep in mind, as if one way streets aren’t frustrating enough, that many streets don’t have street signs – or they might be high up on the side of a building. I’m telling you, sat nav will be your friend!

Beware of Construction

It seems like all of the construction projects that needed to happen in the last five years are happening right this minute throughout the city. As the recession has lifted (or maybe as the streets reached new lows of disrepair), construction has been on the rise. It makes traffic worse and often means closed lanes or even closed roads. Why they can’t manage to do most of this work at night when there’s less traffic, I do not know. What I do know is that the projects mean cyclists and buses and cars are squeezing into fewer lanes than they’re used to and it’s making everyone’s travels more difficult.

Have I fully terrified you with my rant about driving in Dublin? It’s certainly possible, but you’ll want to be on your A-game while you’re behind the wheel! And you might need a stiff drink once you park for the night!

If you’re a local, I’d love to hear your tips – or do you avoid driving in Dublin like I do?

*If you’re planning on renting a car when you come to Ireland, don’t worry. Driving outside the city is way more doable, peaceful and pleasant!

Dublin City Bridges Tote from Clover Rua

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I had been wanting to take a few photos with my new Dublin Bridges tote from Clover Rua for months now. In fact, I carried it and my camera to church six times, since our church is near the Liffey and I figured it would be easy enough to have Michael snap a few photos before we headed home. Turns out? Not so much. Every single time, something came up. We were hungry (this happens a lot), we forgot we had plans, we were on welcome team and just couldn’t wait to sit down. So, the bag just kept making journeys back and forth – close to the Liffey but never on the Liffey.

Until Friday, when Julie finally snapped a few photos of me and the Dublin Bridges bag on my very favorite bridge, the Samuel Beckett. And lo and behold, we loved one of those images so much, we made it into the cover of Delightful Dublin!

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How sweet is that tote? It’s very sturdy and Anita from Clover Rua assures me it can get dirty because it’s very washable. I’m still a little careful with it!

We’re also going to have to talk about my shoes for just a sec. I don’t own a single other item of clothing this psychedelically bright and yet I love these shoes. And I found them at Gap this summer for $4. $4! They make me way more than $4 of happy.

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The Samuel Beckett Bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava (which is a super fun name to say) and it reminds me of a cable-stayed bridge in Maine. The entire thing turns when a ship needs to come through, which is very cool to witness.

I actually used to be quite scared of bridges, but I think it was actually the height of some of the bridges in Maine that bothered me. I used to crawl down onto the floor of the car when we were going over one! All of the bridges across the Liffey in Dublin are so low to the water, I never get worried. Julie, on the other hand, was a little nervous!

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And on a somewhat unrelated note, I am having a love-hate relationship with my new haircut. It just has a mind of its own and only responds to air-drying, which still takes so long even though it’s shorter. It looks pretty okay in photos but in person I think it looks wild and crazy. Anyone have a long bob of wild and crazy hair? What do we do with it?!

Delightful Dublin Cover And here’s that cover again! I’m so excited about the positive response Delightful Dublin has been getting. It’s been a very fun few days!

Welcome to Delightful Dublin

Delightful Dublin Cover

Well, today is the day, friends! The Delightful Dublin guidebook is live and ready for the world!

Julie and I have worked hard to make sure it is useful and beautiful, inspiring and informative. It is packed with beautiful photographs and peppered with personal stories. It is 250+ pages of the best Dublin has to offer, in my humble opinion.

To get your copy, you can head over to the Delightful Dublin website. I hope you love it, and I hope you find Dublin to be just as delightful as I do.

Truly Irish / Bog Standard Candles

handmade_irish_souvenir_moss_candle I was on the lookout for a friend’s birthday present (happy birthday, Rachael!) and I was so pleased when I happened upon these sweet candles while I was giving a tour the other day. Their lovely packaging with those floral illustrations caught my eye, and then I was captivated by the beautiful, subtle scents. And then to top it all off, they’re Irish!

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They’re made by a Northern Irish company called Bog Standard, and I have a feeling they’ll be a new go-to when it comes to presents. They would make the loveliest souvenirs to bring home from a trip to Ireland – Irish but not too shamrock-y!    irish_candle_scent_moss_bog_standard  They make soap and hand lotion and scented sachets as well. I found these candles in the Kilkenny Shop, which has a slightly overpowering tourist vibe but does have some really great Irish-made things that are just perfect for souvenirs or gifts.

In Season / August Blooms

roses

I’m a little late to the game to be sharing August blooms with you, but here we are with just a little peek at what’s in bloom around our Dublin neighborhood. Autumn is surely upon us, but I love knowing that even as the weather gets colder, we’ll still have at least a few things blooming to remind us that spring will eventually return. And I always love these wanders around our neighborhood. Whenever I take my camera, I walk slowly and peek into people’s gardens, imagining what their lives might be like. It’s a great time out for my brain.

So, here’s what’s blooming in our neck of the woods!  morning glories lantern flowers strawberry blooms sedum ivy

I’m getting so excited about this wall – pretty soon it will be all red! hydrangeas

The hydrangeas are starting to go by, but I kind of like when they turn a little crispy. I’ve picked a few from our garden to dry inside the house.  hanging berries butterfly

This guy stopped just long enough for a photo before a bee wanted his spot on that flower.

A Delightful Dublin Preview a Happy Weekend!

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Happy Friday, everyone! Do you have nice plans for the weekend? I gave a walking tour this afternoon and got drenched (my first soggy Vayable tour!), so I’m working on warming up before we spend the weekend puttering around the house. The next few months hold a lot of travel for us around Ireland (Donegal, Clare, Galway) and beyond (Glasgow, Barcelona, America), so it’s nice to have a weekend without much planned.

Delightful Dublin is just about finished, and Julie and I are preparing to release it into the world in just over a week. The illustration above is a preview from the book – each of the six neighborhoods we feature includes an original Ursula Celano illustration! Isn’t it so great? We will hopefully be making the illustrations into prints or postcards you can buy in time for Christmas!

The process of writing Delightful Dublin has been different than I imagined when Julie and I started exploring the idea almost a year ago. It has been equally more fun and more exhausting than I thought it would be. I’ve learned how important it is to work with the right partner on a project, and honestly, working with Julie has been the most fun part. With a project this size, it’s so helpful to have someone who believes in it just as much as you do, who can give you creative pep talks if you’re doubting yourself, and who has such a great eye for the aesthetic as well as the general look and feel of the project. I think we’re going to have to write another book after this one just so we can keep working together! But just a few more weeks and you’ll be able to see the fruits of all our work on this one!

I hope you have a dry, happy weekend, friends! See you Monday!

Folkster Homewares in Temple Bar

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I promised yesterday that I’d share with you a bigger look at Folkster, one of the selection of lovely shops in Temple Bar. I visited to take some photos of their new bridal line (so affordable!) and between looks I took a few extras of their homewares room.

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They have rugs and cushions and vases and pots.  folkster_dublin_05 folkster_dublin_08 folkster_dublin_09

They also have prints from their Gild & Cage line, which are odd but likeable. This one is called Icelandic Woman, I think. folkster_dublin_10 folkster_dublin_01

I have to admit I made no fewer than three impulse buys while I was there. A cute pair of earrings, a belt and a giant sari blanket thing that I absolutely do not need but told myself might some day come in handy! Next time, I have a feeling one of those cushions and a vase will come home with me!

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